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Manny T

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About Manny T

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    OBS Chief

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    Chicago IL
  1. Manny T

    An unusual passenger encounter

    I spoke to Justice Stephen Breyer in the lounge in NYP once (in the lounge, not on the train). He's an unusual passenger -- a liberal justice on the U. S. Supreme Court.
  2. People are slobs. Met Lounge would be grungy if people could bring in their outside food. I often notice while strolling around Gotham (any city USA) that most of the litter is fast food wrappers, cartons and cans. With a food court just one flight above the CUS Met Lounge, one can eat outside food there.
  3. Manny T

    Coast Starlight "hijacked" by Drunk Man

    Not aware how things work in driving the train: so this guy jumps on and sounds the horn, and crew is afraid for their safety and don't approach him: Question, if he could control the horn, could he control the train? operate it somehow? stop it? The latter seems like it was his intention. Should the crew have intervened?
  4. On the scenery: When I go eastbound on the CL, wake up on a snowy morning and look out the window at the snow covered landscape, it's pretty. Harper's Ferry and all that. On the price differential: I don't have a clue.
  5. I bailed once. I was 6 hours late on the Cardinal arriving into NYP. That would have put me in midtown Manhattan at 3-4 AM heading to a hotel. Didn't like the feel of that so I made a D.C. hotel reservation from the train and got off in D.C. Spent the night in D.C. and continued to NYP (on my own dime, I think) the next day. At some point I called Amtrak Customer service and explained the situation, outlined all the additional costs. The agent listened very patiently, did some math and came up with a figure for a voucher. It was more than adequate. Btw the 6 hour delay was composed of 2 parts -- 3 hours of general delay (traffic/mechanical) and then 3 hours because the train struck someone, unfortunately.
  6. I think they opened up the Legacy Lounge for a variety of reasons happening at the same time: the Met Lounge opened for sleeper PAX, the old coach waiting room was to be closed for renovations, and the Great Hall was being revived for general waiting purposes. In that context, putting a NICER waiting area just off the (now crowded) Great Hall (it used to be empty) and making some money by charging for entry, made sense. On paper. Unfortunately, it fizzled.
  7. Agree with all the comments about lounge attendants who can be rude, even nasty, because I've seen it, but I disagree it's a "Chicago" thing or a "New York" thing. It's an Amtrak thing. The service ethic is lacking at Amtrak -- everyone knows that, it's been studied and reported, it shows up ON the trains (dining attendants, SCA's), so why wouldn't it show up at the front desk of the lounges? Since I live in Chicago (lived in NYC for many years), I encounter Chicago service personnel all the time in retail, restaurants, offices, etc. In general, there is very little "attitude" and a surprising amount of friendliness. Even bus drivers, about half the time, will say good morning when you board and thank you when you pay your fare. If service, respect and friendliness are lacking at the front desk of Chicago's Metropolitan Lounge, I'd bet it's an Amtrak thing and not a Chicago thing.
  8. I'd say it depends on what you are drinking.
  9. Oh great, just 2 years to wait for a lounge that approximates what the airlines have been doing for their First Class passengers for, what, decades.
  10. Agree with the 2d part. The "refresh" consists of replacing cold boxed meals with reheated frozen dinners (TV dinners), then adding a salad, dessert and beverage. For sleeper PAX they are free, but how much would Amtrak charge coach PAX for these $3.99 TV dinners -- $16.50? $18.50? No sane coach passenger is going to want to buy them. So imho the question of "allowing" coach PAX into the now barren "dining car" to do so is a non-starter.
  11. Does anyone remember the story about the farmer who asked the wise man, "Sir, my house is way too small for my wife, my 7 children, and my in-laws. I can't stand it. What should I do?" The wise man said, "Bring all your animals into the house, your pigs, goats, sheep, and chickens." The farmer did it and then returned to the wise man and said, "Sir, the situation is absolutely terrible. I can stand it! What should I do?" The wise man replied, "Take all the animals out of the house." The farmer did it, returned to the wise man and said, "Oh thank you sir for your advice. My life is wonderful now." Looks like this is what Amtrak did. They reduced food service on the CL/LSL to absolutely rotten levels that many could not tolerate, and some bolted just to avoid (some were fine with it). Then they improved it a little, TV dinners for lunch and dinner, more breakfast choices (but it's still not made-to-order French Toast quality) -- and people are applauding. Isn't life wonderful!
  12. I know this: after taking the CL round-trip last month, in all my social media posts I mentioned how GREAT it was to receive the half bottle of wine (a $16 value!) with the dinner, and how GENEROUS Amtrak was to be offering it to sleeping car PAX at no charge. Now, it's gone. So CLEARLY, Amtrak was paying attention.
  13. Amtrak must be saving too much money on the "new" dining to ever restore full dinner service (although it may be losing some customer satisfaction). Under the "new" system, the SCA takes your order, and a sole attendant in the "dining" car assembles the boxes; then the passenger goes and picks up the meal. Shazzam--no chefs, no waiters, no leads in the dining car; all replaced by the the sole box assembler. The savings for Amtrak on "food services" are great.
  14. Manny T

    Dinner on the Capitol Limited?

    Mughal India WAS a good choice for dining near Union Station. Unfortunately it has closed. Last time I passed by I saw they were installing a new restaurant, not sure if it will be Indian as well. I'll check it out for sure, always looking for dining options near CUS.
  15. What made me think otherwise on the eastbound CL on Dec. 24 was the fact that the box contained a brownie and no cheesecake. What made me think otherwise on the westbound CL on Dec. 31 was the fact that the box contained a brownie and no cheesecake.