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Rasputin

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Everything posted by Rasputin

  1. I keep hearing people say that Amtrak travel insurance is no good or is not a good buy and that other travel insurance is better but I have never seen an explanation of this. Since I know nothing about travel insurance can someone please explain why Amtrak travel insurance is not a good buy and if so, what travel insurance would be better. Thanks in advance.
  2. As I recall the scenery is pleasant but not nearly as dramatic as the scenery between Denver and Glenwood Springs. I think the downgrade run on the west side of Soldier Summit would be very interesting and scenic if you could see it but it is reached at dusk or just after, even in May.
  3. Rasputin

    #1 LAX Arrival

    I think the 5:35 a.m. arrival time for No. 1 at LAX is just wacky. It must discourage many passengers especially when they realize that wake-up time will likely be 4-4:30 a.m.
  4. I have heard of the French Market but have never been there. It looks like a great choice and thanks for mentioning it. Where is the entrance to the French Market in relation to the entrance to the Ogilivie (and the Ogilvie food court)? Only downside I can see is that there are too many choices and you might miss your train while trying to decide what to eat.
  5. If we want a quick and light meal between trains, sometimes we will walk from CUS to Ogilvie and eat there. If we want a more substantial meal and have more time between trains, we will often go to the Greek Islands Restaurant at Adams and (North?) Halsted (10 minute walk). There are certainly many restaurants within walking distance of CUS but that is often our choice. If the weather is bad, it's the CUS food court.
  6. Rasputin

    #1 LAX Arrival

    The schedule changed in early May 2012, probably around May 8 or so. This earlier schedule had No. 2 arriving in El Paso just after breakfast (or during a late breakfast in our case) and had some nice scenery east of Alpine but of course it missed the scenery west of El Paso that you get to see now. The station personnel at Tucson in 2012 was expecting the new arrival times to be much better for Tucson and was expecting that it would result in more ridership to and from Tucson. I don't know if that actually materialized but perhaps someone has that information.
  7. Aren't there plans to completely revamp the food court as CUS? Seems to me I have read something about this but I can't recall which decade they were talking about.
  8. Rasputin

