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Anyone travelled Amtrak on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day?


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#41 SP&S

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Posted 11 June 2018 - 06:55 PM

The answer is the usual answer for Amtrak, it depends.  I havn't traveled on Christmas, that week but not Christmas, but I have on New Year's Eve.  It depends upon the crew.  Amtrak does nothing special.  No special meals or decorations.  The crew may well alter their uniforms, may put up some decorations, may even pass out candy canes or such  And let them know you appreciate it.  Bring along a small set of LED lights and string them around your sleeper door and you might put others in a more holiday spirit.

 

Insert pining for the "good old days" here.....



#42 Seaboard92

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Posted 11 June 2018 - 07:00 PM

Occasionally you will get a locomotive engineer who will do Jingle Bells on the horn in the Christmas season.
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#43 City of Miami

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Posted 11 June 2018 - 07:06 PM

The reason we traveled on that day was because I was using AGR 1.0 points, and Christmas Day was one of the only non-blackout dates that entire holiday period.

Precisely. Several times I either began a trip on this day or timed a transfer for this reason. This was the case most years depending on what day of the week 25 fell on. Amtrak presumably expects light loads on LDs on this 1 day

#44 JRR

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Posted 12 June 2018 - 05:55 AM

Not risen Amtrak on Christmas Day but have celebrated Christmas Eve and Christmas morning with my son’s family and then flown to Baltimore to visit my daughter and family on Christmas afternoon on Southwest Airlines. The crew is always wearing elf and Santa hats, rainier horns etc and in a jovial mood and passing out candy canes and the like.

#45 alang

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Posted 12 June 2018 - 10:38 PM

Been on the CZ a couple of time on Xmas Eve and Xmas Day... honestly, not much difference than the other trips on the same line that I have taken. We do like the snow and the consequent scenery...
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#46 Yumacool

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Posted 13 June 2018 - 10:55 AM

I have been a passenger many times on the Coast Starlight during the Thanksgiving and Christmas periods over the years, but never on the actual holidays.  As many have mentioned, the dining car used to offer a special holiday turkey meal which I always ordered.  That went away a couple of years ago.  The crews decorated the diner and Pacific Parlor (late lamented) cars in holiday decorations, which I always thought was classy.  With all the cutbacks taking place, it has to have depressed employee morale, so I dread what is coming later this year.

 

My Amtrak travel on holidays began in the 1980s when my wife and I rode the "Spirit of California" (remember that short-lived train?) between San Jose and Los Angeles on New Years Eve.  My wife expected partying and joyful hub-bub in the Amdinette, but there was absolutely nothing.   It was open but quiet.

 

A few years ago we took an airline flight on Christmas day and were surprised that things were pretty much the same as the rest of the year.  There was a "a Merry Christmas" announcement on the intercom, but that was it.  My brother once took a cruise over Christmas and there were holiday decorations aboard, but nothing big.  He said Santa Claus visited the restaurants Christmas Eve -- the ship photographer took photos and charged passengers through the nose for prints.

 

It's fun to ride a train in the late evening during the Christmas season to see all the holiday decorations that abound on houses throughout America.  I think it's a time that binds us together ...



#47 Lonestar648

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Posted 13 June 2018 - 03:01 PM

Mentioning viewing the Christmas lights brought back memories of how some people decorated their homes so the RR crews and passenger trains could see decorations as they came by.  Remember those nights on the CL and the LSL.


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#48 BigRedEO

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Posted 13 June 2018 - 03:03 PM

...  on an Amtrak LD train? If you have, is it any different to any other day?

 

Thanks

Yes - Zephyr westbound.  SCA had decorated our car, which was fun, but nothing special otherwise.

However, on the Coast Starlight on New Year's Eve (I want to say 2011 going into 2012), they had a half-sized bottle of champagne and two plastic champagne glasses waiting in our Bedroom, with a small box of chocolates.  Had the same thing waiting for us the next day in the Empire Builder Sleeper out of PDX.


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#49 RichieRich

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Posted 13 June 2018 - 05:29 PM

Yes, we do the lites in the rooms (2-adjoining with the movable wall). AND, as you pass thru Ashland, VA. the tracks are in the median strip of the town...you see all the Victorian houses on both sides all lit up!.



#50 v v

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Posted 13 June 2018 - 05:35 PM

Richie, is that the Cardinal westbound?



#51 Seaboard92

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Posted 14 June 2018 - 07:21 AM

Richie, is that the Cardinal westbound?

No Ashland is on the line via Richmond so the Auto-Pain, Silver Star, Silver Meteor, Regionals.
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#52 Karl1459

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Posted 14 June 2018 - 09:32 AM

I have traveled Christmas on the CS a couple of times, and Christmas Eve on the EB (ESM-PDX) once. Christmas day: light load, no freight trains (UP and BNSF try to terminate all trains on Dec 24 and not restart until Dec 26 out of respect for their employees families). Christmas Eve (and the 26th): Full Trains! Any decorations are what a passenger brings or what generic holiday stuff an individual Amtrak employee cares to put out.

