California Zephyr 1994 Route Guide
Francisco*Salt Lake City*Chicago
Angeles*Salt Lake City
on board Aamtrack's Superliner train-the California Zephyr, or
the connecting Superliner that joins Zephyr in Salt Lake City-the
Desert Wind. While on board, you'll be experiencing the utmost
in train travel, and some of our country's most spectaaculr and
well-known scenery; the Rockies and Sierra Nevadas; the snow-topped
mountains, the exciting golden sunsets of the West; the desolating
beauty of the desert in the Southwest.
Amtrak and your
crew are proud to host you on board. We'll do everything we can
to ensure you enjoy your trip. If you have any questions, please
don't hesitate to ask your Attendant or On-Board Service Chief.
Fun Starts Here!
Zephyr and Desert Wind feature on-board activities the whole family
will enjoy. Listen for annonuncements of the specific time and
location of activities, and most of all-have fun!
in the Sightseer Lounge Car
are offered between Chicago and San Francisco; other videos including
features for children are also shown during summer months.
Hour. Join fellow
passengers in the lounge car for drinks and complimentary snacks.
Tour Guides from
the California State Railroad Mueseum provide highlights year-round
between Sacramento,Ca and Reno,NV.Beginning in June through Labor
Day. Tour guides from the white river national forest service
furnish their knowledge of the beautiful area from Glenwood Springs,
CO to Denver, Co.
Games are usually conducted during
the trip. Small prizes will be awarded. Listen for announcements
for time and location.
your legs. The
California Zephyr stops in Denver so the train can be serviced,
refueled and washed. This is your opportunity to inspect souveneirs
at the station. Please do not leave the station platform area,
and return to the train as soon as the departure announcement
the Crew That Makes the Magic Happen!
The Conducter is
in charge of all crew members and is responsible for the collection
of tickets and the safe operation of the train. The Chief of On-Board
Service supervises the on- board service crew, and oversees the
quality of service.
On-Board Accomadations That Pamper and Please!
Coach Seats. Your
Coach attendant will see to the needs.Since your seat is assigned
for the length of the journey, please do not change without first
consulting a crew member.
Compartments. Your Sleeping Car Attendant will prepare you for
daytime or nighttime use, provide wake-up calls and bring the
morning paper and the beverages. Individual speakers bring recorded
music on Channels 2 or 3, and train announcements on Channels
1 and 2. Simply turn the channel selector near the reading light.
First Class passengers receive complimentary meals in the Dining
Special and Deluxe bedrooms are available. Special bedrooms have
a private bedroom and Deluxe bedrooms have private baths with
shower. Sleeping accomodatios may be purchased on board from the
Conductor if space permits.
Dining Car Service.
The Dining Car features complete meals in a comfortable setting.
Major credit cards are accepted. A crew member will contact you
if dinner resrvations are necessary.
Lounge Car. Between Chicago and San Francisco, you can enjoy the
magnificent scenary from the large picture windows from the Sightseer
Lounge Car: and don't forget the sandwiches, snacks and beverages
available for purchase at the Cafe Bar. You can also purchase
souveneir playing cards, post cards and blankets. Lounge Car hours
are generally from 6 a.m. to 12 midnight.
Zephyr and Desert Wind are smoke-free trains.
Spots: your train
passes many beautiful and intresting sights. The "camera"
symbol on your Route Guide Map marks the best spots, so have your
speed films (ASA 64 or higher) are recommended for shooting scenery
in the train windows. IF your shutter speed is adjustable and
light conditions permit, set it at a higher speed (1/125 or 1/250
sec.) for the clearest results. Hold your lens close to the window
to eliminate glare and reflections.
Shots: Flas is
recommended. To aavoid glare and reflections, do not point the
flash directly at the windows.
Explore the beauty,
romance and exciting history of the western frontier.
Service to Chicago offers a wide variety of ways to explore the
beauty, romance and exciting history of the western frontier.
This guide outlines
highlights of the scenary and historic landmarks along the route
of the California Zephyr and the Desert Wind. Look for the heading
with the name of your train. There will be a brief description
of the route followed by the name of the city where the train
orinates in the west.
The guide is written
from west to east, noting how many minutes past the previous Amtrak
station you can expect to see a particular sight and whether you
should look right or left. The first time reference tells you
how far that point is from the next Amtrak station to the west,
and the second time, how far it is to the next Amtrak station
to the east. If you're traveling westward, just begin at Chicago
of Salt Lake City of your point of origin and read the entries
in reverse order. Remember to look left when we,ve indicated to
look right, and right when we've indicated to look left.
