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Amtrak California Zephyr: Emeryville to Denver


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Had a conference in Denver and I thought it would be a great idea to take Amtrak and convinced 3 of my colleagues to join me on this 32 hour adventure that turned into a 40 hours.  Almost everything was good aside from the 6 hour delay near Winnemucca, Nevada in the middle of the night and the cafe food - coach passengers were not permitted to eat in the diner car, some sort of new policy due to Covid.  The explanation from the conductor was that a freight train was too long to get on the siding and so they had to do some sort of maneuver to get us through and told us to call our state representatives so this delays don't happen. 🙂 Got to see parts of California, Nevada, Utah and Colorado that you will never see unless you were on a train or unless you're on a desert race across Nevada and rafting the Colorado River.  Actually, another bummer is that because of the delay, we arrived in Denver at midnight and the Rockies portion was ridden through the dark of night which is one of the most scenic portions of the route.  On this thread I will be sharing some pictures and videos while on the train and other little stories.  I had a good vantage point as we were on the last car of the train and seated in the back and was able to look out in the back.   




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What I love in US trains is the legs room (so call "picth" in planes) I can have in 2nd class and sometimes their look too



Philadelphia Station - 2007 - Arriving from NY Penn Station. 



Edited by JR East
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Good on you junior. Glad you got your crew to experience something different. Bummer the full diner service wasn’t running, some of the nicest meals I’ve had were on Amtrak trains in full diner cars. 

When I was young a night or two of sleeping semi upright was fine on my long haul Amtrak treks, but at my age now I’m headed for a cabin if overnight… I’ve made it about 2/3rds the way around the us on Amtrak now, hope to complete the circuit here eventually, just will cost a bit more…





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I even shared with my traveling buddies the menu ahead of time only to find out that we were relegated to the Cafe car food which is basically American 7/11 food.  It sucked too hearing the announcements that the dining room was open and at the end of the announcement - only for sleeper car passengers. The only consolation was that the cafe car was in the observation car and was a great place to take in the scenery while eating an Angus Cheeseburger.  The first 2 were pretty good but after that not so much. 



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Ugh torture! The dining car is now open for seating and tonight we have a tender fillet minion with roasted garlic potatoes and an artichoke salad, but those in coach it’s a microwaved angus burger in the club car…

I use to do a lot of trips from DC to Philly and nyc and are club car food a lot and it was always editable and easy. But the dining cars always surprised me with their food and price was not horrid for being a very captive diner in a restaurant that was hard to stock and expensive to run.



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Sorry you had that experience Jr, hopefully the rest of the group wasn't too put out by it.  I believe Amtrak is still recovering from the previous CEO who wanted to end dining car service, hopefully they'll be back to normal for coach passengers soon enough.  

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That is a long time to be in one form of conveyance.    My longest train ride was Stockholm to Göppingen Germany (yes, where Märklin is)...  It was about 24 hours with a stop in Hamburg and a stop in Stuttgart.  I had a couchette reservation so a place to sleep, and sat in 1st class compartment otherwise, but it was still a long trip...


At least you can get up and walk around.  Not like a plane where you basically can't walk much as it is so crowded -- maybe a few lengths of your section of the cabin periodically.


Sounds like a fun trip despite the length 🙂



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