California Zephyr discussion 2023 Q4 - 2024

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Once upon a time Google Earth (I think it was) had a feature that would allow selection of date and time to see what it would look like at various times.

Can't seem to dredge it up now, but perhaps someone else knows how.
Finally found it! It's Google Earth Pro. Tried it for the eastbound CZ at Granby CO for my upcoming trip. Juckins.net sez it's average lateness there is 2¼ hours so I set the date time data for the average delayed time of about 5:27 pm and got this sunlight adjusted view at Granby:

Google Earth Pro.jpg
Later, when the train gets to Denver, it'll be dark there but even at this average lateness (2¼ hours) looks like you'd get to see lights of Denver as you descend after Granby as the Sun sinks slowly in the West.

At least that's what Google Earth Pro leads me to believe.
 
Personal take, the train should run on time!!
Yes, lets blame Amtrak for the Zephyr always being late despite it being Union Pacific 90% of the time. My last east bound arrived in SLC nearly an HOUR EARLY purely because they have to plan for that much time in delays from UP. That particular day they didn't though and magically were running way ahead of schedule.
 
Later, when the train gets to Denver, it'll be dark there but even at this average lateness (2¼ hours) looks like you'd get to see lights of Denver as you descend after Granby as the Sun sinks slowly in the West.

At least that's what Google Earth Pro leads me to believe.

You will see some of the lights, but you will not be able to see the tunnels and ridges on the approach because there is no lighting there.
 
Big Q: What's the latest the Eastbound CZ can be at Granby (on some specified date) in order to see all the Eastern slope sights in a reasonable amount of daylight?
 
From personal experience going eb into Denver at night, you can get pretty good views if you are on the left side in a roomette with the lights off. This is my favorite Amtrak train and I never get tired of the scenic portions.

I usually fly west out of Chicago, spend one night in Oakland, and then come back on the train. There have been several summers where I did a round trip from Chicago to Emy with a one-night stay in Oakland. It is always fun to show up for 6 the next morning and have the crew do a double take, saying, "weren't you just on here yesterday". I always say, "Yep. Can't get enough of a good thing!!"
 
Yes, lets blame Amtrak for the Zephyr always being late despite it being Union Pacific 90% of the time. My last east bound arrived in SLC nearly an HOUR EARLY purely because they have to plan for that much time in delays from UP. That particular day they didn't though and magically were running way ahead of schedule.
Where did I blame Amtrak? This discussion of what scenery one should expect at different amounts of sunlight is made moot because the train is frequently very late, which is absurd. It's ridiculous that hundreds of communities across the country, large and small, have to depend on once-daily service that is extremely unreliable all because the government chooses not to enforce its own laws about passenger train priority.

Affordable, efficient, frequent, and reliable public transportation is a right that must be secured for all but the most extremely remote communities. It increases opportunity, economic vitality, community, access to healthcare, and—I would assume—life expectancy.
 
Personal take: from your comment it seems you have a solution to make that happen even a quick solution for getting safely past broken rails, rock slides, tree falls, freight train rules and the like. Please don't keep these solutions a secret.
These are not the cause of most delays, just dispatching and broken down freight trains which is a freight company maintenance issue.
 
Where did I blame Amtrak? This discussion of what scenery one should expect at different amounts of sunlight is made moot because the train is frequently very late, which is absurd. It's ridiculous that hundreds of communities across the country, large and small, have to depend on once-daily service that is extremely unreliable all because the government chooses not to enforce its own laws about passenger train priority.

Affordable, efficient, frequent, and reliable public transportation is a right that must be secured for all but the most extremely remote communities. It increases opportunity, economic vitality, community, access to healthcare, and—I would assume—life expectancy.
Apologies, I read your post as a rant against Amtrak. While they have their own issues, we can't even address it because the freight companies skew Amtrak over so much. Good news though, Amtrak is finally taking UP to court. Not over the Zephyr specifically, but the sunset limited. Hopefully get some progress.
 
Big Q: What's the latest the Eastbound CZ can be at Granby (on some specified date) in order to see all the Eastern slope sights in a reasonable amount of daylight?
Grandby on #6 is ~3:30 to Denver. On the internet get this table for any month and just subtract 3:30 from whatever time you want. Sunset, astronomical twilight. nautical twilight, or civil twilight,
Guess all daylight times have different definitions

https://www.timeanddate.com/sun/usa/denver?month=2
 
Thanks for the link to that one. Even though it doesn't give a visual depiction of that the terrain looks like, it does give the daylight period start and end times at the three universally agreed upon twilights (astronomical, nautical and civil).

Being a flatland midwesterner, however, I'm not sure how being on the eastern downslope of the Rockies comes into play due to it blocking the light in the evening. Suspect entry of the location is used only for determining longitude and maybe the earth model is a simple sphere. Good way to find out is to compare two locations having the same longitude but located at different sides of some mountain range (one on the eastern downslope and the other on the western downslope.

