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I missed my CL connection due to late CZ into CHI


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#21 Cho Cho Charlie

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Posted 10 July 2018 - 04:28 PM

I was on the CZ the other day from Sacramento to Chicago.  
 
It was a  big mess from beginning to end.  That train seemed doomed to be late.   First we were delayed in the Rockies due to a freight train.  I didn't have much of a complaint there as the area was simply beautiful. 
 
Then a woman needed to be taken off of the train due to a "seizure".    Our SCA seemed to think it was drugs.
 
The final nail in the coffin was when we  had "signaling problems"   just outside of Chicago.   We were moving along at 20 MPH for well over an hour


For good or for bad, sounds like many of my Amtrak trips. Seems your train got into a state that I jokingly call "loco non grata". Once you are late, the train just gets later and later. Julie might claim you might make up the time, but in reality, the train rarely travels at warp 9.97.

I never go on a train trip without having backup plans in place... if I we're 1 hour late, 2 hours late, 3 hours late, and so on.

  

Turns out it was a bad thing.   Chicago was super crowded down on the lakefront.  It was super stressful.   The good news, I had my bicycle and I was quickly able to get away from the crowds out on the lake front.   It was beautiful and relaxing out there but sadly I still needed to deal with the overwhelming crowds and traffic to grab a bite to eat and get to an from the lake.


While I understand you were already in a poor mood, but Amtrak isn't responsible for how crowed it was at the lakefront and at local eateries, nor for the typical Chicago street traffic. :D

Edited by Cho Cho Charlie, 10 July 2018 - 04:30 PM.

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#22 spinnaker

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Posted 10 July 2018 - 06:17 PM

 




While I understand you were already in a poor mood, but Amtrak isn't responsible for how crowed it was at the lakefront and at local eateries, nor for the typical Chicago street traffic. :D

 

 

 

Exactly where am I blaming Amtrak for the crowded conditions in Chicago?    I mentioned it.  That is it.   Why do you interpret something that is not there?



#23 niemi24s

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Posted 10 July 2018 - 06:39 PM

Fifty+ years ago, a young GI with a similar sad tale would have been told "Go see the Chaplain and get your TS card punched!"  But times have changed.



#24 spinnaker

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Posted 10 July 2018 - 06:49 PM

Fifty+ years ago, a young GI with a similar sad tale would have been told "Go see the Chaplain and get your TS card punched!"  But times have changed.

 

 

Read the post again.   It was simply about if I could have done better making arrangements.

 

Regardless.   I am not a GI.   I am a paying customer.



#25 chakk

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Posted 10 July 2018 - 08:16 PM

 

Well the CL sleepers very well could have been booked up anyway.   Is there anyway to know what date past trains have been booked?   Maybe it is something I do not want to know? :)   Actually if I do know it was booked it might  make me feel a little better that it would not have mattered if I called or not.

 
When you realized your connection was hosed, you could have hopped on Amtrak's website (or the app) and checked for available sleepers. That would have at least let you know if you had a chance of getting a room or if you'd be stuck in coach.
 
I realize it's moot now, but that's something to keep in mind for the future. I often switched from the Blue Water to the Wolverine when I knew the Southwest Chief would be late. More often than not, the train was sold out by the time we got to Chicago, so I was glad I'd switched my ticket while sitting in Cornfield, IL.
 
 
 
I have an old flip phone.    No wifi on the CZ for my tablet.   I really need to get a smart phone, if not just for travel. 

Having an iPhone has saved me several times, first with a small screenl, slow iPhone 4. Now with a larger and very, very fast iPhone 7S. They’d have to pry it out of my cold, dead fingers for me to give it up.

My Wife’s tablet can also get internet without using wifi, if necessary. But she never uses its associated telephone number for voice calling. For that, it’s her personal iPhone or company Windows phone.

#26 spinnaker

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Posted 10 July 2018 - 09:03 PM

 

 

 

Well the CL sleepers very well could have been booked up anyway.   Is there anyway to know what date past trains have been booked?   Maybe it is something I do not want to know? :)   Actually if I do know it was booked it might  make me feel a little better that it would not have mattered if I called or not.

 
When you realized your connection was hosed, you could have hopped on Amtrak's website (or the app) and checked for available sleepers. That would have at least let you know if you had a chance of getting a room or if you'd be stuck in coach.
 
I realize it's moot now, but that's something to keep in mind for the future. I often switched from the Blue Water to the Wolverine when I knew the Southwest Chief would be late. More often than not, the train was sold out by the time we got to Chicago, so I was glad I'd switched my ticket while sitting in Cornfield, IL.
 
 
 
I have an old flip phone.    No wifi on the CZ for my tablet.   I really need to get a smart phone, if not just for travel. 

Having an iPhone has saved me several times, first with a small screenl, slow iPhone 4. Now with a larger and very, very fast iPhone 7S. They’d have to pry it out of my cold, dead fingers for me to give it up.

My Wife’s tablet can also get internet without using wifi, if necessary. But she never uses its associated telephone number for voice calling. For that, it’s her personal iPhone or company Windows phone.

