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Capitol Limited-Pennsylvanian connection?

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As I recently got a new job and now know where Ill be living in the late-September timeframe (Im staying in Ann Arbor), Ive begun making plans to attend the Gathering. As such, Ive been looking into train options both to and from New York.

 

Coming home looks to be relatively simple - Ill just take the Lake Shore Limited to Toledo and the Thruway bus to ARB. However, on the way there, the Lake Shore Limited boards at the ugly hour of 3:20am at TOL, and taking the Thruway bus means waiting 5 hours for that connection (I dont drive, and even if I did 3:20am is miserable enough without the 5 hour Toledo layover). Of course, I could take the Wolverine backwards to CHI and connect there, but I dont want to burn another vacation day to do that.

 

Given that I was looking at taking the Capitol Limited to Pennsylvanian connection. The Capitol Limited boards at a more reasonable hour, and transferring to the Pennsylvanian would get me the earliest possible arrival time at NYP (4:55pm, compared to 6:23pm for LSL or 7:39pm for Cap+Regional). Also, Ive never taken the Pennsylvanian before (unlike the Cap and LSL), and Ive heard Horseshoe Curve is interesting to see. The main drawback would be the 5-7:30am layover in PGH, though the other benefits seem worth it. (Note that I will be doing all segments in coach, so sleepers dont factor in - Id love to do a sleeper, but the Eastern trains are hardly worth the cost, particularly as a single person in a roomette and with the diner downgrades).

 

My main concern, however, is missed connections. In looking at recent arrival times, it seems the connection from 30 to 42 has been missed at least once in the past week, and 42 seems to never wait for a late 30. When this connection is missed, is it common practice to allow riders to stay on 30 to WAS and catch a Regional to NYP, or are you forced to take the Thruway bus+Keystone connection that leaves a couple hours later? I wouldnt mind the former, but dont want to end up stuck on a Greyhound bus for 7 hours (as thats what the Thruway is). Risking that may push me in the direction of just booking Cap+Regional, even though Id get in later and miss Horseshoe Curve.

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I would take a chance, and book Train #30 to #42. If you misconnect, you would stay on to Washington, and ride a regional to New York, as you noted. If you booked #30 all the way to Washington, and it did make the connection at Pittsburgh, you may not have the option to change to #42, at the last minute, unless you had sufficient time, space was available, and you would probably have to pay additional cost to do that...

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I missed that connection a few years ago traveling CLE-HAR. I was put onto a bus that was already waiting at the station in Pittsburgh. I got to Harrisburg before the scheduled arrival time. I'm not sure what they did for New York passengers.

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It seems (according to countless other members on AU) that common practice for passengers on the Capitol who miss their connection to the Pennsy, just continue on to WAS and take a Regional. So I would say that the risk is pretty minimal. You'd arrive a bit later than if you had made the connection, but that's pretty much it.

Edited by cpotisch

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If they do the bus to HAR, Keystones go to NYP all day.

Edited by PVD

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If the CL arrives in PGH on time or close to on time, there are plenty of restaurants within a 5-7 minute walk where a good breakfast can be had. No need to wait up to 2.5 hours in that sad little station. Some open at or before 6am. Rather than provide a list that is a moving target, I'd suggest doing research a week or so before arrival.

 

If you don't mind walking for 15-20 minutes, or even taking a very short cab or Uber ride, you can eat at the original 24-hour iconic Primanti Bros. restaurant at 46 18th Street between Penn and Smallman in the nearby Strip District. Been featured on scores of national TV food shows and magazines. Nothing that special but it is unique, a must-stop for locals and visitors alike in the same way that Geno's Cheesesteaks in Philly is. (Ducking...)

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Nothing that special but it is unique, a must-stop for locals and visitors alike in the same way that Geno's Cheesesteaks in Philly is. (Ducking...)

