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About SP&S

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    OBS Chief

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  1. I've only had one trip where there were odor problems. It was not confined to any one room, the whole car stunk. I was told that the external air intake for the AC was sucking in vented gasses from the toilet system. The SCA was spraying Febreze in the corridor and appeared to be trying to have maintenance performed during crew change stops. He got a tip and a nice letter to management. I ended up getting a nice voucher. So in my experience, when the car stinks the whole car stinks. I do prefer bedroom E myself.
  2. I've seen bad reporting before, but this is BAD. Condolences to all involved in the incident.
  3. SP&S

    Help me understand railway signals

    Conductor: load shotgun and fire, love it.
  4. If you pay at the end, it's a tip; if you pay at the start it's a bribe with no assurance you'll get anything for it.
  5. SP&S

    Amtrak Coach Safety Concern

    One thing pickpockets like is a crowd into which they can disappear and quickly hand the wallet off to an accomplice. That's not easily found in a train. Now on a crowded platform that's a whole 'nother subject.
  6. SP&S

    Guess who's coming to dinner?

    Most people have been interesting. The news anchor and his husband. The retired dance instructor. The foreign vacationers trying to figure out the US. The elderly jazz musician who remembered playing with Louis Jordan. And the occasional stick in the mud. One of the perks of train travel is meeting new people.
  7. The answer is the usual answer for Amtrak, it depends. I havn't traveled on Christmas, that week but not Christmas, but I have on New Year's Eve. It depends upon the crew. Amtrak does nothing special. No special meals or decorations. The crew may well alter their uniforms, may put up some decorations, may even pass out candy canes or such And let them know you appreciate it. Bring along a small set of LED lights and string them around your sleeper door and you might put others in a more holiday spirit. Insert pining for the "good old days" here.....
  8. A minute and 22 seconds of a shaky shot of an equipment shed, just to watch a train go by. Really? Two things I'll never understand: why so many people become so stupid at crossings and why so many people don't use tripods.
  9. I can see where changes need to be made in this area. I've been on the CS when it was seriously delayed adding or dropping PV's from the consist. When you're running late, an extra hour delay is never appreciated. Hopefully somebody ends up realizing that we need changes made with a surgeon's scalpel rather than a meat cleaver.
  10. SP&S

    WiFi on trains?

    On the CS last week. WiFi was available in our sleeper. I tried to use google maps on my wife's tablet, it connected fine but it needed to download a map. That download kept failing about two-thirds of the way through. I guess when the say no downloads, they mean NO downloads.
  11. Won't that be fun when I fly one way and take the train the other.
  12. Unless things have changed PDX is a fresh air stop but smoking is not allowed on the platform or in the station. Also, the doors to the tracks close ten minutes before departure so If, as the old song goes, ya gotta have another cigarette, check before going out the front doors.
  13. We take the CS, at least, every year. Will I miss the PPC? Absolutely! Will it's elimination drive me away from Amtrak? Absolutely not! In fact last year we rode in February and will be riding again in February - when the PPC wouldn't be in the consist anyway. I've said for years that it was a treasure to be enjoyed while it lasted because it wouldn't be around forever. GML's post is spot on. It's expensive to maintain, generates little revenue on it's own, has a dangerous transition to the other cars, and is the lowest of low hanging fruit for Amtrak haters in congress. Good bye old friend, you will be missed. Missed like the UP dome diners, missed like my namesake railroad, missed like the flowers in the dining car. But I'm a realist and, having written software for most of my adult life, I know full well that the only constant is change - and change is not always bad. Still looking forward to the next trip (SNC - PDX) in a month.
  14. First off, two sad facts: no US carrier has universal coverage and the carrier's coverage maps are not always reliable. That said, Verizon seems to have the most coverage with AT&T a close second. Some might say that it is the other way around and I wouldn't waste time arguing - they might well be right. In any case, if you want coverage avoid T-Mobile (Deutsche Telekom) and Sprint. Of course, Verizon and AT&T are the most expensive providers in the country. Verizon gets real hinky about what phones/devices they will allow on their network, AT&T is less picky. Verizon is historically CDMA where AT&T was TDMA and progressed to GSM. All of those are falling by the wayside and LTE only devices are more than serviceable. I'd investigate companies that resell time on Verizon or AT&T network. You might wish to verify in advance that the company's sim card will work with your particular phone. <sarcasm>Remember that in the US, cell phone carriers are well respected companies</sarcasm> - on a par with used car lots.
  15. Ah yes, "My taxes are too high! Cut taxes! My taxes are too high! When is somebody going to fix these potholes?" If you want it, you have to pay for it.