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Three Weeks. 8,000 miles on six trains. 14 hotel nights.

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FrensicPic

Conductor
Joined
Jan 15, 2012
Messages
3,040
Location
LAX
Not a detailed report but rather a synopsis of our recent Amtrak experience. We've been traveling Amtrak for the past 15 years or so.

My wife and I just completed (Tuesday 10/13) a three week trip to Southern Maryland to visit family. Of course trains were wrapped around the 9 days in Maryland.
We traveled on six trains from Los Angeles Union Station to Alexandria, Virginia and return; a total of more than 8,000 Amtrak miles.
All travel was in Sleeper Bedroom accommodations at a cost of a little more than 174,000 AGR points.
Routing was such to experience a new route (Cardinal) and new directions of travel on two previously traveled routes (California Zephyr and Empire Builder).
  • Sep 22 #14 Coast Starlight - Los Angeles to Emeryville
  • Sep 23 #06 California Zephyr - Emeryville to Chicago (first time eastbound on this route)
  • Sep 26 #50 Cardinal - Chicago to Alexandria (new route)
9 days in Southern Maryland sightseeing and visiting family.
  • Oct 7 #51 Cardinal - Alexandria to Chicago (new route)
  • Oct 9 #07 Empire Builder - Chicago to Seattle (first time westbound on this route)
  • Oct 12 #11 Coast Starlight - Seattle to Los Angeles
Overnights in Emeryville, Chicago (twice), Alexandria (twice) and Seattle

OTP was pretty darn good on all trains except for #11 on October 13. Our early arrival at LAX vanished when we struck a trespasser in Ventura, California.
Excellent service by my six SCA's and dining car staff. Friendly, positive attitude and it was a pleasure to interact with all of them.
All crew members I spoke with are appreciative of our letter writing and other efforts to restore traditional dining, retaining daily service and avoid the lay-offs and furloughs.
The "food" (limited menu) got old fast! There has already been plenty of discussion on this topic!
Equipment was clean; we felt safe and comfortable in view of the pandemic. We would not hesitate to ride again. We brought masks along with plenty of wipes and hand sanitizer. Amtrak's mask policy is enforced!

I booked this trip in May. In the weeks approaching departure we were "on the fence" whether to go or not. Both Amtrak and Hilton reservations policies were such that I could cancel 24 hours prior to departure with no penalty. Weighing the risks, we decided it was a "go" and are now glad we did. The "safest" experience was on the train and in the hotels. Stations a bit less and taxis/ride share the least.

I wouldn't hesitate to do it again soon.

John

Amtrak Travels LAX-EMY-CHI-ALX-CHI-SEA-LAX 7991 mi Maryland OCT2020.jpg
 

anumberone

Conductor
AU Supporter
Joined
Aug 8, 2015
Messages
1,864
Location
Los Angeles
Nice concise report with lots of information. Except for the unfortunate situation in Ventura it sounds like you really had an enjoyable trip. Nice to hear! After traveling both directions on the Cardinal, did you enjoy one over the other?
 

FrensicPic

Conductor
Joined
Jan 15, 2012
Messages
3,040
Location
LAX
Nice concise report with lots of information. Except for the unfortunate situation in Ventura it sounds like you really had an enjoyable trip. Nice to hear! After traveling both directions on the Cardinal, did you enjoy one over the other?
Thanks.
Eastbound on the Cardinal...primarily because it was daylight when we went through the New River Gorge. It was getting dark westbound - perhaps June-July with longer daylight hours would have made westbound better.
 

Bob Dylan

Conductor
Joined
May 31, 2009
Messages
20,481
Location
Austin Texas
Not a detailed report but rather a synopsis of our recent Amtrak experience. We've been traveling Amtrak for the past 15 years or so.

My wife and I just completed (Tuesday 10/13) a three week trip to Southern Maryland to visit family. Of course trains were wrapped around the 9 days in Maryland.
We traveled on six trains from Los Angeles Union Station to Alexandria, Virginia and return; a total of more than 8,000 Amtrak miles.
All travel was in Sleeper Bedroom accommodations at a cost of a little more than 174,000 AGR points.
Routing was such to experience a new route (Cardinal) and new directions of travel on two previously traveled routes (California Zephyr and Empire Builder).
  • Sep 22 #14 Coast Starlight - Los Angeles to Emeryville
  • Sep 23 #06 California Zephyr - Emeryville to Chicago (first time eastbound on this route)
  • Sep 26 #50 Cardinal - Chicago to Alexandria (new route)
9 days in Southern Maryland sightseeing and visiting family.
  • Oct 7 #51 Cardinal - Alexandria to Chicago (new route)
  • Oct 9 #07 Empire Builder - Chicago to Seattle (first time westbound on this route)
  • Oct 12 #11 Coast Starlight - Seattle to Los Angeles
Overnights in Emeryville, Chicago (twice), Alexandria (twice) and Seattle

