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Passenger Trains > Leavenworth Snow Train in Seattle

Date: 12/13/08 16:00
Leavenworth Snow Train in Seattle
Author: gsnyder

Couple of shots of this morning's Leavenworth Snow Train leaving Seattle on it's way to Leavenworth, WA for the festivities. 2nd shot is of the tail end with the Silver Lariat and Ocean View bringing up the rear. Fresh snow in the Cascades last night will probably make this a very enjoyable trip.

Date: 12/13/08 18:37
Re: Leavenworth Snow Train in Seattle
Author: cutboy2


Date: 12/13/08 19:22
Re: Leavenworth Snow Train in Seattle
Author: smitty195

According to the website for this train, the passengers get off in Leavenworth and are bused into town and they have about 5 hours on their own. I'm not familiar with the area---what is there to do once they get there? Is there something planned for them, or do they just go and hang out and sightsee?

Date: 12/13/08 20:33
Re: Leavenworth Snow Train in Seattle
Author: a737flyer

Leavenworth is a town that opted to become a Bavarian village a number of years ago. It was well done and there is a very authentic Bavarian feel to the city complete with quite good German restaurants and bakeries AND good beer. There are a lot of shops with various souvenirs of both German and tacky types and combinations of the two...but you even see that in the real Bavaria.

The train gets you there about time for lunch or early dinner, the shopping is fun and then they have the lighting of the town square which is quite beautiful. The train back to Seattle leaves sometime before 8, I think and is a very nice trip.

The trip I was on two years ago had a total power shut-down in the Cascade Tunnel caused by too many trains going through in a row and when the train, which is wyed in Wenatchee about 25 miles or so east was headed back up the hill to pick us up, someone got a knee against a circuit breaker in the cab and shut down the lead unit. I had my scanner with me and I'll tell you when things shut down in the tunnel, there was some pretty excited people trying to figure out what happened. Someone figured it out, turned on the fans and we got started after about 15 minutes on the batteries.

I thought the operating crew did an outstanding job and the knee-against-the=circuit-breaker got quite a lot of catcalling from the other crew members.

all in all, a really fine trip.

Date: 12/14/08 09:58
Re: Leavenworth Snow Train in Seattle
Author: BB

Leavenworth was on the Travel Channel's The Most Christmasy Places in America show. This is from their website.

Leavenworth, Washington, is an American town with a Bavarian feel. Built against the backdrop of the Cascade Mountains, this picturesque town prides itself on its Old-World Christmas spirit.

The first three weekends in December, this small town with just over 2,000 residents throws a Christmas lighting festival, drawing people from around the globe. Each morning the town's residents and visitors are awoken by the sound of the alpine horn, signaling a new day in Leavenworth full of the Christmas spirit.

During your stay, visit The Hat Shop, a local favorite; the Leavenworth Nutcracker Museum, boasting thousands of the Christmas chompers; and, of course, enjoy a horse-drawn sleigh ride through the white and drifted snow.

Saturdays and Sundays here end like a Dr. Seuss tale, with the townsfolk joining hands at 4:30 p.m. around the gazebo for the lighting of the tree and some good old-fashioned caroling.

Date: 12/14/08 11:19
Re: Leavenworth Snow Train in Seattle
Author: smitty195

Thanks for all of the information. It sounds like a cool little town --- maybe a bit like Solvang, California?

Date: 12/14/08 12:37
Re: Leavenworth Snow Train in Seattle
Author: Notch16

Solvang's sweet, but Leavenworth's got those mountains!

Here's the website info for the train this year:


(Photo from Alki Tours)

Date: 12/14/08 13:56
Leavenworth Snow Train in Seattle
Author: jp1822

Why was Amtrak's only dome car - its Great Dome - positioned behind the private car Silver Lariat? I would have thought the Great Dome would be in front of Silver Lariat for all coach passengers aboard Amtrak to enjoy, while Silver Lariat is just a private car? Isn't this like putting a business car in front of a coach car in the consist, whereas the coaches are ahead and behind the business class car? Unless the Great Dome has been reserved for special chartering as well?

Date: 12/14/08 14:02
Re: Leavenworth Snow Train in Seattle
Author: smitty195

From the tour company's website:

Dome Seats will either be at tables in the Silver Lariat, or tables or cocktail style seats in the Amtrak full dome car Premium Seats will either be at tables (lower level) in the Silver Lariat car or Business class seats in the Cafe Cars.
Silver Lariat - www.calzephyrrailcar.com

The Silver Lariat is a privately owned rail car We are sorry seating will be assigned based on group size and cannot be requested.

Dec 6, 13 and 20 2008

Coach: $149 per person
Premium: $174 per person
Dome: $219 per person

Date: 12/14/08 15:25
Re: Leavenworth Snow Train in Seattle
Author: jp1822

I've said this before - that Amtrak is missing out on an opportunity with its "Great Dome." It's just too bad that Amtrak is left with only "one" of these cars. If Amtrak wanted to, it could certainly operate this car more regularly in service offering "premium seating" at higher prices.

Not to drift from the topic, but this draws into question what Amtrak "could do" with some of its more unique cars - be it the Superliner Sightseer Lounge cars or Great Dome.

Even if Amtrak had surplus Sightseer Cars, it could do the same on some corridor trains that operate with Superliners. When Amtrak was rumored to remove the Superliner Sightseer Lounge cars from service, in exchange for "Diner-Lite" cars - that would double as a dining and lounge car - it could have potentially operated the Sightseer Lounge car as a revenue based car with such premium pricing built into the price of tickets.

