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Trip Report

Coast Starlight Oakland-Portland Round Trip

April 30-May 3, 2002
Section 1 of 4


(Click small photos to see larger; all larger photos are less than 30K)


This trip was in the planning stages for a long time. I wanted to make the trip alone in coach class. Later I found that the Coast Starlight is a kid friendly train so I decided to take my youngest son Christopher. Chris is about 6 and would turn 7 May 2, 2002 upon our return from Portland, Ore on the Starlight.

I purchased my tickets from in March and Amtrak called me in April to ask me if I wanted to upgrade to a sleeper. They gave me a discounted rate so I did. I love trains so I started going to Oakland and Emeryville to watch the Starlight come in from Los Angeles at night. It always seems to run about 1-2 hours late. I decided my best bet would be to call Amtrak's 800 number to get my trains status the day of the trip.

Northbound, 4-30-2002

The family at Oakland Amtrak I called 1-800-USA-RAIL and discovered that the Starlight was about 2 hours late into Oakland. #14 is the northbound Coast Starlight. I got to Oakland with my family at about 8:30PM because I didn't want to be late for the train. Even though I knew it wouldn't arrive until after it's scheduled time. My son R.J. and I watched the last Capitol arrive into Oakland.

Chris in the Parlor Car The Coast Starlight arrived into Oakland at 11:30PM. We went to the door of one of the sleepers. I was told that the sleeper you are assigned to is on your ticket along with your room number. Our sleeper was the Utah our attendant was Michael. He said our room was not ready and that we could go to the Parlor car and wait until he got the room ready. I said good-bye to my son R.J. and my wife Karen and we went into the Parlor car.

When we got into our room I was pleasantly surprised at the quality of the room. They were very nice and there was a basket of body lotion, shampoo, soap and a Coast Starlight folder that contained information about our trip. I got my son Chris into his Pjs and let him stay up for a while to look around.

At about 1:00am Chris was asleep. We are now in Davis, CA. A defect detector says our train speed before Davis was about 71 MPH. We departed Sacramento, CA at about 210AM.

I woke up at about 4:00AM at the sound of my scanner. It said our axle count was 64. I didn't get the speed of our train at this time. I am now going back to sleep.

At 640am I woke up. We are now between Redding and Dunsmuir CA. Getting into Dunsmuir I noticed the scenery has changed so much. We are now out of Dunsmuir and it is lovely here. Lots of trees and mountains. We are about 2 hours behind schedule but who cares. I am lost in the great scenery. At about 8:40AM we had breakfast. Chris had scrambled eggs and bacon. I am having my eggs over easy. Service in the dining car is good.

I had to make up our beds on my own. Our attendant doesn't seem all that helpful with these things but that's o.k. I am fine with that I just wonder if he is any better with the elderly people on the train. The lady next to me asked if I could put her bed up for her and her husband. They seem quite elderly. I am glad to lend a helping hand.

We are now stopping in Klamath Falls, Oregon. Passengers that have to catch the Empire Builder in Portland are taken off the Coast Starlight here. This is done so they can make the other train in time. They will have to take a bus. What a bummer for them. I notice a lot of people are getting off here though. Must be a lot of people that have to make that train. I got a few photos of Chris playing with snow balls.

This is a designated smoking stop. I don't smoke but I appreciate the chance to get fresh air. Nothing wrong with the air in on # 14 I just like smelling the mountain air. We are now leaving Klamath Falls and I notice the scenery is changing to fields here and there. We are now about 2 1/2 hours late. Chris wants me to take him to the "kiddy car".

Continued in next section

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