Train Trip Part 2: Califorina Zephyr

I didn’t take many photos on the second day of the Zephyr ride.

We stopped early in Reno, Nevada, where I got off the train and walked a little bit. There wasn’t a lot of time.  There was one health conscious family that jogged up and down the length of the train to get exercise.   There wasn’t much to see at the Reno station.

From Reno we headed up into the Sierra’s of California.  It’s similar to Colorado, but it seemed like the main view out of either side of the train was trees.  There were some exceptions.

Truckee, California from the Dining Car. Did I mention that all meals are included with a sleeper car?


Continue reading

Train Trip Part 1: California Zephyr

As previously mentioned, I’ve wanted to take the California Zephyr to California for decades.  I finally did it.  It turned into an even larger excursion to make a loop, including three other train routes: The Coast Starlight, The Pacific Surfliner, and The Southwest Chief.  (You can visit Amtrak’s web page for each route by clicking on the links.)

Here is a quick synopsis of the trip. I left Denver on the Zephyr to Emeryville, California where I stayed with friends for a few days of sight seeing.  I departed on the Coast Starlight from Emeryville to Los Angeles, where I changed trains and continued my journey on the Pacific Surfliner to the San Diego area.  I stayed with family for about 5 days.  I took the train back up to L.A. and transferred to the Southwest Chief that would take me back east along a more southern route to Raton, New Mexico.  From there, I took a dedicated Amtrak bus north to Denver — a complete loop.


The California Zephyr departs lower downtown Denver.


I’ve got a bunch of photos, but in a lot of cases, the quality is not very good due to reflections off the window, or the window tinting interfering with the color, etc.  Click on the photos for a larger view.

Continue reading

Train Geeking

One thing I like about the trains that run through the mountains here, is that it’s living history.  The Union Pacific Moffat Subdivision (as it is known today) was originally built around 1903 and is still in use today.  That makes it roughly 110 years old.

On September’s outing with Rob and Sherrie (I’m a little behind in updating this blog), we picked up where we left off from our July outing when we explored the eastern side of Moffat Tunnel (6.1 miles long, under the Continental Divide) and the old route over Rollins Pass.

East Portal Moffat Tunnel, November 2010

We headed over to the west side of the Moffat Tunnel, in Winter Park.   As luck would have it, we caught Amtrak’s California Zephyr emerging from the tunnel. (It helps to have a scanner radio to hear the train communications.)  Compared to the east portal of the tunnel with is large concrete structure and huge venting system, the west portal is unassuming.

Amtrak #5 "Califorina Zephyr" emerging from the Moffat Tunnel

Because this is a photo heavy post the rest are behind the cut.  And some of these photos benefit by clicking to see the larger versions.

Continue reading