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Questions for first time AMTRAK travelers for long-distance trip.

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#21 oregon pioneer

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Posted 22 September 2017 - 01:34 PM

It needs to be pointed out that, in winter (which this trip is), the New River Gorge will be in darkness on a westbound train. Taking the Cardinal eastbound would give you the scenery. Westbound, you will get some pleasant scenery in farmland, but it will be dark by the time you reach the New River Gorge.


I have taken the Cardinal eastbound since they put in the wif-fi. It worked adequately (if slowly) for low-bandwidth needs like checking email and light browsing. Transferring attachments would probably work, if they are not too large. There was no wi-fi signal at all in the New River Gorge, due to the terrain. I'm assuming no one's cell phone worked there either! But I would not have wanted to be on my computer at all in that portion, because the scenery was so beautiful. The big advantage to doing that trip in winter is that you can see a lot more of the river when the tree branches are bare of leaves. Your Dad should download a map of the Gorge on his ipad before you lose your signal.


If you are doing the trip in both directions, and the wi-fi is important to you, I'd go for:

westbound: change at NYP. The Lakeshore Ltd has wi-fi now, correct? I hope so, I'm booked on it this winter!

eastbound: take the Cardinal from Chicago to Washington.


In either direction, if your train is running late, and likely to miss the connection, they may re-book you automatically on a train with a longer connection window. But barring a nasty early winter storm, or freight incident, you are quite likely to make all your connections. 



I'm a "little Old Lady in Tennis Shoes" (LOLITS) from Eastern Oregon. I love to travel by train, though I live way out in the toolies, far from the nearest Amtrak station (Chemult). My station would have been Baker City, but they cancelled the Oregon Pioneer just before I took my first long-distance train trip as an adult. I've taken most trains in the West, but I'm still exploring new routes in the east.

#22 me_little_me



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Posted 22 September 2017 - 08:16 PM

As a sleeper passenger, you are also entitled to lounge use in Chicago, NY, or Washington. It is a place to relax while waiting, or drop carry ons while exploring a city if time and weather are cooperative.


More than that, Savannah was concerned about boarding. For Savannah's benefit,

If either your incoming or outgoing train was in a sleeper, you are entitled to use the lounge. Passengers in the lounge are escorted to their train and do not have to wait on the main hallway line and board first. For those needing assistance, whether because walking is burdensome or they need help with bags, red caps can be requested at the lounge. They work for tips.


I also have to ask, I'm very interested in the Roomette/Bedroom options.



I'm leaning towards Roomette right now, but if we get more food paying for Bedroom I would consider that.


All sleeper passengers get the same food.


Sometimes two roomettes are a better deal than a bedroom. And you can check for each segment so a BR on one train, then 2 roomettes on the next segment. The advantage of two roomettes (call to try and get them across from each other - don't use website to book as rooms are "randomly" assigned) is that each of you gets the bottom bunk. The advantage of BR is the toilet & shower are in enclosed area of room instead of down the hall or downstairs in Superliner or toilet is in room and shower down the hall in Viewliners. However, the showers down the hall and toilets in Superliners for roomette users are bigger than the one in the BR.

To save money, just get BR if it is a good deal else a singe roomette if not. Again, can be different for each segment.

#23 happycamper


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Posted 12 October 2017 - 04:04 PM

I would leave an extra day if you can just in case of any missed connections.  If you are used to Greyhound have you thought of maybe trying coach on Amtrak for cost.  We have done coach for 2 nights and that is about enough and we get a hotel and go again.  Chicago we like the pizza place mentioned above too Giordanos as well as it was recommended last May when we pulled into Chicago. We got the Chicago Beef sandwich with minestrone soup and it was delicious!  It is a few blocks from the station.  There is also a Route 66 iconic diner we haven't tried yet but want too a block from the station Lou Mitchells.  CVS is less than a block away if you forgot anything packing. Great station!  Wandered too as an alternate have you thought of the train to Washington dc and then down through New Orleans then onto Dallas with Sunset Limited & TX Eagle.  May not be a good option and would have to spend the night in New Orleans but would keep you south in the cold weather.

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