The perfect circle trip.

Help Support Amtrak Unlimited Discussion Forum:

Sidney

OBS Chief
Joined
Jul 12, 2020
Messages
623
Having ridden on every Amtrak long distance train multiple times,I think this is about a perfect circle as you can get.

Using DC as your start and end points,the Capitol Limited to Chicago,The Zephyr to Sacramento,The Starlight to Portland,the Builder to Chicago and the Cardinal back to DC. Only addition I would make to include coastal scenes is a Sam Juaquin and bus to LA from Sacramento or Martinez
and the Starlight from LA to Portland.

If only low buckets weren't virtually impossible to find for roomettes for next summer. I am going from DC to Chi in Coach,sleeper to LA on the Eagle/Sunset and the Starlight to Portland. Sadly the EB back to Chicago is priced too rich for my budget so I ll be flying back to BWI from PDX next June.
 

Sidney

OBS Chief
Joined
Jul 12, 2020
Messages
623
Having ridden on every Amtrak long distance train multiple times,I think this is about a perfect circle as you can get.

Using DC as your start and end points,the Capitol Limited to Chicago,The Zephyr to Sacramento,The Starlight to Portland,the Builder to Chicago and the Cardinal back to DC. Only addition I would make to include coastal scenes is a Sam Juaquin and bus to LA from Sacramento or Martinez
and the Starlight from LA to Portland.

If only low buckets weren't virtually impossible to find for roomettes for next summer. I am going from DC to Chi in Coach,sleeper to LA on the Eagle/Sunset and the Starlight to Portland. Sadly the EB back to Chicago is priced too rich for my budget so I ll be flying back to BWI from PDX next June.
San Joaquin
 

pennyk

50 year Amtrak Rider
Staff member
Administator
Moderator
Gathering Team Member
Joined
Jul 5, 2009
Messages
11,612
Location
Orlando, FL
In 2010 and 2019, I did something similar.
2010: Silver Meteor to WAS, Cardinal to CHI, CZ to Denver, CZ to SAC, CS to SEA, EB to West Glacier, EB to CHI, CL to WAS, SM to ORL.
2019: SM to WAS, CL to SAC, CS to SEA, EB to CHI, CL to WAS, SM to ORL
proposed 2021: SM to NYP, LSL to CHI, SWC to LAX, CS to EMY, CZ to CHI, CL to WAS. SM to ORL
 
  • Love
Reactions: Cal

Ryan

Engineer
Joined
Apr 14, 2008
Messages
17,541
Location
Off looking for his sense of humor
Technically not a circle, but a figure 8. :D :D :D

I did a near similar trip for my honeymoon, but it was Cardinal-EB(PDX)-Cascades-CS(from SEA)-SWC-Cap.

One of these days I’ll pick up the other two and take the CZ and then Sunset. Would need to decide between the Eagle, or ride it out all the way to NOL and then take the CONO back north, or then take the Crescent straight home and only pass through Chicago once.
 

AmtrakBlue

Engineer
Gathering Team Member
Joined
May 6, 2011
Messages
13,029
Location
Delaware
I did a figure 8 in 2014

WIL-NYP-CHI-LAX-EMY-Gathering-
EMY-CHI-WAS-WIL
The LAX to EMY was truncated when I got off at SJC because my daughter & her family had moved to Cupertino after I had booked my tickets. But, I did ride trains between SJC & EMY as part of the Gathering.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Cal

Tony in Ann Arbor

Train Attendant
Joined
Dec 14, 2013
Messages
36
My wife and I did an almost circle trip at Thanksgiving in 2019. We traveled on the Crescent from Manassas to New Orleans. After an overnight there, we rode the Sunset to Los Angeles and had time for breakfast at Philippe with a new friend from Germany whom we met on the train.

We then trained from Los Angeles to Seattle on the Coast Starlight and spent Thanksgiving with family in Seattle.

We returned to DC aboard the Empire Builder and Capitol Limited.
 

JayPea

Engineer
AU Supporter
Joined
Sep 9, 2006
Messages
4,142
Location
Colfax, WA (CFX)
I and my uncle once did a trip that, while including a full circle, also included a spike on top 😀: Seattle to Sacramento (CS)
Sacramento-Chicago (CZ)
Chicago-Charlottesville(Cardinal)
Charlottesville-New Orleans (Crescent)
We stayed a couple of nights in New Orleans, then continued:
New Orleans-Los Angeles (SL)
and Los Angeles-Seattle (CS)
 

