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    Houston, Texas

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  1. ehbowen

    Why do they call them "motors?"

    The gas-electric and (later) diesel-electric "doodlebugs" on the Santa Fe were also called "motors".
  2. If you do, please be sure that the protagonists end up in their proper section of the train before the westbound splits in Spokane....
  3. For a brief (fifteen to twenty minute) visit, probably no one would object as long as you ask permission of your sleeping car attendant first. If you're talking an hour or more, though, not very likely. If your thought is to have them share your room for the duration of their trip (which need not match yours, as long as yours is longer), then see to it that they purchase an "Open Sleeper" ticket as pennyk above suggested and have it linked to your reservation. If they do that, then they are also entitled to diner meals on board and the price should be the same as or lower than a Value coach fare (the rock-bottom Saver fare may be lower). An Open Sleeper ticket must be booked with a call to a reservations agent or directly with a station agent (in advance); it cannot be booked online. Many (maybe most) telephone agents are unfamiliar with it as it is uncommon; if you encounter an agent who professes to misunderstand you or tells you to book some other way then politely ask for a supervisor or else hang up and try again. Please note that with an Open Sleeper ticket there is a limit to the maximum number of people who can share a sleeping accommodation. For adults in a Roomette, that number is fixed at a maximum of two. Roomettes are tiny; you're not going to be able to throw a party in there! (Bedroom Suites, on the other hand....)
  4. ehbowen

    Texas Eagle Route

    All of St. Louis to Longview is former (1950s) MoPac, as well as Taylor to San Antonio (until you get into San Antonio itself; the former MoPac station was at a different location). Longview to Dallas is former Texas & Pacific (a part of the MoPac system for essentially all of the 20th century). Dallas to Fort Worth is either former Rock Island (mostly, now) or else former MoPac (Texas & Pacific), depending on the vagaries of dispatching that day. Fort Worth to Temple is former AT&SF. Temple to Taylor, as Bob Dylan correctly notes, was former Missouri-Kansas-Texas (Katy). Chicago to St. Louis was formerly The Alton Route/Baltimore & Ohio/Gulf, Mobile & Ohio, depending on exactly which years you're talking about.
  5. Or talk with your cruise insurance provider and ask if they would cover a last-minute flight from Spokane if your Empire Builder is excessively delayed at that waypoint.
  6. Eat breakfast before boarding; your choices are better. You'll definitely get lunch on the train. If you tell your attendant that you want dinner, he can usually arrange with the diner LSA to get you in the first seating. Or, if it looks as if the train is going to be early (there's a good bit of padding in the schedule between Beaumont and Houston), he may be able to arrange for you to get dinner 'to-go' in a take-out container. Unfortunately I don't know of anywhere to eat it in or around Houston's tiny excuse for a station. There's a lot of dwell time in Houston so, if you do get seated, you should be able to finish your dinner without rushing. Just make sure that all of your personal belongings are ready to go; the sleeping car attendant will probably ask you to stage them on the downstairs luggage rack so that he can prepare your room. It's very likely that it will be occupied by passenger(s) boarding in Houston.
  7. The entire route is worthwhile, so if you have the time and the funds I would fly to San Francisco, buy a coach ticket across the Sierra to Reno; attend the conference; then purchase a sleeper ticket to Denver to take in the wonderful scenery (and some not-so-wonderful) through the Rockies and fly home from there.
  8. ehbowen

    New Amtrak Arbitration Agreement

    I have nothing against parties who voluntarily and mutually opt for arbitration. But I believe that any mandatory arbitration provision, or anything like the "shrink wrap" legal agreements found on software and in the fine print on web sites, violates the implicit requirement for fair dealing in any contract, which cannot be waived by any party.
  9. ehbowen

    Another dining car/SSL cutback

    If you want to turn those spaces into boards for train darts, then we need a whole slew of photos of Richard Anderson to fill those frames....
  10. ehbowen

    New LD Locomotive Order Placed

    As long as you have to have the flexibility to change out individual cars to adjust capacity or sideline bad-order units, and you have to maintain compatibility with the standard freight locomotive coupler height for a potential rescue situation, and you have to fit it all within the standard North American loading gauge plates...you're not going to be able to have access on both levels. Besides, the diner kitchen has got to go somewhere....
  11. My goof; I was only on a Viewliner sleeper that one time. But it did have the roomettes opening directly into the dining car for that trip. I was surprised because it was a Heritage diner (May 2012) with no vestibule and my understanding was that they were supposed to have a car vestibule adjacent to that entrance for emergency egress and also for wheelchair access into the dining car from the H-room. But, that's what it was.
  12. Or if you're paying cash...which is still accepted as legal tender in most places!
  13. Less traffic density in general, for the most part. You're not going to be able to justify an all-Pullman train unless you have 3-4 coach-only or coach & Pullman trains to share the traffic load.
  14. I wonder how a strict Hindu vegetarian or practicing Muslim would feel about serving himself scrambled eggs and realizing that a passenger ahead of him just used that utensil to pick up a big helping of pork sausage....
  15. I've seen it the other way (diner directly opening to roomette #14) on the Crescent. Wasn't supposed to be that way, but it was. What are you going to do, tell the yard crew to take the train back to Sunnyside and flip it around? Sometimes you just play the hand you're dealt.