My trip on the Zephyr

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dn4192

Service Attendant
Joined
Feb 28, 2012
Messages
197
Back on June 3 I along with my sister took the California Zephyr from Chicago to Sacramento. We each had our own roomette on the car closest to the dinning car. This was our first time traveling this way and I thought I would share my thoughts on this trip.

*The staff could not have been more professional and outstanding. Our car porter was always there when we needed him and was a great person and very personable. He could flip the roomettes in just a few minutes and was johnny on the spot when you needed him.

*The dinning crew presented a wonderful meal and service. What surprised me the most was how well the plates and glasses didn't move around on the table. I saw zero spillage in any of my meals which I was expecting at least a few.

*I thought dinning with others would be kinda uncomfortable, but our dinning at both lunch and dinner were great people. One set was a father and son from Ireland and we had a wonderful conversation. Both of our bfast we dined alone as we usually waited till just about before bfast being over.

*The views once into Colorado and until Sacramento were fantastic and we had pretty fair weather during out trip with only a little rain around Donners Pass.

Negatives....

*The most glaring one is delays. Our time was 4.5 hours late into Sacramento. All due to complete stops waiting for clear tracks. I was under the impression that Amtrak had the right of way but maybe I am wrong. Until this issue is addressed the use of Amtrak is going to struggle as americans don't want to be sitting around.

*Room size....yes I know they are limited on size but even my sister struggled in the bathrooms with space. Maybe lose a roommet or on the bottom for with one less bathroom and make a good size one as in the 21st century americans are getting bigger, not smaller.

Those are my only two negatives...Overall it was an enjoyable trip but I can't see me taking another unless the delay issue is addressed.
 

Dustyroad

Service Attendant
Joined
Jul 2, 2020
Messages
166
Im so glad you had a great trip, besides the delays. Did you have the new menu that is listed on Facebook, or the same one that has been uses since last yr?
 

dn4192

Service Attendant
Joined
Feb 28, 2012
Messages
197
Im so glad you had a great trip, besides the delays. Did you have the new menu that is listed on Facebook, or the same one that has been uses since last yr?
The menu is the old one. Dinner was a pasta dish, the steak, the fish and one other thing I believe. Lunch was a burger and a couple other choices. Bfast was omlet and french toast and a couple other items. Food was all very well done and tasty.
 

Dustyroad

Service Attendant
Joined
Jul 2, 2020
Messages
166
Thanks for letting us know. That is what we had last yr. I hope the Empire catches up soon.
 

bryher

Train Attendant
Joined
Jan 7, 2019
Messages
26
thanks for sharing! My son and I will be traveling on the CZ next month, from CHI to Sacramento. Actually, if you live there maybe you could give a few tips on where to stay? Im looking for something simple and inexpensive as we'll be flying out to Seattle in the AM.
 

dn4192

Service Attendant
Joined
Feb 28, 2012
Messages
197
thanks for sharing! My son and I will be traveling on the CZ next month, from CHI to Sacramento. Actually, if you live there maybe you could give a few tips on where to stay? Im looking for something simple and inexpensive as we'll be flying out to Seattle in the AM.
We don't, we used that as our stopping point to get a rental car and then headed on to Lake Tahoe and then Yosemite before driving up the coast of Oregon. Make sure in Sacramento to catch the shuttle ride from the train to the station as it is a very long walk from where they let you off. Plan on being late into the station...
 
Joined
Mar 5, 2014
Messages
3,577
I was under the impression that Amtrak had the right of way but maybe I am wrong. Until this issue is addressed the use of Amtrak is going to struggle as americans don't want to be sitting around.

I don't think you are wrong in your thinking, but, Amtrak seems unable to enforce their supposed priority.

One of the problems, I think, is that in some areas there is only a single track when years ago, there was at least one more track. That may have helped the trains in the past to better maintain their schedule.
 
