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Coast Starlight and California Zephyr consist question

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George K

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I just booked our annual trip to the West Coast. CHI -> PDX. PDX -> EMY. EMY -> CHI.

We're traveling at the end of August next year (CZ the first week of September.

I've seen pictures of the consists for the CS and CZ. Are they still accurate?

Mrs. George, who HATES walking through 5 cars on the EB to get to the dining car, wants to know.

Screen Shot 2018-10-21 at 4.51.05 PM.png

Last time I rode the CZ (September 2014), our sleeper was at the rear of the train.

Also, is there an easy way to tell, from my reservation, which sleeper I'll be in on the CS and CZ?
 
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cpotisch

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I've seen pictures of the consists for the CS and CZ. Are they still accurate?
Not really.

Currently, the California Zephyr and Southwest Chief are

Loco - Loco - Baggage - Trans-Dorm - Sleeper - Sleeper - Diner - SSL - Coach - Coach


The Coast Starlight is

Loco - Loco - Baggage - Trans-Dorm - Sleeper - Sleeper - Sleeper - Diner - Business - SSL - Coach - Coach - Coach


The Texas Eagle is

Loco - Baggage - Trans-Dorm - Sleeper - Diner (CCC) - SSL - Coach - Coach - STL-CHI Coach

The Sunset Limited is

Loco - Loco - Baggage - Trans-Dorm - Sleeper - Diner - SSL - Coach - Coach - TE Through Coach - TE Through Sleeper


The Heartland Flyer is
Loco - Snack/Coach - Coach - NPCU

And just so you know, the Empire Builder is usually
Loco - Loco - Baggage (SEA) - Trans-Dorm (SEA) - Sleeper (SEA) - Sleeper (SEA) - Diner (SEA) - Coach (SEA) - Coach (SEA) - SSL (PDX) - Coach (PDX) - Coach (PDX) - Sleeper (PDX) - CHI-MSP Coach
 
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cpotisch

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Also, is there an easy way to tell, from my reservation, which sleeper I'll be in on the CS and CZ?
Just look at the car number on your e-ticket. The sleeper closest to the diner will be car xx30, with the number going up as you get farther from the diner. The Trans-Dorm is always xx40. Now unfortunately, the sole Portland sleeper on the Empire Builder (2730) is at the back of the train, with five cars between it and the diner. So unless you want to get a Seattle sleeper and change to the Portland one by Spokane (and likely spend extra), you'll have to walk a fair bit at each meal.
 
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cpotisch

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I've seen pictures of the consists for the CS and CZ. Are they still accurate?
Not really.
Thank you!

Currently, we're booked in car 1130 on the Coast Starlight. I assume that's the car closest to the head end, amirite?

On the Zephyr, we're in car 0632. Is that the 2nd sleeper from the front?
You're welcome!

Car 1130 will be right next to the dining car. Car 0632 will be the third sleeper from the dining car - I guess the CZ will have a third sleeper by the time you're traveling. You might want to call and see if you can get the latter changed to 0630.
 

George K

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Car 1130 will be right next to the dining car. Car 0632 will be the third sleeper from the dining car - I guess the CZ will have a third sleeper by the time you're traveling. You might want to call and see if you can get the latter changed to 0630.
Nice.

Mrs. George who has had both knees and one hip replaced finds that the hike to the diner on #27 is more than a bit onerous will be happy to hear this. Two cars are fine.

Five...not so much.
 

cpotisch

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Car 1130 will be right next to the dining car. Car 0632 will be the third sleeper from the dining car - I guess the CZ will have a third sleeper by the time you're traveling. You might want to call and see if you can get the latter changed to 0630.
Nice.

Mrs. George who has had both knees and one hip replaced finds that the hike to the diner on #27 is more than a bit onerous will be happy to hear this. Two cars are fine.

Five...not so much.
Well if the five cars is a really big issue, you could possibly take the EB to Seattle instead, where you could transfer to the Starlight or Cascades down to Portland. That would probably cost a little bit more and of course you have the hassle of transferring, but you would be right next to the diner.
 

AmtrakBlue

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But they aware going on the CS (#11) and the CZ (#6) only. So why suggest they take the EB (#7 & #8) to SEA?


He only mentioned it from a previous trip.
He's taking the EB first "I just booked our annual trip to the West Coast. CHI -> PDX. PDX -> EMY. EMY -> CHI."
 

George K

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Well if the five cars is a really big issue, you could possibly take the EB to Seattle instead, where you could transfer to the Starlight or Cascades down to Portland. That would probably cost a little bit more and of course you have the hassle of transferring, but you would be right next to the diner.
Yeah, but we're spending 3 nights in Oregon, at Cannon Beach, so...
 

cpotisch

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Well if the five cars is a really big issue, you could possibly take the EB to Seattle instead, where you could transfer to the Starlight or Cascades down to Portland. That would probably cost a little bit more and of course you have the hassle of transferring, but you would be right next to the diner.
Yeah, but we're spending 3 nights in Oregon, at Cannon Beach, so...
I get that. I'm saying that you could take the EB to Seattle, and then transfer to the Cascades or Starlight to Portland. PDX-SEA is about a three hour ride, so unless you have a really tight schedule, you should have time for it.
 

George K

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Well if the five cars is a really big issue, you could possibly take the EB to Seattle instead, where you could transfer to the Starlight or Cascades down to Portland. That would probably cost a little bit more and of course you have the hassle of transferring, but you would be right next to the diner.
Yeah, but we're spending 3 nights in Oregon, at Cannon Beach, so...
I get that. I'm saying that you could take the EB to Seattle, and then transfer to the Cascades or Starlight to Portland. PDX-SEA is about a three hour ride, so unless you have a really tight schedule, you should have time for it.
I looked at that, believe me.