Note that all Amtrak Stations are in all capital letters
to set them apart from towns and regions through which the California
Zephyr travels but makes no stops. Use this guide along with an
Amtrak timetable to determine station times. all times in this
guide are approximate.
The discovery of
gold in the California hills brought thousands of pioneers by
land and sea to the golden city of San Francisco. Eventually,
the route of the historic overland trek would include railroads,
telegraph lines and way stations through the hostile unmapped
territory. In 1869, the nation was linked by the first transcontinental
railroad when the Golden Spike was driven at Promontory, Utah.
These are some of the same lines which the California Zephyr follows
journey includes the awesome challenge of crossing the Sierra
Nevada Mountains and the Rocky Mountains. Many of the cities and
towns in the wild west surivived boom and bust times because they
were on the railroad lines that make up the route of the California
Zephyr today. Sit back and enjoy the beauty of the world famous
scenery along the California Zephyr route.
and character are the trademarks of this city. The unusual skyline
is marked by ultramodem skyscrapers, the red-tiled roofs of Spanish
architecture, the quaint Victorian homes of the Mission district
and prrestigious residential areas of Telegrraph Hill, Nob Hill
and Pacific Heights. Thsi cosmopolitan cultural center is the
home of world famous restaurants, galleries and shops. San Francisco
has the west coast "Wall Street", a financial district
comprised of several of the world's largest banks. It has world
class ballet, symphony and opera companies. Antrak passengers
begin and end their journey to San Francisco with a bus ride across
San Francisco Bay to or from the Oakland Train terminal.
Bay Bridge On
the way to and from the Amtrak terminal in Oakland, passengers
cross this bridge and Yerba Buena Island, passing the Treasure
Island Naval Station. On the left is a spectacular view of San
Francisco, the island of Alcatraz and, in the distance, the beautiful
Golden Gate Bridge. On an Oakland side, the port of Oakland is
on the right. The university of California at Berkeley's big Gothic
clock tower, "Campanile" can be seen nestled on the
hillside on the left.
Emeryville This is the terminus for
Amtrak trains serving San Francisco. Shuttle buses to and from
San Francisco are waiting for passengers at trainside. The train
starts it journey on the tracks of the Southern Pacific Lines,
which it follows as far east as Winnemucca, Nevada.
Richmond This station is the interchange
with the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) system, offering connections
to points throughout the region. BART trains can be seen on the
right. Between Oakland and Richmond, look for the skyline of San
Francisco and the Golden Gate Bridge on the left, across SAn Francisco
Bay and the Carquinez Strait (5 Min./10 Min.) This large shipping lane and recreational
waterway is also home of the Mare Island Shipyard, which can be
seen across the water on the left side of the train. The California
and Hawaaii (C&H) Sugar Plant is on the left track just after
the Carquinez Bridge. Across the strait on the left of the bridge
is the California Maritime Academy.
Don Ignacio Martinez
was the Spanish governor of this area and his surname graces the
town. To the south of Martinez is the home of John Muir, naturalist
and conservaationist, who walked across most of America and convinced
President Theodore Roosevelt that "wilderness is a necesssity,"
Benicia, to the left across the bridge, was the capital of the
state from 1853 to 1854 before the statehouse ws moved to Sacramento.
Here the train crosses the Carquinez Strait aas the mouth of the
Suisun Bay on the Martinez-Benicia Bridge. To the right is a loading
dock where 150,000 automobiles per year are unloaded from Japan.
Provo Utah's third largest city
has an abundance of agricultural and mineral wealth. It is situated
at the baase of "Y" mountain, part of the Wasatch Range.
It is the home of the nation's largest private university, Briiggham
Young University aand the Osmond Entertainment Center where Donnie
and Marie Osmond taped their shows. Outside of Provo is the entrance
to Uinta and Manti-La Sal National Forests. The train enters the
Wasatch MOuntains and follows the river uup the Spanish Fork Canyon.
(26 Min./92 Min.)This
tiny village on the Spanish Fork River was destroyed by a mudslide
in April, 1983. Part of the original railroad line was also buried.
Roofs and parts of houses can be seen on the right side of the
train. The railroad's main route was blocked for three months
until a six-mile bypass could be built, including a new 3,000-ft.
tunnel through Billy's Mountain.
Summit (55 Min./50 Min.)