    #1 LAX Arrival

    Maybe the westbound Sunset should sit on a siding someplace for a couple of hours in the middle of the night to kill some time, just as the overnight Montreal - Toronto trains used to do, and then roll into LAX about 7:30 but I guess there is no slot available then. When the Sunset used to allow passengers to remain on board after arrival in LAX I would think that it must have difficult to sleep with staff banging around, loud talking and other passengers leaving but maybe not so.
  9. The coaches on the Pacific Surfliner (as least the trains we were on) had a rack and ample floor space for excess luggage just as you enter the car. I assume that might be the same for business class on these trains.
  10. Ogilvie Transportation Center has a better food court and a bookstore. Just saying.
  11. I hope you will give us a report on this after your trip. A friend who traveled on the Boston sleeper in December and early January (before the "improved" contemporary dining menu) reported that you could order from the then existing contemporary dining menu or order an item from the café car regular menu. You could eat in the café car or the sleeping car attendant would bring your box meal to your room. You could also have the attendant bring your box meal to you at dinner when the so-called dining car would be some distance from the Boston sleeper. Word has it that patronage has been very light in the Boston sleeper and I have wondered if the café car was actually stocking and offering the full complement of contemporary dining selections. Perhaps it is as the Amtrak website implies but I am hoping we hear from someone with recent first hand experience on the train.
  12. New Orleans is a great place and here are a few suggestions: There are some great visitor websites for New Orleans that you should check out and you can send for some visitor information. Since your grandparents have some mobility issues you might want to study this information and target where you want to go beforehand. Also a sightseeing bus tour might be a good idea and give you a good overview of the city and it would be easy for your grandparents As mentioned, the World War II Museum is a must. I would suggest going there early in the day. Then if your grandparents get tired out, you can take them back to the hotel and you and your mother can return to the museum for the rest of the day. You can easily spend 3-5 hours at the museum. You can email or call the museum if you have questions about accessibility questions and you can check out their website to plan your visit. There are dining facilities there. Note that many New Orleans restaurants have websites so you can check out their hours, locations and menus. You can take a ride on the ferry to Algiers and back (As I recall it does not cost anything) As I also recall the ferry does not have restrooms so be forewarned. A trip on the ferry provides a great view of the city from the river. Boarding the ferry might be too far for your grandparents to walk. Jackson Square and the Saint Louis Cathedral are great and historic places to visit. The Stanley Restaurant near the Cathedral would be a nice place to eat and a great place for a root beer float on a hot day. There is a tourist information center nearby. The Acme Oyster Bar has great oysters and other food but they get a lot of tour groups there and It is crowded and noisy. We were unable to maintain a conversation there and I was unable to think due to the noise. We had a much better time at Felix Oyster Bar across the street. It is not as spiffy looking as the Acme but there is often no line, is not noisy and the prices are less than the Acme as I recall. The St. Charles streetcar line is great and you can eat at Superior Seaford which as I recall is near the far end of the line and then ride back. You can buy a day pass or three day pass, etc. for the streetcars and busses at many stores. As previously mentioned Commanders Palace on Washington Street is a great restaurant (No. 1 in New Orleans in 2018 according to NOLA.com). We find it to be a great place for lunch when it is less formal and I believe less expensive than at dinner. We take the St. Charles streetcar to Washington Street and walk down but that might be too far for the grandparents. After lunch you can look at the cemetery across the street from the restaurant which is probably one of the safer cemeteries to visit. (The other cemeteries I would visit only with a tour group.) Mulates is another good restaurant. Your grandparents might like to visit the Carousel Bar at the Hotel Monteleone. It is quite an attraction. About the only restaurant we were disappointed in was the Gumbo shop. A long wait and we had much better gumbo at other restaurants. I would suggest that for your safety that you do not wander around late at night especially away from the main tourist areas.
  13. There were a number of reports some months back about the café on the Star running out of selections but I have not seen any recent reports about this. I would recommend that you take an ample supply of your own snacks just in case.
  14. Based on my experience, I do not agree with the impression in this thread that the Southern Crescent was a second rate operation. I rode the Southern Crescent as a long distance coach passenger about 4 times in the early 1970s and also rode the Piedmont once from DC to Atlanta. In addition I saw the train on a number of occasions when I was not a passenger on it. The train was well maintained and the cars were clean and in good condition, inside and out. From my observations the E units on the Crescent were in excellent shape - sometimes immaculate. I never knew them to break down on the road. The dining car meals were first rate and it was evident that the employees took great pride in the train. I recall going to the station in Atlanta once around Christmas and being disappointed to learn that my train was an hour late coming from Birmingham. I never knew this train to be seriously delayed. The Southern Railway had sufficient equipment (and the willingness) to operate this train in extra sections at Christmas. In the Christmas season I would go way out of my way to travel to Greenville, SC., Birmingham or Atlanta to take the Crescent north and return on it after the holidays. It was a great service.
  15. I would suggest Birmingham - Nashville depending on the bus schedules. I used to do this once or twice a year but that was to connect with the Southern Crescent so my experience is a bit dated. I went Nashville to Greenville, S.C. by bus once to connect with the Southern Crescent but that was a long day (made a bit longer by a Greyhound strike).
  16. Rasputin

    EB 27/28 Meal Service

    Perhaps the best solution to the original question would be to travel west on 27 to Portland, then go to Seattle and return on No. 8. After the dining car meals on 7 east of Spokane, the boxed breakfast on 27 is more tolerable and you would have a full dinner on 8 after leaving Seattle.
  17. Rasputin

    EB 27/28 Meal Service

    I have been on 27 a couple of times but never on 28. The breakfast on 27 about 4-5 years ago consisted, to the best of my recollection, of a croissant with ham and cheese, some yogurt, some type of fruit and a muffin, all served cold. It was adequate but nothing to write home about. On our trips we picked up the breakfast from the cafe attendant and ate it in the sightseer lounge but I have been told that on some trips the sleeping car attendant serves the breakfast to you in your room and not in the lounge. There seems to be some inconsistency in the practice. That being said the scenery on the run to Portland in the Columbia River gorge is something to write home about so don't let the mediocre breakfast discourage you. Go to Portland.
  18. The overhead storage space in a viewliner roomette measures approximately 21 inches deep, 16 inches tall and 35-1/2 inches wide. However due to a clearance matter with a light fixture and a railing a bag much more than 12 inches thick would not have enough clearance to get into this space. There is some type of a vent at the top of the storage bin. I don't know what happens, if anything, if that vent is completely blocked. I don't know if you have been in a viewliner roomette but they are pretty tight quarters. You may end up sleeping with your luggage if you try to bring too much into the room which would be quite uncomfortable. I think you should seriously consider checking any extra luggage except for a bag or bags which will fit into the overhead storage bin and some carry-ons. The downside to checking bags to NYP is that baggage pickup there is not what I would consider rapid in my limited experience so if you have a tight connection, a delay in picking up your bags might cause you to miss your train.
  19. If for instance you have a reservation to board No. 4 at LA Union Station and you notify Amtrak that you wish to board at Fullerton instead, will this be considered a cancellation of your existing reservation or a modification that will incur a fee?
  20. Rasputin