 

WHOAAAAAAAA THERE!!! :lol: Philly natives don't even think of going anywhere near Pat's and Geno's it's a legitimate tourist trap. Crappy and overpriced Cheesesteaks. I'm an Uber driver and anytime someone says They're going to Pat's and Geno's I do my best to persuade them of getting a much better cheesesteak at Jim's or Campo's. Matter of fact I had two people from Detroit today in my car and told them to go to Jim's and they listened. :lol: You wanna know a good Cheesesteak place ask this Philly native. :D

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I spent a week in Philly last summer at the Penn State Navy Yard engineering facility, and that is exactly what I was told by the locals. They steered me to some place I know I'd never find by myself, and I don't regret it one bit...might go back in the fall for the NECA Exhibition.

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Nothing that special but it is unique, a must-stop for locals and visitors alike in the same way that Geno's Cheesesteaks in Philly is. (Ducking...)

 

WHOAAAAAAAA THERE!!! :lol: Philly natives don't even think of going anywhere near Pat's and Geno's it's a legitimate tourist trap. Crappy and overpriced Cheesesteaks. I'm an Uber driver and anytime someone says They're going to Pat's and Geno's I do my best to persuade them of getting a much better cheesesteak at Jim's or Campo's. Matter of fact I had two people from Detroit today in my car and told them to go to Jim's and they listened. :lol: You wanna know a good Cheesesteak place ask this Philly native. :D

 

 

 

I don't doubt Uber drivers might steer pax to places other than Primanti Bros. in Pittsburgh as well. My point was it has the same kind of rep as Geno's (call it a tourist trap if you want) and many visitors seek out Primanti Bros. just like they do Geno's. Locals aren't immune to the hype either, tho they may not make a habit of Primanti's. For some, once is enough. For others, they seem to be happy with it.

Edited by Skyline

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A huge advantage that public transportation has over ride-hailing services is that bus drivers don't typically try to talk you out of your destination.

 

What's wrong with taking fare-paying customers to their destination of choice?

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Thanks for the advice. I went ahead and booked the Capitol Limited-Pennsylvanian connection. If I arrive on time I may go somewhere in Pittsburgh for breakfast.

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A huge advantage that public transportation has over ride-hailing services is that bus drivers don't typically try to talk you out of your destination.

 

What's wrong with taking fare-paying customers to their destination of choice?

What's wrong with making a suggestion, however? Ultimately you, the rider, have the decision to change your mind or continue on as planned.

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Agreed. I would much appreciate some local advice to help steer me towards something better. At the end of the day, it’s my decision, but more info is always better.

 

Also now I really want to take the train to Philly and force Steve to drive me to Pat’s for a cheesesteak. :D

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Steve, where did you take Charlie and I? Of course, we were not paying customers, so we were stuck with your decisions. :D

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Nothing local or fancy but for the eastbound connection I usually have just went to a Starbucks which opens at 6am inside a building basically across the street from the Pittsburgh Amtrak station. If you do the westbound connection and leave your luggage with the baggage person, you have plenty of time to walk to a nicer restaurant in downtown Pittsburgh or take a taxi or rideshare to a nearby neighborhood and back.

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Steve, where did you take Charlie and I? Of course, we were not paying customers, so we were stuck with your decisions. :D

Betty, I took you and Charlie to Tony Luke’s. Which is one of the better cheesesteaks in Philly. I’d never take you for a bad cheesesteak.

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Agreed. I would much appreciate some local advice to help steer me towards something better. At the end of the day, it’s my decision, but more info is always better.

 

Also now I really want to take the train to Philly and force Steve to drive me to Pat’s for a cheesesteak. :D

Good luck with that.

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Steve, where did you take Charlie and I? Of course, we were not paying customers, so we were stuck with your decisions. :D

Betty, I took you and Charlie to Tony Luke’s. Which is one of the better cheesesteaks in Philly. I’d never take you for a bad cheesesteak.

 

Though I don't eat cheesesteaks. As I recall the roast beef was good. ;)

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Nothing that special but it is unique, a must-stop for locals and visitors alike in the same way that Geno's Cheesesteaks in Philly is. (Ducking...)