Might try that idea in the morning after some shuteye.

[morning edit] Instead of all that stuff, above, used some math to find the shadowing effect of the Rockies as seen from Denver would amount to about 0.9° above the spherical or no Rockies horizon which, in turn, would amount to a mere 3½ minute "earliness" in the onset of any of the three twilights in Denver. Pffft! Much ado about nothing, I guess.
 
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Hi, I am considering a westbound trip on the Zephyr this summer. Here's my question: The train is scheduled to arrive in Chicago at 2:50 PM. I want to transfer to the Lake Shore Limited, which leaves at 9:30 PM. If the Zephyr is late (which it often is) will Amtrak hold the Lake Shore until the Zephyr gets in? In a worst case scenario, would Amtrak comp me a hotel room for a next day departure? I would appreciate any responses. Thank you.
 
Hi, I am considering a westbound trip on the Zephyr this summer. Here's my question: The train is scheduled to arrive in Chicago at 2:50 PM. I want to transfer to the Lake Shore Limited, which leaves at 9:30 PM. If the Zephyr is late (which it often is) will Amtrak hold the Lake Shore until the Zephyr gets in? In a worst case scenario, would Amtrak comp me a hotel room for a next day departure? I would appreciate any responses. Thank you.
If the connection is on the same reservation, they'll put you up overnight and give you a food voucher. They'll put you on the next train, but if you're booked in a sleeper you might end up in coach if not rooms are available on the next day's train.

You can use this site to check on the connection status from #6 to #48
Juckins Connection Data
 
Hi, I am considering a westbound trip on the Zephyr this summer. Here's my question: The train is scheduled to arrive in Chicago at 2:50 PM. I want to transfer to the Lake Shore Limited, which leaves at 9:30 PM. If the Zephyr is late (which it often is) will Amtrak hold the Lake Shore until the Zephyr gets in? In a worst case scenario, would Amtrak comp me a hotel room for a next day departure? I would appreciate any responses. Thank you.
I think you are talking about an eastbound trip, not westbound.

In my experience, if the Zephyr is modestly late, the Lake Shore may be held and an across the platform transfer is done. This happened to us a few years ago when we were on the Lake Shore and the Zephyr was about an hour late.

If the Zephyr is much later, the chances are the Lake Shore will not be held and as AmtrakBlue said, you will be provided with a hotel stay and a meal allowance. This happened to us once when we had reservations on the Lake Shore and we arrived on the Zephyr well after midnight. In our case we were placed on a bus and taken to a nice hotel at a place called Indiana. The bus returned for us the next day at about 11 a.m. and took us back to Union Station. We went to the Art Institute for the afternoon and then to the Greek Island Restaurant for dinner before departing on the Lake Shore.
 
Hi, I am considering a westbound trip on the Zephyr this summer. Here's my question: The train is scheduled to arrive in Chicago at 2:50 PM. I want to transfer to the Lake Shore Limited, which leaves at 9:30 PM. If the Zephyr is late (which it often is) will Amtrak hold the Lake Shore until the Zephyr gets in? In a worst case scenario, would Amtrak comp me a hotel room for a next day departure? I would appreciate any responses. Thank you.
We were on the Empire Builder when it was running extremely late to Chicago. I wanted to be sure we'd have a roomette on the next day's Lake Shore Limited, so as soon as I realized we would be staying the night in Chicago, I called customer service and explained that I wanted to switch my LSL reservation from the train we would miss to another roomette on the following day's LSL. This was at about 4pm, and the train didn't pull into Chicago until about 10. Fortunately at 4pm there were still roomettes available. I have no idea how many people might have had to spend that last night in coach. The nice thing was, we were put up the the Swisshotel, very very luxurious. Hubby and I travel with 14-pound backpacks so we opted to take a walk through downtown Chicago on a miraculously sunny day in December. We left the bags in storage in the Metro lounge, went to a museum, had dinner in a delightful German restaurant, and that night settled into our roomette.

To make that important phone call, I used the number for those who are at "select" level: 888-707-6600. You can also try the Amtrak Guest Rewards number 800-307-5000 or the regular customer service 800-872-7245 and keep saying "agent" until you get to one. Under these circumstances, be sure to talk with a human and verify that you'll get confirmation by email and in the app. Then make sure you at least got the email.
 
The CZ (#5) that left Chicago yesterday has the specialized inspection car 10004 (American View} on its tail along with an additional transition sleeper.

I'm on this train and have seen several Amtrak employees with lanyards and IDs.

The conductor said they were members of a executive leadership committee or something like that.

So if you want to see 10004, now's your chance.
 
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