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Fort Worth to Miami trip


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#21 Maglev

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Posted 02 June 2018 - 03:30 PM

I hope you join the forum and give us a report of your trip!

 

I don't know of your amount of travel experience, but I often do not sleep well my first night in a strange situation.  On a train, there is some noise and motion, and while the mattresses are comfortable they are probably not as big as what you are used to at home quite thin.  The second night I will usually sleep well, even in the upper berth of a Roomette.

 

I have found that the temperatures on Amtrak are generally comfortable. The problem I notice most is a car that is too hot in winter or too cool in summer.  There is an individual control for the heater in a Roomette. 


Edited by Maglev, 03 June 2018 - 09:36 AM.

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. 


#22 KmH

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Posted 02 June 2018 - 03:38 PM

The Roomette air temperature control often seems to not actually function.


California Zephyr • Coast Starlight  • Southwest Chief • Sunset Limited • Texas Eagle • Illinois Zephyr • Capitol Corridor

. . . . Amtrak miles - 23,703, so far.


#23 cpotisch

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Posted 02 June 2018 - 03:47 PM

Cheers guys, much appreciated...In actual fact, Ives just received an e- mail from Amtrak advising of the change in meal service on the train out of Chicago....
Well, as my questions aren't considered too dumb....here's another,...will we get much sleep ?...we wonder how comfy the beds within the roomette are. Are the mattresses comfortable enough to get a decent nights sleep?.. Also as we will be taking
This trip in February I expect it will be cold, so are the rooms warm enough, and are they insulated from noise ?
As you may be able to guess, we really are most excited about this holiday, as it's so different from the types of holiday we normally take.
Thanks again, and greetings from across the pond to you all !!

I generally sleep pretty well on Amtrak. The movement of the train sort of rocks you to sleep, but you should know that the mattresses are only a couple inches thick. The beds are a little over 2 feet wide. You can get more info about the Superliner Roomette here and for the Viewliner Roomette here. Also, if you want a tour of all the rooms, here's the Viewliner Sleeping Car Virtual Tour and the Superliner Sleeping Car Virtual Tour. Those are very good tools Amtrak offers to get a good sense of the layout and dimensions of all rooms.

 

The trains can get cold at night, however each room has it's own thermostat which I've found generally works pretty well. Occasionally you'll have one that doesn't work properly, though. Each occupant automatically gets one blanket, one sheet, and two pillows for their bed. If that's not enough for comfort, feel free to ask your Sleeper Car Attendant (SCA) for more "fixings" and they should be happy to oblige! They almost always keep a surplus of blankets and pillows, so it's not a big hassle for anyone.

 

I should mention tipping, since this is a common point of confusion for many newbies. My rule of thumb for tipping is $5 per person per night for average service. If the SCA is very rude, unhelpful, or hard to find, I don't tip much or at all. If they are very helpful and pleasant, I will tip more (sometimes $10-$15 per person per night). But the $5 is my average baseline. You should also tip in the dining car. As a sleeper passenger, all meals (breakfast, lunch, and dinner) in the dining car are free. For breakfast, you can usually get one entree, one side (such as sausage or bacon), and one drink. For lunch and dinner each person can get one entree, a side salad, one drink, and one dessert. I always tip as I would in a restaurant, which is 15-20% of the listed menu price, depending on the service. You also have the option to order your meal to your room, via your SCA. When I do that, I tip my SCA as I would my waiter in the dining car, since he/she is effectively doing the job of the waiter in that case. I will also mention that if you're thirsty throughout the day, there is a self service stand with hot coffee in the morning, as well as juice, bottled water, and ice all day. Feel free to help yourself to as much as you want!


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


#24 Lonestar648

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Posted 02 June 2018 - 10:17 PM

Sleeping on both Sleeping cars is comfortable to a point,  Its a hard bed with very flat pillows (i bring a pillow case that I put some clothes in to make a bigger pillow under the thin Amtrak pillow), but the motion is side to side, so if you are a side sleeper, you will either need to sleep on your back or turn more with your knee up some to brace yourself from rolling side to side.  I like to sleep with the curtains open to watch rural scenes with the moon and stars, and the occasional small community.   

