Quantcast

Most scenic parts of Amtrak routes traversed during the night?

Help Support Amtrak Unlimited Discussion Forum:

Ollie12

Train Attendant
Joined
Jul 24, 2020
Messages
16
Location
Melbourne, Australia
I definitely second the westbound Empire Builder - particularly in winter it's such a shame to miss most of Glacier National Park.

I also always like waking up on the eastbound Zephyr between Green River and Grand Junction which is after dark (again particularly in winter) headed west.

In my opinion the train that misses the most is the southbound Coast Starlight (again a bigger problem in winter) which misses two of America's really scenic sections - the first from Eugene to Klamath Falls climbing the Sierras (the train leaves Eugene at 6:20pm) and the second along the California coast (between San Luis Obispo and Ventura). The Starlight leaves San Luis Obispo at 3:20 and arrives Ventura around 6:45pm (if the train is on time) - in winter that can lead to one of the most amazing sunsets over the water (if it's clear) but it's usually dark for half the coastal section. Northbound the coast is in the morning, as is the descent of the Cascades, and if you're lucky and the train is late (as it often is) you get a good view of Mt Shasta!
 

crescent-zephyr

Conductor
Joined
Oct 21, 2015
Messages
2,687
Coast Starlight varies depending on the time of year, and also if the train is on time. Southbound much of the Cascades are in the dark as well as Mt. Shasta. Northbound Mt. Shasta is sometimes in the dark too but if the train is running early and you get to see it as the sun rises... nothing is going to top that. :)
 

FrensicPic

Conductor
Joined
Jan 15, 2012
Messages
3,031
Location
LAX
I definitely second the westbound Empire Builder - particularly in winter it's such a shame to miss most of Glacier National Park.

I also always like waking up on the eastbound Zephyr between Green River and Grand Junction which is after dark (again particularly in winter) headed west.

In my opinion the train that misses the most is the southbound Coast Starlight (again a bigger problem in winter) which misses two of America's really scenic sections - the first from Eugene to Klamath Falls climbing the Sierras (the train leaves Eugene at 6:20pm) and the second along the California coast (between San Luis Obispo and Ventura). The Starlight leaves San Luis Obispo at 3:20 and arrives Ventura around 6:45pm (if the train is on time) - in winter that can lead to one of the most amazing sunsets over the water (if it's clear) but it's usually dark for half the coastal section. Northbound the coast is in the morning, as is the descent of the Cascades, and if you're lucky and the train is late (as it often is) you get a good view of Mt Shasta!
Correction for you, Eugene to Klamath Falls is the Cascades, not the Sierras. That segment is beautiful and my favorite on the Coast Starlight.
 

FrensicPic

Conductor
Joined
Jan 15, 2012
Messages
3,031
Location
LAX
Coast Starlight varies depending on the time of year, and also if the train is on time. Southbound much of the Cascades are in the dark as well as Mt. Shasta. Northbound Mt. Shasta is sometimes in the dark too but if the train is running early and you get to see it as the sun rises... nothing is going to top that. :)
On the Southbound Coast Starlight, if you are traveling under a full moon you will be able to see Mt. Shasta. We saw it once that way and it was a pretty cool sight.
 
Last edited:

Steve4031

Conductor
AU Supporter
Joined
Aug 27, 2002
Messages
5,819
Location
Chicago
There is an interesting segment on the CZ Route between SLC and Elko. The train go around a series of curves to climb going west bound and descend eastbound.

imho the CONL crossing of the Ohio River at Cairo is another interesting segment.
 

railiner

Conductor
Joined
Mar 20, 2009
Messages
8,152
Location
South Florida
If you include former trains, the Pioneer traversed some beautiful scenery overnite...one rarely seen segment is along the Bear River Canyon, near the Cutler Dam and reservoir, between Ogden and Pocatello....
 

jiml

Conductor
Joined
Feb 27, 2019
Messages
1,532
Location
Toronto area
Coast Starlight varies depending on the time of year, and also if the train is on time. Southbound much of the Cascades are in the dark as well as Mt. Shasta. Northbound Mt. Shasta is sometimes in the dark too but if the train is running early and you get to see it as the sun rises... nothing is going to top that. :)
You're right of course, although I had to laugh out loud when you used Coast Starlight and "running early" in the same paragraph. It's one of my favorite trains - 3x northbound and 1x southbound, but none on time. I still have yet to see Portland before sunset northbound and have arrived in Seattle as late as 1:30 am - all during summer months.
 

