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About GBNorman

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    OBS Chief

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    BNSF Chicago Sub MP 18.74
  • Interests
    Retired CPA; employed within railroad industry 1970-81

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  1. GBNorman

    Long anti Anderson Article

    Wow, do we get off topic around here - especially when we have a non-rail forum. I can't say anything about Delta; I've flown 'em in this life, but what can I say beyond that? JetBlue? flew 'em during '15 to visit my Niece in Brooklyn. Got totally lost at ORD trying to find them, but the flight was OK. Even if it didn't work, they try to offer free Wifi. But let it be noted, my Sister "loves 'em". On her JFK-SYD journey she just got back from, she gave them JFK-LAX, then Delta beyond (maybe they have a code share). So, quite simply, United is my "go to". From ORD, they go anywhere I have, or would have, occasion to go. I know my way around their part of ORD, and that's a lot of "the battle" when flying. Should I choose to visit my Niece in her new permanent home, Sydney, NSW, AU, it will be on United.
  2. GBNorman

    Long anti Anderson Article

    "Not the Railway Age I once knew...." "Back in my day" when I was employed within the industry (70-81), and RA was a freebie, one would never have expected this Opinion in print (or digital nowadsys). Very simply, the party line was "get rid of 'em - sooner the better".
  3. GBNorman

    New Menus on #8

    So long as the scope of this topic has expanded from one train to Systemwide, any reports regarding changes to Auto Train dining? I am definitely "on the fence" whether there will be a "Voyage 25" this February. Even if the food on "24" was somewhat better than "23", where it was simply vile, the $814 last year really makes me question the value of it all. While not Amtrak's fault in the least, "Red Lex" had to be retired last July after being mortally wounded by a chuckhole on the return drive home from LOR ($700 later and he still "wasn't right" - oh well, maybe his new owner is not as fussy about cars as am I). "Black Beauty" has already had an encounter with one - in Greenwich CT no less!! (where you'd expect roads paved with Caviar), but was fine.
  4. GBNorman

    Boston - New York overnight ferry

    That's a "been there done that". "Once upon a time (within the Amtrak era)", there was a pickup/setout NYP-WAS Sleeper. Handled on 66/7, Night Owl. It was parked at either station from 10P to 8AM after of course it moved between the two. Pre-Amtrak, this was quite customary for routes such as GCT-BOS, along with pickup/setout Sleepers on numerous routes. But Amtrak reasons "why have an Attendant there under pay when no revenue is generated? During "railroad days", to handle a "Pullman" at say Jackson, MS, Memphis. TN, Greenville, SC, and God knows wherever else, was just part of a Third Trick's yard assignment to "go down to the station and yank the Pullman off #5". Amtrak doesn't have that "utility". So even when the V2snoozes are ever delivered, don't expect to see any pickup/setout lines.
  5. GBNorman

    Anyone here work for Amtrak?

    Assignment of Assistant Engineers are governed by Labor Agreement requiring such whenever the timetable scheduled run exceeds six hours.
  6. GBNorman

    Tipping question (station agent/staff)

    One simple enough, you don't tip any employee who is under Hours of Service. Same with air transport. A Station or On-board employee, well that's the "50 shades of...."
  7. GBNorman

    Happy New Year, from the Flight Deck

    Well gotta say, I'm "not exactly invited" to have much knowledge of your "workspace". Back in '57 when I was all of 15yo, I did get to be on the "Flight Deck" of a United DC-7 while in flight. Maybe that's why after all those years, United remains my "go to" airline.
  8. GBNorman

    Happy New Year, from the Flight Deck

    OK, now that we are no longer "bushing around the beat" regarding what airline is being addressed, the sooner United completes the conversion of the existing overseas fleet to the Polaris product, I'd think the happier any passenger willing to pay 4x more to be "on that side of the curtain" will be about the flight experience. Even if at first glance, the cabin looks like a "cube farm", having "myspace" clearly defined I would think would be a "blessing" to all except for "couples". But to close on a sour point. Just when United is starting to repair their "tarnished" - even if mainly arising from an incident that occurred on another airline named Republic - United proposes to reduce Attendant staffing to FAA mandated levels rather than that needed to ensure a quality in flight experience for all passengers simply escapes me.
  9. GBNorman

