California Zephyr discussion

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I think it's essentially random based on how the cars are placed in the yard when they are building the consist. They do keep similar cars together, and often use the service cars (cafe/dining) to split the coach from sleeper, but which set gets the quieter location at the end of the train is mostly random, just like which side the bedrooms are on.
Ah I see. I didn't know that. The last time I took the CZ the sleeper and diner cars were at the beginning of the train, and I guess I just assumed that was always the case. Thank you for sharing this!
 
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Hello fellow train-lovers! I finally booked a trip when roomette prices were in a lower bucket, and I am so excited! I am a little worried though because of so many reservations being canceled or downgraded. My reservation is currently Room 5 in Car 531. I was wondering if this is the standard sleeper car on the California Zephyr? Or the additional sleeper or the transform? Is it likely to be removed in case of staffing/equipment shortages? Any help would be really appreciated. Thank you for all your advice so far, it has been super helpful in deciding when and how to do this trip!!
 

zephyr17

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Hello fellow train-lovers! I finally booked a trip when roomette prices were in a lower bucket, and I am so excited! I am a little worried though because of so many reservations being canceled or downgraded. My reservation is currently Room 5 in Car 531. I was wondering if this is the standard sleeper car on the California Zephyr? Or the additional sleeper or the transform? Is it likely to be removed in case of staffing/equipment shortages? Any help would be really appreciated. Thank you for all your advice so far, it has been super helpful in deciding when and how to do this trip!!
The 31 car line is the "base" sleeper for the CZ. The "transdorm" (which apparently are not all actual transdorm car types on current CZ consists) is the 40 car line on the CZ. The 32 car line is the one that was cut on the CZ. It was the second sleeper that had been cut on the Builder, the SW Chief, and the Zephyr as the summer progressed, the 31 car line on the Builder and SW Chief, 32 on the Zephyr.

You are pretty safe in terms of keeping your accommodation.
 
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The 31 car line is the "base" sleeper for the CZ. The "transdorm" (which apparently are not all actual transdorm car types on current CZ consists) is the 40 car line on the CZ. The 32 car line is the one that was cut on the CZ. It was the second sleeper that had been cut on the Builder, the SW Chief, and the Zephyr as the summer progressed, the 31 car line on the Builder and SW Chief, 32 on the Zephyr.

You are pretty safe in terms of keeping your accommodation.
Thank you so much!! I guess now I just have to keep my fingers crossed that the train doesn't get cancelled!
 

zephyr17

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What? That has been happening? The sightseeing lounge is perhaps the biggest appeal for some folks (me included)!
Yeah, a CZ and SW Chief have both gone out without Sightseers in the last couple of days.

It is probably maintenance issues on the Sightseers in those particular consists. It isn't a withdrawal like the Eagle or Capitol.
 
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Yeah, a CZ and SW Chief have both gone out without Sightseers in the last couple of days.

It is probably maintenance issues on the Sightseers in those particular consists. It isn't a withdrawal like the Eagle or Capitol.
I hope it is a short-term issue. It must be terribly disappointing to take a long-distance route and not have a Sightseer!
 
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Isn't the cafe in the lower level of the SS? What were they doing for coach food?
They probably would have substituted a Cross Country Cafe, half diner and half cafe car, either in addition to or in place of the diner.

All of the CZ & SWC trains currently viewable on YouTube (i.e. passed a free railcam within the past 12 hrs.) have SSL's.
 
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Bob Dylan

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They probably would have substituted a Cross Country Cafe, half diner and half cafe car, either in addition to or in place of the diner.
Or just serve Coach Passengers out of the Diner by running the Cafe on One end of the Diner if a CCC isn't available.
 

zephyr17

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They probably would have substituted a Cross Country Cafe, half diner and half cafe car, either in addition to or in place of the diner.
They apparently did not substitute a Diner/lounge according to reports. They probably provided some take out cafe service out of one end of the diner like they do on the Builder between Seattle and Spokane.
 
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We are booked the end of January on the CZ from Chicago. Train #5 Car 532 #6 Roomette. Is this a good room? I believe it is on the upper level. From Reno to Emeryville we are in Coach. This is our first long distance train trip. Not sure if we will fly home from SFO or go somewhere else on the train and fly from there. Will have to decide soon.
 

PaunchyPirate

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We are booked the end of January on the CZ from Chicago. Train #5 Car 532 #6 Roomette. Is this a good room? I believe it is on the upper level. From Reno to Emeryville we are in Coach. This is our first long distance train trip. Not sure if we will fly home from SFO or go somewhere else on the train and fly from there. Will have to decide soon.

Yes, Roomette #6 will be on the upper level of your car. It is located right in the middle of all the roomettes in the car. I would consider it a great location. You will have one restroom on that upper level, but not directly beside you (so minimal disruption and smells). Additional bathrooms and a shower will be in the lower level of your car. Morning coffee will be a few steps away. You will not know which side of the car you will be facing until you get on the car. Amtrak can run them facing either direction, which means you may face mostly North or you may face mostly South. Going westbound, folks generally seem to prefer facing North for best views going through the Rockies. But there is no bad view and you are free to use the Observation Car (if seats are available), if desired.
 
