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Scenic train rides?
Posted by: davemchine
Date: October 11, 2020 06:09PM
My wife has expressed an interest in a scenic train ride. I'd like to do something here in the states rather then go out of country. I see there's a California Zephyr -Chicago to Emeryville, California that takes 4 days and a Coast Starlight -Seattle to Los Angeles which takes 2 days. Anything else worth looking at? I'd be getting a sleeper for comfort.
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Re: Scenic train rides?
Posted by: rgG
Date: October 11, 2020 06:12PM
I was wondering how safe it would be to be on a train, with all that recirculating air.
Are they taking any special precautions?





Roswell, GA (Atlanta suburb)
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Re: Scenic train rides?
Posted by: davemchine
Date: October 11, 2020 06:28PM
I call Amtrak and it sounds like we would be limited to staying in our cabin. No eating outside the cabin and no view car. That seems pretty good to me.
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Re: Scenic train rides?
Posted by: rgG
Date: October 11, 2020 06:37PM
Quote
davemchine
I call Amtrak and it sounds like we would be limited to staying in our cabin. No eating outside the cabin and no view car. That seems pretty good to me.

Yeah, that seems pretty much the best you could do.





Roswell, GA (Atlanta suburb)
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Re: Scenic train rides?
Posted by: btfc
Date: October 11, 2020 06:38PM
East along the Colombia River, south boundary of Glacier Park, across the Great Plains is one of the most scenic routes. SLC to Denver is also nice, as is Northern California. Last trip going by Mt Shasta with a full moon was impressive. Maybe a loop from Portland, through Chicago, back to S.F through Denver, and back to Portland.

[www.amtrak.com]
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Re: Scenic train rides?
Posted by: Mr Downtown
Date: October 11, 2020 07:11PM
The Zephyr is definitely the scenery champ. You have the Sierra Nevada and Donner Pass, then the Basin and Range emptiness of Nevada, across the Bonneville Salt Flats, then in Southern Utah the Book Cliffs, then the Glenwood Canyon of the Upper Colorado. I've only taken it westbound, and it's timed so the best scenery is in daylight, though this time of year the Book Cliffs would come too late in the day.

If you plan this trip any time soon, I wouldn't be too cavalier about the healthiness—even staying entirely in your room. While airliners use HEPA filtration on their air, nearly all of which is fresh air from outside the cabin, Amtrak’s HVAC equipment is not designed with filtration systems that can use HEPA filters to trap virus size molecules.
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Re: Scenic train rides?
Posted by: MrNoBody
Date: October 11, 2020 07:12PM
If you like historic steam rail and get east to Lancaster County, PA check out the
Strasburg Rail Road. [www.strasburgrailroad.com]

Amazing machines that will bring out "your inner child".





39°36'17"N 75°44'43"W

The search engine that doesn't track you.





Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 10/11/2020 08:14PM by MrNoBody.
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Re: Scenic train rides?
Posted by: freeradical
Date: October 11, 2020 07:41PM
A trip through the Alps from Pordernone Italy to Munich.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 10/11/2020 07:41PM by freeradical.
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Re: Scenic train rides?
Posted by: sekker
Date: October 11, 2020 07:42PM
We took the northern train from Minnesota to Seattle, stopping at Glacier etc.

Pretty spectacular.

But might need to wait until next summer to see Glacier.
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Re: Scenic train rides?
Posted by: Dennis S
Date: October 11, 2020 08:05PM
You can probably see some sample rides on YouTube.
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Re: Scenic train rides?
Posted by: NewtonMP2100
Date: October 11, 2020 08:18PM
.....The Last Train to Clarksville.....???



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I reject your reality and substitute my own!
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Re: Scenic train rides?
Posted by: testcase
Date: October 11, 2020 08:42PM
There are a number of Narrow Gauge RRs across the country. I’d look into those.
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Re: Scenic train rides?
Posted by: Rolando
Date: October 11, 2020 10:07PM
Quote
davemchine
I call Amtrak and it sounds like we would be limited to staying in our cabin. No eating outside the cabin and no view car. That seems pretty good to me.

Four days in a box....sounds like hell with a view to me. Under normal circumstances, I'd say a long trip sound like a great vacation.



San Antonio, TX (in the old city)


"All that is required for evil to prevail is for good men to do nothing." - Edmund Burke
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"To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public." - Theodore Roosevelt (1918)

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Re: Scenic train rides?
Posted by: abevilac
Date: October 11, 2020 10:56PM
I did the Seattle to Chicago run two years ago and had a sleeper car where the two seats turn into bunks at night. (Afterwards I decided that to do it again I would opt for one of the actual rooms.) They have it timed so that all the special views are during the day. Of course, once you’re out of the Rockies, there’s a lot of less than spectacular views. It was really nice to get out of the sleeper and go to the viewing car or the dining car and mix with the other passengers. You always eat with others and that part made North Dakota interesting. One drawback to that route is that the tracks are in bad shape because of all of the shale trains that use them and I think get priority over passenger trains.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 10/11/2020 10:57PM by abevilac.
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Re: Scenic train rides?
Posted by: Randalls
Date: October 12, 2020 01:15AM
Chama has a nice scenic railroad.
[cumbrestoltec.com]



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 10/12/2020 01:19AM by Randalls.
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Re: Scenic train rides?
Posted by: Michael
Date: October 12, 2020 05:06AM
My wife and I are going to ride the 1-day Blue Ridge Scenic Train (GA) next Monday. It goes into the foothills of the Appalachian Trail. They say it'll be Covid-friendly (is that a term???). We'll see.
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Re: Scenic train rides?
Posted by: ztirffritz
Date: October 12, 2020 10:39AM
My parents liked the Empire Builder from Chicago to Seattle.



