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Thursday, June 23, 2022

Amtrak Chicago To Denver Sleeper Car

Navigating The Amtrak Superliner Car

Amtrak Sleeper Car (Roomette) – Denver to Reno

With the Amtrak Viewliner car, everything is all on one level, so navigating the train is fairly straight-forward you just go back and forth through the hallway. With the Amtrak Superliner cars, you go between cars on the UPPER level. This was doubly confusing for us since the family bedrooms are on the LOWER level of each car. And since there is only 1 family bedroom in each sleeper car, that meant that in order to go between our 2 rooms, we had to go out of the room, up the stairs, into the next car, and then back down the stairs.

Hallway in the Amtrak Superliner sleeper car

Also, I dont know if this was a me problem or not, but I had the hardest time figuring out which way was front. More than once, while trying to go back to the girls sleeper car, I turned the wrong way and went into the wrong car. Luckily I never just walked into someone elses room

On our train , the sleeper cars were all in the back of the train, followed by the dining car, the lounge car and then the coach seating cars.

Have you ridden an Amtrak Superliner or Amtrak Viewliner? Whats your opinion on the Amtrak Superliner vs Amtrak Viewliner?

Priority Boarding For Sleeping Car Passengers

If you have booked an Amtrak Bedroom or Roomette, you have priority boarding before all of the coach-seating passengers. This can be a real help, especially during holidays or vacation times.

Listen for the station attendant to announce when its time for you to board. Smaller Amtrak stations will announce where to stand on the platform to board your sleeping car.

Whats Included With Amtrak Sleeping Accommodations

No matter which Amtrak train or sleeping accommodation you choose, all of your meals are included in the dining car for the entire journey. Meals of the microwaveable type are once again offered aboard the Silver Star and Silver Meteor trains between Tampa/Miami and New York City.

However, the traditional, table cloth dining car with meals cooked to order, is gone. Now you have microwaved Flexible Dining choices. Basically, oversalted, chemical-rich meals. But they are tasty if you dont think about it.

The company claims that because Millennials would rather be on their phone than sit and converse with strangers at a dining table, it was more cost effective to do away with the dining car. But I disagree and digress.

Also included when you purchase an accommodation are complimentary bottled water, coffee, tea and juice, turn down service by your room attendant, individual climate control, soap, towels and tissues.

Rather than sit in a chair on an overnight Amtrak train, opt for a sleeper. Youll never go back to sleeping in a coach seat again!

If you find yourself in coach and want to upgrade if a sleeper is available, you can do so without a change fee. Its done either by phone to Amtrak or on the Amtrak app.


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Booking Amtrak Sleeper Accommodations With Points

For our recent Amtrak trip, we went from Ohio to Denver and spent 25,000 points for 2 family bedrooms each way. That was a total of 100,000 points, which was a pretty good redemption, since the cash price for the 8 of us was over $6500!!

8 of us fit perfectly into 2 family bedrooms, but the one thing that we ran into was the problem where the family bedrooms are only available on the Amtrak Superliner cars. The Cardinal that runs from Cincinnati to Chicago is run by an Amtrak Viewliner, and only runs 3 days a week, and at very inconvenient times , which is why we ended up driving to Toledo to catch the Capitol Limited, which is run by an Amtrak Superliner.

Still, I could not find 2 family bedrooms for the entire route from Toledo to Denver on the dates we were looking at. So we ended up booking:

I was nervous that this would be a problem since technically a coach passenger is not allowed to go back into the sleeper car sections, but it was no big deal all 8 of us were able to hang out together without any issues. That portion of the trip was only about 5 hours before we got to Chicago and the Chicago Union Station Amtrak Metropolitan Lounge.

For our return we were able to have 2 Family Bedrooms for the whole route.

Train Trips From Chicago

Traveling Overnight in an Amtrak Sleeper Car

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Things To Do In Chicago:

Shoreline Sightseeings architectural boat tour is a great way to get the lay of the land and instill a sense of pride about Americas favorite inland port city. Youll learn where the name Chicago originated and that we actually had the first skyscraper in the world. Youll see where the great Chicago fire started, learn where the nickname Second City came from, and get a lesson on the symbolism in the Chicago flag. Landmarks youll pass include the old headquarters of catalog king Montgomery Ward, the original Marshall Fields department store, a building so big it has its own zip code, and architectural examples from just about every decade. As an interesting tie back to the train, most of the riverfront property is actually owned by the railroad, the downtown buildings just lease the land.

Other things to do in Chicago: Indulge in deep dish pizza, Italian beef, Chicago-style hot dogs, or one of the many Michelin-star restaurants, walk or bike the lakefront path, Riverwalk or the new 606 trail, explore the free Lincoln Park Zoo or one of the many world-class museums like the new American Writers Museum, which is the first of its kind in the U.S. Here are some additional winter suggestions.

Question: How Much Does The California Zephyr Cost

About Amtrak California Zephyr Taking the train the full length from Chicago to San Francisco takes just over 50 hours, but there are also much shorter trips you can take with the Zephyr. Currently, tickets begin at just $7.00 while the most expensive tickets are priced at $339.00.

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How To Get A Red Cap Assistance

You can arrange for a Red Cap to help with your luggage by requesting service at the desk in the lounge. If there is no lounge, ask the ticket agent where the Red Caps congregate and head over to their station.

After your luggage is in your room, please tip the Red Cap for their service. $5.00 per one or two bags is customary. The only time I dont use a Red Cap if I have a lot of luggage is if there are a lot of elderly or wheel-chair guests. I dont want to take up their seat on the golf cart.

