California Zephyr Railcar Charters

What better way to celebrate Spring than on board a train?  We will be taking two of our former California Zephy ‘Silver Fleet’, Silver Rapids, and Silver Solarium from Los Angeles to Chicago via the route they were conceived for, then back home to Los Angeles, May 21-29, 2018.  Guests may book round trip between Los Angeles or Emeryville to Chicago or Denver, if desired.  One way travel is also available.

The Short Version:

     May 21 we depart Los Angeles on a trip to the Windy City using our cars Silver Rapids and Silver Solarium.  Routing will be via the Coast Starlight and Amtrak's California Zephyr.  Intermediate points include Oakland/Emeryville Reno, Salt Lake City, and Denver.

     We will provide our famous service, with meals served on our monogram china, on table linens from the original California Zephyr.  Full bar service featuring premium labels of beer, wine, and spirits is of course included.

     Sleeping accommodations include Roomettes, Double Bedrooms, a Drawing Room, and a Stateroom.            

     Total capacity will be 24 guests.

     Day riders will be welcome on the following segments on a space available basis:

          Los Angeles to Oakland

          Emeryville to Reno

          Salt Lake City to Denver

     We will lay over in Chicago on May 25.  Guests who wish to ride round trip will need to book hotel accommodations for the two nights of our stay in Chicago.

     Our return trip will again take us on the famed Zephyr Route between Chicago and Emeryville, then on the Coast Starlight between the Bay Area and Los Angeles.  Departure from Chicago will be May 26; arrival in Los Angeles occurs the night of May 29.

The Longer Version:

The Route:

     Our cars will be coupled to the rear of Amtrak's Coast Starlight between Los Angeles and Oakland, CA.  At Oakland our cars will be uncoupled from the Coast Starlight and switched onto the California Zephyr, which will be in the Oakland Yard, being made ready for the morning's departure.  Our return trip will occur on the same routes.

Our Meal Service:

     We will have chefs on board who prepare meals from scratch, using fresh, frequently locally-sourced ingredients.  We can accommodate most dietary needs, provided we are informed of them in advance of the day of departure.  On longer trips we vary the entrees, and may include various fish, shellfish, pork and lamb as well as beef and chicken.  Meals will generally be served in Silver Lariat.  Overnight passengers will get preferential dome seating for meals.

Our Bar Service:

     Our complimentary bar service features premium labels of beer, wine, champagne, and spirits.  We can usually accommodate special requests.

Our Overnight Accommodations:

     Our Silver Fleet features traditional railroad room accommodations.  These include:

     Roomettes: 1 person. Murphy bed.  Day accommodation is a sofa-style chair.  An upholstered bench seat accommodates day visitors.  Roomettes have sinks with hot and cold running water.  Toilets are located a few feet down the aisle.

     Double Bedrooms:  1 or 2 persons.  These rooms feature an upper and a lower berth, and a restroom annex that includes toilet and sink.  Some double bedrooms also have European-style hand-held showers in the annex.

     Drawing Room: 1, 2, or3 persons.  This room features one upper and two lower berths, as well as a restroom annex that is considerably larger than the others.  In addition to toilet and sink it has a fixed-head shower.

     Stateroom:  2 persons.  The Stateroom features booth seating by day that makes down into a double bed.  It has a generous closet, and its restroom annex features a fixed-head or hand-held shower.

     Bedroom On Suite: Several of our double bedrooms feature a folding wall that when open makes into a spacious room that can accommodate up to 4 guests.

Our Amenities:

     Shower/changing room in the roomette end of Silver Rapids.  All guests, including those whose room annexess have a shower, are welcome to use it at any time.

     Bathrobes, of white cotton terry are provided to all of our guests.

     Individual bar soap, shampoo and conditioner will be found in each annex or medicine cabinet.

     White cotton terry washcloths and bath towels will be found in each room.  Hand towels are of Huck material.  This is the same material that was used by Pullman.  We starch our Huck towels.

     White cotton percale sheets and pillowslips are starched and pressed providing that crisp look found nowhere else among private railcars.  All of our beds are made with triple sheets.

