Sunday, June 26, 2011

San Francisco to New York City via Amtrak

I was shocked and saddened by the recent news (June 24, 2011) about the Amtrak train that was hit by a truck (Source). The collision resulted in at least six deaths (including the truck driver and the train conductor) and countless injuries (some critical). The train was called the California Zephyr and travelled between Emeryville/San Francisco and Chicago. This particular train was westbound, en route from Chicago to Emeryville, California and had 204 passengers and 14 crew members on board when it was hit. The collision occurred at a crossing of U.S. Route 95 near the town of Lovelock, about 70 miles east of Reno, Nevada.

Map source

It was only last May (May 2 to 5, 2011) that I, together with three of my high school classmates, travelled on the California Zephyr. We had attended a high school reunion in San Francisco and wanted to make the most of our trip to the US. Two of us had travelled from the Philippines, while the other two had come from Australia (Melbourne and Sydney). We had planned to see New York City and decided to take the leisurely route by train.

Experienced travelers say the California Zephyr is one of the most beautiful train trips in all of North America; I totally agree. The train took us through the snow-capped Sierra Nevadas, the heart of the Rockies, and the plains of Nebraska and Iowa. We could view the beautiful scenery from our coach seats or we could go to the sightseer lounge car that had ankle to ceiling picture windows for panoramic viewing. 

 The California Zephyr scenic highlights include
•             Rocky Mountains
•             Sierra Nevadas
•             Moffat Tunnel
•             Colorado's Gore, Byers and Glenwood Canyons
•             Winter Park
•             Truckee River
•             Donner Lake
•             San Pablo Bay and the Carquinez Strait

You may want to check out this site for a route guide.

The photos included here are just a few of the hundreds that were taken during the train ride. It was a good thing that the train had electrical outlets so we were able to recharge our camera batteries.

The Sightseer lounge car

The view a few minutes after leaving the station

Passing over  the freeway

Sierra Nevada Range

Donner Lake Sierra Nevada

Truckee River



The Colorado Rockies


Granby Colorado - the gateway to the Rocky Mountain National Park

Fraser Colorado (Winter Park)

Moffat Tunnel


Mississippi River


Approaching Chicago

Amtrak Union Station Chicago
From Chicago, we transferred to another train (train # 48, the Lakeshore Limited) that took us into New York. Admittedly, after the Rockies in Colorado, the scenery was no longer that exciting.

a crop field somewhere in Ohio

Amtrak stations in New York

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