Also, if you are boarding in Sacramento, while theres no official Red Cap service, their is someone with a golf cart to drive you to the train. Its quite a long walk from the waiting room to the boarding platform.

Sittin’ On The Dock Of The Bay

Amtrak Zephyr Sleeper Travel Tips – Emeryville to Chicago – Solo Female Traveler

3.50pm: We’ve done it, we’ve crossed America!! The California Zephyr reaches the Bay Area, and for a short stretch approaching Oakland it runs alongside the glistening waters. It’s a sense of elation that airline passengers will never know. We’ve done it, we’ve crossed a continent from coast to coast, from New York to California, from the Atlantic to the Pacific…

4.10pm, Emeryville, California: Ten minutes ahead of schedule with its locomotive bell clanging, Amtrak train number 5 the California Zephyr pulls into Emeryville. Passengers for San Francisco board the transfer buses waiting outside the station. And yes, we saw our checked bags being loaded safely onto the bus, checked through all the way from New York!

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The California Zephyr From Chicago To Denver

Getting into the Panorama Lounge in Union Station gives me a subtle premonition that the journey ahead might not be as straightforward as it should be. The lady on reception isnt too keen on passengers actually coming in to her lounge, and my paperwork isnt in order until she has scribbled on it with a pink lumi pen in a special high security way. After a short wait, she issues instructions over the PA for finding the platform the Zephyr is departing from this afternoon. Rather confusingly there is both a platform number and a compass bearing platform 22, East. I queue for a couple of minutes in the wrong line then get told I should still be in the lounge. I wish they would talk to each other. At the gate to the platform a guard calls for Bob rather excitedly on his walkie-talkie something isnt quite right.

At 17.40 we cross the Mississippi river and the train stops briefly at Burlington. I bump into a couple of friends who are sleeping at the other end of the train. An American gentleman explains that there is a transition car down there its a new word for me and I have to get a translation this is the car where the crew sleep. The train really is full and they are having to use every available berth tonight.

Dawn breaks over a dull grey plain at about 06.30 the next morning. Although it looks flat we have been climbing all night and are now close to a mile high. I can verify tis as my water bottle creaks every now and then with the reduced air pressure.

Denver The Mile High City

Day 3, 7.15am: The Zephyr stops for half an hour for refuelling and servicing at Denver’s historic Union Station. Once the station had many platforms, now it has just two. A private car is attached to the Zephyr, perhaps the ultimate way to travel by train across the States! The Mile High City, at Denver we’re already 5,280 feet above sea level.

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You Really Get To See So Many Different People And Ways Of Life

Madison Butler lives in Minneapolis and is a communications manager with the non-profitRail Passenger Association. Growing up in central Kentucky, there werent many trains around, but Butler quickly fell in love with the rails, and the convenience they offered, when they took a 50-day, 25-city trip in 2019.

My biggest train trip has definitely been my favorite. In 2019, right before the pandemic, I traveled to 25 cities in 50 days through an internship with the Rail Passenger Association. I grew up in a rural town in Kentucky where we didnt have much public transportation. As a teenager, I took a train ride from Chicago to New York and to Canada and saw the potential of what rail infrastructure could look like in smaller communities such as the town I grew up in.

As I got older, the high cost of flying and hassle of moving through TSA at the airport definitely pushed me to explore train travel a bit more. Not to mention, drivingand going on road tripswas a big part of my childhood, and I found rail travel to be much more invigorating and convenient. When you travel by train, you get to travel from city center to city center. The train literally drops you off right where you need to be. To me, the reduction in stress the train offers is revolutionary.

What has caught my attention the most is the differences in train travel across the country. When you travel on the ground, you really get to see so many different people and ways of life.

Amtrak Empire Builder Menu And Dining

Train Review: Amtrak

One thing I enjoyed on the train was the Amtrak Empire Builder menu and experience in the dining car. If your expectations of dining while traveling is airplane food, youll be pleasantly surprised with the Amtrak Empire Builder menu and dining experience. Your meals are all included in the price of any sleeper car accommodations, so for the Amtrak Empire Builder that means you get 2 breakfasts, a lunch and 2 dinners. You can find the actual Amtrak Empire Builder menu at Amtraks website, but they have a decent selection, including kids meals.

You are seated in tables of 4, which is perfect for our family of 8 we just took up 2 tables. Since we were traveling on my wifes birthday, I convinced the Amtrak Empire Builder dining car staff to surprise her with a cake.

Hopefully you can all enjoy me singing off-key

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I Fell In Love With This Old

Joe Aiello grew up in Chicago, and though he occasionally took the train up to Milwaukee, it wasnt until graduate school that he became fascinated by train travel and all the small towns he would stumble upon between stations. He now works as a field coordinator with the Rail Passengers Association.

I was born and raised in Chicago, which was considered the epicenter of trail travel. Growing up, though, I only sporadically traveled by trainmostly up to Milwaukee to catch a ballgame or concert. In graduate school, where I studied transportation development, I fell in love with this old-fashioned idea of the rails.

I adore the idea of the train being the vehicle to your destination. So many towns and cities across the country have built up their downtowns and local ecosystems around the train station. Some of my favorite places to travel to by train include Meridian, Mississippi Havre, Montana and La Junta, Colorado. If not for the train service, some of these downtowns might not even exist.

For example, I really enjoy visiting Essex, Montanaa place that has a year-round population of about 140 people. There, you can find the Izaak Walton Inn, where you can sit on the porch and grab a great meal. You can also easily get to Glacier National Park. As a city kid, I never would have stumbled upon a place like that if not for the rails.

These conversations were edited and condensed for clarity.

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