The train curves back three times as it winds through a series
of horseshoe curves and bends on the way to the summit of the
Wasatch Range, 7,440 feet high. To the right is the final resting
place of some of the Union soldiers in Johnson's Army, buried
here in 1860. This area has a number of abandoned mine shafts
such as the one on the right. Also on the right is Davidson Canyon,
one of the prettiest in Utah. Once over the top of the summit,
the train enters Price River Canyon.
Gate (108 Min./10Min.)A
rock formation in front of the train resembles a gigantic castle
door that seems to open and close as the train enters and leaves
the mountains. High up on the hill to the left is Balancing Rock
with a makeshift flag. The mass of machinery on the left is a
processing facility for coal.
locomotives are added to freight trains to help them over the
mountains, giving this railroad town the name helper. Local coal
is plentiful enough to supply the U.S. for 300 years.
(7 Min./93 Min.)
It may be small, but Price is the largest town until the train
reaches Grand Junction. The Book Cliffs on the left extend all
the way to Colorado.Composed of sandstone and shale, they provide
evidence that this whole valley was once under water.
River (70 Min./27 Min.) At
4,075 feetm this is the lowest altitude en route from Salt Lake
City to Denver. The town is known for its cantaloupes and watermelons.
The moountains to the right are Mt. Marvine, 11,600 feet, and
Thousand Lake Mountain, 11,306 feet. This is also prime "jackalope"
country. These hare-like, antlered creatures are legendary for
their size and proliferation.
Thompson This desolate region, called
the nation's atomic warehouse because it is rich in uranuim, is
also the gateway to Canyonlands and Moab, the Arches National
Park, Manti-La Sal National Forest, and Dead Horse Point. The
eroding mesas on the left are the Book Cliffs.
Canyon (40 Min./18 Min.) At
this point, the tracks begin to follow the route of the Colorado
River for 238 miles. Enter the beautiful red rock formations of
the Ruby Canyon, the eastern "gate" of the Utah desert.
The canyon was formed by the Colorado River carving its way through
the Uncompahgre Plateau. Waaterm wind and eons of time have hewn
smooth textures of fascinating shapes in the striking res stone.
The swift river and the elements continue to create new indentations
in the canyon walls, etching a record of nature's events.
State Line The
state line between Utah and Colorado is marked at Utaline by a
sign painted by railroaders on the canyon wall to the left.
Junction The Gunnison
and Colorado Rivers meet here. Grand Junction is the gateway to
Mesa Verde National Park, the Colorado National Monument and Grand
Mesa National Forest, enclosing the city on each side with stately
mountains. The fertile Fruita Loma Valley, where Grand Junction
is located, is a major producer of fruits, vegetables and minerals.
(39 Min./80 Min.)The
huge mountain toward the east is the Grand Mesa, the world;s largest
flat-top mountain. The De Beque Palisade area produces over three
million bushels of fruit each year, including peaaches, pears,
apricots, apples and cherries.
Valley (50 Min./68 Min.)The
Parachute Mountains, to the left, are named for the billowing
parachute shapes that they suggest.
(90 Min./29 Min.)In
1896, an explosion at the nearby Vulcan mine killed 54 miners.
The blast threw mine timbers 400 feet into the river. A secoond
explosion in 1931 leveled the works, killing every man, a total
of 37 fatalities. The mine is still on fire. Baxter Mountain 11,188
feet, is to the left.
Fork River meets the Colorado on the right. The infamous gun-slinger
Doc Holliday is buried here. Glenwood Springs was also a favorite
of Teddy Roosevelt, who stayed at the Coloradp Hotel and enjoyed
the revitalizing waters of Yampa Hot Springs, now one of the laargest
outdoor pools in the world. Other recreation in the area includes
fishing, backpacking and skiing, with Aspen and Redstone resorts
just a short drive away. White water rafters salute the train
while riding the rapids on Colorado.
Canyon (1 Min./150 Min.)Just
outside of Glenwood Springs, the train enters Glenwood Canyon
and the White River National Forest. The spectacular high cliffs
are dotted with aspen and everygeen trees. The colorful jutting
rocks form a myriad of unusual shapes.
(45 Min./140 Min.)A
survey of the Colorado River began at Dotsero in 1885. The survey
team marked their maps with a ".O" ("dot-zero")
at the junction of the Colorado and the Eagle Rivers and it has
been called Dotsero ever since. This is also the approximate midpoint
of the Zephyr's 2,427-mile journey.
Canyon (60 Min./115 Min.)The
Red Canyon has vivid and unusual rock formations, which helped
inspire the Spanish to name this country and the river "Colorado"-red.
