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For those in roomettes: have dinner in your room or with others


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#41 Philly Amtrak Fan

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Posted 03 June 2017 - 04:07 PM

On the trains I have traveled recently, I know that the Cafe opens at approximately 6:00 - 6:30AM with the same person who closes the cafe at night.  They do take about an hour break for meals during the slower times.  The Dining Car staff is the same from start to end.  Now the 421/422 Sleeper does change SCA in San Antonio.  Way back, Amtrak experimented with a crew change in Pittsburgh for the "Three Rivers" that ran CHI - NYP.

 

Did the Broadway also change crews in Pittsburgh?

 

Other than the Texas Eagle (which in my mind is two separate trains anyway), are there other trains that have a crew change in the middle? Some obvious breakpoints: the CZ at DEN, the Crescent at ATL, the LSL at BUF, and the EB at Rugby, North Dakota.


Trains Traveled:
 
Broadway Limited (CHI-Harrisburg, PA) 
Three Rivers (Harrisburg, PA-CHI, Altoona, PA-CHI, PHL-CHI)
Capitol Limited (CHI-WAS)
Lake Short Limited (NYP-CHI)
Silver Meteor (PHL-ORL)
Southwest Chief (CHI-LAX)
California Zephyr (CHI-SLC, SLC-EMY)
City of New Orleans and/or Illini (CHI-Champaign, IL)

 

Bring back the Broadway Limited (or Three Rivers or any Chicago-Pittsburgh-Philly train)!
 

https://www.facebook...roadwayLimited/

 


#42 anuenue

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Posted 03 June 2017 - 04:08 PM

I ate breakfasts and dinners in the dining car, and had lunches brought to my room. I didn't plan it that way, it's just what I felt like going at the time.

If you want to find your passion, look where your mind goes when it wanders.


#43 SarahZ

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Posted 03 June 2017 - 04:35 PM

I've had mixed experiences in the dining car. I would say I've had 75% bad/awkward experiences and 25% good. The best was when I traveled on the Coast Starlight. The PPC attendant didn't force people to sit with others (perhaps because there weren't very many of us).

 

Overall, I detest the communal seating, but it's not to a point where I feel like asking my car attendant to serve me in my room. I know it's part of their duties, but I feel strange requesting the service when I'm perfectly capable of walking to the dining car. Plus, it's nice to get out of my room for a bit. Even if the small talk (or lack thereof) is bothersome or awkward, I still enjoy having a meal in the dining car. I feel like it's part of the train experience.

 

Breakfast is almost always enjoyable because people are generally sleepy and more interested in enjoying their coffee in peace. So even if the table is completely quiet, it doesn't feel strange to me because I feel like it's a "polite" quiet. When people do speak, it's usually in hushed tones. For that reason, plus the food, breakfast is my favorite meal on Amtrak.


Amtrak Miles: 39,318

 

Amtrak Routes: Blue Water, California Zephyr, Capitol Limited, Carl Sandburg, City of New Orleans, Coast Starlight, Crescent, Empire Builder, Hiawatha, Illinois Zephyr, Lincoln Service, Southwest Chief, Texas Eagle, Wolverine

 

Metropolitan Rail: Chicago Metra, Chicago L, Dallas TRE, Detroit People Mover, New Orleans RTA, San Francisco MUNI, Seattle Monorail, South Shore Line (NICTD), Toronto Subway & RT, Washington DC Metro


#44 CCC1007

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Posted 03 June 2017 - 04:35 PM

On the trains I have traveled recently, I know that the Cafe opens at approximately 6:00 - 6:30AM with the same person who closes the cafe at night.  They do take about an hour break for meals during the slower times.  The Dining Car staff is the same from start to end.  Now the 421/422 Sleeper does change SCA in San Antonio.  Way back, Amtrak experimented with a crew change in Pittsburgh for the "Three Rivers" that ran CHI - NYP.

 
Did the Broadway also change crews in Pittsburgh?
 
Other than the Texas Eagle (which in my mind is two separate trains anyway), are there other trains that have a crew change in the middle? Some obvious breakpoints: the CZ at DEN, the Crescent at ATL, the LSL at BUF, and the EB at Rugby, North Dakota.
Not that I'm aware of at this time.

