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Thanks to everyone here!


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#1 KleShreen

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Posted 13 August 2018 - 10:03 AM

I just wanted to thank this entire message board for my last almost year's worth of information!

 

I've never ridden a train before, and I decided I wanted to do a train trip from Michigan to California for my honeymoon instead of flying. This message board was very helpful in planning everything out. I got information from here that formed every step of the way. I found the information I needed to want to have the solid-walled bedroom instead of the partitions (where you need to bring cardboard and tape to keep them from rattling!) after seeing that yes, you do lose some floor space with that bedroom, and the bathroom faces the other direction, but it seemed the positives outweighed the negatives.

 

I learned that when we get to Chicago, we get to put our bags in the lounge for sleeper passengers and go explore for a few hours. I also learned that I'd rather take the CZ to Emeryville/San Francisco for the views along the route rather than taking the SW routes that take us right to LA, because the views on the CZ paired with the ride down the coast on the Starlight are probably more to our liking.

 

I learned that it is helpful to bring both a scanner to listen to any issues/updates during your trip, and also that it is a good idea to bring a GPS so you can keep track of where you're at in the trip!

 

I also learned that I shouldn't stress out about my bag being 30" tall with wheels instead of the specified 28" tall on the website, because nobody is probably going to care (although I do still worry a little about if the bag may be too big for the Pere Marquette or the shuttle bus I'm taking across the bay to San Francisco).

 

I found out I'm going to have to arrange for a late check-in with my airbnb host in San Francisco (a sailboat in pier 39!), because the CZ is probably going to be late. Hours late.

 

I also am going to make sure to try and get a west-side seat in the dining car on the Coast Starlight down the coast to LA for dinner, because I've been told it is one of the best sunsets and visuals you can hope for while eating.

 

Finally, I used information I found here to figure out that once I do get to LA at nearly midnight, there's a bus I can take to LAX to pick up a rental car and head to our second airbnb instead of having to pay for a place to stay somewhere near union station and waiting for the rental car place there to open the next morning.

 

This place has been a valuable website for me to use to plan out everything to do with our trip, and I'm looking forward to hopefully having everything go flawlessly beginning the morning after our wedding this weekend! =)


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First train trips in the books!

 

August 19, 2018: Pere Marquette from Grand Rapids to Chicago

August 19-21, 2018: California Zephyr from Chicago to Emeryville

August 23, 2018: Coast Stralight from Oakland to Los Angeles


#2 Bob Dylan

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Posted 13 August 2018 - 10:07 AM

You're most Welcome!

Congratulations on your Wedding and please share your trip report with us, we look forward to it! All Aboard!
  • railiner, Cho Cho Charlie, daybeers and 1 other like this
"There's Something About a Train! It's Magic!"-- 1970s Amtrak Ad
 "..My heart is warm with the friends I make,and better friends I'll not be knowing,
Yet there isn't a train I wouldn't take,No matter where its going!.." -Edna St. Vincent Millay

#3 Devil's Advocate

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Posted 13 August 2018 - 10:36 AM

I don't think I was involved in your previous threads but I did look through what you posted here and everything checks out to my eyes.  I'm glad you've found everything you needed.  The only thing I'd add is that scanners can sometimes be a little over-hyped on here.  Maybe I'm just really (un)lucky, but I've never had a single Amtrak trip where enough bad stuff happened that bringing a scanner was worth the effort.  In my experience 90% of delays will be sufficiently explained over the PA system and if something really bad does happen some other passenger will probably have heard it on their scanner.  If it were me I'd consider putting that scanner money and packing space/weight toward a set of binoculars instead.  Very few people bring them and yet they're virtually guaranteed to be useful every day of the trip.


Edited by Devil's Advocate, 13 August 2018 - 10:41 AM.

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#4 desertflyer

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Posted 13 August 2018 - 10:36 AM

I want you to know that there is just about a 0% chance the bus from EMY to San Francisco will give you trouble about a bag 1 or 2 inches bigger than the rules.

You've really done your research, now it's time to enjoy the ride - and your trip to the Golden State. 😊 Congratulations!
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#5 KleShreen

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Posted 13 August 2018 - 11:32 AM

I don't think I was involved in your previous threads but I did look through what you posted here and everything checks out to my eyes.  I'm glad you've found everything you needed.  The only thing I'd add is that scanners can sometimes be a little over-hyped on here.  Maybe I'm just really (un)lucky, but I've never had a single Amtrak trip where enough bad stuff happened that bringing a scanner was worth the effort.  In my experience 90% of delays will be sufficiently explained over the PA system and if something really bad does happen some other passenger will probably have heard it on their scanner.  If it were me I'd consider putting that scanner money and packing space/weight toward a set of binoculars instead.  Very few people bring them and yet they're virtually guaranteed to be useful every day of the trip.

 

Thanks! Had not thought about binoculars!


First train trips in the books!

 

August 19, 2018: Pere Marquette from Grand Rapids to Chicago

August 19-21, 2018: California Zephyr from Chicago to Emeryville

August 23, 2018: Coast Stralight from Oakland to Los Angeles


#6 Mystic River Dragon

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Posted 13 August 2018 - 11:51 AM

I agree with DA about the binoculars. I bought a child's pair of binoculars at an aquarium and took them with me whenever I traveled--they worked well and were much smaller and lighter than regular ones. They won't last forever, but certainly for several trips.

