More Questions and Comments.
Q: I find the Amtrak web page very difficult to use. I’m referring to the page on their web site used to actually book train travel. Is it only me?
A: No, I agree with you, although I use it so much that I am probably aware of the several quirky things that bother many users.
Q: What are the chances that the parlor cars will return to the Coast Starlight.
A: Somewhere between zero and none. And you’re talking to a guy who would take an extra two nights on the road heading home just to spend a day riding in one of those beauties. Right now, I understand that all five of the Pacific Parlour Cars are sitting at the Beech Grove Shops, Amtrak’s repair and maintenance facility in Indiana. It’s enough to make a grown man cry! (That’s a Viewliner sleeper being overhauled in the photo above.)
Q: I’ve been told the direction in which you’re traveling on some of the long-distance trains can make a big difference in terms of viewing the passing scenery.True? And if so, which direction do you recommend for the California Zephyr and VIA Rail’s trans- continental train!
A: I like the Canadian’s westbound route because it seems as though the scenery gets better and better as you head west. But mainly I prefer this direction because on the last morning the train follows the Fraser River through an absolutely lush and spectacularly beautiful valley. The scheduled arrival time is 8:00 a.m., but with any luck at all, you’ll be an hour or so late. That will give you a little more time in this lovely valley. Since the eastbound train departs Vancouver at 10:00 p.m., you miss all of that.
If the California Zephyr runs on time, either direction will be equally thrilling. But if the eastbound train runs any more than an hour or so late, or in the winter time when the sun sets very early, it’ll be dark when you make the spectacular descent from the Rockies to the Flatirons and on down into Denver.