Old May 7th, 2013, 06:32 PM
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I would like to travel with my husband from NY across the USA or Canada by train or going north to North East Canada. I would like to go for 12 days.

If anyone has done it please share with me an itinerary, what to take as far as food or clothes, how does one stop at places and tours them or arrange a night in a hotel. I do not want to just get on a train without planning this well since I do not have a car with me

Thank you in advance for all your responses
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Old May 7th, 2013, 07:49 PM
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I have traveled extensivly on Amtrak over the past 11+ years.
If you can tolerate the slower rate of travel compared to flying in a jet, it may be for you. You see many more interesting towns traveling by train.
I have also traveled across Canada on the ViaRail Canadian with stops in Winnipeg, Jasper and Vancouver.
My second ride on Amtrak was on the Maple Leaf from New York Penn station (NYP) to Toronto (TWO).
With only 12 days, you will have to limit the number of cities that you visit. One bargain that I have found under "deals" on the Amtrak website is the USA Rail Pass. There is a 15 day version that will save if you travel long distances.
The USA itinerary would be taking the Lake Shore Limited to Chicago and spending a day/night there and then going west on the Empire Builder to Whitefish Montana and renting a car there to see Glacier National Park.
Take the next Empire Builder to Portland Oregon from Whitefish. Spend a night in Portland and then take the Coast Starlight to Sacramento arriving at 6:20AM and leaving on the California Zephyr all the way to Glenwood Springs CO. The next day you get back on the CZ all the way to Chicago.
From Chicago take the Capitol Limited to Washington DC and finally a Northeast Regional back to NYP.
This would use all 8 segments allowed on a 15 day Rail Pass.
If you can sleep in your coach seat on the trains you would only have 1 night hotel stays in Chicago, Whitefish, Portland and Glenwood Springs. You would be sleeping on the train about 11 nights.
The Canadian option would be the Maple Leaf to Toronto and ViaRail to Montreal and then the Amtrak train from Montreal to New York.
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Old May 9th, 2013, 06:18 PM
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Thank you very much
what do you do to prepare., do you take food with you, blankets and how do you rent cars in the places you stop?

Also any suggestion how to find out what time to travel in order to see nice scenery ?
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Old May 10th, 2013, 08:25 AM
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Different parts of the country are better in different months.
This spring there have been some delays because of flooding on the Mississippi and Red rivers.
Most of my long distance trips have been in October and November. This year, we will be traveling in coach from Oregon to Burlington IA where we will rent a car for 10 days to go east to Maryland for our daughter's graduation from nursing school.
I carry a small collapsible cooler with blue ice to keep some string cheese and yogurt cool. The best meal of the day to eat in the dining car is breakfast IMO.
If I arrive in a city with a good transportation system I will use public transit or a cab rather than renting a car.
If you want to visit some of our great western National Parks, you will have to rent a car near an Amtrak station.
The info you need to buy a USA Rail Pass:
You might want to try a test trip as far as Buffalo or Niagara Falls to see how well you do riding an Amtrak train.
If you hate it, you can always fly home from Buffalo.
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Old May 10th, 2013, 12:51 PM
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The trip on the ViaRail Canadian from Toronto all the way to Vancouver offers both superior food as well as superior rolling stock to just about anything Amtrak IMO. Not that the Amtrak stuff is that bad, the ViaRail offering is simply better quality.

The scenery between Edmonton/Jasper and onward to Vancouver is pretty spectacular. The entire segment will take you four nights. I've done it at all times of the year.
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Old May 13th, 2013, 05:50 AM
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tomfuller suggests a very good trip.
I have done that trip in the direction he suggests and also in the reverse direction. IMO the reverse direction offers much better timing for the best scenery, and also provides a 10 hour connection window in Sacramento versus 4.5 hours (trains can often run late).
The direction is not so important east of Chicago, but in the west I would take the California Zephyr westbound, then Coast Starlight northbound, then Empire Builder east bound.
On the Zephyr this gives you the best hours for the dramatic scenery of the Rockies out of Denver.
On the Starlight it gives you a chance to see Mt. Shasta at dawn and then daylight all the way to Portland.
On the Builder again you get the best hours for the stretch through the Rockies, and also for the run down the Mississippi a day later.

The full 8 segment trip will include 7 nights (not 11) on the trains:
Lake Shore 1
Zephyr 2
Starlight 1
Empire Builder 2
Capitol 1.
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