 

 

 

As mentioned previous I really need to get one.   For sure it would have saved me on my airline flight into Portland.   I really wasn't thinking there either.   I was assuming Delta customer service would do their best job to help me.   I could have been proactive and helped myself.

 

I could have used one in Sacramento  and Chicago too  when I was out and about.   Normally I have no use for a smartphone but travel they sure come in handy.



#27 Walt

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Posted 11 July 2018 - 04:56 PM

While I understand you were already in a poor mood, but Amtrak isn't responsible for how crowed it was at the lakefront and at local eateries, nor for the typical Chicago street traffic. :D

 
 
Exactly where am I blaming Amtrak for the crowded conditions in Chicago?    I mentioned it.  That is it.   Why do you interpret something that is not there?


Well, I too read this thread, and your opening posting, as being a complaint about your Amtrak trip. You choose to include as part of that complaint, the bad situations you found in Chicago.

If you didn't want the conditions you found in Chicago to be part of your Amtrak complaint, you shouldn't have included it.
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#28 spinnaker

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Posted 11 July 2018 - 05:06 PM

 

 

While I understand you were already in a poor mood, but Amtrak isn't responsible for how crowed it was at the lakefront and at local eateries, nor for the typical Chicago street traffic. :D

 
 
Exactly where am I blaming Amtrak for the crowded conditions in Chicago?    I mentioned it.  That is it.   Why do you interpret something that is not there?

 


Well, I too read this thread, and your opening posting, as being a complaint about your Amtrak trip. You choose to include as part of that complaint, the bad situations you found in Chicago.

If you didn't want the conditions you found in Chicago to be part of your Amtrak complaint, you shouldn't have included it.

 

 

 

It is called a discussion forum.   What I didn't expect is someone to nitpick over every little detail of my post.

 

You need to get a new hobby.



#29 AmtrakBlue

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Posted 11 July 2018 - 05:10 PM

 

 

While I understand you were already in a poor mood, but Amtrak isn't responsible for how crowed it was at the lakefront and at local eateries, nor for the typical Chicago street traffic. :D

 
 
Exactly where am I blaming Amtrak for the crowded conditions in Chicago?    I mentioned it.  That is it.   Why do you interpret something that is not there?
 
Well, I too read this thread, and your opening posting, as being a complaint about your Amtrak trip. You choose to include as part of that complaint, the bad situations you found in Chicago.

If you didn't want the conditions you found in Chicago to be part of your Amtrak complaint, you shouldn't have included it.
 
 
 
It is called a discussion forum.   What I didn't expect is someone to nitpick over every little detail of my post.
 
You need to get a new hobby.
I too initially thought you were blaming Amtrak. Maybe if you had reworded it or started a new paragraph it would have been clearer to us.
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#30 spinnaker

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Posted 11 July 2018 - 07:11 PM

 

 

 

 

While I understand you were already in a poor mood, but Amtrak isn't responsible for how crowed it was at the lakefront and at local eateries, nor for the typical Chicago street traffic. :D

 
 
Exactly where am I blaming Amtrak for the crowded conditions in Chicago?    I mentioned it.  That is it.   Why do you interpret something that is not there?
 
Well, I too read this thread, and your opening posting, as being a complaint about your Amtrak trip. You choose to include as part of that complaint, the bad situations you found in Chicago.

If you didn't want the conditions you found in Chicago to be part of your Amtrak complaint, you shouldn't have included it.
 
 
 
It is called a discussion forum.   What I didn't expect is someone to nitpick over every little detail of my post.
 
You need to get a new hobby.
I too initially thought you were blaming Amtrak. Maybe if you had reworded it or started a new paragraph it would have been clearer to us.

 

 

 

No I was blaming myself for being too stupid to try and call Amtrak.

 

And for hoping we would actually miss the connection so I got to see a bit of Chicago. 

 

Wonderful city but I now know I don't want to visit again unless I have too.  I was way to stressed out with all of those people.   That was really the one and only thing.  The lake front was beautiful.   But I swear there were more people in that area down by the art museum than there are at the height of rush hour in all of downtown Pittsburgh.

 

I still can't believe how nice and helpful all of the locals were.   You would think they would hate all of those tourists.  Or at the very least just ignore people in attempt to try to keep their own sanity.  But everyone was just very friendly.  


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#31 SarahZ

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Posted 11 July 2018 - 07:27 PM

To be fair, you were there during a summer holiday at the height of tourist season. It's also been extremely hot lately, so everyone has been hanging out near the lake. If you hate crowds, those are pretty much the worse places to go at the worse time of year. :)

 

Spring and fall are the best time to visit Chicago. You get the best weather, there aren't nearly as many tourists**, and hotels aren't super expensive yet.

 

**Watch the calendar for marathons and conventions, of course, as those can fill hotels

 

Chicago is also beautiful in December, when the streets and stores are decorated for Christmas. You'll end up seeing lots of tourists on Michigan Ave, but the rest of the city isn't quite so bad. Hotel prices hit rock bottom in January, and tourists tend to avoid the cold weather, so that's my favorite time to visit. :)

 

I think you should give Chicago another chance, making sure to visit when crowds are certain to be at a minimum.


