Southwest Chief Question

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jannie

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Mar 30, 2012
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Been awhile since we've been on the SWChief or anywhere for that matter :) Does it still go daily? Do they still serve meals (or provide) for sleeper till 7 PM ? Is it on time - going to Albuque, NM (sp). Any rental car places near by? Took the train many years ago - thanks for any info can provide planning to go in couple wks - unplanned.
 

zephyr17

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The SW Chief is daily now and has been since like May. Dinner hours are supposed to be until 9, but they may do fewer seatings if the loads are light.

BNSF generally does a good job handling it and Albuquerque has a huge pad in both directions. It's kind of had a bad summer this year, though. Over the last 3 months it has had an average delay of 63 minutes and a median delay of 26 minutes westbound, and and average delay of 77 minutes and a median delay of 52 minutes eastbound.
You can check it's on time performance at ASMAD - Amtrak Status Maps Archive Database - Train History Search

With that said yours could be the trip where a freight derails ahead of you blocking the line, or your train hits a trespasser and is held up for 3 hours for the coroner.

Someone else will need to answer about rental cars.
 
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jannie

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Mar 30, 2012
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93
Thank you, Also seem like their website is less user friendly, can't find how to add a person. to find our cost for 2 people. and how to add a roomette. Might be too late to get the roomette anyway.
 

zephyr17

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Thank you, Also seem like their website is less user friendly, can't find how to add a person. to find our cost for 2 people. and how to add a roomette. Might be too late to get the roomette anyway.
Yeah, the website has gotten worse. You need to put in the number of travelers right at the start. And once it gives you your train choices, you should see a boxes under the individual train listing saying "Coach from $x" and "Rooms from $y". Click the Rooms option. The display is different if you choose the Multi-City option.

Roomettes are likely available, but the cost could be really high.
 

niemi24s

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For rental cars, just Google "Albuquerque car rentals" and click on the map that appears.
 

jannie

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Mar 30, 2012
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Z thanks for the info - hubby could get as far as "roomette", but said it was something like $800. However, he never was able to get 2 people , but you explained that. We'll try again. used to be very straight forward.
Will try Google for the rental cars.
 

Barb Stout

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Mar 13, 2019
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Albuquerque, NM
For rental cars, just Google "Albuquerque car rentals" and click on the map that appears.
When I did that, an Avis comes up, but I'm not convinced it's really there. I live in ABQ and while I don't go downtown very much (where the Amtrak station is), I don't remember seeing any car rental agencies in that area, but that doesn't mean that there aren't any. I would definitely call before relying on Google maps or the like. However, one nice thing about the train station is that it is next to the transit hub for Albuquerque city bus system, so there are a lot of buses one can take from there to different parts of the city. Furthermore, Amtrak shares space with Greyhound at the station and the RailRunner train also stops there. The Railrunner goes from Belen (south of ABQ) to Santa Fe with several stops during its run and several runs a day.
 

niemi24s

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Another, perhaps better. way to see where rental car agencies are located is to go to the agency home page and enter the city. Most will show you a map showing their locations and those maps might be more current than the map provided by Google.
 

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I would definitely call before relying on Google maps or the like.
Agreed. A lot of business schedule and active location information has gone stale in the last couple years. Even before the pandemic I was able to book cars for locations that had closed because the rental company failed to keep their own website current.
 
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We're riding the SWC to Albuquerque next year and have a rental car at the airport reserved. I'm figuring I'll either get a cab or Uber to the airport to pick it up, then come back to the station for the wife and kid.
 

Barb Stout

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Albuquerque, NM
We're riding the SWC to Albuquerque next year and have a rental car at the airport reserved. I'm figuring I'll either get a cab or Uber to the airport to pick it up, then come back to the station for the wife and kid.
If you wanted to, you could also take bus 250 or 50 to the airport. 250 is free and a direct non-stop bus that doesn't run very often whereas 50 runs every half hour, but has a number of stops between the Alvarado Transportation Center (where Amtrak arrives and departs) and the airport. I believe the SWC arrives in ABQ sometime in the afternoon (can't remember when) and the 250 afternoon times to go to the airport are 2:42 pm and 5:55 pm. The 250's schedule is lined up for arrivals on the RailRunner (not Amtrak) that goes from Santa Fe through ABQ and then down to Belen. 250 doesn't run on the weekends.
 

