Jump to content




Help Support AmtrakTrains.com by donating using the link above or becoming a Supporting Member.

Photo

Trip report: San Antonio


  • Please log in to reply
16 replies to this topic

#1 texline

texline

    Lead Service Attendant

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 107 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 16 May 2018 - 12:27 PM

Thank you for all the planning information. It really helped.

San Antonio was a lot of fun. We had no idea we were catching the end of the 300th anniversary. The Riverwalk was just packed with people and it was just loads of fun and I was surprised we didn’t see anyone fall into the river. The parades were excellent. I haven’t seen that kind of spirit in decades.
It was strange on a Monday waking up to a “ghost town” but it was good for us as we got to do a lot of tourist stuff without huge crowds. The Alamo was fantastic and could have spent the whole day there. We did tours around town and tried various restaurants.
The Tower of America’s was a good spot. I am so used to my area that I absolutely get a kick out of seeing how flat the terrain is. The water tanks sticking out of all the trees reminded me of Star Wars. We could easily see the train tracks and watched freight trains rolling through.
We did a lot of hiking and put in many miles. Hiked away from downtown to check out San Antonio. Saw a lot of different neighborhoods and met a lot of friendly people.
The train station was everything you said it would be. We hiked over there during the day to check it out. No one around the station but we caught a crew repairing a switch to a siding that held one sleeper and one coach car. We debated walking to and from the train station for our arrival and departure but we opted for Uber. Turns out that was a good decision once we saw the area and the freeway under crossing
We left downtown a little after 2am for the train station. The station was full of people hanging out and we headed out to the train. The train was already assembled and we were on the Texas Eagle sleeper this time. It is a funny thing when I book that route, one sleeper is less expensive then the other(Sunset Limited) and this time TE was the lower of the two.
Our SCA greeted us and gave us a rundown on how he works things. He said the beds were ready and he left the bottom bed not fully extended so we could move around. We went up and got our stuff situated then I went back down to stretch a little before going to bed.
Our SCA was a nice guy. I went to look at the old steam engine and he came over and struck up a conversation. Soon a conductor came over and joined in. Then an Amtrak employee came over and talked about some tests he had run. He was going to show the conductor a trick on the air brakes and we all walked over to watch.
We had a bedroom and it was in good repair for the most part. I got in bed and listened to my scanner for a few minutes. Some laughing on the radio and I was thinking the crew is in a good mood. We left right on time and I was asleep in no time. Only thing of note was the bathroom door opening itself a couple of times during the night. Banged around until I woke up enough to shove my bag against it The air system seemed to be working well in this car.
Next morning we got up a bit late and headed for the diner. They were still serving and my wife looked at the menu noting it never changes. The diner crew was great, very nice and energetic. I met a nice couple and they were into trains. Turns out they are on AU! Talked about the latest Amtrak news and the different routes we traveled.
Our SCA continued to be excellent. Friendly as could be. He had converted the beds and set up daytime configuration with a couple more bottles of water. We headed back to our room and he stopped us to let us know he had ice for us, coffee was still going, juices were on top of the coffee station and he put out some pound cake from yesterday.
The conductor was very upbeat guy. One thing I enjoyed was his conversations with the crew. When they talked about a stop he would always finish with “and the wheels WILL be rolling on time”.
The coach cars were not full. People were sprawled out in many odd positions. Some had set up camp and were busy preparing meals. The SSL was never full. We noted three guys talking loudly while chugging half bottles of wine.
The first incident happened in our car. A stowaway! Our SCA found a coach passenger in a bedroom. He handled it quietly and it wasn’t until the next stop that we learned about it. The TE was running ahead of schedule so we had long stops. I had gone down to stretch for a minute and was stopped at the door by a few passengers, SCA and a conductor. They were watching another conductor deal with the stowaway. I thought he handled it very well. Kept a nice calm voice and said you can walk now or I call the police. Because those bedrooms cost over $300, that is a felony. You can go to jail or walk away now. The passenger fell to his knees, crying and begging to get on the train. But when it was time to depart, the wheels were rolling with one less passenger.
The conductors were great. Very clear announcements. Very informative announcements. Each stop meant a repeat of the greeting. But “and this is a family train” was added. Then next time “and no profanity will be tolerated”. I believe this was due to the trio in the SSL. They were drinking non stop. One of them was getting mouthy and would drop F bombs now and then.
At lunch time we met a couple of nice ladies traveling. Turns out they are on AU! We chatted about all kinds of things and since we were close to border, talked about the walls and which president built which part. Then we talked about the trio and started wondering if they would pass out or get thrown off. My wife said they should be cut off while the rest of us said the staff is probably hoping they will pass out from all the booze.
Shortly after, we did note a conductor being called to the lounge a few times and the conductor administered some direct warnings. We continued to be early, I couldn’t believe my luck. Smooth ride for the most part. Met a few more nice people in the SSL.
Somewhere in New Mexico the trio came to an end. Two of the bunch were wise enough to pass out in their coach seats. One was put off and again the conductor was great. Your choice, walk or I call the cops. I warned you over and over and your friends decided to cool it so now you walk or I call the cops. A number of us watched from the windows as he walked up a freeway on ramp with his thumb out
The dinner was pleasant and had good company again. We talked about the menus and changing to boxed meals. The staff heard some of it and said it is hard times for some workers and they hoped things would not get any worse. All the train type people I met had mentioned to the staff how much they appreciated the diner and crew and supported them. It did come up a few times during the ride. At one point the staff was talking about losing station agents and named people that were now looking for new stations to work. I asked about the agent in Maricopa and they said she probably is in LA now.
We just continued to fly across the route. We had so much time at the major stops. I think I could have toured all of El Paso. The SCA continued to be amazing. He would tell me about shops close by he liked and even took me to one at a stop. Really a nice guy who wanted happy passengers. Always had coffee, juice and ice ready. Always had a smile.
We got a rough stretch of track out of Arizona that woke me up a couple of times but I was surprised when a little after 4am, our SCA started waking people up. We are going to be in LA way early! And those wheels kept turning on time each stop. We were in LA super early and a number of us went to change our connections. I was able to get an earlier San Joaquin (which also was on time all the way).
Really enjoyed the crew. Really a very upbeat crew and they seem to handle things so well. And our conductors, I thought all of them were awesome. Train was so on time. We only had a couple minor incidents and they were not a big deal.
San Antonio was awesome and Amtrak was just so good on the trip back. Thanks again for the tips from this forum and great meeting some of you on this trip. Next up is our trip on the Canadian in just a few weeks.
  • dogbert617 likes this

