G Scale Model Train Forum banner

1 - 20 of 29 Posts

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,093 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Marge and I are talking Amtrak to and from the 2009 NGRC this year. We have booked a roomette so we have a place to sleep other than in a coach. Is the roomette the only place you can sit on the train? Are the observation car seats reserved....or can we sit where we want?
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
965 Posts
Mike,
If you watch my youtube video about Amtrak to Chicago, you can see the "lounge" car. It is the newer version of the dome car. There are both swivel seats and tables. In some, there is a TV for watching movies in the evening.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lA_UOPyIqSw

JimC.
 

·
Vendor
Joined
·
3,317 Posts
Mike, just to reinforce Jim's post..... You can roam the train and sit in the lounge car all day if you'd like. It's a great place for viewing the scenery, have a snack, a cold one or two, head back to the dining car for lunch and dinner, head back to your room for a nap.... go back to the lounge are and start all over again.. :) :) :)

It's a 2 level car with angled seating and large windows on the upper level, the lower level has the snack bar and table seating. Yes, there are video movies as well.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
4,716 Posts
Now that's how to go to a train show!
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,795 Posts
Mike,
We have used the roomette before on a trip from Chicago to Seattle,two nights. Great for having your own private space and a place to sleep but they are really small. If you go that route, you will need to pack carefully. There is not enough room in there for all your luggage. Some will have to be stowed. I would suggest packing a couple smaller soft bags to keep with you. Having said that,the next time I will spend the big bucks if at all possible and get the larger bedroom.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
288 Posts
Good information. We will be booking the round trip, today (I think) from Elkhart, IN to Portland, OR and on to Coos Bay.


Richard Smith be forewarned..... A couple of sheepdog grandsons may wreck more havoc on your layout than any deer.


Craig
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,110 Posts
What particular Amtrak train are you taking? Once I know what train(s) you'll be on I can give some specific info per train. My specialty is the Southwest Chief, but I'm not sure you'll be taking it since the convention is in Denver. It is in Denver, right? I'm guessing a Coast Starlight/California Zephyr combo, with maybe a Surfliner from Oceanside to LA and possibly the new Sprinter from Escondido?

Would be nice if the Desert Wind still was running. It used to run from Los Angeles to Salt Lake City. It joined up with the Cal Zephyr and Pioneer at Salt Lake and the long combined train then went on to Denver and ultimately Chicago.


You can pretty much go to the Lounge any time you want. The snack bar downstairs doesn't stay open much later then 10:00 PM or so and opens around 6:00 AM...but these times very a lot depending on the attendant and specific train. But the lounge car itself is open all the time.


Oh and the movies that Jim and Stan mention are no longer shown. Only train to my knowledge that still shows any type of movies is the Coast Starlight in the sleeping car passenger exclusive Pacific Parlor lounge. This is a classic Santa Fe Hi-Level car dating to the mid 1950s.



But if you have any specific questions about Amtrak please post them. I've been on long distance Amtrak trains so many times I can't really remember how many it's been. In recent years I've started keeping a journal.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,093 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
We taking the train from Oceanside up to LA Union (business class)....then another one from LA to Albuquerque (roomette). Once in Albuquerque, we renting a car and driving to Chama, Durango, and Canon City to ride trains...then onto the NGRC for a week. We leave out of Denver on Amtrak and go to Salt Lake City (coach). From there, we're driving up to Montana to kill and eat fish for a week.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,500 Posts
How does Amscrap's seating work? It doesn't. -- My son and his wife and twins had seats (reserved a MONTH in advance) a on the Pennsylvanian at Christmas. They had to STAND (with infants) from Philadelphia to York because there were NO seats left in coach.... except Amscrap's head office people CLAIM the train wasn't overbooked, and in fact had empty seats....They also arrived 45 minutes early to check their baggage, and were told that they could NOT, because there was no room. So we had to buy a lot of stuff for them because Amscrap made them leave most of their belongings behind. The lady in the office says this didn't happen either.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
5,510 Posts
I can relate similar stories of absolutely stupid experiences with Amtrak on the East Coast... they even sold me a ticket to ride to a town that the train didn't stop at!!!! (I suppose the ticket agent just expected me to jump off as the train high-balled the mainline through town!)

