The Coast to Coast Express is a truly unique 9-day luxury transcontinental trip by private railcars. You’ll travel on the Zephyr and Cardinal Routes from Washington DC to the San Francisco Bay area on two restored cars from the golden age of rail travel, including a Vista-Dome and a sleeper from the original California Zephyr. All guests will have sleeping car accommodations. Meals aboard the train will be prepared fresh by the chef in the on-board kitchen, and served on fine monogram china on California Zephyr table linens.
Along the way you’ll have a chance to explore Denver and its environs. You’ll also have time to explore the Windy City as we lay over for our change of trains and continue your journey to San Francisco.
Call 877-929-7245 today to book your Coast to Coast Express Westbound vacation.
- Travel between the San Francisco Bay Area and Washington DC.
- Enjoy a unique opportunity to travel coast-to-coast in the luxury that was the hallmark of train travel in the 40’s and 50’s.
- Travel on Amtrak's California Zephyr and Cardinal.
- Stopovers with sightseeing opportunities in Denver and Chicago.
- Includes all meals enroute, and complimentary bar service.
- All guests have sleeper room accommodations aboard private railcars.
- All meals while traveling aboard the private cars, including full bar service.
- Hotel accommodations in Chicago, and transfer to hotel.
This ‘train within a train’ will consist of Silver Rapids, a roomette bedroom sleeper from the California Zephyr and Silver Solarium, a vista-dome sleeper-lounge-observation car from the California Zephyr. Accommodations
aboard the train include roomettes, each sleeping 1 person; bedrooms, accommodating 2 people, and a drawing room, accommodating up to 3 people. Each sleeper is equipped with one or more guest showers.
The combination of cars provides an exceptional amount of public space, and the professional staff will see to it that your on-board experience is an outstanding one.
Day 1: Friday, July 10: (L, D) We gather at the gate in the magnificent Washington Union Station, awaiting the call to our train, #51, the westbound Cardinal. We are greeted at the steps to our private cars by our Steward, who welcomes us aboard and shows us to our room, which will be our hotel on wheels, for the next 9 days.
As we depart Washington, we enjoy a toast of champagne for this unique adventure. Presently, we hear the steward chiming us into the dome for luncheon, and see the tables all set with snowy starched linens and sparkling glassware. As we are enjoying lunch we pause to reflect that this beautiful country we are traveling through was the scene of some of the fiercest battles of the American Civil War. We make a brief stop at Charlottesville, VA, where Thomas Jefferson’s plantation, Monticello is, as well as Montpelier, home of James Madison, and Ash Lawn, which is the home of James Monroe, Presidents 3, 4, and 5, respectively.
After we crest the Blue Ridge late afternoon finds us approaching White Sulfur Springs, West Virginia, and the world-class Greenbrier Resort, opened by the C&O Railroad. Little-known until recently was the existence of a massive bunker on the property intended to house Congress in the event of a nuclear strike. As the shadows grow longer we continue our westward trek into the New River Gorge, arguably some of the most spectacular scenery east of the Mississippi. After a satisfying dinner and an aperitif we retire to our rooms, which have been made down for the evening.
Day 2: Saturday, July 11: (B) In the wee hours of the morning our train crossed the mighty Ohio River at Cincinnati, and made an extended stop at Indianapolis. We enjoy breakfast as the train continues its journey west toward Chicago, arriving mid-morning. Here we transfer to the Monaco Hotel. The rest of the day is yours to sightsee.
Day 3: Sunday, July 12: (D) The morning is at your leisure, but be sure to be at Union Station (designed by the same architect who created Washington Union Station, by the way) in time for our 2:00 PM departure on the California Zephyr.
We enjoy cocktails and hors d’Oeuvres as our train races toward the Mississippi River crossing at Burlington, Iowa. Just west of Burlington, on Burlington Hill, George Westinghouse perfected the railroad air brake. Modern descendants of his air brake are still stopping trains around the world. Again, our Steward chimes us in to dinner, whose savory aromas have been teasing us for most of the afternoon.