     Each bed has two blankets and two pillows for guest comfort.


     May 21:  We depart Los Angeles Union Station on Amtrak train #14, 10:10 AM;  Arrive Oakland Jack London Square 9:24 PM.  For those guests continuing east with us, our train will depart Oakland Jack London Square for Amtrak’s West Oakland yard, where the cars will be cut off, and added to Amtrak’s California Zephyr, train #6, which is being serviced on an adjacent track.  Here we will spend the night.  This is a live rail yard that operates 24/7.  Only authorized personnel are allowed off the cars.  Meals today:  Breakfast, Lunch, hors d’Oeuvres, Dinner.

     May 22:  Our train leaves the yard about 8:30 AM and travels to Emeryville station where the Zephyr’s passengers as well as new ones joining us board for the trip east.  Departure from Emeryville will be 9:10 AM.  The train travels to Sacramento, then begins an almost 90 mile climb to the summit of the Sierra Nevada, at Donner Pass.   Reno is reached about 4:00 PM.  Shortly after departing Reno we leave the mountains for a fast run across the Nevada desert.  I-80 roughly parallels the railroad.  Overnight our route roller-coasters through several passes and valleys, finally descending from Silver Zone to the Salt Lake Desert floor at Wendover.  At the Nevada-Utah state line, time advances one hour.  Salt Lake City is reached around 3:05 AM Mountain time.  Insomniacs are welcome to step outside for some fresh air while our train is being serviced. Meals:  Breakfast, Luncheon.  Hors d’Oeuvres and Dinner after departure from Reno.

     May 23:     Departure from Salt Lake City is 3:30 AM.  Hot and cold beverages will be available for day riders boarding in Salt Lake City to tide them over until the breakfast hour. Around 5:30 AM our train will begin its climb of the Wasatch range to Soldier Summit.  The highway that follows us is US 6, which will be our companion for the next several hundred miles.  Grand Junction CO is reached at 10:23 AM.  This is a minor servicing stop and crew change for the train, so feel free to step out and stretch your legs.  Next stop is Glenwood Springs, which is also a ‘fresh air’ stop.  Denver is reached at 6:38 PM.  We will be here for approximately 30 minutes, so do walk into the renovated Union Station, and make a note to yourself that Denver is a must-return destination!  Departing Denver at 7:10 PM, we cut diagonally across northeastern Colorado and enter Nebraska and Central Time, so be sure to set your watch ahead one hour at bedtime.  Most of Nebraska is traversed under cover of darkness. Meals:  Breakfast, Luncheon, hors d’Oeuvres and Dinner, served prior to arrival in Denver.

     May 24:  Omaha is reached at 4:59 AM.  Earlybirds are welcome to step outside while the train is being serviced.  The Neo Classical 1898 Burlington Station building was recently refurbished and is now the headquarters for one of the area’s TV stations.  Omaha is exactly 500 miles from Chicago, which we will reach at 2:50 this afternoon.  Meals:  Breakfast, Luncheon.  In Chicago all guests detrain.

     May 25:  Our cars lay over in Chicago where they will be restocked and serviced for our return to Los Angeles.

       May 26:   Our private cars will be coupled to the rear of Amtrak train #5, the California Zephyr, for an on-time departure of 2:00 PM.  We will cross the mighty Mississippi River at Burlington, IA, approximately 5:15 PM.  There will be a fresh air stop at Ottumwa, and a service stop at Omaha, reached at 10:55 PM.  We enter Mountain Time as we leave Nebraska, so be sure to set your watch back one hour at bedtime.  Meals:  Hors d'Oeuvres, Dinner.

      May 27:  Early risers should have the thrill of seeing the Front Range of the Rockies jut out of the Great Plains as dawn breaks.  Denver is arrived 7:15 AM.  Our train backs into Denver Union Station, and guests will have the opportunity to watch the train's Conductor guide the train into the station.  