Qapla

Conductor
Joined
Jul 15, 2019
Messages
1,189
Location
Gator Country Florida
One thing is for sure - any Amtrak train between NWK and NYP would not be considered to have a "scenic view" at night ... or, even in the daytime
 

Maglev

OBS Chief
Joined
Sep 4, 2016
Messages
938
Location
Orcas Island, Washington
I've been able to view the High Bridge crossing several times about sunrise on the westbound Sunset Limited. This is from last October ...
Thanks for posting that! I crossed that bridge westbound in 1977, and somewhere have a photo of it (that was one of only a dozen pictures I took with my Instamatic camera on that trip).
 

railiner

Conductor
Joined
Mar 20, 2009
Messages
8,152
Location
South Florida
One thing is for sure - any Amtrak train between NWK and NYP would not be considered to have a "scenic view" at night ... or, even in the daytime
In the "beauty is in the eye of the beholder" department....I love the NEC infrastructure, and the surrounding post industrial landscape...certainly a lot more to 'see', than nothing but trees on both sides of the ROW....:)

 

Dakota 400

Conductor
Joined
Mar 5, 2014
Messages
2,069
One thing is for sure - any Amtrak train between NWK and NYP would not be considered to have a "scenic view" at night ... or, even in the daytime
Like railiner, I find that route interesting to see. I'll agree with you that it is not as "scenic" in the same sense that many other parts of our country is.
 

crescent-zephyr

Conductor
Joined
Oct 21, 2015
Messages
2,687
On the Southbound Coast Starlight, if you are traveling under a full moon you will be able to see Mt. Shasta. We saw it once that way and it was a pretty cool site.
I’ve heard that. I’m sure it’s a lovely site if you get a room on the correct side of the train. I’ve seen it northbound at sunrise once from my roomette and once from the parlor car. Was worth the early morning alarm that’s for sure!

You're right of course, although I had to laugh out loud when you used Coast Starlight and "running early" in the same paragraph. It's one of my favorite trains - 3x northbound and 1x southbound, but none on time. I still have yet to see Portland before sunset northbound and have arrived in Seattle as late as 1:30 am - all during summer months.
Oh wow.. I meant late! Yes it would be a minor miracle of the coast starlight was early!!!

One thing is for sure - any Amtrak train between NWK and NYP would not be considered to have a "scenic view" at night ... or, even in the daytime
That’s debatable... the marshy cattails and views of the NYC skyline are pretty nice.
 

tim49424

Conductor
Joined
Dec 20, 2010
Messages
2,969
Location
Holland, MI
I would nominate the EB in Montana, Idaho, and Washington. All of the western LDs pass through interesting areas at night, although scenic is a subjective term. There are also routes such as the CL and Cardinal which pass through the scenic areas at night in one direction but not the other, especially during the winter.
Having been late enough on #7 through Idaho to see it in daylight, I second that nomination. Sandpoint's scenery is awesome! Second place, IMO, would be Utah on the westbound CZ.
 

JayPea

Conductor
Joined
Sep 9, 2006
Messages
3,848
Location
Colfax, WA (CFX)
Having been late enough on #7 through Idaho to see it in daylight, I second that nomination. Sandpoint's scenery is awesome! Second place, IMO, would be Utah on the westbound CZ.
I wholeheartedly agree with your opinion about Sandpoint. I'm fortunate to live about two hours away from Sandpoint so I don't have to depend on an hours late EB to take in the sights.
 

tim49424

Conductor
Joined
Dec 20, 2010
Messages
2,969
Location
Holland, MI
I wholeheartedly agree with your opinion about Sandpoint. I'm fortunate to live about two hours away from Sandpoint so I don't have to depend on an hours late EB to take in the sights.
Our particular #7 was running 8 hours late. I had breakfast in Sandpoint and was in Spokane by mid-morning. This was back in May, 2012 as the Empire Builder got hit by a pickup truck a bit east of Devil's Lake ND. It also happened to be my very first Long Distance trip on Amtrak.
 
Last edited:
Top