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An Epic Rail Journey: 9357 miles aboard Amtrak.

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An Epic Rail Journey: 9357 miles aboard Amtrak.

Preface Post.

This trip report will cover roughy 3.5 weeks of rail travel, including travel on the Northeast Regional from Stamford to Penn Station and returning,, Silver Meteor from New York Penn to Miami, and back. Lake Shore Limited from Croton on Hudson to Chicago, and then the return 11 days later, from Chicago to Rochester, the Southwest Chief, from Chicago to Los Angeles, and last but not least the Texas Eagle/Sunset Limited from Los Angeles to Chicago via San Antonio.

For the Florida trip, I’ll be traveling with my girlfriend, and for the western adventure, I’ll be going solo.

 

 

The schedule is as follows:

12/25, STM-NYP-MIA(+1)

01/3: MIA-NYP-STM (+1)

01/6: CRT-CHI (+1)

1/7: CHI-LAX (+2)

01/14: LAX-CHI (+3)

01/17: CHI-ROC (+1)\

 

All of this travel will be done in roomettes.

 

I guess the most apparent question is: why the train for a journey of this size?

Well, for the Florida leg, it was actually cheaper for 2 tickets and a roomette, round trip, than it would have been to get two coach plane tickets, round trip. And for the Los Angeles portion of the trip, I figured it would be fun to see some more scenery. I’ve done the SWC from LAX to CHI in June with my girlfriend, and we enjoyed it. Haven’t done the SWC westbound before, so that’ll be something different. Then, to avoid too much repetition, I’ll be taking the TE/SL back to Chicago.

I’ll be bringing along a DSLR, and updating this post as the trip goes on. So get excited for this report!

I’m looking forward to doing a (relatively) live report.

Posting this in advance, to see if anyone has any particular recommendations/suggestions/tips for the trip, and also to get everyone excited!


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I'll let others do the recommendations, I'm just along for the ride (and the photos).

:giggle:

 

It sounds like a wonderful trip, and I am sure you will have fun!

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Ditto,I too look forward to reading your trip report for this Wonderful Adventure!

 

You're a Vet of LD Travel so no tips are needed. I suggest you read the Trip reports and threads here on AU that cover these Routes and,Trains!

 

Have a ball!😎

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I am looking forward to this. As I've said, my only experience before was a 3 day jaunt on the 4 and 48 from LAX to ROC. This will be a very different type of trip.

Hahaha.

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Looking forward to your trip report. I've been on all those trains myself and know that you're in for a treat. Have a wonderful trip.

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Good evening from onboard the Silver Meteor, 97 to Miami.Currently 10 miles north of FBG, going at around 65 MPH.

Today's travels included a ride on the Northeast Regional 157, from STM to NYP, which was practically empty. After dropping our bags off, it was time for lunch with friends.

Then back to the ClubAcela, where we enjoyed the free wifi, and had some nice conversations with others on our route. Boarding began at 3pm for the 3:15 departure, and we were soon on our way out of Penn Station.

When Newark rolled around, our SCA came by introducing himself. He's extremely professional, and unfailingly polite. Given that I took a nasty fall on snow this morning, we decided to have dinner in the roomette. My girlfriend had the AmSteak, and I had the land and sea.

Both of us greatly enjoyed the steak. I thought the fish-cake was decent.

Had the beds made up early. Now sitting in the top berth, watching the Christmas lights pass my window.

More tomorrow!

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Indeed it did.'

 

The rest of the ride has been great.

 

Slept from Richmond VA to Jesup GA, and then had a good breakfast on pancakes in dining car. It's a brand new viewliner dining car, with sets of windows above the tables as well.

 

Then back to the rom to hang out a bit, followed by lunch. The burger was, as always, pretty decent.

 

Currently running 45 late just before Sebring.

 

I don't want to be redundant, and I know I mentioned the SCA before, but he's exceptional. Polite, friendly, and goes out of his way to make everything great. Wanted to take a shower this afternoon before arrival in Miami, so before I went in, he folded towels, put them around the drain outside the shower, and inside, so I could have a place to stand. He did this without asking.

Just exceptional.

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And my 9357 journey just got even longer.

I got a call this AM that the TE is cancelled on the day I'm travelling.

I was able to rebook on the SL/CZ combo, with a one night layover in EMY.

 

This will add to the mileage of this trip.

2438 on the CZ, 469 on the CS

 

2907 miles, 179 miles more than planned before.

New total mileage is 9536.

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I haven't met Patrick--he sounds very nice.

 

Sorry about your TE being cancelled--actually, there are people on AU who go out of their way to get more mileage by traveling the longest route possible wherever they are going! :) ("The traveler" is our champion expert at this!)

