Long Distance Train Coach & Sleeper Fares (Buckets)

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May 15, 2022
Based on my luck that my watchful waiting for my NYP-EVR trip turned out, now booked, with fares inventory being allocated from all high bucket to lowest bucket on the Lake Shore and second lowest on the Builder, I did a check on days in October that the Zephyr arrives in Emeryville one day before the Sunset/Eagle leaves LAX. It appears that some inventory reallocation has taken place, because the fares vary quite a bit now:

10/2 high bucket
10/4 high bucket
10/6 second highest bucket
10/9 high bucket
10/11 middle bucket
10/13 middle bucket
10/16 middle bucket
10/18 middle bucket
10/20 second lowest bucket
10/23 second lowest bucket
10/25 second lowest bucket
10/27 second lowest bucket
10/30 low bucket

To me, that indicates at least a first round of inventory distribution adjustment has taken place. Only 3 of 13 departures are now high bucket.

I don't know your planned itinerary, but October and November now appear to have been reallocated and it is the time to strike if any of the middle or second lowest bucket dates appeal to you. They typically only have a couple of rooms in the lowest allocated bucket, and I would never hold out waiting for a low bucket when a second lowest is available. Of course, you could score on 10/30.

That kind of search is what is needed to track down good fares. Amsnag made such searches easy, now they have to be done by hand. It isn't worth doing until there is a good chance that they've done an inventory adjustment after the initial allocation, spot checks are good enough in the first few months.
Thank you, I can probably make that 10/20 date work.


Train Attendant
Apr 18, 2022
I also just took advantage of low buckets in the fall. I just booked Southwest Chief from CHI to LAX, Coast Starlight from LAX to EMY, and California Zephyr from EMY to CHI. Dates are 10/26 to 11/1. Roomettes for all 3 segments. Low bucket pricing for the long segments. I didn't pay attention to the CS bucket, since I wasn't going the full distance. Total trip for $1458. Not bad at all.

I debated on whether to just go with Business Class for the CS segment since it's just 12 hours. But since it was only $272, I decided to splurge on the roomette. I may need a nap at some point.
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Service Attendant
Nov 27, 2021
Looks like there the bucket prices might be changing. Just went and looked prices on the Coast Starlight and was shocked to see how high some of the prices were. 😢

Highest bucket:
Roomette: originally $765 now $846
Bedroom: originally $1626 now $1776
FB: originally $1325 now $1402
(These probably require additional verification).

I also looked at fares for the Empire Builder and a few other routes, but those appear to be the same as they have been (for now at least).