L.A. Times tries Coach travel LAX>SEA

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Willbridge

50+ Year Amtrak Rider
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Reporter experiences Coach class food and restrooms on Train 14, discovers the joys of food delivery from local restaurants. (Pay wall limits number of free reads.)

 

Trollopian

Lead Service Attendant
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Washington, DC and Pittsburgh, PA
Thank you, Willbridge! From the article: "The Coast Starlight is not Amtrak’s longest route (that would be the 65-hour-long Texas Eagle)...." I was today years old when I learned that fact about the Eagle. (Sorry, Bob Dylan.) I would've guessed the Empire Builder. Or possibly the Zephyr, or the Chief, but if I were forced to blurt an answer on Jeopardy! I'd pick the Builder. I bet someone in our group can easily rank the longest endpoint-to-endpoint Amtrak routes?
 
Joined
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Texas Eagle is longest with the Zephyr 2nd. Empire builder, Southwest chief, Sunset Limited are within hours of each other.
62-66 vs 52 vs ~45
Technically speaking, the Texas Eagle only runs between Chicago and San Antonio, which is not the longest Amtrak trip one can take. There are through cars that are attached to the Sunset Limited, which connects New Orleans and Los Angeles, and if you ride in one of these cars between Los Angeles and Chicago, then you are taking the longest single-seat Amtrak ride possible, but you are really riding on two different trains.

Now, what would be interesting to figure out would be the longest possible Amtrak trip (not doubling back towards the origin) that one could make with connections.
 

Trollopian

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Washington, DC and Pittsburgh, PA
Why not just look at the timetables to find out how many miles each route is?

The L.A. Times article was using hours, not miles, as its metric though either is defensible.

Washington to Pittsburgh (my most frequent route!) on the Capitol Limited is 283 miles but takes more than twice as long as Washington to NYC, a similar distance.
 

Chris I

Service Attendant
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Jan 8, 2019
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Portland, OR
We did the same trip earlier this year. It was a totally full spring break train, and honestly, it would have been an unpleasant experience if we had been in Coach. By day two, the coach cars and the observation car were noticeably stinky, and people camping in the observation car was an issue. It's really unfortunate that Amtrak can't tack on a few more coach cars, especially during busy travel periods. Allowing coach passengers to spread out a bit more, and getting more seats out there to sell. The demand is clearly there.

Also, it was a bit laughable that they noted a "17 hour" drive time between LAX and Seattle. That would be the absolute fastest time you could expect, driving straight through in what would be the worst day of your life as a driver. A more realistic drive estimate would involve a stop in Ashland for some sleep, with a total travel time of 18-20 hours plus 8-10 hours for dinner, sleep, breakfast in Ashland. VERY few people can do a straight through trip from LAX-SEA. I've done LAX to PDX once, and it was horrible.
 

Bob Dylan

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Florida NYC CHI SEA LAX CHI NOLA WAS-DC
You'd have to spend a night in NOL, thus breaking the Connection string.( this is true for all 3 LD Trains that serve NOL./ under the Old AGR 1 this wouldn't have been true using the "Slidell Loophole" if you started in NOL).
 
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Amtrak709

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Columbus, GA
Technically speaking, the Texas Eagle only runs between Chicago and San Antonio, which is not the longest Amtrak trip one can take. There are through cars that are attached to the Sunset Limited, which connects New Orleans and Los Angeles, and if you ride in one of these cars between Los Angeles and Chicago, then you are taking the longest single-seat Amtrak ride possible, but you are really riding on two different trains.