Ziv

OBS Chief
Joined
Oct 25, 2011
Messages
867
My Circle Trip was a bit longer. ;-)
I took the Capital Limited from DC to Chicago, the Empire Builder to Seattle, flew to Southeast Asia, took the Eksectif car on the train from Surabaya to Jakarta, flew to Singapore, took the night train to KL and stayed a day at the old Raj style hotel at the original train station which was pretty cool. Then I took a couple night trains to get to Bangkok where I stayed for a couple months. Then I got the train from Bangkok to Klong Luk and Cambodia, where things got a bit tragic. Cambodia was just a horribly damaged country and people. Beautiful, but it is painful at times to travel there. Took boats, trucks, taxis and a short train ride while I was there, then spent a month in Vietnam, taking the train from Saigon/Ho Chi Minh City to Hanoi, which was a trip to remember. I got "adopted" by a bunch of Vietnamese police officers who thought I was a drug runner at first but when I showed them my Real Estate business cards they insisted on inviting me to drink vodka with them. Never drink vodka with a Vietnamese person or a Russian. Just don't.
I started to recover from the hangover after we got to Hanoi, then I got pinkeye and moped in my room for nearly a week. From there it was a night train to Kunming in China, which is a BEAUTIFUL city. Then rode a train to Beijing, stopping off along the way a time or two. If they do the early morning aerobics on your night train, it is kind of fun to join in. They will laugh at you, but it gets the blood going. And definitely participate in the "What kind of tea are you brewing?" discussions/demonstrations at the samovar. Mandarin or Min not required but helpful to have. Beijing was just a blast, dirty air and ubiquitous construction cranes notwithstanding. Great Wall and Ping Yao are great overnight/three day excursions.
The big event was the Trans-Mongolian from Beijing to Moscow. That was simply unbelievable! Too long to digest in one go, but definitely a must do! Seeing Lake Baikal in the distance alone was worth it. And the Moscow Metro stations are a museum piece in their own right. Just amazing.
Then the end of the trip happened too fast. Red Arrow to St. Pete, seeing the cruiser Aurora during a snow storm, a mixture of trains to Kiev, Warsaw, Berlin, with a quick side trip to Krakow thrown in because it is a favorite. Then I think it was an IC to the Chunnel and on to London. I spent a week in the UK then took another train from London to Lands End. Passing Dawlish at high tide is too cool, check the tide tables and try to get there for it. The waves break over the sea wall and hit the side of the train, which is kind of entertaining.
Then it was Heathrow to New York and take the Regional from Penn to DC Union Station and home. The next day I was in the car taking clients to see a house, which was a kind of let down... :)
 

jiml

Engineer
AU Supporter
Joined
Feb 27, 2019
Messages
3,832
Location
Somewhere in Southern Ontario
I've done the "Figure 8" a little differently: Maple Leaf Toronto to NYC, Cardinal to Chicago, Desert Wind to L.A., Sunset/Texas Eagle back to Chicago and International to Toronto. I miss all 3 on that list that are no longer running.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Cal

Ryan

Engineer
Joined
Apr 14, 2008
Messages
17,541
Location
Off looking for his sense of humor
New challenge: take the thread title literally and plan the trip that most resembles a perfect circle on the map.
If the SL still ran to JAX, Sunset-CONO-Cap-Silver is fairly roundish (more of a parallelogram).
 

AmtrakBlue

Engineer
Gathering Team Member
Joined
May 6, 2011
Messages
13,029
Location
Delaware
New challenge: take the thread title literally and plan the trip that most resembles a perfect circle on the map.
If the SL still ran to JAX, Sunset-CONO-Cap-Silver is fairly roundish (more of a parallelogram).
Sunset-CONO-EB-CS
 

Pat Harper

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Feb 8, 2011
Messages
278
Location
Louisiana
A few years ago, we took a circular trip that lasted 9 days. Starting point was New Orleans on the CONO, then from Chicago to Seattle on the EB, then the Cascades from Seattle to Portland, then the EB again from Portland to Chicago, and lastly the CONO from Chicago back to New Orleans. The only problems we had during the trip were on the EB. Enroute to Seattle, there were slow orders (due to the heat) which delayed our arrival in Seattle, and we were 30 minutes late, but they held the Cascades train until we arrived. Then again on the EB from Portland to Chicago, there were problems on the track mixed with slow orders so we missed our connection to the CONO. Amtrak gave us vouchers for hotel room and money for food and cab fare and booked us on the CONO for the next day. Note we had paid for sleepers the entire route and it was nice to spend time in the various lounges along the route while waiting for departure.
 

