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Amtrak and Via Rail February 2018 Winter Trip


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#1 Tennessee Traveler

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Posted 23 January 2018 - 06:22 PM

Amtrak Unlimited Friends - Just one week before I depart on my Winter Amtrak and Via Rail Winter Trip.  I'll be riding Amtrak's Capitol Limited, California Zephyr, Coast Starlight and Superliner train Seattle to Vancouver BC while staying overnight in Washington, DC, Chicago, IL, Emeryville, CA, and Seattle, WA. Once in Vancouver, BC, I will ride Via Rail's CANADIAN all the way to Toronto with two night stay in Toronto to allow for delayed arrival in Toronto before flying home to Nashville from Toronto. Here is the link to my travel blog post previewing this trip. If you would like to follow along as I travel sign up to receive my almost daily blog posts, sign up on the blog site to receive them in your email inbox. Those short blog post are usually one photo and a brief comment of that day's experience which I usually post from my IPhone.

 

Amtrak and Via Rail February 2018 Winter Trip Preview


Edited by Tennessee Traveler, 23 January 2018 - 06:25 PM.


#2 Bob Dylan

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Posted 23 January 2018 - 07:05 PM

Were envious Reagan! Looking forward to your reports and pics,always enjoyable!😎

Edited by Bob Dylan, 23 January 2018 - 07:05 PM.

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#3 Woodcut60

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Posted 01 February 2018 - 03:37 AM

Very envious and what a trip! 


Amtrak Routes Traveled: Lake Shore Limited, California Zephyr, San Joaquin, Pacific Surfliner, Coast Starlight, Empire Builder, Cardinal, Crescent, Sunset Limited, Southwest Chief, Hiawatha, City of New Orleans, Texas Eagle, Heartland Flyer, Missouri River Runner, Lincoln, Wolverine, Northeast Regional, Acela Express, Downeaster, Vermonter, Silver Star, Silver Meteor, Capitol Limited, Pennsylvanian, Amtrak Cascades, Maple Leaf, Adirondack, Ethan Allen Express, Keystone, Carolinian, Piedmont.
Other Routes in North America: Denali Star (Anchorage-Fairbanks, Alaska Railroad), The Ocean (Halifax-Montréal), Corridor (Montréal-Toronto), The Canadian (Toronto-Vancouver).
Amtrak: approx. 29,000 miles and 47 states; VIA Rail Canada: approx. 4,300 miles and eight provinces.

#4 Tennessee Traveler

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Posted 21 February 2018 - 09:31 PM

I will eventually post my travel blog update and link to my photo galleries for this full trip but thought some of you would like this report on the CANADIAN part of my trip.

 

"Just returned after riding the CANADIAN from Vancouver to Toronto February 13-17. The trip was good and the Via staff very good.  However, the equipment is showing it's age and my Manor Room for 2 was quite mechanically noisy including a loud whining fan sounding like noise and I had to wear ear plugs to sleep at night. I was in car 212 which was sold to me as the rearmost Manor car but unfortunately Via is now running the Manor car in ascending number order meaning that the Manor car 210 was next to the dining car and cars 211, 212, and 213 were closer to the economy skyline dome car with 213 being adjacent to the economy skyline car. All was well since we only had about 70 passengers Vancouver to Jasper and just over 40 passengers from Jasper to Toronto. We all got to know each other well and I enjoyed the mix and friendliness of my fellow passengers. The meals in the dining car were good but no better than Amtrak and were basically pre-prepared and brought on board to be heated. I found this out when I was told that the meat could not be cooked to order so I did not choose to order the bloody red meat but stayed with chicken or fish. Also discovered that almost all the on board staff for the CANADIAN live in Winnipeg instead of Vancouver or Toronto. Since I'm not wealthy, I think the CANADIAN's refurbishing of some Chateau cars and the Park car into very expensive Prestige class is a mistake. I think only two Prestige rooms were sold or occupied on my trip so we did not have a problem of class distinction in the Park car but from April to October only Prestige customers will be allowed in the Park car most of the daylight hours. 