       Departure Denver is scheduled for 8:05 AM.  Upon departing Denver,the train begins a 45 mile long, 4,000 foot high climb to the Continental Divide.  The summit is reached deep inside the Moffatt Tunnel, which is 6 1/4 miles in length.  Emerging from the West Portal we pass by Winter Park Ski Area and begin our descent.  

       At Granby we meet the small stream that becomes the mighty Colorado River.  For the next 200 miles the river will be our near-constant companion.  Glenwood Springs is reached a few minutes before 2:00 PM; Grand Junction at 4:10 PM.  Both Glenwood Springs and Grand Junction are fresh-air stops.  Salt Lake City is reached 11:05 PM.  This is a service stop, and guests are welcome to step out.  Overnight we will enter Pacific Time, so be sure to set watches back at bedtime.  Meals:  Breakfast, Luncheon, Hors d'Oeuvres and Dinner.

       May 28:  Some early risers may witness our stop at Winnemucca, reached 5:40 AM.  Here the train changes crew, then rushes west to Reno.  Reno is a fresh air stop.  Departure Reno is scheduled for 8:36 AM.  Leaving Reno we begin our climb over the Sierra Nevada.  For the next hour our train follows the Truckee River on a gentle 1% gradient to Truckee, CA.  

       Departing Truckee the grade increases to over 2% for the final push over Donner Summit.  Near the top, before entering the summit tunnel we are treated to birds-eye  views of Donner Lake.  At the west portal we go under the ski lifts of Sugar Bowl, go through the remnants of the former Southern Pacific Norden snow shed complex, then pass Soda Springs Ski Area.  For the next 80 miles we go downhill, finally leveling out around Roseville.  

       Sacramento is reached around 2:13 PM.  Arrival Emeryville is scheduled for 4:10 PM.  Here guests not traveling to points south with us will depart.  Meals:  Breakfast, Luncheon, PM snacks for all guests;  Hors d'Oeuvres and Dinner for guests traveling on with us.  From Emeryville the train moves into the West Oakland yard for servicing.  Our cars are uncoupled and parked for the night.

       May 29:  Our cars will be coupled to a switch locomotive that will add our cars to the Coast Starlight, scheduled to arrive Oakland Jack London Square at 8:35 AM.  Feel free to step off the train for fresh air here.  South of San Jose we will cross the Elkhorn Slough, a tidal wetland that is home to thousands of shorebirds and marine mammals.  After departing Paso Robles we climb the Cuesta grade, passing through five tunnels and traversing the famed Horseshoe Curve.  Approximately 10 minutes later we come to a stop at San Luis Obispo.  This will be the last fresh air stop before our arrival in Los Angeles.

       Approximately 45 minutes after departing San Luis Obispo we come out to the Pacific Coast, which will be our companion for the next 100 miles.  As we get our first good view of the ocean we enter Vandenberg Air Force Base, part of the Pacific Missile Range.  We enjoy sunset along the beach as we travel south.  Meals:  Breakfast, Luncheon, hors d'Oeuvres and Diinner.  Arrival Los Angeles at 9:00 PM.  At Los Angeles Union Station all guests depart.



     Round Trips:

     Los Angeles to Chicago May 21-29:

          Roomette:                  $4,599/person

          Double Bedroom          $4,599/person double occupancy (PPDO)

          Drawing Room          $5,749 PPDO/ $4,599/person triple occupancy  

          Stateroom                  $5,749 PPDO

          Single occupying a double bedroom, or two occupying a bedroom on suite:  $6,599/person

                Pricing does not include hotel accommodations.

       Emeryville to Chicago May 22-28:

          Roomette:                  $3,599/person

          Double Bedroom          $3,599/person double occupancy (PPDO)

          Drawing Room          $4,499 PPDO/ $3,599/person triple ,occupancy  

          Stateroom                  $4,499 PPDO

          Single occupying a double bedroom, or two occupying a bedroom on suite:  $5,299/person

                Pricing does not include hotel accommodations.


