Will this work (itinerary for 15 day rail pass trip)?

Discussion in 'Amtrak Rail Discussion' started by Skeets, Jan 3, 2020.

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  1. Jan 3, 2020 #1

    Skeets

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    Skeets

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    I am thinking of a 15 day rail Pass. Will this work?

    1. LA to Seattle ... Coast Starlight
    2. Seattle to Chicago.... Empire Builder
    3. Chicago to NYC.... LS Limited
    4. NYC to NO...... Cardinal
    5. NO to CHI..... City of New Orleans
    6. CHI to St. Louis..... Lincoln Services
    7. St. Louis to Chicago.... Lincoln services
    8. CHI to Emeryville.... Zephyr
     
  2. Jan 3, 2020 #2

    the_traveler

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    the_traveler

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    #4 - NYC to NO - Cardinal?

    I assume you mean New Orleans? The Cardinal DOES NOT go to New Orleans - or anywhere near it!
     
  3. Jan 3, 2020 #3

    Skeets

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    Skeets

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    OOpps....meant Crescent!
     
  4. Jan 5, 2020 #4

    bratkinson

    bratkinson

    bratkinson

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    It should be doable. But note that you'll have to spend the night in a hotel/motel in Seattle, New York, New Orleans, and possibly Chicago twice. EB to LSL is pretty safe, though, but 8-9 years ago, I barely made we arrived in CHI about 9:15.

    Depending on how your ping pong to/from StL goes (night in STL?) might want to spend a night in CHI to ensure making the California Zephyr to Emeryville. Note that the trip from CHI to/from Joliet on the STL trains (and Texas Eagle) often loses an hour or so due to substantial RR crossings between those stations.

    And what's your plan to get back to LA from EMY?
     
  5. Jan 10, 2020 #5

    Skeets

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    Skeets

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    I have changed my last segment from the Zephyr to the SW Chief which will put me back in LA.

    How far in advance do you suggest buying my pass?

    Also, if I understand correctly, there is no dining service on the Lakeshore Limited, Crescent or CO New Orleans.

    Coast Starlight, Empire Builder and SW Chief do have dining, yes?

    Are any of the stations I will be going thru open all night? (Seattle, Chicago, NYC, New Orleans, St. Louis and Los Angeles?)
    Do New York City and Chicago have Metropolitan lounges?
     
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2020
  6. Jan 10, 2020 #6

    pennyk

    pennyk

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    There is dining service (flex dining) on the Lakeshore Limited, Crescent and CONO for sleeper passengers. Coast Starlight, Empire Builder and SWC all still have traditional dining (as of now).

    I do not think any stations stay open all night. However, the Greyhound station connected to the New Orleans station may be open all night, but it is my understanding that Amtrak passengers do not have the ability to come and go all night long. I believe they are able to stay all night (without leaving until morning).

    New York has a Club Acela Lounge and Chicago has a Metropolitan Lounge.
     
  7. Jan 10, 2020 #7

    Eric S

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    Eric S

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    St. Louis may be open overnight. It is a shared intercity bus/train station and I recall looking over Greyhound schedules in the past and seeing quite a few overnight arrivals and departures.

    Might be worth looking at the station information pages on the Amtrak website for those stations. Might also consider looking up Greyhound station information for New Orleans and St. Louis, as both of those are shared intercity bus/train stations.
     
  8. Jan 10, 2020 #8

    iplaybass

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    iplaybass

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    No luggage carts in STL the last time I looked in October. Which Lincoln servies are you planning on? I don't think the station closes. The only times I haven't been there is between 1am-3:30 am. I wouldn't recommend staying there. Only hard bucket seating in rows, and I think the food is closed from 9am until 5:30am.

    As long as you're taking the 4:35 am to Chicago, you should be fine with the connection to the CZ. The 6:40 cuts it a little close for my risk-averse tastes, but it's rarely more than an hour late.

    After looking, you could do 307 to STL, and 300 back to CHI, and you'd only spend about 4 hours in STL.
     
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2020
  9. Jan 11, 2020 #9

    caravanman

    caravanman

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    May I ask if your purpose is to enjoy the train rides in themselves, or do you mainly want to visit those particular cities, and the train is just a mode of transport?
    For my money, the Zephyr scenery is the best, and I would not want to miss that route. I would leave out the visit to STL, and take the Zephyr westbound, leaving you some rides to get home...
    Buy the pass as early as you like, but remember you have to then make specific reservations on the trains, so book those as soon as you can, to ensure seats are available on all the connections you require.

    Ed.
     
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  10. Jan 11, 2020 #10

    Misty.

    Misty.

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    I can verify that STL is a 24 hour station with no carts available. There is security there, and random ticket checks are conducted (especially overnight)... The KFC/Pizza Hut combo closes at... I want to say 7 pm, but there is a little convenience store, for lack of a better term, in the station that sells snacks and common items you may have forgotten to pack 24 hours a day.
     
  11. Jan 12, 2020 #11

    iplaybass

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    iplaybass

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    I agree. Unless you really want the miles, you can skip the CHI-STL loop. It isn't a scenic route unless you like corn and soy fields, and these days, it's rare for a train to use the tunnel under the Arch. I mostly sleep until Joliet northbound, and read a book or watch movies southbound.
     
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  12. Jan 21, 2020 #12

    Skeets

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    Skeets

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    I did some switching around of my segments. Yes, mostly just traveling because I love the train, Had thought of going to Springfield because I have some friends there but decided the three hour ride each way is Not worth it in using up a whole segment. Another question....of the following trains can you tell me which ones offer business class..... Coast Starlight.... Empire Builder....Lake Shore Limited...Crescent.....City of NO and Ca Zephyr? Thanks!!!
     
  13. Jan 21, 2020 #13

    Skeets

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    Skeets

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    .... I found the information and I see that none of those trains have business class. I’ts OK..... I have always traveled coach, just thought I’d look if that was an alternative. I can’t afford a sleeper. I have ridden on Amtrak many years but this will be my first time to purchase a pass!
     
  14. Jan 21, 2020 #14

    bratkinson

    bratkinson

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    Of the trains listed, only two have business class...the Coast Starlight and the Lakeshore Ltd. Note that the split cafe/BC car is BOS to/from CHI only. Passengers to/from NYP have no cafe or BC available until Albany where the two sections of the train are joined together.

    However...

    The current timetable for the Lakeshore Ltd, dated 11/11/2019, does not show any business class availability. But...I just tried a 'see what's offered' and picked a random test-booking date in February and the business class option is still offered. Who knows if or when Amtrak will change the NYP coach passenger starvation (no cafe) and/or business class option disappears completely. Don't forget they could take away the BC completely, downgrade already-booked passengers to coach with a partial refund and email them a message indicating a ticket change - at any time.
     

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