Traveling from Fort Worth to Los Angeles

Discussion in 'Guest Forum for Amtrak Questions' started by SamFWT, Jul 16, 2019.

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  1. Jul 16, 2019 #1

    SamFWT

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    SamFWT

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    Hello!

    We are considering taking an Amtrak trip next spring, and I am looking for advice. We have done short trips to OKC several times, but this will be the first long trip.

    We will probably get a roomette. Is the upper bed comfortable and easy to access? We are in our 50s, active but with aging knees!

    How do meals work on a long trip like this? The Heartland Flyer just has snacks, not a real dining room.

    Are showers available?

    Does this trip have any National Park Service talks? We have enjoyed these on the Heartland Flyer.

    On the schedule, several of the stops are longer. Are there interesting train stations to see?

    We will probably go to the observation car as you can only see one side from a roomette. Where are the most interesting sites?

    Thanks in advance for any tips!
     
  2. Jul 17, 2019 #2

    zephyr17

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    The Texas Eagle and Sunset have dining cars. As a sleeper passenger, your meals are complimentary including sides, desserts and non alcoholic beverages. The LSA will ask if you are in the sleeper and you'll be given a sleeper meal check. You sign the check with your car and room number.

    This applies only to the diner. Nothing in the cafe car is complimentary.

    There is a one common use shower downstairs in each sleeper.

    The upper bed is thin and narrow without much headroom and no window in Superliners. Some folks here call it the "coffin". The uppers are the same in both roomettes and bedrooms .
     
  3. Jul 17, 2019 #3

    Bob Dylan

    Bob Dylan

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    I disagree on the Upper Berths being the same on Superliner Roomettes and Bedrooms. There is more headroom in Bedrooms while the Roomette is actually tighter than a Coffin!
     
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  4. Jul 17, 2019 #4

    F900ElCapitan

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    F900ElCapitan

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    You probably know this already but make sure to book the 421/422 cars IF you want to travel straight through San Antonio to LA without having to get off your car. Otherwise, if you book #21 to San Antonio you’ll have to get off and hang out while waiting for the #1 and this is through the middle of the night.

    You’ll get dinner on the way to San Antonio, then B, L, & D going across the deserts. If your train is reasonably on-time, then you’ll arrive in LA and be off the train before breakfast is served.

    If you want your own shower, you can upgrade to a bedroom. They have a combination shower/toilet in the room. Otherwise as earlier mentioned, there is one shower for the roomettes and family room.

    As for scenery, I haven’t traveled that train, but it all depends on what you like to look at. Most of your daylight hours will be watching the sights to around Austin, then looking at desert and desert hills and mountains.
     
  5. Jul 17, 2019 #5

    FrensicPic

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    Maybe not as scenic (in the eye of the beholder) as other east-west routes but I really enjoy the scenery in West Texas, New Mexico and Eastern Arizona. Traveled through there in both directions.
     
  6. Jul 17, 2019 #6

    dumboldboy

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    (The following works for an on time train) Before sundown The Eagle parallels the Balcones Escarpment at the eastern edge of Texas Hill Country. The next morning you will be able to take in quite a bit of West Texas, including the Chihuahuan Desert, multiple mountain ranges and the Rio Grande Valley. Btw, turn your cell phone OFF as you are leaving El Paso or you may wind up with some international roaming charges! The desert continues as the train rolls across New Mexico. There are some sightlines along this portion that seem to reach 50 miles to distant peaks. During monsoon season, which peaks in August, western New Mexico and eastern Arizona can provide quite a show starring the steady stream of thunderclouds as they weave their way through the ranges. The sun will set in the vicinity of Tuscon. An on time train arrives pre dawn in Los Angeles, but if the moon is out and you fancy a little wee hour sightseeing you can catch the Colorado River and Salton Sea.
    If the train is running late you will be able to catch more of the Texas Hill Country and some of Arizona's Sonoran Desert. If the train is especially late you will be able to see Cajon Pass. It's worth it.
     
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  7. Jul 17, 2019 #7

    ehbowen

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    Good advice so far. The roomette upper berth is problematic. It's about four inches narrower than the lower berth, with very low headroom. The upper berths in the full bedrooms have a bit more room; they're as wide as the lowers in the roomettes while the lower berth in the full bedroom is an inch wider than a standard twin bed...it's feasible for a husband and wife to double up if they're accustomed to coziness.

    Of course, if you're an enlisted Navy veteran with time aboard ship, book the roomette. It'll feel just like home!
     
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  8. Jul 17, 2019 #8

    FrensicPic

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    I would point out that the Texas Eagle/Sunset Limited does not go through the Cajon Pass. The Southwest Chief does.
     
