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niemi24s

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Everything posted by niemi24s

  1. niemi24s

    Choosing Roomettes on SWC

    And precisely where can that Amtrak policy (stating that all Roomettes available for a particular booking at a particular point in time are priced at the same bucket level) be found - in writing. As far as I'm concerned, if nobody can provide a reference to that written policy then it's nothing more than a verbal policy (at the very best) and as such is no better than a whim of the agent on the phone.
  2. niemi24s

    Writers' Residencies

    Not only do you need social media skills but it looks like a big part of winning a free trip will be having a huge number of followers: Looks like the winners will be Millenials with thumbs worn down to the bone from tapping on their PDA's every waking hour.
  3. niemi24s

    New to railroading (Questions)

    This website is useful in taking the mystery out of railroad connections: FRA Safety Map Another good source is a topographic map as found here: Topo Maps
  4. In an effort to familiarize myself with the locations of Thruway bus stops and Cruise Terminals I annotated a map showing the layouts of the three remaining bus stops and the two piers used as cruise terminals. Others not familiar with the area may find it useful: Pier 27 seems to be the one most suitable for cruises according a Google search. Please let me know of any errors or omissions. [Edit: Note: Original image modified to show the the best way to get to Pier 27 based on subsequent responses.]
  5. niemi24s

    New to railroading (Questions)

    Here's a link to the Amtrak Route Map: https://www.amtrak.com/content/dam/projects/dotcom/english/public/documents/Maps/Amtrak-System-Map-1018.pdf Once upon a time there was a printed catalog of just about everything there was to know about Amtrak and the 11 X 16 inch route map it contained was annotated with page numbers that identified the train and showed its timetable (aka, schedule). But that printed version was discontinued a little over a year ago and replaced by a PDF version - which was discontinued a few weeks ago. The newcomer to train travel in the US now has to Google up the route map and use the Amtrak home page to see the timetables/schedules.
  6. Thanks for that correction. Not sure how I got its crew size mixed up with its length. <blush>
  7. niemi24s

    Best Bedroom on a Superliner

    Welcome to AU, Ray! It certainly is a breath of fresh air to see someone who's assertions are backed up by sound empirical data.
  8. Pier 35, in the background of your image, is listed as one of the two cruise terminals on the Vacations To Go website, and from the 2019 schedule... ttps://sfport.com/sites/default/files/Cruises/Docs/2019.pdf ...it appears to be used only when there are too many ships for Pier 27 to handle. Of the 88 dockings this year, Pier 35 is used for for only 12. But the entry door to Pier 35 is only about 375 yards from Thruway bus stop SFW.
  9. It might be best for you, but many folks taking cruises have mobility or other health issues. A 950 yard walk for an octagenarian with COPD and a bad hip dragging a big 50 pound suitcase is not something to look forward to. Just sayin"
  10. Thanks for all the info. Looks like the best choice for link between a cruise and Amtrak either way is some combination of Thruway stop SFW and a taxi of some sort. I'll modify the image in the first post to show that.
  11. niemi24s

    Amtrak website glitch

    Thanks for confirming my suspicion. <sigh>
  12. niemi24s

    New Menus on #8

    Sounds like you are somehow intimately familiar with the preparation methods of the thousands and thousands of restaurants that serve French Toast? Or are you just. . . . . .or, never mind.
  13. As big as that one (the Star Princess) seems, it's actually a small to medium-sized cruise ship for about 2600 passengers and 951' long. On April 30th the Norwegian Cruise line ship Bliss is scheduled to pay a visit there and it's 80% 15% longer at 1,716' 1094" and can carry 4,000 passengers. But back to the map. I had initially thought the map below (showing city bus routes) would be more useful to forum members cruising in or out of San Francisco, but then had second thoughts. I think most folks going on a cruise usually have at least one huge suitcase in tow and a city bus might not be the best choice to get from a Thruway bus stop to the cruise terminal. But then again, maybe the buses that do Routes E and F are like the big intra-city buses with cavernous luggage compartments at ground level. But never having been to San Francisco, I've no real idea. And not knowing whether buses E & F enter the terminal area so as to drop passengers off right at the terminal (as opposed to dropping them off outside the terminal area at street side) perhaps a taxi from the SFW Thruway stop might be the best way to do it. Q: Anybody know if the buses on Routes E & F have street-level luggage compartments? Or if they drop off passengers right at the terminal building on the pier? [edit] Just stumbled across this that shows the bus going right to the terminal building. But I wonder if it really does. https://moovitapp.com/?from=Beach St. %26 The Embarcadero&amp;to=Pier 27&amp;fll=37.808383_-122.40968&amp;tll=37.804618_-122.401383&amp;customerId=4908&amp;metroId=22&amp;lang=en&amp;ref=1
  14. niemi24s

    Emeryville to SFO

    According to the BART Map, the Red Line is still there but it doesn't go to SFO (according to the map). It gets close to SFO, but only the Yellow Line goes right to SFO. But all I know about BART is what's on that map. Maybe the map's wrong or maybe I don't know how to read it.
  15. niemi24s

    Emeryville to SFO

    But if you get off the CZ and onto BART at Richmond, don't you have to transfer to the BART Yellow route to get to SFO? https://www.bart.gov/schedules/bystation
  16. niemi24s

