Topic Author
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Recommended Amtrak Routes?

Mon Mar 25, 2002 12:26 pm

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?
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RE: Recommended Amtrak Routes?

Mon Mar 25, 2002 1:14 pm

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.
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RE: Recommended Amtrak Routes?

Mon Mar 25, 2002 4:50 pm

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.
Topic Author
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RE: Recommended Amtrak Routes?

Tue Mar 26, 2002 8:35 am

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

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RE: Recommended Amtrak Routes?

Wed Mar 27, 2002 4:29 am

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.
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RE: Recommended Amtrak Routes?

Wed Mar 27, 2002 4:45 am

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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