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About dlagrua

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    Hillsborough, NJ
  • Interests
    Car collecting, Train Travel, Model RR, Visiting Historical sights, Cooking, Antiques, but above all love for friends and family.

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  1. The Cardinal is a train serving the cities of NY, PHI , CIN, IND HUN, and CHI among others. As such it serves most of those cities as a direct train. If you are traveling from NYP, EWR or PHL there is no layover or need to change trains. This may be a reason why sleeper space is so expensive. Also when the Cardinal runs only one sleeper, three or four of the roomettes are given to the crew. Given the limited availability of the of sleepers in the Viewliner there is your supply and demand situation.
  2. It would certainly be nice if Norfolk Southern the owner of the tracks would step up and offer to run and operate the New River Gorge Train but the FRA might not allow it. .
  3. Here is the solution. Book LaQuinta or any other hotel through Rocket Miles. Rocket Miles allows you to put your AGR no. in your profile so the points happen automatically at the time of your stay. LaQuinta does not allow any reference to AGR online or otherwise. With their policy, LaQuinta requires you to ask a very confused front desk clerk who knows nothing about the program for the points. They haven't bothered in two stays so far,. Just watch the nightly rates through Rocket Miles as they can sometimes be higher than booking direct.
  4. Just thought that I'd post my experience trying to get Amtrak points at LaQunita Inns. I followed the procedure and upon check in requested that the clerk credit my stay in Amtrak points. They said ok but didn't want my Amtrak card. They said all is OK but no points resulted. I called LaQuinta customer service and they have no idea what Amtrak points are and how to get them. My experience points to the fact that LaQuinta is getting free advertising on the AGR site, Amtrak customer bookings but the point offer is a hoax. There is no place to put your AGR no. on the online reservation. Anyone else here seeing the same thing?.
  5. dlagrua

    Enterprise Car Rental AGR Points

    Last year Enterprise snaked me out of their points special. You book online and then when you show up they try to sell you the extra insurance. If you agree they cancel out the original reservation number and start over without the special offer.
  6. Now with multiple hot menu choices I don' t see how you can self serve. Someone will need to take your order otherwise how do they know what to heat up? . Even with boxed meals it may come down to table service again. In the past meals were staggered to allow all sleeper passengers to get their meals. Now it seems like a free for all, first come first served scenario. I guess that we will know for sure come this May's CL WAS-CHI trips.
  7. The Metropolitan Lounge can get very crowded after lunch and in the afternoons during the busy season. I see the $50 fee for a day pass being instituted to not make the lounge more crowded during those busy times. The purpose of the Legacy club might have been to offer coach passengers a waiting area but a $20 pass for a few hours of connection time didn't attract a wide audience. The Legacy Club was also not heavily promoted and its location far from the gates is also not ideal. What they should have done is to give all frequent coach passengers a one time/single use Legacy Club guess pass and then promoted memberships.
  8. dlagrua