       Los Angeles to Denver, May 21-29  (4 nights in Denver; arrive 5/23;  depart 5/27)          

                Roomette:                  $3,599/person

          Double Bedroom          $3,599/person double occupancy (PPDO)

          Drawing Room          $4,499 PPDO/ $3,599/person triple occupancy

          Stateroom                  $4,499 PPDO

          Single occupying a double bedroom, or two occupying a bedroom on suite:  $5,299/person

                 Pricing does not include hotel accommodations.

        Emeryville to Denver, May 22-28 (4 nights in Denver, arrive 5/23; depart 5/27)

          Roomette:                  $2,699/person,

          Double Bedroom          $2,699/person double occupancy (PPDO)

          Drawing Room          $3,399 PPDO/ $2,699/person triple ,occupancy

          Stateroom                  $3,399 PPDO

          Single occupying a double bedroom, or two occupying a bedroom on suite:  $5,299/person

                Pricing does not include hotel accommodations.

     Denver to Chicago, May 23-27:

          Roomette:                  $2,599/person

          Double Bedroom          $2,599/person double occupancy (PPDO)

          Drawing Room          $3,249 PPDO/ $2,599/person triple occupancy

          Stateroom                  $3,249 PPDO

          Single occupying a double bedroom, or two occupying a bedroom on suite:  $3,899/person

                Pricing does not include hotel accommodations.

     One Way Fares:

     Los Angeles to Chicago May 21-24, or Chicago to Los Angeles, May 26-29:

          Roomette:                  $2,499/person

          Double Bedroom          $2,499/person double occupancy (PPDO)

          Drawing Room          $3,149 PPDO/ $2,499/person triple occupancy  

          Stateroom                  $3,149 PPDO

          Single occupying a double bedroom, or two occupying a bedroom on suite:  $3,799/person            

       Emeryville to Chicago May 22-24 or Chicago to Emeryville May 26-28:

          Roomette:                  $1,999/person

          Double Bedroom          $1,999/person double occupancy (PPDO)

          Drawing Room          $2,499 PPDO/ $1,999/person triple ,occupancy  

          Stateroom                  $2,499 PPDO

          Single occupying a double bedroom, or two occupying a bedroom on suite:  $2,999/person  


       Los Angeles to Denver, May 21-23 or Denver to Los Angeles, May 27-29:          

                Roomette:                  $1,999/person

          Double Bedroom          $1,999/person double occupancy (PPDO)

          Drawing Room          $2,499 PPDO/ $1,999/person triple ,occupancy

          Stateroom                  $2,499 PPDO     

            Single occupying a double bedroom, or two occupying a bedroom on suite:  $2,999/person               

        Emeryville to Denver, May 22-23 or Denver to Emeryville, May 27-28:

          Roomette:                  $1,799/person

          Double Bedroom          $1,799/person double occupancy (PPDO)

          Drawing Room          $2,249 P,PDO/ $1,799/person triple occupancy

          Stateroom                  $2,249 PPDO

          Single occupying a double bedroom, or two occupying a bedroom on suite:  $2,699/person

                Pricing does not include hotel accommodations.

     Denver to Chicago, May 23-24 or Chicago to Denver, May 26-27:

          Roomette:                  $1,349/person

          Double Bedroom          $1,349/person double occupancy (PPDO)

          Drawing Room          $1,699 P,PDO/ $1,349/person triple occupancy

          Stateroom                  $1,699 PPDO


    Day Rides (limited availability):

          Los Angeles to Oakland:         $299/person

          Emeryville to Reno:         $199/person

          Salt Lake City to Denver:    $399/person            

    5% Earlybird discount for reservations received by Apr 15, 2017.

Terms:  For reservations made prior to Apr 21, 2017, 10% (minimum $750) due at booking; balance due Feb 28.  For reservations made after Apr 21:  Payment in full due with booking.  Your payment guarantees your reservation.  We will invoice deposits and balances separately.

We accept Visa, Mastercard and American Express.  A 3% convenience fee will be added to the total for those paying by credit card.

Click HERE to book this trip!

It's Spring!  Let's Ride a Train!

May 21-29, 2018