California Zephyr

Nov 30th, 2019, 10:59 AM
  #1  
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Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 15
California Zephyr

Hi! My husband and I will be making our very first trip from Scotland to the USA next year. The plan is to spend a few days in New York and then take Amtrak to SAN Francisco. Iím finding the booking process for Amtrak very confusing though - any tips gratefully received!
Elizabeth_Brown is offline  
Nov 30th, 2019, 11:17 AM
  #2  
J62
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 10,409
The California Zephyr train runs from Chicago to Emeryville CA, and from there you'll take a bus into SF.
Scheduled travel time on the CZ is 52hrs, departing Chicago 2pm.

To get from NYC to Chicago you can take a slow train (19hrs total + a 4 hour layover) or fly NYC to Chicago on the same day as your train.

Others can weigh in on seat/bed options to select.
J62 is offline  
Nov 30th, 2019, 11:37 AM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
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I have ridden the CZ many times sometimes with my wife. How many days do you have for your trip? If you want to break up the CZ trip, you could stop in Denver or maybe Glenwood Springs Colorado. 52+ hours on a train is a lot for first time Amtrak riders. If you do want to go from Chicago to Emeryville on a single train I suggest using either a Roomette or bedroom instead of the standard coach seating.
With the sleepers, breakfast, lunch and dinner are included in your fare. The sleepers also have access to a shower.
Do you have to return home by way of New York or do you have other plans from San Francisco?
tomfuller is offline  
Nov 30th, 2019, 07:41 PM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
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What kind of trouble are you having with booking? Try reading this site: https://www.seat61.com/UnitedStates.htm

From New York to Chicago you take the Lake Shore Limited, which is one night on the train, then the California Zephyr on to California. Definitely book a roomette or sleeper! Chicago is worth at least a couple of days - see: https://mytimetotravel.wordpress.com...lwind-chicago/.
thursdaysd is offline  
Nov 30th, 2019, 10:12 PM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
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If either or both of you is at least 65 be sure to claim the small discount.

https://www.amtrak.com/deals-discoun...-discount.html
MmePerdu is offline  
Nov 30th, 2019, 11:42 PM
  #6  
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Thank you! That’s helpful. ��
Elizabeth_Brown is offline  
Nov 30th, 2019, 11:46 PM
  #7  
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Originally Posted by tomfuller View Post
I have ridden the CZ many times sometimes with my wife. How many days do you have for your trip? If you want to break up the CZ trip, you could stop in Denver or maybe Glenwood Springs Colorado. 52+ hours on a train is a lot for first time Amtrak riders. If you do want to go from Chicago to Emeryville on a single train I suggest using either a Roomette or bedroom instead of the standard coach seating.
With the sleepers, breakfast, lunch and dinner are included in your fare. The sleepers also have access to a shower.
Do you have to return home by way of New York or do you have other plans from San Francisco?
Thank you. We are thinking of the train journey as a major part of the holiday (we do love train journeys!). We will certainly book a roomette - bedrooms seem to be extremely expensive for not much more room I thought. Have you booked a bedroom before? Hope to fly home from SAN Francisco.thanks again.
Elizabeth_Brown is offline  
Nov 30th, 2019, 11:48 PM
  #8  
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Originally Posted by thursdaysd View Post
What kind of trouble are you having with booking? Try reading this site: https://www.seat61.com/UnitedStates.htm

From New York to Chicago you take the Lake Shore Limited, which is one night on the train, then the California Zephyr on to California. Definitely book a roomette or sleeper! Chicago is worth at least a couple of days - see: https://mytimetotravel.wordpress.com...lwind-chicago/.
Thank you. I was getting confused maybe because I was trying to book through tickets rather than two journeys? That’s a great idea about Chicago though!
Elizabeth_Brown is offline  
Dec 1st, 2019, 12:06 AM
  #9  
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Originally Posted by MmePerdu View Post
If either or both of you is at least 65 be sure to claim the small discount.

https://www.amtrak.com/deals-discoun...-discount.html
Thank you - we are!
Elizabeth_Brown is offline  
Dec 1st, 2019, 09:37 AM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
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The Sleeping Car Attendant (SCA) will put down the upper bunk when asked. (tip please) I sleep in the upper bunk and let my wife sleep in the slightly wider lower. We spend at least 2-3 hours during daylight hours in the Sightseer Lounge. In daytime mode, there are comfortable benches with a table in between in a roomette.
The most scenic part of the CZ route in daylight hours is through the Glenwood Canyon just east of Glenwood Springs CO.
I have never sprung for a bedroom. I do not care for a private bathroom/shower in a bedroom.
On our last westbound trip we were delayed for several hours by a truck that dumped its load on the tracks in an accident. I got a good shower while the train was not moving. Our car was parked in Winnemucca NV. We arrived there about 5 hours behind schedule.
The bus from Emeryville into San Francisco is contracted by Amtrak so you don't have to be worried if the train arrives late.
tomfuller is offline  
Dec 1st, 2019, 02:01 PM
  #11  
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Originally Posted by tomfuller View Post
The Sleeping Car Attendant (SCA) will put down the upper bunk when asked. (tip please) I sleep in the upper bunk and let my wife sleep in the slightly wider lower. We spend at least 2-3 hours during daylight hours in the Sightseer Lounge. In daytime mode, there are comfortable benches with a table in between in a roomette.
The most scenic part of the CZ route in daylight hours is through the Glenwood Canyon just east of Glenwood Springs CO.
I have never sprung for a bedroom. I do not care for a private bathroom/shower in a bedroom.
On our last westbound trip we were delayed for several hours by a truck that dumped its load on the tracks in an accident. I got a good shower while the train was not moving. Our car was parked in Winnemucca NV. We arrived there about 5 hours behind schedule.
The bus from Emeryville into San Francisco is contracted by Amtrak so you don't have to be worried if the train arrives late.
Thank you so much - I think I’ll book tomorrow! And build the rest of the trip around that. I appreciate your input very much.
Elizabeth_Brown is offline  
Dec 2nd, 2019, 11:18 AM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Itís been years since I took the California Zephyr but to this day, it stands out as one of the most incredible train rides Iíve done. The Glenwood Canyon and the Sierra Nevada around the Donner Pass were in particular unforgettably stunning and unique. Hope you enjoy as much as I did!
Daniel_Williams is offline  
Dec 3rd, 2019, 12:33 AM
  #13  
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Originally Posted by Daniel_Williams View Post
Itís been years since I took the California Zephyr but to this day, it stands out as one of the most incredible train rides Iíve done. The Glenwood Canyon and the Sierra Nevada around the Donner Pass were in particular unforgettably stunning and unique. Hope you enjoy as much as I did!
Thank you! I’m really looking forward to it very much, and I must keep all suggestions for “best bits” so that we don’t miss anything!
Elizabeth_Brown is offline  
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