    Checked Baggage w/ transfer at NYP

    We have checked bags NOL to NYP without any problem when we were booked NOL to Boston South Station. We picked up the bags at NYP, went to the lounge (we were sleeping car passengers on the Crescent) and then boarded a regional to Boston. This was about five or six years ago and there was no problem then.
  21. Does the scenery on the Capitol route have anything to recommend it or is there just no scenery there?
  22. That sounds like a great plan. The Santa Fe depot is a true historical and architectural gem. Not to be missed. I am not sure what happens if you board #4 at Fullerton instead of LA Union Station. Does the failure to board at LAX when your reservation is to board there mean that your reservation is cancelled? I have been told that it might and that you need to notify Amtrak that you intend to make this change. Hopefully someone knows for sure.
  23. Rasputin

    Dinner on 448

    Does anyone have experience with how dinner is being handled for passengers on the Boston sleeper on 448? Does the café car carry a supply of selections from the Lake Shore contemporary dining menu or do sleeping car passengers order a selection from the café car menu (or do they have the option of doing either if both are available)? Prior to contemporary dining, the café car on 448 and 449 seemed to some special items for sleeping car passengers which were not on the regular café car menu but the number of meals carried was limited. They sometimes ran out and then allowed sleeping car passengers to order off the regular café car menu. And are the contemporary dining menu selections available for lunch on 449 leaving Boston? Does the café car on 448 and 449 offer the beverage selections listed on the contemporary dining menu?
  24. Rasputin

    Dinner on 448

    Thanks for all the replies on this. It would be good to have a report from someone who has recently traveled on the 448/449 sleeping car. The meal service on 448 and 449 has gone through many changes the past few years and has been rather unpredictable, even when the stub train was operating for a couple of years. The last time I was on 448 and 449 was about a year ago shortly before the arrival of contemporary dining. On 449 leaving Boston, sleeping car passengers could order off the café car menu. There were no special entrees for sleeper passengers. A couple weeks later on 448 there were special entrees for dinner for sleeper passengers. As I recall, the attendant had several packages of a pasta entrée and several packages of a beef entrée. They were not on the café car menu. There was not enough of these entrees for all sleeping car passengers and latecomers ordered a sandwich, wrap or pizza from the café car menu. I keep hearing that patronage on the 448/449 sleeping car has seriously declined. Despite what the Amtrak website might say, I have some doubt that 448 and 449 carry the full panoply of the contemporary dining options for only a handful of passengers but I don't know for sure. On 448, it would make sense for the sleeping car attendant to take dinner orders before the train gets to Albany and splits. In that way the desired selections could be transferred from 48 to the café car on 448 so they would be available for dinner but maybe this would be too logical. I will be on 448 in a few months and will report back.
  25. That is great information and I agree with those recommendations. I wish I had understood the Fullerton connection better when I was going in the opposite direction - arriving at LAX on No. 3 and transferring to a Pacific Surfliner train for San Diego. We were booked to arrive on No. 3 and leave LAX on No. 768 at 9:55 a.m. As No. 3 was approaching Fullerton, the conductor made some announcement about detraining there and catching a train to San Diego. I didn't fully understand the gist of the announcement so I did nothing. I realized too late that we could have detrained at Fullerton and caught No. 564 at 7:23 a.m. We went all the way to LAX as planned but soon after arrival we did a cross platform transfer to No. 566 departing at 8:33 a.m. so we got to San Diego an hour or so before we were initially scheduled to get there. Had we been smart and caught 564 at Fullerton we would have arrived in San Diego a couple hours earlier.
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