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Pat Harper

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About Pat Harper

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    OBS Chief

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    crochet, knitting, sewing, and traveling
  1. Pat Harper

    Lunch on the SL (train #1)

    That's good to know. However, I've known that train to be late a few times. Once I went there to meet up with a passenger who was passing through Lafayette. The people at the depot had no clue that the train would be late, so it was a good thing I was there with my cell phone communicating with that passenger. Oh how I wish Amtrak had made use of that terminal building when they had the chance, now Greyhound has taken it over.
  2. Schedule shows the SL #1 stops in LFT at 12:24 PM which is usually during lunch. It used to stop much later as we have taken that train twice to MRC and had to eat lunch before we got on the train (or else take it on board with us). Since it now stops at an earlier time, does anyone know if lunch will still be going on in the dining car or will we have missed it by getting on in LFT instead of an earlier stop?
  3. Train was on time coming into Lafayette, but before we could even get out of the city limits, some impaired person who was on foot decided he wanted to try to beat the train and cross the tracks. Needless to say, he didn't make it and the train knocked him backwards several feet. Ambulance was called, also police and fire truck. Pedestrian was taken to the hospital in critical condition and died that evening (we didn't know this until the next day when my daughter told me on the phone). We were delayed 2 hours before given the all clear and quickly made up time before arriving in San Antonio. The Texas Eagle was also late, so we weren't able to leave S.A. until an hour after scheduled departure. More time was made up enroute, and arrived in El Paso on time. No other incidents happened along the way, and we arrived at our stop (Maricopa) on schedule. What else can I say about the trip? Our SCA was Linda, didn't get anyone else's name. There was a large group of kids that got on board in Del Rio on a school trip. We just were lucky to make it into breafast that morning before the entire group (who were traveling via coach) entered the dining car. They were really cute, all still dressed in their pajamas, but the dining car staff were really busy. Thank goodness we were already eating our meal when they came in or no telling when we would have been served! Our return trip starts on the 30th. Hope it's not as exciting as the first one!
  4. We arrived in NOL early, had a pleasant wait in the Magnolia Room and got to meet some folks from the UK as well as Australia. Several people were going only as far as Memphis, while others were going all the way to CHI. I managed to get a pic of the Pullman cars that were piggybacking on the CONO (which, btw, is referred to as "the City" by locals). I actually spoke to one of the workers on the Pullman section, asking him if they were piggy-backing, and he said "Yes." We weren't able to go into that part of the train, though, but I did notice they had their own dining car and sleepers, as well as a coach car. As far as I know there wasn't anyone boarding those Pullman cars, so evidently they're still being used for training purposes. Once in Chicago, we had a long layover before our trip on the Lakeshore Limitied. Not long after we arrived, Joe Hess arrived on the Pere Marquette, and we walked to a local eatery for lunch (not Lou Mitchell's as I was waiting for our return trip to eat there. About 2-3 hours after our arrival in CHI, my hubby realized he had left a set of keys on board the CONO in our sleeper. A report was filed in Passenger Relations, and he was able to board #59 that evening before they started boarding, but the keys were not there. We were hoping someone would have turned them in before we left on the LSL, but no one did. We got to board the LSL a bit early, but since we were traveling coach, we didn't get to participate in the "Welcome Aboard" reception for sleeper passengers. We did get to board before other coach passengers, however, since we are both senior citizens. I got to ride in the trolley out to the train. Interesting ride, as the people across from me were Amish and didn't speak to me at all. Hubby walked to the train and I think beat the trolley! We got seated in one of the cars with other people getting off in either Syracuse or one of the stops before that, as well as others getting off at Penn Station. Our seats were in the front of the car by the door going to the next car. Although we had lots of foot room and extra room for bags, it was a noisy part of the train, what with people going and coming through those doors. The doors near us were on the path to the cafe car, while the doors at the other end were on the path to the dining car. Both times I went to the cafe car to get coffee, and both times it was either not open yet or closed. Dining car opened for breakfast at 6:30, and I was able to eat there and take breakfast back to our coach car for hubby, who was having one of his gout attacks. Also, we got good news! Not long before we arrived in Syracuse, hubby got a call from the lost & found in Chicago. It seems they had finally located his keys, and called hubby for a description of them before ascertaining they were indeed his keys. They us that they would put the keys in an envelope, then a box, and ship them to the Syracuse baggage claim for us to pick up on Saturday before we leave. What a relief! Our house key was in that set, and it is the only one we had because I had lost mine and haven't taken the time to make a duplicate. Geez..after a night in coach, I was ready to check on upgrading our tickets on the return trip. I did not wait until we were on the train back to Chicago, and it was a good thing I didn't, because when I called Amtrak from the hotel today, the agent told me they had one roomette left. Even though we had to pay the difference between our reserved coach seats and the roomette, I felt it was worth the added expense just to have a place to stretch out and to be able have breakfast without shelling out extra cash as well has having access to all the coffee I want. All I have to do is exchange our tickets upon arrival at the station here in Syracuse. I think that covers it for now. Will write about our return trip when we have arrived back home.
  5. Pat Harper

    Empire Builder on Time!!

