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About dlagrua

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

    National Menu Changes?

    At this point I don't believe that the poor choices food menu can or will change. The only option as I see it is to bring in a private catering company to serve meals in the dining car that's already there and used as a box lunch distribution point. If this box lunch thing keeps up there's no telling what the negative long term effect on ridership will be. We have not taken an overnight trip since they decided to serve that junk food. Very stupid way to reward its highest paying customers.
  2. Let me tell you why I believe that the panhandle route will see passenger service again. First off CSX probably sold the line as it is not highly profitable. International Rail Partners, the new owner is now tasked with making the line profitable and successful. They will need all sources of revenue to reach and maintain profitability. Amtrak can contribute revenue by using (renting) the tracks and paying a share of the maintenance of way costs. Finally, if no one noticed the House of Representatives just flipped and some will say that a more friendly Amtrak posture will result. The house makes the budget so lets see what they are going to do for Amtrak.
  3. dlagrua

    Menu Capitol Limited?

    If Amtrak is so hard up to save money on the dining cars, I've always said that the answer is pre-prepared meals as reheated and served on the Cardinal. There only one FSA, takes orders, and serves the meals. While they may not be up to par with the full meal service on other LD trains, they are certainly superior to boxed cold meals. We've had Cardinal food on four trips and it was "middle of the road" quality but at least not a chemically laced boxed meal.
  4. dlagrua

    Cardinal questions

    What do you mean when you say it "picked up the Hoosier State"? The Hoosier State train runs from Indianapolis to Chicago on the same route as the Cardinal. On the days that it runs it couples onto the Cardinal train. I was told that by the SCA who complained of coach passengers walking through the sleeper and helping themselves to the coffee.
  5. dlagrua

    Cardinal questions

    We don't often take the Cardinal to CHI as the sleepers can get very expensive. On our four trips on the Cardinal the consist had one sleeper on April trips and two on June trips. All were in the rear and when we picked up the Hoosier state their coaches were coupled to the rear. To my knowledge there was never traditional dining car service but reheated pre-prepared meal service. The food is not great but better than the current boxed lunch served on the LSL and CL and you get table service..
  6. dlagrua

    one-week points sale

    If we consider the 50% bonus points allows us to buy points less than the redeeming value then it seems like a good deal. There is slight savings in buying them but that $1000 in points purchase may get you 1000 points on your AGR account. Now if you spent $1000 for a trip on Amtrak you get 3000 points plus the 10% rebate. So does the slight savings on the cost of points justify buying points specifically for a trip? The formula looks like this Joe Bloe wants to go on an Amtrak trip and he uses Amtrak 50% sale points that he buys at .027 each but they are redeemed at ..029. If the trip costs 29,000 points he saved .002 per point and a total of $58. In doing so Joe gets credit card points on the point purchase but not on the trip. Now the trip that cost 29,000 points x .029 would cost $841cash vs $783 on the ticket booked with discounted points. Now if Joe had purchased the ticket he would have received 3 pts per dollar or 2523 bonus points at a value of .029. vs 1 point per dollar for buying the points or 783 points. Buying the ticket then gives you 1740 points more + the rebate. Conclusion; purchasing the ticket and getting the 3X points bonus is clearly the better buy. The 50% bonus sale is a ruse. Is my math correct?
  7. dlagrua

    Amtrak workers fed up too...

    The Unions were a beneficial part of railroad history. When George Pullman ran the sleeping cars, the Porters (modern day SCA's) who were mostly black citizens were not paid a livable wage and had to rely on tips to just squeak out a modest living. In 1925 the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters was established and provided those in the profession better wages, health, retirement and pension benefits. As a result, many Pullman porters became prominent citizens/leaders in their communities and were significant contributors to the development of America's black middle class. Today the Railroad Workers Union continues to provide SCA'a FSA.s and the onboard crews with a voice regarding their employment but that voice has been weakened. Now Amtrak does whatever it wants with little oversight. The workers themselves now work with little oversight. Both scenarios need to change.
  8. dlagrua

    Amtrak workers fed up too...

    What is happening on Amtrak LD trains is not fair to the food service workers nor is it fair to the sleeper passengers that pay a hefty price for their ticket. This matter must be brought before congress as that's where these bad ideas originated. Had I known about the protest I would have been there to give my support and be part of the demonstration. I do agree that if something is not done about Anderson, why before you know it, he will drive the long distance service into the ground.
  9. dlagrua

    Amtrak Coach Safety Concern

    No theft incidents to report on any train in the last 15 years riding the rails in the sleepers or in coach. Our only concern is the unstaffed baggage rooms in the WAS Acela and CHI metropolitan Lounges. No problems so far.but as a precaution we use bicycle cable locks to fasten our carry on luggage together or to the baggage racks.
  10. Being "predisposed to criminal actiivity," or being considered so by police, is not in and of itself a crime. Nor does it suspend one's legal right to move freely about the country unhindered by unreasonable search and seizure. Perhaps I've just put myself on a watch list. Perhaps predisposed or profile was an incorrect way to describe it but I only observe and do not define the security process. I do agree with you on the implication of your statement that it is imperative for government to respect the constitutional and civil rights of all but does it work that way? Have you taken an airline flight of late? The TCA (government) treats everyone like a criminal at the airport. This is why we have not flown in 15 years. We refuse to be treated that way.
  11. When anyone buys an Amtrak ticket you provide government with your ID and much of your personal info. With that they can easily do an FBI background check, find out where are traveling, where you have traveled, for how long ,how many times etc etc. The credit card you use gives a history of your buying habits..Amtrak also asks that passengers keep their eyes open.. Add in the sniffing dogs for contraband and its a tight security system. Point is that government has a profile and statistics on Amtrak passengers and its easy to catch anyone predisposed to criminal activity.
  12. One train being ignored for food service is the Cardinal. On our four trips on the Cardinal, the meals were heated and served by one FSA. The SCA helped out waiting tables. The food on the Cardinal is mediocre but certainly better than a boxed lunch as on other CHI trains.. If Amtrak is penny pinching on the food service perhaps an expansion of this business model can provide decent hot food while keeping costs down....... but costs are certainly not down for the sleeper passenger. I don't see outsourcing of food service saving Amtrak any money. They still have to pull a dining car and maintain it. They still need to provide sleeper space and food for some dining car personnel. While Amtrak tries in vain to make the dining cars profitable they should realize that this has never been done in railroad history. As Wick Moorman once said, "dining cars are part of the service" and I will add , they help sell tickets..
  13. dlagrua

    Predicting a "consist..."

    Not hijack this thread but I must say that I am very sorry to hear about the passing of Alan. In a couple of meetings I found him to be very knowledgeable about train travel and a nice guy. R.I.P. Sent from my XT1585 using Amtrak Forum mobile app
  14. dlagrua

    Buh-bye, Amtrak AAA Discount

    It looks like the senior discount is also gone during the busy season. If you try to book and click senior it puts you right back to the std Adult fare. .
  15. dlagrua

    Sleeper Prices- WOW!!

    Absolutely agree that sleeper prices no longer start at low bucket. They are now quite high in price. The fares often fall 2-5 months out ( seems to be erratic) and it sometimes pays to wait for a fare drop. The risk is that if a tour group books early there might not be any rooms available in this time period. Superliner trains have 2-3 sleeper cars (except the Autotrain) . Bedrooms A-E (5) , Roomettes 1-14 (14) ., the H and family bedrooms (2) in each. Viewliners have less.. Not hard to sell out .