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Amtrak Crescent to New Orleans, Sunset Limited to Tucson, and on to LA

Amtrak Crescent to New Orleans, Sunset Limited to Tucson, and on to LA

Old Nov 7th, 2023, 09:33 AM
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Amtrak Crescent to New Orleans, Sunset Limited to Tucson, and on to LA

We're considering coast-to-coast train travel this winter. Any advice, cautions or stories welcome. Thanks!
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Old Nov 7th, 2023, 12:08 PM
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Hi Fradiavolo,

Iíve done something vaguely similar. Took the Crescent from DC to New Orleans and then the Sunset Limited from New Orleans but only as far as San Antonio Texas for a San Antonio & Austin trip. The Sunset Limited had a reputation for extreme lateness in those days although my train ended up being on-time into SA. I havenít check the latest on-time stats but would nevertheless recommend having contingency plans for late arrival especially into Tucson for the Tucson-LA leg.

My main recommendation would be if possible to plan on a full day in New OrleansóI caught the westbound train the morning after my night arrival in New Orleans and I regretted planning no time there, even though Iíd been to New Orleans a few times before. Mostly since itís a fun city and one is not there every day. Beyond that, I think itís nice to have a buffer between trains and a day to recuperate.

Favorite highlights of those trains are 1)crossing the Tombigbee River (Alabama) on the Crescent and 2) leaving New Orleans with the eerily elevated tracks on the Sunset Limited. Crossing Lake Pontchartrain on the Crescent is quite something too but itís too dark on the westbound train to appreciate.

Happy travels! Daniel
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Old Nov 8th, 2023, 07:04 AM
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Thank you, Daniel! We plan on taking a few days in both New Orleans and Tucson -- and LA for that matter.
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Old Nov 8th, 2023, 12:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Fra_Diavolo
Thank you, Daniel! We plan on taking a few days in both New Orleans and Tucson -- and LA for that matter.
It has been quite a few years since I took the Crescent from New Orleans to Atlanta for a night then from Atlanta to Washington. The 3 day per week Sunset Limited (M-W-Sat) from New Orleans means at least one night stay in New Orleans after getting off the Crescent or the City of New Orleans. There have been times when the Crescent stopped in Atlanta coming from Washington with no bus or other service provided by Amtrak. The Sunset Limited meets with the Texas Eagle in San Antonio. You might even get a few daylight hours in San Antonio to see the Alamo and maybe something else.
The Sunset Limited is quite often late into Tucson but is usually there before midnight. Check with 1800USARAIL to check if a particular train is on time, late, very late or cancelled.
On one winter trip I took, I came to Tucson on the eastbound SL and rented a car in Tucson and drove back west to Yuma for a geocaching event (February). I also went across the border for some dental work in Los Algodones. I also found a couple of geocaches in Mexico. Los Algodones is known worldwide as "molar city". Be sure to bring your passports if you want to go across the border.
Going back to Los Angeles the train was about an hour late but they did save me a steak since I was sleeping in a roomette.
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Old Nov 9th, 2023, 06:55 AM
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What fun! A few days in New Orleans is even better than one day.
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Old Nov 9th, 2023, 07:17 AM
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Tom -- thanks for those details.

Daniel -- Yes, I've only been to New Orleans once before, back in the '80's, but it was during Mardi Gras. I'm looking forward to seeing the city during normal times.
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Old Nov 10th, 2023, 07:42 AM
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Not done it myself but a friend often rode the train both ways between the east coast and Los Angeles (DC and Florida). On occasion she would be very late coming back into Los Angeles. I wonder if it is worth getting off in Tucson, spend the night, pickup a car the next day for a few days or more. The train from Tucson into Los Angeles Union Station is night time, you won't see anything worthwhile in winter anyways. The drop off charge isn't that bad going west to east. One tip, do drive that direction early in the day to avoid the sun in your eyes much of the way. You may find a choice of drop off locations also (check Burbank, Santa Ana, Long Beach as well as LAX depending on what you wanted to do at this end.)

Last edited by mlgb; Nov 10th, 2023 at 07:51 AM.
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Old Nov 10th, 2023, 09:38 AM
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Originally Posted by mlgb
Not done it myself but a friend often rode the train both ways between the east coast and Los Angeles (DC and Florida). On occasion she would be very late coming back into Los Angeles. I wonder if it is worth getting off in Tucson, spend the night, pickup a car the next day for a few days or more. The train from Tucson into Los Angeles Union Station is night time, you won't see anything worthwhile in winter anyways. The drop off charge isn't that bad going west to east. One tip, do drive that direction early in the day to avoid the sun in your eyes much of the way. You may find a choice of drop off locations also (check Burbank, Santa Ana, Long Beach as well as LAX depending on what you wanted to do at this end.)
Interesting idea, thanks.
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