A different Rail Pass Question

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KWBud

Train Attendant
Joined
Jan 1, 2010
Messages
70
From the lack of response on my question about the flexibility of the Rail Passes (and a subsequent searches on the topic) I can only assume that I'm more or less locked in to my initial itinerary unless I want to spend big money to change.

So . . . If I were to travel 6 segments in 13 days between San Antonio and Chicago, what routes should I take to see the most breathtaking scenery on the system.

I'm assuming that the Sunset Limited, Coast Starlight, California Zephyr and Empire Builder would be on the list. Of course if I do both the CZ and EB, then I would have to have to take another train back to Chicago to make my connections back to Florida.

But I'm sure that there are other options for a Rail Pass tour of the country.

Suggestions anyone?

--

Bud
 

p&sr

OBS Chief
Joined
Apr 16, 2008
Messages
983
Location
Northern California
So . . . what routes should I take to see the most breathtaking scenery on the system.

I'm assuming that the Sunset Limited, Coast Starlight, California Zephyr and Empire Builder would be on the list.
I always enjoy the Southwest Chief from LAX to Chicago. Beats the Sunset Limited hands down!
 

KWBud

Train Attendant
Joined
Jan 1, 2010
Messages
70
So . . . what routes should I take to see the most breathtaking scenery on the system.

I'm assuming that the Sunset Limited, Coast Starlight, California Zephyr and Empire Builder would be on the list.
I always enjoy the Southwest Chief from LAX to Chicago. Beats the Sunset Limited hands down!
Since I have to start in San Antonio, it would have to be something like Sunset Limited -> Southwest Chief and then from Chicago back west and then back again?

What is the best part of the Southwest Chief route?

--

Bud
 

Bob Dylan

50+ Year Amtrak Rider
Joined
May 31, 2009
Messages
23,546
Location
Austin Texas
Suggestion: Ive made this Route myself!Consider a Roomette Upgrade for the CS , the PPC is pretty Sweet!

1) SAS-STL Texas Eagle #22/#422-- Night

2) STL-KCY Missouri RiverRunner- Business Class

3) KCY-LAX Southwest Chief#3---- 2 Nights

LAX Hotel---------------- Night

4) LAX-PDX CoastStarlight#14---- Night

5) PDX-CHI EmpireBuilder #28---- 2 Nights

CHI Hotel---------------- Night

6) CHI-EMY California Zephyr#5-- 2 Nights

EMY Hotel---------------- Night

7) EMY-CHI CaliforniaZephyr#6--- 2 Nights
 
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S

scott

Guest
I didn't read all the details but a quick thought: if you wound up in Seattle or San Fran, maybe yu could get a quick one-way flight back to Chicago if that's what you need. Would cost a bit more but save time.
 

KWBud

Train Attendant
Joined
Jan 1, 2010
Messages
70
Suggestion: Ive made this Route myself!Consider a Roomette Upgrade for the CS , the PPC is pretty Sweet!
I'm guessing that the PPC is for Roomette service only?

Doesn't that also include a wine tasting?

1) SAS-STL Texas Eagle #22/#422-- Night

2) STL-KCY Missouri RiverRunner- Business Class

3) KCY-LAX Southwest Chief#3---- 2 Nights

LAX Hotel---------------- Night

4) LAX-PDX CoastStarlight#14---- Night

5) PDX-CHI EmpireBuilder #28---- 2 Nights

CHI Hotel---------------- Night

6) CHI-EMY California Zephyr#5-- 2 Nights

EMY Hotel---------------- Night

7) EMY-CHI CaliforniaZephyr#6--- 2 Nights
The problem with doing this exact schedule is that I need to return to Miami, so I only have six legs to work with.

It looks as though the Missouri RiverRunner was an intentional choice, so it must be a nice leg. But, to do it, I'd have to cut something else out.

