The stupid little things that I worry about.

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Cina

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Mar 26, 2014
Messages
333
The last two nights I've woken from the same nightmare. It's midnight, June 3rd, I'm stepping onto the Zephyr in Lincoln, and I get upstairs and look around and there are

NO.

WINDOW.

SEATS.

Then I wake up in a cold sweat.

It's these little things that I worry about! What if I don't get a window seat? Even more importantly, what if I don't get a window seat on the left side of the car? (I am completely deaf in my right ear, so I'd like to be able to put my "deaf ear" to my seat-mate at night...I know, rude.)

Then I worry about other things that are beyond my control, like connecting to the CS, or getting a rude attendant. But it all starts with that dream about no window seats. My trip is less than a month away. It's eating away at my soul. My work is starting to suffer!*

The irrational part of me (that I don't normally allow to talk) wants me to shell out an additional $700 for a roomette on the way down (I already have one for the way back, which I Snagged for a great discount) just so I don't have to deal with this uncertainty. But no. I will be rational. I will ask the good people at AU for their insight and experience.

So someone please try to put me at ease. How full is the Zephyr between Chicago and LNK? The last time I travelled the CZ, it was in mid-March, and I had no seat-mate. But people are telling me that in summertime the train sells out.

If I can't get a window seat when I board, what are the chances my attendant will let me move to a window seat if one opens up in my car later down the line?

I'll probably think of more nagging questions later, which I'll just add to this thread. I'm in train obsession/school-year-end mode.

*This post has been embellished for dramatic effect.
 
G

guest

Guest
I won't be on that train but if I was I would want you to sit in the window seat because I prefer the aisle.
 

Steve4031

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My irrational part controls me. I book the sleeper.

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Bob Dylan

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May 31, 2009
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I'm not making fun of your anxiety , I prefer window seats myself! Let the attendant know about your hearing and you can probably snag a window seat! As was said, you can go to the Lounge Car also and walk the Train for Exercise!

I agree that a Room is nice but for an Overnight that's pretty pricey so take whatever makes you comfortable and some snacks, enjoy the ride!(not much to see in Nebraska but once you leave Omaha and cross the River you'll be in Daylight and the Corn Fields will Roll by outside your window! LOL

Have a nice trip and enjoy Chicago, as I'm sure you know chances are it'll go by too fast!
 
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Cina

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Mar 26, 2014
Messages
333
Thanks! I'm actually going the other way, to Sacramento then down to Irvine and back. I can't imagine preferring the aisle, but I suppose it makes getting up and wandering easier! I know I'll roll with it and enjoy myself if I don't get the right seat, but my brain still likes to dwell :)

I do like using the hearing loss as a reason to get a seat, it sounds very important when you call it something big like "unilateral hearing loss" :lol:
 
G

guest

Guest
I prefer the aisle seat because I am a gentleman of a certain age and need to get up fairly often. Of f course I enjoy the view out the windows but when riding in coach I also spend a fair amount of time in the lounge.
 

Everydaymatters

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May 15, 2006
Messages
3,217
If you do get a rude attendant, you won't be the only one. Every person in your coach will have the same rude person. Hopefully, that won't happen. If it does, just ignore him/her.

I agree with the others who said they prefer the aisle seat. It's so much nicer to be able to look out the windows on both sides of the train. However, when it comes to trying to sleep in coach, it's good to have a window to lean your head on.
 

Slasharoo

Service Attendant
Joined
Apr 9, 2013
Messages
211
You should be able to move seats at Denver if no window is available before then.
 

George Harris

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Apr 6, 2006
Messages
5,027
Don't know what the situation is now, but on my one cross country ride on this train, which was eastbound and was back when they would add and subtract cars where there was significant changes in passenger loading, (way back, 1971), the train east of Denver was about twice the length of the train west of Denver.
 

Steve4031

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They add a 533 and 633 sleeper between Chicago and Denver. No coaches though iirc.

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Cina

Lead Service Attendant
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Mar 26, 2014
Messages
333
So I ascertain from that that the CZ is more full between Chicago and Denver?

I thought it would be the opposite, I suppose because of all the great scenery.
 

jebr

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So I ascertain from that that the CZ is more full between Chicago and Denver?

I thought it would be the opposite, I suppose because of all the great scenery.
Correct, it's more full from CHI to DEN. Mainly because there's larger population centers on that route and it's a single overnight.

When I was on it from OMA to SLC, I was able to snag a window seat but I had a seatmate from LNK to DEN. After DEN I had no seatmate. Going back I had a seatmate from DEN to OMA.
 

