Trains & Travel

P.O.Box 312

Portola CA 96122

chris@traintrips.biz (Rail Tour Manager)

1-800-359-4870 (USA)

1-800-752-1836 (Canada)

1-800-266-8751 (Fax)

1-530-836-1944

north america - united states

 

springtime zephyr

Los Angeles To Chicago

PRIVATE RAIL CARS/TOURIST/RAILFAN

OFFERED ONEWAY OR ROUNDTRIP

MAY 21-24, 2018 LOS ANGELES TO CHICAGO

MAY 26-29, 2018 CHICAGO TO LOS ANGELES

 

TRAVELING THESE ROUTES

***LOS ANGELES TO OAKLAND***

***OAKLAND (EMERYVILLE) TO CHICAGO***

*** CHICAGO TO EMERYVILLE (OAKLAND)***

***OAKLAND TO LOS ANGELES***

 

Springtime Zephyr Los Angeles To Chicago Springtime Zephyr Los Angeles To Chicago
Springtime Zephyr Los Angeles To Chicago
Springtime Zephyr Los Angeles To Chicago

 

Celebrate the glories of Spring from your seat in a Vista-Dome!  Experience what it was like to travel on the Scenic Way Across America in our Silver Fleet of private luxury rail cars. Our Silver Fleet cars which will be the Silver Rapids, Silver Lariat and Silver Solarium, will be coupled to the rear of Amtrak's Coast Starlight and California Zephyr, and will travel over what is arguably the most beautiful rail route in the US between Emeryville and Denver as we make our way to Chicago and return the same route.

 

Our route will take us on a daylight trip northbound from Los Angeles up the scenic California Coast with spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean. Then enjoy the steep climb into the Santa Lucia Mountains with spectacular views of the San Luis Obispo Valley and our own train as it rounds a horseshoe curve and continues to climb into the mountains and passes through several tunnels to reach Cuesta Pass and on into the Salinas Valley before entering the Bay Area. Our private cars will be parked at the Amtrak coaching yard in Oakland. Remember, you will use our cars are your hotel for the night in Oakland.

 

The next morning our cars are placed on the rear of Amtrak’s California Zephyr for the journey Oakland eastbound through the Bay Area then crossing the Sacramento Valley before heading up into the High Sierra Mountains passing over the Summit of Donner Pass, first crossed by rail in 1867. After a stop in Reno, Nevada we continue out across the Nevada desert and along the south shore of the Great Salt Lake to Salt Lake City, which is reached in the wee hours. Early Birds will watch dawn break over the Wasatch Range as we climb to Soldier Summit, then follow the Price River to the desert of eastern Utah.  Shortly before leaving Utah we encounter the Colorado River deep in the remote Rudy Canyon, and follow it for many miles east into the Rockies almost to its source near the Continental Divide.  Along the way we will travel through the fabled Five Canyons of the Colorado, most famous of which is Glenwood Canyon, for which the Vista-dome was conceived.   All the time we will see nature's spectacle of Springtime unfold before us.  We may even see some antelope, deer, or perhaps a migrating herd of elk in the higher reaches. We cross the Continental Divide underground, in the over six mile long Moffatt Tunnel.  Emerging back into late afternoon daylight we begin our nearly two hour descent of the Front Range to Denver.  As twilight approaches we get the illusion of an airliner slowly coming in to land as the lights of Denver, which we first saw far below, get ever closer. After a stop in Denver we set off to race across eastern Colorado, Nebraska, and Iowa on our way to Chicago.  We cross the mighty Mississippi at Burlington in late morning, and start the final leg of our journey to the Windy City.

 

For those folks that are traveling roundtrip with us you will have two nights in Chicago at a hotel of your choice which is not included in our tour package. On May 26 we welcome you back onboard and any new passengers for the exciting journey westbound. We will retrace our same route back to California and finally Los Angeles.

