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Senior's Empire Builder trip Chicago to Seattle.


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#1 caravanman

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Posted 12 July 2017 - 07:16 AM

Sunday 4th June 2017.

Chicago to Seattle. The Empire Builder.

 

The Empire Builder train boards from a different part of the station to most of the Amtrak trains.

There was no need to check in, folk just waited around until we got the word to go out to the platform.

I have trouble sleeping in a coach seat, but can’t afford a sleeper, so on this train, I have booked the lower level seating, as an experiment.

My thinking was that if there are no folk needing the wheelchair area, I could try to sleep there, at least I would be flat out!

The train pulled out about 50 minutes late. The lower level was quite empty, just a few seats taken. I started to feel hungry, and consumed a couple of my hard boiled eggs... Who says I can’t cook!  As we travelled on through the afternoon, I noticed that this train made more frequent station stops heading to Minneapolis than the other west bound long distance trains. I guess there are more towns along this stretch of track that don’t get commuter train service.

I drank a “discrete” couple of non Amtrak beers in the evening, and managed to sleep fairly well on the floor. I think I slept from about 1am to 5.30 am, and it was better to lie flat for a  few hours on the floor than sit in the seat. More people had joined the train during the night, including a very overweight woman who kept puffing and panting. I headed off to the cafe car when it opened, and bought a coffee, and also took a cup of hot water back to the coach, which I used to make instant porridge... I purloined a couple of sachets from the Boston hostel! The fat woman asked if I would sell her a coffee, as she could not get up the stairs. (The double deck trains require folk to move between train cars on the upper level only). I said I would get her a coffee when I finished my snack. When I came back, she refused to take the change, so I earned a $3 “tip” ! We got chatting, she had COPD, etc, etc, but still smokes.

19956209_10155460661294120_2552601718891

She lives in Minot, and is aged 58. She reminded me that Minot was the centre of the “oil boom” that hit the region a few years back, with people seeking work sleeping in their cars in winter.

I cleaned the outside of the window at Minot, and then the opposite side at Williston. Scenery here is unremarkable, I hear there is a drought in the area. Rather too much God and Jesus stuff in the towns we pass, and bible reading on the train too.

I did my good citizen act again later, and went upstairs to make a lunch reservation for an elderly lady... no tip this time!

Met Julie and grandkids, who got on in Minot, and travelling to Spokane. Very interesting story about family problems, drug addictions, etc. I REALY liked Julie. ;)

19942769_10155460687914120_6497931708772

I had to move from the front seat of the lower level, due to an obnoxious Trump loving woman. What a sad soul she was!

Very nice ride through the mountains on the last evening, some with snow on their peaks. Very swollen river alongside the tracks at times, so maybe the drought had ended.

19955851_10155460694134120_7892696187853

Awake again about 5am, fruit farms in this area. For this last morning we have a couple of folk from the “rails and trails” organisation, who talk about the countryside we are passing through on the run into Seattle. Information is a bit sketchy, and they are using our vestibule area P.A. to tell their tales, which stops me using the door windows to grab some good last minute photos.  The scenery is very good as we descend and run alongside the Puget sound.

 

(More to follow...)



#2 Railroad Bill

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Posted 12 July 2017 - 11:05 AM

Enjoying your report Eddie and the interesting souls you have encountered on the train. The most interesting part of Amtrak besides the scenery are the different people riding. :) Hope the TRP lady did not totally ruin the ride :P


Amtrak Trains Ridden So Far:    85,179 miles and counting
Lake Shore Ltd, Capitol Ltd, Pennsylvanian, NE Corridors, Crescent, City of New Orleans, Empire Builder, California Zephyr, Hoosier, SW Chief, Surfliners, California Capitol Corridors, Coast Starlight, Cascades. Texas Eagle, San Joaquins, Missouri River Runner,Cardinal, Downeaster, Silver Meteor, Keystones, Auto Train, Adirondack, Lincoln Service, Illinois Zephyr, Carl Sandburg, Texas Eagle Detour Rt, 2013 Autumn Express Tour PHL, Silver Star, Sunset Limited -Acela Express-  2015 Autumn Express ALB - Empire Service Via Rail Corridor Trains Cobourg-Ottawa-Montreal,(round trip)  The Ocean (round trip)--   2,250 miles


#3 v v

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Posted 16 July 2017 - 08:41 PM

Great photo down the length of the train



#4 dogbert617

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Posted 28 July 2017 - 04:30 AM

Sunday 4th June 2017.

Chicago to Seattle. The Empire Builder.

 

The Empire Builder train boards from a different part of the station to most of the Amtrak trains.

There was no need to check in, folk just waited around until we got the word to go out to the platform.

