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What's your favourite? Cardinal or Lake Shore Limited


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#1 v v

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Posted 13 July 2018 - 06:10 PM

If you were travelling sleeper WB from New York City to Chicago in late December, which train (Cardinal or Lake Shore) would you use...  and why? 

 

Thanks


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#2 cpotisch

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Posted 13 July 2018 - 06:12 PM

Cardinal. Hot meals, better scenery, tiny train, longer ride.


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


#3 AmtrakBlue

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Posted 13 July 2018 - 06:14 PM

Cardinal. Hot meals, better scenery, tiny train, longer ride.

Though late December he'll miss the New River Gorge.  


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#4 PVD

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Posted 13 July 2018 - 06:55 PM

OTOH, Lake has better timing, runs 7 days a week, and generally has better availability of sleepers and (usually) pricing, however on 12/23 (amsnag) the Cardinal is priced much better.


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#5 cpotisch

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Posted 13 July 2018 - 07:05 PM

OTOH, Lake has better timing, runs 7 days a week, and generally has better availability of sleepers and (usually) pricing, however on 12/23 (amsnag) the Cardinal is priced much better.

They do have the exact same price buckets going end to end. So if you're not in a rush, can make the three day schedule work, and can find sleeper availability, it's great!


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


#6 Seaboard92

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Posted 13 July 2018 - 08:20 PM

The Cardinal has amazing scenery. But what I like about it more is the really interesting vibe it has. It's got that small town living room feel. And it's very social.
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#7 PVD

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Posted 13 July 2018 - 08:27 PM

While the buckets are the same, because of the 3 day scheduling and the lower number of available rooms the LSL for end of Dec (20-30) has rooms actually available in lower buckets than the Cardinal, with the exception of 12/23. where the Card is cheaper (by a good bit)



#8 iplaybass

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Posted 13 July 2018 - 09:45 PM

Depends on whether you want a shorter or longer trip, and whether you want to change in Albany or DC, unless they're running through by December.

#9 RPC

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Posted 13 July 2018 - 10:14 PM

Cardinal:

Plus: at the moment the food is better

Plus: New River Gorge (though late in the day)

Plus: friendly vibe

Minus: leaving NYP at the crack of dawn

 

Lake Shore Limited:

Plus: Hudson and Mohawk River valleys

Plus: daily service

Minus: fresh & contemporary dining

 

That said, God only knows what food will be available on each of these trains come December! (...and whether the Cardinal will be running at all after the end of the year...)



#10 anumberone

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Posted 14 July 2018 - 01:17 AM

I've traveled both in December and the biggest issue is the lack of daylight hours for sightseeing. Other than that it was all new to me and I enjoyed both.

Edited by anumberone, 14 July 2018 - 01:18 AM.


#11 v v

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Posted 14 July 2018 - 07:19 AM

Yet again thank you, the pointers about ticketing cost and availability has encouraged us to book our tickets today, a week or two earlier than we thought we would.

 

At the beginning of the week we arranged and booked our arrival in NYC, we arrive early morning on the 22 December. We always intended to leave NYC on the 23 December but couldn't decide by which route, we've booked the Cardinal to be followed by the Southwest Chief to Los Angeles. That means we will be onboard the SWC on Christmas Eve, Day and Boxing Day (is BD a UK holiday only?).

 

The first response sold us on the idea to take the Cardinal, all the other responses continued to confirm that with good info too.

 

The New River Gorge looks superb, anyone know about what time the Cardinal passes through it? But if it's dark it's a shame, may get lucky and have a clear night sky.

 

Have to write though that Seaboard had the killer response...  "It's got that small town living room feel. And it's very social"   Seaboard, you know our weak spot!

 

So far hardly started any planning after arriving at Union Station, LA, but if there's any interest I'll post a schedule in 'Travelogues' when plans are clearer.

 

Thanks again AU

 

ps: can we send Trump back to you soon, he's creating mayhem here at the moment! ha h a ha   (this is not a political comment we just need a little peace and quiet)


Edited by v v, 14 July 2018 - 07:22 AM.

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#12 AmtrakBlue

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Posted 14 July 2018 - 07:30 AM

I took the Cardinal westbound in the fall one year and it was dark before we reached the New River Gorge.  I don't recall if we were running late, but even on time it will be dusk-to-dark by they time you get there.



#13 Everydaymatters

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Posted 14 July 2018 - 09:46 AM

I have taken both the Cardinal and the LSL a couple of times. I prefer the Card for the scenery. The LSL has rough tracks causing a bumpy ride.

Routes Traveled: Desert Wind, Southwest Chief, Missouri Mule, Empire Builder, Capitol Ltd., Lincoln Service, Lake Shore Ltd., Missouri River Runner, City of New Orleans, Cardinal, Silver Meteor, Texas Eagle, Cascades, Broadway Ltd., Acela, Downeaster, Sunset Ltd., Coast Starlight, California Zephyr, Hiawatha, Capitol Corridor, Maple Leaf, Ethan Allen Express 76,745 Amtrak miles.    Via Rail Vancouver to Toronto 2775 Miles.