#45 Triley

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Posted 03 June 2017 - 04:43 PM

On the trains I have traveled recently, I know that the Cafe opens at approximately 6:00 - 6:30AM with the same person who closes the cafe at night.  They do take about an hour break for meals during the slower times.  The Dining Car staff is the same from start to end.  Now the 421/422 Sleeper does change SCA in San Antonio.  Way back, Amtrak experimented with a crew change in Pittsburgh for the "Three Rivers" that ran CHI - NYP.

 
Did the Broadway also change crews in Pittsburgh?
 
Other than the Texas Eagle (which in my mind is two separate trains anyway), are there other trains that have a crew change in the middle? Some obvious breakpoints: the CZ at DEN, the Crescent at ATL, the LSL at BUF, and the EB at Rugby, North Dakota.

There are some Regionals. Whoever works 161 on Sunday takes over 85 in BAL from a NY attendant on Monday. 137's LSA on Monday-Thursday takes over 85 the following day, Fridays they take over 71 on Saturday. Saturday's 135 takes over 145 on Sunday. Also, 135 on Sunday takes over 174 in WAS.

These are the only ones I know of that are done enroute. There could be some in the west coast.

My posts are my own opinions and do not represent the views of my employer in any way, shape, or form. ~ Now back to your regularly scheduled program.


#46 AmtrakBlue

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Posted 03 June 2017 - 05:50 PM

Sarah, the PPC is not communal dining.

2011: Jun: WIL=>WAS=>WIL (NER) // Nov: WIL=>WAS=>CHI=>PRO (NER=>CL=>CZ)
2012: Apr: WIL=>WAS=>WIL (NER) // May(NTD): WIL=>PHL=>WIL (NER) / PHL=>PAO=>PHL (Keystone) // Aug: WIL=>WAS (NER) / BWI=>WIL (NER) // Oct(Gathering): PHL=>WIL (NER) / PHL=>HAR=>PHL (Keystone) / SEPTA, NJT, PATCO, River Line, Princeton Dinky
2013: May(NTD): WIL=>WAS=>WIL (NER)  // Oct (Gathering): WIL=>CHI (Card) / CHI=>MKE=>GLN=>CHI() / CHI=>JOL=>CHI () / CHI=>WIL(CL=>NER) / CTA, Metra. SEPTA (WIL=>NRK) // Nov:  PHL=>PHL (Autumn Express) 
2014: May(NTD):  WIL=>PHL=>WIL(NER) // May:  WIL=>BOS=>WIL(NER) day trip

2014: Oct(Gathering): WIL=>NYP=>TOL(pd-NER=>LSL) / TOL=>CHI=>LAX=>EMY(pts-LSL=>SWC=>CS) / EMY=>CHI=>TOL (pts-CZ-CL) / TOL=>WAS=>WIL(pd-CL=>NER)
2015: May: CHI=>CIN(pd-Card) / CIN=>WIL(pts Card)
2015;  Oct(Gathering):  WIL=>WAS(Acela) / ALX=>WAS(NER) / WAS=>BAL(Acela) / WAS=>WIL(NER)

2016: Mar: WIL=>WAS=>WIL (NER)  // Oct:  WIL=>NYP=>NYP=>WIL (Autumn Express) 


#47 SarahZ

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Posted 03 June 2017 - 06:09 PM

Sarah, the PPC is not communal dining.

 

/campaigns to add a PPC to every train


Amtrak Miles: 39,318

 

Amtrak Routes: Blue Water, California Zephyr, Capitol Limited, Carl Sandburg, City of New Orleans, Coast Starlight, Crescent, Empire Builder, Hiawatha, Illinois Zephyr, Lincoln Service, Southwest Chief, Texas Eagle, Wolverine

 

Metropolitan Rail: Chicago Metra, Chicago L, Dallas TRE, Detroit People Mover, New Orleans RTA, San Francisco MUNI, Seattle Monorail, South Shore Line (NICTD), Toronto Subway & RT, Washington DC Metro


#48 AmtrakBlue

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Posted 03 June 2017 - 07:03 PM

 

Sarah, the PPC is not communal dining.