OTP was pretty darn good on all trains except for #11 on October 13. Our early arrival at LAX vanished when we struck a trespasser in Ventura, California.
Excellent service by my six SCA's and dining car staff. Friendly, positive attitude and it was a pleasure to interact with all of them.
All crew members I spoke with are appreciative of our letter writing and other efforts to restore traditional dining, retaining daily service and avoid the lay-offs and furloughs.
The "food" (limited menu) got old fast! There has already been plenty of discussion on this topic!
Equipment was clean; we felt safe and comfortable in view of the pandemic. We would not hesitate to ride again. We brought masks along with plenty of wipes and hand sanitizer. Amtrak's mask policy is enforced!

I booked this trip in May. In the weeks approaching departure we were "on the fence" whether to go or not. Both Amtrak and Hilton reservations policies were such that I could cancel 24 hours prior to departure with no penalty. Weighing the risks, we decided it was a "go" and are now glad we did. The "safest" experience was on the train and in the hotels. Stations a bit less and taxis/ride share the least.

I wouldn't hesitate to do it again soon.

John

View attachment 19317
Nice trip, thanks for sharing!
I hope to do similar in 2021 when "Life as we knew it" returns!
 

daybeers

OBS Chief
Joined
Jan 6, 2016
Messages
754
Location
HFD
This is so awesome! I'm inspired! I was planning a 30-day trip using up every segment and day of the 30-day railpass that was cancelled 2018, 2019, & 2020 but with being stuck in COVID, this makes me want to change it to a 45-day trip and see even more of the country for hopefully 2021, that is, if I can save enough. May not travel until there is a vaccine, so may be looking more like 2022, we shall see. Don't have nearly as many points, but probably enough to pay for at least one roomette. I don't mind roughing it in coach, I'm young 😊
 

v v

Conductor
AU Supporter
Joined
Dec 4, 2012
Messages
1,305
Location
UK / France
Not a detailed report but rather a synopsis of our recent Amtrak experience. We've been traveling Amtrak for the past 15 years or so.

My wife and I just completed (Tuesday 10/13) a three week trip to Southern Maryland to visit family. Of course trains were wrapped around the 9 days in Maryland.
We traveled on six trains from Los Angeles Union Station to Alexandria, Virginia and return; a total of more than 8,000 Amtrak miles.
All travel was in Sleeper Bedroom accommodations at a cost of a little more than 174,000 AGR points.
Routing was such to experience a new route (Cardinal) and new directions of travel on two previously traveled routes (California Zephyr and Empire Builder).
  • Sep 22 #14 Coast Starlight - Los Angeles to Emeryville
  • Sep 23 #06 California Zephyr - Emeryville to Chicago (first time eastbound on this route)
  • Sep 26 #50 Cardinal - Chicago to Alexandria (new route)
9 days in Southern Maryland sightseeing and visiting family.
  • Oct 7 #51 Cardinal - Alexandria to Chicago (new route)
  • Oct 9 #07 Empire Builder - Chicago to Seattle (first time westbound on this route)
  • Oct 12 #11 Coast Starlight - Seattle to Los Angeles
Overnights in Emeryville, Chicago (twice), Alexandria (twice) and Seattle

OTP was pretty darn good on all trains except for #11 on October 13. Our early arrival at LAX vanished when we struck a trespasser in Ventura, California.
Excellent service by my six SCA's and dining car staff. Friendly, positive attitude and it was a pleasure to interact with all of them.
All crew members I spoke with are appreciative of our letter writing and other efforts to restore traditional dining, retaining daily service and avoid the lay-offs and furloughs.
The "food" (limited menu) got old fast! There has already been plenty of discussion on this topic!
Equipment was clean; we felt safe and comfortable in view of the pandemic. We would not hesitate to ride again. We brought masks along with plenty of wipes and hand sanitizer. Amtrak's mask policy is enforced!

I booked this trip in May. In the weeks approaching departure we were "on the fence" whether to go or not. Both Amtrak and Hilton reservations policies were such that I could cancel 24 hours prior to departure with no penalty. Weighing the risks, we decided it was a "go" and are now glad we did. The "safest" experience was on the train and in the hotels. Stations a bit less and taxis/ride share the least.

I wouldn't hesitate to do it again soon.

John

View attachment 19317
Thank you John, enjoyed your report too in particular the detail.

May I ask how you inscribed your route in orange onto the Amtrak system map?
 
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