Canyon (85 Min./40 Min.)The
towering spires of the Gore Canyon have rock walls reaching 1,500
feet above the river. The lofty peaks to the right belong to the
Gore Range and rreach elevations of over 13,000 feet. The train
follows Gore Canyon for 22 miles, and much of the rugged canyon
can be reached only by train.
(140 Min./35 Min.)The
town of Kremmling is to the left of the train. Vail, Colorado,
is 70 miles away on the other side of beautiful Mt. Powell, 13,534
feet, to the right.
Canyon (162 Min./16 Min.)
An occasional buffalo can be seen among the cattle in this area.
Byers Canyon is filled with unusual "pagoda" rock formations
high aboce the tracks. The red and gold rocks have been shaped
by waater and wind into an infinite array of delightful patterns.
Granby This station is the gateway
to Rocky Mountain National Park. The vast meadowlands in this
area make up a region called Middle Park. Evidence of Aboriginal
people has been found at nearby Windy Gap Dam dated at 3000 B.C.-1200
A.D., predating modern Indians. Silver Creek ski area and Winter
Park are across the valley to the right.
Canyon (5 Min./18 Min.) The
train follows the Fraser River through this remote canyon.
(15 Min./10 Min.) was
named for a local Indian chief. It was also a station where "helper"
engines were added for the long, steep climb over Rollins Pass
prior to the boring of the Moffat Tunnel.
Park (Fraser) This
is the station for the nearby Winter Park Ski Resport. The clear
and cold Fraser River cuts a swath through Arapahoe National Forest
and Fraser Canyon. This was the favorite fishing spot for President
Eisenhower, particularly the mountains on the right. The town
of Fraser proudly calls itself the "Icebox of America"
because of its winter temperatures of -50 F. The Devil's Thumb
is a rock formation on top of the ridge to the left.
Park Ski Resort (10 Min./105 Min.) Located at the western portal of the Moffat
Tunnel, this ski area was built as part of Denver's mountain parks
system. The slopes, to the right, come right up alongside the
Tunnel (10 Min./95 Min.)
The train crosses the Continental Divide, at an altitude of 9,239
feet, under Rollins Pass, beside James Peak, 13,260 feet above
sea level. On the east side, the old train tracks that crossed
Rollins Pass can be seen above sea level. On the east side, the
old train tracks that crossed Rollins Pass van be seen above.
This route was called the "Giant's Ladder," which reaches
the dizzying height of 11,600 ft. The journey around James Peak
used to take more than 5 hours until the Moffat Tunnel was built,cutting
the trabel time to just over 10 minutes. The tunnel, 6.2-miles
long, took 5 years to construct, opening in 1928.
Boulder Canyon (45 Min./50 Min.) This area is the location of the Roosevelt
National Forest and the Gross Reservoir, with its 340-ft. high
dam, which supplies Denver with fourteen billion gallons of water.
Watch for deer and elk in this region. The train passes through
29 tunnels in this area, the shorest only 78 feet and the longest,
the Moffat Tunnel, 6.2 miles long. The track grade is a steady
2% between here and Denver. A wooden flume on the far canyon wall,
on the left, once sent logs to the Eldorado sawmill.
(95 Min./45 Min.) From
this area at night, 1,500 feet above Denver, there is a spectacular
view of the city. Day or night, it is possible to see the Rocky
Flats nuclear arms. manufacturing plant, to the left, and the
city of Boulder to the north. Beyone Denver to the east strech
the Great Plains.
Creek Canyon (100 Min./40 Min.)is
to the right as the train passes over a small bridge. People still
pan for gold in Central City, not too far from this canyon. The
tracks can be seen far below as the train winds between the Front
Range of the Rockies and Denver.
(105 Min./32 Min.) Railroad
cars filled with sand protect freight trains from winds that occasionally
reach 100 miles per hour at a point called "Big 10"
Curve. As the train approaches Arvada, a Denver suburb straight
ahead, note the tall peak to the right. This is Mt. Evans, at
Denver Denver's skyline is notched
with an impressive array of modern buildings, many built by the
energy industry. Historic Larimer Square is only a few blocks
away from the trian station. The 24K gold-domed state capitol
contains the entire world's supply of Colorado Onyx, and the 13
the step leading to the capitol is one mile high above sea level.
Denver is nestled up against the foothills of the Rockies on the
barren High Plains. This is a refueling and servicing stop for
the train. Here, the Zephyr changes railroads: the Rio Grande
Railroad is to the west, and to the east, the Burlington Northern
exstends to Chicago.
