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 Seattle and Minneapolis, then a fast trip back to Los Angeles on the Southwest Chief.

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 Empire Builder.  Intermediate points include Oakland/Emeryville, Portland, Seattle, Spokane, St. Paul/Minneapolis and Milwaukee.

     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 Seattle, WA.  In Seattle, our cars will be uncoupled from the Coast Starlight and parked for the night pending the next morning's arrival of train 7 scheduled around 10:25 AM.  During the day our cars will be coupled onto that equipment and made ready for the 4:40 PM departure that afternoon.  Guests will have the morning and most of the afternoon to explore Seattle.  The Empire Builder will make a stop in the wee hours in Spokane where it will be joined to the Portland section.  The train will continue east through northern Montana and North Dakota.  The following morning the train will stop at St. Paul, then Milwaukee, finally arriving Chicago around 4:00 PM.  There will be a day layover in Chicago.  Guests continuing on with us to points west will detrain to hotel for the two nights we are in Chicago.  May 27, our cars will be on the rear of the Southwest Chief, the US' fastest long-distance train, for the journey to Los Angeles.  Departure is 3:00 PM, and arrival Los Angeles is 8:15 AM May 29.

Scenic Highlights:

          Our routing is designed to provide the best of the scenery these routes have to offer.  On day one, we will travel along California's central coast in the early afternoon, and the nation's salad bowl around happy hour.  On day 2, guests will awaken to spectacular vistas of Mount Shasta, then climb through the Oregon Cascades after breakfast.  After lunch, the train will travel through the Willamette Valley, with its vineyards and hop fields before arriving Portland.  Late afternoon and evening will see the train following the Columbia River as far as Longview.  If PTC work is not complete on the bypass the train will travel along Puget Sound on its way to Tacoma.  

On day 3 we travel along Puget Sound to Everett before turning inland and crossing the Cascades again over Stevens Pass.  Given the time of year, our crossing will be in daylight fading to dusk.  Day 4 sees us traveling along Whitefish Lake with a 7:21 AM arrival in the town of Whitefish. Continuing east the railroad forms the southern border of Glacier National Park.  East of the Park we begin our journey across the Montana prairie.  Don't miss our entry into Cut Bank, over the famous Cut Bank Bridge!  Day 5 has an early AM arrival in St. Paul, where you can stretch your legs at the recently renovated St. Paul Union Depot.  From St. Paul we follow the Mississippi River nearly all the way to Milwaukee.  From there it's a quick trip into Chicago.

On day 7 our cars depart Chicago on the Southwest Chief.  We cross the mighty Mississippi River at Fort Madison Iowa in late afternoon.  Shortly after departing Fort Madison we enter Missouri,with its hardwood forests and farm fields, as we make our way to Kansas City, arriving there late evening.  Morning of day 8 finds us in eastern Colorado.  We travel across high prairie on our way to Trinidad, eastern side of steep and winding Raton Pass.  Later, we traverse the lovely Glorieta Pass before descending into Lamy, then on to Albuquerque.  Red mesas, made even more so with the late afternoon sun, are the pictures out the windows as we speed westward.  On our last morning, we have crossed the Mojave desert and descended Cajon Pass as we enter the Los Angeles basin.  Arrival in LA is 8:15 AM.

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.  All meals will be served in the dome of Silver Solarium.

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 with us, our train will depart Oakland at 9:39 PM.  Servicing stop at Sacramento and last chance to stretch legs tonight.  Meals today:  Breakfast, Lunch, hors d’Oeuvres, Dinner.

     May 22:  Breakfast time finds us approaching Klamath Falls, Oregon, with great views of Mount Shasta out the rear windows.  KFS is a crew-change and fresh air stop.  Departing Klamath Falls, the train follows the shore of Upper Klamath Lake, then begins its climb to Cascade Summit through the deep emerald forests of Oregon.  Descending the north slope, we pass through Oakridge, and shortly thereafter pass one of the only covered bridges in Oregon.  Arrival in Eugene is at 12:36.  Feel free to step down and stretch legs prior to our fast ride through the verdant Willamette Valley on our way to Portland.  In Portland our train will take on fuel, and there is ample time to enter the station, which was built before the turn of the last century.  Departing Portland, around 4PM, we will again cross the Willamette River, then a slough off the Columbia, then the Columbia River itself all in the space of a few minutes before our stop in Vancouver, WA.  Our ride from Vancouver to Seattle is swift, with brief stops at several picturesque towns.  In Seattle our cars will be separated from the train and parked for the night.  Meals today:  Breakfast, Lunch, hors d'Oeuvres, Dinner.

