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Amtrak : Best Kept Secrets

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Here's a tip for using the shower located in the Superliner's bedroom toilet room (I assume it would also apply to the Viewliner). Don't assume the cover over the toilet paper roll will keep the roll dry while you shower. It doesn't. If you want to use the shower, remove the toilet paper from the room. Then, when all is finished, towel off the toilet room and the paper dispensing area, and reinstall the roll. This could save you spending ten minutes peeling off layers of saturated toilet paper in order to get down to some dry stuff that can be pulled off without disintegrating in your hands.

 

I learned this one first hand.

To be honest with you I travel Viewliners fairly often. All that is provided is a plastic wrapped mini-roll which is on the sink counter with the towels and soap. I'm not even sure if there is a TP holder in some of the rooms. We've lost the video screens, the folding chairs (replaced on some Viewliners by a stationary swivel chair) and the trash receptacles in the bedrooms won't stay closed. My grand-daughter could figure out if you put a strong enough magnet inside the door of the trash receptacle it would stay closed. Amtrak's solution? Tie a super sized plastic bag to the inside of the bathroom door.

I could justify the reason a magnet is not desirable:

 

They damage mechanical watches. I for one would complain about magnets located in inappropriate places.

OK... so what is your solution ??? BTW, don't accept any cab rides 'cause your watch will be worthless from what you are saying.

Edited by had8ley

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so install the magnets so they don't come out of the bin. that way they don't get tossed into a washer. just screw them into the inside wall of the container.

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so install the magnets so they don't come out of the bin. that way they don't get tossed into a washer. just screw them into the inside wall of the container.

OK...now that we have that one figured out just what happens to your watch when you insert something into the trash receptacle with the magnet screwed in ??? BTW, do you wash your watch ???

Edited by had8ley

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OK...now that we have that one figured out just what happens to your watch when you insert something into the trash receptacle with the magnet screwed in ??? BTW, do you wash your watch ???

 

 

did it ever accrue to you that the magnets would have been installed in a new trash bin made by the factory. hmm i suppose not. lots of things are held closed by magnets. your refrigerator and freezer door. does your watch get messed up when you stick your hand in it. uhhh no. besides you have no business sticking your whole hand inside the bin to toss your trash. and even the car attendants all they do is open it pull out the bag and put a new one in. gee problem solved. so :P im not as dumb as you may think i am just cause i like kiss ac/dc the ramones etc and don't listen to the music kids are supposed to listen too like M&M Britney spears the Jonas brothers etc. deal with it. and no i don't wash my watch.

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OK...now that we have that one figured out just what happens to your watch when you insert something into the trash receptacle with the magnet screwed in ??? BTW, do you wash your watch ???

 

did it ever accrue to you that the magnets would have been installed in a new trash bin made by the factory. hmm i suppose not. lots of things are held closed by magnets. your refrigerator and freezer door. does your watch get messed up when you stick your hand in it. uhhh no.

 

I did not know that refrigerator and freezer doors used magnets to hold them closed. I always thought it was the natural vacuum seal. Consider me enlightened...... ;)

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OK...now that we have that one figured out just what happens to your watch when you insert something into the trash receptacle with the magnet screwed in ??? BTW, do you wash your watch ???

 

did it ever accrue to you that the magnets would have been installed in a new trash bin made by the factory. hmm i suppose not. lots of things are held closed by magnets. your refrigerator and freezer door. does your watch get messed up when you stick your hand in it. uhhh no.

 

I did not know that refrigerator and freezer doors used magnets to hold them closed. I always thought it was the natural vacuum seal. Consider me enlightened...... ;)

There may be magnets in the door, but there's something to the vacuum idea. Unless my fridge is running electromagnets, how do you explain the extra force required to open it after a few moments?

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There may be magnets in the door, but there's something to the vacuum idea. Unless my fridge is running electromagnets, how do you explain the extra force required to open it after a few moments?

Well there would be a slight dip in pressure in a fridge when you close it. When you open the door you let a lot of warm air in. Then when you close it that warm air cools and since the volume has stayed the same the pressure will decrease. Now if the decrease in pressure is enough to make a noticeable difference I don't know, but the idea that there the pressure inside the fridge becomes lower than the outside air makes sense.

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There may be magnets in the door, but there's something to the vacuum idea. Unless my fridge is running electromagnets, how do you explain the extra force required to open it after a few moments?