City (20 Min./65 Min.)
On the northeastern edge of Denver, the train passes through Commerce
City. This industrial suburb of Denver has the nation's largest
sheep market. It also has a number of sugar beet factories and
cattle yards which line the tracks.
During the night
the train stops at Ft.
Note:at the Colorado/Nebraska State Line (45
Change your watch between Mountain and Central, one hour later
if going east, one hour earlier if going west.
During the night,
the train stops at
McCook, Holdrege and Hastings.
The 400-ft., 14-story,
ten million dollar state capitol building, the "Tower of
the Plains," dominates this city, on the right. The golden
dome has a statue at the top which is not of a University of Nebraska
football coach, as many suggest, but the symbolic "Sower."
The state fair grounds are to the left. The Univeristy of Nebraska
campus and stadium are visible from the train, on the right, just
east of the station.
River Along the
historic Platte River, the Mormons trabeled the north bank for
several hundred miles in their quest for the holy land. The Pony
Express and Oregon Trail followed its south bank.
Omaha was a Missouri River crossing
for west-bound pioneers, Omaha has always been a large transportation
center, supporting as Stockyards were established here in 1884.
President Gerald Ford, Henry and Malcolm X were born here. Boys
Town, a refuge for homeless and underprivileged boys is west of
Air Force Base (10 Min./90 Min.)
The Strategic Air Command has its headquarters here at Offuet
Air Force BAse, to the right of the train, as does the 55th Strategic
Reconnaisance Wing, which conducts global reconnaisance mission.
Offutt is the home to the National Airborne Command Post, used
by the President in times of crisis (look for military versions
of the Boeing 747 on the field). This is also the site of the
SAC Museum. The train follows the Missouri, on the left.
River (25 Min./87 Min.) The
magnificent Missouri River was called "mini-souri" by
the Indians. Its headwaters are in Montana where the Gallatin,
Jefferson and Madison Rivers come together. In the 1800s, steamboats
plied the Missouri all the way form Omaha to St. Louis, wher it
flows into Mississippi. Crossing the Missouri, the train also
crosses between Nebraska and Iowa.
(64 Min./50 Min.) This
homestead of Sedish sttlers was also the home of the famous TV
coffee lady, Mrs. Olson. So, the town's water tower on the left,
is in the shape of a coffee pot.
Creston The train crosses the summit
of the ridge between the Des Moines and Missouri River Valleys,
the highest point east of the Missouri on the Train's route. The
town's depot is now a national landmark. The tall cement silos
of the Farmers Cooperative on the left offer a ride to the tip
for a bird's eye-view of Creston.
Osceola A carved wooden bust of the
Seminole Chief, Osceola, can be seen to the right of the train
just past 1-35, west of the station. Settlers in the 1800s found
the first Delicious apple tree here, thirty miles to the north.
Ottumwa This town rises on terraces
above the Des Moines River. It was the home of General Joseph
M. Street. Indian agent, who built a trading post in 1838. It
was built also the hometown of the ficiotnal character "Rader
O'Reilly" from the television show MASH.
The oldest college
west of the Mississippi was established in 1842 as Iowa Wesleyan
firstAmerican coed, Lucy Kilpatrick, graduated from there in 1859.
The city had the first plank toll roads leading to Burlington
in 1851. And the first Iowan courthouse was built here in 1839.
(15 Min./15 Min.) was
the site of a Pony Express and stage stop.
Burlington Flint in the nearby Shoquaquon
Hills provided tools and weapons for the Indians, and they considered
this area "neutral ground." Zebulon Pike established
a fort here in 1805, and Abe Lincoln fought here as a captain
in the Black Hawk Wars. Before the first Railroad bridge was built
in 1868, passengers and freight crossed the Mississippi in ferry
boats. In winter they had to brave the ice on foot. In 1887, George
Westinghouse developed the air brake on West Burlington Hill.
River (2 Min./45 Min.) The
train crosses the Mississippi River, the greatest of the U.S.
waterways. The river travels 2,350 miles on its way to the gulf
of Mexico. The river is the state line between Iowa, the "Land
Beyond" and Illinois. Notice the marshy bottom lands beneath
the bridge at Bonnet and the valley of Cedar Creek.
(30 Min./20 Min.) This
town is where the western hero Marshal Wyatt Earp was born. Monmouth
College was founded in 1856. Monmouth's industry includes a marketing
venter for corn and feeder cattle.
