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ruck

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About ruck

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  1. -from the Indianapolis Star As someone on the route who uses it, it would be a shame to see it go. What that train really needs is someone with vision to see how the route could benefit all the communities and the power to get funding from the state for increased frequencies.
  2. Yeah that's a post. Sorry again about the quality, this is not terribly out of my way to work and is the least obscured area. I know some folks that were on board, and in a text they mentioned that it was announced that all passengers will be getting Lounge access in Chicago as well.
  3. Cellphone pic. Headed north out of Lafayette.
  4. ruck

    Cardinal / Hoosier State Review

    This is the same kind of "mafia booth" that people complain about when describing the "cross country cafe!" Is all the Business class seating on the Hoosier State in booths in the upper level of the dome car? Does that mean that if you want a reclining seat to catch some zzzz's you need to travel coach? Correct. It's my only issue with the service. It would be nice if in the future there would be a business class coach with high back seats as after a couple hours the low back dome seats can get quite uncomfortable although maybe they'll speed up the trip and solve the problem another way. That said if business class isn't full you can move around a bit more. When we rode it the dome was full so the four of us were stuck to the booth. Still a great time and by all accounts it seems to be a win win for all involved. Also a point of clarification the first four alcoholic drinks are included.
  5. I've done this trip (to Portland though) with a 10 month old*. Frankly to my memory I remember it being pretty easy. We got the kid a seat so we'd have space for the car seat. He slept a great deal of the time. We were in the coach baggage and that was great as when he'd get upset I'd go down and walk in the lower level since there were no passengers down there I didn't feel so bad about the crying. Nice thing about the train was if the crying was bothering somebody they and we have the ability to get away, not so on a plane. A 3 month old won't be mobile so that will actually probably help. There's a lower level lounge area (not a great term, I just remember it had a bench) if the mother isn't comfortable feeding the baby at her seat. *Also had a 3 year old, my wife, and parents so not wholly similar.
  6. I think that is a big part of it. According to Google Maps it's 124 miles between Lafayette and Chicago Union Station. Basically 250 miles round trip, assuming 20 mpg, that's 12.5 gallons of fuel, at 2$ a gallon that's 25$. That number is roughly half a single round trip ticket, the car has the added benefit of being an hour quicker, more flexible, and it stays constant for additional passengers whereas the train it's another ticket. The additional cost is a bit easier to justify with higher fuel prices. There's obviously benefits to the train, occupants of the vehicle don't scream when I look out the window for an extended time, no parking costs. But in a dollars and cents analysis the train doesn't perform well.
  7. One of the coaches had plugs at the seat, the other coach didn't. Admittedly I only gave a cursory look as we didn't have a need for them this trip. Forgot to mention they gave out 3 different SSIDs over the announcements for the their WiFi which would seem to indicate that they have multiple WAN connections (no guarantees obviously) so I would think there would be decent speeds for online connections.
  8. Living in one of the towns serviced by the Hoosier State and having the good fortune to grab a good deal early on on the Travel Pullman service to New Orleans I was quite interested and excited to see Iowa Pacific handling the Hoosier State. Though truth be told, I was really just glad to see the service continue at all, such is the low bar here in Indiana. Iowa Pacific is trying a great many things to increase service and awareness of the train. One of these is dollar fares like what Mega Bus offers, specifically the first two fares are sold at 1$. Being a bit of planner, liking to ride trains, and always loving a good deal I looked out into Amtrak's calendar and found two tickets on a Sunday for 1$. I booked them for myself, and my 5 year old daughter. I was able to get dollar tickets going both directions, when combined with the kids discount that meant round trip cost of 3$. We boarded in Lafayette, I was unaware the station waiting room was unavailable. There were two nice volunteers there who let us know the train was 10 min. behind that we could wait in our cars and that they would signal us. This all went smoothly and we boarded easily. The