 

THE ITINERARY EASTBOUND

 

DAY 1 MONDAY MAY 21: (CB-L-D)

We will start boarding our private cars at 9:45AM , located at the rear of Amtrak's Coast Starlight parked at Los Angeles Union Station, in time for a 10:10 AM departure. Guests may also board at any Amtrak station served by this train such as Burbank or Van Nuys. As we make our way north through the San Fernando Valley we enter the Santa Susana Mountains near Chatsworth at an elevation of 952 feet as we leave the greater Los Angeles area behind and soon enter Simi Valley. 67 miles north of Los Angeles we make a quick stop at Oxnard which is near the Pacific Ocean. Soon after departing Oxnard the tracks swing over to the beach and the blue waters of the Pacific. For over 100 miles the Coast Starlight will follow the Pacific Ocean. At some points the tracks are almost on the beach and no more than an elevation of 7 feet. We make our next station stop at Santa Barbara which is 104 miles north of Los Angeles. Next we pass through Surf well named for the foamy breakers seen from the train. The tracks then swing into the Casmalia Hills and into the lush Santa Maria Valley before again coming back to the ocean for one more look at Pismo. The train then climbs up to San Luis Obispo to an elevation of 238 feet. If both the northbound and southbound Coast Starlight's are online they will meet here. Once we depart be sure and either take a Vista Dome seat or open vestibule and enjoy the steep climb into the Santa Lucia Mountains with spectacular views of the San Luis Obispo Valley and our own train as it rounds a horseshoe curve and continues to climb into the mountains and passes through several tunnels to reach Cuesta Pass and on into the Salinas Valley. Our next stop is at Paso Robles which has become a very important and famous wine producing region. As we race up the Salinas Valley we pass through many farms with field after field of lettuce and vegetables. This is Americas salad bowl. A brief stop at Salinas is made before we continue north as the sun sets in the west and we make our way to San Jose where another passenger stop is made. All too soon we enter the greater San Francisco Bay Area and arrival in Oakland’s Jack London Square at 9:24PM. Our private rail cars are uncoupled from the Coast Starlight and taken to Amtrak’s coach yard for the night. You will stay onboard the cars for the night.

 

Springtime Zephyr Los Angeles To Chicago

Day 1 Amtrak’s Coast Starlight follows the Pacific Ocean for over 200 miles

 

Springtime Zephyr Los Angeles To Chicago

Just north of San Luis Obispo the Coast Starlight starts the steep

climb up the Cuesta Pass Grade and rounds the horseshoe curve

 

DAY 2 TUESDAY MAY 22: (B-L-D)

In the early morning hours our cars will be gently coupled to the rear of Amtrak’s eastbound California Zephyr while in the Oakland coaching yard. The empty California Zephyr will depart from the yard around 8:30AM and run the few miles up to the Emeryville Station to load it’s passengers. We then depart Emeryville at 9:10AM for the run along the San Francisco Bay and then into the Sacramento Valley with a 15 minute stop to stretch your legs at Sacramento. We then continue our eastbound trek to Roseville where be begin the long climb towards Donner Pass in the High Sierra. Lunch will be served as we climb into the mountains. Arrival in Reno is at 4:00PM. Passengers may board or detrain at any Amtrak station where this train makes a stop such as Richmond, Martinez, Davis, Sacramento, Roseville, Colfax, Truckee, and Reno. After departing Reno we speed out across the Nevada desert as you enjoy the sunset and we serve cocktails and dinner in the dome cars. Later in the evening you can enjoy a night cap before turning in. In Nevada the train makes stops at Winnemucca and Elko before entering Utah and shortly crossing the Bonneville Salt Flats. Shortly after midnight the train follows the southern shores of the Great Salt Lake.

 

Springtime Zephyr Los Angeles To Chicago

Our California Zephyr Vista Domes bring up the rear of Amtrak

Train number 6 seen here at Immigrat Pass in the High Sierra.

 

Springtime Zephyr Los Angeles To Chicago

We view the Silver Solarum heading eastbound at Yuba Pass

 

Springtime Zephyr Los Angeles To Chicago

The California Zephyr is just about to enter Nevada as it crosses over the Truckee River

 

DAY 3 WEDNESDAY MAY 23: (B-L-D)

