12+ scenic hours from Richmond to Elko, a town so small there isn't a station.
Tons of room to stretch out and outlets, but no wifi or TVs. Fortunately the cell reception's been decent.
And the views aren't bad either.
I spent the afternoon in the sunny observation car.
Gazing out the window in mod swivel chairs. A red-haired woman with headphones on danced through the car a few times. Lots of people of all ages wander by, some on short rides, others in it for the long haul to Nebraska or Chicago.
The ascent begins around Colfax, east of Sacramento as the train climbs gradually into the Sierras.
Not too shabby.
A little snow even.
Donner Lake at the summit was a highlight. The explainer describing local history left out a few details about the Donner Party.
Then we followed the Truckee River and crossed into Nevada.
This map is not to scale!