Greetings from the Southwest Chief, 90 minutes into the trip, one day late!
Where to begin?
Took the LSL from NYP, 2 hours delayed in departing, because the equipment was literally frozen shut, and pipes were frozen. That took 2 hours. Once we made it to Albany, we had to wait for the 48/448 to be separated, and then there was an engine problem with their train, and that had to be addressed before we could connect to 449 out of BOS. Then it became clear that we had an engine issue on our train. I fell asleep around 10pm, and we were still in ALB. I anxiously awoke a few times in the night to check progress, and we were barely making any progress. when I finally got up for the day, at 6AM, we were just departing Rochester, NY.
So, I resigned myself to not making my connection, but I held out a faint hope that the 3 would be severely delayed enough to allow me to make the connection.
As we were approaching Chicago, I saw that 3 had left Chicago, so I was pretty irked. I had heard horror stories about being sent to a dirty and unpleasant motel in the suburbs, by amtrak, so Using Hotels.com rewards, I cashed in my points for a night at the Ritz Carlton.
When I got off the train, and went over to the customer service area, the queue was forming VERY fast. People were getting more and more irked. The agents handled it decently, and I was assured that I'd have a roomette on the SWC the following day.
I checked my email at this point, on my phone, and saw that at 4:51 Chicago time, while I was still in line, Amtrak had sent a new itinerary with me in a sleeper.
The crew on the LSL was decent. Far from outstanding, but decent. Got the job done. Dinner was adequate. Had the Amsteak, which is normally good, but this was clearly not cooked to order, and had a strange texture, but it got the job done. I was starving after these misadventures. Had the railway french toast for breakfast, and the burger for lunch. No Amstew. They were stocked with supplies for a full lunch service!
After a day in Chicago, I went back to the Metropolitan lounge, and soon thereafter boarded the SWC which departed Union Station at 15:01 Central.
Just pulling into Princeton now.
All is well. Will post updates soon.