Denver to Chicago

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KJW

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My husband and I are first time Amtrak travelers going from Denver to Chicago, and then on to Cleveland, in a roomette at the end of July. I have noticed that the train often leaves Denver much later than the scheduled departure time. My question is, how early can passengers typically board the train once it arrives in Denver? We are very much looking forward to experiencing dinner on the train and worry that a delayed departure might prevent that. My thought is that if we can at least board the train during dinner hours, we can enjoy a meal while waiting to depart.
 

Cal

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Last call for dinner should be at 8:45 PM, according to the Amtrak website (which is not always correct).

I don't know when passengers begin boarding, my guess is about 15-20 minutes prior to departure, possibly up to 30. I hope that you are able to try dinner in the diner.

If you don't mind me asking, when are you travelling? I'm travelling from New York to Fullerton at the end of July, it'd be neat if it were at the same time.
 

Willbridge

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With the sleepers it sometimes depends on whether the space was occupied when arriving Denver, as the rooms need to be made ready for you. However, my past experience is that they'll serve dinner later for passengers who board at Denver when the train is late. I don't know how late they'll go with that.

When there has been a tour group or other reasons for a mass turnover of rooms in Denver, passengers have been asked to wait in the lounge car till their room is ready. Your dinner might also be an opportunity for the attendant to make up rooms.
 

Siegmund

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It may or may not help you if the train is several hours late --- but my experience in general is that, if you board a sleeping car in the late afternoon or early evening, your sleeping car attendant usually makes a dinner reservation for you before board. You likely won't have to frantically rush to the last seating. (And, conversely, likely won't have a choice what time you are seated for dinner.)
 
K

KJW

Guest
With the sleepers it sometimes depends on whether the space was occupied when arriving Denver, as the rooms need to be made ready for you. However, my past experience is that they'll serve dinner later for passengers who board at Denver when the train is late. I don't know how late they'll go with that.

When there has been a tour group or other reasons for a mass turnover of rooms in Denver, passengers have been asked to wait in the lounge car till their room is ready. Your dinner might also be an opportunity for the attendant to make up rooms.
My other thought is that if it’s very late in Denver and we miss dinner, perhaps we would get it before arriving in Chicago.
 

PVD

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Depending on the time of year. weather can wreak havoc on the Denver arrival/departure. If the train is late enough, there is a good chance you will not get dinner. If the train is running late enough that no dinner will be "fait accompli" speak to the ticket agent about a credit for meal money. Last time I left from Denver, it was running into heat slow orders, and there was no way we were getting fed. The agent gave us money to buy food before the "reasonable places" closed for the night in the station. On the other hand, there are a number of very good places to eat in or around the station if one so chooses.
 

Rasputin

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Based on my experience I don't think it is possible to predict what will happen. We were scheduled to board (roomette) the eastbound Zephyr in Denver several years ago. We knew that the train was running very late and that we might not be able to eat onboard so we ate just before returning our rental car. When we got to the station the train had not arrived and we were given compensation by the agent for our missed meal. Then when we finally boarded about 9:30 -10:00 p.m. we were told that we could have dinner in the dining car if we went right away. We didn't since we had already eaten (and had been reimbursed for our missed meal). Hard to predict if this practice is normal or not but I am glad that we ate when we did instead of taking a chance on no food.

If your train is very late, chances are the dinner into Chicago will be the Amtrak stew rather than an item off the menu.

As you probably know, the scenery west of Denver is superb. The scenery east of Denver is pleasant but not dramatic. Hope your travels on Amtrak will take you west from Denver sometime. (And I hope you have a nice trip.)
 

PVD

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If there is a heat spell going on it is pretty likely. Since I use it to attend meetings every other year in Colorado Springs (nice drive down I2-25) in mid June, I've run in to it a few times. Next year is in Denver, so I can skip the car rental.....
 
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