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About PaTrainFan

  • Rank
    Service Attendant

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  • Gender
  • Location
    Pittsburgh, Pa.
  • Interests
    Travel, especially by train, Canada, college sports, baseball and apple pie.

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125 profile views
  1. PaTrainFan

    EB/CL Connection in Chicago

    I'm an experienced Amtrak traveler and have yet to miss a connection. Was just curious what scenarios require Amtrak to put up customers overnight. The last several times I have gone out west I have flown back but this time looking for the round trip by train, and this is the very first time I have looking at that EB/CL connection. Most of the other inbound western trains have much earlier arrivals. I am planning on roomette. Enjoy Chicago on all levels, and an overnight on my dime is fine, but again, thinking of my options for that relatively short layover. If Amtrak has to pay, then all the better. ;-) Thank you.
  2. Am looking at a western trip this summer with a return to Chicago on the Empire Builder with connection to Pittsburgh on the Capitol Limited. What is Amtrak's window for guaranteed connections? The EB is due in at 3:55 and the CL is scheduled to depart at 6:40. Thought about planning an overnight in Chicago, but given the EB's history of poor timekeeping, I am thinking I may just roll the dice and schedule that connection and if the EB is significantly late I get a night in Chicago on Amtrak's dime rather than it coming out of my pocket. When this happens, generally speaking what kind of accommodations can one expect? Do they cover meals as well?
  3. PaTrainFan

    #1 LAX Arrival

    If I choose to go this route, I'll deal with it. Not much discourages me from a good long distance train ride.
  4. PaTrainFan

    #1 LAX Arrival

    Granted, I know little of the complexities of operations in a major railroad terminal, but it seems to me they could allow at least sleeping car passengers an opportunity to stay in their beds until 7 ish. It is appreciated that in most instances, sleeping car passengers can board early before the Sunset's late night eastbound departure.
  5. PaTrainFan

    #1 LAX Arrival

    Number 1's scheduled arrival into LAX is incredibly early at 5:30 a.m., and it is not unusual for it to be early. Do they ever allow passengers, especially sleeping car customers, to stay on for any length of time after an early arrival? What the heck does one do at the ungodly hour?
  6. PaTrainFan

    EB 27/28 Meal Service

    Thank you for all of the input. All very helpful.
  7. PaTrainFan

    EB 27/28 Meal Service

    What does the "cold meal service" on 27 and 28 typically consist of? Considering a trip to the Pacific Northwest this summer and looking at the options, Seattle vs. Portland legs. I've been on 7 previously so the Portland trip is appealing as something new. But I also am loathe to miss any opportunity for a full service dining experience, presuming those days are numbered. Thanks.
  8. PaTrainFan

    Seating on EB Capitol Limited in Pittsburgh

    A very good thought! At 5-6 a.m., will definitely find a great seat in the lounge! Thanks.
  9. Scheduled to take the EB CL from Pittsburgh to Washington later this week. Although I have taken 29 between DC and PGH many times, this is my first on 30 from PGH. Do they "assign" seats upon boarding in Pittsburgh as they do on 29 in Washington? What are the chances of getting a window seat? I imagine I can ask for one but will likely be at the whim of the attendant. Obviously it is also largely dependent on the load that day, but for me it would minimize the experience if I have sit in an aisle seat. Hoping a fair number detrain in Pittsburgh leaving plenty of open seats.
  10. PaTrainFan