We depart Salt Lake City at 3:30AM. Around 5:00AM we enter the Spanish Fork Canyon and start the long climb into the Wasatch Range of Utah. Wake up to the scenic splendor of this colorful mountain range with a hot cup of coffee before a full breakfast is served in the dome cars. Once we reach Solder's Summit at around 6:00AM the train enters Price River Canyon on the eastern slope of the Wasatch. After departing the small town of Helper we enter the vast eastern Utah desert and make our way towards Colorado. All too soon we enter remote Ruby Canyon as the train runs next to the Colorado River. While in Ruby Canyon we enter Colorado as the bright red canyon cliffs raise hundreds of feet above the train. At Grand Junction, Colorado you can detrain and stretch your legs as the train and our private rail cars are serviced. We soon resume our eastward trek to Glenwood Springs and shortly after departing here the train enters Glenwood Canyon deep in the Rockies and again following the Colorado River as lunch is served. Next the train enters Little and Big Gore Canyons with countless tunnels and spectacular scenery. At about 4:00PM the train passes the ski resort of Winter Park and then enters the 6.2 mile Moffat Tunnel running thousands of feel below the massive spine of the Rockies. Leaving the tunnel we start the long and steep descend towards Denver. Arrival in Denver is scheduled for 6:38PM. You are welcome to stretch your legs during our station stop. Departure is at 7:10PM as our train picks up speed for the fast night run across Nebraska.

 

Springtime Zephyr Los Angeles To Chicago Springtime Zephyr Los Angeles To Chicago

View from the Vista Dome passing through Big Gore Canyon (Left Photo)

Hanging out the open vestibule running through Ruby Canyon (Right photo)

 

DAY 4 THURSDAY MAY 24: (B-L)

Early risers will catch us crossing over the Missouri River and into Iowa. The morning hours our train crosses Iowa running through the many farms. Late morning we cross the Mississippi River and enter Illinois. Finally we arrive in Chicago at 2:50PM. Our Chicago passengers leave us here but our Washington DC and Charlotte passengers will need to arrange their own lodging.

 

Springtime Zephyr Los Angeles To Chicago

 

THE ITINERARY WESTBOUND

 

DAY 1 SATURDAY MAY 26: (D)

Depart from Chicago with our CZ cars attached to the rear of Amtrak’s California Zephyr at 2:00 PM. We cross the mighty Mississippi late afternoon, and will race across Iowa in the gathering dusk.  Omaha is reached about 11PM.  Those who haven’t retired for the night may want to stretch their legs as this is a service stop. Throughout the night we make our way across Nebraska.

 

DAY 2 SUNDAY MAY 27: (B-L-D)

We awaken as our train is rushing through the plains of eastern Colorado, and as the first rays of dawn light up the land we can just make out the Front Range of the Rockies, looming ever larger as we approach Denver with an arrival at 7:15AM. Denver is a servicing stop and a great place to stretch your legs in the morning sunlight. The restored station building is a must-see and an easy walk from the train. Following servicing, our train departs at 8:05AM for the climb over the Continental Divide. For 45 miles and 4,000 vertical feet our train climbs the Front Range, reaching the summit and crossing the Divide inside the Moffat Tunnel, the highest point on an in-service main line in the US, and the third longest rail tunnel in the US. Shortly after exiting the Moffat Tunnel we meet up with the Colorado River, which we will follow for 230 miles, into eastern Utah.  Along the way we will travel through 5 canyons, beginning with Byers Canyon.  The most spectacular of the 5 canyons is of course Glenwood Canyon, which stretches for some 18 miles just east of Glenwood Springs.  At times the canyon walls are actually overhanging the tracks.  There is no better way to see this region than from a Vista-Dome, and a trip through Glenwood Canyon, where the Vista-Dome concept was born, will make you a believer! As the train continues it’s journey westbound after departing Glenwood Springs the scenery opens up to orchards, farms and even the uranium-vanadium plant just west of the town of Rifle. As the train crosses the Grand Valley you will notice some of the oil-shale deposits contained in the towering cliffs on the right side of the train. An experimental mine and refinery was built but is still on hold because of the huge expense of getting oil out of shale. For many miles our train will follow the gentle sloping Grand Valley and the deeper DeBeque Canyon and soon into the famed Western Colorado fruit growing area which produces peaches, pears, apricots, apples and cherries. Our train will then arrive in Grand Junction at 4:10PM and is a crew change point so you will have a few minutes to stretch you legs if you like. Once we depart and pass through the town of Fruita you will notice on the left side of the train the broken cliffs of Colorado National Monument.

