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An Epic Rail Journey: 9357 miles aboard Amtrak.


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#21 Adrouault

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Posted 03 January 2018 - 04:37 PM

Well, plans changed again, and we took the Auto Train from Sanford to Lorton.

Got to the station at 1:45, checked in the car, and boarded 30 minutes late, at 3pm. 

We had a bedroom, upgraded from a roomette. My girlfriend's father and brother were in the bedroom next to us, so it was converted into a suite for the afternoon, changed back before bed.

The SCA was atrocious.  Simply atrocious. After my splendid experience on the meteor, this was a shock. My girlfriend's brother wasn't feeling well, and wanted to lie down, so we asked if the top bunk could be made up so he could rest. The SCA flat out refused, saying it was too much work for him, and he'd come back when we all wanted our beds made. He got very agressive, despite us being impeccably polite and understanding.

We were stunned.

Beds were made when we got back from dinner. Dinner food was good, the Petite Tender, the stewed beef was pretty good, but service was terrible. It took 30 minutes before we could order drinks, well after we had placed food orders. Just all-around a bad crew.

I'm saddened. 



#22 Bob Dylan

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Posted 03 January 2018 - 05:19 PM

That SCA needs to be reported, as well as any other turds that were on that crew.😣

The Auto-Train Crews used to be the "Pride of the Railroad" but evidently as the good OBS like AUer Tom retire, theyre being replaced by slackers and jerks.😥

Hopefully the new CEO is aware of this and a fix is,in the works!
"There's Something About a Train! It's Magic!"-- 1970s Amtrak Ad
 "..My heart is warm with the friends I make,and better friends I'll not be knowing,
Yet there isn't a train I wouldn't take,No matter where its going!.." -Edna St. Vincent Millay

#23 Adrouault

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Posted 03 January 2018 - 05:47 PM

That SCA needs to be reported, as well as any other turds that were on that crew.

The Auto-Train Crews used to be the "Pride of the Railroad" but evidently as the good OBS like AUer Tom retire, theyre being replaced by slackers and jerks.

Hopefully the new CEO is aware of this and a fix is,in the works!

 

 

Agreed. What made it upsetting was that this was my way of introducing my girlfriend's family to Long Distance rail travel. And it didn't go that well.



#24 Adrouault

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Posted 08 January 2018 - 05:54 PM

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.


#25 OBS

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Posted 08 January 2018 - 06:42 PM

May you have an uneventful trip.

#26 Tennessee Traveler

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Posted 08 January 2018 - 09:26 PM

If you are on the SWC 1/8/2018, I just watched you go through La Plata, MO right on time. Looks like the weather has warmed up just enough to overcome last week's Winter Problems.  Should be a pleasant on time trip to Los Angeles.


Edited by Tennessee Traveler, 08 January 2018 - 09:27 PM.


#27 Adrouault

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Posted 08 January 2018 - 09:37 PM

Thanks. Yes, I waved to the camera, from the lounge car, as we went through La Plata. I had dinner with the Vice Chair of the National Association for railway passengers.



#28 Philly Amtrak Fan

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Posted 09 January 2018 - 07:35 AM

Sorry about your LSL nightmare Adrouault! I had a similar one myself: http://discuss.amtra...2059-lsl-48-28/

 

So you only left NYP 2 hours late but got into CHI too late to miss the connection to the SWC/3? So you lost a lot of time enroute between NYP and CHI or did I read that incorrectly?


