Altitude on the Capitol Limited Line

Amtrak Unlimited Discussion Forum

Help Support Amtrak Unlimited Discussion Forum:

J

James

Guest
I need to travel from Washington DC to Chicago. I've just had some eye surgery, and can't go up into mountains or fly. I was considering taking the Capitol Limited, but can't find anywhere whether or not that climbs any mountains. Does anyone know what the highest altitude that train would travel, and/or any source where I can find that information.

Thanks very much.
 

Ryan

Court Jester
Joined
Apr 14, 2008
Messages
17,888
Location
Off looking for his sense of humor
I've got a GPS track of my trip on the Cap.

Lemme dig it up and see where we topped out. You do have to go through the Appalachians, but they aren't that high.

The Lake Shore Limited may be a better bet (known as the "Water Level Route" for a reason).
 

Ryan

Court Jester
Joined
Apr 14, 2008
Messages
17,888
Location
Off looking for his sense of humor
Looks like about 2250 feet:

Cap_Elevation_Profile.png


Edit: This is CHI-WAS, so Chicago is on the left, WAS on the right.
 
Last edited by a moderator:
Joined
Jan 3, 2011
Messages
3,312
Location
ALX
Ryan - NICE graphics! :hi:

And I'm sure you will know why when I first read this thread's title, I thought it said "Attitude on the Cap..." ^_^
 

SarahZ

Quality Control
Joined
May 8, 2011
Messages
8,420
Location
KAL
Ryan - NICE graphics! :hi:

And I'm sure you will know why when I first read this thread's title, I thought it said "Attitude on the Cap..." ^_^
Me too. :)

Now I want one for the SWC from Chicago to ABQ. I'll have to do that the next time we go. I've tracked miles/speed but not altitude.
 

MrFSS

Engineer
Honored Member
Joined
Mar 13, 2004
Messages
9,712
Location
Central Kentucky
Ryan - NICE graphics! :hi:

And I'm sure you will know why when I first read this thread's title, I thought it said "Attitude on the Cap..." ^_^
Me too. :)

Now I want one for the SWC from Chicago to ABQ. I'll have to do that the next time we go. I've tracked miles/speed but not altitude.
Well - maybe you should track attitude, too! :lol:
 

AmtrakBlue

Engineer
Gathering Team Member
Joined
May 6, 2011
Messages
14,062
Location
Delaware
If anyone wants to play with the GPS files generated to make this, have at 'em:

Capitol Limited: https://www.dropbox.com/s/raqukqk40c8ncux/Cap%20Limited.gpx

LSL: https://www.dropbox.com/s/mwvugb8t7leu3bn/LSL.gpx
Thanks! If this works (being able to upload these into our GPS apps), we could consider setting up a place on AU for people to share their maps (for those who don't have smartphones or do not want to use their smartphone for tracking - I want to use my iPod and Dual GPS to track my trips).
 

Cina

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Mar 26, 2014
Messages
333
Location
Nebraska
No way! My mom just had eye surgery and is going through similar plights trying to find out where to travel. Her doctor said "as long as you aren't crossing the continental divide or going on any mountains you should be ok. But if you notice your vision changing or eye pain, stop immediately and go back." That's not as easily done on a train of course :lol:
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Ryan

Court Jester
Joined
Apr 14, 2008
Messages
17,888
Location
Off looking for his sense of humor
Technically you have to cross the Eastern or St. Lawrence Continental Divide to get from CHI-WAS. :D

As it says on the pictures, I feed the GPX files to GPSVisualizer.com and it does the rest. Cool stuff!
 

afigg

Engineer
Joined
Jun 8, 2009
Messages
5,896
Location
Virginia
Cool data and charts! Thanks for posting this stuff. Makes me wonder what is the maximum altitude the Cardinal reaches on its NYP to CHI route.
 
J

James

Guest
Ryan,

Thanks so much for this info. I'm going to look at the LSL route to see if it makes sense.

Cina, the issue I have is that the surgery involved putting in a gas bubble, which can be dangerous at higher altitudes. The surgeon scared me a good bit..."it will probably be ok, but if not you can lose your vision in the eye!" Not something I want to take any chances with.
 

Anderson

Engineer
Joined
Nov 16, 2010
Messages
9,766
Location
Virginia
No way! My mom just had eye surgery and is going through similar plights trying to find out where to travel. Her doctor said "as long as you aren't crossing the continental divide or going on any mountains you should be ok. But if you notice your vision changing or eye pain, stop immediately and go back." That's not as easily done on a train of course :lol:
For that, you have the Sunset Limited. SP always made a point of advertising the low-level crossing of the Continental Divide, and it has the lowest peak altitude of any of the transcons if I'm not mistaken.
 

Cina

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Mar 26, 2014
Messages
333
Location
Nebraska
James- My mother has the gas bubble too. Her doctor went a step further and told her that her eye could RUPTURE! I told her if there was a chance my eye could explode, I don't think I'd even go on the roof of my house.
 

the_traveler

Engineer
Joined
Nov 15, 2007
Messages
26,005
Location
Whatever siding I'm sitting on!
No way! My mom just had eye surgery and is going through similar plights trying to find out where to travel. Her doctor said "as long as you aren't crossing the continental divide or going on any mountains you should be ok. But if you notice your vision changing or eye pain, stop immediately and go back." That's not as easily done on a train of course :lol:
For that, you have the Sunset Limited. SP always made a point of advertising the low-level crossing of the Continental Divide, and it has the lowest peak altitude of any of the transcons if I'm not mistaken.
I believe the maximum elevation on the SL route is 2,xxx feet, and the crossing of the Continental Divide is even lower than that!
 

iggle_traveler

Train Attendant
Joined
Mar 29, 2014
Messages
46
Location
West TX, 300 miles from the nearest Amtrak station
If anyone wants to play with the GPS files generated to make this, have at 'em:

Capitol Limited: https://www.dropbox.com/s/raqukqk40c8ncux/Cap%20Limited.gpx

LSL: https://www.dropbox.com/s/mwvugb8t7leu3bn/LSL.gpx
Ryan, thank you for posting these amazing files!

Thanks! If this works (being able to upload these into our GPS apps), we could consider setting up a place on AU for people to share their maps (for those who don't have smartphones or do not want to use their smartphone for tracking - I want to use my iPod and Dual GPS to track my trips).
I would LOVE that!
 

fairviewroad

Engineer
Joined
Jan 13, 2011
Messages
3,357
To the OP, bear in mind that even if you drove from DC to Chicago (in the most direct route via I-70 and the PA Turnpike)

you would encounter a 2600 foot elevation on the Laurel Hill summit southeast of Pittsburgh. Obviously there are highway

routes with lower elevations but those would require a significant detour. So at least the Cap Limited would be better than

driving or Greyhound in terms of elevation.
 

George Harris

Engineer
Joined
Apr 6, 2006
Messages
5,353
Location
finally! Back in Mississippi
Union Pacific posts a map of high and low elevations. On it if you follow the Sunset Limited route the high elevation is 5,078 feet at Paisano TX. It also goes through the lowest elevation on the US railroad system, 205 feet below sea level at Forrum CA along the Salton Sea.

Extremes in advertising are not new. The "low altitude route" advertisement for the Golden State Route was a little extreme. The high point on that route was 6,726 feet at Corona NM, which was only about 1,000 feet or so lower than the high point on the AT&SF's Super Chief route. However, if you really want high, the route is the CZ route. We have all the "mile high city" noise about Denver, but it is NOT in the mountains, It is on the plain at the foot of the mountain. The high point on the railroad is at Moffat tunnel, 9,239 feet on the UPRR map.
 
Top