 

Springtime Zephyr Los Angeles To Chicago

Great views of our train as we climb the Front Range of the Rockies

 

Springtime Zephyr Los Angeles To Chicago

Enjoy a drink in the Vista Dome as the train enters Byers Canyon

 

Springtime Zephyr Los Angeles To Chicago

As the train follows the Colorado River you can hang

out of the open vestibule and wave at the rafters

 

As the train continues it’s journey westbound after departing Glenwood Springs the scenery opens up to orchards, farms and even the uranium-vanadium plant just west of the town of Rifle. As the train crosses the Grand Valley you will notice some of the oil-shale deposits contained in the towering cliffs on the right side of the train. An experimental mine and refinery was built but is still on hold because of the huge expense of getting oil out of shale. For many miles our train will follow The gentle sloping Grand Valley and the deeper DeBeque Canyon and soon into the famed Western Colorado fruit growing area which produces peaches, pears, apricots, apples and cherries. Our train will then arrive in Grand Junction at 4:10PM and is a crew change point so you will have a few minutes to stretch you legs if you like. Once we depart and pass through the town of Fruita you will notice on the left side of the train the broken cliffs of Colorado National Monument.

 

Very soon our train makes a sharp left turn ducking under I-70 and directly into the very remote Ruby Canyon following the Colorado River. For many miles the train will follow very closely the river and you can almost reach out and touch the rafters enjoying the remoteness of this area. The only access to this region is either by rail or by raft. Deep in the Ruby Canyon we pass the UtaLine Siding which is part in Colorado and part in Utah. If you look to the right of the train you will see the boundary marked by white paint high on the canyon cliffs. All too soon we reach Westwater where the tracks leave the Colorado River after following it for 238 miles.

 

Springtime Zephyr Los Angeles To Chicago

Enjoying the scenic beauty of the remote Ruby Canyon

 

Shortly after coming out of Ruby Canyon you will notice on the right side of the train the red Book Cliffs. As we continue westbound the Book Cliffs will get closer and closer to the train until you can almost reach out and touch them. Evening again overtakes the train as it makes its way up the Price River Canyon and over Soldier Summit, then back down the Wasatch Range and into the Salt Lake Valley in a series of giant “S” curves.  As we make our way down the mountain you will notice a almost full moon rising in the Eastern sky. We arrive in Salt Lake City at 11:05PM with a departure at 11:30PM. If you are still up around midnight take a few moments to turn around and look back towards Salt Lake City as the train runs along the shores of the Great Salt Lake with the moon reflecting in the water.

 

DAY 3 MONDAY MAY 28: (B-L-D)

An hour after leaving the Salt Lake we across the Bonneville Salt Flats, and into Nevada.  The railroad is a roller coaster of mountains and valleys. Dawn finds us in western Nevada with a scheduled arrival in Reno at 8:36AM. Departing Reno we will follow the Truckee River into California and our next stop, Truckee, which is the gateway to North Lake Tahoe.  From Truckee we begin the climb in earnest to the summit of Donner Pass.  The summit is reached in a 2-mile long tunnel and emerging from the west portal we are at Norden, which used to be the nerve center of Southern Pacific mountain operations. Here we begin our 80 mile and nearly 7,000 vertical feet descent to Roseville. Sacramento is reached at 2:13PM.  From Sacramento the train sprints through rice paddies and wild marshlands, then crosses the western end of Suisun Bay on a massive bridge, opened in 1930.  From here we follow the shore of San Francisco Bay all the way to Emeryville arriving at 4:10PM. If you are continuing on to Los Angeles tomorrow then you will stay onboard at Emeryville for the short ride down to Amtrak’s coaching yard in Oakland.

 

Springtime Zephyr Los Angeles To Chicago Springtime Zephyr Los Angeles To Chicago

 

DAY 4 TUESDAY MAY 29: (B-L-D)

If the Coast Starlight coming down from the Pacific Northwest is running on-time then an Amtrak switch engine will couple into our private cars around 8 in the morning and taken down to the Jack London Square Station to be attached to the rear of the train which is due at 8:35AM with a departure at 8:50AM.  South of San Jose we will cross the Elkhorn Slough, a tidal wetland that is home to thousands of shorebirds and marine mammals.  After departing Paso Robles we climb the Cuesta grade, passing through five tunnels and traversing the famed Horseshoe Curve.  Approximately 10 minutes later we come to a stop at San Luis Obispo.   Approximately 45 minutes after departing San Luis Obispo we come out to the Pacific Coast, which will be our companion for the next 100 miles.  As we get our first good view of the ocean we enter Vandenberg Air Force Base, part of the Pacific Missile Range.  We enjoy sunset along the beach as we travel south.  Arrival at Los Angeles at 9:00 PM.

