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Saturday, March 25, 2023

Amtrak San Francisco To Chicago

Sittin’ On The Dock Of The Bay

Amtrak California Zephyr from Chicago to San Francisco

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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Look At Fare Calendar And Book As Late As Possible

Although I start looking at flights early, Google Flights has a nice calendar which gives a good visualization of just how far in advance one needs to book in order to get the best fares before the late booking premium starts to kick in. For the most part, it has seemed to have been three weeks so Ill set an event in my calendar to book my flight then. I try not to book any earlier than I have to because if I end up changing my travel plans Ill likely have to pay a hefty cancellation or change fee .

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Theres A Difference Between Travelling And Commuting

I happen to mix with a lot of people that at some point or another head over to San Francisco to pitch their wares to the good and the great stateside. Invariably this often involves a flight to the central aviation hub that is Chicago, followed by another flight out to the West coast. Well in this blog post I am going to try and convince you that you should get off at Chicago Airport, head downtown, and catch the California Zephyr, a train which snakes across 2/3rds of the United States and over the course of 55 hours will give you an experience youll never forget.

Taking this train is truly travelling, not commuting. By the end of it youll feel like some sort of pioneering explorer.

There Is A Restaurant Carriage Yes A Restaurant Carriage

Amtrak Vacation to San Francisco

There are lots of more public places on the train if you want to go have a natter with someone. There is the viewing carriage which is made up of about 90% windows, a particularly cool place to be as you work your way through the canyons of the Rockies.

Another place you can mingle with people is the restaurant carriage. If you dont have a party of 4 to fill a table theyll slot you in with some other travelers, and to be honest thats where the most fun chats youll have will be. The roomette train ticket comes with three free meals a day which is pretty awesome when you think about it. Now, youll probably be assuming that the food here is somewhat similar to airplane food right? WRONG.

There are individual breakfast/lunch/dinner menus, with outrageous diversity. I had the steak for dinner both nights, and they asked me how do you want it done? So we are talking pretty damn fine cuisine standards given that its all being cooked on a feckin train!

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Riding The California Zephyr From San Francisco To Chicago

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Amtraks California Zephyr is, arguably, the most spectacular train journey in the United States. From the San Francisco Bay area, the train travels 3,923km to Chicago overcoming three formidable barriers the snowy Sierra Nevada Mountains, the vast arid deserts of Nevada, Utah and Colorado and the steep canyons and snow capped peaks of the Rockies. As it progresses toward Chicago the California Zephyr passes some of the most spectacular natural wonders the United States has to offer.

Due to San Franciscos peninsular geography, and the lack of rails across the Bay Bridge, the California Zephyr departs from Amtraks Emeryville Station close to the eastern foot of the Bay Bridge in Oakland. Amtrak provides a connecting bus from downtown San Francisco to Emeryville connecting with the train.

As we depart the San Francisco area, on the left-hand side of the train there are views of Downtown San Francisco, the Bay and the Golden Gate Bridge before the California Zephyr winds around the coast through Martinez and into the Central Californian Valley In the first 20 minutes the California Zephyr already counts as a scenic train! San Francisco, a city of immense wealth is juxtaposed by the glimpse of the states homelessness crisis, with tent cities, now common in urban areas, starting to spread into rural areas along the track.

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Amtrak California Zephyr from Chicago to San Francisco
TRIP REPORT – Amtrak California Zephyr, Chicago to San…
Amtrak California Zephyr – Chicago to San Francisco



































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West Coast: Coast Starlight

The daily Coast Starlight links Los Angeles and Seattle on a two-day, one-night itinerary, and its another consensus favorite. The top scenery is between Los Angeles and San Jose, a stretch formerly known as the Daylight route, where the track hugs the spectacular California Coast between Oxnard and San Luis Obispo, including some more isolated sections. Timing for daylight is good in both directions. The other daytime segment, between Klamath Falls, Oregon, and Portland crosses some nice mountain areas: Its no match for the California Zephyr, but it makes a good bookend on the two-day trip.

Two other short West Coast Amtrak routes offer good scenic potential:

Pacific Surfliner: Two daily trips duplicate the Coast Starlight itinerary between San Luis Obispo and Los Angeles, and they add 11 daily runs on the coast-hugging Los Angeles-San Diego segment as well.

Amtrak Cascades: Service runs between Eugene, Oregon, through Portland and Seattle, to Vancouver, B.C., including some nice scenic spots. No train makes a through trip between Eugene and Vancouver, but five operate daily between Portland and Seattle two extending to Eugene and two different trains run to Vancouver.

East Coast: The Adirondack

TRIP REPORT – Amtrak California Zephyr, Chicago to San Francisco

The general consensus for the best of the scenic Amtrak routes in the east is service on the Adirondack, between New York and Montreal. The 11-hour day trip operates daily in both directions, and gives you a double-header of great views: It travels along the east bank of Hudson River between New York and Albany, where you pass the Palisades, West Point, and wooded hills. It also travels along the West bank of Lake Champlain, a popular summer activity lake-valley area nestled between the Adirondacks and the Green Mountains.

The northbound trip is daylight through the scenic areas throughout the year. The southbound trip sees more daylight in summer in winter you hit the Hudson valley after dark. In the fall foliage season, Amtrak usually adds a dome car to the train between Albany and Montreal, which operates every other day in each direction. And if you want off before getting to Canada, you can still see all the highlights by starting or ending your trip at Rouses Point, in New York.

Elsewhere in the east, several other Amtrak one-day trains operate through scenic areas:

The Pennsylvanian: This Amtrak route operates daily between Pittsburgh and New York, but the scenic areas are over the former Pennsylvania main line between Pittsburgh and Philadelphia. This trip includes the famous Horseshoe Curve daylight viewing is best eastbound.

