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Hello from NY's Southern Tier


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#1 rph

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Posted 19 July 2016 - 06:37 PM

Greetings, everyone, joined a few days ago and wanted to introduce myself.  Long-time train lover, mostly of the northeastern freight railroads, but my wife and I are taking our first LD train journey next week to Glacier National Park and very much looking forward to it.  Found this forum while researching the trip, and have already learned much.  It was very interesting (and somewhat disheartening) to read about the CAF Viewliner II situation, as the CAF Elmira plant is about 50 miles west of me and I periodically see equipment going to or from Elmira on Norfolk Southern's Southern Tier Line.

 

Thanks for a great forum, and my best to all,

Ray



#2 the_traveler

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Posted 19 July 2016 - 08:01 PM

Welcome aboard from another upstater!:hi:
Take it easy .......

Take the train instead and enjoy the ride!

#3 norfolkwesternhenry

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Posted 19 July 2016 - 10:07 PM

Welcome, I welcome you, and am sure everybody else will welcome you. Do lots of posting, lots of trains


Empire Builder MSP-CHI (2) CHI-MSP (2) MSP-PDX (1) MSP-CBS (5.5 H late) (1) MKE-MSP (1) MSP-SEA (1) Coast Starlate PDX-EMY (1.5H late) (1) California Zephyr DEN-SLC (1H late) (1) Hiawatha CHI-MKE (1) NE Regional WAS-BAL (1) WAS-NYP (1) Acela Express BAL-WAS (1) BOS-WAS (1) Late Shore (Limited service) CHI-BOS (On Time) (1) Capitol Limited WAS-CHI (1) Texas Eagle SAS-CHI (1) Wolverine DET-DER-ARB-CHI (35 Min late) (1) Cascades SEA-VAC (1)
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train cars travelled in: Superliner: Coach, Sleeper, Diner, CCC, SSL. Amfleet: LD Café, Café/Business, coach. Viewliner: Sleeper, Diner. Acela: Café, Business, quiet car. Horizon: Coach. Talgo: coach, diner, café; non Amtrak: ex CP Via Canadian Manor cars, Park car, diner,sleeper, Skyline lounge. LRC trainset: coach (tilt de-activated)


#4 Bob Dylan

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Posted 19 July 2016 - 10:59 PM

Welcome to AU! Sounds like a great trip, please share your adventures with us when you return from your trip!
 
"There's Something About a Train! It's Magic!"-- 1970s Amtrak Ad
 
".. I ride on a Mail Train Baby, can't buy a thrill.."--I said that!
 
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Yet there isn't a train I wouldn't take,No matter where its going!.." -Edna St. Vincent Millay

#5 rph

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Posted 16 August 2016 - 07:31 PM

Our adventure to Glacier Park is over, overall had a wonderful time and saw some beautiful scenery.  As a first time Amtrak rider, would I do it again?  Maybe.  Maybe not.  I must say I'm glad we took the train, if for no other reason than saying we did it and now know what to expect if we ride again.  Here are a few observations:

 

Track:  Varying conditions, but some just seemed horrible, especially on the LSL.  I'm not sure if it was the track or the car, but it seemed like every switch we passed over resulted in the car pitching violently, and then a loud bang.  Much worse in the Viewliners, not as bad on the upper floor of the Superliners.  We never did sleep much on the train, most of which I attribute to the track conditions.  Going through the cars was a challenge for my wife....she's short and has had a couple knee operations, so she's not that steady on her feet, and ended up almost in another passenger's lap more than once.  The rough ride was probably my biggest surprise of the trip.

 

Crews:  Again, varying levels of service.  The bright spot was our SCA Mark and the Dining Car Supervisor Rolando and his entire dining car crew on the westbound EB.  They were great, and made sure we had early reservations so we could get dinner before our stop at East Glacier.  Also a shout out to the conductor, who kept us informed of any delays.  The low was the zombie-like diner-lite staff on the 49 LSL. It was obvious they were just going through the motions.

 

Roomettes:  We booked roomettes for the entire trip, and knew they were small, but the reality of how small they actually are hit us when we boarded in Syracuse.  As the designated top bunker, I didn't mind it on the LSL Viewliners....there was room to sit up with a window to look out.  The EB was another story.  I didn't think I was claustrophobic, but the small space and no window, combined with the bouncing of the car, sent me scrambling for a very crowded bottom bunk with my better half.  At Glacier, I went to get the rental car, and I came back to discover she had upgraded us to rooms for the return trip.  How much, I asked.  Don't ask, she said.  Gotta love that gal!

