Amtrak California zephyr from San Francisco to Chicago-the most beautiful train in U.S.


The transcontinental railroad across the U.S., and the most scenic train in the U.S.-The “California Zephyr”. It’s a 50 hours and 20 minutes, 3 days and 2 nights trip from Emeryville Station(San Francisco) to Chicago Station.

California Zephyr is said to be the most scenic train in all of the United States. From Emeryville(near San Francisco) to Sacramento. Cross the scenic Sierra Nevada Mountains and go through Reno to Salt Lake City. Beyond the Rocky Mountains, the train goes to Denver, a large city in the central United States. In addition, we will go through the plains of Nebraska and finally get Chicago Union station.

It’s been 4 years since I started writing a blog, and this is the longest trip ever. I will explain with a lot of photos. It will be a longer article than ever, so please also use the table of contents(in Japanese “目次”). I thought there was not so much information about this train, so I try to write an article in English. I am not a native English speaker, so I apologize if I use a little strange English.


Transcontinental railway with Amtrak

Amtrak is a corporation (a semi-civilian and semi-official company) that operates trains all over the United States. Because Amtrak has a railway network all over the United States, Amtrak also operates several transcontinental railways.

Amtrak’s locomotive

California Zephyr-The best train in the Americas

California Zephyr, introduced in this article is part of the transcontinental railroad. Today there are no trains that cross the continent at once. Because Amtrak is centered in Chicago, all trains are divided in Chicago.

California Zephyr号はアメリカ大陸でも最高の絶景を走る列車
The route of the California zephyr to ride

The California zephyr is known as a scenic train on the transcontinental railway. It is even introduced as “the most beautiful train in the United States” on Amtrak’s official website.

California Zephyr号はアメリカ大陸でも最高の絶景を走る列車
California zephyr-At Emeryville Station

The California zephyr is a train that connects Emeryville Station on the outskirts of San Francisco and Chicago Union Station. It will be a trip of more than 50 hours, 2 nights and 3 days.

California Zephyr号はアメリカ大陸でも最高の絶景を走る列車
The California zephyr going through the superb view

From the car window, it’s just a continuation of the “exquisite view” drawn in the picture, and I don’t get tired of it.

California zephyr-Vlog

I also use a lot of photos in this article, and I also created a Vlog video. It contains beautiful scenery, so please take a look.

There are many routes across the continent.

There are many passengers who are actually on a transcontinental journey when you ride Amtrak’s California zephyr.

大陸横断の旅をしている乗客も多い 大陸横断のルートは多数
Amtrak’s network (quoted from the Amtrak official website)

Please take a look at Amtrak’s network. There are four trains connecting the west coast to Chicago.

  • California zephyr;Emeryville (San Francisco) – Chicago
  • Empire Builder;Portland to Chicago
  • Southwest Chief;Los Angeles – Chicago
  • Texas Eagle;Detour route / Los Angeles – Chicago

The departure and arrival points on the west coast vary depending on the train. We deliberately chose the California zephyr, which is said to be the most beautiful scenery among them.

大陸横断の旅をしている乗客も多い 大陸横断のルートは多数

From Chicago to New York, Boston, and Washington, D.C. There are also trains to each city on the east coast. There is no direct train over Chicago. Please sees the article on Lake Shore Limited, the train from Chicago to the East Coast (Only Japanese article now, and I’m writing an English article).

California zephyr-Let’s enjoy the scenic scenery.

Again, the California zephyr is popular for its scenic scenery. At the same time as you can experience the size of the United States, you can enjoy the superb view unique to the United States. This wonderful scenery is also introduced in the video, but I will also introduce it a little in the photos. It’s just a simple introduction, so please watch the video.

California zephyr号で、風光明媚な景色を楽しもう
Cross the Sierra Nevada Mountains

Half a day after leaving Emeryville Station in the suburbs of San Francisco, you will cross the Sierra Nevada Mountains, which will become a deep snowy mountain in winter.

California zephyr号で、風光明媚な景色を楽しもう

One track in the snowy landscape. It is a scenery unique to the transcontinental railroad.

California zephyr号で、風光明媚な景色を楽しもう
Run through the snowy landscape

Especially in the Sierra Nevada Mountains (Emeryville – Denver), mountains and urban areas alternate, so if you think you were running in the snowy scenery, you will run in the desert in a few hours. The scenery changes, so I don’t get tired of riding it.

