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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. 


Jennifer

 

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.



#24 Guest_Gilbert B Norman_*

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Posted 17 October 2017 - 04:27 PM

A Roomette is a single adult accommodation. Period.

Yes, it has two beds, but only for situations such as an adult with a small child, two adolescents whose Mother and Father have a Bedroom, or two young and agile adults who need to save a $$$ and otherwise are prepared to accept "bivouac" conditions.

Coach is simply "not an option" for overnight travel - especially three consecutive nights.

#25 Guest_Gilbert B Norman_*

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Posted 17 October 2017 - 04:45 PM

Of course, it should be pointed out that the option of "suck it up for six hours and it's over and done" might be best. From the tone of your postings, neither of you appear to be that "hard core" of railfans. If you were going for, say, SAV to WAS and that was all, I'd say "go for it". But this SAV-WAS-CHI-DAL seems "too much" for a casual traveler looking to get between Ehh and Bee.

The Cardinal is an arduous, albeit scrnic, over hill over dale journey and could easily make you come down with "arewethereyetitis".

#26 jis

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Posted 17 October 2017 - 04:49 PM

In my experience, on the Silver Star and Silver Meteor, which I frequent some, about half the Roomettes are regularly occupied by two adults, and the rest are used by single adults or adult and child, or even two kids across the hall from Mom and Dad.



#27 AmtrakBlue

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Posted 17 October 2017 - 05:17 PM

A Roomette is a single adult accommodation. Period.

Yes, it has two beds, but only for situations such as an adult with a small child, two adolescents whose Mother and Father have a Bedroom, or two young and agile adults who need to save a $$$ and otherwise are prepared to accept "bivouac" conditions.

Coach is simply "not an option" for overnight travel - especially three consecutive nights.

Really!?!  My teenaged daughter (fully grown) and I did fine sharing a roomette.  And I slept on the top bunk, just fine.  

 

Just because you don't like to sleep in coach does not mean it's "not an option".  



#28 oregon pioneer

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Posted 17 October 2017 - 06:06 PM

I do not share the opinion that a roomette is only for a single person, or a "bivouac" condition. It's very cozy, but you are trading the amenity of space (such as you would have in a hotel room) for the amenity of a rolling and ever-changing view. It's a trade that I will take any day!

 

Hubby and I (both Senior Citizens well over 60) have no trouble occupying a roomette together. Of course, we are still quite agile because we take care to stay healthy and fit.


Jennifer

 

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.


#29 Guest_Gilbert B Norman_*

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Posted 17 October 2017 - 06:49 PM

First, I am a registered member of AU, and I further realize that I'm not as hard core as are some around here, as my Amtrak travels are an Auto Train when I choose to drive down to Florida.

But really, these folks are casual travelers; I respect that they want to give Amtrak a try (I will not recommended an LD to a non-fan), but this SAV-WAS-CHI-DAL "is a lot". There is too much a chance they will be "never agains" with such an arduous three night journey - especially when a flight (AA) including a connection at Charlotte is about six hours.

Sorry if offensive, but "it's where I'm coming from".

#30 GBNorman

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Posted 17 October 2017 - 07:09 PM

One further thought regarding Wi-Fi; don't expect it to work. That has been my experience on Auto-Train - and for that matter, any commercial transporting.

Only once has it worked for me on a flight - and that was on JetBlue where it was free. Paying for it on United resulted in getting my $$$ back.

Even overseas, last year I was passing through Linz AT aboard an OBB (premium) RailJet. Their Wi-Fi thought I was in Moscow.

Even at other sites I've seen reports that it is spotty on the NY-Wash Acela - Amtrak's "best foot forward".

In short, I wouldn't count on it.

#31 ehbowen

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Posted 19 October 2017 - 01:45 PM

A Roomette is a single adult accommodation. Period.

Yes, it has two beds, but only for situations such as an adult with a small child, two adolescents whose Mother and Father have a Bedroom, or two young and agile adults who need to save a $$$ and otherwise are prepared to accept "bivouac" conditions.

Coach is simply "not an option" for overnight travel - especially three consecutive nights.

This (then) 53-year old 240 lb adult had no difficulty whatsoever sharing a roomette with my (then) 84-year old 200 lb father from NOL-CHI-PDX and then back from SPI-LVW on a two-week circle trip last September....

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#32 jebr

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Posted Yesterday, 01:44 PM

A Roomette is a single adult accommodation. Period.

 

It's a two-person accomodation. There's literally nothing about it that makes it a "single adult accommodation. Period." There are certainly instances where it serves as a single adult accommodation or there's a group of two people that would not find a roomette big enough, but for many, many people a roomette works well as a two-adult accommodation. My wife and I, when traveling as a couple, have only traveled in coach or roomette, and while a roomette is certainly a bit tight, it's more than doable even for a two-night journey (and, other than just the desire to be home, would be fine even for three nights.)

 

I would personally agree that a first trip on a train being a three-night journey may overwhelm some people, but I don't think that's going to be helped much by having a bedroom.



#33 PVD

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Posted Yesterday, 03:56 PM

On most superliner trains, you have a decent lounge to spend time in, and a luggage storage are downstairs. The VL sleepers have some storage space over the hall, but checking unneeded luggage is helpful if available at your origin and destination. The upper in the SL is a smaller less inviting space than in a VL, but certainly usable for normal sized people to sleep. The in room toilet in the VL is a love hate thing, it has been discussed endlessly and is not included in the VL2 when they finally show up. Not a generous space, but certainly viable for 2.



#34 Ryan

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Posted Yesterday, 03:59 PM

Sorry if offensive, but "it's where I'm coming from".


It's not offensive, it's just flat wrong. Two in a roomette is totally doable.
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#35 Devil's Advocate

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Posted Yesterday, 08:34 PM

I've been able to share a roomette with other adults without much issue.  I've never been able to sleep soundly in coach on Amtrak.  The design of the chairs, propensity for noise, nasty restrooms, absence of showers, and lack of any divider prevents my body from relaxing enough to fall asleep. That being said, I've seen thousands of other people do it over the years, so it's obviously workable for many.  On the plus side, Amtrak coach is extremely clean and comfy compared to freight train hopping.  ^_^
 


Edited by Devil's Advocate, Yesterday, 10:38 PM.

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#36 me_little_me

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Posted Yesterday, 08:54 PM

On most superliner trains, you have a decent lounge to spend time in, and a luggage storage are downstairs. The VL sleepers have some storage space over the hall, but checking unneeded luggage is helpful if available at your origin and destination. The upper in the SL is a smaller less inviting space than in a VL, but certainly usable for normal sized people to sleep. The in room toilet in the VL is a love hate thing, it has been discussed endlessly and is not included in the VL2 when they finally show up. Not a generous space, but certainly viable for 2.

We would be more likely to use a roomette on a VL2 (vs the VL1) although we have used the VL1 roomette. Primarily because of the in-room toilet and lack of any other available toilet short of coach.



#37 PVD

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Posted Yesterday, 10:28 PM

I hope we are all still around when they finally show up. I usually travel solo on the train so it doesn't present as much of an issue as it does for two in a room.





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