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Boston to Los Angeles -- what would be the lowest altitude routes?

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Hi everyone!

 

I currently have a collapsed lung and my doctor told me to avoid high altitude when traveling. I am currently trying to travel from Boston to Los Angeles, and what wondering what might be the most efficient route at the lowest altitude?

 

It seems that the Sunset Limited route has the lowest altitude, and was wondering what might be the best way to connect to that route from Boston in your opinion? Thanks in advance for any tips!

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Yep, the Sunset Ltd between New Orleans and LA( note it only runs 3 days a week, but you want to spend some time in New Orleans for sure between the connection of the Crescent/ from New,York,or the City of New Orleans/from Chicago and the Sunset) !)is the way to go with the only real high altitude part of the route being around Alpine,Texas. (Crew change pount)

 

Between Alpine and Marfa( 20 miles apart), Paisano Pass,the highest point on this Route,has a Mile High Altitude like Denver, but it's a gentle climb with a Plateau ( ie Desert)stretching from Marfa clear to California where you can see Mountains in the distance as the Train rolls along!

Edited by Bob Dylan

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Take the Lake Shore Limited from Boston to Chicago. Then take the Sunset Limited/Texas Eagle to Los Angeles. In case you don't know, on the days that the Sunset Limited runs (it's thrice weekly), one sleeper and once coach from the Eagle to/from the Sunset Limited.

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There is the alternative of taking a Regional or Acela to the Crescent to the Sunset Limited, but that would mean transferring twice and spending an overnight in NOL, which isn't ideal.

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I would take the Crescent down to New Orleans, as that's about the lowest altitude, then on to the Sunset Ltd.

There are relative 'high altitudes,' perhaps, with Colorado being higher than the ones further south.

 

If you should need to consider to travel with oxygen equipment, Amtrak has an info page about this:

https://www.amtrak.com/accessible-travel-oxygen-equipment

 

 

This site will provide altitude measurements at the click on the map. It appears that the southern route is, on average, about 1000 ft lower than the Colorado route.

http://www.mapcoordinates.net/en

 

Best wishes for an enjoyable trip!

Edited by buck1108

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If I ever go out west again, I too want to avoid mountains and high altitudes, but not for health reasons--just because those Glacier things scared me to death.

 

Jim, the highest point--that Paisano Pass--how bad is it? Are you looking over the edge at nothing? And how long is it to get through there? Other than that, it seems like the best route for me.

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If the OP did take a Regional or Acela to the Crescent and Sunset Limited, would he/she transfer in NYP or WAS?

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If the OP did take a Regional or Acela to the Crescent and Sunset Limited, would he/she transfer in NYP or WAS?

 

You can do either, although online booking defaults to NY, IIRC. I've transferred from NE Regional to the Crescent in NY, Phila., and DC.

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If the OP did take a Regional or Acela to the Crescent and Sunset Limited, would he/she transfer in NYP or WAS?

 

You can do either, although online booking defaults to NY, IIRC. I've transferred from NE Regional to the Crescent in NY, Phila., and DC.

 

Regionals have the exact same coach price buckets as the LD trains, so if he/she is going coach, would there be any price difference?

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If the OP did take a Regional or Acela to the Crescent and Sunset Limited, would he/she transfer in NYP or WAS?

 

You can do either, although online booking defaults to NY, IIRC. I've transferred from NE Regional to the Crescent in NY, Phila., and DC.

 

Regionals have the exact same coach price buckets as the LD trains, so if he/she is going coach, would there be any price difference?

 

 

I don't remember. You could go to amtrak.com and look it up. ^_^

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If the OP did take a Regional or Acela to the Crescent and Sunset Limited, would he/she transfer in NYP or WAS?

 

You can do either, although online booking defaults to NY, IIRC. I've transferred from NE Regional to the Crescent in NY, Phila., and DC.

 

Regionals have the exact same coach price buckets as the LD trains, so if he/she is going coach, would there be any price difference?

 

 

I don't remember. You could go to amtrak.com and look it up. ^_^

 

Done. The low bucket price for one coach ticket BOS-NOL via NYP is $173. Meanwhile, the price for BOS-NOL via WAS is...also $173. So I imagine it's the same, regardless of the city.