Now, what would be interesting to figure out would be the longest possible Amtrak trip (not doubling back towards the origin) that one could make with connections.
MARC Rider: Your challenge intrigues me. Here is my two cents worth. In 1997 after beating bladder cancer and using the four months chemo in planning
this trip when I got well--17 days; 7963 miles; 06-22 April 1997 with connections but not duplicating a segment: DLD-NYP-TOL-DET-CHI-PDX-LAX-NOL-CHI-WAS-DLD. While the routes DLD-NYP and WAS-DLD are, of course, nearly the same, I was on the Silver Meteor route DLD-NYP and the Silver Star route WAS-DLD. All I did was RIDE in sleeper bedrooms with one night on the ground in each Detroit, Los Angeles, and Chicago. I suspect that this is no record but I am providing this Information just for the fun of it. Maybe this is worthy of a separate thread for others who have similar experiences. P.S.: Can you imagine what this trip would cost with today's high sleeper pricing--especially for a bedroom. I have not done the current math but I can tell you my total fare was about $3000 in 1997.
 

rs9

Service Attendant
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Dec 26, 2021
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Chicago
In its automated ticketing emails, Amtrak should explicitly inform coach passengers (or business as applicable) that they aren't eligible to use the dining car.

Over the holidays, I'll see what a packed LSL train is like. Most of my LSL rides have been only semi-full, and it's pretty easy to find your private spot as a solo traveler at least. On my NYP-CHI trip three weeks ago, unfortunately a passenger boarded at ALB who, for lack of a better way to put it, had pretty bad body odor. He sat two rows behind me, but there was basically a circle of odor surrounding him. I was able to relocate myself, but it would have been a bit unpleasant on a full train without any available seats/rows.

With that said, the same exact person might be sitting next to you on a plane.

This will never happen, but one easy fix in coach is for everyone who wants to go shoeless (myself included) to bring a fresh pair of socks to put on basically once you are on the train. This is my routine at least, with a pair of crocs.
 

Amtrak709

Service Attendant
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May 6, 2021
Messages
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Columbus, GA
Thank you, Willbridge! From the article: "The Coast Starlight is not Amtrak’s longest route (that would be the 65-hour-long Texas Eagle)...." I was today years old when I learned that fact about the Eagle. (Sorry, Bob Dylan.) I would've guessed the Empire Builder. Or possibly the Zephyr, or the Chief, but if I were forced to blurt an answer on Jeopardy! I'd pick the Builder. I bet someone in our group can easily rank the longest endpoint-to-endpoint Amtrak routes?
Trollopian: I was surfing this thread today I was reminded of this little bit of information. This service, of course, does not exist today, but back in the early 1970's AFTER the beginning of Amtrak but BEFORE the Southern Railway joined Amtrak there was a through sleeper LAX-NYP via NOL. One would stay in the sleeper for four days/nights (2 days on the Sunset LAX-NOL, 1 night stay in the sleeper while parked in NOL, then another night on the Crescent NOL-NYP. I actually did this once. Do any other readers of the AU thread remember this??
 

Sidney

OBS Chief
Joined
Jul 12, 2020
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936
Trollopian: I was surfing this thread today I was reminded of this little bit of information. This service, of course, does not exist today, but back in the early 1970's AFTER the beginning of Amtrak but BEFORE the Southern Railway joined Amtrak there was a through sleeper LAX-NYP via NOL. One would stay in the sleeper for four days/nights (2 days on the Sunset LAX-NOL, 1 night stay in the sleeper while parked in NOL, then another night on the Crescent NOL-NYP. I actually did this once. Do any other readers of the AU thread remember this??
I would love the Sunset/Crescent idea. Transferring from the SL to the Crescent,I can't justify paying for a hotel for that short period of time,plus the added time and expense getting to and from the hotel. I did spend an overnight at the station. This was about 16 years ago. Wouldn't do that again.That would be another LA to Was/Bal,Phl,NYP alternative. I once rode the Sunset to Jacksonville and transferred to the Silver Star to get to DC.
 

niemi24s

Engineer
Joined
Feb 11, 2015
Messages
2,889
Found a 13,357 mile long trip on Amtrak that did not duplicate any piece of track.

Who can find a longer one? :)
 
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