#2 Maglev

Maglev

    OBS Chief

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 411 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Orcas Island, Washington
  • Interests:Trains, environmental science, planetary volcanism.

Posted 16 May 2018 - 01:59 PM

Thanks for the trip report!

Forty years ago, I saw a whole group of soldiers taken off The National Limited for stealing a case of beer while the train was stopped due to an auto strike.  But all incidents since then have been handled by the crew., as far as I know.

 

I'm looking forward to hearing of your trip on the Canadian!


  • texline likes this

Northeast corridor Heritage, Metroliner, Amfleet and Acela, CN Super Continental, Broadway Limited, Lone Star, Sunset Limited, Coast Starlight, San Joaquin, Southwest Limited, National Limited, Champion, California Zephyr, Capitol Limited, Wolverine, Crescent, Empire Builder, Cascades, Lake Shore Limited, Silver Meteor, Cardinal. 


#3 caravanman

caravanman

    Engineer

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 3,221 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Nottingham, England.
  • Interests:Open minded travel, in which the journey is often as interesting as the destination...

Posted 16 May 2018 - 04:35 PM

Interesting that you met several AU members, I wonder who they were... ?

 

Was the "stowaway" in the bedrooms a deliberate evasive act, actually hiding, or just a coach passenger who fancied sitting in a different seat for a while? We all know he should not have been there, but was it such a massive crime that he had to be removed from the train?

 

I have no sympathy for the drunk guy, on the other hand! :D

 

Ed.


Edited by caravanman, 16 May 2018 - 04:36 PM.

  • texline likes this

#4 cpotisch

cpotisch

    Engineer

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,748 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Brooklyn, NY
  • Interests:Planes, Trains, Cooking, Politics

Posted 16 May 2018 - 05:19 PM

Interesting that you met several AU members, I wonder who they were... ?

 

Was the "stowaway" in the bedrooms a deliberate evasive act, actually hiding, or just a coach passenger who fancied sitting in a different seat for a while? We all know he should not have been there, but was it such a massive crime that he had to be removed from the train?