    A lot of the lost time on the Empire Builder is due to the heat. Once the weather changes and the temperature drops to winter temps, the speed restrictions are lifted. Therefore, you will arrive at your destination on time, barring track work and mishaps along the way. It was explained to us on our trip on the EB in August, that the tracks on that route are built on perma frost, and when the outside temperature reaches a certain level, they have to go slower to prevent the tracks from buckling due to the melting perma frost. Hope this makes sense.
  6. Pat Harper

    Hello from Cajun Country!!!

    Welcome Anthony, from another AU member in Cajun Country! While not a native to this area, I've lived in the Lafayette area since the late 70's. I've ridden the Sunset Limited to Maricopa and back, the City twice (about to go again on Monday the 12th), and the Empire Builder both ways. Also rode the Cascade once from Seattle to Portland. When's your upcoming trip on the City?
  7. Pat Harper

    3rd EB trip in 9 months

    We've done the EB from Chicago to Seattle, then hopped on the Cascades to Portland, then the EB back to Shicago. 6 nights on the train! Hubby wants to go back and see more of Glacier.
  8. Pat Harper

    City of New Orleans in January

    We've made this trip before, and when we go again in Nov, I plan to carry our bags on the CONO (we'll be in a roomette) until we get to Chicago, then check the larger bags thru to Syracuse if they'll allow it. We're traveling by coach from CHI to SYR and probably won't need anything in our bags because we'll be sleeiping the whole way (it's a night train). If you know you won't be needing anything in your large bags, you can check them and pick them up in NOL. Make sure you pack what you will need in smaller bags you can store in your roomette.
  9. Pat Harper

    Checking luggage question

    We rode in a transdorm on the Sunset Limited and were able to store our large bags in the downstairs rack. If the SCA knows you're booked in a transdorm, they'll make space for luggage. Your SCA is usually the one who is also taking care of the adjacent sleeper. .
  10. Yes, they do! They have a large lot next to the station that's run by Standard Parking. If you know how long you'll be gone, you can write a check and insert into proper slot. However, if there's a chance you will miss a connection and arrive a day later (that happened to us last month), you can call them and they'll let you put the $5 in the slot when you return. Make sure you write down the space no. you're parked in as well as the phone number for Standard Parking. We left our car for 8 days and everything was fine when we returned. We'll be leaving our car there again when we go to NY in November.
  11. Pat Harper

    Going from the Roomette to Club Car

    Usually when I pass through the dining car during one of their busy periods, I make sure that none of the wait staff is in my path. If they are, I usually step aside to let them through. I've never gotten "evil eyes" from any employee there.
  12. Pat Harper

    Sunset Limited - NO to LA Questions

    Only problem with leaving from and returning to Lafayette is that there is no baggage check available. You must carry on all your luggage. Also, in the past tickets were mailed to you because there is no Quik-trak kiosk or ticket agent at the Lafayette station. Now that they have e-tickets, that is no longer necessary.
  13. Pat Harper

    CNO roomette pricing

    I was wondering about that area. We noticed several cars parked there when we went through Hammond. I assumed it was short termers or possibly Amtrak employees who used it. Is that public property, or does it belong to Amtrak?
  14. Pat Harper

    Sunset Limited - NO to LA Questions

    I'm not far from Lafayette and I can check on that for you. The last time we took the SL from Lafayette, the transportation center was still under construction. The Lafayette station is unstaffed by Amtrak. It is shared by city bus riders and now Greyhound has moved into the complex. Also, the station is locked when there are no trains or buses. I was there on a Sunday to take pictures and the station door was locked. However, the construction has been completed and the site has been given a name -- Rosa Parks Transportation Center. When we were there, before the work was completed, there was a parking lot, but a sign was posted at the entrance that said "Permit Parking Only". More parking space has been created though, so hopefully there is some long-term parking available. I'd like to know that information also.
  15. Pat Harper

    CNO roomette pricing

    Jake, is the parking in Hammond free? How safe is it to leave your car there for several days? I'm glad we booked our Nov. trip early because I got a roomette thru to Chicago for $100 each way. Last time we went we parked in the $5/day lot in New Orleans for 7 days and the car was fine when we returned. Hammond would actually be closer for us to drive to from Lafayette.