Coast Starlight to Empire Builder connection in Portland

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Skimmy

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Apr 9, 2021
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East Lansing
Good day, After tracking the Coast Starlight, Zephyr, Empire builder for a couple of weeks I see the arrival times all over the place. I guess my concern is making my transition on the Coast Starlight to Empire Builder in Portland.
What happens if I get to Portland late and the Builder has left for Chicago?

Part 2: are the Empire Builder and California Zephyr running daily now. It looked that way today (2 westbound trains). I thought they had been running a lesser schedule?

Thanks

Kim
 

AmtrakBlue

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1) They might bus you from a station before Portland (can't remember which one) to catch up to the Empire Builder at a station on its route. Or they may hold the Empire Builder if there are a lot of people making the connection and the Coast Starlight isn't running too much later than the Empire Builders departure time. Or they'll put you up in a hotel and rebook you on the next day's Empire Builder (though you may not get your original accommodation).

2) The trains have gone back to daily service this month.
 

zephyr17

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Depending on how late it is, they do different things.
1. Hold the Builder for up to a half hour or so.
2. Bus connecting passengers from Eugene or Albany. The bus up I 5 is faster
3. Really late: bus from Klamath Falls to Pasco.

All long distance trains that were daily before the pandemic related cutbacks are back to daily.
 
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Thirty years ago, I made the #14->#28 and #28->#11 connection without fear, and made it every time. But then, the railroads kept Amtrak pretty close to schedule unless there were unforeseeable problems.

These days, hoping to make that connection is like winning the lottery. In the past 10 years or so, I had planned on connecting there but after checking the history for the connections - less than 50% success - chickened out and took a hotel. I found an interesting 1950s era hotel on a MAX line and stayed there several times. I spent a night at the Courtyard (or whatever it is) 2 blocks from the station but it was too rich for my blood.
 
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If the train is very late by Klamath Falls, they do a bus bridge between Klamath Falls and Pasco.

I meant to mention north bound, thanks for guessing right.

Basically it comes down to an hour or two late and the transfer is feasible, more than that we would miss the east bound Empire Builder with the chance of being transferred to coach?

The journey would be at the end of March probably so weather could also come into play?
 

AmtrakBlue

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I meant to mention north bound, thanks for guessing right.

Basically it comes down to an hour or two late and the transfer is feasible, more than that we would miss the east bound Empire Builder with the chance of being transferred to coach?

The journey would be at the end of March probably so weather could also come into play?
If they bus bridge you, you’ll still have the accommodations you booked when you get on at Pasco.
 
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If they bus bridge you, you’ll still have the accommodations you booked when you get on at Pasco.

Right, thanks. The journey would be Chemult ~> PDX ~> CHI ~> NYP with the only sleeper being the Empire Builder, the rest in coach. So having a guaranteed sleeper connection (EB) would be pretty important to us


If it were me I would overnight in Portland. Nothing worse on a trip like this than to have a nail biter every time the train is delayed for a few minutes, wondering if you are going to make it.

I think you have hit the nail on the head, thanks
 
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Beware that the bus bridge may or may not include dinner on your own dime...if they stop somewhere.

When I got bused from Galesburg to Indianapolis 7-8 years ago I was fortunate that they stopped at an exit with 4-5 fast food places clustered together. A couple years later, account a late #11 from PDX, I was rerouted from Martinez to Bakersfield then bused to LAX to catch #2/422 to CHI. Lunch and dinner was again on my dime in a San Joaquin cafe instead of a full meal in a full diner. I had planned to ride a San Joaquin, eventually, so I managed to get a new-to-me Amtrak route covered. No compensation provided by Amtrak in either case.
 

west point

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One time stopped over in PDX on time being on 14 took last train to SEA, hotel, renewed SEA likes then took #8 to CHI. This was old 14's schedule.
 
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