 

/campaigns to add a PPC to every train

 

Then they won't be considered "special".  ;)


2011: Jun: WIL=>WAS=>WIL (NER) // Nov: WIL=>WAS=>CHI=>PRO (NER=>CL=>CZ)
2012: Apr: WIL=>WAS=>WIL (NER) // May(NTD): WIL=>PHL=>WIL (NER) / PHL=>PAO=>PHL (Keystone) // Aug: WIL=>WAS (NER) / BWI=>WIL (NER) // Oct(Gathering): PHL=>WIL (NER) / PHL=>HAR=>PHL (Keystone) / SEPTA, NJT, PATCO, River Line, Princeton Dinky
2013: May(NTD): WIL=>WAS=>WIL (NER)  // Oct (Gathering): WIL=>CHI (Card) / CHI=>MKE=>GLN=>CHI() / CHI=>JOL=>CHI () / CHI=>WIL(CL=>NER) / CTA, Metra. SEPTA (WIL=>NRK) // Nov:  PHL=>PHL (Autumn Express) 
2014: May(NTD):  WIL=>PHL=>WIL(NER) // May:  WIL=>BOS=>WIL(NER) day trip

2014: Oct(Gathering): WIL=>NYP=>TOL(pd-NER=>LSL) / TOL=>CHI=>LAX=>EMY(pts-LSL=>SWC=>CS) / EMY=>CHI=>TOL (pts-CZ-CL) / TOL=>WAS=>WIL(pd-CL=>NER)
2015: May: CHI=>CIN(pd-Card) / CIN=>WIL(pts Card)
2015;  Oct(Gathering):  WIL=>WAS(Acela) / ALX=>WAS(NER) / WAS=>BAL(Acela) / WAS=>WIL(NER)

2016: Mar: WIL=>WAS=>WIL (NER)  // Oct:  WIL=>NYP=>NYP=>WIL (Autumn Express) 


#49 me_little_me

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Posted 03 June 2017 - 07:53 PM

I'd be uncomfortable sitting directly across and/or right next to complete strangers. If I was in a group that could fill the table it would be different. I'm pretty sure the only meal I ever ate in the diner car was breakfast and the car isn't anywhere near full that time of day.

 

I'm not even comfortable with sitting next to a complete stranger in coach. I'm OK with the SSL since you are right in front of the window though although I'd certainly like some elbow room too if I could. If it weren't for the SSL I'd go completely nuts.

I bet you hope they never bring back meals to airline coach!



#50 AmtrakBlue

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Posted 03 June 2017 - 08:21 PM

 

I'd be uncomfortable sitting directly across and/or right next to complete strangers. If I was in a group that could fill the table it would be different. I'm pretty sure the only meal I ever ate in the diner car was breakfast and the car isn't anywhere near full that time of day.

 

I'm not even comfortable with sitting next to a complete stranger in coach. I'm OK with the SSL since you are right in front of the window though although I'd certainly like some elbow room too if I could. If it weren't for the SSL I'd go completely nuts.

I bet you hope they never bring back meals to airline coach!

 

I don't fly often, maybe once a year now, but I'm kinda glad they don't have meals in coach.  I can remember not enjoying smelling the food in "cabin air".  


2011: Jun: WIL=>WAS=>WIL (NER) // Nov: WIL=>WAS=>CHI=>PRO (NER=>CL=>CZ)
2012: Apr: WIL=>WAS=>WIL (NER) // May(NTD): WIL=>PHL=>WIL (NER) / PHL=>PAO=>PHL (Keystone) // Aug: WIL=>WAS (NER) / BWI=>WIL (NER) // Oct(Gathering): PHL=>WIL (NER) / PHL=>HAR=>PHL (Keystone) / SEPTA, NJT, PATCO, River Line, Princeton Dinky
2013: May(NTD): WIL=>WAS=>WIL (NER)  // Oct (Gathering): WIL=>CHI (Card) / CHI=>MKE=>GLN=>CHI() / CHI=>JOL=>CHI () / CHI=>WIL(CL=>NER) / CTA, Metra. SEPTA (WIL=>NRK) // Nov:  PHL=>PHL (Autumn Express) 
2014: May(NTD):  WIL=>PHL=>WIL(NER) // May:  WIL=>BOS=>WIL(NER) day trip

