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About Palmland

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    Transportation, Model RR, Exploring the U.S., First class rail travel
  1. While it's been a long time, when we last rented in Orlando we used Avis because I had a corporate discount. But, to my pleasant surprise, their office was less than 5 minutes to the station. We were picked up when the group waiting for Hertz was still dealing with a line and paperwork. Returning the car was easy too for the same reason. So, it pays to check all options. If we were to do it again, though, I'd opt for Winter Park because it's such a nice area with the station in a park setting. Great place to have a leisurely dinner before your return on the Star. But it is about a 40 min. drive to Universal.
  2. Palmland

    Amtrak Announcements

    Nothing makes me happier than a sleeper with an inoperable PA system! Announcements should be short and professionally delivered. Training is needed. For sleeper passengers, I would prefer the conductor or AC make the only announcement using the PA for the entire train and then just for operational information. Most other information, such as safety or regular meal times, should be delivered in person by the SCA, normally when explaining the features of your room shortly after boarding. In person delivery is much more effective than an anonymous (and sometimes annoying) PA announcement. As far as reservations for a meal, if I have a 6pm reservation that’s when I’ll show up, just as at any restaurant. If they’re not ready, I head to the lounge. Also like a restaurant. We are all grown up and don’t need reminders.
  3. Palmland

    Sunset Limited temp schedule

    If you like the eastbound schedule, check out the westbound schedule in March. If you're on the Texas Eagle you'll get a good night's sleep - in San Antonio. It arrives about 10pm, as it does now, and ldoesn't leave for LA until 7 am. Sunset slightly shorter time in San Antonio. You'll also get a better arrival time in LA - 8:40. But it's not so good if you're in a hurry (but then you wouldn't take the train) as total trip time is about 68 hours. Great if you're a railfan!
  4. Palmland

    NOL, Greensboro, Wilson, SAV, WAS

    We go out of our way to stop at Parker's on our road trips to the northeast. It is so good, but it is on the outskirt of town. I doubt if Wilson is overrun with Uber drivers, especially on New Year's but you could try. Best advice for the OP, grab an early lunch, maybe to go, from the cafe on the Carolinian. I agree with one of the posters that Selma is a more interesting town to change trains as it is a beautifully restored station and sits at the cross tracks between CSX north south line and NS line from Greensboro to Selma and on to east NC.
  5. We will be going to Florida in March for some spring training baseball. Rather than drive, I’m considering taking the Star south (and Meteor return) to West Palm or beyond. Can someone tell me if there is a hotel near a Brightline station? Prefer a Marriott or Hyatt brand. We’d then take the Meteor back to Orlando to pick up a rental car for the games.
  6. I guess the elimination of wine tasting comes under the 'it's all for the best' heading. I agree paying for a mediocre wine tasting didn't make sense. Do it right or don't do it. Why shell out $15 for the two of us when you can get a good full bottle for that price. I remember I used the rationalization of 'it's all for the best' in the 60's. The railroads were taking off their secondary trains and I was sure that it was all for the best as it would save the top tier trains. We know how that ended. Amtrak may be taking lessons starting with the elimination of the amenities.
  7. Palmland

    Amtrak in Allentown PA?

    Great info, thanks. My son is moving to near Scranton. It will make our visits from the south much easier without having to go through NY, NJT and a drive for him to meet us at end of the line.
  8. Palmland

    Food "deliveries..." Worth the risk?

    Perhaps Amtrak should regress to the early 1900s. Had a few hours to schedule and have SWC passengers take an hour or so to eat in the Harvey House restaurant: Recently opened Harvey House/ brew pub in LA before boarding then La Posada in Winslow and La Castaneda in Las Vegas (to open in 2019) and the nice restaurant in KC. Think of the savings for Amtrak even if they paid for a really good meal in those restaurants! Would certainly beat food in a box, but no, Im not serious.
  9. Palmland

    How far in advance to book?

    Yeah, I really got all wrapped around the axle with my wording of all this stuff. Thanks for questioning what I wrote and prompting the edits. Hope it all makes better sense now. Gave the nonverbal presentation of this data a lot of thought and have initially concluded that any graphic portrayal would be a mess - what with a line for each of the 32 trains. And some routes have significantly different data between the travel directions and that would get masked if the data for each direction was combined. So that leaves the tabular form of the raw data, and that'll take the rest of the evening for my able assistants (Sons) to make up a spread sheet with 32 rows and 11 columns. That's because at present it's all nothing more than a hand-scribed single sheet of lined notebook paper. Give me some time on this. Thanks again! Edit: Well, it didn't take as long as I thought it would. Here's all the tidied up raw data - have fun with it. Edit #2: New chart in place of the previous one, below, with an added column on the right showing availability for each of the 32 trains. This allows better recognition of route direction differences - some of which seem quite large. Edit #3: Replaced the hand-scribed chart with a spreadsheet/FastStone version. Data is unchanged. LB Roomette DataC.jpg An excellent chart. But it begs the question. Is the most availability in January and February because it’s in the middle of winter? Or, is it because it’s 3-4 months out from October. To answer that, I’d love to see this redone in a couple months.
  10. Palmland

