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About Skyline

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    OBS Chief

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  1. Within my circle of friends and acquaintances, upwards of 25% (guesstimate based upon conversation, observation) struggle to use 21st Century communications technology. Not all of them are old enough to receive Social Security BTW. Many just won't try, or try a second time if they've had a bad first experience. Kinda like some of us who've flown but you could only get us back in a jet at gunpoint. Given the perceived demographics of Amtrak's customer base, it would be downright foolish to piss these people off and put up additional roadblocks to talking to a human being to initiate and complete a transaction. Even easy, mundane transactions -- and we all know booking travel of any kind is often not easy and mundane. So, thumbs up for Amtrak trying to be cutting edge, but thumbs down for Amtrak expecting everyone to do the same. Downsizing that many in-house call agent positions, or even replacing some with less competent subcontractors, won't end well for anyone.
  2. Skyline

    Viewliner Roomette Toilets

    Correct. Though I've been in a Viewliner roomette on the Cardinal, most of my LD train travel in the US has been west and south of Chicago. So I was thinking about Superliners.
  3. Skyline

    Viewliner Roomette Toilets

    Agree. If you're solo, the upper bed is ideal for storage. If there are two of you, perhaps a small overnight bag would fit down by your feet. I'm often solo in a roomette so it doesn't matter, but when there were two of us, my backpack fit (barely) upstairs in the bed down by my feet, pack leaning upright in corner. Ditto lower bed. (We're both hikers and backpackers who travel with moderately-sized packs, not suitcases. We're accustomed to jammed quarters in tents, so a "cushy" bed on a train is downright luxurious!)
  4. If it is a block booking for the usual reason(s), and the party booking all the sleeper space doesn't end up needing all that space, some could be released to the public later on. But you can't depend on that. In such an example, how much of a financial penalty would a group movement organizer suffer for cancelling X number of bedrooms/roomettes?
  5. Slightly off topic, but the DC Metro escalators are often "off," meaning people MUST walk them. Sometimes only a few are "off," and sometimes the majority or even all of them are "off." Are you saying we are in grave danger walking on these? This happens quite often, and is more common off-peak, but I've seen it at rush hour too.
  6. Skyline

    Roomette 'flash sale' Ends December 11

    But the 2nd person gets the other perks of being a sleeper pax, like meals included, use of premium station lounges where they exist, etc.....correct?
  7. Skyline

    Solari Board at PHL

    I hope you're right. Give me a video screen or even a Solari board to look at while I'm in the station! I'm so over every business imaginable expecting us to go to a website or a cell phone app and "do it yourself."
  8. Skyline

    Capitol Limited Wi-Fi?

    Just like government-mandated/supported Rural Electrification, so that (almost) everyone could avail themselves of the benefits of an electric home -- robust cell and internet service for all is quickly becoming a need and not just a want. It just takes a bold step forward by our political classes. Until that happens, and it should and likely will eventually, I don't think being "connected" on every mile of an Amtrak journey is realistic.
  9. Skyline

    Ocean Derailment

    Glad there were no injuries, and the cars remained upright. Hopefully any damage is minor. Can repairs be made right in Halifax? I'm assuming this would have become the next #14 heading to Halifax from Montreal. Does VIA have ample equipment in Montreal to make up a reasonably similar consist on Wednesday?
  10. Apparently you never met stranded passengers, operators of lodging venues whose registered guests were no-shows, or the employees of Amtrak and its vendors, or myriad others who cancelled plans to travel on the CS during this period. They are among many other "someones who care." There's not much that could be done about this truncation, so it was the kind of story you'd only read or hear about on a very slow news day. Haven't had a lot of those lately. With the right will, LD and corridor pax service can both thrive! They can even feed one another. Most of the other civilized (and a few less civilized) nations on Earth have figured out how to make trains of all types a larger part of their transportation priorities. Their citizens benefited! They did so by acknowledging the support of public transportation (including robust rail) is an important function of government, and is seldom going to make a profit any more than highways, bridges, waterways, the FDA, or the military does.
  11. Skyline

    WiFi on the Cardinal?

    I was surprised to find sporadic cell service, with my WiFi turned off, on some segments of the Cardinal last year in places I thought had zero chance. Spotty would be the best word to use. But it did exist! Additionally, there were places before 50/51 are in mountainous terrain that we enjoyed service for many consecutive miles. (Likewise in many places along the Empire Builder's route where only the livestock and wildlife might benefit.) But where I live in Virginia, near Shenandoah National Park, we struggle for long stretches of driving. And only at a few west-facing viewpoints along the Appalachian Trail do we get service, and then only with Verizon. I guess that could be considered "spotty" too, in the extreme. Go figure...
  12. Better bet would be to pick up some wine you'd actually like to drink enroute to the train.
  13. Skyline

    Crescents 11/10/2018

    I know the media is not the enemy of the people, but due to downsizing it is certainly dumbing-down.
  14. Skyline

    coach between Toledo and Tampa?

    First, check Amsnag for your best price(s). Knowledge is power. Write down your complete proposed itinerary (dates, times, train numbers, type of accommodations, etc.) and pricing so you can be sure to recite it accurately to the agent on the phone. Then, call 800-USA-RAIL and carefully explain exactly what you want to do. Be sure he or she repeats back to you exactly what your reservations entail. You could do this online, but it's a bit convoluted in my opinion. Some agents are very competent. Some, not so much. If you draw one of the latter (you should be able to "tell" early in the convo), excuse yourself, call back, try again.
  15. Aerial shot here: https://www.news4jax.com/news/florida/putnam-county/4-injured-when-train-hits-trailer-of-truck-stopped-in-crossing-fhp-says