But Mrs. George wants to simplify. The thought of moving her rock collection luggage an extra time....oy!
 

Ronbo

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Well if the five cars is a really big issue, you could possibly take the EB to Seattle instead, where you could transfer to the Starlight or Cascades down to Portland. That would probably cost a little bit more and of course you have the hassle of transferring, but you would be right next to the diner.
Yeah, but we're spending 3 nights in Oregon, at Cannon Beach, so...
I get that. I'm saying that you could take the EB to Seattle, and then transfer to the Cascades or Starlight to Portland. PDX-SEA is about a three hour ride, so unless you have a really tight schedule, you should have time for it.
I looked at that, believe me.But Mrs. George wants to simplify. The thought of moving her rock collection luggage an extra time....oy!
George l agree about simplifying! It seems to me that transferring to another train would be more difficult than getting to the diner, in the long run. Just take your time and enjoy the trip. Or have meals brought to your room?
 

cpotisch

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Well if the five cars is a really big issue, you could possibly take the EB to Seattle instead, where you could transfer to the Starlight or Cascades down to Portland. That would probably cost a little bit more and of course you have the hassle of transferring, but you would be right next to the diner.
Yeah, but we're spending 3 nights in Oregon, at Cannon Beach, so...
I get that. I'm saying that you could take the EB to Seattle, and then transfer to the Cascades or Starlight to Portland. PDX-SEA is about a three hour ride, so unless you have a really tight schedule, you should have time for it.
I looked at that, believe me.But Mrs. George wants to simplify. The thought of moving her rock collection luggage an extra time....oy!
George l agree about simplifying! It seems to me that transferring to another train would be more difficult than getting to the diner, in the long run. Just take your time and enjoy the trip. Or have meals brought to your room?
I agree with y'all. I just wasn't sure just how much of an issue it was for his wife to have to walk six cars on a moving train to and from the diner for every meal over two days. And the ride from Seattle is pretty nice as well. Just figured I'd through the idea out there just in case.
 

Tennessee Traveler

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Also, is there an easy way to tell, from my reservation, which sleeper I'll be in on the CS and CZ?
Just look at the car number on your e-ticket. The sleeper closest to the diner will be car xx30, with the number going up as you get farther from the diner. The Trans-Dorm is always xx40. Now unfortunately, the sole Portland sleeper on the Empire Builder (2730) is at the back of the train, with five cars between it and the diner. So unless you want to get a Seattle sleeper and change to the Portland one by Spokane (and likely spend extra), you'll have to walk a fair bit at each meal.
George, I will try to answer this and another question about which is closest to the engine. Simple put is that the high number sleeper is the closest to the transition sleep which follows the baggage car. The first numbered sleeper for the California Zephyr is 531 or 631. There is no x30 sleeper. So the 632 sleeper will be the second sleeper and will be closer to transition sleeper than the 631 sleeper. So you will only have to walk through one(the 631) sleeper to get to the dining car. In previous years the sleepers on the Zephyr were move to the end of the consist during Summer and Fall and then back to the front of the consist in Winter and Spring. This year(2018) they did not move the sleepers to the end of the consist but left them at the front. That switch to the end of consist may never happen again.

On the Coast Starlight the 1130 Sleeper is adjacent to the dining car and the most distant sleeper from the engines. 1131 and 1132 are the closest to the engines.
 

Skyline

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If it's sometimes too much for her to walk to the diner, if she's having a bad day you can ask your SCA to serve you in your room. That is what pax less mobile than your wife do.
 

cpotisch

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If it's sometimes too much for her to walk to the diner, if she's having a bad day you can ask your SCA to serve you in your room. That is what pax less mobile than your wife do.
And it's what people who just like to have breakfast in bed on the train do.
 

chakk

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Any traveler can request that the SCA bring their meals to their room. You need not be invalid.
 

George K

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Any traveler can request that the SCA bring their meals to their room. You need not be invalid.
I've always felt guilty doing that. I'm fairly able-bodied, even at my advanced age, and negotiating those cars is not an issue for me. However, Mrs George has had a total hip, both knees replaced (most recent in November) and a total shoulder replacement (April). She' just uncomfortable with all the distance, especially going over some rough track. Empire Builder is not too bad, but when we ride CONO...yikes!
 

Ronbo

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Any traveler can request that the SCA bring their meals to their room. You need not be invalid.
I've always felt guilty doing that. I'm fairly able-bodied, even at my advanced age, and negotiating those cars is not an issue for me. However, Mrs George has had a total hip, both knees replaced (most recent in November) and a total shoulder replacement (April). She' just uncomfortable with all the distance, especially going over some rough track. Empire Builder is not too bad, but when we ride CONO...yikes!
With all things considered about her physical status, why are you even considering such a lengthy journey? Then again, its almost a year out so maybe she will be more able by then ❗ Hope everything works out for you, and that you have a good trip, enjoy Cannon Beach ❗
 
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cpotisch

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Any traveler can request that the SCA bring their meals to their room. You need not be invalid.
I've always felt guilty doing that. I'm fairly able-bodied, even at my advanced age, and negotiating those cars is not an issue for me. However, Mrs George has had a total hip, both knees replaced (most recent in November) and a total shoulder replacement (April). She' just uncomfortable with all the distance, especially going over some rough track. Empire Builder is not too bad, but when we ride CONO...yikes!
If you tip them accordingly, I don't think there's anything to feel guilty about. Whenever we get room service we just tip the SCA as we would the diner staff.
 

George K

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Snacks from the cafe, yes. However, complete meals from the Dining Car you can not. It is the SCA themselve who writes the order and then packs everything and bags it up.
Yep. I offered to bring her breakfast last year, and the staff in the dining car (politely) explained that this is the SCA's job.
 
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