 

Also, I don't have a scanner, but I keep my ears open and hear a lot (I've had lots of practice because I live in a small town, but anyone can learn how :P). Stay near the conductors or your SCA when you are at a stop, and you may be able to overhear what they are hearing on their official devices. (I want to call them walkie-talkies, but aside from really dating myself, I know that's not the correct word--but it's the same idea.) Usually nothing very exciting, though--which is actually a good thing!

 

Have a fantastic trip--I'm so glad you were able to get so much help in planning from people here. :) And definitely let us know how it goes!


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#7 Triley

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Posted 13 August 2018 - 01:25 PM

I agree with DA about the binoculars. I bought a child's pair of binoculars at an aquarium and took them with me whenever I traveled--they worked well and were much smaller and lighter than regular ones. They won't last forever, but certainly for several trips.
 
Also, I don't have a scanner, but I keep my ears open and hear a lot (I've had lots of practice because I live in a small town, but anyone can learn how :P). Stay near the conductors or your SCA when you are at a stop, and you may be able to overhear what they are hearing on their official devices. (I want to call them walkie-talkies, but aside from really dating myself, I know that's not the correct word--but it's the same idea.) Usually nothing very exciting, though--which is actually a good thing!
 
Have a fantastic trip--I'm so glad you were able to get so much help in planning from people here. :) And definitely let us know how it goes!

OBS don't have radios, unless they bring a scanner with themselves like I do.

When I first got it, I had it on all the time. Now it just sits in my bag until something that seems "unusual" happens, and I take it out of my work bag.

My posts are my own opinions and do not represent the views of my employer in any way, shape, or form. ~ Now back to your regularly scheduled program.


#8 Mystic River Dragon

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Posted 13 August 2018 - 01:40 PM

My error, Triley. I guess it is just conductors I've seen with them.

 

And whatever the engineers on SEPTA are listening to, which is really informative if you sit in the front car when they are getting settled and leave the door open--one time I knew exactly why the Amtrak train was sitting across from us at TRE and not going anywhere, just by keeping my ears open! I probably knew more than the people on the Amtrak train! :P


Edited by Mystic River Dragon, 13 August 2018 - 01:42 PM.


#9 chakk

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Posted 14 August 2018 - 12:23 AM

Don’t know your planned arrival stop in San Francisco, but be advised that the Temporary Transbay Terminal in the City was replaced by the Permanent Transbay Terminal yesterday. The new terminal is about one block north and one block west of the former terminal. All Amtrak buses are using the new terminal now.

#10 KleShreen

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Posted 14 August 2018 - 06:50 AM

Don’t know your planned arrival stop in San Francisco, but be advised that the Temporary Transbay Terminal in the City was replaced by the Permanent Transbay Terminal yesterday. The new terminal is about one block north and one block west of the former terminal. All Amtrak buses are using the new terminal now.

 

Maybe that explains why my arrival time on the bus changed to 10 minutes later about 3 weeks ago? We are getting off at Fisherman's Wharf.


First train trips in the books!

 

August 19, 2018: Pere Marquette from Grand Rapids to Chicago

August 19-21, 2018: California Zephyr from Chicago to Emeryville

August 23, 2018: Coast Stralight from Oakland to Los Angeles


#11 desertflyer

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Posted 14 August 2018 - 01:18 PM

Dont know your planned arrival stop in San Francisco, but be advised that the Temporary Transbay Terminal in the City was replaced by the Permanent Transbay Terminal yesterday. The new terminal is about one block north and one block west of the former terminal. All Amtrak buses are using the new terminal now.

Not to stray off topic, but Amtrak still hasn't moved into the new Transbay Terminal. They are still at the Temporary Transbay Terminal at 200 Folsom even though it's been completely stripped and doesn't have checked bag service at the moment. Amtrak announced this 6 days after announcing they'd be moving to a MUNI bus stop at Main & Howard St temporarily, but that plan was scrapped. They don't even have a date set for the move to the new terminal, which is really strange to me considering there is already some Amtrak signage in the new Terminal. Capitol Corridor updates seem to be the best way to follow this. 
 
8/6/2018 Update

Updated:8/6/2018:
Service to the San Francisco Transbay Temporary Terminal (SFC) will continue in its current location at 200 Folsom Street, rather than moving to Main and Howard streets, as originally announced on July 30. This is a temporary solution while the Capitol Corridor works towards a long-term plan to relocate this stop to a permanent location, which is anticipated to be the Salesforce Transit Center in downtown San Francisco.

Key service details to note:
- Service will continue at the San Francisco Transbay Temporary Terminal (SFC) on a temporary basis.
- The ticket office and waiting area will remain open during this time.
- Connecting bus schedules will remain the same.


Edited by desertflyer, 14 August 2018 - 01:21 PM.


#12 Pere Flyer

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Posted 17 August 2018 - 02:59 PM

I’ve ridden the Pere Marquette many times (home train) and can confirm there will be room for a 30” bag in the storage area of the Superliner.
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