Well there would be a slight dip in pressure in a fridge when you close it. When you open the door you let a lot of warm air in. Then when you close it that warm air cools and since the volume has stayed the same the pressure will decrease. Now if the decrease in pressure is enough to make a noticeable difference I don't know, but the idea that there the pressure inside the fridge becomes lower than the outside air makes sense.

Ooo, I like that answer. Science in the kitchen!

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I'll add a tip that's been bounced around on the discussion forum. I've made a visual guide for determining the remaining quantity of sleeping car rooms available:

 

How many rooms are left?

 

Cheers,

David

 

It wants a user id and password???

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I found that as well, if you click cancel you can browse the site without logging in.

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I found that as well, if you click cancel you can browse the site without logging in.

Guess I'm special, no login requested.

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I think that anything other than "A", which is smaller because of the hallway. Out of the 4 remaining, 2 are going to have the couch pointing forward and 2 backwards, but that's completely random. "E" is right next to the stairs, so some say it's a little louder, but I didn't really notice that the night that I spent in it.

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I have already posted this on another thread, but if you ever absolutely have to travel from Toronto to Vancouver and need to save some $$$, Amtrak can do the trip for much less than VIA Rail and it takes only a couple of hours more... you just need to book it in stages. Going west it looks like this

 

dep. TWO 08:30 train # 64

arr. BUF 12:55

dep. BUF 23:30 train # 49

 

arr. CHI 09:05

dep. CHI 14:15 train # 7

 

arr. SEA 10:20 (two days later)

dep. SEA 13:15 bus 8900

arr. VAC 17:00

 

For a test booking in November the cheapest available adult fare (low season Comfort Supersaver) on VIA Rail is CAD $439.90 (about USD $387). On Amtrak (as above) it's USD $204, about $180 less.

 

*j* :blink:

 

For the TWO to BUF connection, Coach Canada has a bus leaving Toronto at 7PM that gets to the Buffalo airport at about 9:45PM. There are two later buses but they cut it a bit close if you have customs problems. From there, it's about a two mile cab ride to the Buffalo-Depew station. I take the LSL to Chicago twice a year and it has always been 30 to 60 minutes late at Buffalo.

 

I haven't run the numbers recently but if you are booking sleeping accomodation, the difference is even more dramatic between Via and Amtrak. The Canadian is set up as a luxury travel experience, heavily used by tour groups and foreign visitors. It really not practical transport for the average person unless you can stand coach for 4 days. As a Canadian taxpayer, it annoys me that the pricing is so high on a train I already pay for.

 

I must admit though, I rode it a few years ago and the food and service were outstanding. Toronto to Edmonton was $1,600 Cdn., return for one in a roomette. (Via roomettes only accomodate one) It's more than that now unless your travel plans are incredibly flexible.

 

Gord

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also the difference between the Canadian and amtrak is coach pax on amtrak are allowed in the diner if there's room coach pax on via rail are not allowed at all. so you will have to eat from the buffet type car or bring your own food for 4 days.

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5. There actually are people who sneak aboard at stops and steal from the sleeper carriages. I'm sure it's not frequent, but it happened on one of my first trips. Buy a money belt or travel pouch and keep your cash and credit cards with you, under your clothes, as close to your skin as possible. I also carry a small strapped "purse" (actually a nike runners pouch) that straps on like a fanny pack except the pouch is forward. I wear this on the outside or carry it like a purse. Every morning I put 10-20 dollars into that and use that for tipping, buying beverages, etc. But the majority of my money is out of sight, on my person.

 

I was intrigued by your #5 comment - regarding people sneeking onto the train and stealing from the sleeper compartments. I have actually never heard of this and would find it a bit hard to beleive, since so many stops are just 2-3 minutes in duration and at the major stations there is generally some sort of security to stop non-ticket holders from mingling on the platform. Also, if it is a quick stop, there is only one coach and one sleeper door opened and the attendants are there checking tickets. Do you recall what train was involved in this theft and what station? Just curious.

 

While it has never happened to me on Amtrak, I had a leather jacket stolen from my roomette while I was in the lounge car on Via's "Ocean", several years ago. Wasn't much fun to arrive in Montreal in winter with no jacket. If it can happen in Canada...

