Southwest Chief discussion

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Rizla Ronnie

Train Attendant
Joined
Jun 23, 2022
Messages
28
Location
UK
Hi folks,
Greetings from England.
We had such good fun on our debut Amtrak trip last year on the California Zephyr that we've decided to do something again in '23 , particularly as we have a $400 refund voucher after problems with the dining facilities on our last trip which fortunately didn't deter us from further adventures.
We're in the preliminary planning the SouthWest Chief from Chicago but alighting at Flagstaff to spend a few days driving up to Monument Valley which is on our bucket list.
Having done the Grand Canyon and Las Vegas many times over the years we were looking for any more inspiriation in that part of the country which is an area we've never really explored.
It's going to be part of a month-long trip to the US which will involved a few plane journeys to other parts as well depending on what sort of Home Exchanges we organise in the meantime.
It's like to be around September/October time but we're totally flexible as we're both retired.
Many thanks in advance for any advice.
 

Trollopian

Lead Service Attendant
AU Supporting Member
Joined
Sep 19, 2014
Messages
411
Location
Washington, DC and Pittsburgh, PA
You'll be on the Southwest Chief anyway, so let me throw in an unsolicited suggestion to break your journey in Albuquerque, too, and take Railrunner up to Santa Fe! The U.S. Southwest is magical, its history, its architecture, its topography. NM license plates dub it the "Land of Enchantment" and that's not just hype. This Easterner was kinda expecting it to look like a Roadrunner-vs.-Coyote cartoon come to life and couldn't have been more wrong. See related posts at

Planning southwest trip

Suggestion for Amtrak winter vacation spot?
 
Joined
Jan 17, 2019
Messages
1,443
My information may be a bit dated but here goes:

The trading post at Cameron is worth a stop. It has greatly expanded in recent years (maybe too much).

I believe there is now a Hopi-run hotel on the Hopi reservation near Tuba City and there are several Hopi tribal members who offer guided tours of the Hopi reservation. I would think that would be ever interesting.

The Burger King in Kayenta has a great display devoted to the history of the Navajo Codetalkers. Well worth a visit. As I understand it, the person who started the franchise there was the son of a codetalker so he collected the items and installed the exhibits.

We have not stayed at the View Hotel at Monument Valley (it hadn't been built during our last visit). However we have friends who have stayed there several times and really like it. Be aware that your admission to Monument Valley allows you to visit only a limited section of the Valley but if you hire a Navajo guide you can visit a much larger section. We hired a guide and that is the way to go.

The trading post at Teec nos pos is great place to stop. They have great jewelry and rugs and are not overrun with tourists (as can happen at Cameron).

Mesa Verde, Cortez and the Ute reservation are great places to visit and I believe you can hire a guide to take you to some portions of the Ute reservation.

The only place I didn't care for (although the kids still thought it was fun) was the tribal park at the Four Corners monument. The monument itself was nice but the place was otherwise run-down. Porta-potties were filthy and overflowing. Maybe it has improved since then. Of course there have been recent claims that the actual four corners where the four states meet is at a different location based on subsequent surveys.

Hope you have a great trip and will post a report. We had reservations to visit Monument Valley again in 2020 but cancelled due to the pandemic.
 

Maglev

Conductor
Joined
Sep 4, 2016
Messages
1,369
Location
Orcas Island, Washington

Maglev

Conductor
Joined
Sep 4, 2016
Messages
1,369
Location
Orcas Island, Washington
Here's a few other places we stayed. Pagosa Springs has been extensively built-up since we were there around 1987--it was dilapidated and scary then; now it looks downright upscale.




 
Last edited:
Joined
Sep 2, 2021
Messages
1,119
Location
Lubec, ME
I second the Durango and Silverton ride as well worth it. The scenery is unforgettable. I pretty much rode the entire trip on one of the outside platforms of the coaches. The town of Silverton is interesting too.


We had a rental car so drove up to Grand Junction CO via the mountain passes North of Silverton which were spectacular but scary. I think my wife had her eyes closed for the entire portion through the passes :eek:
 

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mitako

Service Attendant
Joined
May 21, 2018
Messages
100
It's only a couple hours drive from Flagstaff to Page, Arizona. In Page, you can do a tour of the unbelievable Antelope Canyon, a slot canyon that must be seen to be believed. Note that you need to book tours way in advance and they must be with a Navajo guide. Also near page is the Horseshoe Bend on the Colorado River, one of the most photographed spots in the US Southwest. If you haven't gone to Bryce and Zion National Parks, I highly recommend both. Oh, and a river float on the Colorado is also a great activity you can do from Page, Arizona. I'm attaching photos of all of these places, taken on a road trip with hubby in 2021. We also went to the Grand Canyon.
 

