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Dakota 400

Silver Meteor's 11/11/18 Departure from Washington

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The train left 2 hours and 42 minutes late after arriving 3 minutes early.  As I type this post, she has yet to arrive in Miami.  What in the world caused this severe delay?  Anyone know?

 

For Sleeping Car guests, what would have been their Dining Car and Lounge Car experience by such a late departure?  On a previous trip on the Crescent from New York to New Orleans, the Lounge Car did not open until the train reached Alexandria and those in the diners that were seated/served prior to the Crescent's arrival in Washington had lighted sticks placed on their tables when the lights were dimmed.  

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I was on that train and can speak from personal experience.  WAS passengers were boarded in the normal course.  As I was walking to the train, I noticed that the electric engine was still on the train and the power was on.  I soon learned that there were no diesel engines available for our train for the engine swap.  The sleeping car passengers with 8pm dinner reservations were invited to the dining car to have dinner before the engine swap.  The conductor was constantly updating us with information as to the status.  All passengers were comfortable (although I thought the heat was turned too high).

I later found out (from an Amtrak employee not on that train) that the engines from 30 go to 97.  30 was about 5 hours late yesterday, and as a result, there was a delay in getting the engines serviced and fueled in the yard ready to go to 97.  (I also learned that 98's engines go to train 29).

 

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pennyk,

 

Thanks for your prompt reply!  If I was in that situation, would I be able to order a glass or a half bottle of wine when I went to the dining car?  

 

On my Crescent trip, going to the Lounge Car prior to my dinner reservation with the purpose of ordering an adult beverage. the Attendant was not available.  And, when she did finally appear after leaving Washington, we were just finally crossing into Virginia before she opened the Car for service.  (She had a line of customers that extended from the counter to almost the coach end door of the car.)  Even then, she was reluctant.  "I have to wait until we get to Alexandria."  That's what we heard from her.)

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pennyk,
 
Thanks for your prompt reply!  If I was in that situation, would I be able to order a glass or a half bottle of wine when I went to the dining car?  
 
On my Crescent trip, going to the Lounge Car prior to my dinner reservation with the purpose of ordering an adult beverage. the Attendant was not available.  And, when she did finally appear after leaving Washington, we were just finally crossing into Virginia before she opened the Car for service.  (She had a line of customers that extended from the counter to almost the coach end door of the car.)  Even then, she was reluctant.  "I have to wait until we get to Alexandria."  That's what we heard from her.)
Many conductors tell the LSAs to not open until Alexandria to ensure that all tickets are lifted.

The diner may or may not accommodate you in buying wine "to go". Honestly, I probably would not, simply because Aramark does not supply us with enough alcohol to handle what should be cafe sales. If they do it for you, and word gets around...you may very well have the diner run out of wine waaay before Miami.

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Shortly after boarding, I went to the cafe car with the hopes of getting some wine.  It was not open.  I was very pleased that we were called to dinner shortly thereafter.  Apparently, I was not the only passsenger who wanted some wine.  All four of us at the table ordered a glass of wine (3 white and 1 red) with our dinner.

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4 hours ago, Skyline said:

Better bet would be to pick up some wine you'd actually like to drink enroute to the train.

I normally drink organic wine (with no sulfites added), which is difficult to find in the area of Union Station.  Since I want to drink with my dinner, I purchase the wine on board.  When I was walking around earlier that day, I had no idea my train would be delayed and that I would want "special" wine.  I purchase wine either at Whole Foods or on-line.

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19 hours ago, Triley said:

The diner may or may not accommodate you in buying wine "to go". Honestly, I probably would not, simply because Aramark does not supply us with enough alcohol to handle what should be cafe sales. If they do it for you, and word gets around...you may very well have the diner run out of wine waaay before Miami.

 

I have experienced what you are saying about running out of wine.  On the Southwest Chief, Los Angeles to Chicago, before the end of dinner out of Los Angeles, the dining car had exhausted its supply of white wine.

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11 minutes ago, Dakota 400 said:

I have experienced what you are saying about running out of wine.  On the Southwest Chief, Los Angeles to Chicago, before the end of dinner out of Los Angeles, the dining car had exhausted its supply of white wine.

That's nuts! 2,200 miles with no wine! :giggle:

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20 hours ago, Triley said:

Many conductors tell the LSAs to not open until Alexandria to ensure that all tickets are lifted.

The diner may or may not accommodate you in buying wine "to go". Honestly, I probably would not, simply because Aramark does not supply us with enough alcohol to handle what should be cafe sales. If they do it for you, and word gets around...you may very well have the diner run out of wine waaay before Miami.

This is why, when I travel sleeper, I  bring my own supply of alcoholic beverages.  

There is a liquor store in Washington Union Station in the lower level food court.  A bit overpriced, but probably better than the prices in the lounge car.

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22 hours ago, Dakota 400 said:

... those in the diners that were seated/served prior to the Crescent's arrival in Washington had lighted sticks placed on their tables when the lights were dimmed.  

Would the lights being dimmed be a sign that HEP was "lost" (engine change)?     If so, I would say the staff was trying their best to be accommodating by placing the (emergency) light sticks on their tables.

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36 minutes ago, MARC Rider said:

This is why, when I travel sleeper, I  bring my own supply of alcoholic beverages.  

There is a liquor store in Washington Union Station in the lower level food court.  A bit overpriced, but probably better than the prices in the lounge car.

There's also a fantastic craft beer store on 3rd and H street NE, which is maybe a 5-7 minute walk from WAS Union Station, and there's a Whole Foods on H street too. The DC Street car runs free pretty close to it.

Obviously either of those would require a little bit more time, but they're still not horribly far.

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1 hour ago, Cho Cho Charlie said:

Would the lights being dimmed be a sign that HEP was "lost" (engine change)?     If so, I would say the staff was trying their best to be accommodating by placing the (emergency) light sticks on their tables.

 

Yes, clearly, that was what the dining car staff was trying to do.  There were several diners having dinner when the engine change took place.

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I enjoy a glass of wine or more during my dinner.  The suggestions of bringing my own wine on board are good IF I want to enjoy the beverage in my sleeping car accommodation.  As I understand Amtrak's rules for alcohol, I would not be able to take my bottle to the Dining Car nor the Lounge Car and enjoy the beverage in those locations.

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Yes when the hotel power is pulled out the lights dim in the car. However I'm fairly sure each car had a bank of batteries on board that have enough charge to provide emergency lighting for at least the next fifteen-twenty minutes. While not all lights and appliances would not work there would be a handful of lights still working in case of a derailment where the power drops.

So passengers could find their way to the nearest exit. However these lights left do fade fairly rapidly. I know one of our cars is equipped with that, but generally we just turn on the generator for extended HEP losses.

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23 hours ago, Chatter163 said:

For Amtrak, I’d call 2:42 a delay, but certainly not a “severe delay.”

I think it's more that it arrived in WAS 3 minutes early, yet left 2h 42m late. It's definitely common for Amtrak trains to lose that kind of time along the way, but not for it to arrive at one station early and leave 2h 45m later.

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