Those of you, like me, who like to take the train once in a while, should be pleased to hear about this:
From The Points Guy: Amtrak’s Great Dome Car will soon be back on the track.
The already amazing views of Amtrak’s rail routes are just getting better. This fall, Amtrak is temporarily bringing back its 1955 Great Dome Car. Its top deck is enveloped by windows that peel up to the roof of the car for an airy, scenic ride that’s perfect for viewing the season’s change.
The car will only run on certain routes between August 11 through November 2, so if you plan to travel on Amtrak to one of the destinations it will be attached to, you might want to snag a seat on the upper deck of the car. Keep in mind, though, that the seats on the upper deck are not reserved – they’re first come, first served, so Amtrak encourages passengers to rotate in and out of seats on the top deck.
Between August 11 and September 23, the car will be on the Downeaster train route from Brunswick to Portland and finally to Boston. And from September 27 to November 2, the Great Dome Car will be available to ride on the Adirondack route as it will be traveling from Montreal to Albany to New York City. All of the rides are said to have stunning, lush views of the surrounding landscape.
If you’re looking to book a trip on one of the Great Dome Car routes using SPG points, time’s running out! Due to the SPG/Marriott merger, you will only be able to transfer your SPG points to Amtrak before July 31.
So, I have experienced the dome car on Amtrak, Canada’s VIA Rail, and the Vistadome train to Machu Picchu. Just let me say that the experience is better when there is something to see, whether towering mountains, wildlife, or the snow capped Andes.
The photos are: Amtrak, VIA, and Vista in that order. While Amtrak is the least appealing, they did offer a few microbrews at no charge on the trip. The Vistadome to Machu offers both food and beverage, while VIA offered some free beer, and a “tour” guide, in reality, a rather bored and inexperienced cabin steward.
For those of you hoping to become the next Ansel Adams, here is an important word of advice. Get there early, to find a seat near a window that is clean, as in no water spots!!!
Rumor has it that Amtrak is getting rid of their Pacific Parlour cars, which housed a movie theater, and a nice lounge for wine tasting events. I overheard the staff say these vintage cars were sold to private investors, who plan to refurbish, and ride the rails whenever they please. You will generally see those cars attached to the back of the train.
Bottom line, I hope you will try a long distance train ride someday. I STRONGLY suggest doing it in Europe or Japan. But both Canada and Amtrak are affordable, and probably pass near your home town. As for me, perhaps the next long distance train trip will be in Africa or Australia.