    The Naming of Trains

    Amtraks Silver service has its roots back in 1939. That year the Seaboard railroad, impressed with Santa Fes El Capitan, ordered a new all coach streamliner to operate every third day. As a result of a naming contest it was called the Silver Meteor. It was so popular additional cars were ordered so that it could run daily. Then in 1941 heavyweight Pullmans were ordered. Afte the war and the lifting on restrictions on buying new passenger cars, the Seaboard began its Silver fleet in earnest. The latest lightweight equipment, including sleepers and lounges, was ordered and enabled two new trains: the Silver Star and Silver Comet. They began in the winter of 1947. I recall riding those trains in the 60s and they often ran to 18 cars. Amtrak obviously continued to use the names of the Meteor and Star. Sadly the service is a far cry form the days of the Seaboard operations. With a little marketing effort and operational help by CSX the potential is there to grow that market. The reality is neither is likely to occur. The best hope would be if SEHSR every occurs and the old Seaboard route is rebuilt and upgraded. Thanks to Larrry Goolsbys excellent book on SAL passenger service for much of the information.
  11. I agree with ‘iplaybass’ regarding N. Phil being far removed from former glory. Growing up in Wilmington, DE, I visited N. Philadelphia often. As a kid I remember eating breakfast in the very nice N. Phil station restaurant with my parents after a trip back on the N&W/PRR night train from Roanoke. Also many times PRR ran baseball specials from Wilmingtonto N. Phil for the Phillies games at Connie Mack Stadium. The mile or so walk to the stadium was always interesting with lots of working class blue collar homes and a bar on every corner. We never felt unsafe but do remember the pervasive cigar smoke! I wouldn’t walk 10 feet from the station today. I do believe Ashland has a wheelchair lift but will verify when I visit next month for Homecoming.
  12. Palmland

    Guess who's coming to dinner?

    We seem to usually have interesting table mates: a Wal-Mart truck driver and wife on the CONO, a Seattle Tech executive showing his son the country on the SWC, a cariologist and wife on the Crescent going to a meeting, a single mom and children on the Sunset going to LA to start a new life, and a Amish couple going to LA on the SWC and then Mexico for medical treatment. Perhaps Anderson should read this thread. People really do use LD trains for transportation. Who knew!
  13. It appears the Trains Newswire report has been updated with a response from Amtrak: ‘Amtrak spokesman Marc Magliari tells Trains News Wire, "where PTC is not implemented and operational, it is expected that nearly all carriers will qualify for an alternative PTC implementation schedule under law. "For those carriers and routes operating under an extension or under an FRA-approved exemption, Amtrak is performing risk analyses and developing strategies for enhancing safety on a route-by-route basis to ensure that there is a single level of safety across the Amtrak network. "For those very limited routes where a host may not achieve an alternative schedule by year’s end, Amtrak will suspend service and may seek alternative modes of service until such routes come into compliance."’ So it sounds to me that it really is just about the SWC.
  14. Palmland

    No caretaker for Huntington, WV on 8/22

    The murals that were on display at the airport were put in storage some years ago but have now found a new home: https://www.cincinnati-oh.gov/cityofcincinnati/news/historic-union-terminal-murals-find-new-home/ These murals were in the terminal's concourse that was destroyed to make way for the now NS intermodal terminal shortly after Amtrak began. It took Graham Claytor to get Amtrak trains back into the station on the remaining track and CSX gouged out the right of way to provide clearance next to it for a tail track for Queensgate yard. Sadly, no room left for Amtrak (or the state) to store and service a train. The $200M renovation of the main rotunda and adjoining rooms (now the Cincinnati Museum Center) and its murals should be completed in November. If you haven't seen it, be sure and put it on your bucket list. But the terminal as it was in the 50's (but reduced in scale from its massive size) lives on in my HO model railroad.
  15. In the early days of Stereo there was some very good LP recordings of railroad sounds. My favorite was called Rail Dynamics and was recorded near Peekskill, NY. It was described as ‘rainy night along the New York Central’. Mostly steam with a few diesel streamliners as it was done in 1950. Another was ‘Railroad Sounds - steam and diesel’ and described as ‘sounds of a vanishing era.’ It was recorded along the IC.