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I enjoy time on the train which is why I ride for no particular reason other than to ride the rails. I traveled the TE once last year from LAX to CHI. This March I am traveling CHI to LAX on the TE. I am planning a trip on the CZ and EB for 2019.

 

I hope you are enjoying your time on the train. I am looking forward to my trip in March. BWI to WAS on the NE WAS to CHI on CL CHI to LAX on the TE and LAX to SEA on the CS.

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Revised train times, reflecting the recent changes.

Assuming on time performance is good.

27h24m going to Miami

26:50 going back to New York

18h 19 minutes from CRT to CHI

5 H 15 layover

43 hour 15 minute on the SWC to LAX

11h44 LAX to EMY

52h40 EMY to CHI

6h40 min Layover

11 hour 20 minutes CHI to ROC.

7 days and 23 hours on the rails.

191 hours.

13 hours layover in Chicago round trip.

9 nights.

9 Breakfasts

6 Lunches

8 Dinners

23 meals on amtrak

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Most of the Sleeping Car Attendants I met were very good, polite and professional. Only good memories for me. I think it has a lot to do with your own attitude and friendly behavior.

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Well, plans changed again, and we took the Auto Train from Sanford to Lorton.

Got to the station at 1:45, checked in the car, and boarded 30 minutes late, at 3pm.

We had a bedroom, upgraded from a roomette. My girlfriend's father and brother were in the bedroom next to us, so it was converted into a suite for the afternoon, changed back before bed.

The SCA was atrocious. Simply atrocious. After my splendid experience on the meteor, this was a shock. My girlfriend's brother wasn't feeling well, and wanted to lie down, so we asked if the top bunk could be made up so he could rest. The SCA flat out refused, saying it was too much work for him, and he'd come back when we all wanted our beds made. He got very agressive, despite us being impeccably polite and understanding.

We were stunned.

Beds were made when we got back from dinner. Dinner food was good, the Petite Tender, the stewed beef was pretty good, but service was terrible. It took 30 minutes before we could order drinks, well after we had placed food orders. Just all-around a bad crew.

I'm saddened.

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That SCA needs to be reported, as well as any other turds that were on that crew.😣

 

The Auto-Train Crews used to be the "Pride of the Railroad" but evidently as the good OBS like AUer Tom retire, theyre being replaced by slackers and jerks.😥

 

Hopefully the new CEO is aware of this and a fix is,in the works!

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That SCA needs to be reported, as well as any other turds that were on that crew.

 

The Auto-Train Crews used to be the "Pride of the Railroad" but evidently as the good OBS like AUer Tom retire, theyre being replaced by slackers and jerks.

 

Hopefully the new CEO is aware of this and a fix is,in the works!

 

 

Agreed. What made it upsetting was that this was my way of introducing my girlfriend's family to Long Distance rail travel. And it didn't go that well.

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Greetings from the Southwest Chief, 90 minutes into the trip, one day late!

Where to begin?

Took the LSL from NYP, 2 hours delayed in departing, because the equipment was literally frozen shut, and pipes were frozen. That took 2 hours. Once we made it to Albany, we had to wait for the 48/448 to be separated, and then there was an engine problem with their train, and that had to be addressed before we could connect to 449 out of BOS. Then it became clear that we had an engine issue on our train. I fell asleep around 10pm, and we were still in ALB. I anxiously awoke a few times in the night to check progress, and we were barely making any progress. when I finally got up for the day, at 6AM, we were just departing Rochester, NY.

So, I resigned myself to not making my connection, but I held out a faint hope that the 3 would be severely delayed enough to allow me to make the connection.

 

As we were approaching Chicago, I saw that 3 had left Chicago, so I was pretty irked. I had heard horror stories about being sent to a dirty and unpleasant motel in the suburbs, by amtrak, so Using Hotels.com rewards, I cashed in my points for a night at the Ritz Carlton.

When I got off the train, and went over to the customer service area, the queue was forming VERY fast. People were getting more and more irked. The agents handled it decently, and I was assured that I'd have a roomette on the SWC the following day.

I checked my email at this point, on my phone, and saw that at 4:51 Chicago time, while I was still in line, Amtrak had sent a new itinerary with me in a sleeper.

The crew on the LSL was decent. Far from outstanding, but decent. Got the job done. Dinner was adequate. Had the Amsteak, which is normally good, but this was clearly not cooked to order, and had a strange texture, but it got the job done. I was starving after these misadventures. Had the railway french toast for breakfast, and the burger for lunch. No Amstew. They were stocked with supplies for a full lunch service!
After a day in Chicago, I went back to the Metropolitan lounge, and soon thereafter boarded the SWC which departed Union Station at 15:01 Central.
Just pulling into Princeton now.
All is well. Will post updates soon.

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