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Planning a LSL Trip - Recommendations Appreciated


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#1 TFrankMac

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Posted 14 March 2018 - 09:07 AM

Hello all, 

 

Very excited that I found this forum and am looking forward to all of your insight. My wife and I are looking into taking the LSL out of ERI to NYP this summer. 48 LSL there and 49 LSL back. We've both rode with Amtrak more than a dozen times, mostly on the Empire Service from ALB to NYP, however I'm a bit torn on whether or not to pull the trigger on train tickets versus airfare (which is fairly comparable in $). 

 

As such, I've got a few questions: 

  1. Viewliner Roomette - We're looking to purchase a roomette. From experience, how are they? Comfortable? Clean? Enough room for a couple and two carry-on bags? 
  2. Dining - Researching the Amtrak site, it appears that dining is included with a sleeper room, however since we are boarding in ERI, which dining options will be available to us there and back? Any full dining car options or will it always be the combined diner/lounge configuration? Are their pre-posted breakfast, lunch, and dinner times? 
  3. Delays - I understand delays are inevitable with shared rail, however does this train tend to make up time towards NYP? 

 

So overall, is it worth it? We default to flying ERI to JFK but were looking for a slightly cheaper journey and a change of pace. 

 

Thanks! 



#2 cpotisch

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Posted 14 March 2018 - 10:15 AM

Hello all, 

 

Very excited that I found this forum and am looking forward to all of your insight. My wife and I are looking into taking the LSL out of ERI to NYP this summer. 48 LSL there and 49 LSL back. We've both rode with Amtrak more than a dozen times, mostly on the Empire Service from ALB to NYP, however I'm a bit torn on whether or not to pull the trigger on train tickets versus airfare (which is fairly comparable in $). 

 

As such, I've got a few questions: 

  1. Viewliner Roomette - We're looking to purchase a roomette. From experience, how are they? Comfortable? Clean? Enough room for a couple and two carry-on bags? 
  2. Dining - Researching the Amtrak site, it appears that dining is included with a sleeper room, however since we are boarding in ERI, which dining options will be available to us there and back? Any full dining car options or will it always be the combined diner/lounge configuration? Are their pre-posted breakfast, lunch, and dinner times? 
  3. Delays - I understand delays are inevitable with shared rail, however does this train tend to make up time towards NYP? 

 

So overall, is it worth it? We default to flying ERI to JFK but were looking for a slightly cheaper journey and a change of pace. 

 

Thanks! 

  1. Viewliner Roomettes will be plenty of space for a couple and will fit two decently sized bags. They're cleaned after each trip, and are infinitely better than coach. I would highly recommend it.
  2. No matter what station you board at, you will get the same type of food. The Lake Shore Limited currently operates with a Diner-Lite, which is a slightly modified Amfleet Lounge car (those tube shaped snack cars you find on the Empire Service). It uses convection ovens to prepare meals, which are sort of somewhere in between a snack car and a full dining car in quality. The menu is more limited than a regular dining car, but still decent. Here's a pic:

29922818850_30aeba27d8_b.jpg

 

     3. The Lake Shore Limited frequently experiences delays of a couple hours near the end of it's run, and his thus adopted the nickname the 'Late Shore Limited'. This somewhat brings me to the main problem with your trip, which is that the LSL won't be running to NYC this summer. It will be cut off at Albany (though the Boston section will still run). So if you took the train, it would be ERI-ALB on the LSL, with a transfer to an Empire Service to Grand Central (the north exits out of NYP will be closed). So if you take this trip, make sure you're okay with a transfer.


Edited by cpotisch, 14 March 2018 - 10:53 AM.

Routes Traveled: Silver Meteor, Silver Star, CrescentLake Shore LimitedCalifornia Zephyr, Sunset Limited, Texas EagleEthan Allen Express, Empire Service, Maple Leaf, AdirondackAcela Express, Northeast RegionalKeystone Service

 

Wish List: Cardinal, CONO, Empire Builder, Southwest Chief, Crescent (overnight), Adirondack w/ Great Dome, Downeaster

 


#3 Thirdrail7

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Posted 14 March 2018 - 10:22 AM


As such, I've got a few questions: 

  1. Viewliner Roomette - We're looking to purchase a roomette. From experience, how are they? Comfortable? Clean? Enough room for a couple and two carry-on bags? 

