cross-country train/ yes or no

Old May 5th, 2002, 09:17 AM
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cross-country train/ yes or no

My husband wants to take the train ("Texas Eagle") from Chicago to L.A. (3 days) I'm not so sure. Has anyone done this? Any advice, tips, do's or dont's?
Old May 5th, 2002, 11:02 AM
Mike Amen
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i haven't ridden the train in a few years; the last time was with a young family so that had some logistical challenges.
The seats are apparently bigger and more comfy.
after a day or so , you start to feel a litte 'gritty' so having a sleeeper is a must. I was surprised however that the sleepers which cost as much as a very good hotel room are so tiny and cramped. The movies always made them look kind of like a stateroom on a ship; no such luck. It felt like sleeping in a closet with a toilet next to your bed.If your husband is not tall; it will not be a problem.

But the day time part was fun a lot of socializing in the clug cars that does not happen on a plane or bus. Don't rely on strict timetables. Out train hit a vehicle crossing the tracks (that cost 4 hours delay)
Old May 5th, 2002, 12:21 PM
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I am hoping to see more answers to this. I love train travel but can't convince my family about taking the train from Chicago for our next trip to LA.
Old May 5th, 2002, 12:45 PM
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We took the California Zephyr to San Francisco and loved it. The only way to see the country. Were in an economy room, which indeed is small, but still comfortable. You must walk down the hall to restrooms. We were in our sixties when we did it but were agile enough for the climb into the upstairs bunk. A compartment is not inexpensive but does include meals, which are surprisingly good. Meeting new people from all over the world at meals and in the observation car and viewing the awesome Rockies made up for the absolute necessity of being flexible. Plan extra time - Amtrak must give way to freight trains and there will be delays. Have also gone through the southwest, the northwest, and along the east coast by train, as well as across Canada. If you can tolerate schedule indifference, enjoy new experience and meeting new people, best try it now. Amtrak may face dissolution soon and who knows what will happen to the long distance train? Check their web site for exact dimensions of bunks, rooms, etc.
Old May 5th, 2002, 08:00 PM
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i agree with the last poster and perhaps they said it all. Of all the forms of public transportation available; trains provide far and away the best experience. Our boys will never forget the freedom and feeling of adulthood of being left alone to walk between cars. And they may not be around in 5 years.
Old May 6th, 2002, 02:45 AM
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We took Amtrak from Kansas to LA in 1990 or so and loved it. A great way to travel, and you do meet and make new friends on the way - I'd recommend it highly. We didn't have the budget for sleeper accomodations, slept in our seats, took some snacks of our own, etc. and still had a great time.
Old May 6th, 2002, 12:53 PM
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I agree totally with Gin. My husband and I have traveled from NM to LA, NM to Seattle and NM to upstate NY and loved each trip. We had the economy sleeper car which is very small but the seats are comfortable and they are private. The meals are fun, you have a chance to socialize, and the food was good with several choices. We are anxious to go again. Hope you give it a try and have a great time.
Old May 6th, 2002, 06:34 PM
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My husband and I have taken several train trips: Winnepeg to Churchhill Manitoba, Montreal to Halifax NS, Toronto to Vancouver and my favorite: a circle of the country. We left Boston on the Broadway Ltd to Chicago, took the Southwest Chief through Arizona to LA, the Coast Starlight to Seattle, the Empire Builder to Chicago and then home. We had the deluxe rooms all the way and it was a wonderful trip. Good company, great scenary and even the food was good. At the time (early 90's) it wasn't too expensive, but I doubt we could do it now. We are taking a train trip from LA to William AZ in August. We thought about taking Amtrak from Boston to LA and were shocked at the price increase. Unfortunately, we're flying to LA. Train is a wonderful way to travel as long as you don't mind not being on time. We were 6 hours late getting into Chicago on the Empire Builder.
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