California zephyr号で、風光明媚な景色を楽しもう
Cross the mountain range

It is also a scenery unique to the Transcontinental Railway that you can leisurely see the quiet scenery in the morning from the private room.

California zephyr号で、風光明媚な景色を楽しもう
Morning scenery

The train runs slowly through the valley. In the section beyond the mountainous area, there can be up to 4 locomotives.

California zephyr号で、風光明媚な景色を楽しもう
Run in the mountainous area

The sight of advancing while flying up the snow in the snowy landscape is a scenery unique to the transcontinental railroad.

California zephyr号で、風光明媚な景色を楽しもう
Go through the snowy mountains

The train stops some stations for a long time (about 1 hour to 2 hours) on the way. At a station like this, you can get off a little and breathe in the flesh air or smoke.

California zephyr号で、風光明媚な景色を楽しもう
At Reno station

In this way, the journey of the transcontinental railway is a journey where you can taste the “extraordinary”. It’s not a competition for airplanes, but it’s popular because you can enjoy the journey unique to trains.


Thoroughly introduce the inside of the car – California zephyr

From here, we will thoroughly introduce the inside of the California zephyr.

What I’m introducing here is a sleeping cars that Amtrak uses in the United States, and it is called Superliner. The Superliner is used on the following trains.

  • California Zephyr;Chicago – Denver – Emeryville, California (the train to be introduced this time)
  • Capitol Limited;Washington DC – Cleveland – Chicago
  • Auto Train;Lawton, Virginia – Sanford, Florida
  • Sunset Limited;New Orleans – Los Angeles
  • Texas Eagle;Chicago – San Antonio – Los Angeles
  • City of New Orleans;Chicago – New Orleans
  • Southwest Chief;Chicago – Kansas City – Las Vegas – Los Angeles
  • Empire Builder;Chicago – Milwaukee – Minneapolis – Seattle and Portland
  • Heartland Flyer;Fort Worth, Texas – Oklahoma City
  • Coast Starlight;Seattle – Portland – Sacramento – Los Angeles

Now, let’s get start it.

California zephyr号の車内の様子を徹底的に紹介
Superliner – At Denver union station

Roomette (private room) is overwhelmingly recommended.

This time, I used a private room (Roomette・Sleeping Car) on a transcontinental trip. I also saw the state of the seat car (Coach), but after all, the private room(Roomette class) is overwhelmingly recommended. It costs nearly three times as much, but it is a private room car that can find the value of paying this cost.

Roomette(個室)が圧倒的にオススメ 個室内の設備を徹底解説
Big Amtrak’s Superliner

Sleeping Car has a two-story structure. It is structured to get on from the first floor of the train.

Roomette(個室)が圧倒的にオススメ 個室内の設備を徹底解説
Getting checked by the crew on the roster and get on board.

In Amtrak, you can display tickets using your smartphone, but basically you don’t use them much. Passengers in private rooms will basically have the crew check the list.

Roomette(個室)が圧倒的にオススメ 個室内の設備を徹底解説
The state of the individual room

This is the state of the individual room. The ceiling is quite high, and it is a height that can stand normally. I don’t feel trapped.

Roomette(個室)が圧倒的にオススメ 個室内の設備を徹底解説
The state of the seat

This is the state of the seat. There are quite a few widths. In addition, reclining can be used by putting the seat forward.

Roomette(個室)が圧倒的にオススメ 個室内の設備を徹底解説
The state of the seat

The seat comes out in front, so if you knock down the reclining too much, you will have trouble with your feet. I didn’t have a hard time because I was using a private room by myself. If you use a private room with two people, if you use reclining, your knees may collide when you sit face to face.

Roomette(個室)が圧倒的にオススメ 個室内の設備を徹底解説
Completely knock down the reclining and make it a bed type

There is no limit to the depth of reclining. By reclining the seat as much as possible, the seat will turn into a bed.

Roomette(個室)が圧倒的にオススメ 個室内の設備を徹底解説
The bedding is also fully equipped.

Of course, I don’t sleep in the seat as it is. After transforming into a bed type, you can lay out a bedding. I’m grateful for this.

Roomette(個室)が圧倒的にオススメ 個室内の設備を徹底解説
Pillows are also available.

As it was in the picture from a while ago, each private room is also equipped with pillows for the number of people. It’s the same as a pillow that’s common in hotels, and it’s comfortable to use.