2014: Oct(Gathering): WIL=>NYP=>TOL(pd-NER=>LSL) / TOL=>CHI=>LAX=>EMY(pts-LSL=>SWC=>CS) / EMY=>CHI=>TOL (pts-CZ-CL) / TOL=>WAS=>WIL(pd-CL=>NER)
2015: May: CHI=>CIN(pd-Card) / CIN=>WIL(pts Card)
2015;  Oct(Gathering):  WIL=>WAS(Acela) / ALX=>WAS(NER) / WAS=>BAL(Acela) / WAS=>WIL(NER)

2016: Mar: WIL=>WAS=>WIL (NER)  // Oct:  WIL=>NYP=>NYP=>WIL (Autumn Express) 


#51 Lonestar648

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Posted 03 June 2017 - 10:15 PM

The Broadway Limited did not change crews. According to the crew on the Three Rivers, it was a joint union and Amtrak experiment. The SCA said his tips were affected because most people tip at the end of the trip. Also, he said his one announcement at night that he would be getting off was often missed. Also, because they did a shorter shift, they were to available for all stops. This also meant they worked more days to get their hours. The Sleeper was a VL with a cafe and some coaches. I think the cafe reopened after Pittsburgh until near the destination, Chicago or NYP.

As far as the other west trains, the OBS staff works origin to destination. The SL OBS staff works straight between NOL and LAX. Only the 421/422 Sleeper changes SCA. It is a Chicago based SCA to SAS and a LA based SCA SAS to LAX.

Trains Traveled On:
Texas Eagle                                      Sunset Limited                            California Zephyr                                Southwest Chief                Empire Builder            Capitol Limited           Lake Shore limited (NYP & BOS)      Crescent
Kentucky Cardinal                             Cardinal                                       Pere Marquette                                  Wolverines                        Lincoln Service            Empire Service          Keystone Service                               Acelas
NE Regionals                                    Pioneer                                        Desert Wind                                       Broadway Limited             Three Rivers                 Coast Starlight                          
 
Amtrak Miles Logged: over 211,000


#52 Devil's Advocate

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Posted 18 June 2017 - 10:41 PM

 

 

The lounge car (as you know) is open from 6am-12am, and the LSA has three breaks. So if the Cafe is open for 18 hours, aside from breaks, they're actually awake for closer to 20 hours, because they do need time to you know, shower and relax before bed, and get dressed and get the car set up in the morning. And that is how the job is, but you already know that.

Are you stating that Amtrak's standard employee scheduling system assigns one single person to run the snack bar as part of a massive eighteen hour shift (excepting meals and bathroom breaks) from 6AM to 12AM for several days in a row?

Yes. With few exceptions if you go out as the LSA/Lounge or LSA/Diner, or any other job position, that is yours and yours alone for the duration of the entire trip. The only notable exception is the Auto Train, where they work something different in each direction.

 

If that's true for the LD network I don't even know what to say about that.  It's so far beyond my own experiences that I never considered it.  I've never worked a union job but if I had I would want this addressed.  Just seems crazy to me.  As an IT guy I sometimes have to work long hours, or get woken up by phone calls late at night or early in the morning, but those are the exception rather than the standard work schedule.


Edited by Devil's Advocate, 18 June 2017 - 10:54 PM.

We've got provisions and lots of beer. The key word is survival on the new frontier. 


#53 Lonestar648

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Posted 18 June 2017 - 11:50 PM

Though not 18 hours, my daughter is a Charge Nurse on her floor, working 6:30pm - 8:30am or longer, 4 days a week.  She is so tired after doing 4 straight, she many times sleeps 12-14 hours straight without waking up.  Most weeks, though not all, at least three of the four nights, the nurses have to work straight without ANY break (why nurses have bad kidneys).  There are many careers with very demanding shifts.  Those who work these build an endurance, just like the Road Warrior builds an endurance to traveling every day.  At least the Cafe attendant is guaranteed three meal breaks and brief bathroom breaks. where at the hospital the patients come first and nights are many times the most hectic, so breaks are expendable. 


