A reroute due to track upgrading along its usual route through the heart of the Colorado Rockies gives you the rare chance to travel Amtrak’s California Zephyr along the original transcontinental rail route through Wyoming, which no longer enjoys regular passenger service.
By signing the Pacific Railroad Acts of 1862 and 1864, President Lincoln authorized the Central Pacific and Union Pacific railroads to construct the first transcontinental route. One goal was to promote national unity during the War between the States and later.
For these special Wyoming trips, Amtrak will depart both Denver and Salt Lake City from May 16 through 22 and again June 1 through June 7, 2012. Departures from Chicago and San Francisco (Emeryville) come one day earlier.
If at all possible, set up your roundtrip to travel one-way via Wyoming and one-way via the Colorado Rockies. Although interesting and very historic, you will probably find the Wyoming route far less scenic in the traditional sense. Nevertheless, you will enjoy fine views of the front range of the Rockies north of Denver and other highlights.
If traveling one-way, either direction works fine. If traveling roundtrip, try to do the Colorado portion westbound and the Wyoming one eastbound. This gives you maximum scenery, especially if a train is late. (I have traveled both routes by rail, except for the portion between Denver and the original trans-con route in Wyoming.)
Find additional details at Amtrak.com. The Routes tab at the top leads you to information about this and other service disruptions, if any. In addition, the passenger train section of TrainOrders.com also lets you know about rerouted trains sometimes before Amtrak posts them.
In addition, enjoy "Pikes Peak Cog Railway: Rocky Mountain High" by Billie Frank.
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