Scott's suggestion of a flight is nice, but the whole idea of this trip is to avoid the plane. Flights between South Florida and Austin are much cheaper and quicker than running the rails.

More musings . . .

The California Zephyr is a must do. After all I actually saw Silver Streak several times. And I would really like to do the Empire Builder because the scenery is so different than the Keys.

So many choices.

--

Bud
 
Joined
Jan 18, 2011
Messages
13
Location
OKJ
Bud,

How about:

  1. Sunset Limited #1 SAS-LAX (1 night)
  2. Coast Starlight #14 LAX-PDX (1 night)
  3. Empire Builder #28 PDX-CHI (2 nights), hotel in Chicago (1 night)
  4. California Zephyr #5 CHI-EMY (2 nights), hotel in Emeryville (1 night)
  5. Coast Starlight #11 EMY-LAX (0 nights), hotel in LA (1 night)
  6. Southwest Chief #4 LAX-CHI (2 nights)

That's 6 segments, 11 nights so 12 days. A variant would be to take the Coast Starlight the way to Seattle, overnight in Seattle, then take the Seattle branch of the Empire Builder. That adds one night but still uses 6 segments.

Now I'm envious -- that would be a fabulous trip!

Edited to fix formatting
 
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Bob Dylan

50+ Year Amtrak Rider
Joined
May 31, 2009
Messages
23,546
Location
Austin Texas
Bud,

How about:

  1. Sunset Limited #1 SAS-LAX (1 night)
  2. Coast Starlight #14 LAX-PDX (1 night)
  3. Empire Builder #28 PDX-CHI (2 nights), hotel in Chicago (1 night)
  4. California Zephyr #5 CHI-EMY (2 nights), hotel in Emeryville (1 night)
  5. Coast Starlight #11 EMY-LAX (0 nights), hotel in LA (1 night)
  6. Southwest Chief #4 LAX-CHI (2 nights)

That's 6 segments, 11 nights so 12 days. A variant would be to take the Coast Starlight the way to Seattle, overnight in Seattle, then take the Seattle branch of the Empire Builder. That adds one night but still uses 6 segments.

Now I'm envious -- that would be a fabulous trip!

Edited to fix formatting
Beat me too it, an excellent Routing! :) I suggest you Google up the Hostel International in CHI, one of our members recommended it and several of us have stayed there, outstanding place to stay in the Windy City! I'm envious also, wish I could do this one!! :cool:

And the PPC is ONLY for Sleeper Pax, it is worth it to book a Roomette for this Leg of the CS!!! :wub:
 
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johnny.menhennet

Conductor
Joined
Apr 17, 2011
Messages
1,425
Location
Solana Beach, CA
Bud,

How about:

  1. Sunset Limited #1 SAS-LAX (1 night)
  2. Coast Starlight #14 LAX-PDX (1 night)
  3. Empire Builder #28 PDX-CHI (2 nights), hotel in Chicago (1 night)
  4. California Zephyr #5 CHI-EMY (2 nights), hotel in Emeryville (1 night)
  5. Coast Starlight #11 EMY-LAX (0 nights), hotel in LA (1 night)
  6. Southwest Chief #4 LAX-CHI (2 nights)

That's 6 segments, 11 nights so 12 days. A variant would be to take the Coast Starlight the way to Seattle, overnight in Seattle, then take the Seattle branch of the Empire Builder. That adds one night but still uses 6 segments.

Now I'm envious -- that would be a fabulous trip!

Edited to fix formatting
Could not possibly be a better suggestion. You get all western routes and both directions on the California Coast!!! It is a must to upgrade to at least a roomette on the Coast Starlight, we don't know how many years we'll still have them for. if you had the available cash to upgrade a second section, I would go for the Empire Builder, since they have a wine tasting also (IIRC), but I would be inclined to tell you to upgrade also on the California Zephyr because you get the most free (included) meals and you also get lounge access in Chicago the next day, since you have to overnight there.
 
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