     May 23:     You will have all morning and much of the afternoon to explore Seattle.  Our train will depart at 4:40 PM.  Once we exit the downtown tunnel we will travel along Elliott Bay and Puget Sound to Everett.  There we head inland to meet and cross the Cascades.  Late afternoon adds drama to the craggy peaks as we climb over Stevens Pass.  The summit is inside the 7.75 mile long Cascade Tunnel.  On the east side, we'll briefly stop at Leavenworth's Icicle Station, then proceed to Wenatchee, where crews change.  Spokane is reached at 12:40 AM.  Guests who haven't retired for the night are welcome to step off here while the two sections of the train are joined.  Meals today:  Breakfast, Hors d'Oeuvres and dinner.

     May 24:  Whitefish arrival at 7:21 AM.  This is a crew change and fresh air stop.  Be sure to visit the chalet-style station, and the little park to the east of the building.  Departing Whitefish we will begin our climb over Marias Pass, the lowest rail crossing of the Rockies in the US.  The railroad forms the southern border of Glacier National Park, and offers vistas of some of the Alpine scenery there.  We make a brief stop at Essex, MT., home of the one-time GN crew hotel and now popular tourist destination the Isaac Walton Inn.  Note several older locomotives parked nearby.  These are now guest rooms!  Continuing east, across the park from the East Glacier station is the iconic Glacier Park Lodge.   Continuing east, we enter the Montana prairie.  Cut Bank is entered via the famous Cut Bank Bridge.  Miles of snow fences testify to the cold and howling winds winter brings to this part of the State.  Havre Montana is a service stop and a place to stretch legs.  We enter oil country around Glasgow, MT and Williston, ND.  This area is home to the Bakken crude oil, which gained notoriety in several spectacular fiery derailments.  Note on the passing oil trains that there is a buffer car between the locomotives and the tank cars.  Minot, ND is a service stop, and is reached at 9:27 PM.  Meals:  Breakfast, Luncheon, hors d'Oeuvres and Dinner.

     May 25:  We arrive St. Paul, at its recently restored Union Depot, at 7:43 AM.  Feel free to step off.  For much of the next 300 miles we will be in close proximity to the mighty Mississippi River.  We make an early afternoon stop in Milwaukee, then it's a quick trip to Chicago, arriving 3:55 PM.  In Chicago, all guests will detrain.

       May 26:   Our cars lay over for service and restocking in Chicago today.

      May 27:  The morning is yours to enjoy the sights sounds and aromas of Chicago.  Our train departs Chicago at 3:00 PM.  Guests who show their boarding passes are welcome to wait for the train in Chicago's Metropolitan Lounge.  We take the famous Burlington route to Galesburg, where we diverge for Fort Madison Iowa and our crossing of the Mississippi.  Shortly after departing Fort Madison we enter Missouri, where we speed through hardwood forests and farmland at up to 90 mph, before arriving Kansas City at 10:11 PM.  Feel free to step off and explore the restored Union Station during our 35 minute stop.  Meals:   Hors d'Oeuvres and Dinner.

       May 28:  Morning finds us in eastern Colorado, approaching La Junta.  Feel free to step off for some fresh morning air.  Leaving La Junta we speed across the Colorado high plains to Trinidad, and our ascent of Raton Pass.  Out the window one can see the old wagon road, and a sign or two placed by the Santa Fe Railway that mark spots of historical interest.  The summit of the pass is inside the tunnel.  Descending the west slope we arrive Raton, NM.  Nearby is a large Boy Scout ranch, so expect a lot of activity as a new group of scouts detrains, and other scouts board for their trip home.  At the station in Las Vegas is the Casteneda hotel, a former Fred Harvey property now being restored by Alan Affeldt, who also brought La Posada in Winslow back to life.  Departing Las Vegas, we shortly begin our climb of Glorieta Pass, every bit as twisty and steep as Raton Pass.  Descending the pass, we stop at Lamy, former helper station and rail gateway to Santa Fe.  Albuquerque is reached at 3:55 PM.  Step off and check out the Native American vendors.  We will be here for 50 minutes.  Late afternoon sees us in western New Mexico and the red mesa country, made all the more so by the setting sun.  The Winslow stop is at La Posada, the last of the Fred Harvey hotels.  Flagstaff is nestled in the Ponderosa pines and stepping on the vestibule one can take in that quintessential aroma.  Meals:  Breakfast, Lunch, hors d'Oeuvres, Dinner.

       May 29:  Early morning we will be climbing from Barstow, following the Mojave River to Victorville and the Lower and Upper Narrows before reaching Cajon Summit.  From there it is a steep and winding descent to San Bernardino and the Los Angeles Basin.  Arrival at Los Angeles Union Station is 8:15 AM.  Meal today:  Breakfast.



     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            


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