California Zephyr reservations

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Rizla Ronnie

Train Attendant
Joined
Jun 23, 2022
Messages
19
Location
UK
Thanks to all for the great info.
One question has been puzzling me - virtually every review I read on the Zephyr both professional and amateur is from people who have done the Chicago - SF journey east to west, certainly far more than west to east.
Does this mean trains are less busy going in that direction or doesn't it make any difference ?
I think overall we're expecting excellent views, a cramped Roomette, a fun shower on the move, dining with strangers and possible even likely delays along the way. All of which are fine by us as we're in no rush to get anywhere and don't really mind travel that can be occasionally challenging.
 

Rizla Ronnie

Train Attendant
Joined
Jun 23, 2022
Messages
19
Location
UK
Welcome to the forum, Rizla Ronny. In light of your "name", I will point out that Amtrak trains are non smoking, but there are some extended stops where one can stand out on the platform for a smoke.
Feel free to ask any Amtrak questions that you need to...

I'm more of a Cuban cigar man these days so I doubt any of the smoke stops will be long enough !
 

Maglev

Conductor
Joined
Sep 4, 2016
Messages
1,306
Location
Orcas Island, Washington
Thanks to all for the great info.
One question has been puzzling me - virtually every review I read on the Zephyr both professional and amateur is from people who have done the Chicago - SF journey east to west, certainly far more than west to east.
Does this mean trains are less busy going in that direction or doesn't it make any difference ?
My one trip on the California Zephyr was in May, 1994, and we rode west to east. There was great scenery the first day in the Sierras, and great scenery all day the second day. Our train was on-time, and we descended into Denver well before dark. After Denver, there is not much exciting scenery, although the Mississippi River is crossed in daylight on the third day.

If the train is late eastbound, riders will miss some of the most spectacular scenery descending into Denver, and for this reason some prefer the westbound train.
 

Willbridge

50+ Year Amtrak Rider
AU Supporting Member
Joined
Mar 30, 2019
Messages
1,898
Location
Denver
The leg from Fraser-Winter Park eastbound is often done in the dark, especially from November into February. That can be beautiful in its own way if you are in a sleeper with the interior lights turned off and on the left side. In the past, car attendants would turn off lights in the coaches so that passengers would enjoy the spiraling descent to Denver. I remember enjoying the holiday lights in the Arvada suburbs.

If a one-way trip is planned, yes, westbound is better. However, eastbound has its moments, too.
 
Joined
Oct 7, 2018
Messages
514
Location
Frisco, TX
I'm more of a Cuban cigar man these days so I doubt any of the smoke stops will be long enough !
Now that is a nice indulgence! Denver and Salt Lake City are the only two stops worth firing one up and enjoying a significant portion. Unless you don’t mind a cut and relight, then some of the smoke stops can be useful if you get out early and board late. Just be careful of designated smoke areas.
 
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