    Amtrak Greenwashing

    From what I can see the Cardinal, Lake Shore and Capitol Ltd menus are now similar with the exception that the Cardinal still offers traditional table service, and a slightly expanded menu. Last time we rode the Cardinal there was one FSA food preparer/server with the SCA helping out. The other person in the split dinerlite car was dedicated to snack bar service. The Breakfast Omelets were actually pretty good, the burgers for lunch were OK but dinner was mediocre at best. Overall I wouldn't call it terrible. If this is the way Amtrak must go, I just hope that they keep this abbreviated meal service only on the single overnight trains. I could not see ourselves going on a 3 day cross country trip dining on this food. If you give some thought on this whole downgrade of food service; it really didn't save Amtrak that much money. They are still running the dining cars with less staff but those people were all offered positions on other trains. Amtrak probably saved a small bit of money but perhaps by also alienating and losing some loyal passengers. We did not ride since the box lunch policy was instituted. Since my wife insisted we do a trip to Kansas City this May we will try it. I often wonder if this move to an abbreviated meal service is going to hurt ridership rather than help the bottom line?
  9. I believe that we know what it means.
  10. Regarding baggage storage at the Chicago Metropolitan lounge, the room is on the far right of the front reception area. There is no longer an attendant there so its all self service. In several years of using that lounge we haven't experienced any problems but if it makes you feel better, you could always bring a bicycle lock and hitch your luggage to the racks. IMO the metro lounge at Chicago is the best that Amtrak has. There is complimentary soda, juice, sparkling water, coffee, tea, cappuccino/espresso and occasional fruits, vegetables and cheeses. Wine can often be purchased there as well. When you are at NOL the Magnolia room (lounge) offers a private waiting area w coffee but not much else. D.C is pretty nice but all they have there is soda , pretzels and fish shaped crackers. Whatever lounge you are in during a layover, its certainly better than being out in the crowded station..
  11. I would never try to defend the Cardinal menu as the ultimate in gourmet cuisine cooked by French Chefs Just trying to suggest a budget menu that might fit on the CL and LSL. The Cardinal food is by all means basic but at least there are many choices and diners are served at the table. Lunch has 9 choices, Dinner has four They removed the God awful french toast sticks for breakfast and added the railroad french toast which is typically good. I'd love to have the full diner service again but with the way things are now, reheated high salt frozen foods are what Amtrak is offering right now.
  12. Getting back on topic it seems that the LSL and CL food at the very least now includes 3 hot entrees. After reviewing the menu its still not great and its served in a box, but good enough for my wife to book a trip for us this May. Food seems similar to what we used to get on the Cardinal but FAR less choices. Last we recall they serve on plates there too and you have the community seating which we like. The Cardinal menu offers BREAKFAST Southern Style Chicken Biscuit Continental Breakfast Rail Road French Toast Salsa Omelet with Roast Potatoes, Pork Sausage, (optional) Cheddar Cheese Guacamole & Chunky Tomato Salsa Applewood Smoked Bacon Chicken Harvest Sausage Links LUNCH Chicken Pesto Focaccia Sandwich – Train 50 Honey Turkey & Provolone Sandwich Ham & Turkey & Swiss Cuban Sandwich with Mustard & Pickles Black Forest Ham & Muenster Chef’s Leafy Green Salad with (optional) Diced Turkey & Turkey Breast Chicken Caesar Salad The Cardinal Angus Cheeseburger Meatballs with Roast Tomato Sauce & Penne Pasta DINNER Roasted Chicken, Madeira Sauce, Bread Pudding and Green Beans Seafood Jambalaya with Andouille Pork Sausage Pork Shanks, Tomatillo Sauce, Mexican Black Bean Rice Vegan Chinese Rice Noodles CHILDREN'S & SPECIAL MEALS Kids French Toast Hebrew National Hot Dog Cheese Pizza DESSERTS No Sugar Added Vanilla Pudding Greek Yogurt Cheesecake Lemon Citrus Tart, Strawberry Garnish Chocolate Caramel Whiskey Pecan Bundt The above is done with one chef/server and help from an SCA. If they can so it on one train then why not do it on the CL and LSL?
  13. Lunch & Dinner, hot items: Chicken Penne Alfredo, Beef Provencal, Asian Noodle Bowl; chilled item: Antipasto Plate Deluxe Continental Breakfast, hot items: Oatmeal, Breakfast sandwich; chilled items: Muffins, Yogurt, Fresh Fruit, Hard-boiled eggs, cereals An improvement but at lunch and dinner I try to avoid red meats, high fat and high carbs. It looks like the items that I try to avoid but I guess not much Amtrak food was ever healthy.
  14. dlagrua

    Long anti Anderson Article

    IMO, the only hope for change is to win the hearts and minds of the American people. Rail is a comfortable, great way to travel. Most of us here know this, enjoy train travel so why isn't this message spreading faster than it is? Perhaps its because Amtrak no longer advertises very much and strangled by its budget. Change at the grass roots level can happen so if all rail passengers took a bit of time to write Amtrak and their representatives maybe this would make a difference.
  15. dlagrua

    Another dining car/SSL cutback

    Posters can be printed in low volume very cheaply on a large PC printer. I've used my Epson to print long banners so posters shouldn't be a problem. I hope that the recent cuts don't go as far as keeping the poster frames empty. Here's an idea. How about Amtrak soliciting the cities that they service that are looking to build up tourism? Give them the poster space at a low cost and maybe they will bite. If you look online you will find travel/vacation posters for Chicago "The Vacation City" , MIAMI, Denver, New Orleans and many other destinations. This idea for trains may be a throwback to an earlier time but the airlines still seem to do it.