    Comparing Historical Passenger Train Ridership

    I know it's exceedingly difficult to do, but I would like to believe it is useful to take Amtrak ridership today and compare it with intercity rail prior to Amtrak's founding in 1971. Commuter service completely obfuscates the issue. Amtrak isn't perfect, but arguably it prevented the national network from complete extinction. It would have died and never been resurrected. There are other factors, yes, but knowing the number of people riding rails now against what it was in pre-Amtrak days tells us something. I am guessing (yes, dangerously devoid of facts) that ridership now exceeds what it was in the 60s when there were far more intercity trains. If that presumption is correct, it is one factor in determining what Amtrak does is important, federal subsidies notwithstanding. You didn't specify long distance or intercity rail as a criterion for your question, so perhaps it is important to remember that US passenger rail travel (by trip numbers, excluding subways and LRT) is totally dominated by commuter rail, which is in turn dominated by the three New York City commuter rail services. About half of all rail trips in the US in 2017 were on the NY commuter systems; the Chicago, Philadelphia, and Boston commuter systems together accounted for about half the remaining trips. Everything else, including Amtrak, all corridor services, and all other commuter systems accounted for in the neighborhood of one quarter of the total ridership in 2017. For what it is worth, the NYC commuter ridership roughly doubled between the creation of Metro North in 1983 and 2017. In the same period, the US population increased by a factor of 1.4. Sources: various wikipedia pages. Ainamkartma
  11. PaTrainFan

    Comparing Historical Passenger Train Ridership

    Indeed ICC. Thank you. BTW, I think you meant the ICC. I don't think the Federal Communications Commission had much to do with passenger trains.
  12. Fairly soon into October Amtrak will release its annual ridership figures which, we hope, sets another record. If that proves to be the case, we'll rejoice and recognize how far passenger rail ridership has progressed since May 1, 1971. To add context, is anyone aware of ridership numbers that go before the establishment of Amtrak? Some of you astute observers may have thoughts on that. I haven't been around here long enough to know if it has been discussed previously. It's possible that we can rely only on estimates, unless the late, great FCC kept track of such things. But I think it would be interesting to how far back we can go to understand where we are today from a historical perspective. I don't know if overall there are more trains today than on March 30, 1971. We know there are far fewer long distance trains but there could very well be a higher number of corridor trains given the combined expansions of the NEC, California and Midwest corridors. I also expect one of these days Amtrak's vaunted IG will come out with criticism on how Amtrak calculates its ridership but that discussion can wait for another day.
  13. PaTrainFan

    SSL seating etiquette?

    This discussion has come up multiple times here. It is indeed a fine line. Seat hogs are rude, especially those who are paying no attention to what is going by outside the train. They can read in their room or at the their seat in the coach. One trip on the Zephyr a group of Amish (or Mennonite) folks took up residence in the entire lounge before breakfast and didn't move for hours, most playing games or reading. Finally a conductor made an announcement to the whole train to ask that people show some courtesy and allow others to also use the lounge. When I ride, I try to be considerate enough to stay no more than an hour at a stretch. I believe is they could use fewer tables upstairs and more "viewing" seats, but in today's environment we should happy a "non revenue" lounge exists. Some Amtrak bean counter will probably figure it will save $1 million a year to remove them from service.
  14. PaTrainFan

    Amtrak Ink

    Most companies do not allow the outside world an inside look at their employee communications, so this was a rarity. I just hope that Amtrak attempts to communicate its values and appreciation to its employees, whether we see it or not. If they don't, that's a problem. The logic was probably "cost" but I don't know that for a fact. As an employee, I rarely found anything newsworthy, mostly fluff with a majority of articles and pictures involving a 150 mile radius of Wash. DC. I did enjoy the anniversary and retirement listings... I certainly enjoyed skimming through the anniversaries and retirements as well. It was kinda cool seeing articles with people I worked with as well, yeah. But mostly...it was just stuff that most couldn't care less about. I believe there's a newsletter replacement that's available online only. And Mystic River Dragon, it wasn't used to communicate important stuff, and I believe it may have even been employee, not necessarily management run. The important stuff has to be handed to me in person.
  15. PaTrainFan

    Amtrak Ink

    Has Amtrak Ink been discontinued? I cannot find it on Amtrak.com. In fact, I do not see an employee section period, not that I could access it if it was there. I don't know how useful it is for employees but I enjoyed reading every issue although it dropped in frequency in the last few years to every other month. I am not aware of what Amtrak offers its employees in terms of an Intranet but it seems to me they sadly need to show some value in the front like workers.