TE/SL: Which Direction?

Discussion in 'Amtrak Rail Discussion' started by SarahZ, Nov 14, 2018.

Amtrak Unlimited Discussion Forum

Help Support Amtrak Unlimited Discussion Forum:

  1. Nov 14, 2018 #1

    SarahZ

    SarahZ

    SarahZ

    Conductor

    Joined:
    May 9, 2011
    Messages:
    7,768
    Location:
    KAL
    A group I’m part of is planning a TE/SL trip sometime next year.

    Given the schedule, which direction is more scenic?

    Also, is summer super crowded? It offers the most daylight, but if autumn is cheaper and less crowded, that may be the better option.
     
  2. Nov 14, 2018 #2

    SarahZ

    SarahZ

    SarahZ

    Conductor

    Joined:
    May 9, 2011
    Messages:
    7,768
    Location:
    KAL
    To clarify, some people will be riding between Dallas and L.A, while others will be riding between New Orleans and L.A.
     
  3. Nov 14, 2018 #3

    pennyk

    pennyk

    pennyk

    Conductor Staff Member Administator Moderator Gathering Team Member

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2009
    Messages:
    8,979
    Location:
    Orlando, FL
    About 4 years ago, on the way to the Gathering, I did the TE/SL westbound in the Fall.  I enjoyed the trip.  Even though it was my first trip on that route, I had an "expert" on the train as a tour guide (Jim).
     
  4. Nov 14, 2018 #4

    Maglev

    Maglev

    Maglev

    OBS Chief

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2016
    Messages:
    691
    Location:
    Orcas Island, Washington
    I have ridden the Sunset Limited in both directions, and I don't think the scenery is particularly better one way or the other.  But for my upcoming trip on the Texas Eagle, one reason I am going eastbound is to avoid that 5:35 am (sometimes earlier!!!) arrival in Los Angeles (although a 10 pm departure going east is not ideal). 
     
  5. Nov 14, 2018 #5

    SarahZ

    SarahZ

    SarahZ

    Conductor

    Joined:
    May 9, 2011
    Messages:
    7,768
    Location:
    KAL
    I prefer 10 p.m. over 5:35 a.m., but I’m a night owl. :)

    I’m mostly interested in the portion that borders Mexico, but I believe that’s during the day either way?
     
  6. Nov 14, 2018 #6

    Maglev

    Maglev

    Maglev

    OBS Chief

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2016
    Messages:
    691
    Location:
    Orcas Island, Washington
    Yes, in the day either way, and that is the most interesting scenery (along the Rio Grande), although I find the entire route remarkably varied.  I remember crossing the Pecos River High Bridge westbound, but that is at night eastbound.
     
  7. Nov 14, 2018 #7

    SarahZ

    SarahZ

    SarahZ

    Conductor

    Joined:
    May 9, 2011
    Messages:
    7,768
    Location:
    KAL
    We’ll probably end up going westbound. Some pointed out that the 5:35 arrival makes it super easy for those who want to catch a flight home the same day. :)  
     
  8. Nov 14, 2018 #8

    FrensicPic

    FrensicPic

    FrensicPic

    Conductor

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2012
    Messages:
    2,816
    Location:
    CWT
    Traveling westbound, you will cross the Pecos High Bridge in "daylight"...about sunrise. Pretty spectacular! Eastbound, that will be a nighttime crossing. Other than that, I like the SL either direction. In October, we rode the SL out of LA to NOL...pretty nice trip. LA is my home station so, the early morning arrival is ok as I'm headed to the car for the drive home!
     
  9. Nov 14, 2018 #9

    anumberone

    anumberone

    anumberone

    OBS Chief

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2015
    Messages:
    659
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    I've only traveled east bound but I think it's a toss up. I found the changing terrain interesting. If I may make a suggestion, forget Phillipes, Try Olvera street.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 14, 2018
  10. Nov 14, 2018 #10

    cpotisch

    cpotisch

    cpotisch

    Conductor

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2017
    Messages:
    7,509
    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY
    Eastbound!!!!!!!!! That arrival time in LAX is absolutely horrible. And I honestly really like the 10:00 PM departure out of LAX. There's just something about boarding a 2,700 mile route and settling into a sleeper late at night. But that could just be me. :)
     
  11. Nov 14, 2018 #11

    cpotisch

    cpotisch

    cpotisch

    Conductor

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2017
    Messages:
    7,509
    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY
    It is indeed during the day either way. But the great thing about the eastbound is that you wake up wizzing through the dessert, which is a really cool feeling. On the westbound you're really going through cities when you wake up. Not a huge thing, but for me the little things really add up. 
     
  12. Nov 14, 2018 #12

    FrensicPic

    FrensicPic

    FrensicPic

    Conductor

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2012
    Messages:
    2,816
    Location:
    CWT
    A late train will fix that early arrival into LAX. :giggle:

    I too like the 10PM departure.
     
  13. Nov 14, 2018 #13

    mitako

    m

    mitako

    Train Attendant

    Joined:
    May 21, 2018
    Messages:
    55
    The arrival/departure times aren't the greatest on this route in/out of Los Angeles. In March, I'm taking the SL to San Antonio, which means leaving Los Angeles 10 PM and arriving in San Antonio around 5 AM two days later. Coming home, as noted, we'll arrive in Los Angeles around 5 AM as well. We are taking the Metrolink to and from LA Union Station; the local Metrolink station is only a mile or so from our home. Depending on where you are heading once you arrive in LA, Metrolink can be a very good option for getting there, and you're already in Union Station, so it's easy to hop on the local train.