 

Post above mentions tipping which you need to be ready for if not used to this.  Only difference for me is that I tip based on quality of service, but generally $2 pp at Breakfast, $3 at lunch and maybe 4 or 5 at dinner.  For the SCA its $5 -10 per night per person. (Zero for the MIA SCA, except for a letter to Amtrak with details and name of the SCA)



#25 me_little_me

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Posted 03 June 2018 - 08:06 AM

As to your question about engaging in conversations, our experience is that people rarely talk to strangers in the lounge or cafe cars as they are too busy on their tablets and phones. or just looking at the scenery. (Remember, only half the coach passengers have window seats). Many coach passengers find the lounges and cafes to be a good place to stretch out and read or play video games especially if coach is crowded. On the other hand, since there are only two of you, you likely will be seated with others in the diner. We have ALWAYS had interesting, fun and/or informative conversations with our tablemates and that usually lasts well past the time we finish eating.


Edited by me_little_me, 03 June 2018 - 08:08 AM.

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#26 cpotisch

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Posted 03 June 2018 - 08:25 AM

Only difference for me is that I tip based on quality of service, but generally $2 pp at Breakfast, $3 at lunch and maybe 4 or 5 at dinner.  For the SCA its $5 -10 per night per person. (Zero for the MIA SCA, except for a letter to Amtrak with details and name of the SCA)

Seems like your system is pretty similar to mine. I guess the only difference is that you tip in the diner just on service and not on both service and menu prices.

One thing I’m not sure about is how someone tips on the Capitol, since there isn’t any table service, or any menu prices to go on. I think I wouldn’t tip at all if picking up my food myself, and tip maybe $3 or $4 to the SCA for room service. If anyone has a better idea, please suggest it.

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


#27 RichieRich

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Posted 03 June 2018 - 11:45 AM

As to your question about engaging in conversations, ...

Never been a problem ... see our pics on the end of the "Size of carry-on Cooler?Thread:

 LOL



#28 AG1

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Posted 03 June 2018 - 01:21 PM

 

Cheers guys, much appreciated...In actual fact, Ives just received an e- mail from Amtrak advising of the change in meal service on the train out of Chicago....
Well, as my questions aren't considered too dumb....here's another,...will we get much sleep ?...we wonder how comfy the beds within the roomette are. Are the mattresses comfortable enough to get a decent nights sleep?.. Also as we will be taking
This trip in February I expect it will be cold, so are the rooms warm enough, and are they insulated from noise ?
As you may be able to guess, we really are most excited about this holiday, as it's so different from the types of holiday we normally take.
Thanks again, and greetings from across the pond to you all !!

I generally sleep pretty well on Amtrak. The movement of the train sort of rocks you to sleep, but you should know that the mattresses are only a couple inches thick. The beds are a little over 2 feet wide. You can get more info about the Superliner Roomette here and for the Viewliner Roomette here. Also, if you want a tour of all the rooms, here's the Viewliner Sleeping Car Virtual Tour and the Superliner Sleeping Car Virtual Tour. Those are very good tools Amtrak offers to get a good sense of the layout and dimensions of all rooms.

 

The trains can get cold at night, however each room has it's own thermostat which I've found generally works pretty well. Occasionally you'll have one that doesn't work properly, though. Each occupant automatically gets one blanket, one sheet, and two pillows for their bed. If that's not enough for comfort, feel free to ask your Sleeper Car Attendant (SCA) for more "fixings" and they should be happy to oblige! They almost always keep a surplus of blankets and pillows, so it's not a big hassle for anyone.

