FALL COLORS ZEPHYR
WEST VIRGINIA TO CALIFORNIA
TOURIST/PRIVATE RAIL CAR TOUR
NOVEMBER 1-5, 2017
Celebrate the glories of Fall from your seat in a Vista-Dome! Experience what it was like to travel on the Scenic Way Across America in our Silver Fleet of cars that were built for the route through the Rockies.
Our Silver Fleet cars will be coupled to the rear of Amtrak’s Cardinal and California Zephyr and will travel over what is arguably the most beautiful rail route in the US as we make our way from Huntington WV, where Silver Lariat was a part of the famed New River Gorge special trains, to Chicago then on to Emeryville in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Day 1 Wednesday November 1:
We will depart Huntington at 9:44 PM with CZ cars attached to the rear of Amtrak’s Cardinal headed westbound for Chicago.
Day 2 Thursday November 2:
Arrival in Chicago at 10:05AM. Here guests will depart for off train lodging at a Chicago hotel of their choice. This is not included in the tour price. Those guests traveling all the way west are welcome to leave any luggage they do not want to take to the hotel on board.
Day 3 Friday November 3:
Depart with our CZ cars attached to the rear of Amtrak’s California Zephyr at 2:00 PM. We cross the mighty Mississippi in late afternoon, and will race across Iowa in the gathering dusk. Omaha is reached about 11PM. Those who haven’t retired for the night will want to step out to look at the recently restored classic Burlington station, now home to a local TV station. Throughout the night we make our way across Nebraska.
Day 4 Saturday November 4:
We awaken as our train is rushing through the plains of eastern Colorado, and as the first rays of dawn light up the land we can just make out the Front Range of the Rockies, looming ever larger as we approach Denver. Denver is a servicing stop and a great place to stretch your legs. The restored station building is a must-see and an easy walk from our track. Following servicing, our train departs for its climb over the Continental Divide. For 45 miles and 4,000 vertical feet our train climbs the Front Range, reaching the summit and crossing the Divide inside the Moffat Tunnel, the highest point on an in-service main line in the US, and the third longest rail tunnel in the US. Shortly after exiting the Moffat Tunnel we meet up with the Colorado River, which we will follow for 230 miles, into eastern Utah. Along the way we will travel through 5 canyons, beginning with Byers Canyon. The most spectacular of the 5 canyons is of course Glenwood Canyon, which stretches for some 18 miles just east of Glenwood Springs. At times the canyon walls are actually overhanging the tracks. There is no better way to see this country than from a Vista-Dome, and a trip through Glenwood Canyon, where the Vista-Dome concept was born, will make you a believer!
The view from the Silver Solarium as our train heads up into the Rocky Mountains.
As you can see the view from our Vista Dome cars
gives you a better view of the passing scenery that Amtrak passengers do not get.
Enjoy a drink in the Vista Dome as the train enters Byers Canyon
Spectacular views from the Vista Dome as the our train runs through rugged Gore Canyon
You have another big advantage over the Amtrak passengers.
Besides the Vista Dome views you can hang out of the open vestibule doors
for some fresh air and wave at the rafters on the Colorado River
As the train continues it’s journey westbound after departing Glenwood Springs the scenery opens up to orchards, farms and even the uranium-vanadium plant just west of the town of Rifle. As the train crosses the Grand Valley you will notice some of the oil-shale deposits contained in the towering cliffs on the right side of the train. An experimental mine and refinery was built but is still on hold because of the huge expense of getting oil out of shale. For many miles our train will follow The gentle sloping Grand Valley and the deeper DeBeque Canyon and soon into the famed Western Colorado fruit growing area which produces peaches, pears, apricots, apples and cherries. Our train will then arrive in Grand Junction at 4:10PM and is a crew change point so you will have a few minutes to stretch you legs if you like. Once we depart and pass through the town of Fruita you will notice on the left side of the train the broken cliffs of Colorado National Monument.
