Almost every year, Amtrak has a “Fun Train” that runs during the months of January to March. This train costs a little more, but has live bands, theme nights, and music. The snow-capped Sierra Nevada Mountains are supposed to make the long train ride worth while. This year Amtrak couldn’t set it up, so we had to take the regular train. So this review is of the regular train ride, but we tried to make it the “fun train” anyways.
The train takes almost five (5) hours to get across the mountain when a car could do it in three (3) from Sacramento to Reno. However, on our way over and back the train was delayed another two (2) hours to clear snow off of the tracks. Our friends who took their car over and back during the same period spent ten and a half (10.5) hours to get to Reno and four (4) hours to return. So with the snow, its a bit of a gamble either way. We felt much more relaxed and safe on our journey by taking the train instead of a car. I appreciated not having to drive in the snow. The view from the train in a snowstorm was breathtaking and gorgeous, especially from the observation car that was surrounded by big windows and happily located right above a food/alcohol cart. The viewing car was full of interesting people traveling from California to Chicago, Utah, and even Philadelphia. Despite our differences, after the drinks started pouring, we all had a great time. However, many of the riders in our party said they would never go on a train again, except for Lisa and I. We think it was due to the length of the trip and them not sitting in the observation car. It looked boring and was too quiet where they were sitting in the regular coach area. It can be challenging to get a seat in the observation area, so head there early even though they advise to stay in your seats until your ticket is stamped. But be nice, let other people check it out too and nap somewhere else.
They have typical food, like chips, candy, Cup of Noodles, microwave pizza, and hot dogs. However, they also have a fancier food car with a restaurant, where we ate pancakes, sausage, bacon, and scrambled cheese eggs for breakfast. They close for a little while and open again for lunch, and later dinner, so you cannot stay in the restaurant the whole time. You are not able to eat lunch or dinner at breakfast time, for example, they serve one at a time. The food was average, even though they made some improvements by getting a chef to throw in some recipes. For us, it beat eating microwaved pizza, although that seemed to be the most popular item ordered on the train. Us Eatrz will be back, as we live for Amtraking in the snow and snowball fights in the sky!!…We had a snowball fight on the roof at the Silver Legacy Hotel, in Reno, so we threw in a picture from there as well.
- Ambiance (Environment) – 5
- Taste – 0
- Value – 2
- Presentation (Service for Transportation) – 2
Stars: 2.25 out of 5.