elevators were working despite the construction. After boarding and getting situated we headed to breakfast in the bottom of the dome car. The seating area itself was very cold. The staff wasn't particularly forthcoming with information but there was definitely some sort of heating issue (given it was 7 degrees out maybe some thing froze up who knows). Still we just chalked up to "these things happen". The food came out delicious, my daughter had the french toast, I had eggs. The food really was great, and cheaper than Amtrak's. I do feel bad to compare as I know IP and Amtrak operate under different models but it's kind of hard not to compare. Additionally it was great to even have the option for food as the old Hoosier State was just two coaches, really made the trip easier and the train a more desirable option. As I said the train was 10 min. late into Lafayette but we actually arrived early into Chicago. After a day in Chicago we boarded the train for home. One thing I noticed was the new lounge in Chicago (the one you have to pay for I can't remember the name) seemed to be getting heavy use judging by the line of people walking out to one of the departing trains. After about a half hour we were notified that they would now serve dinner to our coach. We made our way back to the lower level of the dome car. The heat still wasn't fixed, but again these things happen. They unfortunately were out of the individual pizzas which bummed out my daughter, but she rolled with it and had grilled cheese with chips. I had the blue plate special which on this night was chicken breast, mashed potatoes, roasted vegetables, and a roll. Again the food was great, and reasonably priced. As I said above it really is nice to have the food option on the train, in the past I've hurriedly grabbed something before departure. We arrived back in Lafayette 10 minutes early. Some notes on the equipment. I noticed that at least on our trip the train was only running with one locomotive, in the past they had one on each end. I kept forgetting to ask about the car behind the dome, Durant I believe, I'm not sure if it was business class only, if it was a ticketed car. I saw online that it had tables and that would have been handy when we were playing go fish/skip bo or when my daughter was coloring. Perhaps someone here will know. The coach cars themselves are very spacious, the old Hoosier State cars had us packed in but these were very comfortable. That said while the cars are very nice the are also quite noticeably very old. Luggage racks look smaller, things like seat lighting of an older style (the reading light is quite bright and lights up both seats so might not be good if both riders don't want the light on). The bathrooms were very nice. The cars don't have automatic doors so a little bit harder for the smaller crowd. They really pushed the business class on board with my daughter informing me that next time she'd like to ride in the dome which I got a good laugh at, I told her for the record, maybe this summer as 30$ extra for your meals and drinks included isn't bad at all in my book. Overall I'd give the new Hoosier State an 8/10 they seem to still be figuring things out but it is large improvement over the old Hoosier State (again kind of an unfair comparison since Indiana wasn't paying for the old one) and I look forward to riding it again. Oh, and the few conversations I overhead were all very positive so hopefully this will be reflected in ridership.
  9. The business class changes appear to have gone live on Amtrak.com for February 20th Chicago - Lafayette is a 29$ up charge from coach Chicago - Indy is 39$ Chicago - Washington D.C. is 45$ Chicago - New York is 51$ For the Chicago to Indianapolis area the Amtrak Business class appears to be 6$ cheaper than Iowa Pacific's (obviously different days of the week). Glad to see Amtrak increasing the service options.
  10. Website for the train https://www.hoosierstatetrain.com/ Menu http://www.hoosierstatetrain.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/2015_Hoosier_State_Rack_Card_Menu_PRINT.pdf Food costs seem pretty reasonable which is nice.
  11. Taken this morning north of Lafayette.
  12. Lafayette's NPR affiliate posted this http://wbaa.org/post/hoosier-state-line-clock-running-even-if-new-trains-arent sounds like getting three different entities Amtrak, Iowa Pacific, INDOT to play nice with each other is the issue.
  13. A link to a flickr stream of photos taken from a test run of the Hoosier State was posted over on TO https://www.flickr.com/photos/mastadon4935/ looks nice.
  14. Well I called in and it was easy-peasy, just gave the agent his information and they used my points. Thanks all for your answers.
  15. Thank you. Seems like a goofy policy, but at least there's the workaround.
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