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Amtrak California Zephyr from Chicago to San Francisco
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The California Zephyr – Amtrak’s most scenic route…



































San Francisco To Chicago Buses

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We make it our job to connect you with the most dependable bus companies that cover bus service from San Francisco to Chicago.

From cheap bus tickets to more luxurious buses traveling from San Francisco to Chicago, we offer a wide range of bus services to best suit your needs depending on how much your budget is.

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Amtrak California Zephyr From Chicago To San Francisco

Thinking of taking the ultimate Amtrak train journey? Watch this video first!

Amtraks California Zephyr will absolutely blow your mind!

With its unmatched scenery, Amtraks California Zephyr should top not just your train trip list, but your entire travel bucket list.

In this video, well travel from Chicago to San Francisco onboard Amtraks California Zephyr in a luxurious Bedroom, the ultimate Amtrak Train accommodation.

Sleeper Carriages On The California Zephyr

AMTRAK Chicago to Emeryville (San Francisco) California ...

On this two-night journey on the California Zephyr, you could, technically sleep on the reclining coach class seats but youll have a terrible journey so its always worth the extra money to book a space in one of the sleeper carriages. You also get breakfast, lunch and dinner included in the fare so its a false economy to rough it. Unlike European trains, in the US you have to pay for the whole sleeper carriage, whether there are one or two of you.

As well as your included meals, each sleeping carriage features a coffee station where you can pick up a complimentary tea, coffee or fruit juice. All bedding, toilets and towels are provided for the journey and while you eat dinner each night the on-board staff will make up your bed for you. Heres whats on offer

Roomettes these compact sleeper carriages consist of two facing seats and a small table. By night, these convert into two sleeping berths. WCs are situated along the corridor, with a shower on the lower deck.

Bedrooms these are larger than roomettes, and some have an ensuite shower and WC. During the day they have a chair and a sofa then at night they convert to upper and lower berths. You can choose from a two-person bedroom , a family bedroom for two adults and two children or a wheelchair-accessible special bedroom with a private WC .

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Day : Chicago To San Francisco On Amtrak’s California Zephyr

The second leg of this coast-to-coast trip is a 2-night, 2,438-mile journey aboard one of the world’s greatest trains, the California Zephyr. A train called the California Zephyr first took to the rails in 1949, run jointly by the three railroads over which it ran, the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy , the Denver & Rio Grande Western and the Western Pacific. It couldn’t compete on speed with the rival Union Pacific City of San Franciscobut it more than made up for that with superb scenery and gleaming stainless steel carriages which featured no fewer than four vista domes for sightseeing. This original ‘CZ’ ran until 1970. Amtrak’s modern incarnation of the California Zephyr follows much of the same route, through superb scenery in the Rockies, across the arid country of Utah and Nevada, and through the snow-capped Sierra Nevada in California to the Bay Area. It’s the most scenic and historic of all the Amtrak train routes across the United States. When you step off this train in California, you’ll have seen more of America than many Americans! Don’t forget to watch the video, too!

Amtrak California Zephyr Train San Francisco To Chicago

After riding the Coast Starlight from Los Angeles to Seattle, I was hooked on the idea of traveling by train. This time I convinced my mom to join me for an adventure on the California Zephyr. We were able to book a Sleeper Bedroom during an Amtrak sale and combined it with a trip to the Bay Area. The ticket in a sleeper car includes all meals .

We departed Emeryville, CA on Tuesday, February 18 on the East bound Amtrak #6 and arrived in Chicago on Thursday, February 20. The 51 hour route covers 2,438 miles and is the longest daily Amtrak route.

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What Time Does The California Zephyr Train Arrive

When does the Chicago Union Station Amtrak Train line come? Check Live Arrival Times for live arrival times and to see the full schedule for the Chicago Union Station Amtrak Train line that is closest to your location.

CALIFORNIA ZEPHYR train line operates on everyday. Regular schedule hours: 12:10 PM

12:10 PM

Day : Iron Horse Ne To Chicago Il

Amtrak California Zephyr – Chicago to San Francisco

An early morning stop in Omaha started the third day of the journey as Nebraska passed by while passengers slept. Once the sun came out we were in the farm lands of rural Iowa.

An early lunch was called at 10:30am as we passed over the icy Mississippi and into the state of Illinois.

After a few hours we arrived in the Chicago Amtrak yard a little after 2:00pm. We had made it to the Eastern terminus of the California Zephyr route.

Two nights on a train is a lot. If I were to do it again I would want to take breaks along the way . We had a great cabin attendant that had been working on trains for 36 years. It is fun to see the different people on the train. The best part is the scenery, a lot of which you cannot see any other way. It is a good reminder of the sheer size of the United States.

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Glenwood Canyon & Glenwood Springs

2.00pm: Glenwood Springs… The California Zephyr snakes through the 12-mile-long Glenwood Canyon, shared on the opposite bank with an interstate Highway, and arrives at Glenwood Springs. A major recreational centre where the Colorado & Roaring Fork rivers meet, Doc Holliday of Gunfight at the OK Corral fame spent the last years of his life here.

The many Amish people travelling on our train get off at Glenwood Springs, see the bottom left corner of this photo. Just for the record, the Amish people we talked to on the train were friendly, very real & down-to-Earth. The photo shows the Sightseer Lounge car, with a cafe downstairs, an observation lounge above.

4.20pm: Crossings the Colorado-Utah State Line. After calling at Grand Junction, the train enters Utah, marked with white letters on the sandstone cliffs in Ruby Canyon. These also feature steps carved by early native Americans…

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