 

WHOAAAAAAAA THERE!!! :lol: Philly natives don't even think of going anywhere near Pat's and Geno's it's a legitimate tourist trap. Crappy and overpriced Cheesesteaks. I'm an Uber driver and anytime someone says They're going to Pat's and Geno's I do my best to persuade them of getting a much better cheesesteak at Jim's or Campo's. Matter of fact I had two people from Detroit today in my car and told them to go to Jim's and they listened. :lol: You wanna know a good Cheesesteak place ask this Philly native. :D

 

 

 

I don't doubt Uber drivers might steer pax to places other than Primanti Bros. in Pittsburgh as well. My point was it has the same kind of rep as Geno's (call it a tourist trap if you want) and many visitors seek out Primanti Bros. just like they do Geno's. Locals aren't immune to the hype either, tho they may not make a habit of Primanti's. For some, once is enough. For others, they seem to be happy with it.

 

Funny Primanti Bros. was mentioned, since outta curiosity I tried that place when I did a Pittsburgh trip in late May. Sigh, I was disappointed(pretty sure it was because whatever cole slaw and certain other things they add to those sandwiches wasn't as good as I hoped it'd be), and doubt I'd go there on my next trip there. Maybe one day I'd give them another shot, but honestly there are other places in Pittsburgh I'd rather eat at that I didn't quite get to, whenever I get back there again.

 

One option you could do for a morning bite and just wanted to call in an order of food to go(assuming they'd allow you to do that here, and say you got a cabbie or Uber/Lyft driver who'd allow you to do that), would be to go to DeLuca's Diner in the Strip District. It opens at 6:30am, though of course you'd have to get back to that station before the 7:30am departure. I debated going to DeLuca's, and honestly looking back I probably should've stuck with my original gameplan to do that. But ah well, since I did later on fit a brief walk into the Strip District on my 2nd and last day in Pittsburgh, due to the fact my westbound Cap. Limited ran 21/2 hours late! :) Phone number btw for DeLuca's, is (412)566-2195.

Edited by dogbert617

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Primanti Bros. in Pittsburgh, and Pat's or Geno's Steaks in Philadelphia, have this in common: they aren't close to the best options in their respective cities at regular meal times, but they are pretty solid choices compared to anything else that's open between 2-6 a.m. I have enjoyed both during Amtrak or Greyhound layovers.

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Nothing that special but it is unique, a must-stop for locals and visitors alike in the same way that Geno's Cheesesteaks in Philly is. (Ducking...)

 

WHOAAAAAAAA THERE!!! :lol: Philly natives don't even think of going anywhere near Pat's and Geno's it's a legitimate tourist trap. Crappy and overpriced Cheesesteaks. I'm an Uber driver and anytime someone says They're going to Pat's and Geno's I do my best to persuade them of getting a much better cheesesteak at Jim's or Campo's. Matter of fact I had two people from Detroit today in my car and told them to go to Jim's and they listened. :lol: You wanna know a good Cheesesteak place ask this Philly native. :D

 

 

 

I don't doubt Uber drivers might steer pax to places other than Primanti Bros. in Pittsburgh as well. My point was it has the same kind of rep as Geno's (call it a tourist trap if you want) and many visitors seek out Primanti Bros. just like they do Geno's. Locals aren't immune to the hype either, tho they may not make a habit of Primanti's. For some, once is enough. For others, they seem to be happy with it.

 

Funny Primanti Bros. was mentioned, since outta curiosity I tried that place when I did a Pittsburgh trip in late May. Sigh, I was disappointed(pretty sure it was because whatever cole slaw and certain other things they add to those sandwiches wasn't as good as I hoped it'd be), and doubt I'd go there on my next trip there. Maybe one day I'd give them another shot, but honestly there are other places in Pittsburgh I'd rather eat at that I didn't quite get to, whenever I get back there again.