Galesburg Popcorn was invented in Galesburg
by Olmstead Ferris. This was also the home of Carl Sandburg, nwriter
and historian. Abe Lincoln and Stephen Douglas debated here at
knox College in the building with the copper spire to the left
of the train. This was also a key station in the Underground Railroad
of the Civil War. Notice. on the left, Burlington's famour 4-6-4
"Hudson" passenger locomotive used in the 1930s. Galesburg
is the home of the Annual Galesburg Railroad Days.
(20 Min./95 Min.) "Bishop's
Hill" was a Swedish utopian society of religious dissidents
that settled in Galva until the Civil War. It is now a historic
(25 Min./90 Min.) The
small industrial city of Kewanee was settled alongside the Spoon
River in 1836 by New Englanders.
(50 Min./65 Min.) ONe
of the founders of the Republican Party, John Bryant, made his
home in Princeton. It was settled by New Englanders in 1833. It
is the "Pig Capital of the World." The small red and
brown A-Frame houses in the field are what the pigs call home.
(105 Min./10 Min.) This
was a transfer station for stage-coaches in the 1830's. It was
also the birhtplace of the Chicago, burlington and Quincy Railroad
in 1849. Transportation has always played a large role in Aurora.
A large bulldozer factory can be seen to the left.
Naperville This is the station for Chicago's
western suburbs. RTA commuter trains provide connections to Aurora,
LaGrange, Brookfield and other points. This attractive suburb
is a high tech industrial center and is known for its Riverwalk,
a restored historic village, and an example of Frank Lloyd Wright's
is the crossroad
of American manufacturing and distribution, and an important hub
of the nation's railroads. The Sears Tower dominates the massive
skyline along with the "Gold Coast" highrises along
Lake Michigan. As the train backs into Chicago's Union Station,
it parallels the Chicago River on the left, its flow reversed
in an engineering triumph in 1880-and another engineering triumph-Amtrak's
modern yards and maintenance facility, which is the home of the
California Zephyr. The train ends its 2,422-mile run in historic
Union Station. Built in 1926, the station serves over 40 Amtrak
trains and 160 commuter trains each weekday.
of the desert has its own particular beauty. No other region in
the world so clearly deomstrates the natural importance of water.
Here survival depends upon conservation. The Desert Wind travels
through fascinating desert scenery en route from Los Angeles to
Salt Lake City, where it connects with the California Zephyr.
All along the way there are a variety of interesting sights including
national parks, monuments and industry. Your trip through the
desert is a chance to observe sights few people ever see.
Los Angeles The sprawling metropolis
of Los Angeles began in 1781 as El Pueblo de Nuestra Senora de
la Reina de los Angeles. Today, the village's original site is
marked by the historical park of Olvera Street, lined with birhgtly
colored Mexican shops and old buildings. Across the street is
the Los Angeles Union Passenger Terminal, called the "last
of the great stations to be built in the U.S." A magnificent
combination of Spanish and ARt Devo styling, with stucco facade,
tile roof and inlaid wood ceiling, the station is often used as
a set for television shows and movies. Between Los Angeles and
Daggett, the train operates over the Atchison, Topeka and Santa
Fe Railway. As the train leaves the station, you'll see the skyline
of Los Angeles to your left, with the tower of City Hall prominent
in the foreground.
River Just east
of the station, and to the left, the train follows the river which
now "flows" through a concrete channel built as a flood
control project. The usually-dry river is familiar as the site
countless Hollywood and TV chase scenes. Between here and the
industry and suburbs of southern Los Angeles County.
Junction (8 Min./25 Min.) Amtrak's
coach yards and a roundhouse for Amtrak engines appear on the
right. This is home base for several of Amtrak's famous Superliner
trains. Here, the train crosses the Los Angeles River.
Fe Springs (30 Min./5Min.) Discovery
of oil at the turn-of-the-century rapidly transformed this center
for oil production. Look for oil wells and derricks on both sides
of the train.
is the Desert
Wind's stop for populous, suburban Orange County, as well as the
transfer point for Amtrak's San Diego trains. Nearby are some
of California's most famour tourist attractions, including Disneyland,
Knott's Berry Farm and the Movieland Wax Museum. Note that there
are two handsomely restored railroad depots on the left; the Amtrak
station and, just west of it, the former Union Pacific depot which
was moved to this site to serve as a restaurant.
Linda (5 Min./65 Min.)
was the birthplace of ex-president Richard M. Nixon.
Ana Canyon Here
the train winds through the canyon formed by the Santa Ana River,
to the right. Prado Dam, at the head of the canyon, was built
for flood control.