 

I should mention tipping, since this is a common point of confusion for many newbies. My rule of thumb for tipping is $5 per person per night for average service. If the SCA is very rude, unhelpful, or hard to find, I don't tip much or at all. If they are very helpful and pleasant, I will tip more (sometimes $10-$15 per person per night). But the $5 is my average baseline. You should also tip in the dining car. As a sleeper passenger, all meals (breakfast, lunch, and dinner) in the dining car are free. For breakfast, you can usually get one entree, one side (such as sausage or bacon), and one drink. For lunch and dinner each person can get one entree, a side salad, one drink, and one dessert. I always tip as I would in a restaurant, which is 15-20% of the listed menu price, depending on the service. You also have the option to order your meal to your room, via your SCA. When I do that, I tip my SCA as I would my waiter in the dining car, since he/she is effectively doing the job of the waiter in that case. I will also mention that if you're thirsty throughout the day, there is a self service stand with hot coffee in the morning, as well as juice, bottled water, and ice all day. Feel free to help yourself to as much as you want!

 

 

cpotisch, according to your profile you are 15 years old. You have a lot to learn in life and one thing is not to act as an expert when you are not. I have observed that many of your posts  have been corrected by other posters.  For example, your paragraph above about tipping on Amtrak is contradictory to Amtrak's published literature. Yet, you are telling " newbies" when and how much too spend their money in deference to Amtrak's stated "tipping is not required , but one may for exceptional service". Please take a timeout and refrain from posting for the sake of seeing your words in print.



#29 Ryan

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Posted 03 June 2018 - 02:04 PM

Did he say that tipping was required?

While he’s only 15, and likely reporting what his parents tip, the information is aligned with what usually happens aboard and not at all incorrect.
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#30 RichieRich

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Posted 03 June 2018 - 02:31 PM

I agree with @Ryan, @cpotisch  seems right on. As a super-regular on the AT I agree with his observations. I'd tip the SCA $10/room...maybe leave $5 for dinner. I do find, most none of the ceiling vents work (close) hence the pizza-box-tops and duct tape in my computer bag. The niece brings an extra pillow & blanket. The heat/cool control on the wall seems seasonal. Also 2 rubber door stops for squeaks & rattles. A small WD-40 in the gym bag too.


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#31 AG1

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Posted 03 June 2018 - 04:55 PM

 

 

Thanks, and if I may add to that, I'm almost always the one who actually tips when on Amtrak. Since my parents usually pay for almost all of the ticket, I feel like I'm obligated to tip our SCA and dining car staff, out of respect for all of them.
 
MMA, you can feel free to disagree with what I say. But please do not inform me that my opinions and recommendations are invalid, or that I should "take a timeout" from posting. I had said that this was "my rule of thumb for tipping", and tried to make it very clear that it was not universal fact. Please respect my right to offer assistance and suggestions of my own, even if you disagree, or feel I'm too young to do so.

 

Cpotisch, you are free to post all the information you want to. You have enthusiasm for Amtrak and I like having young members on this forum. Several people have felt it necessary to correct information you posted in LSL and Capitol Ltd threads. We both want the "newbies" to receive correct information. I hope you learn from these incidents. 

 I am sorry that I offended you.  There have been many non ending heated threads on here about tipping. I gave you the official quote from Amtrak on tipping as the official reference, too show a misstatement to the "newbies" that they "should tip". You did state that. I wanted the "newbies" to know that the are not obligated to tip, but may do so if they wish. They are 100% free to make up their own mind rather than follow "rule of thumbs" . I hope we agree on that. Peace!



#32 Guest_Guest_*

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Posted 04 June 2018 - 02:45 PM

Dear all,
Thank you all so much for the wealth of info that you have taken the time to share with me. Certainly, all of your advice with regards tipping is very useful to us, as coming from a country where the etiquette around tipping is very different from the US this is most helpful so thank you.
Returning to luggage if I may, if I check in suitcases all the way from Fort Worth to Miami, and the train is very late, say arriving in Chicago, what is the chance that my luggage won't have time to be transferred onto the onward Washington train, and so I ultimately arrive in Miami without luggage.....You see, from Miami, We fly on to the Caribbean and really don't want to be without our cases..I understand that no one is accurately able to predict a late train, but if you were in my position, with the knowledge you have with Amtrak,....what would you do.? Check the luggage through to Miami and risk potential loses, or struggle with our own cases to guarantee their arrival with us at Miami.
Kind regards. Karl