Day 4: Monday, July 13: (B, D) Those who wake up early will be treated to the appearance, with the dawn, of the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains, thrusting up from the plains to altitudes in excess of 14,000 feet. We arrive in Denver, altitude 5,280 feet, and our cars are uncoupled from the train and parked for the day. We’ll have a private sightseeing tour of downtown Denver before visiting Red Rocks Park, a historic gold mine, and the Georgetown Loop railroad. We’ll head back to Denver in the afternoon where we will enjoy an evening meal aboard the railcars before settling in for the night.
Day 5: Tuesday, July 14: (B, L, D) Our cars are added to the westbound California Zephyr for the completion of our trip to San Francisco. Almost immediately after departing Denver we begin a 45 mile climb to the Continental Divide, which we cross inside the Moffat Tunnel. At over 9,200 feet, ours is the highest mainline rail route presently in operation in North America. After exiting the 6.2 mile long Moffat Tunnel we find ourselves at Winter Park, Denver’s winter playground, and after a brief stop at Granby, we begin our journey through five spectacular canyons of the Colorado River. Arguably, the most spectacular of the canyons is Glenwood Canyon, which we’ll traverse after lunch. The scenery in this canyon was the inspiration, in 1945, for the Vista-Dome. We’ll toast the setting sun and enjoy dinner in the dome as we race west toward the Price River Canyon and Soldier Summit. We pull into Salt Lake City a few minutes before midnight for a servicing stop before resuming our westward trek.
Day 6: Wednesday, July 15: (B, L) We enjoy breakfast while crossing Nevada’s Humboldt Sink, marveling at the land our pioneer forebears had to cross by wagon or on foot before the building of this very railroad. At Fernley, we join the Truckee River, which we will follow to its namesake town on the eastern slope of the Sierra Nevada. The ride up the Truckee River Canyon is spectacular as the train crosses and recrosses the river. At Truckee our climb to Donner Summit begins in earnest. As we near the summit we are rewarded with stunning views of Donner Lake, named for the ill-fated Donner Party that wintered here in 1846-47. Once we emerge from the summit tunnel we begin an 80-mile long descent to near sea level at Roseville. Then it’s on to Sacramento and Emeryville, where our transfer to the Handlery Hotel Union Square awaits.
Day 7: Thursday, July 16: A private guided sightseeing tour of San Francisco, the Golden Gate Bridge, and a cruise to Sausalito await. Many uniquely California-style menus are available as you enjoy vistas of “The City by the Bay”. The rest of the day is yours to enjoy at your own pace.
Day 8: Friday, July 17: Today is a full leisure day. Get a day pass on the San Francisco Municipal Railway (Muni). It’s a great way to get around this city.
Day 9: Saturday, July 18: The morning is at your leisure before hotel checkout at 11:00 AM.
Per Person Rates:*
- Bedroom (Double Occupancy): $4,998
- Roomette (Single Occupancy): $4,998
- Drawing Room (Triple Occupancy): $5,998
* Single hotel suppliment is $598 per person.
Call 877-929-7245 today to book your Coast to Coast Express Westbound vacation.
B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner
Guests must be able to walk and negotiate steps, either on their own, or with assistance, as the historic private railcars do not accommodate wheelchairs. Redcap assistance is available at major stations.
This tour features extended durations at high altitude, up to and including 14,000 feet. The city of Denver is at an altitude of 5,280 feet. Check with your doctor if you have any questions about your body’s ability to cope with these altitudes or activities.
We strongly urge guests to obtain travel insurance, if you are not already covered. Travel insurance protects you and gives coverage for many unexpected problems, including trip cancellation or interruption, trip delay, missed connections, itinerary change, emergency medical, medical evacuation, lost or delayed baggage, accidental death or injury, and more.
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