Roomette(個室)が圧倒的にオススメ 個室内の設備を徹底解説
The upper bed

The private room has a capacity of 2 people. There is also a bed at the top. You can lower it by pulling the lever and use it. By keeping it up during the daytime, the inside of the room will be quite wide (I don’t recommend it because it feels quite oppressive if it is kept down).

Roomette(個室)が圧倒的にオススメ 個室内の設備を徹底解説
A table

There is also a table.

Roomette(個室)が圧倒的にオススメ 個室内の設備を徹底解説
Opening the table

When you open the table, it looks like this. It was quite spacious, and it came out in the stomach (in front), so I felt it was easy to use. It is not suitable for telework because the Internet environment is not stable (maybe there are no people who do it), but it is convenient for a little computer work.

Roomette(個室)が圧倒的にオススメ 個室内の設備を徹底解説
Writing a blog

My hobby is writing blog posts while traveling, so I was comfortable writing articles offline.

Roomette(個室)が圧倒的にオススメ 個室内の設備を徹底解説
Trash bin

Each room is also equipped with a trash can. Conductor doesn’t come to collect it while driving, but it’s quite helpful that there are trash cans in each room.

Roomette(個室)が圧倒的にオススメ 個室内の設備を徹底解説
A key that can be closed from the inside

Each room also has a key. You can close it from the inside. In addition, the disadvantage is that it can not be locked from the outside. However, you can’t confirm whether it’s locked from the outside, so when I left the room, I closed the curtains and made sure that I didn’t know that there were no people inside.

Roomette(個室)が圧倒的にオススメ 個室内の設備を徹底解説
closing the curtains

It looks like the curtains have been closed. Because of problems such as safety, the electricity in the corridor remains on even during the night time. Still, when you close the curtains, there are solid curtains so that the individual room is completely dark.

Roomette(個室)が圧倒的にオススメ 個室内の設備を徹底解説
Speakers and lights

Speakers and lights are installed at the top. It is thought that this reading, etc. is arranged so that it can be used when using the upper bed.

Roomette(個室)が圧倒的にオススメ 個室内の設備を徹底解説
Towels are also placed in each room.

Just like the hotel, each room is equipped with towels.

Roomette(個室)が圧倒的にオススメ 個室内の設備を徹底解説
A hanger

In addition, hangers are also provided in each room. There are two hangers. It’s enough to dry the jacket.

Roomette(個室)が圧倒的にオススメ 個室内の設備を徹底解説
Belt for luggage

This is a belt that can be fixed when you bring in large luggage. However, large-sized suitcases that could not be carried on board on international flights did not enter because they interfered with the bed. If it is a suitcase of the size that can be carried on domestic flights, I think it can be fixed here.

Roomette(個室)が圧倒的にオススメ 個室内の設備を徹底解説
Bedside control panel

There is a control panel at the bedside. At the top, there is a reading light for passengers who use the lower bed, and the button at the bottom right is the switch. There is a voice control below it. You can adjust the volume of the broadcast in the individual room. Every night, there is a broadcast of lights off, so when I wanted to go to bed early, I set this broadcast volume to zero and then went to bed.

On the lower side, the yellow button is a button to call the attendant, and the white button next to it can be switched to the left to turn on the ceiling light in the private room, and by switching to the right, you can turn on the night light for the night.

Seat cars(Coach Classes)-For short distances, etc.

Next, I will introduce the Coach Classes (seat car).

Coach Class is considered to be premised on short-distance use. It’s not on the premise of getting sleep.

座席車(Coach Class)は短距離での利用などを想定か
Inside the coach classes

Also, I personally was worried about the Coach Class vehicle and it smelled. Because it is a common space, you may feel that the smell is tight.

座席車(Coach Class)は短距離での利用などを想定か
The state of the seat

The seat itself looks like this. It’s made with a profound feeling. It’s covered with leather.

座席車(Coach Class)は短距離での利用などを想定か
Reclining of the seat

Of course, you can recline the seat. Although it is a short-distance seat, the California zephyr sometimes takes more than 6 hours between one station. At a minimum, it has functions as a long-distance train.

座席車(Coach Class)は短距離での利用などを想定か
An outlet installed in the seat

Each seat is equipped with one outlet. In this day and age, no matter where you travel, it’s troublesome if you don’t have an outlet.

座席車(Coach Class)は短距離での利用などを想定か
Seat table.

