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» RAILforum » Passenger Trains » Amtrak » Taking the Empire Builder (in coach)

   
Author Topic: Taking the Empire Builder (in coach)
Steve O.
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Well, I managed to use some vacation days in the middle of next month, so I'll be flying from New Orleans to Seattle on Southwest, spending a night there, then taking the Empire Builder over to Chicago and then the City of New Orleans back to the bayou.

Due to the fact that it is over $600 for a roomette between SEA and CHI (a price which is about $300 over my budget), I'll be doing it in steerage. It'll mark my longest ever ride in the back of the bus. Previously I've done NOL-NYP in coach on the Crescent, and that seems to be about 13 hours shorter than the Builder's schedule. I'm expecting that I'll have a seat mate for at least some of my trip, but it'd be nice if I get lucky and have a pair to myself. Anyway, I usually spend most of my time in the lounge.

Chances are decent that I'll have a Roomette for CHI-NOL so I can get a solid sleep.

Has anyone done SEA-CHI in coach before?

As a rule I try to limit myself to 24 hours max in coach from purely a comfort standpoint, but due to the fact that I have been dying to get on the Builder for some time, I couldn't pass up this chance.

--------------------
Good morning America, how are ya?

44,950 Amtrak rail miles traveled since August 18, 2003.

Posts: 135 | From: Atlanta, GA / New Orleans, LA | Registered: Jan 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Henry Kisor
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I've never done SEA-CHI in coach, but a college-age nephew of mine has. He spent much of the trip playing Pictionary in the lower lounge with fellow collegians, and he said he made a nice bed for himself on the upper baggage shelf of his coach by moving the luggage out of the upper shelf onto the bottom shelf. The conductor told my nephew the next morning he really should have been rousted but the conductor was too softhearted.

So if you are young and limber, perhaps . . .

Posts: 2236 | From: Evanston, Ill. and Ontonagon, Mich. | Registered: Feb 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
HillsideStation
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NativeSon5859, I applaud your adventurous spirt. I have to assume you're under 35, that age at which adventure losses some it's gilt and is replaced slowly but surely by the need for creature comforts.
My only experience with coach, per se is on international airplane flights. Until I was 32 I never dreamed of spending the addtional money to upgrade from my "free" seat in coach to one in first class that required a service charge as I used my space available pass as an airline employee. However once I was able to convince my bride to travel across the pond, I learned she did not share my propensity for parsimony and had to aquiesce to traveling first class. A fact that I found difficult to comes to terms with when I tried to explain we would probably have three seats each to spread out on and sleep if we traveled in the "back of the bus".
I recently traveled solo from Boston to the peninsula on Aceal/Silver Meteor. While I couldn't bring myself to pay for a bedroom, the accomodations we make when traveling as a couple, I did ante up for a roomette and am very happy I did.
Enjoy your adventures as long as you can, but beware the advance of age.
Best regards,
Rodger

Posts: 112 | From: Merrimac, MA | Registered: Nov 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
TwinStarRocket
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I did PDX-St. Paul in March a few years ago and I am 62 years old. I was tired enough from my vacation to sleep through most anything.

One thing that surprised me was the train became filled to capacity overnight in North Dakota, so I lost my two seats to sleep on by the 2nd night. It seems the N. Dakota college students leaving on spring break hop the Builder to get to the airport in Minneapolis. Some tend to party all night in the lounge, so it was really a mess by morning.

By Spokane, you have the option of sleeping in the Portland lounge car until they open in the am.

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graynt
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I ve done sea-chi in coach a few times when I was in my late 40's and early 50's. These days at 59, I ll go sleeper if I can afford it.

Traveling two or three nights in coach isn;t all that terrible. Its a little tough sleeping the first night, but by the next day you are pretty much zoned out, so sleep can come at any time. I usually spend much of the trip in the sightseer car. As long as you have a place to sleep when you arrive, you ll feel yourself again after you arrive.

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MontanaJim
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i second the previous two comments. i just spent a total of four straight nights on buses and trains (bus dc to toronto, train toronto to vancouver). Im 33. Sleeper may be better but you will meet some great people in coach, and will have a great time regardless.
Posts: 405 | From: Washington DC, originally from Montana | Registered: Feb 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
RR4me
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From what I've been able to gleen from this forum and other spots, the Empire Builder seems to be pretty popular. However, it has been said that if roomettes aren't sold out, you can sometimes ask the conductor for an upgrade at very good prices. I've never done that, but perhaps it is worht a try. Have any others had that experience?
Posts: 406 | From: La Grange, CA | Registered: Sep 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

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