    Amtrak website glitch

    Another anomaly I've noticed is that the System Timetables (the pdf with all of the individual timetables and other information) is no longer available. It was available two days ago. After eliminating the printed paper version I'm guessing some bean counter decided even the PDF version was too costly to keep updated. <sigh>
  17. niemi24s

    Empire Builder Questions

    One of the more spectacular things encountered on the EB between CHI and SEA is the Cascade Tunnel. Other than being in darkness during the 7.8 mile trip through it, there's nothing much visually spectacular about it from the train. However, it is somewhat mind-numbing (to me at least) to realize that when passing under the peak of Cowboy Mountain about 2 1/3 miles from the West portal, you're under about 3280 feet of solid granite. To me, the most visually spectacular part of the trip is the sheer vastness of the plains of central Montana. I've taken the EB both ways about six times total and I still marvel at that view of Big Sky Country from the train.
  18. niemi24s

    Return trip twice as much?

    FWIW (practically nothing) the ratio of a high bucket Roomette to a low bucket Roomette on each of the sixteen LD trains ranges from about 1.42 for the Silver Star to 3.08 for the Auto Train.
  19. niemi24s

    Return trip twice as much?

    Then too, the return portion could be the same or lower. Don't form any hard and fast opinions based on just a few instances. Each different sleeping accommodation has five possible upcharges and fares are posted for travel out as far as eleven months (330 days). All that makes for lots and lots of instances or possibilities for a round trip on the 16 different LD trains with sleepers. Just for giggles and snorts (but mainly to prove my point) I just did two 30 day AmSnag searches for fares in a Roomette on the SWC from CHI to LAX to CHI starting tomorrow and returning from LAX the day after arrival [and also 2, 3 and 4 days after arrival] . The return portion was: • Higher for 8 of 29 trips [and 28 of 108 trips] • The Same for 6 of 29 trips [and 27 of 108 trips] • Lower for 15 of 29 trips [and 53 of 108 trips] Your observation is not borne out in this tiny [and the slightly less tiny] sample of all the possibilities.
  20. niemi24s

    Return trip twice as much?

    I'm told here it's nothing more than supply & demand and something called yield management that determine which fare is charged for travel on a certain train on a certain day in a certain type of sleeping accommodation - or even in plain old Coach. F'rinstance, on the Silver Meteor: • There are six different Coach fares (including the Saver fare) and the highest Coach fare (perhaps $434) is about 3+ times the lowest Saver Coach fare ($126). • The highest of the five Roomette upcharges ($608) is 2 1/3 times the lowest Roomette fare ($261). Those are the established normal limits of those charges - and what you pay depends not only on your travel date but how many others have already booked the same accommodations on that same travel date.
  21. Some want cappuccino too? Gawd, then there'd be two kinds of coffee to bellyache about!
  22. niemi24s

    Roomette for Partial Trip

    Other than booking problems when chopping up a trip between coach and sleeper, too much chopping can lead to a total fare that's more than the sleeper all the way. Just for giggles, I looked at an extreme example on the Texas Eagle from CHI to LAX and broke it up into six segments (three coach and three Roomette) starting on a date when the whole trip was at low bucket in a Roomette (13 Jan 2019). • Roomette all the way from CHI to LAX was $544 for one adult. • Total for the six segments (with a Roomette on each of the three nights) totaled $731. Each Roomette segment had a duration of about 10 hours, so I suppose the total cost could be lowered by making them shorter. Wonder how short they'd have to be in order to get the total for the 6 segments down to $544? [edit] Lowest I could get the total fare down to was $653 with 3 much shorter segments in a Roomette totaling 7 hours and 17 minutes.
  23. niemi24s

    How early should I purchase an Amtrak Bedroom?

    Just for giggles and grins, I just did a 30 day AmSnag search starting 10/14/19 (ending out at the 11 month maximum on 11/11/19) for CHI to LAX and checked Roomette fares on: • The SWC and they were were at low bucket of $544 (for 1 adult) for 24 of the 30 days, • The TE and they were at low bucket of $544 (for 1 adult) for 12 of the 13 days. Anyone who thinks there's no reason to check for low bucket fares out as far as 11 months has his or her head in the sand. The "5 month rule" is a myth, pure and simple. Break, break, I say again: The "5 month rule" is a myth, pure and simple.
  24. niemi24s

    How early should I purchase an Amtrak Bedroom?

    Bad advice, IMHO. Low bucket fares can also be found 11 months out so there's no reason not to look as early as your plans are firmed up. While they may be more commonly found at the 5 month mark that doesn't mean they can't be found 6 to 11 months out. How about this scenario? The accommodation you want is available during that period of 6 to 11 months hence and you don't bother to look. Then the day before you finally look (at that magical 5 month mark) the accommodation you want is sold out - and got that way the day before you looked. Either that or it was available at low (or close to low) bucket all during that period and jumped up a bucvket or two the day before you checked. While not a likely scenarios they're not impossible ones. Anyway, press on and follow that silly 5 month rule while others look and book 6 to 11 months out and possibly drive up the fares (or snag the last one) before you even look. As far as I'm concerned that "5 month rule" is nothing but bad advice and one of those myths that will live on forever here at AU.
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