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LSL Questions: CHI early boarding, and "diner lite"?


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#1 oregon pioneer

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Posted 12 November 2017 - 08:51 PM

Are they still doing early boarding in CHI. Do they still serve crackers & cheese on boarding -- and if not, are they just trying to get you out of the lounge so they can close it up?

 

Is the "diner lite" still on the LSL, and if so, is there any timeline for the full diner to come back?

 

Thanks for answers. I'll be on the LSL in late January (eastbound) and mid-February (westbound).


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.


#2 PVD

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Posted 12 November 2017 - 09:05 PM

I rode the LSL last week from CHI to NYP so while I can't promise that this is everyday's process it was the one I had. They try and board the train as soon as it pulls into the station, sometime after 8:30 but well before departure time, then they can close the lounge. No wine and cheese on the train, they do have it in the lounge in the afternoon. They also laid out crudites in the afternoon and chocolates a little later, as well as dispensers with trail mix, mixed nuts and some other kind of crunchy things (don't know the correct name, but they were pretty good) Also, a bowl of fruit. Any conjecture on return of the diner is purely guesswork.


Edited by PVD, 12 November 2017 - 09:07 PM.


#3 jis

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Posted 12 November 2017 - 09:05 PM

LSL is still Diner Lite and at this time there is no timeline for the full Diner to come back, as was explained by Thirdrail, in another thread.



#4 OlympianHiawatha

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Posted 12 November 2017 - 09:55 PM

Unless something has recently changed, the crackers and cheese have been long gone :(



#5 choochoodood

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Posted 12 November 2017 - 09:56 PM

I, for one, miss the LSL onboard wine and cheese reception. It was a nice perk to kill the wait for departure, as well as a great way to "relax" (a.k.a. getting a little wine buzz) before hunkering down in your room(ette) for the night. 

 

I wish Amtrak would bring back the niceties such as this. I'm sure it wasn't cost-effective for adding new customers, but it sure was a nice way to tell your first class and loyal customers "thank you." 



#6 PVD

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Posted 12 November 2017 - 10:01 PM

They did a decent setup in the lounge, but because the LSL is so much later than most of the other trains many of its passengers probably don't benefit from the wine and cheese, that was done fairly early.


Edited by PVD, 12 November 2017 - 10:02 PM.


#7 tommylicious

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Posted 12 November 2017 - 10:57 PM

No.  No.  Yes. Yes.  No.

Are they still doing early boarding in CHI. Do they still serve crackers & cheese on boarding -- and if not, are they just trying to get you out of the lounge so they can close it up?

 

Is the "diner lite" still on the LSL, and if so, is there any timeline for the full diner to come back?

 

Thanks for answers. I'll be on the LSL in late January (eastbound) and mid-February (westbound).


Edited by tommylicious, 12 November 2017 - 10:57 PM.


#8 tim49424

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Posted 13 November 2017 - 05:32 AM

I rode the LSL last week from CHI to NYP so while I can't promise that this is everyday's process it was the one I had. They try and board the train as soon as it pulls into the station, sometime after 8:30 but well before departure time, then they can close the lounge. No wine and cheese on the train, they do have it in the lounge in the afternoon. They also laid out crudites in the afternoon and chocolates a little later, as well as dispensers with trail mix, mixed nuts and some other kind of crunchy things (don't know the correct name, but they were pretty good) Also, a bowl of fruit. Any conjecture on return of the diner is purely guesswork.

 

I rode it last month and this pretty much was my experience as well.  


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#9 oregon pioneer

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Posted 13 November 2017 - 11:42 AM

Thanks for answers. I guess, since I will be visiting family in CHI (luggage with me, not stored in Met Lounge), my strategy might be to return around 9pm and board from the "pen". Why bother with the lounge in the evening, if it doesn't get me anything except a longer wait for the train to leave?


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.


#10 PVD

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Posted 13 November 2017 - 12:24 PM

There are still snacks, and hot and cold drinks. Since the train leaves pretty late, It may not be a bad idea to indulge, your window of opportunity on the train is limited to about an hour of service in the cafe/lounge. and things that are comp in the lounge would be charged for in the cafe car. 



#11 Steve4031

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Posted 13 November 2017 - 12:31 PM

I would not cut it too close. 8:30 is about the latest I would do. The traffic in Chicago is very unpredictable and there is construction on the expressways around union station.

There is an elevator/escalator and stairs at the southwest corner of canal and Jackson that gives easy access to south concourse .


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Edited by Steve4031, 13 November 2017 - 12:33 PM.