    I'm glad to hear there is some nice scenery along the route. I kind of thought that wasn't the case on this line. Of course, I enjoy staring out the train window no matter what, but it's so awesome while passing through a beautiful or interesting area.
     
  14. Nov 14, 2018 #14

    cpotisch

    cpotisch

    cpotisch

    Conductor

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2017
    Messages:
    7,509
    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY
    The Eagle itself (SAS-CHI) has quite "blah" scenery basically the whole way. It's a nice train with great staff but there's just not much to look at. But for anyone who can appreciate deserts, cool rock formations and tiny ghost towns, the Sunset Limited (at least west of San Antonio) is arguably one of Amtrak's most scenic routes.
     
  15. Nov 14, 2018 #15

    ehbowen

    ehbowen

    ehbowen

    Conductor

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2011
    Messages:
    1,996
    Location:
    Houston, Texas
    Unfortunately, the times I've ridden it into LA it's been more likely to be early. There are no stops at which the train has to hold for time after Palm Springs (at 2:02 a.m.), and there's not a lot of traffic through the yards and such at that hour of the morning. Enjoy your four a.m. wake-up call! (At least you'll only have an hour to kill in the main waiting room if you're a sleeper passenger...the lounge opens at five!)
     
  16. Nov 14, 2018 #16

    FrensicPic

    FrensicPic

    FrensicPic

    Conductor

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2012
    Messages:
    2,816
    Location:
    CWT
  17. Nov 14, 2018 #17

    the_traveler

    the_traveler

    the_traveler

    Conductor

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2007
    Messages:
    25,544
    Location:
    Whatever siding I'm sitting on!
    I too prefer westbound.

    The Pacos High Bridge West of San Antonio will be in daylight (as opposed to darkness eastbound). The border at El Paso is daytime either direction. I don’t mind the early LA arrival - by the time you “wake up” enough to walk a few blocks, it’s time to walk to Phillipes for breakfast.
     
  18. Nov 14, 2018 #18

    flitcraft

    f

    flitcraft

    Service Attendant

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2018
    Messages:
    146
    I've only done eastbound, but I was sad not to see the Huey P. Long Trestle in daylight.  The desert landscapes on this route are great. I did a fairly long set of two posts under Travelogues here if you want a sense of what the trip is like.
     
  19. Nov 14, 2018 #19

    cpotisch

    cpotisch

    cpotisch

    Conductor

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2017
    Messages:
    7,509
    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY
    Yeah I definitely need to get back on #422 ASAP. 
     
  20. Nov 14, 2018 #20

    FrensicPic

    FrensicPic

    FrensicPic

    Conductor

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2012
    Messages:
    2,816
    Location:
    CWT
  21. Nov 15, 2018 #21

    SarahZ

    SarahZ

    SarahZ

    Conductor

    Joined:
    May 9, 2011
    Messages:
    7,768
    Location:
    KAL
    Thanks, everyone. I enjoyed the travelogues and pictures. I’m excited for the trip.

    Also, I realized I’ll still be on Eastern time, so the early morning arrival won’t be as terrible as I thought. I tend to wake up (naturally) between 6-7 whenever I visit the West Coast. It’s such a weird feeling.
     
  22. Nov 15, 2018 #22

    bratkinson

    bratkinson

    bratkinson

    OBS Chief

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2004
    Messages:
    621
    Location:
    QB 101
    I'm a 'night person' myself, so 10PM is a much nicer departure time than 5:30AM arrival.  I've done it both ways multiple times.  Next April, I'm going to 'press my luck' and connect from the Starlight 9PM arrival for the 10PM departure.

    If you book to ride in the 'through' sleeper (train #421/422), you'll be in the last car leaving LA.  I did that in May '17 and took a number of pictures from the rear window of the sleeper as we left LA.  Here's a couple - 

    IMG_0393.JPG

    IMG_0410.JPG
     
  23. Nov 15, 2018 #23

    cpotisch

    cpotisch

    cpotisch

    Conductor

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2017
    Messages:
    7,509
    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY
    Yeah, definitely make sure you're booked on #422, since you do not want to have to transfer in the middle of the night in San Antonio. Unfortunately, #422  consists solely of one coach and one sleeper, so it might be difficult for you all to find good fares.
     
  24. Nov 15, 2018 #24

    trainman74

    trainman74

    trainman74

    Conductor

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2011
    Messages:
    1,523
    Location:
    Sherman Oaks, CA
    I love that first picture, with the Union Station platforms in the middle distance. It's just too bad you don't really get any of the downtown L.A. skyline from that angle.
     
  25. Nov 16, 2018 #25

    SarahZ

    SarahZ

    SarahZ

    Conductor

    Joined:
    May 9, 2011
    Messages:
    7,768
    Location:
    KAL
    We’re planning to ride westbound. The ease of booking same-day flights home is a huge draw for those not vacationing on the west coast.

    The departure cities will likely vary, so we’ll just meet up in the SSL rather than try to get everyone in the same sleeper.

    Thanks for all of the pics, video, and feedback. I always enjoy reading/viewing travelogues.
     

Share This Page

arrow_white