 

Springtime Zephyr Los Angeles To Chicago
Springtime Zephyr Los Angeles To Chicago

 

Roomette:

One person.  Single murphy-style bed, sink with hot and cold running water in room.  Sofa-style chair and visitor bench by day.  Small closet for hanging garments.  Generous overhead storage shelf.

 

Double room:

1 or 2 persons.  Upper and lower berths.  Upper berth is the same size as the lower, with lots of headroom for those wishing to sit up and read. Enclosed annex containing toilet and sink (toilet, sink and hand-held shower in Silver Solarium.)  Closet for hanging garments; overhead storage for luggage.

 

Drawing room:

Up to 3 persons.  Two lower berths and one upper berth, same size as lowers.  Sofa and folding chair for day use.  Larger annex with toilet, sink, and fixed-head shower.  Larger closet for hanging garments.  Overhead luggage storage.

 

Stateroom:

One or two persons.  Booth seating folds to be come a standard double (full) bed.  Large closet for hanging garments, shelves under closet for luggage storage.  Annex with toilet sink and shower.

 

ALL PRICES ARE PER PERSON

 

LOS ANGELES TO CHICAGO ROUNDTRIP

 

Double Bedroom or Roomette$4,599 

Drawing Room or Stateroom$5,749 

 

LOS ANGELES TO CHICAGO ONEWAY

CHICAGO TO LOS ANGELES ONEWAY

 

Double Bedroom or Roomette$2,499 

Drawing Room or Stateroom$3,149 

 

EMERYVILLE TO CHICAGO ROUNDTRIP

 

Double Bedroom or Roomette$3,599 

Drawing Room or Stateroom$4,499 

 

EMERYVILLE TO CHICAGO ONEWAY

CHICAGO TO EMERYVILLE ONEWAY

 

Double Bedroom or Roomette$1,999 

Drawing Room or Stateroom$2,499 

 

LOS ANGELES TO DENVER ROUNDTRIP

 

Double Bedroom or Roomette$3,599 

Drawing Room or Stateroom$4,499 

 

LOS ANGELES TO DENVER ONEWAY

DENVER TO LOS ANGELES ONEWAY

 

Double Bedroom or Roomette$1,999 

Drawing Room or Stateroom$2,499 

 

EMERYVILLE TO DENVER ROUNDTRIP

 

Double Bedroom or Roomette$2,699 

Drawing Room or Stateroom$3,399 

 

EMEREYVILLE TO DENVER ONEWAY

DENVER TO EMERYVILLE ONEWAY

 

Double Bedroom or Roomette$1,999 

Drawing Room or Stateroom$2,249 

 

DAY RIDERS (LIMITED AVAILABILITY)

 

Los Angeles to Oakland may 21$299 

Oakland to Los Angeles may 29$299 

Oakland to Reno may 22$199 

Reno to Oakland may 28$199 

Salt Lake City to Denver may 24$399 

Denver to Salt Lake City may 26$399 

 

NOTES:

1. Full payment due at time of booking

2. Early bird discount 10% if booking and payment received by April 15, 2018

3. Maximum of 24 passengers

4. Hotel lodging not included at layover cities

5. All freshly prepared meals are included

6. Complimentary bar with wine, beer, and mixed drinks included

7. Passengers in the Silver Solarium have in room showers/toilet/washbasin

8. Bedroom passengers in the Silver Rapids have in room toilet/washbasin

9. Roomette passengers in the Silver Rapids have in room washbasin

10. Silver Rapids has shower/toilet/changing room at one end of car

All passengers are provided bathrobes, bar soap, shampoo, conditioner, bath towels, and hand towels

TOUR CONDITIONS FOR 2018 **PLEASE READ CAREFULLY**

Tour Price: All tour prices are subject to change without notice, at any time. All prices based on double room occupancy. Those people that use a credit card for payments a 3% conveyance fee will be added to the tour price. We reserve the right to change tour prices if necessary without prior notice.