#14 cpotisch

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Posted 14 July 2018 - 09:52 AM

Minus: leaving NYP at the crack of dawn

This is going to sound weird, but that's kind of a plus for me. I like waking up early, heading to the station, settling into my roomette, and getting breakfast on the train.


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


#15 PVD

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Posted 14 July 2018 - 10:33 AM

Boxing Day is mostly UK/Commonwealth, in some countries may be 2nd Day of Christmastide or St. Stephens Day. Boxing Day would be a major holiday in Canada, not the US.



#16 Bob Dylan

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Posted 14 July 2018 - 12:10 PM

Nice trip Jamie,😎 I totally agree with your choice of the Card, it's the Rodney Dangerfield of Amtrak Trains, it doesn't get any respect,( especially in Philadelphia😄) but is a wonderful experience, sort of like an old timely Un-named Secondary LD Train as compared to the Crack Trains. !

Edited by Bob Dylan, 14 July 2018 - 12:11 PM.

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#17 E60JPC

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Posted 14 July 2018 - 12:13 PM

I rode the Cardinal westbound between Charlottesville and Chicago on my way home for Christmas last year. I left Charlottesville on time on December 17 and was only 17 minutes late arriving in Chicago so we mostly kept to schedule. If on time, the westbound Cardinal will spend about 3 hours in the New River Gorge (6 pm to 9 pm). In December, this time period will be under cover of darkness. On my trip, it was already dark by the time we got to Hinton, the beginning of the New River Gorge traveling westbound, so we didn't see much of it. I was able to see the New River Gorge Bridge, even in the darkness. As recently as 10 years ago, it was the highest bridge in the Americas, the 2nd highest bridge in the world, and the world's longest single-span arch bridge.

 

Nonetheless, there is still great scenery to be seen westbound in daylight even in December. We traversed the Blue Ridge Mountains and Shenandoah Valley in daylight, shortly after leaving Charlottesville, and I found the scenery to be superb. The Cardinal (East-West) crosses Skyline Drive (North-South) at a right angle between Charlottesville and Staunton around the summit of the Blue Ridge Mountains. You will also see the famous Greenbrier Resort decked out in Christmas decorations at White Sulfur Springs at around sunset.

 

If you're planning on riding the Cardinal eastbound, you will traverse the New River Gorge between roughly 7:30 am and 10:30 am (if on-time). This would allow you to see most of the New River Gorge in daylight.



#18 Seaboard92

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Posted 14 July 2018 - 12:17 PM

The Cardinal has an atmosphere that's very hard to articulate. The crews That work Charlottesville to Huntington and Huntington to Indianapolis are the best in the nation in my opinion.

The first time I was on board the Cardinal it was a deadhead for me from Washington to Chicago. I was sitting in the lounge car and the conductors along with their work pointed out all of the sights we were passing by. With a very good history of the area.

The passengers themselves were a mixture of west Virginias turned Washingtonians, north east corridor people, Chicagoans, and vacationers. And everyone talked in the lounge. Conversations went from craft brew to brexit, to macroeconomic theory. It was something else. It just has that unique charm to it.

I've since done the route multiple times and it's amazing. You'll more than likely want a seat on the left side of the train for the gorge.
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#19 railiner

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Posted 14 July 2018 - 12:23 PM

I have always enjoyed the westbound trip on the Lake Shore, and having dinner in the diner along the Hudson, with the hopeless fantasy of being seated with a "Miss Eve Kendall" (character from the movie, "North By Northwest").... :)

 

Of course, that wouldn't work out with the current train... :(


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metroblue?

okay on the blue!

#20 oregon pioneer

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Posted 14 July 2018 - 02:52 PM

I usually take the LSL, because it is the most direct route to see my family in New England. Just before the end of AGR1, I booked a trip on the Cardinal east bound, as it was my last chance (have to conserve my points by going the cheapest way, now that points=dollars, not zones). I only had the points to get to CIN, where I got up at 5am (yes, we were late) and switched to coach. As soon as it was light, my face was glued to the window anyway! It was late fall, and coach was quite full with Amish folk.

 

I know you've already booked, but I'll confirm what others are saying: even if you don't get to see New River Gorge in the daytime, if you haven't taken the Cardinal, I'd say it's worth it. The full moon is Dec 22, so the moon will be pretty bright. Moonrise at Hinton, WV is 6:27pm. I am hoping you have a wonderfully clear evening, and the train is just last enough that the moon will be high! A big advantage of going in winter is that there won't be leaves on the trees to block your view.

 

Enjoy your trip! I am looking forward to reading your trip reports. You are such a keen observer of humanity.


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Jennifer

 

I'm a "little Old Lady in Tennis Shoes" (LOLITS) from Eastern Oregon. I love to travel by train, though I live way out in the toolies, far from the nearest Amtrak station (Chemult). My station would have been Baker City, but they cancelled the Oregon Pioneer just before I took my first long-distance train trip as an adult. I've taken most trains in the West, but I'm still exploring new routes in the east.





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