 

Dining:  Most of the food was good, even on the LSL.  Not fine restaurant quality, but certainly adequate, and better than anything you'll get on a plane.  I was glad to not be paying menu prices.  Met several nice people as we dined together, one couple twice on the westbound EB.  My wife likened it to speed dating.  On the eastbound, our car was at the back of the train, seven cars from the diner.  It was a long, tough walk for my wife, and we skipped one meal just because we didn't want to make the trip.

 

Havre, MT:  Two passengers learned the hard way that when the conductor says the train leaves in ten minutes, it leaves in ten minutes.  Despite the conductor's lengthy warning before the stop, two folks got off to smoke or stretch their legs and missed the train as it left.  What also surprised me was several people we talked to afterwards thought they should have been given more warning the train was leaving.  Call me cold-hearted, but my view was they were warned, and it blows my mind how they could have been so irresponsible.

 

I'd be interested to know if my observations are typical, especially regarding the track conditions. 



#6 Bob Dylan

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Posted 16 August 2016 - 11:24 PM

Thanks for sharing your trip, glad there were some good times.

The Zombie Crew on the Lake Shore needs to be reported to Customer Relations, please call and share your concerns as well as the good stuff!

As for the track, Amtrak doesn't own most of the tracks it travels on, Class I Railroads own most Routes and some are very poor at preventive maintence, others do a good job!

You are correct about the Superliner Roomettes, we call the top bunk the Coffin!
 
"There's Something About a Train! It's Magic!"-- 1970s Amtrak Ad
 
".. I ride on a Mail Train Baby, can't buy a thrill.."--I said that!
 
"..My heart is warm with the friends I make,and better friends I'll not be knowing,
Yet there isn't a train I wouldn't take,No matter where its going!.." -Edna St. Vincent Millay

#7 PVD

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Posted 17 August 2016 - 10:03 AM

A reminder for the future: as a sleeping car passenger, the SCA will bring your meal to the room if you choose. The long walk should not be a deterrent to your having a meal if you so desire. It is your option.



#8 neroden

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Posted 04 September 2016 - 11:32 PM

The LSL runs full speed: 79 mph practically the whole way.  The track owners, NS and CSX, do not always maintain the track to a standard which makes this comfortable.  I find it's usually worse on CSX track (east of Cleveland).


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#9 crabby_appleton1950

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Posted 05 September 2016 - 04:56 AM

Welcome and thanks for your report.

I'll not ask how your wife knows about speed dating.   :giggle:



#10 rph

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Posted 17 September 2016 - 09:34 PM

You are correct about the Superliner Roomettes, we call the top bunk the Coffin!

 

I'd say that was very appropriate.  We'll certainly go bedroom if we do another LD trip!

 

I'll not ask how your wife knows about speed dating.   :giggle:

 

Crabby, I kid her all the time about Sven, her fictitious tall, blond, handsome Swedish boyfriend....maybe that's how she met him :).  We were reminiscing about the trip a few days ago, and she surprised me by saying (without any suggestion from me) that although our Amtrak experience wasn't all positive, she enjoyed it and wants to go on another train trip.  With the exception of not sleeping, we did find it very relaxing and nice to be out-of-touch with the world for a couple days. I find myself wanting to go again also, and we're thinking about doing a getaway day trip in coach from perhaps Philly/Lancaster/Harrisburg to Pittsburgh where we have relatives, hanging out for a couple days, and coming back.  We'll see.



#11 neroden

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Posted 18 September 2016 - 10:55 PM

You implied you're in the Binghamton area! I'm in Ithaca.  Nice to have you here.  Pity the nearest passenger station is so far away.  (The Lackawanna Cutoff restoration would help.)


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#12 rph

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Posted 20 September 2016 - 08:09 PM

You implied you're in the Binghamton area! I'm in Ithaca.  Nice to have you here.  Pity the nearest passenger station is so far away.  (The Lackawanna Cutoff restoration would help.)

 

Yes, actually a little closer to you in Apalachin, just up the hill from the old Lackawanna main line location.  Wouldn't it be fun to be able to go back 60 - 70 years just for a couple days?  Think of all the trains we'd see!






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