Very soon our train makes a sharp left turn ducking under I-70 and directly into the very remote Ruby Canyon following the Colorado River. For many miles the train will follow very closely the river and you can almost reach out and touch the rafters enjoying the remoteness of this area. The only access to this region is either by rail or by raft. Deep in the Ruby Canyon we pass the UtaLine Siding which is part in Colorado and part in Utah. If you look to the right of the train you will see the boundary marked by white paint high on the canyon cliffs. All too soon we reach Westwater where the tracks leaves the Colorado River after following it for 238 miles. Shortly after coming out of Ruby Canyon you will notice on the right side of the train the far red Book Cliffs. As we continue westbound the Book Cliffs will get closer and closer to the train until you can almost reach out and touch them. Our train will make a short stop at Green River, Utah at 5:58PM which is a few minutes prior to sunset. Once we depart Green River look to the right side of the train and off to the towering Beckwith Plateau as it shines in the last rays of sunlight. Now turn around and look behind you and enjoy the full moon rising in the desert sky. Evening again overtakes the train as it makes its way up the Price River Canyon and over Soldier Summit, then back down to the Salt Lake Valley in a series of giant “S” curves. Following a brief stop at Provo, our train proceeds to Salt Lake City, arriving about 11:05 PM. Night Owls are welcome to stretch their legs here as our locomotives and the train is being serviced. We depart Salt Lake City at 11:30PM.
Late in the day we enter the remote Rudy Canyon which is part in Colorado and Utah.
There is really nothing quite like the feeling of hanging out of the open vestibule
and watching our train speed around a curve
Again you have the advantage of enjoying an open vestibule
Day 5 Sunday November 5:
After departing Salt Lake City we race along the south shore of the Great Salt Lake and if it is clear the Full Moon will reflect off of the waters of the Lake. An hour later we across the Bonneville Salt Flats, and into Nevada. The railroad is a roller coaster of mountains and valleys. Dawn finds us in western Nevada and a date with Sin City, Reno. We will follow the Truckee River into California and our next stop, Truckee, which is the rail gateway to Lake Tahoe. From Truckee we begin the climb in earnest to the summit of Donner Pass. The summit is reached in a 2-mile long tunnel. Emerging from the west portal we are at Norden, which used to be the nerve center of Southern Pacific mountain operations. Here we begin our 80 mile and nearly 7,000 vertical feet descent to Roseville. Sacramento is reached in the early afternoon. Here was the starting point of one of the greatest feats of mankind, the transcontinental railroad. Much of the route we have been riding on is the original alignment, laid down in the late 1860’s. From Sacramento the train sprints through rice paddies and wild marshlands, then crosses the western end of Suisun Bay on a massive bridge, opened in 1930. From here we follow the shore of San Francisco bay all the way to Emeryville arriving at 4:10PM.
Our private CZ cars are attached to the rear of Amtrak running over Donner Pass
ALL PRICES ARE PER PERSON
Chicago to Emeryville, Nov 3-5
Huntington to Chicago, Nov 1-2
For prices between intermediate destinations, such as Denver, Salt Lake City, or Reno call us for prices. For folks wanting to travel from Huntington all the way to Emeryville you will receive a 20% discount off of the prices listed above.
Guests wishing to ride the New River Gorge train, which makes its last departure on October 29 are welcome to stay onboard our sleepers the nights of the 29th, 30th and 31st at no extra charge, which will be parked in Huntington.
*GUARANTEED VISTA-DOME SEAT
*PRIVATE PULLMAN ACCOMMODATIONS
*FIRST CLASS LUXURY ONBOARD SERVICES
* COMPLIMENTARY BAR FEATURING PREMIUM LABELS
One person. Single murphy-style bed, sink with hot and cold running water in room. Sofa-style chair and visitor bench by day. Small closet for hanging garments. Generous overhead storage shelf.
1 or 2 persons. Upper and lower berths. Upper berth is the same size as the lower, with lots of headroom for those wishing to sit up and read. Enclosed annex containing toilet and sink (toilet, sink and hand-held shower in Silver Solarium.) Closet for hanging garments; overhead storage for luggage.
Up to 3 persons. Two lower berths and one upper berth, same size as lowers. Sofa and folding chair for day use. Larger annex with toilet, sink, and fixed-head shower. Larger closet for hanging garments. Overhead luggage storage.
Added on by previous owner. One or two persons. Booth seating folds to be come a standard double (full) bed. Large closet for hanging garments, shelves under closet for luggage storage. Annex with toilet sink and shower.