Steve4031

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In fact enough people will get off in Denver do that you could move to a window seat. Just take your seat check and move.

This only works if the attendant does NOT assign you a specific seat. In this case you must ask the attendant to assign you a window seat.

If you do get a choice right side out of Denver ensure best views of front range and glenwood canyon and Donner pass the next day between Reno and Sacramento.

The left side is good for a few hours between winter park and glenwood springs. About 30

Minutes before glenwood springs you enter the canyon. Good luck.

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Cina

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Mar 26, 2014
Messages
333
Thanks for the heads up! I'll have to check after Denver if I can't snag my coveted window seat out of LNK. I plan to spend time in the lounge during the most scenic parts if I can get a spot.
 

CaliforniaMom

Service Attendant
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Aug 27, 2013
Messages
112
I don't have any advice or suggestions, but I am happy that I am not the only one who wakes up in the middle of the night with irrational concerns. :blink:
 

FormerOBS

Conductor
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Feb 26, 2014
Messages
1,272
I can't imagine any reason that the attendant would not listen to your concerns and try to get you the seat you want. People who demand such consideration are sometimes frustrating and off-putting; but a polite passenger who makes such a reasonable request should not be denied, especially if you show that you are willing to wait (in the event that all window seats are occupied when you board). The attendant will be with you all the way to California. The trip will be much better for him/her if you both start the trip on the right foot, and this is something every attendant knows, or should know.
 

Cina

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Mar 26, 2014
Messages
333
Great advice FormerOBS, and I'll try my best to follow it! I'm one of those people who gets so nervous about getting snapped at that they usually don't ask in the first place. I don't think I met a single friendly Amtrak California employee on my trip long ago (which led me to my new belief, "People who live near the ocean are mean." :p ) so I'm hoping this time around is different. And I'm hoping to work on my solo-traveller-assertiveness. Maybe having a year of teaching under my belt has thickened my skin.
 

George Harris

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5,027
So I ascertain from that that the CZ is more full between Chicago and Denver?

I thought it would be the opposite, I suppose because of all the great scenery.
The schedule and overall run time between Chicago and Denver is such that this train serves a significant "I want to get between A and B" market that really does not care about scenery or much of anything else other than getting to their destination in a reasonably timely and comfortable manner. This was a fairly heavy rail travel market for years before Amtrak. In addition to teh CZ there was also the Denver Zephyr, the Rocky Mountain Rocket and the City of Denver. Four large trains on three different railroads. All these also went through Omaha on their way.
 

7deuceman

Train Attendant
Joined
Aug 31, 2013
Messages
73
Cina, you shouldn't have any problems getting a window seat as it appears from your post that you'll be traveling on a Tuesday. It seems that the CZ is more crowded later in the week and definitely in the summer after the first weekend in June.

Our fellow posters have given you some good suggestions and at the least, you'll be able to get a window seat either before or after your arrival in Denver. I think that the left side of the train westbound is best, especially when you are heading up the mountain west of Denver and passing Winter Park. I have taken skiers and snowboarders from Chicago up to Fraser, Colorado (the Winter Park stop) and many of them had never been on the train before. They always love going up the mountain and the amazement of coming out of the Moffat Tunnel looking out of the left-side windows at Winter Park! (Some were zonked out from partying in the lounge car all night.) Hey, it happens!

Have a great trip and enjoy!
 

VentureForth

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Jan 23, 2007
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Of course, you could always take the train to Chicago and board the Zephyr there! :D
 

Cina

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Mar 26, 2014
Messages
333
That's the only logical solution! :lol:
 

Cina

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Mar 26, 2014
Messages
333
Okay, I'm bumping this thread because TONIGHT IS THE NIGHT. I am supposed to board the CZ at 12:15am tonight. I've been watching the CZ's on the status map obsessively for the last three days to ensure their on-timeliness because, as Tina Fey said, "It's a burden, being able to control situations with my hyper-vigilance, but it's my lot in life."

It looks like the 6(31) is running a little over 2 hours late. I'm new to this whole train business, but as far as I understand, the 6(31) is going to get to Chicago, get turned, and head on back down as the 5(2). Am I correct on this?

That being the case (it is the case, right?) will the 5(2) likely be 2 hours late leaving Chicago?

I know, I know, the future is unpredictable. A meteor could strike Chicago. Vlad Putin could send his great red army to plant mines along the tracks. But as a break from triple- and quadruple- checking that everything is packed, I thought I'd see what insight the AUers had on this. Anyone know if there's a specific reason the pretty green or yellow numbers on the status maps have decided to go red?
 
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