 

If you're boarding at Erie, I highly doubt you'll have shared a room on 48. You may have one on 49 though. I find them reasonably clean and somewhat comfortable. It will depend on the size of your traveling companion.  Luggage storage is tough and since you're boarding at ERI, you can't check it.

 

 

  1. Dining - Researching the Amtrak site, it appears that dining is included with a sleeper room, however since we are boarding in ERI, which dining options will be available to us there and back? Any full dining car options or will it always be the combined diner/lounge configuration? Are their pre-posted breakfast, lunch, and dinner times? 

.

48 has diner lite service. When you board 48 at ERI, you'll be in breakfast service. Then, you'll have lunch by ALB. When you return on 49, you'll dinner. The times are posted.

 

 

  1. Delays - I understand delays are inevitable with shared rail, however does this train tend to make up time towards NYP? 

 

 

48 encounters more delays as the train moves towards NYP. While there are delays in the SOB-TOL area, it is the CSX territory in upstate NY that really throws them off schedule.  There is some recovery time between SDY-ALB but that assumes there isn't track work or a meet in single track territory.

 

 


So overall, is it worth it? We default to flying ERI to JFK but were looking for a slightly cheaper journey and a change of pace. 

 

Thanks! 

 

Only you can decide if it is worth it. It may be worth it to me, but that is my opinion.


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#4 TFrankMac

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Posted 14 March 2018 - 10:31 AM

 

Hello all, 

 

Very excited that I found this forum and am looking forward to all of your insight. My wife and I are looking into taking the LSL out of ERI to NYP this summer. 48 LSL there and 49 LSL back. We've both rode with Amtrak more than a dozen times, mostly on the Empire Service from ALB to NYP, however I'm a bit torn on whether or not to pull the trigger on train tickets versus airfare (which is fairly comparable in $). 

 

As such, I've got a few questions: 

  1. Viewliner Roomette - We're looking to purchase a roomette. From experience, how are they? Comfortable? Clean? Enough room for a couple and two carry-on bags? 
  2. Dining - Researching the Amtrak site, it appears that dining is included with a sleeper room, however since we are boarding in ERI, which dining options will be available to us there and back? Any full dining car options or will it always be the combined diner/lounge configuration? Are their pre-posted breakfast, lunch, and dinner times? 
  3. Delays - I understand delays are inevitable with shared rail, however does this train tend to make up time towards NYP? 

 

So overall, is it worth it? We default to flying ERI to JFK but were looking for a slightly cheaper journey and a change of pace. 

 

Thanks! 

  1. Viewliner Roomettes will be plenty of space for a couple and will fit two decently sized bags. They're cleaned after each trip, and are infinitely better than coach. I would highly recommend it.
  2. No matter what station you board at, you will get the same type of food. The Lake Shore Limited currently operates with a Diner-Lite, which is a slightly modified Amfleet Lounge car (those tube shaped snack cars you find on the Empire Service). It has convection ovens and microwaves to prepare meals, which are sort of somewhere in between a snack car and a full dining car in quality. The menu is more limited than a regular dining car, but still decent. Here's a pic:

29922818850_30aeba27d8_b.jpg

 

     3. The Lake Shore Limited frequently experiences delays of a couple hours near the end of it's run, and his thus adopted the nickname the 'Late Shore Limited'. This somewhat brings me to the main problem with your trip, which is that the LSL won't be running to NYC this summer. It will be cut off at Albany (though the Boston section will still run). So if you took the train, it would be ERI-ALB on the LSL, with a transfer to an Empire Service to Grand Central (the north exits out of NYP will be closed). So if you take this trip, make sure you're okay with a transfer.

 

Thank you for the info! Do you know when & why the LSL makes the shift in schedule to run just to ALB? I had priced it out online via Amtrak for late August and got 48 and 49 from ERI and back out of NYP no problem  :wacko:



#5 the_traveler

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Posted 14 March 2018 - 10:34 AM

You say it uses convection ovens and microwaves and thus is somewhere between a café car and a full Dining Car? :huh:

#1) Amtrak does not use microwave ovens at all. They are all convection ovens.

#2) Except for items like steaks or cooked to order eggs that require a grill, EVERY item from the Dining Car is reheated in a convection oven!