There is also a table on the back of each seat. There is a table, so you can eat and work on the computer here.

座席車(Coach Class)は短距離での利用などを想定か
A table

This is the state of the table. After all, the table is smaller than that of private room (Roomette), but it seems that it can be used for computer work.

座席車(Coach Class)は短距離での利用などを想定か
Luggage space is also limited.

In the case of a seat car, the luggage space is also limited. Like a private room, it will be difficult to bring in large luggage and spread it.

Meals in the dining car

Most of Amtrak’s trains, including the California zephyr, there is a dining car. You can have three meals a day here.

For Sleeping car (private room) passengers, the meal fee is already included in the price. Therefore, if you use Sleeping car, you can eat 3 meals without paying extra in the car. On the other hand, passengers in the seat car (Coach Classes) do not include meals. You can eat in the dining car by paying $40 per meal, but in fact most passengers finish their meals at the shop we will introduce later.

If you are a Coach Class passenger and use a dining car, you can also use a credit card to pay. There may be a little more than half of people who pay tips after meals, including passengers in private rooms.

Inside of the dining car

This is the state of the dining car. The second floor with a good view is the dining room. The first floor seems to be a kitchen (in principle, passengers are not allowed to enter).

Seats for 4 people

There are 4 people in the seat, and if you use it with less than 2 people, you will usually have a shared seat. Dinner is quite fun while talking with the other passengers.


From here, I will introduce the equipment of sleeping cars. Passengers in a private room (Roomette) can drink coffee for free. There is a coffee tank in each cars, and you can take it whenever you want.

Ice wather

You can also have ice water. However, in the room near the shower room, there was some bottles of mineral water with a towel that you can take freely. There is also mineral water in the observation car. Three bottles of mineral water have been placed in the private room since the time of boarding. You can get almost unlimited bottled mineral water freely. I almost never bring water from here.

The observation car – always full of customers, perfect for a change.

Most of Amtrak’s long-distance trains have an observation car. The observation car is a common space that can be used by all passengers.

展望車両は常にお客さんがいっぱい 気分転換にもってこい
The observation car has large windows – at Denver Station

Whenever I went, it was overflowing with customers. Sometimes there are vacant seats, sometimes no seats. However, I went to the observation car, but I couldn’t sit down, only as soon as I left.

展望車両は常にお客さんがいっぱい 気分転換にもってこい
The inside of the observation car

The observation car has about 40 seats facing the window side. There are many people who use this place for couples, and there are many people sitting with two acquaintances.

展望車両は常にお客さんがいっぱい 気分転換にもってこい
Seats for 4 people

There are many seats for 4 people on the back side (Emeryville/San Francisco side). Surprisingly, there are two customers occupying one box seat here as well.

展望車両は常にお客さんがいっぱい 気分転換にもってこい
The state of the observation car

After all, the observation car has a good view.

展望車両は常にお客さんがいっぱい 気分転換にもってこい
Upper window

There is also a window at the top, so natural light comes in. This bright space makes the train journey that boils up open up.

展望車両は常にお客さんがいっぱい 気分転換にもってこい
The inside of the car

Let me introduce a little about the seat. The seat faces the window. The backrest is not that high, but you can sit comfortably. There are seats for one person and seats for two people.

展望車両は常にお客さんがいっぱい 気分転換にもってこい
The state of the seat

There is also a space to put small items in front of you (the lower part of the window frame). It is thought that this observation vehicle assumes a person who eats a light meal.

展望車両は常にお客さんがいっぱい 気分転換にもってこい
Drink stand.

In the next part of the seat, there is a table where you can put drinks and so on. A drink holder is installed so that you can leave drinks even in the swaying car. Drink morning coffee and looking at the scenery from the observation car. This is indescribable, the best time.

展望車両は常にお客さんがいっぱい 気分転換にもってこい
A socket

In addition, even an outlet is installed in the observation car. It looks like an outlet installed by additional construction later. There is a big difference whether there is an outlet or not. I’m grateful for this.

The caffe car

There is also a shop in the Amtrak car. Passengers in the seated vehicle (Coach Class) will be able to purchase their meals here.

Caffe car in the California zephyr

The shop sometimes closes. It’s mostly open during the daytime.

In-car sales menu

This is a menu for caffe car sales. Credit cards is available for payment. You can also use mobile devices such as Apple Pay and Google Pay.

