northern sky & dreams private car rail adventure westbound

all prices & options are per person

Year - 2023

Departure Date - oct 14

Return Date - oct 16

This Tour has been - cancelled

Tour Type - tourist / private rail car / railfan

note - all bedroom prices are based on
two persons in each room

$3,995 - bedroom with upper & lower berths

$7,095 - Single person in double room

$4,295 - bedroom with side by side lower beds

$4,395 - bedroom with one queen bed for two persons

$1,500 - deposit to hold space confirmed

Final Payment Due By - june 29, 2023

about this tour

westbound - chicago to emeryville - Private railroad cars allow travelers the option to step back in time and recapture that romantic era of train travel that Amtrak cannot provide. Once upon a time rail barons and wealthy socialites traveled the country on luxurious private railroad cars, dining on fine china and crystal and being pampered by the onboard staff. This form of luxury rail travel is being offering to everyone. A small number of railfans have purchased and refurbished private rail cars familiar to the first half of the 20th century. This was the golden age of passenger rail travel. These railfans have spent millions of dollars to bring back this golden age of travel. Passengers can sip on cocktails and nibble on hors d' oeuvres while sinking into deep leather sofas in lounges and domes and relax by the rhythm of the train wheels rolling down the track. All meals are prepared fresh onboard and made to order by the onboard gourmet chefs.

These private luxury rail cars are coupled onto the rear of scheduled Amtrak passenger trains on certain routes in the United States. Our first class passengers are separated from the Amtrak passengers. We provide our own onboard staff including our chef and make up our own gourmet menus for all meals. All drinks and food is included in the ticket price from the time you step onboard until you detrain. Everything is first class with every detail included. This is passenger train travel at it's finest.

Rebuilt from the wheels up to reflect the ultimate in both equipment and amenities, the Northern Sky and Northern Dreams is a completely self-contained luxury environment. They carry complete air conditioning and heating as well as their own power generators and water supply. There is a complete built-in CD/stereo system, television, and VCR. Nothing is omitted in the effort to make traveling by rail a matchless pleasure.

The crew includes a chef , waiter and attendant. An attendant call system throughout the two cars makes it easy to request service from any area on board the Northern Sky or Northern Dreams. Meals are prepared fresh in the built-in full kitchen, and served in the penthouse splendor of the dome dining area. The crew's main concern is the comfort and enjoyment of the passenger.

day by day - Itinerary

Day 1 - sat oct 14

Depart with the Northern Sky and Northern Dreams private rail cars attached to the rear of Amtrak’s California Zephyr at 2:00 PM from Chicago Union Station. 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 look at the recently restored classic Burlington station, now home to a local TV station. Throughout the night we make our way across Nebraska.

🍽 breakfast

Day 2 - sun oct 15

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 and Transportation Center is a must-see and an easy walk from our private rail cars. The train arrives at 7:15AM and departs at 8:05AM. You are welcome to stretch your legs on the platform or take a look inside of the Denver Union Depot building.

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 Dome, and a trip through Glenwood Canyon, where the Dome concept was born, will make you a believer!

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. Just west of Fruita the tracks swing left ducking under I-70 and directly entering the remote Ruby Canyon.

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 stop at Green River, Utah at 5:58PM which is an hour 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.

Another stop is made at Helper at 7:20PM. Departing here we enter the Price River Canyon and soon pass Castle Gate rock formation. If we are online you might be able to make out the huge rock formation in the fading light of twilight. Soon the train crest 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.

🍽 breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 3 - mon oct 16

After departing Salt Lake City we race along the south shore of the Great Salt 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 soon stopping at 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 arriving at 2:13PM. 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.

🍽 breakfast, lunch


Tour Pricing:

All tour prices are subject to change without notice, at any time. All prices based on double room occupancy. Those people that use a credit card for payments a 3% conveyance fee will be added to the tour price. We reserve the right to change tour prices if necessary without prior notice.