Edited by the_traveler, 14 March 2018 - 10:35 AM.

Take it easy .......

Take the train instead and enjoy the ride!

The view is much better at 3 feet than it is at 30,000 feet!

#6 cpotisch

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Posted 14 March 2018 - 10:55 AM

You say it uses convection ovens and microwaves and thus is somewhere between a café car and a full Dining Car? :huh:

#1) Amtrak does not use microwave ovens at all. They are all convection ovens.

#2) Except for items like steaks or cooked to order eggs that require a grill, EVERY item from the Dining Car is reheated in a convection oven!

  1. Just edited my post to exclude the microwave comment.
  2. My emphasis was that since there isn't a grill (which is used for a little more than just eggs and steaks), the menu is more limited. Not that the same dishes are prepared differently.

Routes Traveled: Silver Meteor, Silver Star, CrescentLake Shore LimitedCalifornia Zephyr, Sunset Limited, Texas EagleEthan Allen Express, Empire Service, Maple Leaf, AdirondackAcela Express, Northeast RegionalKeystone Service

 

Wish List: Cardinal, CONO, Empire Builder, Southwest Chief, Crescent (overnight), Adirondack w/ Great Dome, Downeaster

 


#7 cpotisch

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Posted 14 March 2018 - 11:05 AM

 

 

Hello all, 

 

Very excited that I found this forum and am looking forward to all of your insight. My wife and I are looking into taking the LSL out of ERI to NYP this summer. 48 LSL there and 49 LSL back. We've both rode with Amtrak more than a dozen times, mostly on the Empire Service from ALB to NYP, however I'm a bit torn on whether or not to pull the trigger on train tickets versus airfare (which is fairly comparable in $). 

 

As such, I've got a few questions: 

  1. Viewliner Roomette - We're looking to purchase a roomette. From experience, how are they? Comfortable? Clean? Enough room for a couple and two carry-on bags? 
  2. Dining - Researching the Amtrak site, it appears that dining is included with a sleeper room, however since we are boarding in ERI, which dining options will be available to us there and back? Any full dining car options or will it always be the combined diner/lounge configuration? Are their pre-posted breakfast, lunch, and dinner times? 
  3. Delays - I understand delays are inevitable with shared rail, however does this train tend to make up time towards NYP? 

 

So overall, is it worth it? We default to flying ERI to JFK but were looking for a slightly cheaper journey and a change of pace. 

 

Thanks! 

  1. Viewliner Roomettes will be plenty of space for a couple and will fit two decently sized bags. They're cleaned after each trip, and are infinitely better than coach. I would highly recommend it.
  2. No matter what station you board at, you will get the same type of food. The Lake Shore Limited currently operates with a Diner-Lite, which is a slightly modified Amfleet Lounge car (those tube shaped snack cars you find on the Empire Service). It has convection ovens and microwaves to prepare meals, which are sort of somewhere in between a snack car and a full dining car in quality. The menu is more limited than a regular dining car, but still decent. Here's a pic:

29922818850_30aeba27d8_b.jpg

 

     3. The Lake Shore Limited frequently experiences delays of a couple hours near the end of it's run, and his thus adopted the nickname the 'Late Shore Limited'. This somewhat brings me to the main problem with your trip, which is that the LSL won't be running to NYC this summer. It will be cut off at Albany (though the Boston section will still run). So if you took the train, it would be ERI-ALB on the LSL, with a transfer to an Empire Service to Grand Central (the north exits out of NYP will be closed). So if you take this trip, make sure you're okay with a transfer.

 

Thank you for the info! Do you know when & why the LSL makes the shift in schedule to run just to ALB? I had priced it out online via Amtrak for late August and got 48 and 49 from ERI and back out of NYP no problem  :wacko:

 

The problem is that track work at NYP cut off the west track exits. So none of the Empire Corridor trains (that go through Albany and upstate NY) can go into NYP. The Empire Service and possibly Adirondack will be running to Grand Central, instead. But the Lake Shore can't run there for LD train logistical reasons (lack of access to Sunnyside Yard), so they're terminating it in ALB.

 

It's not 100% official yet, so the site still shows the LSL as running to NYP, but internal Amtrak memos, and track work details all indicate that the Lake Shore Ltd will be temporarily 'amputated'.


