You do NOT need an AMTRAK ticket. In fact you can't even get to the AMTRAK cars from our two private cars -- they will be at the end of the train and AMTRAK uses high level cars. Their end doors are about two feet higher than ours..
Luggage: Travel light. One normal or smaller suitcase per couple plus maybe a make-up kit. We'll be using the overhead luggage racks in Silver Lariat.
All Aboard: Just walk to the North-end of the Amtrak platform (South of Jack London Square). The train will likely roll into the station at 8:45 AM and and our private cars will be added to the tail. Scheduled departure is 8:50 AM. We expect you will be boarding at the vestibule between the two cars. This is a narrow time window.
We will attempt to contact AMTRAK Thursday night to see how late the Coast Starlight is running, and send an email with an ETA. Be at the station 20 minutes early.
Onboard, please move around. On the Friday Southbound trip, we will have a lunch and a dinner with table service. Coffee, continental breakfast, Bloody Mary's, etc. will begin after we leave Oakland. Lunch will be after we leave Salinas (about Noon).
On the Sunday
Northbound trip, we will have a lunch and a dinner with
Dress: Dress-up is fine, but remember that you are on a jostling train with narrow clearances. Pumps may work on the train, but spikes won't. Large skirts must pass others in aisles that are 22" wide.
Detraining in Los Angeles (Southbound) on Friday night will be easy as that is the end of the line for the Coast Starlight train.
Detraining in Oakland (Northbound) on Sunday night will be trickier as it's a short stop. We will queue up with our "train luggage" in hand as we only have a few minutes to detrain. Our rail cars will be dropped off at Oakland ......
Sunday morning departure: The train is scheduled to depart Los Angeles at 10:10 AM.
Smoking: You can smoke between the cars. It's fun to ride with one foot on one car and one on the other (you'll likely smoke quicker). No butts.
Toilets: With modern regulations, the cars now have tanks. Kindly feel free to flush while in the station. I liked the old days when you saw the ballast and cross ties zipping along through the hole.