I understand that there is a tremendous operational differences between North/South Amtrak on the East coast and the East/West Amtrak that traverses the continent. Hope all you folk enjoy your trips.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,110 Posts
Posted By Mike Reilley on 04/05/2009 11:07 AM
We taking the train from Oceanside up to LA Union (business class)....then another one from LA to Albuquerque (roomette). Once in Albuquerque, we renting a car and driving to Chama, Durango, and Canon City to ride trains...then onto the NGRC for a week. We leave out of Denver on Amtrak and go to Salt Lake City (coach). From there, we're driving up to Montana to kill and eat fish for a week.



Wow Mike. That's incredibly close to a trip I've done a lot in recent years. I take the train from Fullerton, CA to Albuquerque and then get picked up by my family where we then drive to our place near Durango. The drive from Albuquerque is a long one so be prepared for that.


The train you'll first be taking is the Pacific Surfliner. Business class is typically the last car on the train heading into Los Angeles. Once into LA, you'll then be boarding the Southwest Chief (train #4). The Amtrak Chief is one train I've been on essentially all my life.



The consist of the Southwest Chief is as follows:

2 locomotives

1 baggage car
1 dorm car

2 sleeping cars
1 dining car

1 lounge car
3 coach cars

Depending on the time of year, a third sleeper and fourth coach may be added.


Since you'll be boarding in Los Angeles, you'll have first reservations for dinner out of LA. Typically you'll have dinner while heading through the Cajon pass. After dinner you can head to the lounge or go back to your roomette and enjoy a good nights sleep. Being a big Santa Fe fan and modeler (in HO scale), a highlight is the busy Barstow yards at night. The yards are on the south side of the train, while the completely refurbished Harvey house and depot in on the northern side. After Barstow is when I normally try to go to sleep.

You'll most likely wake up somewhere near Flagstaff AZ. The downstairs shower is very nice. Try to get up early to be sure it's not in use if you plan on showering. And depending on what type of car you get, it may be one of the sleeping cars that have recently been completely refurbished. There is one restroom (no shower) upstairs for roomette passengers, but I prefer the downstairs restrooms. Less traffic and use, so they are usually cleaner.


Breakfast may be served as early as 5:30 depending on the crew. It's unlikely you'll get lunch if you're getting off at Albuquerque as there's just not enough time. On my last trip this past summer, I went to Lamy (one station east of ABQ) and I was able to get lunch.

For luggage I place my large suitcase on the luggage racks downstairs in the sleeping car. I don't like checked baggage as you have to wait a while for it at ABQ. Plus I usually go over the 50 pound limit since I have to pack for a full summer. I also take along a much smaller (what I call an overnight bag) with toiletries, pajamas, and clothes for the next day into the roomette. Not much room in the roomettes so keep it low on what you actually bring into the room.

Here is a short video clip my sister took when we both traveled back to Southern California from Albuquerque aboard the westbound (train #3) Southwest Chief. The video shows the train arriving into ABQ, and also a short walk up to our roomette. Then it ends with a view out of the end of the train from the last sleeping car. This view has changed since the sleeping cars are now toward the front of the train. To see this end of train view, you now have to walk to the last coach car in the consist.



Video Clip of the Southwest Chief
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,001 Posts
Posted By sheepdog on 04/05/2009 9:14 AM
Good information. We will be booking the round trip, today (I think) from Elkhart, IN to Portland, OR and on to Coos Bay.


Richard Smith be forewarned..... A couple of sheepdog grandsons may wreck more havoc on your layout than any deer.