Routes Traveled: Silver Meteor, Silver Star, CrescentLake Shore LimitedCalifornia Zephyr, Sunset Limited, Texas EagleEthan Allen Express, Empire Service, Maple Leaf, AdirondackAcela Express, Northeast RegionalKeystone Service

 

Wish List: Cardinal, CONO, Empire Builder, Southwest Chief, Crescent (overnight), Adirondack w/ Great Dome, Downeaster

 


#8 TFrankMac

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Posted 14 March 2018 - 11:53 AM

Bummer! Thanks for the heads up. Ill have to keep an eye on the developments.
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#9 cpotisch

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Posted 14 March 2018 - 12:52 PM

Bummer! Thanks for the heads up. Ill have to keep an eye on the developments.

If you do still decide to take the LSL, bear in mind that you would be in a roomette from ERI to ALB (7 hours), and would have to be in coach or business for the rest of the trip. Since that's not a very long ride, you might not want to bother with a roomette. That said, it includes meals and gives you privacy and two bunks, so it might still be worth it.
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Routes Traveled: Silver Meteor, Silver Star, CrescentLake Shore LimitedCalifornia Zephyr, Sunset Limited, Texas EagleEthan Allen Express, Empire Service, Maple Leaf, AdirondackAcela Express, Northeast RegionalKeystone Service

 

Wish List: Cardinal, CONO, Empire Builder, Southwest Chief, Crescent (overnight), Adirondack w/ Great Dome, Downeaster

 


#10 StriderGDM

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Posted 14 March 2018 - 03:07 PM

I'm a huge fan of the LSL and from Erie, if it were cheap enough would spring for a roomette, if only to nap a bit.

 

Last year I road the LSL for the first time in over a decade. The first round trip, honestly, the food in the diner-lite was horrible.

BUT, on the one way trip later in the year from Chicago to ALB it was very good.

 

And you might even luck out and get a full diner.


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#11 Lonestar648

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Posted 14 March 2018 - 03:51 PM

First, I love seeing the upper New York State landscape. Second, in the Viewliner, there are no public bathrooms, the toilet is in the room next to a seat or bed depending which is made. Make sure you understand this before you go, this did cause some issues for my travel companions, especially at night.
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#12 Charles785

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Posted 14 March 2018 - 07:24 PM

Two questions regarding this thread; it's been years since I've been on a Viewliner Sleeper (most all my trips are on Superliners) and I guess I've forgotten, but are there no showers on Viewliner sleepers whatsoever, and no restrooms outside of the roomettes? 

 

Regarding dining, I certainly wasn't impressed with the menu I saw online for the City of New Orleans.  Is the menu on the Lake Shore Limited the same limited selection?



#13 PRR 60

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Posted 14 March 2018 - 08:15 PM

Two questions regarding this thread; it's been years since I've been on a Viewliner Sleeper (most all my trips are on Superliners) and I guess I've forgotten, but are there no showers on Viewliner sleepers whatsoever, and no restrooms outside of the roomettes? 
 
Regarding dining, I certainly wasn't impressed with the menu I saw online for the City of New Orleans.  Is the menu on the Lake Shore Limited the same limited selection?

 

There is a public shower in a Viewliner Sleeper, but there are no toilets other than in the rooms.  Since the toilet in the Roomette is not enclosed, using it could be a bit uncomfortable with two in the room.


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#14 TFrankMac

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Posted 14 March 2018 - 08:19 PM

Two questions regarding this thread; it's been years since I've been on a Viewliner Sleeper (most all my trips are on Superliners) and I guess I've forgotten, but are there no showers on Viewliner sleepers whatsoever, and no restrooms outside of the roomettes? 
 
Regarding dining, I certainly wasn't impressed with the menu I saw online for the City of New Orleans.  Is the menu on the Lake Shore Limited the same limited selection?

 
There is a public shower in a Viewliner Sleeper, but there are no toilets other than in the rooms.  Since the toilet in the Roomette is not enclosed, using it could be a bit uncomfortable with two in the room.

Great info. Out of curiosity, would Amtrak ever force you to share a roomette with another passenger? I assumed that if I was selecting a roomette it would be for myself or someone else in my party. Is that correct?