 

One option you could do for a morning bite and just wanted to call in an order of food to go(assuming they'd allow you to do that here, and say you got a cabbie or Uber/Lyft driver who'd allow you to do that), would be to go to DeLuca's Diner in the Strip District. It opens at 6:30am, though of course you'd have to get back to that station before the 7:30am departure. I debated going to DeLuca's, and honestly looking back I probably should've stuck with my original gameplan to do that. But ah well, since I did later on fit a brief walk into the Strip District on my 2nd and last day in Pittsburgh, due to the fact my westbound Cap. Limited ran 21/2 hours late! :) Phone number btw for DeLuca's, is (412)566-2195.

 

 

Agree. Deluca's serves a good breakfast. Better than Primanti's and roughly the same distance from Amtrak. Like Primanti's, a tight connection in the AM, tho, and the Pennsylvanian usually leaves on time. I should think it a safer bet to call in a takeout order with plans to eat it on board.

 

Not sure how you'd eat at Deluca's in a westbound scenario, however. They are basically a breakfast/lunch place -- and close mid-afternoons until the next morning. Plenty of other options downtown for westbound connectors tho, and of course Primanti's (original 18th Street location only) is open 24 hours.

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Nothing that special but it is unique, a must-stop for locals and visitors alike in the same way that Geno's Cheesesteaks in Philly is. (Ducking...)

WHOAAAAAAAA THERE!!! Philly natives don't even think of going anywhere near Pat's and Geno's it's a legitimate tourist trap. Crappy and overpriced Cheesesteaks. I'm an Uber driver and anytime someone says They're going to Pat's and Geno's I do my best to persuade them of getting a much better cheesesteak at Jim's or Campo's. Matter of fact I had two people from Detroit today in my car and told them to go to Jim's and they listened. You wanna know a good Cheesesteak place ask this Philly native. :D

Explorer's Den. This Philly expat has been going there since... 1967. Once hauled 26 frozen cheesesteaks back to STL by request. Oh, and I've never been Geno's or Pat's.

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I've been thinking about my trip, and at this point I'm considering extending my time in NYC. Given that, I may fly to NY (either LGA or JFK) to save a travel day, and take the Pennsylvanian-Capitol Limited connection back. I obviously could take LSL all the way (well, to Toledo, where I have to catch a bus to Michigan), but would like to ride the Pennsylvanian as it is a totally new route to me (I've done the LSL BOS-TOL + Cap WAS-TOL and Card CHI-WAS before, and we're doing a good chunk of the Hudson River run I haven't done during the Gathering).

 

With that said, are the Pennsylvanian/Capitol Limited usually on-time into PGH westbound, and would I be able to see the Horseshoe Curve in daylight in the first week of October? Also, if the Cap is early into PGH (as it seemingly has been the past few days), can you usually get on the train before its scheduled departure time? The longer layover would obviously give me more time for a meal in Pittsburgh, though if it's after 11pm and the train is nearing I'd probably want to get on it ASAP and try to sleep.

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Good plan!

 

You shouldn't have and problem with the connection in PGH to #29 from the Pennsy.

 

The Weather and OTP ( Evening/Night) will determine whether or not you see the Horseshoe Curve Westbound, but Eastbound ( Daylight) shouldn't be any problem unless the Weather interfers.

 

As has been said, the Dungeon in the PGH Amtrak Station is not a place you want to hang out in long, but there are plenty of places to eat downtown and on the strip during the Layover for #29.(the Eastbound connection is no problem, only an hour or so layover if close to On Time)

 

Since you go upstairs to the Platform to board the Train, you won't board till the Agent( friendly and will keep your stuff while you go eat) announces boarding.

Edited by Bob Dylan

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In my experience riding about ten times, the Pennsylvanian was anywhere from a few minutes early up to 90 minutes late into Pittsburgh. Unless there's a pretty unusual delay you'll be able to see the Horseshoe Curve in early October, I'd give you a 95% chance or better.

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