(55 Min./15 Min.)
Grand Boulevard, which encircled Corona, was famous as the site
of races by racing great Barney Oldfield. In a 1913 race, he achieved
speeds of up to 75 mph!
(60 Min./10 Min.) In
1873, a curring from a Brazilian orange tree yielded the first
tree of California's famous navel orange crop. Thus, Riverside
became a center of the citrus industry. Tiday, it is amidst the
booming suburban expansion extending east from Los Angeles.
inland European settlement, San Bernardino blends its heritages
of Spanish missionaries and Mormon settlers with modern-day prosperity.
The first McDonald's hamburger stand opened here over 50 years
ago (hamburgers were 5 cents each). Before selling their business
to Ray Kroc, the McDonald brothers pioneered many elements of
today's fast food industry. The depot here, on the right, is designed
in the style of California's Spanish Moorish design period. Mt.
San Gorgonio, the tallest mountain in Southern California at 11,502
feet, is visible to the right.
Pass (10 Min./15 Min.) meaning
"Box Canyon" in Spanish, is a 2,743-ft. climb for the
train, twisting and turning for 25 miles to reach an altitude
of 3,811 feet above sea level. This canyon was formed by the San
Andreas Fault between the San Gabriel and San Bernardino Mountains.
The San Andreas Fault can be seen as an uplifted line of rock
on the hills. Dirt bike and jeep trails can also be seen on both
sides of the train. Large metal flood control devices line areas
of the river, keeping debris from flowing down stream. Three railroads
share Cajon Pass when entering Los Angeles from the east; the
Santa Fe, Southern Pacific and Union Pacific.
Victorville Portland Cement has a large
plant southwest of Victorville on the left. I-15 passes over the
train on a rainbow bridge just west of town. dude ranches bring
tourists to this area. Distant mining sites are visible on both
sides of the train.
Desert This desert
frequently has the hottest temperatures inthe country. The train
crosses the Mojave riverbed where the water is generallly 20 feet
below the surface. It is filled with spots of quicksand.
(5 Min./25 Min.) Several
large cement mining and processing plants are on the right, part
of the RC COmpany. As the train passes through Oro Grande, Wrightwood
Mountain is on the right.
is mainly a railroad
town comprising the yards and shops of the Santa Fe Railway. Next
to the depot ont he left is "Casa del Desierto," one
of the few remaining "Harvey House" buildings. In the
late 1800s, Fred Harvey helped civilize the west with a chain
of restaurants and hotels along the railroad. The "Harvey
Girl" waitresses were immortalized in the Judy Garland movie
of that name.
( 10 Min./200 Min.) here
the Santa Fe Railway meets the Union Pacific, which the Desert
Wind follows to Salt Lake City. The white storage tanks on the
left contain fuel that is pumped to Nellis Air Force Base. Despite
the harsh climate of the Mojave, the small town of Daggett, Newbury
Springs and Calico produce both alfalfa and cattle. The large
coal gasification plant on the right was developed by Texaco and
the fderal government to generate electricity.
Min.) Solar ONe
is a solar electric plant on the right, halfway between Daggett
and Yermo. It has 1,818 mirrors, each 37 square feet and controlled
by a computer. Sunlight is directed at the large 3,000-ft. water
tower, heating its contents to 1,100 degrees. The resulting steam
powers an electric generator servicing 6,000 homes. The project
cost $144 million. The round water tanks are heat sinks another
form of solar power.
(20 Min./180 Min.) The
train passes near the ghost town of Calico to the left. A considerable
amount of gold and silver mining was done here in the 1900s.
Canyon (50 Min./150 Min.) The
colorful rock formation in rugged Afton Canyon exstends for seven
miles alongside the underground Mojave River.
(70 Min./110 Min.) Across
the dry Soda Lake to the left is Baker, located at the lower end
of America;s most vivid desert region, Death Valley. The altitude
is 39 feet below sea level, the lowest point between Omaha and
Los Angeles. During the summer, temperatures reach 130 degrees.
Athel trees are planted along the railroad to prevent the sand
from gathering on the tracks. Growing the trees is very simple-railroad
workers just break off a branch from an existing tree and stick
it into the ground and give it a little water. These small branches
can be seen sticking up in a neat row. The sparse desert vegetation
is still enough to feed the hearty cattle in this region. Ranchers
say that if the cattle ate proper farm grass they would probably
(105 Min./85 Min.) On
the western outskirts of the town of Kelso there is a small cemetery
on the right that is dedicated to the descendants of Indians.