The seat in front of the shop

There is a seat in front of the shop, and you can eat or drink the products purchased at the shop here.

the shower room-only for passengers in Roomette (private room)

Passengers in the Roomette (private room) can use the shower as much as they want. In the case of Japan’s sleeper limited express, Sunrise Seto, Izumo-go, a shower card is required (charged), and there is a limit on the number of shower cards, and there is also a time limit.

However, Amtrak’s showers are basically free and unlimited. I really appreciate this.

A shower

The shower is like this. By raising it up, you can remove it from the metal fittings.

Tweak and adjust

The temperature of the hot water coming out from the shower is twisted and adjusted.


Of course, there are towels as well. It’s also in the room, and it’s also in the shower room, so I basically used the one in the shower room.


And the soap is also fully equipped.

Shampoo and rinse

There was a lot of shampoo in Amtrak.

Fully equipped with facilities such as restrooms

In addition to the equipment introduced so far, there are many facilities that you will not have to worry about staying for a long time.

The inside of the car

The restroom is also like a sleeper train, and many of them are fully equipped.


It’s the state of the bathroom.

Wash the table

The washbasin is somewhat old, but it is fully equipped like this. There is also hot water, so it’s quite easy to use.

Like airplanes, luggage can be checked in.

In addition, Baggage vehicles are also available. If you have large luggage, for example, ski equipment, you can also check it in. However, if you leave it in the same way as an airplane, you will basically not be able to get out at the station on the way. If it is a private room, you can bring luggage in the size of an international flight check-in. It is recommended to bring it to a private room except for things that are not completely used in the car, such as skis.

Baggage car

Meals dining car

If you use a Roomette(private room), you can have a free meal in the dining car.

The dining car

Although it is not a completely full course in the dining car, you can enjoy a fulfilling meal with appetizers, main dishes, and desserts.

Amtrak’s private room fee includes meals-And one glass of alcohol

At Amtrak, if you use a private room (Roomette), the meal fee is included in the price in advance. In addition, you can also get a free glass of alcohol when eating.

Amtrak Traditional Dining
Most long-distance trains include a Dining car serving breakfast, lunch and dinner.

You can check the menu of each Amtrak line in this website. For your reference, I will post the menu of Amtrak’s long-distance routes as of March 2023 (from the Amtrak official website).

アムトラックの個室料金には、食事代も含まれる アルコールも1杯は無料
Amtrak’s dining menu (quoted from the Amtrak official website)
アムトラックの個室料金には、食事代も含まれる アルコールも1杯は無料
Amtrak’s dining menu (quoted from the Amtrak official website)

You can see this menu in each private room, and also in the dining car.

アムトラックの個室料金には、食事代も含まれる アルコールも1杯は無料
Amtrak’s steak

I recommend you Amtrak’s traditional steak for the main dish.

アムトラックの個室料金には、食事代も含まれる アルコールも1杯は無料

In addition, guests in private rooms can also get a free glass of alcohol. The steak while drinking wine on the train is exceptional.

Seat car (Coach Class) does not include meals

In the case of a seated vehicle, meals are not included in the price. The fee for using a seat (Coach Class) is

  • Breakfast: $20
  • Lunch: $25
  • Dinner: $45
  • Meals for children: $20 (same price for breakfast, lunch, and dinner)
座席車(Coach Class)は食事が含まれない
Meal menu

Considering that it costs about 50 dollars per meal, the private room vehicle is a little expensive, but I still feel it’s worth paying.

座席車(Coach Class)は食事が含まれない
Orange juice at Amtrak

Breakfast and lunch are on a first-come, first-served basis, and dinner is by reservation only.

Amtrak’s breakfast and dinner are on a first-come, first-served basis. Dinner is by reservation only. The business hours of Amtrak’s dining car are

  • Breakfast: 6:30 – 9:30 am.
  • Lunch: 11:30 am – 2:30 pm.
  • Dinner: 5:00 – 9:00 pm.

However, it is the local time of the place where you are running, for example, in this California Zephyr, there is a time difference of 3 hours on the way. The time changes three times. Therefore, it is necessary to check where the current time is.

Dinner reservation card

For dinner reservations, the staff of the dining car will go around each private room and come to check the reservation time. At that time, you will also be asked to confirm what the appetizer is (the main dish will be ordered at dinner).

Actually get on the bus and introduce the menu!

Well, from here, I will introduce the menu I actually got when I got on the bus using photos (I’m sorry, I forgot to take a picture of breakfast on the 3rd day).