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Yes, Roomette #6 will be on the upper level of your car. It is located right in the middle of all the roomettes in the car. I would consider it a great location. You will have one restroom on that upper level, but not directly beside you (so minimal disruption and smells). Additional bathrooms and a shower will be in the lower level of your car. Morning coffee will be a few steps away. You will not know which side of the car you will be facing until you get on the car. Amtrak can run them facing either direction, which means you may face mostly North or you may face mostly South. Going westbound, folks generally seem to prefer facing North for best views going through the Rockies. But there is no bad view and you are free to use the Observation Car (if seats are available), if desired.
Thank you so much! I have been reading about trips being cancelled or cars not going etc. Would this happen with Car 532?
 

PRR 60

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Thank you so much! I have been reading about trips being cancelled or cars not going etc. Would this happen with Car 532?

It is possible.

The Zephyr has two full sleeping cars - cars 531 and 532, plus eight(?) revenue roomettes in the dorm - car 540. When a car is removed due to equipment or staff shortages, car 532 is the one that goes. You could call and try to move your reservation to 531 or 540. Or just keep an eye on things by pulling up your reservation every so often to check. You could also occasionally check current roomette availability by starting a new booking online for your date between Chicago and Reno. Try eight passengers for then look for roomettes. If it shows a price, that means at least four roomettes are open. You can then up the room count from four to five, then incrementally up to eight to see if at least eight rooms are open. If it shows no availability for eight passengers, reduce the passenger count to 6 (at least three open), 4 (two open), or 2 (one open). If it you checked one day and there was good availability then tried again the next day and roomettes are sold out, that could be mean the 532 car and its 14 roomettes had been removed from the inventory for sale. A call to Amtrak to check your reservation status would be in order.

Amtrak not very good about timely notifications concerning reservation changes, so you are your own best advocate.
 

zephyr17

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Thank you so much! I have been reading about trips being cancelled or cars not going etc. Would this happen with Car 532?
Yes, 532 is the second sleeper, not the "base" sleeper (that is the 31 car). If a sleeper is going to be removed, it'll be the 32 car.

As PRR60 noted, Amtrak has not been good about notifying affected passengers when they make the decision to remove a car. Instead, they appear to wait until just 2 weeks or so departure to notify affected passengers. By that time it is difficult to change travel plans for those who do not want to take the coach downgrade, plus any remaining space in the 31 or 40 car will likely be gone. Anyone booked in a non-base sleeper should regularly check their reservation on the app. If the QR code disappears, that likely indicates the sleeper has been pulled and the accommodation lost. In that case, phone Amtrak immediately and try to get reaccommodated in the remaining sleeper. Better yet, just call anyway and try to get moved to the 31 car.
 
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It is possible.

The Zephyr has two full sleeping cars - cars 531 and 532, plus eight(?) revenue roomettes in the dorm - car 540. When a car is removed due to equipment or staff shortages, car 532 is the one that goes. You could call and try to move your reservation to 531 or 540. Or just keep an eye on things by pulling up your reservation every so often to check. You could also occasionally check current roomette availability by starting a new booking online for your date between Chicago and Reno. Try eight passengers for then look for roomettes. If it shows a price, that means at least four roomettes are open. You can then up the room count from four to five, then incrementally up to eight to see if at least eight rooms are open. If it shows no availability for eight passengers, reduce the passenger count to 6 (at least three open), 4 (two open), or 2 (one open). If it you checked one day and there was good availability then tried again the next day and roomettes are sold out, that could be mean the 532 car and its 14 roomettes had been removed from the inventory for sale. A call to Amtrak to check your reservation status would be in order.

Amtrak not very good about timely notifications concerning reservation changes, so you are your own best advocate.
This is distressing to know the trip could be cancelled with two weeks notice. I went on like you said, same dates etc and it would let me book for 8 people. So 4 roomettes open? Is Car 540 okay? or is 531 better if I try and change the booking?

Yes, 532 is the second sleeper, not the "base" sleeper (that is the 31 car). If a sleeper is going to be removed, it'll be the 32 car.

As PRR60 noted, Amtrak has not been good about notifying affected passengers when they make the decision to remove a car. Instead, they appear to wait until just 2 weeks or so departure to notify affected passengers. By that time it is difficult to change travel plans for those who do not want to take the coach downgrade, plus any remaining space in the 31 or 40 car will likely be gone. Anyone booked in a non-base sleeper should regularly check their reservation on the app. If the QR code disappears, that likely indicates the sleeper has been pulled and the accommodation lost. In that case, phone Amtrak immediately and try to get reaccommodated in the remaining sleeper. Better yet, just call anyway and try to get moved to the 31 car.
Thank you, Now I dont know what to do.
 
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