Thankfully, Amtrak has realized that it needs a dining car and a Sightseer Lounge car to operate its long distance trains. Only the City of New Orleans has lost its Sightseer Lounge, and hopefully that will be the only Superliner train. The Texas Eagle was rumored as the "next" to have its Superliner Sightseer Lounge removed, in place of a Superliner Diner-Lite, but again, thankfully, this has not occurred and probably won't due to this train's grassroots support. This would just be dumbing down the long distance service - at a time when they are increasing ridership.

It's just too bad that Amtrak got rid of some of the Heritage single level lounge cars for its eastern single level long distance trains. Eastern single level long distance trains lack the equivalent of the Superliner Sightseer Lounge. Even if it had a Heritage coach with "parlor" type seats. For example - even lounge chairs on each side of the aisle that rotate and are near large windows etc. similar to the original Metroliner EMU "club car" and often sported on some of the private rail cars. I always thought the refurbished Heritage Adirondack coaches would be good for such conversion or service (after they were removed from the Adirondack). VIA's "Panorama" or ultradome cars that were manufactured by Colorado Rail Car would be nice for the eastern long distance trains (they could even have a cafe up towards the front as some of these cars have).

Date: 12/14/08 15:34
Re: Leavenworth Snow Train in Seattle
Author: eminence_grise

Once upon a time, Leavenworth WA. was on the main line of the Great Northern. The Chumstick "cut off" in the (1950?'s) caused the GNR to by pass the town. It is on US2 however.

Date: 12/14/08 15:42
Re: Leavenworth Snow Train in Seattle
Author: BB

Just showed Leavenworth on the Travel Channel a minute ago on the East Coast.

Date: 12/14/08 15:43
Re: Leavenworth Snow Train in Seattle
Author: gsnyder

eminence_grise Wrote:
> Once upon a time, Leavenworth WA. was on the main
> line of the Great Northern. The Chumstick "cut
> off" in the (1950?'s) caused the GNR to by pass
> the town. It is on US2 however.

I think the cutoff was finished in the late '20's (about the same time the new Cascade Tunnel opened up)

Date: 12/14/08 18:35
Re: Leavenworth Snow Train in Seattle
Author: mikey

For a "dissenting" view, check out KeyRouteKen's post in http://www.trainorders.com/discussion/read.php?4,1562891

Date: 12/14/08 20:41
Re: Leavenworth Snow Train in Seattle
Author: Indecline

Before Leavenworth reinvented itself, it was just another sleepy town along the east side of Highway 2. In 1975 I spent Christmas week staying with friends at Camp Fields and spending the evenings drinking beer, shooting pool and tossing peanut shells on the floor at the Ski Tavern. The place was dead as could be. Those days are long gone!

Date: 12/15/08 03:33
Re: Leavenworth Snow Train in Seattle
Author: KeyRouteKen

mikey Wrote:
> For a "dissenting" view, check out KeyRouteKen's
> post in
> http://www.trainorders.com/discussion/read.php?4,1
> 562891

OK, Sir "MIKEY"--- Are you for the fake town or against it ?? My wife and I have been to Leavenworth twice-- NEVER AGAIN....
Thanks for bringing up the post from a year ago in which I told my story. It was truthful and factual even though there are those on here who love the place and who don't like me... Most of the people on our train had the same opinion as US-- God-awful service from Alki Tours and AMTRAK running less than ideal service...
After detailing EVERY little bitty thing that was WRONG, in a five page letter that was sent to ALKI as well as Gil Mallery/AMTRAK in Los Angeles, AMTRAK knew they were guilty and attempted to make it up to us.... They offered us a totally FREE train ride on the "ICE TRAIN" to Leavenworth on the 3rd weekend in January...
This was when their officials coaxed me into the head-end car and "grilled" me as to what went wrong and what MY KNOWLEDGE was about TRAINS.... This one punk Conductor was absolutely out of his tree and wanted to know what my problem was.

As I stated recently on another Discussion Board related to this subject:

"They picked on the wrong kid to grill--- I won the duel. Gil Mallery later heard about THIS episode and there are probably some employees now working for some other outfit--probably METROLINK. "

Leavenworth was a do-nothing town for many years until TWO guys came along and pressured the community to become an imaginary town in the Bavarian Alps complete with 'Tyrolean trousers' . After making their fortune and publishing a beautiful book all about their town, they split and moved to Oregon and all of the many photographs of the new Bavarian town were placed in the archives of an "OREGON" museum... I would never have told my original story if I knew in advance it would make me enemies. It was not just MY story--the episode affected many dozens of passengers that fateful day.
For the record, "Larry's Markets" in Bellevue, WA was the food caterer for the train. It was the pitts... Cold box lunches that were supposed to be something that weren't ...
The townspeople are lovely people but are trying to make a quick buck.. It is probably better to visit in JUNE rather than Wintertime.
If you care to visit and make your own impressions, please DO. As for ME, I will never go back, even in the comfort of my own car...

Happy Holiday's to All....

Ken Shattock (KRK)

Date: 12/15/08 07:02
Re: Leavenworth Snow Train in Seattle
Author: calzephyr48

KeyRouteKen Wrote:
> mikey Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > For a "dissenting" view, check out
> KeyRouteKen's
> > post in

WOW! You had me worried there. At first I thought this was something recent.

Everything I've heard, since my car is on that train, is that the operation is a professional one and that the guests, although tired at the end of the day, have a good time. The fact that this train has been running for several years now and routinely sells out to locals is testament to its success.

Date: 12/15/08 21:23
Re: Leavenworth Snow Train in Seattle
Author: westcoaster

If beer drinking is the order of the day, make sure to visit Leavenworth during their Octoberfest celebration.

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