 

My trip was 14 hours late losing almost all that time between Saskatoon and Winnipeg. Weather was not a problem nor any mechanical delays. Simple fact is that CN freight is king and we lost all our time sitting 2 plus hours in Saskatoon, 5 hours in Melville, and 2 hours about 45 miles outside of Winnipeg while multiple widely separated too long freight trains passed going in the opposite direction. And, yes, we still stopped frequently to let just one freight at a time pass away from these stations. In the end, we arrived Vancouver 10:50 PM Saturday night. Schedule arrival time was 9:30 AM Saturday morning. The on board crew returns to Winnipeg on the Train #1 so Via needs 8 hours to restock and clean the train and provide required rest period in a hotel for the on board crew. I observed that the train #1 did not depart Toronto until 9:55 AM Sunday morning.

 

Since this was my fourth trip on the CANADIAN with the others being in the 80's and 90's and last one in 2002, I can truthfully say this is no longer the great train trip it was on those trips. Since I'm 76, I will stick to Amtrak long distance trains and probably never return to ride the CANADIAN ever again. I will simply remember the good ole "Silver and Blue" class service before Prestige replaced it and took the price of the CANADIAN way out of the normal income persons ability to pay."  



#5 Tennessee Traveler

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Posted 24 February 2018 - 08:39 PM

As promised here is the link to my wrapup blog will link to my updated photo galleries: Amtrak and Via Rail Train Trip - February 1-19, 2018 - Photo Galleries Updated

 

I guess I stay home until April when I travel on the City of New Orleans, Empire Builder, Coast Starlight, and eastbound California Zephyr will overnights in New Orleans, Seattle, Emeryville, and Chicago. 



#6 Lonestar648

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Posted 28 April 2018 - 08:58 PM

Great report, loved the photos.. Focusing on the Canadian, so sorry to hear that of it being rundown and food service downgraded.  It did sound like with 40 - 70 passengers, you had the opportunity to have a few people to socialize with that were nice.  Loved the winter scenes.  Summer on this train looks out of my budget.  You may miss the old days, but at least you got to make this trip across Canada in Winter.  I have seen others comment about the noisy fans.  How was the heading? comfortable, cold, or warm?  Thanks again for your trip report and photos.



#7 Tennessee Traveler

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Posted 28 April 2018 - 09:40 PM

Lonestar648, I did enjoy the trip and, yes, there were several people I enjoyed chatting with in the Park car and at meals in the dining car.  As for in room comfort my sleeping room was comfortable and I did not turn on the fan. I believe the temperature was controlled for the whole car from one control point not accessible to the passengers. I did notice some differences from car to car. I usually had to walked through three cars to get to the dining car and another two cars to get to the Park car. My biggest disappointment was the conversion of Chateau sleeping cars to Prestige Cars costing thousands of dollars and giving priority access to those passengers in the Park dome even in the Winter time.  I should acknowledge that in February they were not enforcing the only Prestige customer seating in the Park dome. 

 

I had planned to travel on Empire Builder, City of New Orleans, Coast Starlight, and California Zephyr in April but all was cancelled after I spent 6 nights in March local hospital with flu, UTI(real bad experience if you are 76), and heart arrhythmia so April has been recovery month.  I do have trips planned via Amtrak to New Orleans, New York City, Chicago, Seattle and Los Angeles in June. Hopefully, that trip will go on without a hitch.  Incidentally, Amtrak refunded all my Amtrak cost to e-vouchers and all hotels where simply cancelled without making any payments.  Actually, only cost lost was 8,500 American miles for flight Chicago to Nashville and lunch and matinee show at the WWII museum in New Orleans. And American has said I might be able to use the 8,500 miles if I fly Chicago to Nashville within the year.


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#8 Lonestar648

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Posted 28 April 2018 - 11:50 PM

I hope you are doing better.  I understand having been knocked down with the flu for three weeks.  Was at home only because my daughter is BSN/RN at the hospital instead of a bed in the hallway.  Every hospital was over max capacity.  Then I had 5 severe occurrences of bronchitis,with several steroid shots for my lungs that required me to stay home with no visitors until  a week ago.  I am a couple years younger, but that flu hits you hard just like it did to you.  I have a trip planned this summer with my youngest granddaughter, she asked for as many nights as possible in a row on the train, so doing the TE/SL then SWC (4 nights) then a couple days in Chicago.  I am starting to get out walking to build my strength for this summer.  I hope your trips work out for you

 

I don't like the Prestige Cars from their photos on line.  I can not believe the cost even in the off peak season..  


Edited by Lonestar648, 28 April 2018 - 11:51 PM.





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