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The Lakeshore Limited (Buffalo, NY – Chicago, IL) -1st leg of trip
The California Zephyr (Chicago, IL – Sacramento, CA) -2nd leg of trip
The Coast Starlight (Sacramento, CA – Los Angeles, CA) -3rd leg of trip
The Southwest Chief (Los Angeles, CA – Chicago, IL) -4th leg of trip
Plus return trip on the Lakeshore Limited (Chicago, IL – Buffalo, NY) -5th leg of trip
The Lakeshore Limited (Buffalo, NY – Chicago, IL):
The California Zephyr (Chicago, IL – Sacramento, CA):
The ‘California Zephyr‘ is a Chicago to Sacramento & San Francisco Bay Area passenger train inaugurated on March 20, 1949 & initially operated by the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy (CB&Q), Denver & Rio Grande Western (D&RGW) and Western Pacific (WP) railroads. It was the first train to use high level scenic dome cars and first to be specifically timed to traverse the most scenic areas in daylight. The train operated over the 3 railroads until 1970 & in 1971 it was replaced by Amtrak’s ‘San Francisco Zephyr’, which operated via Union Pacific through Wyoming & via Southern Pacific through the Donner Pass, instead of via the Rio Grande’s “Moffat Route” through Colorado & the WP’s Feather River canyon. In 1983 Amtrak re-routed the train over the original Rio Grande route & reinstated the California Zephyr name.
Modern equipment on Amtrak’s California Zephyr includes Superliner sleeping cars with bedroom & roomette accommodations, dining cars, the Sightseer lounge car with large panoramic windows, and coach cars. Motive power consists of General Electric 4,250 horsepower P42DC diesel locomotives.
Today’s route of the California Zephyr is arguably the most scenic of all of Amtrak’s train routes. Running from the sprawling metropolis of Chicago, crossing the mighty Mississippi River at Burlington, past the farmlands of Iowa, to the mile high city of Denver, up through the front range of the Colorado Rockies & through the 6.2 mile long Moffat Tunnel, through the spectacular Fraser, Gore & Glenwood canyons, through the pretty resort town of Glenwood Springs & on through the phenomenal Ruby Canyon, Salt Lake City, the Nevada desert, past the casinos & hotels at Reno, up through the historic Donner Pass & through the peaks of the high Sierras, and down through the American River Valley to Sacramento, CA. Taxi connections are available in Sacramento to the Quality Inn and to the California State Railroad Museum.
If you enjoy spectacular scenery, fantastic dining, superb accommodations & impeccable service, then you’ll enjoy a ride on Amtrak’s California Zephyr.
California State Railroad Museum
The California State Railroad Museum is a railway museum located in Sacramento, CA which opened in 1976.
Upon admission to the museum one can view variety of historic steam & diesel locomotives & rolling stock including the sole surviving Southern Pacific 4-8-8-2 type cab-forward steam locomotive, Central Pacific 4-4-0 type steam locomotive #1 – the ‘Gov. Stanford’, and a Western Pacific F7 type diesel locomotive, plus many other examples of historic locomotives and rolling stock.
For a trip back in time at a museum featuring a variety of interesting & historic locomotives & rolling stock, check out the California State Railroad Museum in Sacramento, CA.
The Coast Starlight (Sacramento, CA – Los Angeles, CA):
The ‘Coast Starlight‘ is Amtrak’s overnight train connecting Sacramento, CA with Los Angeles, CA. The train actually runs all the way from Seattle to Los Angeles via Portland & Sacramento on the Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) & Union Pacific railroads and began operating in 1971. The Coast Starlight is Amtrak’s premiere train with service complimenting both the dining experience & the scenery.
Modern equipment on the Coast Starlight consists of Superliner sleeping cars with bedroom & roomette accommodations, dining cars, the Sightseer lounge car with large panoramic windows, the Pacific Parlour car with free wi-fi plus wine-tasting events, an arcade car and coach cars. Motive power consists of General Electric 4,250 horsepower P42DC and 3,200 horespower P32BWH diesel locomotives.
The route of the Coast Starlight is a very scenic one. As the train departs Sacramento, CA, it passes through Oakland with the train running down the street through Jack London Square, then San Jose-capital of Silicone Valley, crossing the Cuesta Grade at Paso Robles, on to the mission town of San Luis Obispo, along the Pacific Coast at Santa Barbera and on to Los Angeles – the “City of Angels”. In Los Angeles there are rental car connections to the Super 8 Motel on Sunset Boulevard as well as to the Warner Brothers Studio Tour and Santa Monica Pier.
Spectacular scenery, fine dining, superb accommodations & top-notch service are sure to delight on Amtrak’s Coast Starlight.
The Southwest Chief (Los Angeles, CA – Chicago, IL):
The ‘Southwest Chief‘ is Amtrak’s train connecting Los Angeles, CA with Chicago, IL. The train runs on the Santa Fe, now Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) transcon, and began operating in 1974 as the ‘Southwest Limited’, the name being changed to the ‘Southwest Chief’ in 1984. The train is Amtrak’s modern-day replacement for the famous all-pullman ‘Super Chief’, inaugurated by the Santa Fe on may 12, 1936.
Modern equipment on the Southwest Chief consists of Superliner sleeping cars with bedroom & roomette accommodations, dining cars, the Sightseer lounge car with large panoramic windows, and coach cars. Motive power consists of General Electric 4,250 horsepower P42DC diesel locomotives.
The route of the Southwest Chief is a very scenic one, with the train departing the beautiful Los Angeles Union Station, crossing the Los Angeles River at the Redondo Junction flyover, past the beautiful mission-style station at San Bernardino, over the Cajon Pass and through Sullivan’s Curve, through the Mojave desert past old route 66, to Williams Junction, where passengers can connect with the Grand Canyon Railway to the Grand Canyon, on towards Gallup, NM & over the continental divide, through Albuquerque & on to the railroad junction of Lamy, through Apache Canyon & the Santa Fe National Forest to Las Vegas, NM, through Raton tunnel & Raton Pass in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains & on to Kansas City, NM, crossing the mighty Mississippi River at Fort Madison, IA, and onwards to the Windy City-Chicago.
Spectacular scenery, fine dining, superb accommodations & top-notch service are sure to delight on Amtrak’s Southwest Chief.
Also, for passengers wishing to continue their journey, Amtrak provides service from Chicago, IL to Buffalo, NY & points east on the Lakeshore Limited.