20th Century Rider

Conductor
Joined
Jan 26, 2020
Messages
1,932
Location
Oregon Coast
My Circle Trip was a bit longer. ;-)
I took the Capital Limited from DC to Chicago, the Empire Builder to Seattle, flew to Southeast Asia, took the Eksectif car on the train from Surabaya to Jakarta, flew to Singapore, took the night train to KL and stayed a day at the old Raj style hotel at the original train station which was pretty cool. Then I took a couple night trains to get to Bangkok where I stayed for a couple months. Then I got the train from Bangkok to Klong Luk and Cambodia, where things got a bit tragic. Cambodia was just a horribly damaged country and people. Beautiful, but it is painful at times to travel there. Took boats, trucks, taxis and a short train ride while I was there, then spent a month in Vietnam, taking the train from Saigon/Ho Chi Minh City to Hanoi, which was a trip to remember. I got "adopted" by a bunch of Vietnamese police officers who thought I was a drug runner at first but when I showed them my Real Estate business cards they insisted on inviting me to drink vodka with them. Never drink vodka with a Vietnamese person or a Russian. Just don't.
I started to recover from the hangover after we got to Hanoi, then I got pinkeye and moped in my room for nearly a week. From there it was a night train to Kunming in China, which is a BEAUTIFUL city. Then rode a train to Beijing, stopping off along the way a time or two. If they do the early morning aerobics on your night train, it is kind of fun to join in. They will laugh at you, but it gets the blood going. And definitely participate in the "What kind of tea are you brewing?" discussions/demonstrations at the samovar. Mandarin or Min not required but helpful to have. Beijing was just a blast, dirty air and ubiquitous construction cranes notwithstanding. Great Wall and Ping Yao are great overnight/three day excursions.
The big event was the Trans-Mongolian from Beijing to Moscow. That was simply unbelievable! Too long to digest in one go, but definitely a must do! Seeing Lake Baikal in the distance alone was worth it. And the Moscow Metro stations are a museum piece in their own right. Just amazing.
Then the end of the trip happened too fast. Red Arrow to St. Pete, seeing the cruiser Aurora during a snow storm, a mixture of trains to Kiev, Warsaw, Berlin, with a quick side trip to Krakow thrown in because it is a favorite. Then I think it was an IC to the Chunnel and on to London. I spent a week in the UK then took another train from London to Lands End. Passing Dawlish at high tide is too cool, check the tide tables and try to get there for it. The waves break over the sea wall and hit the side of the train, which is kind of entertaining.
Then it was Heathrow to New York and take the Regional from Penn to DC Union Station and home. The next day I was in the car taking clients to see a house, which was a kind of let down... :)
Wow... what a trip! You are lucky to have such an experience!
 

neroden

Engineer
Joined
Feb 23, 2014
Messages
8,804
Location
Ithaca, NY
I've tried to plan the Around the World trip before, without flying. Obviously, the key transatlantic link is the Queen Mary II. You can get from Southampton to Vladivostok, or several cities on the east coast of China, by rail. Pre-Covid, there were several ways to get ferries from the Pacific Coast of Asia to Japan.

On the US side, it's a bit of a hike from the Brooklyn Ferry Terminal, but then you can take rail as far as the Ports of LA or Seattle.

The big gap is the trans-Pacific, where you have to book a berth on a freighter, which determines the entire schedule.

My allergies have made it unlikely I can actually do the trip, because of difficulty reading ingredients lists in foreign languages, but I still want to.
 

AmarilloByMornin

Train Attendant
Joined
Jul 31, 2017
Messages
22
I did a small circle, my first solo trip, about 5 years ago: DFW-LAX on the Eagle/Sunset; LAX-EMY on the Starlight;; EMY-CHI on the CZ; CHI-DFW on the Eagle.

I also did a FTW to CHI to LAX (Eagle); to SJC (Coast) back to LAX; to FTW (Sunset/Eagle). Is this a figure 8? An ovewl?

I've done a couple of ovals from FTW to Chi(Eagle), to ALX (Cardinal), to CHI (Capitol), to FTW (Eagle).

Was once on the Eagle to SAS and spent a nice night in SAS but waiting for the Sunset to NOL was miserable. From there took the Crescent to CVS (LOVED the Crescent for all the greenery not seen where I live). Later took Cardinal or Crescent (don't remember (it also could have been a regional) to ALX; took Cap Ltd to CHI; took Eagle to FTW.

I loved every one of these trips.

I've never been on the CONO or the Builder. Never been on the NE Corridor past where the CAP LTD goes. I'd love to but have no practical reason thus far, and money is limited. I've loved every route I've been on. I've seen things I never thought I could see. This land is so very beautiful!

I love being retired, I love not having to fly to save time, I just wish I had the money to fly Amtrak more than I do...
 
Last edited:

basketmaker

Service Attendant
Joined
Apr 19, 2018
Messages
211
Location
Brighton, CO (DEN but FMG-Preferred)
Mine when living in Nashville, TN was FTN/CHI (City of New Orelans), CHI/LAX (Desert Wind), LAX/SEA (Coast Starlight), SEA/CHI (Empire Builder) and CHI/FTN (City of New Orleans). Most recent living in Brighton, CO was FMG/GBB (California Zephyr), GBB/LAX (Southwest Chief), LAX/EMY (Coast Starlight) and home EMY/FMG (California Zephyr).
 
Top