I'm on this trip for the adventure, for the trip itself -- to write about it. So, it's not like I'm going to miss a family wedding or something if there is a missed connection or something goes awry. In fact, a small misadventure or two would probably serve me well.
(Oh sure, I say that now...)
Oh, you've done it now. Be careful what you wish for, because you might just get it.
I know there are odd things that can happen. Of course a dozen or so passengers stuck on their bus when an active shooting incident (this has happened before) closes the Bay Bridge isn't going to hold up a train with hundreds of passengers. You're thinking of taking the Coast Starlight, which used to be known as the Coast Starlate for constant delays usually attributed to Union Pacific, sometimes up to 12-15 hours. I never took it in those days, but some people told me they thought it could be intentional. The thought was that were giving their own freight traffic higher priority even though the laws that freed the railroads from having to provide passenger service said that Amtrak traffic was supposed to be given highest priority. I've heard some people seeing freight train after freight train going by (while the Amtrak train stayed for hours on a siding) assumed freight had priority.
But Alan Miller, also with the Train Riders Association of California, said Union Pacific is failing to uphold an agreement with Amtrak and the federal government to give Amtrak trains priority on the track. This agreement, part of the 1970s negotiations that allowed Union Pacific to discontinue its passenger rail service, requires Union Pacific to give Amtrak trains the right of way.
Because right of way is determined by Union Pacific dispatchers in Omaha, Neb., advocacy groups say there is no way to be sure that Union Pacific actually is giving Amtrak priority over freight.
Passengers who rode the train late last week reported seeing so many freight trains pass them by, they thought the freights had the automatic right of way.
If you want to know what adventure is, ask an Amtrak employee what "trespasser incident" means. I've only experienced it once.