I have trouble sleeping in a coach seat, but can’t afford a sleeper, so on this train, I have booked the lower level seating, as an experiment.

My thinking was that if there are no folk needing the wheelchair area, I could try to sleep there, at least I would be flat out!

The train pulled out about 50 minutes late. The lower level was quite empty, just a few seats taken. I started to feel hungry, and consumed a couple of my hard boiled eggs... Who says I can’t cook!  As we travelled on through the afternoon, I noticed that this train made more frequent station stops heading to Minneapolis than the other west bound long distance trains. I guess there are more towns along this stretch of track that don’t get commuter train service.

I drank a “discrete” couple of non Amtrak beers in the evening, and managed to sleep fairly well on the floor. I think I slept from about 1am to 5.30 am, and it was better to lie flat for a  few hours on the floor than sit in the seat. More people had joined the train during the night, including a very overweight woman who kept puffing and panting. I headed off to the cafe car when it opened, and bought a coffee, and also took a cup of hot water back to the coach, which I used to make instant porridge... I purloined a couple of sachets from the Boston hostel! The fat woman asked if I would sell her a coffee, as she could not get up the stairs. (The double deck trains require folk to move between train cars on the upper level only). I said I would get her a coffee when I finished my snack. When I came back, she refused to take the change, so I earned a $3 “tip” ! We got chatting, she had COPD, etc, etc, but still smokes.

19956209_10155460661294120_2552601718891

She lives in Minot, and is aged 58. She reminded me that Minot was the centre of the “oil boom” that hit the region a few years back, with people seeking work sleeping in their cars in winter.

I cleaned the outside of the window at Minot, and then the opposite side at Williston. Scenery here is unremarkable, I hear there is a drought in the area. Rather too much God and Jesus stuff in the towns we pass, and bible reading on the train too.

I did my good citizen act again later, and went upstairs to make a lunch reservation for an elderly lady... no tip this time!

Met Julie and grandkids, who got on in Minot, and travelling to Spokane. Very interesting story about family problems, drug addictions, etc. I REALY liked Julie. ;)

19942769_10155460687914120_6497931708772

I had to move from the front seat of the lower level, due to an obnoxious Trump loving woman. What a sad soul she was!

Very nice ride through the mountains on the last evening, some with snow on their peaks. Very swollen river alongside the tracks at times, so maybe the drought had ended.

19955851_10155460694134120_7892696187853

Awake again about 5am, fruit farms in this area. For this last morning we have a couple of folk from the “rails and trails” organisation, who talk about the countryside we are passing through on the run into Seattle. Information is a bit sketchy, and they are using our vestibule area P.A. to tell their tales, which stops me using the door windows to grab some good last minute photos.  The scenery is very good as we descend and run alongside the Puget sound.

 

(More to follow...)

By cleaning the windows at Minot and Williston, did you really bring some sort of wet wipes to clean the lower level of the Superliner seat windows you were sitting by during the fresh air/smoke stops at both places? Interesting, since one usually never thinks about doing that. :) Also, did you get that pic looking down the side of a train, from one of those open windows within an entry/exit door on the lower level of a Superliner? Looks like in that pic that the train wasn't stopping at a station at all, and was in motion. Looking forward to seeing your other pics of this trip, later.



#5 caravanman

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Posted 29 July 2017 - 04:20 AM

Wet wipes? No, just took a couple of the hand drying paper towels from the restroom!

 

Damp newsprint is good for cleaning glass too, but makes a mess of your hands. :D

 

Ed.


Edited by caravanman, 29 July 2017 - 04:20 AM.


#6 dogbert617

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Posted 31 July 2017 - 02:10 PM

Wet wipes? No, just took a couple of the hand drying paper towels from the restroom!

 

Damp newsprint is good for cleaning glass too, but makes a mess of your hands. :D

 

Ed.

Ah, gotcha. Were you just sitting on the lower level of one of those Superliner cars, and looking out the window that way? That was very nice that the conductor and other Amtrak employees didn't mind you opening the window of that door while the train was in motion(?), to look down the tracks for that first pic. And the other 2 pics(one was the mountains and a lake, and the other was mountains and a river), were those right from your seat or from the sightseer lounge?



#7 caravanman

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Posted 01 August 2017 - 03:23 PM

I took 100's of snaps, and can't remember the exact situation where and when the photo's were taken. It is important to follow all Amtrak notices and rules and not put yourself or others in danger. I did snap some pics from the rear "railfan" window, but that was later in my trip, and I have not posted those yet.

I did have a lower level seat on all my recent trains.

 

As with the current craze for selfies, one must be sensible and not break the laws.

 

In India, one can open many of the train doors.

 

http://pic100.pictur...1/412780692.jpg

 

Ed.


Edited by caravanman, 01 August 2017 - 03:40 PM.





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