#12 oregon pioneer

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Posted 13 November 2017 - 02:08 PM

There is an elevator/escalator and stairs at the southwest corner of canal and Jackson that gives easy access to south concourse .
 

 

Thanks for this info. I guess I need to think about BOARDING around 9pm, so I would try to plan my arrival at the station somewhat earlier.

 

I am more likely to want to have dinner with my Chicago peeps (who undoubtedly know some good places within walking distance of Union Station) than to want whatever snacky things are being served in the lounge.


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.


#13 Steve4031

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Posted 13 November 2017 - 03:48 PM

Greek town and the area west of that have many good restaurants. Connie’s Pizza on archer is good if they have a car. I strongly suggest finishing dinner and getting to the station about 8:15. I’m not sure how long you have to visit your family, but an extra thirty minutes is not worth the risk of missing the train. Keep in mind boarding closes 5 minuets before departure. All passengers might be boarded by 8:45 to 8:50. Arriving right at that time places you at risk of not getting to the correct gate in time to board. One wrong turn or one unhelpful employee, and you’ve missed it.


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#14 oregon pioneer

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Posted 13 November 2017 - 04:10 PM

Greek town and the area west of that have many good restaurants. Connie’s Pizza on archer is good if they have a car. I strongly suggest finishing dinner and getting to the station about 8:15. I’m not sure how long you have to visit your family, but an extra thirty minutes is not worth the risk of missing the train. Keep in mind boarding closes 5 minuets before departure. All passengers might be boarded by 8:45 to 8:50. Arriving right at that time places you at risk of not getting to the correct gate in time to board. One wrong turn or one unhelpful employee, and you’ve missed it.
 

 

Your response sent me to the Amtrak website to download the schedule! So, the train still departs at 9:30pm... not sure why you think everyone might be boarded well before 9pm.

 

Some have said (on an old thread) they boarded as late as 9:15. I don't intend to push it anywhere near that close, but 8:15 seems unnecessarily early. Does anyone really see a reason to board in time to sit on the train for more than an hour before departure?


Edited by oregon pioneer, 13 November 2017 - 04:11 PM.

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.


#15 SubwayNut

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Posted 13 November 2017 - 04:36 PM

Boarding on the Lake Shore ends at 9:25, 5 minutes before departure just like any other train boarding in Union Station. I have boarded the train at 9:20 and it has not been a problem (primarily connecting to the train to get home to South Bend after a flight into O'Hare or Midway).
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#16 RichieRich

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Posted 13 November 2017 - 05:37 PM

I, for one, miss the LSL onboard wine and cheese reception. It was a nice perk to kill the wait for departure, as well as a great way to "relax" (a.k.a. getting a little wine buzz) before hunkering down in your room(ette) for the night. 

 

I wish Amtrak would bring back the niceties such as this. I'm sure it wasn't cost-effective for adding new customers, but it sure was a nice way to tell your first class and loyal customers "thank you." 

Wow...I remember having that on the Auto Train years ago too. Then the Accountants took over! Most all amenities disappeared, Back then we had wine tastings, vegetable/cheese trays, cookie trays, baskets of fruit in the lounge car as soon as we boarded....all gone now.



#17 jebr

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Posted 13 November 2017 - 05:57 PM

If you're in a sleeper getting on early just gives you more time to settle in before the train is moving. Your room is guaranteed and you're assigned a specific room, so that shouldn't matter.

 

Arriving at the station by 9 should be fine if you don't have luggage to pick up or check through in Chicago and you're familiar with the station. Earlier is always fine (especially with the Metropolitan Lounge) but I wouldn't be concerned about getting there at 9.



#18 west point

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Posted 13 November 2017 - 06:15 PM

Of course check Amtrak train status and determine your train is not going to depart very late.   Doesn't happen very much but more so in winter .



#19 jis

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Posted 13 November 2017 - 06:22 PM

Amtrak Train Status has in the past been remarkably unreliable when it comes to predicting departure time from the originating station.



#20 oregon pioneer

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Posted 13 November 2017 - 06:32 PM

Amtrak Train Status has in the past been remarkably unreliable when it comes to predicting departure time from the originating station.

 

Ah, yes, I completely understand -- and if it turns out the train just sits for awhile before I leave (or the Met Lounge is even still open), that's the breaks. It won't be the first time I've arrived for a train that was supposed to be on-time and had to wait awhile (sometimes a LONG while). :giggle:

 

For good healthy food within walking distance, has anyone tried Greek Islands, just west of I-90/94? Not much fun to walk under the freeway, but I have done it before. I'm easily up for a mile walk.


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.





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