This is not all, but I think it would be good if you could feel the actual California zephyr’s meal.

Day 1・Lunch

Lunch on the first day is the first meal from Emeryville Station in the suburbs of San Francisco. For the first meal, I had a cheeseburger.


I only ate cheap things while I was in Los Angeles and San Francisco, so to be honest, I’m very grateful for this.


I ate cheesecake for dessert.

Day 1・Dinner

It’s dinner on the first day. Let’s start with shrimp chili. The shrimp chili sauce is a little spicy, but it’s certainly delicious.

Shrimp chili

And the main dish is steak. This is a traditional Amtrak steak.


The steak was not cut as shown in the picture posted on the website (Amtrak official website).

Day 2・Breakfast

This is breakfast on the second day. I had French toast for breakfast on the second day.

French toast

In addition, you can also have the side menu at the top right of the menu for breakfast. The picture is pork sausage.

Day 2・Lunch

Next is lunch on the second day. I just realized it for the first time when I was writing an article, but it’s the same as breakfast. It’s French toast.

French toast

Even if it is French toast, it is not the same French toast as breakfast. Cheese is sandwiched and potato chips are attached. It is an American style that adds a carbohydrate called French toast to a carbohydrate called potato chips.


I had blueberry cheesecake for dessert. It was more refreshing and delicious than the chocolate cake I got yesterday evening.


It’s dinner on the second day. At this time, the train was delayed by about 15 hours, and it was almost predictable that it would be another night.

The appetizer is salad.

First of all, I had a salad as an appetizer. This was delicious because I didn’t have many opportunities to eat vegetables. It’s American to put cheese on here.


It said Atlantic salmon, so I ordered salmon. But there aren’t many raw fish in the United States. It’s called salmon, but it’s covered with Meuniere and sauce. There is rice below, but it’s fried rice. Well, Japanese rice would be more suitable for Japanese people.


And I had red wine. The wine was very delicious. You can also get water properly.

Lemon cake

And I had a lemon cake for dessert. The lemon cake was also more refreshing and delicious than the chocolate cake.

Day 3・breakfast

Next is the third day. I’m sorry, I forgot to take a picture of breakfast on the third day.

I was filming orange juice.

I only took orange juice, so I’ll post only that picture.


It’s lunch on the third day. In the California zephyr, this third day’s lunch will be the last meal.

Lemon cake and chili

For lunch on the third day, I had Chilli BOWL. This was relatively small in quantity and easy to eat.

Starbucks coffee.

I also had coffee after the meal (passengers in private rooms are basically provided free of charge in this area). It’s quite delicious because it brews Starbucks coffee.


Day 3・dinner

I was informed that it will be provided as a General Service on the broadcast. In other words, they will provide the service for free.

After all, the last meal will be finished with steak.

After all, the last meal is the steak “AMTRAK SIGNATURE FLAT IRON STEAK”. I ate it on the first day and it was delicious, I will have that steak on the last day as well.

Black tea

I had tea at the end. The tea was also served with lemon. On the last night, I had a cup of tea while having fun talking with two men who shared a table, and the third day was over.

Day 4・Breakfast is served at the shop

The fourth day that doesn’t normally exist. Due to a significant delay, we entered the fourth day.

Meals are at the shop.

The meal on the 4th day will be served at the shop. We didn’t use the dining car anymore. However, the shop provided all products for free, so I was able to choose as much as I wanted.

We ate so full that we didn’t like it until yesterday, and we didn’t eat much.


Tips for traveling across the continent with Amtrak

In order to get on the California zephyr, I will summarize what I need to know, in other words, what I wanted to know before I got on.

Take a connecting bus to Emeryville Station, where many trains arrive and depart around San Francisco

There is no Amtrak station in the San Francisco Bay Area or city. Oakland Emeryville Station in the suburbs of San Francisco is the gateway to San Francisco.

A connecting bus runs from the center of San Francisco to Emeryville Station. It’s about 30 minutes by connecting bus.

Please note that you cannot make a reservation only for the shuttle bus. It will be booked at the same time as the train, and it will be $1.0 per person.

In addition, if you have made a reservation without knowing it, let’s change it if it is a fare that can be changed (search the departure station in San Francisco instead of Emery Building and make a reservation).

connecting bus

It takes less than 30 minutes by car from San Francisco city to Emeryville Station. It is most reasonable and recommended to use ride-sharing services such as Uber and Lyft.