 

Gord

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If you're travelling on the San Joaquins, the trains are run in a push-pull configuration with a cab car. You want to get a seat in the cab car if you can- the seats are plush and reclining, like "Business Class" on the Surfliner, but don't cost extra. You can usually pull this off if you board in Bakersfield off the buses, or in the Bay Area.

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If you're going to the lounge on an LD train to a not-major stop, know the stop before your stop, and about how long it takes to get from that stop to your stop. I nearly missed Osceola because of a dysfunctional PA system back in December, and it would have helped a lot to know how far out of Ottumwa (the previous stop on the line) I should have headed back to my seat.

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Anderson .I Just got off the Zephyr yesterday .I dozed at Osceola (in my seat ) cause we were only at 24 MPH so I figured Il have time for a 30 Mint nap .

I woke up Just as we were entering Ottumwa ( my home and stop) . that was a close call.

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Here is a tip. If you are traveling out of Los Angeles Union Station, before they announce the boarding of your train, you can board before everyone else. Here is how to do it:

I traveled on SS LTD and will travel on SWC. I walk through the tunnel and look like a lost deer in headlights looking at the banner boards at each portal. Eventually, an Amtrak Employee will spot you and ask if you need assistance. On the SS LTD I said I am a sleeper passanger and was looking to see where my train is leaving from so I know where to go. They were just about ready to announce the boarding so he escourted me to my car and I got to board before anyone else.

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I want to jump on this bandwagon.

 

What should I bring with me on the train?

 

What should I put in my checked baggage?

 

What should I not do on the train?

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I want to jump on this bandwagon.

 

What should I bring with me on the train?

 

What should I put in my checked baggage?

 

What should I not do on the train?

What you might/should bring with you on the train depends if you will be in a sleeper berth or in coach.

 

Amtrak allows 2 carry-on bags, plus 2 personal bags.

Many Amtrak riders don't check baggage and most Amtrak stations don't have checked baggage service.

You would need to depart from, and de-train at, a station that has checked baggage service.

Note that checked baggage is not accessible while you are on the train.

 

My last long distance train trip entailed 6 days on the train, round trip, with an 8 day stay visiting my sister in Oregon in between the train rides.

One carry-on and 2 personal bags was plenty.

 

Don't cause a disturbance and smoking (cigarettes or other substances) on the train is not allowed. Amtrak can and does put chemically impaired passengers and otherwise unruly passengers off the train.

Chemically impaired (alcohol,drugs) passengers are usually met at the kicked-off-the-train point by law enforcement officers.

Google - kicked off Amtrak train - and YouTube has several videos of passengers being kicked off the train and being met by LEO's at grade crossings instead of at Amtrak stations.

Edited by KmH

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I want to jump on this bandwagon.

 

What should I bring with me on the train?

 

What should I put in my checked baggage?

 

What should I not do on the train?

What you might/should bring with you on the train depends if you will be in a sleeper berth or in coach.

 

Amtrak allows 2 carry-on bags, plus 2 personal bags.

Many Amtrak riders don't check baggage and most Amtrak stations don't have checked baggage service.

You would need to depart from, and de-train at, a station that has checked baggage service.

Note that checked baggage is not accessible while you are on the train.

 

My last long distance train trip entailed 6 days on the train, round trip, with an 8 day stay visiting my sister in Oregon in between the train rides.

One carry-on and 2 personal bags was plenty.

 

Don't cause a disturbance and smoking (cigarettes or other substances) on the train is not allowed. Amtrak can and does put chemically impaired passengers and otherwise unruly passengers off the train.

Chemically impaired (alcohol,drugs) passengers are usually met at the kicked-off-the-train point by law enforcement officers.

Google - kicked off Amtrak train - and YouTube has several videos of passengers being kicked off the train and being met by LEO's at grade crossings instead of at Amtrak stations.

 

 

No problem there as I dont drink, smoke or do drugs.

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Here is my current tip. When traveling between Boston and Chicago, it turns out to be cheaper to change from the Boston sleeper to the NY Sleeper in Albany. My upcoming trip I am doing it both ways and my last trip from Toledo to Boston this was also true. What I like about being in the NY sleeper is that you approach the Dinner car from the sleeper side and do not need to show proof that you have sleeper accommodations (and you don't need to walk through 6 coaches to get to the diner!)

 

Maybe only marginally useful but it is what I got.

 

Cheers.

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