BoulderCO

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Looks like there is an Enterprise car rental an easy walk from the Amtrak station. Probably better rates there than at the airport.
 

me_little_me

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When I did that, an Avis comes up, but I'm not convinced it's really there. I live in ABQ and while I don't go downtown very much (where the Amtrak station is), I don't remember seeing any car rental agencies in that area, but that doesn't mean that there aren't any. I would definitely call before relying on Google maps or the like. However, one nice thing about the train station is that it is next to the transit hub for Albuquerque city bus system, so there are a lot of buses one can take from there to different parts of the city. Furthermore, Amtrak shares space with Greyhound at the station and the RailRunner train also stops there. The Railrunner goes from Belen (south of ABQ) to Santa Fe with several stops during its run and several runs a day.
We will usually stay first night at a nearby hotel in ABQ to which we can walk or get free hotel shuttle.

Remember, main city bus terminal is right next to Amtrak station as is Railrunner station.

Airport rental car prices, like at almost all airports, are often far more than in-town places. In ABQ, we've often taken the Railrunner to the Montano station where Hertz will meet us. I'm sure that places not too far from the station will pick you up there but I don't count on Amtrak's arrival time so I do the first night, at least, either close to the station or a Uber/taxi to a hotel not far from at the cheapest rental car place. Also, note that rental rates at the airport private plane building used to be much cheaper than at the regular terminal.

Note to military veterans: Railrunner and city buses are free to vets. You need a pass though. Can get one at Railrunner office not far from the station. Seniors pay half price. No pass needed.
 

jannie

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Hubby checked rates for the Oct 1st date and the rental at the Airport was $800 at Enterprise. I couldn't believe how high it was. The cab fare to Airport was $25 at least on the site he went to. Usually Downtown hotels are pretty pricey, but I think yrs ago we stayed overnight then went the further - No train to next leg.
 

dwebarts

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Hubby checked rates for the Oct 1st date and the rental at the Airport was $800 at Enterprise. I couldn't believe how high it was. The cab fare to Airport was $25 at least on the site he went to. Usually Downtown hotels are pretty pricey, but I think yrs ago we stayed overnight then went the further - No train to next leg.
The rates are the highest then due to the Balloon Fiesta which starts on Oct 2nd this year. It's the absolute high season for Albuquerque.
 

me_little_me

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Hubby checked rates for the Oct 1st date and the rental at the Airport was $800 at Enterprise. I couldn't believe how high it was. The cab fare to Airport was $25 at least on the site he went to. Usually Downtown hotels are pretty pricey, but I think yrs ago we stayed overnight then went the further - No train to next leg.
There are reasonably priced places near Old Town which is a short city bus ride (or taxi/Uber) from the station. That allows you to spend a day seeing the most traditional part of ABQ and it's a big tourist attraction. Two other nice hotels nearer the station are the Andaluz (walking distance) and Hotel Parq Central (free shuttle when we stayed and what a view from the rooftop bar!), both of which we have stayed at.
 

jannie

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Mar 30, 2012
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Thanks all for the info - The Balloon Festival date now explains better the cost of the rental car. We actually needed the rental car to travel further south (train doesn't go) Alamagordo - which is also having some sort of event nearby "atomic bomb site" very seldom open - but same weekend. Well this gives us a plan.
 

Barb Stout

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Albuquerque, NM
Thanks all for the info - The Balloon Festival date now explains better the cost of the rental car. We actually needed the rental car to travel further south (train doesn't go) Alamagordo - which is also having some sort of event nearby "atomic bomb site" very seldom open - but same weekend. Well this gives us a plan.
Trinity?
 

Barb Stout

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Mar 13, 2019
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931
Location
Albuquerque, NM
Thanks all for the info - The Balloon Festival date now explains better the cost of the rental car. We actually needed the rental car to travel further south (train doesn't go) Alamagordo - which is also having some sort of event nearby "atomic bomb site" very seldom open - but same weekend. Well this gives us a plan.
Another possibility on maybe getting less expensive car rental rates is to take the RailRunner south to Belen which has at least 1 car rental place. My sister has transferred from the SWC to the RailRunner heading south and getting off at Belen. It's a convenient connection. Then her husband comes and gets her in Belen and takes her back home to Silver City, NM. They don't care for driving in the Albuquerque area which is totally understandable.

Edit: Oops, sorry, the car rental place is in Los Lunas, but the Rail Runner stops there also. Then the RailRunner station/platform is 0.8 miles from the Enterprise car rental place. Do car rental places still meet people where they're at?
 
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AmtrakMaineiac

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Lubec, ME
At least some do. Enterprise will pick up at Kissimmee FL, and people have said some agencies will pick up at the Orlando station.
We recently used Enterprise in Flagstaff AZ. We arrived on the SWC and overnighted at the Residence Inn 2 blocks from the station and Enterprise picked us up the next morning. Worked out great.

We did have to call 24 hours ahead to arrange the pickup which was a little tricky since the SWC goes through some remote areas. I think I ended up calling during the ABQ layover.
 
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