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Old 06-19-2008, 12:46 PM
 
190 posts, read 618,016 times
Reputation: 140

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I have traveled cross country (changing trains in Chicago) a few times and up and down the California coast fairly often. I LOVE IT!. Waiting in lines at the airport and being herded like cattle isn't my thing.
Yes, trains in the US are slow. They rent rail time from the freights so they don't go first.
I always look at the train time as part of my vacation. I relax, bring good books, and a computer; to get some work done and watch some movies (Netflix is great for this since you can mail them when you get where ever you are going). I meet people I would never have and have a chance to talk to them, finding out all sorts of interesting things. If I had the time and $$ I would always take the train.
The Chicago station has everything you need. There is a first class lounge, where you can go if you are traveling that way. There you can get free drinks (coffee, juice, and such), snacks, stash your bags and watch TV. If you have the time go walk around the city. Chicago is very walkable and there are lots of stores and places to eat in the area.
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Old 06-20-2008, 06:11 AM
 
Location: DC Area, for now
3,517 posts, read 12,069,139 times
Reputation: 2142
I was told the area around the train station in Chicago was very dangerous and I should not go walk around there? I would be traveling coach so I was hoping there would be a locker I could rent for my bags if I actually have the 5 hours the schedule says I should have. The web site doesn't have a lot of info on the amenities the stations have.
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Old 06-20-2008, 10:30 AM
 
190 posts, read 618,016 times
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Are you going to be there in there in the middle of the night? I'm a female walked around there with my teenage daughters and elderly mother and never felt unsafe. There are business commuters all over. I didn't feel any different than walking around DC or NYC, guess it depends on you.
I don't know about lockers if you aren't traveling first class. Amtrak has a place in the first class lounge for bags so I have always just left my stuff there.
I would ask in the Chicago forum, both your questions will be easy for them!
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Old 06-20-2008, 08:22 PM
 
Location: DC Area, for now
3,517 posts, read 12,069,139 times
Reputation: 2142
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alter View Post
Are you going to be there in there in the middle of the night? I'm a female walked around there with my teenage daughters and elderly mother and never felt unsafe. There are business commuters all over. I didn't feel any different than walking around DC or NYC, guess it depends on you.
I don't know about lockers if you aren't traveling first class. Amtrak has a place in the first class lounge for bags so I have always just left my stuff there.
I would ask in the Chicago forum, both your questions will be easy for them!
No, it is supposed to be the daytime. Sounds ok to explore a little.
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Old 06-26-2008, 08:09 PM
 
3 posts, read 8,024 times
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This thread was very helpful to me - it is the most specific information I have come across during my internet search for this issue/route. I am also wanting to take Amtrak, in December, from Denver to DC (and back again). Going east, there appears to be a 3 hour layover in Chicago. Since both the California Zephyr and the Capitol Limited are reported to run late on their schedules, I am just hoping even if I arrive late in Chicago, I can still get on the Capitol Limited that evening instead of being stuck there until the next day's train.

I would really appreciate any info from someone having experience going Eastbound on this route (Denver to DC)? Going westbound from DC to Denver, there is approximately a 5 hour layover in Chicago so I am less worried about going that way.
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Old 06-26-2008, 10:25 PM
 
4,285 posts, read 14,444,206 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by czk2007 View Post
This thread was very helpful to me - it is the most specific information I have come across during my internet search for this issue/route. I am also wanting to take Amtrak, in December, from Denver to DC (and back again). Going east, there appears to be a 3 hour layover in Chicago. Since both the California Zephyr and the Capitol Limited are reported to run late on their schedules, I am just hoping even if I arrive late in Chicago, I can still get on the Capitol Limited that evening instead of being stuck there until the next day's train.

I would really appreciate any info from someone having experience going Eastbound on this route (Denver to DC)? Going westbound from DC to Denver, there is approximately a 5 hour layover in Chicago so I am less worried about going that way.

I think you'll find that, even though many Amtrak lines have schedule issues, there is seldom a concrete pattern to the delays.

You might find it helpful to go to the Amtrak web site, and use their Arrival Information function. It allows you track the performance of a specified train over a 3-day period.
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Old 06-27-2008, 12:10 PM
 
3 posts, read 8,024 times
Reputation: 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cornerguy1 View Post
I think you'll find that, even though many Amtrak lines have schedule issues, there is seldom a concrete pattern to the delays.

You might find it helpful to go to the Amtrak web site, and use their Arrival Information function. It allows you track the performance of a specified train over a 3-day period.
Thank you! I did that and I also found another website where they have provided a search function to see the times/delays on routes. If that site is correct, there were only 2 times out of the last 12 coming into Chicago eastbound, that I would have missed the connection. There were 3 times out of 28 coming into Chicago westbound that I would have missed the connection.

I feel slightly better now. Seems no worse than possibly getting delayed by a day or more at the airport, especially in December with holidays and snow.
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Old 08-15-2008, 10:40 PM
 
Location: Washington, DC
402 posts, read 761,631 times
Reputation: 231
Default ok

im sort of a train geek, but i think that you might get kind of bored on that long a trip. only been on amtrak for short trips (furthest was dc-vermont), and would one day like to go coast to coast(on amtrak), but dont forget to factor in the boredom factor. (definately better than driving though)
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