Which direction for the best view on routes???

Discussion in 'Amtrak Rail Discussion' started by Picnic42, Nov 3, 2013.

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  1. Nov 3, 2013 #1
    July 16 thru 20th 2014 we will be attending a convention in Anaheim CA. We will be taking trains just for the joy of it! We plan to take the Southwest Chief (roomette) between Chicago & Fulerton Ca., the Coastal Starlight (coach) between Los Angeles & San Francisco, and the California Zephyr (roomette) between Emeryville & Chicago.

    Which direction should I be traveling on these trains to get the most of the scenery?

    Should I start by going West on the SWC and coming back East on the CZ? Or visa versa?

    Thanks

    Ralph & Peggy
     
  2. Nov 3, 2013 #2

    the_traveler

    the_traveler

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    The CZ is scenic in both directions, with the crossings of the Rockies and Sierra Nevada ranges both in daylight either way. The same is true for the SWC, though I'd give an edge to going eastbound. However, the CS I'd give a big edge to northbound.

    The most scenic portion of that segment is the portion running along the coast on the southern portion of the route. Being that it departs LAX mid-morning, even if departs late it will by in daylight. However if the southbound is running late, that segment could be in darkness. But if on time, there's a chance to see a beautiful sunset over the Pacific Ocean!

    Even though it is a day trip, you may want to consider getting a Roomette on the CS. The 2 big reasons for this is it would include 2-3 meals for both of you. More importantly, it would give you access to the Pacific Parlour Car (PPC)! The PPC is a 1950's era lounge car that is only available on the CS, and only for sleeper passengers. (Coach passengers can't use the PPC at all.) And many people get a room for this segment for just this reason!

    That being said, my opinion is to go westbound on the SWC, northbound on the CS and eastbound on the CZ.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 3, 2013
  3. Nov 3, 2013 #3

    amtkstn

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    Westbound on the Chief you get to see all of Raton Pass in the daytime. Eastbound train passes over the pass in the evening.
     
  4. Nov 3, 2013 #4

    Trainmans daughter

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    I second what The_Traveler said. If at all possible, get a roomette for the Coast Starlight segment. Besides lunch and dinner being included in the fare, you will have access to the Pacific Parlour Car with its wine and cheese tasting in the afternoon. Your view of the Pacific Ocean seem so much grander from there.
     
  5. Nov 3, 2013 #5

    zephyr17

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    CZ is slightly better eastbound westbound, since westbound eastbound the descent into Denver can be in darkness, depending on the time of year and if the train is on time.

    I'd rate the SWC equal in both directions. Every time I've ridden, we were over Raton in late afternoon/early evening.

    Coast Starlight is about equal between LA and the Bay Area, although if the train is really late southbound, you may hit the coast running in darkness. For the full run between Seattle and LA, northbound is better because you get both the coast running and you cross the Cascades in mid-morning.

    Edited for "Doh!". Thanks, Jim.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 4, 2013
  6. Nov 3, 2013 #6

    Bob Dylan

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    Id say go with the CZ Westbound (the above Post has the Directions Reversed!) and the SWC Eastbound! Of course you would have to spend the Night in the Bay Area to Connect to the CS to LAX and if the Starlight is Late into LAX you might have to ride an Ambus to get to Anaheim!! But Either way is a Win! Win! ;)
     
  7. Nov 4, 2013 #7

    Swadian Hardcore

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    Running westbound, the CZ (#5) is scheduled into Denver in the morning. I think you got confused.
     
  8. Nov 4, 2013 #8

    crew

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    Unless the train is extremely late, the wine and cheese is after departing SLO, well after leaving the coast. Of course, they'll be free to hang out in the PPC any time, but the wine and cheese will happen while climbing the grade to Paso Robles.
     
  9. Nov 4, 2013 #9

    Trainmans daughter

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    Sorry. I meant that as 2 unrelated benefits of the PPC--Wine and Cheese tasting AND a seemingly grander view of the coastline.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 4, 2013
  10. Nov 4, 2013 #10

    Notelvis

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    Piggybacking onto Zephyr's comments -

    I generally prefer to ride the California Zephyr westbound for the spectacular ascent up the front range leaving Denver.

    However - in the context of the larger trip you have planned, there will be plenty of great scenery on the eastbound Zephyr going over the Sierra Nevada's and through Colorado....... and the descent off the front range into Denver is pretty spectacular even if the train is late and you're doing that after dark.

    Spring for a roomette on the Coast Starlight if you can even for just the daytrip.
     
  11. Nov 20, 2013 #11

    MiniMax

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    Northbound on the Coast Starlight takes you along the Pacific coast to begin and you wake up in the shadow of Mt. Shasta an cruise through the beautiful Cascades for the rest of the day.
     
  12. Nov 20, 2013 #12

    Texan Eagle

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    Umm OP is doing only LA to Bay Area on the Starlight. Unless Mt. Shasta moves its location several hundred miles south, there is no chance they will be seeing it, or the Cascades for that matter.
     

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