Trains Traveled: Broadway Limited (CHI-Harrisburg, PA), Three Rivers (Harrisburg, PA-CHI, Altoona, PA-CHI, PHL-CHI), Capitol Limited (CHI-WAS), Lake Shore Limited (NYP-CHI), , Silver Meteor (PHL-ORL), Southwest Chief (CHI-LAX), California Zephyr (CHI-SLC, SLC-EMY), City of New Orleans and/or Illini (CHI-Champaign, IL), Texas Eagle (CHI-DAL)
Bring back the Broadway Limited (or Three Rivers or any Chicago-Pittsburgh-Philly train)!
 
https://www.facebook...roadwayLimited/


#29 Adrouault

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Posted 09 January 2018 - 11:34 AM

You read it correctly. Lost 4 hours at ALB

#30 Philly Amtrak Fan

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Posted 09 January 2018 - 11:57 AM

Sorry about your LSL nightmare Adrouault! I had a similar one myself: http://discuss.amtra...2059-lsl-48-28/

 

So you only left NYP 2 hours late but got into CHI too late to miss the connection to the SWC/3? So you lost a lot of time enroute between NYP and CHI or did I read that incorrectly?

 

 

You read it correctly. Lost 4 hours at ALB

 

More problems through upstate New York in winter? I'm sure most of you LSL veterans can't be surprised and I (and Adroualt) learned the hard way. BUF, SYR and other cities along the route are notorious for bad weather and snow.  Certainly this strengthens the argument for more and alternate routes so we're not dependent on/  stuck with the LSL when things go bad. 


Trains Traveled: Broadway Limited (CHI-Harrisburg, PA), Three Rivers (Harrisburg, PA-CHI, Altoona, PA-CHI, PHL-CHI), Capitol Limited (CHI-WAS), Lake Shore Limited (NYP-CHI), , Silver Meteor (PHL-ORL), Southwest Chief (CHI-LAX), California Zephyr (CHI-SLC, SLC-EMY), City of New Orleans and/or Illini (CHI-Champaign, IL), Texas Eagle (CHI-DAL)
Bring back the Broadway Limited (or Three Rivers or any Chicago-Pittsburgh-Philly train)!
 
https://www.facebook...roadwayLimited/


#31 AmtrakBlue

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Posted 09 January 2018 - 03:39 PM

Sorry about your LSL nightmare Adrouault! I had a similar one myself: http://discuss.amtra...2059-lsl-48-28/
 
So you only left NYP 2 hours late but got into CHI too late to miss the connection to the SWC/3? So you lost a lot of time enroute between NYP and CHI or did I read that incorrectly?

 
 

You read it correctly. Lost 4 hours at ALB

 
More problems through upstate New York in winter? I'm sure most of you LSL veterans can't be surprised and I (and Adroualt) learned the hard way. BUF, SYR and other cities along the route are notorious for bad weather and snow.  Certainly this strengthens the argument for more and alternate routes so we're not dependent on/  stuck with the LSL when things go bad. 
You can take the CL or the Card. ;)


Sent from my iPhone using Amtrak Forum

#32 Bob Dylan

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Posted 09 January 2018 - 04:02 PM

Blue beat me to it!😁

But The Dirty Bird or the Crap Ltd. isnt Philly's cup of tea, he only wants the Back from the Grave Broadway Ltd. or the Pennsy to run to CHI from Philly!🤔
"There's Something About a Train! It's Magic!"-- 1970s Amtrak Ad
 "..My heart is warm with the friends I make,and better friends I'll not be knowing,
Yet there isn't a train I wouldn't take,No matter where its going!.." -Edna St. Vincent Millay

#33 Adrouault

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Posted 11 January 2018 - 08:25 PM

The rest of the SWC voyage was pretty great. One day late, but great. SCA was decent. Not exceptional, but more than adequate. Food was great.
Had the Land and Sea first night, was sad to see the downgrade on the SWC from shrimp to the fish cake. Steak was great, of course.

Second night, had the signature steak.

 

We had a full hour in Albuquerque, so I walked around for a bit. Had some fascinating conversations, and arrived on time to Los Angeles.



#34 Philly Amtrak Fan

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Posted 11 January 2018 - 09:26 PM

I've been on the SWC several times. It's one of the few trains I've never had a significant delay on and one of my favorite ones.