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Maglev

Conductor
Joined
Sep 4, 2016
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Location
Orcas Island, Washington
There's also the Grand Canyon Railway in this area:


I suggest several days to explore the Four Corners area--I spent two weeks on my first visit, and later returned to visit a few more highlights.
 
Joined
Jan 14, 2023
Messages
1
Location
Prescott valley, AZ
I have a round trip booked on the sw chief, I am assigned roomette s 12 and 13 for the trip. Is it fairly quiet for those roomette s or would being the the second level be better?
Jan
 
Joined
May 25, 2006
Messages
1,304
Location
Central Florida
@Rizla Ronnie, perhaps rent a car in Albuquerque for a great circle tour to the places mentioned above plus a few of the places we like. From Albuquerque head due north to the very small town of Chama to ride our favorite steam powered train, the Cumbres and Toltec Scenic RR. Perhaps not as dramatic as the D&SNG, but seems more like a 'real' railroad.

From there head to Monument Valley passing through Durango and Mesa Verde NP. We like to stay at Gouldings Lodge in Monument Valley. It's not in the park but it has a great view of it ( the first photo was from our room), and was the site of the filming of several John Wayne western movies. Be sure to visit when the light is best - dawn or dusk).

If you have time visit the nearby Utah national parks of Arches, Canyonlands, and Capitol Reef. Then head to Arizona through Flagstaff to Sedona (perhaps with a visit to the Verde Canyon RR). Return with a stop at Winslow to see the nearby Petrified Forest and Painted Desert NP. Probably our favorite hotel in the U.S. is in Winslow, La Posada and is good overnight spot for the return to Albuquerque (our do a one way rental and return the car back in Flagstaff).

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Cal

Engineer
Joined
Jan 23, 2021
Messages
4,045
Location
Socal
I second the Durango and Silverton ride as well worth it. The scenery is unforgettable. I pretty much rode the entire trip on one of the outside platforms of the coaches. The town of Silverton is interesting too.


We had a rental car so drove up to Grand Junction CO via the mountain passes North of Silverton which were spectacular but scary. I think my wife had her eyes closed for the entire portion through the passes :eek:
Took it over the summer and it was amazing. I spent about 90% of the time in the vestibule enjoying the open air and train sounds.
 

Rambling Robert

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
May 30, 2021
Messages
291
Location
Boston
Mesa Verde NP is mentioned but the park includes the Ancient Cliff Dwellings/.Palace. This was the highlight of my 1972 cross-country trip. I was educated about Columbus and 1492 but not indigenous homes of 400AD until MVNP
 
Joined
Oct 16, 2018
Messages
2,903
Location
12 miles from Walt Disney World
Anyone know the line numbers on the SWC?

I'm booked in the Accessible Bedroom in car 330 in June. I see that it's running without a baggage car, and with a trans-dorm and a sleeper. I'd rather not be in the car right behind the engines, fearing fumes and noise. If they keep the trans-dorm, at least I would be at the back of the car, but if they put a full sleeper back on, I could be sleeping just 15' or so from an engine! I also wouldn't mind having a shorter walk to the diner & SSL, if I can manage to navigate the stairs.

Thanks.
 

trimetbusfan

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Nov 27, 2021
Messages
258
Location
Portland
Anyone know the line numbers on the SWC?

I'm booked in the Accessible Bedroom in car 330 in June. I see that it's running without a baggage car, and with a trans-dorm and a sleeper. I'd rather not be in the car right behind the engines, fearing fumes and noise. If they keep the trans-dorm, at least I would be at the back of the car, but if they put a full sleeper back on, I could be sleeping just 15' or so from an engine! I also wouldn't mind having a shorter walk to the diner & SSL, if I can manage to navigate the stairs.

Thanks.
If they add a full sleeper, the 331 car would be closer to the engines. (Same position the 340 car is in currently).
 
Joined
Oct 16, 2018
Messages
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12 miles from Walt Disney World
If they add a full sleeper, the 331 car would be closer to the engines. (Same position the 340 car is in currently).
OK, let me see I'm understanding. I'm in 330, and you're saying that that is the full sleeper, while the trans-dorm behind the engines is 340? And if they replace the trans-dorm with another sleeper, it would be 331, and it would go in front of 330?
 

trimetbusfan

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Nov 27, 2021
Messages
258
Location
Portland
OK, let me see I'm understanding. I'm in 330, and you're saying that that is the full sleeper, while the trans-dorm behind the engines is 340? And if they replace the trans-dorm with another sleeper, it would be 331, and it would go in front of 330?
Yes. 330 is always closer to the dining car. Therefore, as long as there is another sleeper on the train (either a transform or full sleeper) 330 will not be next to the engines.
 
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