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Recommended Amtrak Routes?  
User currently offlineUALfa@jfk From United States of America, joined May 2000, 311 posts, RR: 0
Posted (14 years 2 months 5 days 21 hours ago) and read 1165 times:

Has anyone ever done Amtrak between Chicago and Los Angeles or Chi-San Francisco? What about the one that travels between LA and Florida (thru Texas and the Gulf States)?

Although I do get to fly for free, I really wanna take the train cross country just for the scenery. If nothing else, for a diversion from non-revving on an airplane.

Can anyone recommend (or NOT recommend) one train route over the other?

5 replies: All unread, jump to last
User currently offlineMls515 From United States of America, joined Jun 2000, 3081 posts, RR: 8
Reply 1, posted (14 years 2 months 5 days 20 hours ago) and read 1154 times:

I've been on the California Zepher between Chicago and southern Iowa a couple times. The train is ok since you are free to walk around and go get food and stuff.

I don't know much about the longhaul experience, but that train goes through the Rocky Mountains on it's way to the S. F. Bay area. That might be better scenery than the southern route.

You may also want to look at VIA Rail Canada.

User currently offlineEIPremier From United States of America, joined Sep 2000, 1550 posts, RR: 1
Reply 2, posted (14 years 2 months 5 days 16 hours ago) and read 1152 times:

The Chicago to San Francisco route (the Zephyr) is probably the more scenic of the two, as it crosses both the Rockies and the Sierra Nevada. I can't speak for the rest of the journey, but the ride between rode the Reno and Oakland in the winter is spectacular.

I've never ridden the Chi-LA train, so I can't comment too much on the scenery. However, the ride could be very scenic heading through the north of New Mexico and Arizona.

The Sunset Limited (LA Florida) does parallel the Gulf Coast for a short section of the trip, but otherwise, it looks to be a very long, very flat, and rather dull ride. Again, this is just based on word of mouth, but I would probably recommend against this one.

The services on all three trains should be essentially identical. The coach seating is actually very comfortable (large pitch, legrests, lots of recline). There is a lounge car, in which movies are shown from time-to-time, or commentary is offered from route guides. There is a full-service dining car, although my experiences with food have been quite varied.

If you're going to be travelling with a companion (or just appreciate a little peace and quiet) I would recommend investing in a private compartment. They are pricier, but for a two-day journey, I don't think it's a bad investment. The deluxe rooms offer a little more space and a pint-sized private bath/shower. The economy compartment is really nothing more than two seats which face each other and can be made into bunk beds for the nighttime.

User currently offlineUALfa@jfk From United States of America, joined May 2000, 311 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (14 years 2 months 5 days 1 hour ago) and read 1137 times:

Thank you both for this information. I'm leaning on the Chicago-SF journey since more people seem to find the views more picturesque.

User currently offlineSeb146 From United States of America, joined Nov 1999, 14139 posts, RR: 14
Reply 4, posted (14 years 2 months 4 days 5 hours ago) and read 1125 times:

Back in the day when Amtrak still had the Pioneer running Chicago-Denver-Ogden-Portland-Seattle, I went on that one between Portland and Lincoln. Back then, they took the tracks through Southern Wyoming which was BORING!!!! But now, having driven through Colorado, I would recommend the route. Another route I would recommend would be Portland-Spokane-Fargo-Chicago. I like the wide flat spaces, so I really enjoyed that run.

Life in the wall is a drag.
User currently offlineMls515 From United States of America, joined Jun 2000, 3081 posts, RR: 8
Reply 5, posted (14 years 2 months 4 days 5 hours ago) and read 1121 times:

If you've ever thought of buying one for anything else, I'd recommend buying a GPS reciever for your trip. It tells you where you are, how fast you're going, etc.

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