Edited by SarahZ, 11 July 2018 - 07:27 PM.

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#32 spinnaker

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Posted 11 July 2018 - 07:48 PM

To be fair, you were there during a summer holiday at the height of tourist season. It's also been extremely hot lately, so everyone has been hanging out near the lake. If you hate crowds, those are pretty much the worse places to go at the worse time of year. :)

 

Spring and fall are the best time to visit Chicago. You get the best weather, there aren't nearly as many tourists**, and hotels aren't super expensive yet.

 

**Watch the calendar for marathons and conventions, of course, as those can fill hotels

 

Chicago is also beautiful in December, when the streets and stores are decorated for Christmas. You'll end up seeing lots of tourists on Michigan Ave, but the rest of the city isn't quite so bad. Hotel prices hit rock bottom in January, and tourists tend to avoid the cold weather, so that's my favorite time to visit. :)

 

I think you should give Chicago another chance, making sure to visit when crowds are certain to be at a minimum.

 

 

Well I wasn't there by my choosing ;)

 

And hence the idea of padding a day so I don't miss a connection. This time of year makes that idea a tough decision.   I specifically picked  this time of year for the long days.     And all in all I am really glad I did.     Had it been a bit later in the year I may have missed that run down into Denver because of the late train.    I may have also missed some of the Sierras.  

 

And oh it was extremely pleasant weather wise.   I was real happy to be able to take advantage of the shower in the first class lounge after my ride but I guess if I missed it it would not have been that bad.


Edited by spinnaker, 11 July 2018 - 07:50 PM.


#33 SarahZ

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Posted 11 July 2018 - 07:58 PM

Well I wasn't there by my choosing ;)

 

I realize that. :) I guess I just don't want you to judge Chicago by that one experience, since you were there during one of the times when it's most crowded. That's all I meant.


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#34 spinnaker

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Posted 11 July 2018 - 08:05 PM

 

Well I wasn't there by my choosing ;)

 

I realize that. :) I guess I just don't want you to judge Chicago by that one experience, since you were there during one of the times when it's most crowded. That's all I meant.

 

 

 

Nah I figured it couldn't be like that all the time.   And  as I mentioned, I did not need to go far up shore for there to be almost no people.   Though I could kick myself for not taking a risk and riding up that way right before lunch.    I battled all of those crowds to get a bite to eat at Panara.  Then latter I rode up the shore to find a nice little quiet cafe in a marina. :(   And I love boats too. :)  It would have been a great place for lunch.



#35 SarahZ

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Posted 11 July 2018 - 08:22 PM

Ok. The next time you go, you have to book one of the Wendella boat tours. They are wonderful. You will not be disappointed. Seeing the city from the river is really cool, and the little tidbits about the architecture and history of the buildings are neat.

 

https://www.wendellaboats.com/

 

Some of them include a cruise out on Lake Michigan. :) I booked that one once, but we had to stay on the river since it had just rained for about 138,000 days straight. They couldn't open the locks to let us out to Lake Michigan because the river would have flooded.  :P As it was, we had to use a different boat for our tour because the other one wouldn't fit under the bridge. Even with the smaller boat, our tour guide could easily reach up and touch the underside of the bridges. It was pretty cool.


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#36 spinnaker

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Posted 11 July 2018 - 08:28 PM

Actually  I saw a  small boat rental down at the marina.   I wish I had been prepared.

 

I remember seeing a couple of small boats being towed in.   There was plenty of wind.  It was upwind going into the harbor and a bit of a tight place to tack but I have sailed larger boats in tighter spaces.  Those being towed didn't know what they were missing. ;)     Or maybe they tried and just gave up.   It is a real challenge.



#37 erinch13

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Posted 14 July 2018 - 06:54 AM

To the original question , this may make you feel better. Last summer we were on the EB. It was late and getting later. They told us we would miss the connection to the CL, where we had a sleeper booked. I asked if I could call or get on the app to rebook us for the next day. The SCA and the conductor handling all the upset people said we could only do it at the station. The SCA said be prepared to run to get ahead of the crowd, and that the station is used to dealing with this and would put us on the next train out.

I went ahead and called. And was told that I could cancel and rebook with her, but I would have the cancellation penalty, and amtrak wouldn’t put us up overnight in Chicago. So we waited. It turned out we made it with 15 minutes between trains. A group of us ran for it, looking like one of the little lost groups from Poseidon Adventure. We made it with moments to spare.

To the OP, I understand what you were saying. One of my favorite books is Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. You were having one, and the odds were not in your favor. Recommend the book! Amd next time we go cross country, we also will pad it by a day in CHI.
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#38 neroden

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Posted 15 July 2018 - 06:26 AM

*Always* reschedule preemptively as soon as you figure out you're going to miss a connection. Don't wait for Amtrak. They'll tell you they'll take care of it. They won't.
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