Trains Traveled On:
Texas Eagle                                      Sunset Limited                            California Zephyr                                Southwest Chief                Empire Builder            Capitol Limited           Lake Shore limited (NYP & BOS)      Crescent
Kentucky Cardinal                             Cardinal                                       Pere Marquette                                  Wolverines                        Lincoln Service            Empire Service          Keystone Service                               Acelas
NE Regionals                                    Pioneer                                        Desert Wind                                       Broadway Limited             Three Rivers                 Coast Starlight                          
 
Amtrak Miles Logged: over 211,000


#54 dogbert617

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Posted 19 June 2017 - 03:27 PM

The dining car experience has always been a highlight of the trip, despite the nonchalant and at times downright hostile dining car crews, the hostility level goes higher if you eat at the last sitting, as they are so bent on getting out, they will darn near snatch your plate out from under you.

 

Take as early a seating as you can, to avoid their running out of your favorite. I note that the crews ALWAYS have available to them the steak or other more desirable entrees, though...

-- Doc

Good to know I should get an earlier meal, rather than a later one for the dining car. Was thinking about doing more long distance train trips in the future, and I'd hate it if the dining car employees were too quick about taking away my food I was eating. That's a huge pet peeve of mine, in restaurants!

 

 

On the trains I have traveled recently, I know that the Cafe opens at approximately 6:00 - 6:30AM with the same person who closes the cafe at night.  They do take about an hour break for meals during the slower times.  The Dining Car staff is the same from start to end.  Now the 421/422 Sleeper does change SCA in San Antonio.  Way back, Amtrak experimented with a crew change in Pittsburgh for the "Three Rivers" that ran CHI - NYP.

 

Did the Broadway also change crews in Pittsburgh?

 

Other than the Texas Eagle (which in my mind is two separate trains anyway), are there other trains that have a crew change in the middle? Some obvious breakpoints: the CZ at DEN, the Crescent at ATL, the LSL at BUF, and the EB at Rugby, North Dakota.

 

I didn't think Rugby, ND was a crew change point for the Empire Builder. Maybe it was years ago, though? I checked numerous recent days there, and train dwell times of only a minute or 2 weren't uncommon at Rugby. I checked the last several days of EB arrivals and departures, and I didn't see an extended dwell time at Rugby. Unlike other stations that I had heard are definite crew change points(i.e. Alpine, TX for the Sunset Limited/Texas Eagle when they combine together, Greenwood, MS on the City of New Orleans, etc).


Edited by dogbert617, 19 June 2017 - 03:36 PM.


#55 Bob Dylan

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Posted 20 June 2017 - 09:31 AM

Slight correction: While the Sunset/Eagle does have a T&E Crew Change in Alpine, ( also in Del Rio)the Eagle through Cars are switched to the Sunset Ltd in San Antonio where the New SCA and Coach Attendant board for the Trip between SAS and LAX and SAS and CHI.
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#56 Lonestar648

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Posted 20 June 2017 - 02:32 PM

The SCA for SAS to LAX is LA based and the SCA for SAS to CHI is Chicago based.

Trains Traveled On:
Texas Eagle                                      Sunset Limited                            California Zephyr                                Southwest Chief                Empire Builder            Capitol Limited           Lake Shore limited (NYP & BOS)      Crescent
Kentucky Cardinal                             Cardinal                                       Pere Marquette                                  Wolverines                        Lincoln Service            Empire Service          Keystone Service                               Acelas
NE Regionals                                    Pioneer                                        Desert Wind                                       Broadway Limited             Three Rivers                 Coast Starlight                          
 
Amtrak Miles Logged: over 211,000


#57 tomfuller

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Posted 20 June 2017 - 07:03 PM

Got on the eastbound CZ in WNN shortly after 7PM. Our dinner reservations were made for 8:30PM. We asked for food in the roomette and were done eating before 8:30. All other meals we ate in the dining car.



#58 Triley

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Posted 20 June 2017 - 08:46 PM

 

 

 

The lounge car (as you know) is open from 6am-12am, and the LSA has three breaks. So if the Cafe is open for 18 hours, aside from breaks, they're actually awake for closer to 20 hours, because they do need time to you know, shower and relax before bed, and get dressed and get the car set up in the morning. And that is how the job is, but you already know that.

