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chicago to spokane

virginia
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chicago to spokane

we are interested in the train from chicago to spokane. Any suggestions? We have not traveled on amtrak but only on Rocky Mountain and Via rail in Canada.

Bucks County...
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1. Re: chicago to spokane

You can take The Empire Builder directly from Chicago to Spokane, or take the California Zephyr to Sacramento, and pick up the Coast Starlight to either Portland or Seattle, and then pick up The Empire Builder to Spokane. Much longer this way, of course. You can search this forum for these trains. There is plenty of information.

Edited: 23 August 2013, 11:42
Chicago, Illinois
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2. Re: chicago to spokane

Obviously you have a reason to go to Spokane so your train is the Empire Builder. Go to www.amtrak.com and download the schedule. If you're traveling for scenery along the way, that's not a scenic route.

virginia
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3. Re: chicago to spokane

thanks...we have no reason to go to Spokane and will just fly home the day we arrive...we are going for the journey so would appreciate knowing the best journey with observation car and bedroom...thanks

virginia
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4. Re: chicago to spokane

what would a scenic route be? We live in Virginia and were just going for the ride

virginia
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5. Re: chicago to spokane

Is the route to Sacramento nicer? We could fly home from there easily

Chicago, Illinois
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6. Re: chicago to spokane

(Please see your Empire Builder post.) The California Zephyr. Day 1 across the Mississippi River, day 2 through the Rocky Mountains, day 3 through the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Look at the schedule on www.amtrak.com. Don't take it to Sacramento - go to Emeryville and include the Amtrak Coach into San Francisco. Spend a couple of days in Chicago and a couple of days in SF on either end of your trip.

The Empire Builder travels across the upper Great Plains and only skirts the lower end of Glacier Nat'l Park (which is mostly in Canada). If you're looking for something like the Rocky Mountaineer you need to take the Cal Zephyr. If you want cowboy and indian, John Wayne scenery, you take the Southwest Chief Chicago to LA.

virginia
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7. Re: chicago to spokane

thanks so much...take one each way?

Chicago, Illinois
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8. Re: chicago to spokane

Yes but you will have to take a day trip up or down the Cal coast on the Coast Starlight to connect. Look at an Amtrak route map. It's self explanatory. That round trip would work best if you take the Southwest Chief from CHI to LAX and make a transfer (short layover) to the northbound Coast Starlight. You would have to overnight in the Bay Area to catch the morning departure of the Cal Zephyr - so enjoy SF for a couple of days. The Amtrak Coach servies 5 stops in the city. (It is also on the schedule)

virginia
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9. Re: chicago to spokane

thank you!! I have been looking at the schedule and it is so small...maybe I can get AMTRK to send a bigger schedule!! Thanks for the adivce and we will do this..Bedrooms seem to be difficult in Sept. If we can just get one of them which would be the best...maybe one this fall and the other in the winter.

Washington State
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10. Re: chicago to spokane

A couple of things to bear in mind.

One is that the Empire Builder westbound gets in to Spokane in the middle of the night, 2:45 am. If you just want to take a scenic train ride, do you really want to subject yourself voluntarily to that? Why not ride through to Seattle, and get the scenic ride over the Cascades in the morning and also have a normal night's sleep? Also, the Empire Builder is not particularly scenic until late in the afternoon/early evening of the second day out from Chicago when it finally reaches the Rockies.

If you are going to fly somewhere to take a scenic train ride, I completely agree with shallowshoals suggestion of the California Zephyr. Fly to Denver and take the California Zephyr from there to Emeryville/San Francisco, which, as shallowshoals pointed out, is one of the top scenic train journeys in the world.

Another option to take a scenic train ride closer to you would be to take the Cardinal between Washington and Chicago (actually a bit more scenic going eastbound). The train is not as nice as the Superliners in the west, but the scenery through West Virginia and the New River Gorge is superb, nearly as good as the CZ.

In order the maximize availability and minimize cost you should consider planning further ahead. Despite widepread misconceptions, Amtrak sleeper accomodations often run at or near capacity especially in peak seasons. Amtrak also does yield management like the airlines, so as they book up, the price rises. Plan at least a few months ahead. At only one month out, the prices are likely to be high when space is available at all.

Finally, what do mean by "small"? The type? Because if you think you are not getting a complete list of trains, you are probably incorrect. Outside the Washington-New York-Boston Northeast Corridor, the Amtrak system is quite skeletal. On all long distance routes, except New York-Florida, there is only one train a day, less for the Sunset between New Orleans and Los Angeles and the Cardinal between New York and Chicago, which only run three times a week.

Edited: 23 August 2013, 19:52