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Amtrak Rail Pass - Planning the great adventure - advice and questions


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#21 p&sr

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Posted 11 October 2018 - 09:46 AM

I'd just warn you that San Francisco isn't directly served by trains,

San Francisco certainly IS served by trains... take the CalTrain from San Jose!  (And there's always BART...)


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#22 caravanman

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Posted 11 October 2018 - 01:42 PM

I have taken a couple of 12, 000 mile rail pass coach trips when in my late 50's so riding in roomettes would be pretty luxurious!

 

I believe the rail pass is only valid to make reservations when the coach seats are at bottom bucket price, although one can pay extra to get aboard a higher bucket train. One pays the difference between the low bucket price, (covered by the pass) and the current bucket coach seat price.

 

As one  always pays low bucket for the transport element of sleepers/roomettes the only thing that matters is finding them cheap, the rail pass will always be valid for the sleeper transportation element.

 

All bus and coach connections are a segment, so it makes sense to pay cash for any fare under about $50, if you wish to save segments for the more expensive rides.

 

Please be aware that not all Amtrak phone agents are always 100% correct. I would run your plans past a few of them to see if they all agree on your pricing and segment use. It should be easier now you have your route plan.

 

Jan to March tends to be low season, so most of my trips happened then.

 

At the end of the day, how much you will enjoy such a trip depends on your own preferences, I would love it, many folk I know would not.  :D

 

Ed


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#23 cpotisch

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Posted 11 October 2018 - 02:52 PM

Please be aware that not all Amtrak phone agents are always 100% correct. I would run your plans past a few of them to see if they all agree on your pricing and segment use. It should be easier now you have your route plan.

This! Honestly, it might be a bit generous to say that "not all Amtrak phone agents are always 100% correct". I've found that there's usually at least a 50% failure rate when trying to get actual, correct info from USA-RAIL. Phone agents are not exactly Amtrak's strongpoint.  :wacko:


Routes Traveled: Silver Meteor, Silver Star, CrescentLake Shore LimitedCalifornia Zephyr, Sunset Limited, Texas EagleEthan Allen Express, Empire Service, Maple Leaf, AdirondackAcela Express, Northeast RegionalKeystone Service, Downeaster w/ Great Dome
 
Wish List: Auto Train, Cardinal, CONO, Empire Builder, Southwest Chief, Crescent (overnight), Adirondack w/ Great Dome


#24 BCL

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Posted 11 October 2018 - 04:24 PM





I'd just warn you that San Francisco isn't directly served by trains,

San Francisco certainly IS served by trains... take the CalTrain from San Jose!  (And there's always BART...)

But not Amtrak trains, which should be apparent in the context of the discussion of USA Rail Pass travel segments. I did mention Caltrain as a means to get from San Francisco to San Jose in order to avoid using a segment to connect to the Coast Starlight.

San Franciscos MUNI has 3 different rail systems itself. Dont know if the steam train at the zoo counts either.

#25 niemi24s

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Posted 11 October 2018 - 04:48 PM

In June the Empire Builder for example is totally full.

The Empire Builder from Seattle to Chicago is not really full in June, it just has no low bucket roomettes available - but higher bucket ones are available every day June.

 

However, 11 low bucket Roomettes are currently available on the Empire Builder from Portland to Chicago.

 

But from what Jet Peddler said in Post #6 it sounds as if he's already booked his trip, so all these suggestions about routes is of no value if that's true.


Edited by niemi24s, 11 October 2018 - 04:50 PM.


#26 cpotisch

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Posted 11 October 2018 - 05:01 PM

When you buy the rail pass, you pay a discounted rate for the roomettes on each segment.

You know, I've been looking, and I can't find any mention of "a discounted rate" for sleeper upgrades when you have a rail pass. From all I can tell, you still have to pay the full accommodation charge.


Routes Traveled: Silver Meteor, Silver Star, CrescentLake Shore LimitedCalifornia Zephyr, Sunset Limited, Texas EagleEthan Allen Express, Empire Service, Maple Leaf, AdirondackAcela Express, Northeast RegionalKeystone Service, Downeaster w/ Great Dome
 
Wish List: Auto Train, Cardinal, CONO, Empire Builder, Southwest Chief, Crescent (overnight), Adirondack w/ Great Dome


#27 niemi24s

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Posted 11 October 2018 - 08:19 PM

Perhaps by discounted he means low bucket - or maybe something else like the senior discount.



#28 Maglev

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Posted 11 October 2018 - 08:54 PM

My guess is that the up-charge for the sleeper was less than the fare Amtrak showed (which is the accommodation charge plus rail fare).


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Northeast corridor Heritage, Metroliner, Amfleet and Acela, CN Super Continental, Broadway Limited, Lone Star, Sunset Limited, Coast Starlight, San Joaquin, Southwest Limited, National Limited, Champion, California Zephyr, Capitol Limited, Wolverine, Crescent, Empire Builder, Cascades, Lake Shore Limited, Silver Meteor, Cardinal. 


#29 niemi24s

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Posted 11 October 2018 - 09:35 PM

Here's some of the stuff I take on any trip in an Amtrak sleeper:

 

•  Medium sized plastic bag to block a heating/cooling vent that won't respond to the room thermostat

•  2-3 feet of duct/gaffer's tape to hold the bag over the vent

•  3 or 4 carpenter's wooden wedges/'shims to jam in and silence rattles

•  Package of hand sanitizing/cleaning wipes for the usual stuff plus to clean windows for clearer pictures

•  Earplugs in case there's noisy people around

•  Rubber flip-flops if you plan on taking showers

•  Route Guides for each of the routes in case they're not provided

•  Notes for each leg of the trip about any interesting features along the way (so you won't miss them) gleaned from:

     ••  Google Earth

     ••  Topographic maps from...  http://www.mytopo.co...dex.cfm?feature

     ••  The FRA map...  https://fragis.fra.d...v/GISFRASafety/

•  Small 2-3 oz squirt bottle of pure maple syrup (optional)

•  If you use a stand-alone camera, a rubber lens shade to block inside the train reflections when the lens shade is held loosely against the window.

 

Attached File  IMG_0150c.JPG   122.18KB   8 downloads


Edited by niemi24s, 11 October 2018 - 09:43 PM.

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#30 cpotisch

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Posted 12 October 2018 - 11:00 AM

My guess is that the up-charge for the sleeper was less than the fare Amtrak showed (which is the accommodation charge plus rail fare).

Yeah, that's probably it.


Routes Traveled: Silver Meteor, Silver Star, CrescentLake Shore LimitedCalifornia Zephyr, Sunset Limited, Texas EagleEthan Allen Express, Empire Service, Maple Leaf, AdirondackAcela Express, Northeast RegionalKeystone Service, Downeaster w/ Great Dome
 
Wish List: Auto Train, Cardinal, CONO, Empire Builder, Southwest Chief, Crescent (overnight), Adirondack w/ Great Dome





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