Thursday, December 29, 2016


Getting on the train with heavy luggage can be a challenge. With the help of the men and women in red caps it is so much easier.

The sleeper rooms might be located on the second level. The staircase to get there is a bit snug. Space is limited in your room but your car attendant can store and bring your bags to you as you need them.

Each car has an attendant to keep things going smoothly. There are conductors that come by and check/scan your ticket. There are dining cars and cafe cars. Observation cars with comfy seats to view out the mostly glass covered space. 

In the sleeper cars you have two large windows with seats on either side. You can watch coming, going and straight out. Your entrance door lines up with outside corridor window to view from the other side of the train. There were times I was kneeling outside our door watching and taking pictures.

Our room was at the end of the car, right next to the fresh coffee our attendant made each morning at 6:00 a.m.I call this a bonus. There was ice, water, juice and snacks there too. Just one car down from us was the dining car. Which require reservations for dinner but breakfast and lunch are open. You must wait at the entrance of the dining car for someone to seat you. They do not waiver on the seating, serving arrangements. You go, wait to be seated, there are tables of 4 and each table must be full before moving to the next table in line. The menu is limited but for the most part not too bad. Rick enjoyed a nicely cooked steak a couple of days. The vegetarian options are a bit limited, can't say the rice noodles with veggies was a hit, but the black bean burger, pretty yummy. Your meals are included if you do a sleeper car, all but alcoholic drinks. You can bring things on a train that you can't do on a plane, example: bottle of wine. We would enjoy a lovely glass of red after dinner.

Once the sun goes down there is not much you can see outside. I brought my computer and we watched movies in the evening. They like you to use earplugs so not to disturb others. Now onto sleeping arrangements. It is buck bed style, but, the lower buck is larger than a twin bed so two can sleep together, snugly. Your car attendant will come in to set your beds up and put them away each day. The upper bunk stores an extra mattress that goes on the lower buck. Along with the sheets and blankets, They give you four nice sized pillows. Better then some I have had in hotels.

Sleeping: I had talked to people about the gentle rolling and repetitive sound of the train. That may work for many people but I am a light sleeper and was not all that relaxed with the motion of the train. But, I was happy that we had the sleeper to lay down and not try to sleep sitting up.I also liked that in our sleeper car we had our own private bathroom.

Bathroom: The sink, mirror are right as you enter your room, just around that is the toilet/shower. It is small and includes a hand-held shower, that drains through the floor. If you were to drop your soap, you could not bend down to pick it up. As a little side adventure, sometimes the pipes freeze and your water runs out - surprise!

Room Service: On our last day the train was going to be completely full. I thought this might be a good day to ear in our room. There is a little pull up table right by the windows. Your car attendant will take your order and bring any or all meals to your room. He will even bring you the fixings to Bloody Mary's if you so desire. It was a good choice, the dining car was full and the views from our room, perfect, as we went over Donner Pass & Lake.

Bringing it to a close: After lunch, we got our bags organized ready for departure. Again, your car attendant is there to help get things down the stairs or off the train. He even gets the shuttle carts to take you to the main station..

Overall: We have had people already ask us would we do it again? Maybe, now that we have done it once we have a better idea of how it works. Packing less, traveling light and dressing comfortable, think slippers, are good to know. I would bring more foods I could eat. All in all, it had many wonderful parts, the views, which I will write more on another day were something everyone should see at least once in their life. You can make the food work. No wi-fi but as you pull into train stations you can pick up a signal to keep friends and family updated on your adventure. Most people did not talk on their phones, so nice and peaceful, Sleeping, so-so, if you are a good sleeper you will not have a problem. It was something to check off the bucket list for Rick. Maybe one day will will do it again, going up and over into Canada. But, then again, maybe we will rent an RV and try it that way.

hall way on train - big enough for one

dining car where you share your meals with new friends

just around the corner, bathroom, to left bed/seat, to the right chair for viewing

train station along the way

view through window across from our room

another train station

evening stop

Christmas morning

more train stations

these cars were used to provide protection against the elements

Rick enjoying the view - let it snow, let it snow, outside the train


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