Amtrak shuttle bus stop in San Francisco

This is the Amtrak shuttle bus stop in San Francisco. There seems to be an Amtrak office in some places, but there is no office in San Francisco. It’s right in front of the bank, and there’s just a photo sign on the side of the road. I’m a little worried, but it’s here.

The bus only comes a few minutes before departure, but from about 15 minutes ago, passengers will start gathering near the bus stop. It looked like that there were overwhelmingly many people with Uber and Lyft to this bus stop (we used the subway).

Bay Bridge

Crossing the San Francisco Bay Bridge, the bus goes to Emeryville Station.

Emeryville station

It seems that there are more people who come directly to Emeryville Station.

Waiting room at Emeryville Station

This is the inside of the waiting room at Emeryville Station. The waiting room at Emeryville Station was quite comfortable with air conditioning.


There is also a shop. For some reason, I couldn’t use my credit card with cash only here. By the way, credit cards can be used at Amtrak’s in-car shops and restaurants.

At some stations, passengers in the Roomette (private room) can use the lounge.

If you use Amtrak’s Roomette (private sleeping car), you can use the lounge installed at the station for free.

Amtrak Station Lounges
Looking for a place to relax while you're on your journey? Stop in and visit one of our private lounges in select statio...

According to the official website of Amtrak, it is located at the following stations.

  • Boston, MA – South Station
  • Chicago, IL- Union Station
  • Los Angeles, CA – Union Station
  • Portland, OR – Union Station
  • New York, NY – Moynihan Train Hall
  • Washington, DC – Union Station

It will be the above 6 stations. The only stop for the California zephyr is Chicago. It is not installed at Emeryville Station.

Lounge at the station in Chicago

After this, I used the lounge before boarding LakeShore Limited. I will also introduce the situation in another article.

Trains can be significantly delayed.

Amtrak trains may be significantly delayed. The train we got on had a delay of up to 30 hours on the way and 20 hours when we arrived at the terminal station.

Amtrak (at Reno Station)

When I told this story to a professor at my university, he said that he had also been on this California zephyr, and he had to wait for about 3 hours at the station.

At Salt Lake City Station

There are many reasons, but delays occur due to the impact of freight train delays, vehicle failures, etc. The reality is that delays are normalized in Amtrak, and the U.S. government is responding to it by revising laws and regulations, but it has not improved much.

If you are riding an Amtrak, especially a long-distance train, it is a good idea to get on, thinking that delays of about a few hours are common.

At Denver station

The recommendation is from east to west (Chicago → Emeryville, San Francisco)

Well, this is the end of the article I’ve written so long. Finally, I will write down the tips that I can say because I have experienced the trip of the California zephyr. That is,

The transcontinental railroad trip is overwhelmingly recommended to go from east to west.

We started from the west coast.

The reason is that the United States is vast and has a time difference. From west to east, for example, let’s go from San Francisco through Chicago to New York, as we passed this time. In this case, New York on the east coast will be faster. At Amtrak, there is a time difference of about 1 hour almost every day. In other words, from the west coast (San Francisco, Los Angeles, Portland, Seattle, etc.) to the east coast (New York, Boston, Washington, D.C. Etc.), every day will be 23 hours.


You might think it’s an hour, but this is pretty tough. Please think about the situation where you finish lunch with a full stomach and dinner will be served an hour earlier. In particular, dinner starts at 17:00 at the earliest time and starts at 18:30 at the latest. It’s incredibly fast for me. It’s time for dinner when I’m not hungry at all. For that reason, it is overwhelmingly recommended to go from the east coast to the west coast.

A spectacular trip across the continent

This time, I got on Amtrak at a considerable cost. It’s more than $1,000 USD per person one way. But it was a trip worth the price. I had an experience that can only be experienced here.

人生で1度は経験したい 大陸横断の絶景旅を
A transcontinental railroad trip by Amtrak

The main means of transportation in the United States is by plane. But the meaning of daring to travel there by railway. That’s because there is a superb view that can’t be seen without “crawling” on the ground. Because only by moving on the ground can you feel the size of the American land.

人生で1度は経験したい 大陸横断の絶景旅を

By feeling the size of the superb view of the United States and interacting with many people, you will surely be able to see the “United States of America” that is different from the “United States of America” you have seen so far.

California zephyr-Vlog

Thank you for reading this article, and have a great trip!