#33 AmtrakBlue

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Posted 04 June 2018 - 03:42 PM

Dear all,
Thank you all so much for the wealth of info that you have taken the time to share with me. Certainly, all of your advice with regards tipping is very useful to us, as coming from a country where the etiquette around tipping is very different from the US this is most helpful so thank you.
Returning to luggage if I may, if I check in suitcases all the way from Fort Worth to Miami, and the train is very late, say arriving in Chicago, what is the chance that my luggage won't have time to be transferred onto the onward Washington train, and so I ultimately arrive in Miami without luggage.....You see, from Miami, We fly on to the Caribbean and really don't want to be without our cases..I understand that no one is accurately able to predict a late train, but if you were in my position, with the knowledge you have with Amtrak,....what would you do.? Check the luggage through to Miami and risk potential loses, or struggle with our own cases to guarantee their arrival with us at Miami.
Kind regards. Karl

If you have time to make the transfer to the other train, you luggage does too.  I don't think they would let the passengers transfer without also transferring the checked bags.


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#34 cpotisch

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Posted 04 June 2018 - 03:51 PM

redacted


Edited by cpotisch, 04 June 2018 - 09:22 PM.

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


#35 AmtrakBlue

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Posted 04 June 2018 - 04:09 PM

 

 

Dear all,
Thank you all so much for the wealth of info that you have taken the time to share with me. Certainly, all of your advice with regards tipping is very useful to us, as coming from a country where the etiquette around tipping is very different from the US this is most helpful so thank you.
Returning to luggage if I may, if I check in suitcases all the way from Fort Worth to Miami, and the train is very late, say arriving in Chicago, what is the chance that my luggage won't have time to be transferred onto the onward Washington train, and so I ultimately arrive in Miami without luggage.....You see, from Miami, We fly on to the Caribbean and really don't want to be without our cases..I understand that no one is accurately able to predict a late train, but if you were in my position, with the knowledge you have with Amtrak,....what would you do.? Check the luggage through to Miami and risk potential loses, or struggle with our own cases to guarantee their arrival with us at Miami.
Kind regards. Karl

If you have time to make the transfer to the other train, you luggage does too.  I don't think they would let the passengers transfer without also transferring the checked bags.

 

I've heard otherwise from multiple members of AU. As I understand it, because there often isn't space for passengers on the next train, Amtrak lets the passengers transfer (if physically possible), and puts the bags on the next train.

 

What!?!  If there's no space for passengers why would they let them transfer?  Would this be the case if the train was on time (assuming you meant space in the baggage car for the bags)? 


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#36 Ryan

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Posted 04 June 2018 - 04:14 PM

Yeah, I've never heard of that happening. If you can get to the train, your bags will. This includes the time I transferred from 4 to 30 without entering the station at CHI.
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#37 Lonestar648

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Posted 04 June 2018 - 07:37 PM

Like the airlines, the transfer bags are separated from the destination bags.  This expedites the transfer so there is a high probability your bags travel with you.



#38 RichieRich

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Posted 04 June 2018 - 08:03 PM

Has anyone ever noticed their Posts...umm...disappearing...i.e. deleted by the Moderator????



#39 Ryan

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Posted 04 June 2018 - 08:28 PM

Yep. Especially ones here in the guest forum giving misleading advice.
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#40 the_traveler

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Posted 04 June 2018 - 09:09 PM

If the passenger transfers, their bags are also transferred. If this transfer is done in Chicago, you maybe directed to go right from one train directly to the other. In that case, the second train will not depart until all connecting passenger bags are also transferred.

I have personally had this happen when transferring from a late EB to the CS in Portland. And I’ve been bused from a late CS to connect to the EB from Albany, OR to Portland. They did not let the CS depart from Albany until all the connecting baggage was transferred to the buses.
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Take it easy .......

Take the train instead and enjoy the ride!

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