  9. Jul 17, 2019 #9

    anumberone

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    Strictly speaking about the upper berth in a roomette. No window, tight, but completely doable. Just make sure you put everything up there before climbing in, reading material, water, snack, whatever you may need. A small flashlight is very handy. There is a netting to hold things.
     
  10. Jul 17, 2019 #10

    dogbert617

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    And like others have once said (and maybe you've heard about it?), there's a 'burrito lady' who regularly sells those on the El Paso platform, during the stretch/smoke break there. Hope you have a great trip, as someday I'd like to ride the TX Eagle/Sunset as far West as you are!
     
  11. Jul 17, 2019 #11

    SamFTW

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    SamFTW

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    Thank you all for the info and advice. I think we’re going to go with a bedroom instead of the roomette, although my husband said “it has to be better than hot-racking on a sub”. I did remind him that the last time he did that he was 21 years old!

    We will make sure to pick the right number train so that we can choose to stay on in San Antonio if we wish. Thanks for the tip about El Paso burritos!
     
  12. Jul 17, 2019 #12

    zephyr17

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    You may want to consider two roomettes. Two roomettes are often cheaper than one bedroom, both people get a lower, if you call, you can request that they be across the hall from one another so that you have access to views from both sides.
     
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  13. Jul 18, 2019 #13

    dogbert617

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    You're welcome. For sights and things along the Texas Eagle/Sunset Limited route that others have reported which I remember, Temple, TX has a nice looking older station depot, along with it being a stretch/smoke stop. San Antonio of course you can walk around for a little bit while #1 and #421 are being combined together (and of course BOOK #421, so you don't have to change trains during the San Antonio layover), and after Del Rio there's an interesting trestle over the Pecos River.

    I recommend reading the recent trip report on the respective board here from the member/poster iliketrains, who recently rode Sunset between San Antonio (if I recall correctly) west to LA. Where you'll get a better idea, of things to expect along the Eagle/Sunset routes. ETA a link, to that particular trip report thread iliketrains wrote about riding Eagle/Sunset: https://discuss.amtraktrains.com/threads/i-am-on-the-texas-eagle-yippee.75579/
     
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2019
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  14. Jul 18, 2019 #14

    ehbowen

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    It is better than hot-racking aboard a sub; of that I have no doubt. I spent three years on a battleship; the roomette upper is almost exactly the same size as my old berth. I received the same advice you're giving when I was planning my two-week trip with my parents in 2016, that it had been 28 years and that I had put on 50 pounds. But finances at the time ruled out anything more than a pair of roomettes; one of us would have to take top bunk and I volunteered. I slept like a baby all two weeks.
     
  15. Jul 18, 2019 #15

    Rover

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    Or this, for hands free operation:

    [​IMG]
     
  16. Jul 18, 2019 #16

    ehbowen

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    Oh, come on now. The roomette upper berth has a reading light, and I haven't seen one out of order yet.
     
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  17. Jul 18, 2019 #17
     
  18. Jul 18, 2019 #18

    anumberone

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    I wasn’t thinking about using the light for reading, just handy to have a small light.
     
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  19. Jul 18, 2019 #19

    Bob Dylan

    Bob Dylan

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    The Reading Light in the Top Bunk isn't bright enough for reading IMO. I always use my small flashlight to read when I'm in the Coffin.( as seldom as possible!:D;))
     
  20. Jul 19, 2019 #20

    Rasputin

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    No. 1 is due in LA at 5:35 a.m. Does it ever serve breakfast if running late? I have never heard that it does.
     
  21. Jul 19, 2019 #21

    Bob Dylan

    Bob Dylan

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    Answer is No!! Go to Philipe for a Great Affordable Combo Breakfast and Cheap Coffee! ( It used to 9 Cents but now it's an Outrageous 50 Cents!:p)
     
  22. Jul 19, 2019 #22

    frequentflyer

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    The Temple station is gorgeous, its a shame the main waiting room is only used for functions. If the train is early or on time, you may have 10 minutes to run and take a peak. If late, stay on the train.
     
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  23. Jul 19, 2019 #23

    FrensicPic

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    Admission to the nice railroad museum is free for ticketed Amtrak passengers. Did that a couple of times when I had time while waiting for 421.
     
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  24. Jul 19, 2019 #24

    Bob Dylan

    Bob Dylan

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    True, but Contributions are appreciated since this is a Non-profit, Volunteer run Museum.

    Be sure and shop in their store also, they have lots of Cool Railroad associated stuff on offer!:cool:
     
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  25. Jul 19, 2019 #25

    chakk

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    And lots of neat railroad books in their library to browse thru. When I have meetings in San Antonio or Austin, I often try to schedule a day trip to Temple just to spend time enjoying the station.
     
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