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#15 the_traveler

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Posted 14 March 2018 - 08:27 PM

NO!

As with a hotel, your room is your room - no matter how many are in it. You never have to share it, unless you want to. A roomette accommodation charge is the same for 1 passenger as it is for 2 passengers.

Edited by the_traveler, 14 March 2018 - 08:30 PM.

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Take it easy .......

Take the train instead and enjoy the ride!

The view is much better at 3 feet than it is at 30,000 feet!

#16 PVD

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Posted 14 March 2018 - 08:38 PM

The enclosed bathroom and private shower in the Viewliner Bedroom is a selling point over the roomette, but usually at a much higher price. The VL2 sleepers when they finally show up have 2 public toilets instead of the in roomette toilet, but they won't be here anytime soon.



#17 tomfuller

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Posted 14 March 2018 - 09:08 PM

Since you are boarding in Erie at 7:20AM (could be later), consider booking  Business Class seats on 448. The BC seats are in the front section of the cafe car and are quite comfortable for a daytime ride.

On the return trip expect to arrive late in Erie. Westbound you really want the roomette.


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#18 IndyLions

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Posted 15 March 2018 - 08:18 AM

I’ll second the recommendation for Business Class on the 448 LSL. It’s comfortable, a money saver on a day trip, and a lot less hectic and crowded than coach typically. Also, when I’ve taken a roomette on a Viewliner on 448 with my wife, there is usually a large, accessible bathroom only 1 or 2 cars down in the lounge. That’s a good alternative to the in room toilet - and you still have the in room sink - which is a great feature for brushing your teeth, shaving or splashing some water on your face.


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#19 TFrankMac

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Posted 15 March 2018 - 08:39 AM

Since you are boarding in Erie at 7:20AM (could be later), consider booking  Business Class seats on 448. The BC seats are in the front section of the cafe car and are quite comfortable for a daytime ride.

On the return trip expect to arrive late in Erie. Westbound you really want the roomette.

 

 

I’ll second the recommendation for Business Class on the 448 LSL. It’s comfortable, a money saver on a day trip, and a lot less hectic and crowded than coach typically. Also, when I’ve taken a roomette on a Viewliner on 448 with my wife, there is usually a large, accessible bathroom only 1 or 2 cars down in the lounge. That’s a good alternative to the in room toilet - and you still have the in room sink - which is a great feature for brushing your teeth, shaving or splashing some water on your face.


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Thanks for the heads up. How would you go about scheduling on the 448 or 449 out of ERI? The only options that appear for me are 48/49 without business class seats as an option (for the multiple dates I've played with). 



#20 brianpmcdonnell17

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Posted 15 March 2018 - 09:24 AM


Since you are boarding in Erie at 7:20AM (could be later), consider booking  Business Class seats on 448. The BC seats are in the front section of the cafe car and are quite comfortable for a daytime ride.
On the return trip expect to arrive late in Erie. Westbound you really want the roomette.

 
 

Ill second the recommendation for Business Class on the 448 LSL. Its comfortable, a money saver on a day trip, and a lot less hectic and crowded than coach typically. Also, when Ive taken a roomette on a Viewliner on 448 with my wife, there is usually a large, accessible bathroom only 1 or 2 cars down in the lounge. Thats a good alternative to the in room toilet - and you still have the in room sink - which is a great feature for brushing your teeth, shaving or splashing some water on your face.


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Thanks for the heads up. How would you go about scheduling on the 448 or 449 out of ERI? The only options that appear for me are 48/49 without business class seats as an option (for the multiple dates I've played with). 
You would have to book a multi-city or two separate tickets with a transfer at Albany-Rensselaer. If you wait for the forced transfer to be programmed into the system, business class may come up as a possibility on a one-way ticket as well.
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<p>Routes Travelled: CL WAS-CHI, Card. CHI-WAS, Caro. CLT-RGH, CS SEA-LAX, CZ CHI-RIC, Cre. BAL-ATL, EB SEA-CHI, ES NYG/NYP-NFL, LSL BOS/NYP-CHI, ML ALB-NYP, NER FBG-RVR+WAS-BOS, PS LAX-ANA, Pen. NYP-PGH, Pie. RGH-CLT, SM ORL-NYP, SS MIA-NYP




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