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MacResource User Map: [www.zeemaps.com]#
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Re: Scenic train rides?
Posted by: davester
Date: October 12, 2020 11:11AM
Quote
davemchine
I call Amtrak and it sounds like we would be limited to staying in our cabin. No eating outside the cabin and no view car. That seems pretty good to me.

That sounds pretty awful to me. Pretty much defeats the purpose of taking the train. Why not just drive a car instead?



"In science it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion." (1987) -- Carl Sagan
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Re: Scenic train rides?
Posted by: Will Collier
Date: October 12, 2020 11:12AM
Quote
Michael
My wife and I are going to ride the 1-day Blue Ridge Scenic Train (GA) next Monday. It goes into the foothills of the Appalachian Trail. They say it'll be Covid-friendly (is that a term???). We'll see.

Eat at the Black Sheep in Blue Ridge. You're welcome in advance...
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Re: Scenic train rides?
Posted by: davemchine
Date: October 12, 2020 03:07PM
As I mentioned in my first post this is an interest that my wife has. I've ridden the train from Indianapolis to Pasco, WA once. It was interesting but I think davester is right that loosing the view car and the dining car takes something away from it. Regardless, it's her trip. Thanks for all the great suggestions.
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Re: Scenic train rides?
Posted by: numbered
Date: October 12, 2020 06:14PM
I think there are more rail forums that mac forums. Seriously, there are lots of places where folks will suggest the specific room in a specific car on a specific side you should reserve. They are crazier than we are. Start with these guys.

If you went to Pasco before, you took the Empire Builder. It travels from Chicago to Spokane, WA and splits with half going to Seattle, and half going to Portland via Pasco. You saw the plains and the Rockies. You missed the Cascades. They are nice too. If you try to make a connection southbound in Seattle without spending an extra night, they will book you to Portland because they often miss the connections.

The Coast Starlight is very nice. Leave Seattle in the morning, arrive in the Bay the next morning, arrive LA that evening. In the winter time with short days you will miss some scenery.

For even more fun you can get off in the Bay and connect to the eastbound Zephyr that you mentioned. All beautiful.

But the whole COVID thing is a problem. I really would check out the Amtrak fora because food service, room service, and so on is very problematic. You can probably get good insight into the reality, and whether it is worthwhile right now.
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Re: Scenic train rides?
Posted by: d4
Date: October 12, 2020 06:35PM
Quote
davemchine
...losing the view car and the dining car takes something away from it.

Losing those 2 things is 50% of the fun experience. There's not much else to do except sit holed up in your tiny room in a chair and fold-up table for 4 days.



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Re: Scenic train rides?
Posted by: NewtonMP2100
Date: October 12, 2020 07:44PM




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I reject your reality and substitute my own!
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Re: Scenic train rides?
Posted by: anonymouse1
Date: October 12, 2020 10:48PM
Ok, in a former life I worked on Amtrak for nearly a decade, as a bartender and sleeping car attendant, out of Chicago and Seattle. I haven't done every route, but nearly all.

Two key points, no matter what route you take: Try to get an upper level roomette. The view is MUCH better. IF my memory is correct, you end up with two facing seats, and the beds fold down like a bunk bed. I don't recall if they have any of the larger rooms on the upper level, so if you want those, you'll have to sacrifice some view. The bigger rooms have showers, though.

And be sure to book your trip during the FULL MOON. Some of the night time views are spectacular, so make sure you have enough light to enjoy them!

My very favorite trip was Chicago to Seattle--Wisconsin kettle moraine, then up the northern Missisissipi, then across the miles of mile, partly along the Missouri IRRC, and then you're into Glacier. After that the Cascades, then Puget Sound, and then Seattle.

The Coast Starlight is very fine, too. More scenery in less time, but not quite as spectacular, IMHO.

The Chicago to LA and Chicago to SF are also nice, but not as good as the two above. The folks who like desert scenery ike Chicago to LA.

Enjoy! Bring a picnic basket, some good libations, and a have a BLAST!
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Re: Scenic train rides?
Posted by: NewtonMP2100
Date: October 13, 2020 09:56AM
.....don't forget the train scenes in.......'North by Northwest'......



_____________________________________

I reject your reality and substitute my own!
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Re: Scenic train rides?
Posted by: davester
Date: October 13, 2020 11:02PM
Quote
NewtonMP2100
.....don't forget the train scenes in.......'North by Northwest'......

...or the train scene in "From Russia With Love".



"In science it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion." (1987) -- Carl Sagan
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