 

Because Amtrak if federally funded, and the US has a pretty strict separation of religion from government, Amtrak is very limited as to what it can do. Holiday season decor is kinda OK, explicit official celebration of Christ is verboten (passengers can in their personal area, freedom of speech). The UK (and Canada by extension) have the Church of England as the Official Church so they are only limited to what the Church frowns on. Which is really the most civilized is a discussion that should be reserved for good friends who will still be good friends after a spirited discussion lubricated with lots of good beer.



#53 v v

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Posted 14 June 2018 - 09:00 PM

I think all the Xmas day Amtrak trains are diverted via the North Pole, so that Santa can give out the presents. It is possible that I may be misinformed!

 

Ed.

 

Keep believing Ed

 

 

 

I've traveled with Amtrak on several holidays including Thanksgiving, Xmas, and New Years.  Other than the discontinued holiday meal that wasn't specific to any given day it's generally been roughly the same experience as any other trip. Which is pretty much the same thing as you find when flying on a holiday.  Occasionally there's an elf hat or a light string or some garland taped to the wall/ceiling but that's about it.  I think most people are just trying to get where they're going. I've seen this and similar questions asked many times but I'm not sure where the idea of a "holiday party train" comes from.  It must have been before my time or in another part of the country/world.

 

Watched 'Planes, trains and automobiles' too many times, thought Thanksgiving and Christmas were a big thing in the US

 

 

I think a lot depends on the mood of the crew. The crew I had on VIA 15 was in an incredibly good mood. Most were passing thru the railroad life on the way to other fields and they all seamed to enjoy their job. That train was special because they were warm, hospitable, and inviting. It wasn't any of the "what do you want" service that I've frequently had on Amtrak.

So I think a lot of it has to do with the crew. The part on the passengers revolves around the crew as well because an inviting crew puts people at ease. And once in a relaxed and more jovial mood I think the passengers are more welcoming and talkative themselves.

 

Have been surprised just how much a crew in particular in the diner can influence the atmosphere, that's a good point

 

 

 

I was surprised that trains ran on Xmas day anyway, don't usually in the UK. Then I was curious if Amtrak created a 'Christmas' diner or observation car or was it just business as usual?

 

I find  it that very interesting that the British rail system basically shuts down on Christmas Day (and Boxing Day also, I believe). I find it hard to believe that everybody wants to stay home on those two days. What about buses and the underground? Airplanes? 

 

 

It's more or less as cpotisch says. In part due to almost everybody in the country should have the same day off once a year, and tradition. Maybe that holidays around Christmas in the UK are quite long for many. From a day or two before Christmas Eve until the 2 January, so all transport including cars on the roads are quiet. Almost all transport is heavily reduced but not stopped completely, trains are the exception. Maybe still having a strong union is part of the reason?

 

 

Occasionally you will get a locomotive engineer who will do Jingle Bells on the horn in the Christmas season.

 

Will they do requests?

 

 

Mentioning viewing the Christmas lights brought back memories of how some people decorated their homes so the RR crews and passenger trains could see decorations as they came by.  Remember those nights on the CL and the LSL.

 

That sounds like a good reason to travel Amtrak at Christmas, there must be certain places that look fabulous at night

 

 

 

Richie, is that the Cardinal westbound?

No Ashland is on the line via Richmond so the Auto-Pain, Silver Star, Silver Meteor, Regionals.

 

 

I found an Ashland in KY/Kenova, WV, no idea why it should be that Ashland just guessed. Thanks Seaboard


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#54 Devil's Advocate

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Posted 14 June 2018 - 10:14 PM

 

I've traveled with Amtrak on several holidays including Thanksgiving, Xmas, and New Years. Other than the discontinued holiday meal that wasn't specific to any given day it's generally been roughly the same experience as any other trip. Which is pretty much the same thing as you find when flying on a holiday. Occasionally there's an elf hat or a light string or some garland taped to the wall/ceiling but that's about it. I think most people are just trying to get where they're going. I've seen this and similar questions asked many times but I'm not sure where the idea of a "holiday party train" comes from. It must have been before my time or in another part of the country/world.


Watched 'Planes, trains and automobiles' too many times, thought Thanksgiving and Christmas were a big thing in the US

Yeah they're a big thing, but mainly in stores and at home with the family or at school/office parties rather than trains/planes/automobiles. People who travel ON the holiday itself are probably trying to get somewhere ASAP and might be a little stressed out. Or maybe they're just trying to forget they have nowhere else to be. That being said if you really want to party it up on the train maybe you should consider joining RichieRich on one of his AutoTrain journeys.  :lol:


Edited by Devil's Advocate, 14 June 2018 - 11:22 PM.

.


#55 RichieRich

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Posted 14 June 2018 - 10:22 PM

Richie, is that the Cardinal westbound?

The AutoTrain. Leaves Lorton,VA 4-4:30ish. Funny that you can see things in the Summer, but when the time changes...dark all the way!



#56 bmjhagen9426

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Posted 14 June 2018 - 10:26 PM

I have not traveled on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, but I have traveled on Boxing Day (December 26) back in 2016, on Hoosier State between Chicago and Indy, and returned the very next morning. Had a rather interesting experience during my layover at the Indy Train and Bus Dungeon.


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#57 SarahZ

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Posted 14 June 2018 - 11:19 PM

Had a rather interesting experience during my layover at the Indy Train and Bus Dungeon.

 

Go on... We're listening...


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