Wednesday, August 24, 2016


By Eva Fydrych

Chicago to L.A. by train

Downtown Los Angeles (Photo by Eva Fydrych / Fashion Studio Magazine)

My Amtrak adventure started on a cold March morning in Chicago. After an intensive day of exploring the Windy City and a comfortable night at Hyatt Chicago Magnificent Mile, I was ready to set out on a train journey that would take me through 8 different states of a vast American countryside: Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, Kansas, Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, and California.

“Between the City of Broad Shoulders and the tinsel of Hollywood lie 2,256 miles of the most spectacular scenery in America. You are about to discover natural beauty on a memorable journey that will take you from the orderly farms and the fruited plains of the Illinois, Missouri and Kansas heartlands, alongside snow-capped peaks in Colorado, past Native American country in New Mexico, and finally Southern California. 

Spectacular sunsets – prairie dogs at play – haunting desert beauty – high elevations – dark tunnels – exciting curves and switchbacks – you’ll certainly want to keep your camera handy as you share your experiences with friends, family and new acquaintances.” - Amtrak

Welcome On Board!

Photos by Eva Fydrych / Fashion Studio Magazine

Leaving Chicago

First dinner on the train

Stunning vies along the way (Photos by Eva Fydrych / Fashion Studio Magazine)

Below you can find more details about my Amtrak trip, but to quote one of my favourite writers, Paulo Coelho, "nothing can substitute experience". Travelling across the U.S. on the Southwest Chief is a truly unique and amazing adventure that you should definitely put on your bucket list.


  • How long does it take to get from Chicago to L.A.? 

It takes almost 2 days (40+ hours).

  • Was the journey tiring?

No, it wasn’t. Superliner® Sleeping accommodations provide a range of private rooms with amenities for day and night use. Your seat changes into a comfy bed at night and you can actually forget that you are travelling on the train. You will have a lot of privacy in your roomette.

“Sleeping Car Attendant is responsible for providing all service for passengers ticketed in Sleeping car accommodations, including room preparation, luggage service and any assistance necessary to ensure a comfortable journey. He or she can also assist with meal reservations or arrange for your meal to be served in the privacy and comfort of your accommodation.” - Amtrak

Inside my roomette (Photo by Eva Fydrych / Fashion Studio Magazine)

Sleeping car rooms are perfect for both relaxing and... catching up with work. There is enough space to stretch your legs, comfortable pillows to support your back, large tray table, a closet, and panoramic window to admire the constantly changing landscape.

The train is very quiet at night; no loud conversations are allowed in the sleeping car after 10pm. Friendly and attentive staff makes sure that all your needs and requests are met.

There are many stops along the way; you can get off the train to get some fresh air and stretch your legs. Highly recommended!

“Sightseer Lounge/Café is the perfect location for scenic viewing and lighter fare. Large panoramic windows provide the perfect vantage point for sightseeing and making new friends. The Café is located on the lower level of this car offering sandwiches, snacks and beverages.” - Amtrak

Life on the Train

Don't forget your beauty essentials!

Breakfast menu

Photos by Eva Fydrych / Fashion Studio Magazine

Yes! There is Wi-Fi onboard for most parts of the journey 

  • Why did you decide to travel with Amtrak? Wasn’t it easier to fly?

Flying definitely would be faster, but I would miss one of the most spectacular train journeys in the U.S.! Southwest Chief offers a truly unique experience that can’t be compared to anything else.

  • What was the most memorable part of the trip?

There were so many unforgettable moments: dining with some really interesting people met during the journey, fun and thought-provoking conversations, watching the ever-changing landscape, losing the track of time (and unplugging from social media for a while), admiring the sunset, crossing the Mississippi River (the second longest river in the U.S., running from its source at Lake Itasca, Minnesota, to its mouth in the Gulf of Mexico), and so much more!

  • How was the food?

Excellent. Have a look at a sample meal here.

“Dining service offers full hot meals featuring regional cuisine prepared by Amtrak chefs with specialities unique to the Southwest Chief. Spectacular scenery and a great staff make dining on the Southwest Chief a memorable experience. The Dining car provides the perfect venue to meet your fellow passengers and enjoy a delicious meal while the scenery glides by your window. Sleeping car accommodations include meals in the Dining car while passengers ticketed in Coach may purchase Dining car meals at reasonable prices.” - Amtrak

Let's Take a Break

Raton, New Mexico (Photos by Eva Fydrych / Fashion Studio Magazine)

One of the Amtrak posters

Eva Fydrych / Fashion Studio Magazine

Photos by Eva Fydrych / Fashion Studio Magazine

  • Would you do that again?

Yes, for sure! :)

My Southwest Chief journey, a two-day trip between America’s heartland and the famous West Coast, was one of the most memorable travel experiences ever, comparable to exploring Angkor Wat in Cambodia, diving in the Philippines, visiting mountain temples in China, or going for a safari in Zambia. But contrary to my other adventures, this one was definitely much safer, more comfortable, and without any unwanted interruptions. And that’s what makes travelling truly remarkable.

  • Can I travel on my own? 

Yes, definitely! You are going to meet lots of interesting people onboard. That’s one of the most exciting parts of the experience. 

  • How do I book the tickets? 

Please contact Amtrak at 1-800-USA-RAIL, visit, or call your travel agent for the most current information.

Shopping Time

Colourful accessories

Albuquerque, the largest city in the state of New Mexico

Shopping in Albuquerque

Photos by Eva Fydrych / Fashion Studio Magazine


“The Southwest Chief is an indirect successor to the famed Santa Fe Super Chief, operated until Amtrak took over provision of the nation’s passenger services. It had been the first Diesel-powered and all-Pullman (sleeping car) train in the U.S., and was that railroad’s standard bearer, making its maiden run in 1936. Known as the “Train of the Stars,” it was famous for its gourmet meals and Hollywood celebrity clientele, fairly setting the bar for luxury rail travel. At the height of its popularity, it made daily departures from both ends of the line. Only the Pennsylvania’s Broadway Limited survived longer in all-Pullman car guise. Maintaining its legendary high service level until May 1, 1971, the Santa Fe railroad ended its passenger operations on that date.” - Amtrak


Below is a short list of the travel essentials that will make your overnight journey more comfortable:

  • camera / charger 
  • comfortable clothes (leggings, T-shirts, sneakers or flip flops) / sunglasses
  • cosmetic case / toiletries 
  • iPod / earphones 


Amtrak provides an excellent route guide where you can find all the necessary information about the trip. Happy travelling!

Approaching Los Angeles

Bathroom - you don't need to carry towels with you!

Photos by Eva Fydrych / Fashion Studio Magazine

Amtrak train station in L.A.


*Special thank you to Amtrak for organising our train trip from Chicago to Los Angeles in March 2016.


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