Joined
Aug 8, 2015
Messages
3,592
Location
Los Angeles
Back on June 3 I along with my sister took the California Zephyr from Chicago to Sacramento. We each had our own roomette on the car closest to the dinning car. This was our first time traveling this way and I thought I would share my thoughts on this trip.

*The staff could not have been more professional and outstanding. Our car porter was always there when we needed him and was a great person and very personable. He could flip the roomettes in just a few minutes and was johnny on the spot when you needed him.

*The dinning crew presented a wonderful meal and service. What surprised me the most was how well the plates and glasses didn't move around on the table. I saw zero spillage in any of my meals which I was expecting at least a few.

*I thought dinning with others would be kinda uncomfortable, but our dinning at both lunch and dinner were great people. One set was a father and son from Ireland and we had a wonderful conversation. Both of our bfast we dined alone as we usually waited till just about before bfast being over.

*The views once into Colorado and until Sacramento were fantastic and we had pretty fair weather during out trip with only a little rain around Donners Pass.

Negatives....

*The most glaring one is delays. Our time was 4.5 hours late into Sacramento. All due to complete stops waiting for clear tracks. I was under the impression that Amtrak had the right of way but maybe I am wrong. Until this issue is addressed the use of Amtrak is going to struggle as americans don't want to be sitting around.

*Room size....yes I know they are limited on size but even my sister struggled in the bathrooms with space. Maybe lose a roommet or on the bottom for with one less bathroom and make a good size one as in the 21st century americans are getting bigger, not smaller.

Those are my only two negatives...Overall it was an enjoyable trip but I can't see me taking another unless the delay issue is addressed.
Thanks for Sharing your experience. The One thing you can count on with Amtrak, delays on LD routes are common. Please don’t take that for a reason to stop using this wonderful experience in travel.
 

zephyr17

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Jul 23, 2009
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6,008
Location
Washington State
I don't think you are wrong in your thinking, but, Amtrak seems unable to enforce their supposed priority.

One of the problems, I think, is that in some areas there is only a single track when years ago, there was at least one more track. That may have helped the trains in the past to better maintain their schedule.
Much of the line past Illinois to west of the Utah-Nevada border was always single track. There is "paired track" (former SP and WP) across much of northern Nevada that remains in service. The only significant area that had been single tracked on the route is over parts of Donner Pass where the original Transcontinental Railroad route over Donner Summit was taken out of service in the 1990s and only the newer second track through Tunnel 41 remains. In fact, between Sacramento and Emeryville, some areas that had been single tracked have had two main tracks restored, courtesy of CalTrans.
 

jis

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Actually, the more recent problem is that the PSR induced very long freight trains do not fit the existing passing sidings anymore, which makes it necessary for nice short trains like Amtrak ones to be held in sidings while trains that do not fit in sidings pass by.
 

jpakala

Service Attendant
Joined
Jul 13, 2014
Messages
136
The Pennsylvania RR had at least a 5-track mainline through Wilkinsburg (just east of Pittsburgh), for example. It is down to 3 at most now I think, The famous Horseshoe Curve near Altoona was always at least 4 tracks but down to 3 now at most. When local commuter train service in Pittsburgh ended decades ago at least one outer track was removed; happily the Wilkinsburg station is being restored, partly owing to its magnificence with every bit of masonry, brick, wood, etc. of the highest quality and design. Amtrak for some decades now has no stop between Pittsburgh and Greensburg to the east, which also has a fine station archiecturally and so on. Wilkinsburg was the only stop in between (at least since Amtrak began). Westward, the PRR had at least two tracks the whole way from Pittsburgh to Chicago. I memorized the stations during a 1956 trip, Englewood being he last before Chicago as mentioned.
 
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Messages
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Much of the line past Illinois to west of the Utah-Nevada border was always single track

Thank you. I continue to learn.

The Pennsylvania RR had at least a 5-track mainline through Wilkinsburg (just east of Pittsburgh), for example.

That is what I was remembering. I am more familiar with tracks East of the Mississippi than I am West of the river. I know there are many areas where there used to be at least double tracks and are now down to one track.
 
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