The California Zephyr is a legendary train going from Chicago to San Francisco by one of the most beautiful railway routes in the United States. Your route has nearly four thousand miles and crosses (in just over 51 hours) the states of Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, Colorado, Utah, Nevada and California.
The California Zephyr is an unforgettable experience for all types of people: fans of trains, passionate historians and explorers without haste. Most tourists usually go by plane because the country is enormous and can not lose so many hours to get from one point to another. However, to “discover” a territory, to explore and learn about its geography in detail, it is best to go by train. Traveling by train has its advantages, and one of the big advantages is not having to endure the “security psychosis” that prevails today in any airport.
Denver: Union Station:
This beautiful and aged station was built in 1881, but was rebuilt in 1894 following a fire. Its ceilings are high and in the large central hall there are old wooden seats with high backs. In a normal route, the train climbs the 2816 m and crosses the Continental Divide by the Moffat Tunnel. Leaving is the winter resort Winter Park and the small town of Granby, gateway to the National Park Rockies. From there comes the Colorado River, which rises at the foot of this mountain range and covers more than 2,300 kilometers before emptying into the Gulf of California. The train came with Colorado over 380 kilometers. In this section we see how the initial narrow stream becomes a wide river after passing the guns Glenwood and Grand Junction. One of the best stages of the journey is the sequence of the guns Byers, Gore, Red, Glenwood, De Beque and Ruby. Upon arrival at Ruby Canyon, the train takes leave of the Colorado River enters Utah and continues west across the desert. Once again climbs to the summit of the Wasatch Mountains to 2268 m and then descend and come to Provo and Salt Lake City, capital of the state founded by Mormons in 1847.
A little history:
The shortage of fuel for cars during World War II caused the passenger rail to leap. Each section of the California Zephyr was a different company: Chicago, Burlington and Quince Railroad, Rio Grande Western Railroad and Western Pacific Railroad. It was inaugurated on 19 March 1949 and the train was a success in the ’60s until the railway activity declined. The California Zephyr made its last journey on 22 March 1970. With planes and highways, the service was over collapsing and companies would not continue. Amtrak was born (a contraction of American Track) in 1971 and 20 of the 26 companies ceded railway passenger services. From the “era Amtrak” San Francisco Zephyr appeared in 1983 and recently returned Amtrak to operate the “new” California Zephyr. His route is a hybrid between the original and the San Francisco Zephyr. And since 2000 the frequency was again daily.
The courses are intense and full of adventure for the eyes!.