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About justinslot

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  1. So it's not even a crappy station any more? This really does seem like the best way to get to Nashville from where I am.
  2. Hope nobody minds if I bump this thread as I, too, need to get from Philadelphia to Nashville and back on occasion, as I do two or three business trips a year and Nashville for whatever reason is a popular conference location. Let me say at the beginning that I think the "best" way to get to an off-the-Amtrak-grid city like Nashville would be some combination of shortest drive, ease of renting a car to get there (I do not want to take a bus), expense, and departure/arrival times. Here are the ways I have gone to, or departed from, Nashville in the past: Memphis. Three hour drive, but long, long layover in Chicago. Two train journey = more expensive. Indianapolis. Doable drive (and I broke up the trip with a stop at the Horseshoe casino by Louisville) but the times stink (arrive at 5 AM, leave at midnight, and that station is awful.) Atlanta. Doable drive. Have to fight Atlanta traffic on the way back. Times aren't awful (8 AM, 8 PM.) So this year I have another conference in Nashville, and I'm doing my research again, and I'm thinking...why not Birmingham? The shortest drive of any of these places (under three hours, says Google.) The times are ideal--arrive at noon, leave at 2:30 PM. The station may be crappy but a crappy station during the day is far preferable to a crappy station at night (looking at you, Indianapolis.) There's a Hertz place a mile away. Is there anything I'm missing here--any drawbacks I haven't considered?
  3. ...apparently for the benefit of people like me on the 6 hour delayed Capitol Limited. I'm grateful they did it, but also surprised they did because, I mean, I was under the impression they almost never held trains for connections. Apparently (after talking to the conductor) they did the math and (hotel costs) times (the number of empty seats the SWC was about to depart with) equaled holding the train for us, and maybe the Lake Shore Limited too, who was right behind us coming in.
  4. justinslot

    Menu Capitol Limited?

    And this is off topic but jeeeeez is this train getting slammed by freight traffic. We were on time for most of the night, maybe a little late in Cleveland, and this morning it's just a crawl for miles. We're going to be I-don't-know-how-many-hours late and I just want to get there by 2:30 so I can get on the 3 to LA and I am, ummmm, at least mildly concerned about that at this point. Current ETA is 1:11 and it keeps getting worse.
  5. justinslot

    Menu Capitol Limited?

    I am in a bedroom on the Capitol Limited this very second, and I gotta say, I actually like the new setup? But I'm someone who mostly dreaded dining with complete strangers so I'm glad that isn't a possibility at all anymore. The food was certainly not as good (there's no way to get a good microwave version of the Amtrak steak and crabcake) but if you select wine as your complimentary drink you get a half bottle! So, for me, inferior food that I can get to go easily but superior "free" drinks >>> better food, unfree drinks, and dining with complete strangers.
  6. justinslot

    Extra checked baggage fee question

    I see. Well could you possibly bring those bags onboard with you from PHL to WAS, and then check them from there on? Or is there just too much stuff to do that, even for a two hour ride? I've done that before but this trip, with my bike in its case, it's going to be too much to jam into the Acela.
  7. justinslot

    Extra checked baggage fee question

    But if I have a leg of my travel without checked baggage (PHL to WAS in my case) there is a chance they will not, correct? Hence my desire to check them in as early as possible.
  8. For the record I would like to state: 1. That I could never travel anywhere for two weeks with a suitcase and a backpack. What if I need a more casual look? And an evening look? And of course I need at least five blazers to get through the week...(I am a horrible overpacker, in other words.) 2. That I do not think I presented myself today with an insane amount of baggage. Two of my bags are resting in the upper luggage area by the top bunk; one is in the top bunk; and the fourth could be in the other luggage area (above the bathroom) if I didn't need its contents at the moment. I agree that baggage restrictions are necessary; I disagree that I had too many bags, per policy, today.
  9. Re: your first sentence; I agree. It's just weird that checking a bike without a case costs less than checking a bike with a case. Re: your second sentence: I 100% agree.
  10. justinslot

    Extra checked baggage fee question

    It does, thanks. I want to drop off my bags at PHL the day before I leave. If I'm reading the schedule right if I can get them there by 4 PM the night before they'll go to WAS on the 97 and then go on some LAX-bound route. If I don't get there by 4 it looks like there are some AM trains (like the Palmetto) who will also get my bags to WAS and from there to LAX. Luckily I'm coming home via the Southwest Chief and then the Cardinal so I won't have to deal with figuring out how to get my bags to where I'm going at the same time I do (or earlier.)
  11. justinslot

    Extra checked baggage fee question

    Thanks! Just making sure.
  12. If I am going from WAS to CHI to LAX (really PHL to WAS to CHI to LAX but I will be drop/ping my checked bags off early so they can hopefully meet me there) and I want to check an extra bar or two--am I charged $20 per bag, or $20 per leg of my trip? I ask this because I have noticed the bike fees are per leg of trip, i.e., taking a bike on the Capitol Limited and then the Southwest Chief costs $40, not $20. Are excess baggage fees also doubled if you transfer from one train with checked baggage to another? Thanks.
  13. The policy says: Bicycles/bicycle trailers may be checked in a bicycle container for $10, in lieu of a piece of baggage. Bicycle boxes are sold at most staffed locations for $15 per box. Customers may supply their own bicycle container. Recumbent, tandem and special bicycles over the standard bicycle dimensions and will not fit in a standard bicycle box are prohibited. Folding bicycles under the dimensions of 34" x 15" x 48" will be allowed onboard all trains in lieu of a piece of carry-on baggage. They must be considered a true folding bicycle. So there's some grey area in here...a folding bike does not need a bike box, and this is a Brompton, one of the smallest folding bikes. I think if I had a different attendant today, who didn't care what was inside my oddly shaped but Amtrak legal case, I would not have been charged the extra ten bucks.
  14. Yeah, that was the intention. I cannot claim I weighed and measured all four of them, though, but I think at least two of of them are more in the personal item category. I cannot claim that because I've never had an issue taking identical loads to this on board before, and so I did not weigh and measure them. The folding bike case is not an oversized item per Amtrak standards. I don't think there's any one item that Amtrak staff are less aware of what the policies are governing them than folding bikes. As soon as the checked baggage attendant heard "bicycle" she thought it needed an extra charge when in that suitcase it does not--never mind that the rules governing bicycles and folding bicycles are different (and staff are rarely aware of the difference, I have discovered continually. I was shocked when a conductor actually knew the policy during my last trip with my Dahon.)
  15. It wasn't just the red cap though, the supervisor also seemed to think it was only because I was in a bedroom that I could take my bags plus my foldable cart on. Anyway I'm on my train now, with my bags. I just hope I don't have to argue with staff every time I travel this way.