Craig




Okay!!
I'll chain the mastiffs and the trained bear to allow easy access. ;)
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,093 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
Posted By San Juan on 04/05/2009 12:10 PM

For luggage I place my large suitcase on the luggage racks downstairs in the sleeping car. I don't like checked baggage as you have to wait a while for it at ABQ. Plus I usually go over the 50 pound limit since I have to pack for a full summer. I also take along a much smaller (what I call an overnight bag) with toiletries, pajamas, and clothes for the next day into the roomette. Not much room in the roomettes so keep it low on what you actually bring into the room.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yeyAL0qwyJ0

Thanks for the information. I knew you couldn't much luggage in the roomette, but I was unaware that there were luggage racks downstairs. Is there a lot of storage there...or just a place for a few suitcases. Marge doesn't travel without taking the contents of our bedroom.

How long is that wait in ABQ for checked baggage?


On the return, we're riding coach to Salt Lake City. How's luggage storage under those travel terms?
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
288 Posts
"Okay!!
I'll chain the mastiffs and the trained bear to allow easy access. ;)" align="absmiddle" border="0" />"

Good deal! I guess we can bring along the St. Bernard.......



Craig
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,110 Posts
The wait for checked baggage at ABQ isn't that long. Maybe about 15 mins after arriving. I'm just usually rushed as we like to get out of town as fast as possible due to the long drive ahead.

If you have a lot of bags then checked baggage is definitely going to be your best option. Pack one bag with everything you'll need aboard the train and this one you can store downstairs. The rest can be checked. Once checked you can't really get to them enroute.


There should be plenty of space for at least two to four suitcases in the lower luggage storage area for you and your wife since you're boarding at Los Angeles...the first station. But I personally don't like to put more then one per person down there. If I have more then I'll probably use the checked baggage service if the stations I'm using have this as an option. Both Los Angeles and ABQ do.

There are two to three racks where you can put luggage. This is out in the open so you'll want to keep your valuables with you. However in all of my countless trips on the Southwest Chief my luggage has never been stolen. Don't freak out if your luggage moves a little during the night. New passengers and the attendant will move bags around to fit more in the storage area.


How many suitcases can fit down there. Well I've never really counted but maybe up to 35? Just a rough guess though. And depending on which type of Superliner sleeper you get, this varies. Superliner II's (built in 1994) don't have as much room since there is a wheelchair ramp storage section there too. Superliner I's (built in the late 1970s) don't have the ramp storage so there is a bit more room for suitcases. I can tell the difference between the style of cars right away from the outside, but I don't want to confuse you about Superliner I's, II's etc...


Here is a diagram of a Superliner sleeping car, notice the "luggage area":







The coach has the same luggage storage area downstairs (the modular design of the Superliners is really efficient):

 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
5,334 Posts
The last time I took Amtrack was back in the 80's I went from SF to Chicago.

I really did enjoy the trip

I went coach.

I spent more time every where else than in my seat

The snack car had a down stairs to it where the snack counter was.

it also had booths there

From about Sacramento to Chicago there was a poker game going on for M&M's

Also several other card games. Gin, 31, Michicagn Rummy
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
991 Posts
Ditto,

My girlfriend and I purchased a one-month Amtrak pass and literally toured the USA by coach back in 1977. (Cost Each was approx $300 CAD)


I will never forget the "murder" that happened on the train between Montreal and Chicago... Everyone was interviewed one-by-one as we disembarked in Chicago.


True excitement. Agatha Christie style

gg
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
90 Posts
My wife and I took Amtrak from Chicago to Kansas City last week. We had coach seats. The trip was very nice. Our seats were in the last car and the view out the back window was fun. The lounge car was very busy and a great place to see the country roll by. As for movies,well many people had thier own movies via laptop or other viewing thingie. We were on time the whole way. Even got into Kansas City early! Have a nice trip.

Tom Thornton
 
1 - 20 of 29 Posts
Top