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If I ever go out west again, I too want to avoid mountains and high altitudes, but not for health reasons--just because those Glacier things scared me to death.

 

Jim, the highest point--that Paisano Pass--how bad is it? Are you looking over the edge at nothing? And how long is it to get through there? Other than that, it seems like the best route for me.

Paisano Pass is a gentle climb through a valley. Nothing on a ledge at all.

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If I ever go out west again, I too want to avoid mountains and high altitudes, but not for health reasons--just because those Glacier things scared me to death.

 

Jim, the highest point--that Paisano Pass--how bad is it? Are you looking over the edge at nothing? And how long is it to get through there? Other than that, it seems like the best route for me.

Paisano Pass is a gentle climb through a valley. Nothing on a ledge at all.
Yep!Easy climb from Alpine, you might even be having Lunch in the Diner as you roll through.

 

And it was my first home ( born in Alpine)as my Grandfather was the SP Section Foreman at Paisano. My Mom and I lived there while my Dad served in the South Pacific @ the end of WWII.

 

No trace of the RR compound is left @ the site, it was abandoned in 1946!

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It might be wise to bring an oxygen concentrator. They plug in and usually many models have a battery back up. That way on the Eagle / Sunset you will have a good back up if you become short of breath . HEP would power concentrator most of time but if HEP fails for any reason you will have the battery back up. But of course check with reservation agent for carrying one !

FYI The Train to Tibet uses a car concentrator instead of pressuring the cars.

For the science minded what matters is the partial pressure of O-2 that determines breathing. 20% of O-2 at sea level means the O-2 is 3 PSI. At Denver partial pressure is about 1.5 PSI ?.

Edited by west point

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Close. Overall atmospheric pressure in Denver is 17% lower than at sea level, so the partial pressure (indicating how much O2 is available for absorption into the lungs) of O2 drops from 2.9 PSI to 2.44 PSI.

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Thank you, zephyr17 and Bob D. for the information on Paisano Pass. That sounds like the best way for me to get out west again (probably not til the next western Gathering, though, so hopefully the trains will still be there).

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The elevation at Paisano Pass is about 5100 feet. At the Continental Divide, between Deeming and Lordsburg, the elevation is about 4600 feet.

 

For comparison, on the SWC route the altitude high points are at Raton Pass & Glorietta Pass - about 7500 feet, Flagstaff about 6900 feet.

http://www.mytopo.com/maps/index.cfm?

Edited by KmH

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Do you (the OP) know how high up you can safely (and comfortably) go?

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Commercial jets are typically pressurized to 7,000 feet inside, with the Boeing 787 somewhat lower (about 5,000 feet).

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Commercial jets are typically pressurized to 7,000 feet inside, with the Boeing 787 somewhat lower (about 5,000 feet).

Airliners are actually usually pressurized to 7,500-8,000 feet, while the 787 is pressurized to 6,000 feet.

Edited by cpotisch

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Just a thought about the NYP tunnels...would the pressure changes not be good there either?

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You might find this useful:
https://www.up.com/aboutup/reference/maps/highest_elevations/index.htm

which also advises to use caution when shipping potato chips as well.

 

Not mentioned so far is taking the Empire Builder from Chicago to Seattle, and the Coast Starlight down to LA. This would be similar to the Sunset Ltd. routing from an elevation perspective, the highest points being the Marias Pass in Montana at 5200'.

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Just a thought about the NYP tunnels...would the pressure changes not be good there either?

It might not be ideal, but he'll only be on the tunnels for a little bit, and though I don't know the actual altitude and pressure of the North River Tunnels, it can't be much more than 203 ft (the maximum depth of the Hudson River), which isn't very significant compared to the 5000 or so foot Paisano Pass. I do wonder what can be worse for a collapsed lung - higher pressure or lower pressure, which might also be a factor here.

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A word of warning, my grandpa has a breathing problem as well and took the Sunset Limited LA to Houston (and back) with his CPAP. He still suffered pretty badly on the trip. Even though it's not super high elevation, it's still pretty prolonged exposure to higher altitudes. My Grandparents discovered that the prolonged exposure was worse on him than the short exposures to high altitudes that flights give.

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