Return of the Railfan Special!

April 1 - 9, 2017

Take a railfan trip of a lifetime from Los Angeles to Chicago! Ride aboard the private, Budd-built, 1950 10-6 UP sleeper "Pacific Sands" on the Southwest Chief. This is a trip only for real railfans – to keep this trip to the lowest price possible there will be no crew aboard other than the car owner. We will stock standard self-serve railfan snacks aboard Pacific Sands, but meals will be on a bring your own basis, or in the Amtrak diner. One suite will be held open for "Lounge" space, and the car will be running backwards, so that the vestibule becomes our rear platform!

You will be provided with a copy of the Sleeping Car Attendant Guide. If you want to learn everything about private car operation, this is a special behind the scenes, learn how to run a railcar trip! If you desire, you will can even take a turn as the car Conductor or Porter during the trip. In Chicago, your hotel is the Pacific Sands, which will be parked in Chicago Union Station.

Trip cost is only $1,600 which includes travel and stay aboard the train in Chicago. All meals are on your own. One way for $850 is also available. Call for details but reserve now! Only 14 spots available. Deposit required to hold space.

April 1, 2017 (Saturday) - Depart Union Station, Los Angeles at 6:10 pm
April 3, 2017 (Monday) - Arrive Chicago at 3:15 pm
Spend Tuesday-Thursday in Chicago
April 7 (Friday) - Leave Chicago at 3:00 pm
April 9 (Sunday) - Arrive Los Angeles, 8:15 am

My trip on a restored UP 1950s sleeper. By Roger Morris

I have had some adventures in my life and have to count my trip on the Pacific Sands sleeper car as one of the better ones.

So when I was informed of the opportunity to ride with a small group of rail-fans on the former UP sleeper, Pacific Sands, I couldn't pass it up. It was to be a no-frills trip. Just the one sleeper. No other cars from LA Rail, so meals were what we could stuff in the fridge, and times when we could hop onboard the Amtrak diner. The funny thing about that is - you can't just hop onboard the Amtrak diner. Superliner cars are high-level - our car is a low-level streamliner from 1950, so there is no pass-through unless they place us in-between the engine and baggage car - and that's no fun. We were at the end - and running backwards so the car's vestibule was at the rear and we had a platform there for photos, videos and contemplating life as we watched the tracks fade in the distance. If you love trains and are willing to rough it a bit, this is an experience I highly recommend.

And a highlight for me was to be able to sleep on a moving, 1950's streamliner as if time had stood still and I was that kid again living a dream.

Our strategy for meals was to wait for a station stop, jump off and run up to the Amtrak diner and board. It was actually really fun and an adventure I will always remember. The Amtrak crew was absolutely the best. They would call us on our cell phones before a station and tell us to come up as they had a table waiting. We were kind of like celebrities in a sense. I know that they really loved helping us enjoy our adventure - we were having a blast - you could see it in our eyes. Great memories.

Our trip ran from New Orleans to Washington DC, on to Chicago and home to LA on the Southwest Chief. There are many stories that I remember on that trip, but in this limited space, I will just say that I advise you to go for it and acquire some of your own. There will be plenty - and new life-long friends.
Enjoy 3 days in Chicago
An unobstructed rail-fan view from our vestibule
Cross famous Raton Pass from the best seat in the house
Views from the Southwest Chief are fabulous