Trains Traveled: Broadway Limited (CHI-Harrisburg, PA), Three Rivers (Harrisburg, PA-CHI, Altoona, PA-CHI, PHL-CHI), Capitol Limited (CHI-WAS), Lake Shore Limited (NYP-CHI), , Silver Meteor (PHL-ORL), Southwest Chief (CHI-LAX), California Zephyr (CHI-SLC, SLC-EMY), City of New Orleans and/or Illini (CHI-Champaign, IL), Texas Eagle (CHI-DAL)
Bring back the Broadway Limited (or Three Rivers or any Chicago-Pittsburgh-Philly train)!
 
https://www.facebook...roadwayLimited/


#35 Tennessee Traveler

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Posted 12 January 2018 - 04:01 PM

Food was great.
Had the Land and Sea first night, was sad to see the downgrade on the SWC from shrimp to the fish cake. Steak was great, of course.

Second night, had the signature steak.

.

 

The same National Menu is on all the LD trains that use that menu which is every train except the CONO and Cardinal that I know of.  So the Land and Sea item was downgraded on all LD National Menu trains to fish cake from the shrimp.  The National Menu from last year with the shrimp and pork sliders was much better than current menu. Hopefully the new menu when introduced in 2018 will be better. 



#36 Adrouault

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Posted 13 January 2018 - 07:21 PM

Those pork sliders were really good!



#37 caravanman

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Posted 14 January 2018 - 09:10 PM

Can you expand a little about your hotel arrangements in Chicago? I think you paid for that yourself? If so, did you get any refund/compensation for that?

 

Ed.



#38 Adrouault

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Posted 17 January 2018 - 01:19 PM

I paid for the hotel out of pocket, or rather, using points, since I didn't want to risk being put in a poor quality motel out by O'Hare. 

No compensation from Amtrak since I dealt with it on my own.

Currently on the CZ from EMY to CHI. will be at CHI in the next 2 hours.

Will provide a full report for the return trip in the next couple days once I arrive. 



#39 Adrouault

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Posted 18 January 2018 - 03:36 PM

Back in Rochester this afternoon, 4 hours late into ROC.

 

the CS was great. left LA at 10:10 and got into San Jose that evening.  Had the burger for lunch, and the land+sea for dinner.

Took a rest during the afternoon, had the bed made down at SLO.

At SLO, I stepped off the train where my aunt was waiting for me, and the SCA recognized her, because she's a frequent CS traveler. 

On the CZ, it was simply stunning, saw some amazing scenery. Hardly any snow in the sierras, and not that much in the Rockies where we were. There was great narration from the California rail museum between Sac and Reno, about the history of railway construction and implementation in the area.

Similar narration as we went through the mountains and canyons of Colorado. Steak on the first night of the CZ was badly overcooked. Instead of the mashed potatoes I had ordered, they brought a baked potato, and then switched it out. They did this on both dinners. haha.

Got to Chicago on time, hung out at the Metro Lounge, before boarding the LSL 2 hours late. Went to bed soon after departure. Woke up outside CLE, 3 hours late. Had an extra meal on the train, the salad, which was pretty good, I thought.

 

So, that sums up the trip.

Will provide some more narrative about the trip as I get over the fatigue. Still far less tiring than flying! 



#40 Adrouault

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Posted 26 January 2018 - 10:51 AM

And, one week later, I got back on the train. Doing a weekend in Chicago with my girlfriend. 

Completely last minute. Decided at 6pm, checked the tracker, saw that the train was on time at ALB, nad made a last minute booking for a roomette. I had a 100 dollar voucher, which was given to me by Amtrak after the terrible SCA on the AT.

 

Train pulled into ROC right on time, and we boarded quickly. SCA came by to introduce himself, and then promptly  made the beds. We got a solid 9 hours of sleep, and woke up for breakfast in Indiana. One of the crew in the dining car recognized me from my last trip. This also happened on the LSL eastbound to ROC last Wednesday night.

Funny how that happens.

 

Breakfast was the Railway French Toast, which is THANKFULLY still served on LSL. It wasn't an option on the Zephyr or the SWC.

It was great, and the crew have been quite good on this trip.






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