    Happy New Year, from the Flight Deck

    What varietal 777 did you have; 77-Q or W? What a difference between the two; nobody is four abreast and facing Aft in the latter. On the Q (sooner they are all reconfigured to W, the happier passengers paying 4x Coach will be), I try to have 6-A, as 6-B is not sold. One flight, I had an FO camping out for a while, but promise I respected his need for some winks.
  10. GBNorman

    US Airline Roundup for 2018

    Three trips, six flights, this year namely ORD-MIA; ORD-MUC; ORD-RIC. All were on my "go-to airline" United. The MIA flights during January were "just what they were supposed to be; on time and without incident. Southward, I was seated next to an "ex-Con" Captain who was commanding the return flight. While the Officers (pilots) were the first major craft to get the "urge to merge" (the Attendants only came to agreement last year), he was a "bit less happy" being displaced from a CO Captain to a UA First Officer, but has since been able to hold Captain. He also showed me how to quickly distinguish an A-319 from a 20 (one emergency hatch over the wing). Otherwise my wine class was full and the Chicken pie as good as you get in First for three hours nowadays. I would have been a "happier camper" ORD-MUC during August with them had there been a 777-300 (W) rather than the 777-222 (Q) this year. To translate from "Unitedese to English" (W) means a Polaris configured Business Class, while (Q) is the traditional Business Class in which Polaris is simply a label. For my '17 sojourn, there was a brand new 773 (W). Unfortunately, for those souls "Aft", the additional creature comfort afforded those "Fore" comes at their expense with 3-4-3 Coach configuration. ORD-RIC was Eastward in Econo+, but next to the bulkhead which on an ERJ-145 obviated any space advantage. But I was seated next to a nice "fiftysomething" gal joining two of her sorority sisters for a "girls weekend out". She has misplaced her Driver's License (and she was going to rent the car) and understandably upset. But I found it on the floor (something "slick" under my shoe) - time for hugs and the Express Jet Attendant even comped both of us with wines (one each; we both had to drive). Return was seated Aft on the Left side and single seat - the flightseeing was good. Continuing, but off-topic, my only Amtrak trip was SFA to LOR during February. All the other eight out-of-town overnight were auto. Finally, my 23K United points earned this year went to Fisher House - a veteran's support organization.
  11. But lest we note, the "majors" had largely retired the 727 by, say, '01, which is about when the "Main Cabin" space per passenger started to be "compacted".
  12. A few notes to jishnu's report. The spur from the BNSF main up to the pkantvis reported to have one of, if not the, steepest grade of any actively used rail line. Secondly, the 777-300 to my eyes. is the most beautifully proportioned aircraft God and Mr. Boeing's successors ever built. The 747 looks like "a whale with a bump on his head", the 787 looks like a shark (maybe I'm jealous because I don't know when, or if, I'll ever fly on one). A 767 is an aircraft that looks "stubby" and belongs to domestic routes (even if I have four flights overseas on them). My "bubbabro" (good friend from Atlanta) has flown a 757 EWR-DUB; all he said to me was "I'm flying this model plane overseas?". The "latter day" 737's are nicely proportioned as well, but I do hope "my company" (long BA) can address the flight control issues with the 739.
  13. GBNorman

    AutoTrain Question

    Maybe next February after all. I just checked an Auto Train #52 (NB) for Feb 19. Me in Bedroom and auto in the rack 2018 same date was $835 which was getting a bit pricey for this "Scot blood". Checking 2019, the rate for same is presently $637. The blood is becoming a "bit less Scottish". While during July I traded Red Lex shown here at SFA, his successor "Black Beauty" just might make that same ride.
  14. GBNorman


    Jis(hnu}, it should be noted that the eighteen Slumbercoaches were not built on order for any road; they were built "on spec". Budd quickly received purchase orders for four from "the Q" and followed by two from the B&O. Twelve sat at Budd until the NYC agreed to lease four, the NP bought four naming them "Loch--", the B&O acquired three and the MP one (lease/purchaser, I know not) for a Wash-San Antonio line. That put all of 'em in revenue service. The NYC released theirs at expiration and were bought by the NP. The eight were sold to Amtrak. The four B&O-MP cars were also acquired by Amtrak. The first two were eventually purchased by Amtrak, but only after the B&O sold them to a third party. Amtrak paid "dearly" for those final two; where the proceeds ended up, I ask not.