 

I have no sympathy for the drunk guy, on the other hand! :D

 

Ed.

Seems like it was just a coach passenger who wanted to "enjoy" a bedroom. But I feel like he shouldn't have been kicked off the train. Someone who does something like that clearly has very poor judgement and most likely some issues of their own, so to kick them off the train and stranding them in a random city is almost cruel. I don't condone this man's actions, but I hope he ended up okay.


Edited by cpotisch, 16 May 2018 - 05:20 PM.

  • texline likes this
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

#5 MikefromCrete

MikefromCrete

    Engineer

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,382 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Crete, IL

Posted 16 May 2018 - 05:54 PM

The guy was stealing from Amtrak. At least they left him at a station, and not at a grade crossing somewhere. 


  • Ryan and texline like this

#6 Devil's Advocate

Devil's Advocate

    Engineer

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 9,828 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 16 May 2018 - 06:34 PM

Was the "stowaway" in the bedrooms a deliberate evasive act, actually hiding, or just a coach passenger who fancied sitting in a different seat for a while? We all know he should not have been there, but was it such a massive crime that he had to be removed from the train?


In several US states even relatively minor thefts can be charged as a felony. A felony conviction can potentially land you in jail for years, possibly ruining your career and wrecking your long term financial future in the process, along with permanently losing basic freedoms and benefits like the right to vote or access to subsistence welfare. In some states it's possible to end up owing thousands of dollars and/or receiving jail time for the theft of a mere candy bar. In other states you can be charged with theft just for moving something of limited value inside a store and leaving empty handed. So all things considered it sounds like they actually let him off extremely easy.


Edited by Devil's Advocate, 17 May 2018 - 09:24 AM.

  • texline likes this

.


#7 Bob Dylan

Bob Dylan

    Engineer

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 17,126 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Austin Texas
  • Interests:Passenger Trains/Travel/Sports/Gov't/ Politics/History/Reading/
    Movies/Music/Space-Ancient Aliens

Posted 16 May 2018 - 08:35 PM

Great trip on my Two "Home" Trains and San Antonio is a great place to visit! Thanks for sharing.

I too look forward to your Canadian trip,you'll Love it! We're envious!
  • texline likes this
"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

#8 caravanman

caravanman

    Engineer

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 3,221 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Nottingham, England.
  • Interests:Open minded travel, in which the journey is often as interesting as the destination...

Posted 17 May 2018 - 02:47 AM

The guy was stealing from Amtrak. At least they left him at a station, and not at a grade crossing somewhere. 

 

I sat in a first class coach by mistake on a train when abroad. I was simply asked to move to the correct coach, not thrown off the train for "stealing"...

 

I understand that the laws are more draconian in America, to protect those who have, from those who have not, but getting put off the train or in jail for just sitting in an empty compartment seems plain vicious.

 

I was not there and don't have the full story...  Maybe he had no ticket and was a deliberate "stowaway", maybe he had a coach ticket and was just a person with mental problems.

 

We all have different views on standards of behaviour, and the suitable punishments for transgressors. :D

 

Ed.


  • Devil's Advocate and cpotisch like this

#9 AKA

AKA

    Conductor

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 576 posts
  • Location:Northern OHIO

Posted 17 May 2018 - 08:26 AM

Great report, thanks.  Good work by the conductors .



#10 railiner

railiner

    Engineer

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 6,154 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Queens, NY
  • Interests:All public transportation....land, sea, and air

Posted 17 May 2018 - 09:01 AM

I wasn't there, so cannot really judge, but I think there would be a big difference if the person 'accidentally' sat in a sleeper, maybe out of curiosity (I know, how could that possibly be?);  as opposed to someone that purposely decided to sneak in to the accommodation for a 'free upgrade'.... 

 

In either case, I think one warning would have been called for, before the more drastic course of action.... :unsure:


metroblue?

okay on the blue!

#11 texline

texline

    Lead Service Attendant

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 107 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 17 May 2018 - 09:47 AM

Regarding the stowaway. The SCA told me he had prepared the room and then taped the door (not sure if that is a term or physically taping the door [SCA loves duct tape]). My understanding is that the person knew he shouldn’t be in a bedroom. I guess my thinking was, in the past, the train just stops at a crossing and hands the person over to the police and in this case the staff left him off at a station after explaining why they felt he shouldn’t continue. I have seen plenty of drunks and smokers tossed but never a stowaway so this was all new to me.