The Kelso hotel and restaurant were first built as rest stops
for railroad passengers before dining cars came into fashion.
Kaiser Steel had an iron ore mine 13 miles to the east during
World War II-every day, sixty carloads of ore were shipped to
a plant in fontana. Kelso and several of the small towns in this
area were started with the help of Wagon Master Fremont, a scout
and explorer who led wagon trains from 1840-1850, using the trails
in the hills to the far left.
Hill (120 Min./65 Min.) The
top of Cima Hill-in the Providence Mountains-is 4,400 feet in
elevation with a 2.2% grade. The sand dunes to the left of the
train are part of the Devil's Playground, they drift as deep as
thirty feet. A mountain mine on the pass on the left extracts
lime rock, ore and rare earth. Joshua trees, 20 to 30 feet tall,
and greasewood or creosote brush cover brush cover the desert.
Rattlesnakes, particularly the deadly Mojave green, are most prevalent
in this region. Yucca plants, with their spine-like green fronds,
survive in the desert thanks to a complex root system and porour
bark. As the train drops in altitude, Yucca plants begin to dominate
the landscape, Notice also, the purple sage.
State Line (140 Min./45 Min.)
The state line is crossed near Nipton, a small town serving miners
and ranchers. Ont he left are the Ivanpah Mountains, on the right,
the New York Range. The old Ivanpah mine has been reopened and
crushers are working the old tailings to extract gold and silver.
(155 Min./25 Min.) During
storms, the dry lake between Jean and Nipton fills withwater that
is never deeper than a foot, at most, but this is still enough
to flood nearby I-15. Wind boats use the surface as a raceway,
reaching speeds of 70 mph. The Genstar Company on the left crushes
limeston rock to produce lime which is used to make wallboard
Las Vegas is the "live entertainment
capital of the world." Stars from Hollywood and New York
perform their own shows to packed houses on the strip. The hotels
and casinos of the strip are visible to the right as the train
enters Las Vegas from the west. At night the neon lights will
be visible from miles away. This is the home of legalied gambling.
The Union Plaza Hotel and Casino, built by the Union Pacific Railroad
on the site of the original train depot, now serves as the Amtrak
station for the Desert Wind. Outside of the city to the left are
the Spring Mountain Range and Charleston Peak, 11,918 feet above
sea level. It is snow-capped until June, providing skiing. Nearby
Lake Mead offers year-round boating and fishing.
River The train
crosses the Muddy River, a warm spring that eventually joins into
the Colorado. Silica and from this region is used in manufacturing
(76 Min./70 Min.) is
in an area where there is not a single town with more than 1,00
people. The Moapa region produces melons, tomato plants and alfalfa.
The Virgin River runs through this area on its way from Zion and
Cedar Break. Coal from Carbon County, Utah, is burned at the Nevada
Power Plant on the right. The aluminum buildings on the left house
hydroponic farms owned by the paiute Indians. The Sheep Range
of mountains on the left is a mountain sheep preserve.
Canyon The train
passes through beautiful Rainbow Canyon eight tunnels and a winding
gorge along 26 miles of colorful rock formations along the Meadow
Valley Wash. Two streams feed into the wash, Big Springs, and
Little Springs, which provided fresh water to the old steam trains.
The wash itself flows into Lake Mead.
Set your watch
ahead one hour to Mountain time, or if you're traveling west,
one hour back to Pacific time. During the night, the train passes
through the Escalante Desert, named after Father Escalante, a
Jesuit priest and explorer. The small towns in this valley, such
as Milford and Delta, are primarily agricultural and livestock
communities. Thier main crop is alfalfa seed, which is shipped
around the world. A mineral range at Read is where Indians used
to find a rare snowflake obsidian and used it for arrowheads.
State Line This
border is crossed at night, between Caliente and Milford.
Sahara San Dunes
at Lynndyl provide recreation for campers. Lynndyl also has the
IMPP coal plant, which supplies electricity to Southern California.
Salt Lake Fifteen
miles outside of Salt Lake City is the Great Salt Lake, a remnat
of a prehistoric sea. The slat content of its water, four times
saltier than the ocean, allows swimmers to float on the surface
with little or no effort. Extraction plants remove 100,000 tons
of salt a year from the water.
Lake City is the
connecting station where the through cars of the Desert Wind join
the California Zephyr section of this guide for points of itnerest
between Salt Lake City and Chicago.
information on Amtrak trips call 1-800-USA-RAIL.
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