Travel Guide to California

2015 Travel Guide to California

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 75 of 195

What's your pleasure? Uncorking vin- tage wines in the dining car of the Coast Starlight—or blasting the undead with laser rifles from the platform of the Zombie Train? California offers railway experiences for every taste, and all of them come with unforgettable scenery. The Golden State's railway history has been part of American legend for 140 years. On June 4, 1876, the first express train con- necting the east and west coasts reached the city of Oakland—after a seemingly miracu- lous journey of less than four days. Before that milestone, a New York to San Francisco trip had taken months—and might include births, deaths and attacks by bandits or Indians. Californians love their trains, and not just for nostalgic reasons. They're a great way to take in some of North America's most iconic landscapes: from towering mountains to coastal cliffs. Some of the routes are short, scenic excursions. Others are more practical, ferrying commuters between the capitals of California commerce. Amtrak Adventures The gold standard of California rail trips is arguably Amtrak's Coast Starlight. Before it crosses the border into Oregon, north- bound passengers experience the full spectrum of California's greatest hits. Whether you board at Los Angeles' Union Station or Oakland's Jack London Square, you'll pass snow-capped peaks, gorgeous forests and shimmering shorelines. The full trip, from Los Angeles to Seattle (or reverse), takes 35 hours. But accolades for the "most beautiful train trip in North America" are lavished on Amtrak's California Zephyr, a 51-hour adven- ture linking the Bay Area with Chicago. The daily departure boards in Emeryville (right across the bay from San Francisco), and crosses two mountain ranges—the Sierra Nevada to Reno, and the Rockies to Denver (you can get off at Truckee, and explore Lake Tahoe). If you're drawn to a desert crossing, Amtrak's Southwest Chief connects LA with Chicago via the Mojave. The Sunset Lim- ited—Amtrak's most southern route—joins LA with New Orleans via Tucson, San Antonio and Houston. 74 2 0 1 5 T R A V E L G U I D E T O C A L I F O R N I A CA.RAILWAY JOURNEYS You Can Hear That Whistle Blow Climb aboard for panoramic views and historic adventure BY JEFF GREENWALD JORG HACKEMANN/SHUTTERSTOCK ; FILEDIMAGE/SHUTTERSTOCK AMTRAK Founded in 1971 to provide inter- city passenger train service across the country, Amtrak serves 46 of the 50 states and three Canadian provinces on 21,000 miles (34,000 km) of track. Passengers wait to board at Union Station, Los Angeles, above; Union Station interior, above right.

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of Travel Guide to California - 2015 Travel Guide to California