#12 Bob Dylan

Bob Dylan

    Engineer

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 17,126 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Austin Texas
  • Interests:Passenger Trains/Travel/Sports/Gov't/ Politics/History/Reading/
    Movies/Music/Space-Ancient Aliens

Posted 17 May 2018 - 11:52 AM

One time when I boarded the Eagle in Austin heading for Chicago, a guy from Coach was using the Shower in my Room, Bedroom A.

He received a no expenses paid Early OFF in Austin from the excellent Conductor!
  • texline likes this
"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

#13 cpotisch

cpotisch

    Engineer

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,748 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Brooklyn, NY
  • Interests:Planes, Trains, Cooking, Politics

Posted 17 May 2018 - 01:37 PM

One time when I boarded the Eagle in Austin heading for Chicago, a guy from Coach was using the Shower in my Room, Bedroom A.

He received a no expenses paid Early OFF in Austin from the excellent Conductor!

Did that actually happen? Actually?
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

#14 JayPea

JayPea

    Engineer

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 3,665 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Colfax, WA (CFX)
  • Interests:Trains, photography, reading. And any combination thereof. :)

Posted 17 May 2018 - 02:58 PM

I was on the EB when a family (mom and two kids) boarded in Milwaukee. Though they had coach tickets, somehow the kids (preteens) escaped Mom's detection and hid out in our sleeper. Our SCA, one of the very best I've had, confronted the youngsters, who first lied about having sleeper tickets. They finally confessed, and the SCA handled it by making the kids stay in the room while he went up to get their mom and bring her back to the room for her kids. Mom was thoroughly embarrassed and thoroughly angry with her kids. Judging by Mom's reaction, the kids may have wished they'd been put off the train instead of having to travel beside an irate mom for the rest of the trip.😂
Amtrak Miles Traveled: 86162--City of New Orleans, State House/Lincoln Service, California Zephyr, Southwest Chief, Empire Builder, Cascades, Crescent, Capital Limited, Coast Starlight, Texas Eagle/Sunset Limited, Silver Meteor, Lake Shore Limited,  Pacific Surfliner, Cardinal, Vermonter, Northeast Regional, Downeaster. 
Pre-Amtrak Miles Traveled:8478-- North Coast Limited, Panama Limited, Empire Builder, Abraham Lincoln, City of Hinkle

#15 Bob Dylan

Bob Dylan

    Engineer

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 17,126 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Austin Texas
  • Interests:Passenger Trains/Travel/Sports/Gov't/ Politics/History/Reading/
    Movies/Music/Space-Ancient Aliens

Posted 17 May 2018 - 04:00 PM

One time when I boarded the Eagle in Austin heading for Chicago, a guy from Coach was using the Shower in my Room, Bedroom A.

He received a no expenses paid Early OFF in Austin from the excellent Conductor!

Did that actually happen? Actually?
Yep, when you ride Amtrak as long and as much as I have (I'm Old!😄) you'll see lots of interesting things and people.
"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

#16 cpotisch

cpotisch

    Engineer

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,748 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Brooklyn, NY
  • Interests:Planes, Trains, Cooking, Politics

Posted 18 May 2018 - 08:08 AM

 

 

One time when I boarded the Eagle in Austin heading for Chicago, a guy from Coach was using the Shower in my Room, Bedroom A.

He received a no expenses paid Early OFF in Austin from the excellent Conductor!

Did that actually happen? Actually?
Yep, when you ride Amtrak as long and as much as I have (I'm Old!) you'll see lots of interesting things and people.

 

Wow. That is something!  :o


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

#17 Lonestar648

Lonestar648

    Engineer

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,631 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 25 May 2018 - 11:45 PM

I have gotten up early when the SCA is getting up, have overheard a couple times unexpected occupancies of the bedroom, mostly they are middle of the night upgrades, but I do remember the Conductors emptying a room next to me with lots of yelling and screaming.with the SCA later apologizing with little information for passengers..  Don;t know what happened, a Conductor on my next train said they should have been given over to the local PD for a felony, technically stealing the room, even if in Coach.  She was by the book she said because these violations if not properly addressed hurt the honest passengers.






0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users