Are you stating that Amtrak's standard employee scheduling system assigns one single person to run the snack bar as part of a massive eighteen hour shift (excepting meals and bathroom breaks) from 6AM to 12AM for several days in a row?

Yes. With few exceptions if you go out as the LSA/Lounge or LSA/Diner, or any other job position, that is yours and yours alone for the duration of the entire trip. The only notable exception is the Auto Train, where they work something different in each direction.

 

If that's true for the LD network I don't even know what to say about that.  It's so far beyond my own experiences that I never considered it.  I've never worked a union job but if I had I would want this addressed.  Just seems crazy to me.  As an IT guy I sometimes have to work long hours, or get woken up by phone calls late at night or early in the morning, but those are the exception rather than the standard work schedule.

 

 

It's true for the majority of the trains in the system, yup.  Like 67's LSA signs up at 7:30pm now (use to 7pm) and they don't get to NPN until around 12pm.  Next day they report back in NPN at 1pm, and don't get to Boston until 8am (scheduled, even though it's typically 15-20 minutes early.)  They've explored having crews get off enroute at NYP and turn around and work something home, as they're trying to cut back on hotel rooms.  As part of that system, some mathematical genius said their algorithm suggested that whoever works 67 down should stay on the equipment and work 66 back.  My manager, who was a former union rep, just about lost it and had to explain why you can't make someone work 37 hours straight, with a 4 hour nap on a train that's being cleaned, and no shower.

 

Don't even get me started on the union though.  Agreement employees are so divided that it's no wonder stuff like this happens.  OBS itself has three unions, though it's the same contract.  Go figure.  In Boston we only have representation from TCU, but in DC TCU has a rep that's based in NYC, and they also have a rep from HERE.  Do we really need two OBS unions in crew base?  Love this place, but some times, man... lol


My posts are my own opinions and do not represent the views of my employer in any way, shape, or form. ~ Now back to your regularly scheduled program.


#59 Philly Amtrak Fan

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Posted 20 June 2017 - 09:26 PM

 

 

 

 

On the trains I have traveled recently, I know that the Cafe opens at approximately 6:00 - 6:30AM with the same person who closes the cafe at night.  They do take about an hour break for meals during the slower times.  The Dining Car staff is the same from start to end.  Now the 421/422 Sleeper does change SCA in San Antonio.  Way back, Amtrak experimented with a crew change in Pittsburgh for the "Three Rivers" that ran CHI - NYP.

 

Did the Broadway also change crews in Pittsburgh?

 

Other than the Texas Eagle (which in my mind is two separate trains anyway), are there other trains that have a crew change in the middle? Some obvious breakpoints: the CZ at DEN, the Crescent at ATL, the LSL at BUF, and the EB at Rugby, North Dakota.

 

I didn't think Rugby, ND was a crew change point for the Empire Builder. Maybe it was years ago, though? I checked numerous recent days there, and train dwell times of only a minute or 2 weren't uncommon at Rugby. I checked the last several days of EB arrivals and departures, and I didn't see an extended dwell time at Rugby. Unlike other stations that I had heard are definite crew change points(i.e. Alpine, TX for the Sunset Limited/Texas Eagle when they combine together, Greenwood, MS on the City of New Orleans, etc).

 

 

I was being sarcastic about Rugby. Then again is there really any relevant stops on the EB that are an obvious midpoint? MSP is too close to CHI and SPK is too close to SEA/PDX.


Trains Traveled:
 
Broadway Limited (CHI-Harrisburg, PA) 
Three Rivers (Harrisburg, PA-CHI, Altoona, PA-CHI, PHL-CHI)
Capitol Limited (CHI-WAS)
Lake Short Limited (NYP-CHI)
Silver Meteor (PHL-ORL)
Southwest Chief (CHI-LAX)
California Zephyr (CHI-SLC, SLC-EMY)
City of New Orleans and/or Illini (CHI-Champaign, IL)

 

Bring back the Broadway Limited (or Three Rivers or any Chicago-Pittsburgh-Philly train)!
 

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#60 Ryan

Ryan

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Posted 21 June 2017 - 04:34 AM

Crew change points have nothing to do with how big a city is or how worthy you feel it is to have service.

Also, Minot is the crew change point in ND.
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