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Recently I rode from Milwaukee to Chicago on the Hiawatha and the chemical odor that was in every car made my trip horrible.

I had to stand inbetween cars and cover my nose and mouth for most of the trip.  My nose, throat, and eyes were burning.  When I arrived I had to wash the smell out of my clothes.

I used to take the Hiawatha all the time a few years ago and never had any problem.

Is there a separate car available without odors?  A lot of people are allergic to these chemicals.

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Hi,

Welcome to the forum.

Do you know what sort of smell it was. You mention a chemical smell, did you get the impression it was from some cleaning agent?

Trains sometimes get an odour (uk spelling  :D ) from the brakes, but I imagine that would have been worse in the area between cars.

Without knowing what the smell came from, it is hard to advise.

 

Ed.

Edited by caravanman

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Do you happen to know what kind of equipment you were sitting in? Was it safe to say it was tubular in appearance with a cramped, overhead luggage area? Was the car kind of flat in appearance with a rounded roof and a bright overhead luggage or was it a double decker car?

 

I'd link pictures but I don't want to get sued by Ryan. :cool:

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There is a surprisingly strong smell/odor common to most Amtrak equipment that seems to be a combination of harshly scented chemicals including liquid hand soap, commercial deodorizer, floor cleaner, and various other cleaning agents.  Most of the time I can eventually get used to it but sometimes it's so overwhelming it makes it hard or even impossible for me to sleep or even just relax.  I've been told that I have a stronger than usual sense of smell, but I've also never experienced this problem on another passenger railway, so it seems to be unique to Amtrak.  Some people seem to actually like the smell so I guess for them it's a positive thing.

Edited by Devil's Advocate

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@Thirdrail7 Mind if I translate?

 

1 hour ago, Thirdrail7 said:

Was it safe to say it was tubular in appearance with a cramped, overhead luggage area?

1600px-Amfleet_cars_at_Kingston.JPG

- WikiMedia user Pi.1415926535

 

1 hour ago, Thirdrail7 said:

Was the car kind of flat in appearance with a rounded roof and a bright overhead luggage

1599px-Horizon_Fleet_Car_passing_through

- flickr user Matthew Black

 

1 hour ago, Thirdrail7 said:

or was it a double decker car?

1599px-Williston-Amtrak.JPG

- WikiMedia user Prasenberg

 

So to the OP, do you happen to remember which of these it was?

Edited by cpotisch

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Typical Hiawatha consist is six coaches, mostly Horizons, sometimes an Amfleet at one or each end.  For all intents and purposes, you’ll never see Superminers in the Hiawatha.

I’ve never noticed a difference in smell between the Amfleets and Horizons on that route.  I do occasionally notice a vague cleaning agent smell, but I guess it doesn’t get me too much since I’m not allergic.

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We had some Glade plug-ins at work that had the "Amtrak" smell. I don't know what the scent is called, but the plug-in liquid was blue. It was really confusing the first time I smelled it and couldn't quite place it. Then, it was weird smelling a train while at work.

Anyway, I'm not a fan (of either the Amtrak smell or the Glade plug-ins). I hate that I smell like the train whenever I arrive. I always want to take a shower and shove my clothes in a plastic bag so they don't make my other clothes smell. I don't notice it much after a short trip, but after a long-distance trip, it's really noticeable. Whenever my ex-boyfriend came to visit me, I could smell it on him hours after he'd arrived. That tipped me to the fact that I probably smelled like that too.

Surprisingly, the Amtrak fragrance doesn't trigger my asthma the way Glade, Febreze, Bath & Body Works (the worst offender), and other fragrances do. I am grateful for that.

Edited by SarahZ

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I honestly like the “Amtrak smell”. Of course that likely is just because I love the train, and while the smell itself might not be particularly anything, I find it sort of comforting because that’s what I associate it with, but still the actual scent is at minimum neutral to me. Then again, what I’m thinking of isn’t really chemically per se, so this might not be what you all are talking about...

So does anybody know what I’m thinking of when I say that Amtrak trains have their own distinct and non-chemically smell?

Edited by cpotisch

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I don't mind it so much while I'm on the train, because it's a familiar smell that feels like home to me, but when I smell it on others, it's a mix of the Amtrak fragrance plus the restroom tanks. I don't want to smell like that to people who are NOT a fan of that kind of smell. 

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The reason I asked about the equipment is  I've seen some sort of air freshener (perhaps purifier) system installed on the Amfleets . Additionally, there has been a concentrated effort to clean the interior windows.  Throw in the toilets and the associated chemicals and this could add up.

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I honestly like the “Amtrak smell”. Of course that might just be because I love the train, and while the smell itself isn’t particularly anything, since that’s what I associate it with, it’s sort of comforting, but still the smell itself is at minimum neutral, to me.. Then again, the smell I’m thinking of isn’t really chemically per se, so I may not be thinking of the same thing...
So does anybody know what I’m talking about when I say that Amtrak trains have their own distinct and non-chemically smell?
Honestly I like the smell because I associate it with the train being clean. Towards the end of a trip on 67, you'd beg for the smell...

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I rather like the fragrance of the "Flight Luxe" handsoap by Celeste Chemicals, that Amtrak (and some airlines and buslines) provide in the lavs.....I would buy it for home use if it was sold retail....

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I rather like the fragrance of the "Flight Luxe" handsoap by Celeste Chemicals, that Amtrak (and some airlines and buslines) provide in the lavs.....I would buy it for home use if it was sold retail....
How long has it been since you've ridden with us? They changed out the nostalgic cherry almond scent (is that what it was?), to a foaming soap that is some sort of mint scent.
 
Been there done that! Unless south of Baltimore, the cafe was never really a bustling center of activity, so that wasn't a problem, thankfully! Now...the midday trains that were hot as blazes and I wanted a breeze...

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9 minutes ago, Triley said:

How long has it been since you've ridden with us? They changed out the nostalgic cherry almond scent (is that what it was?), to a foaming soap that is some sort of mint scent.Been there done that! Unless south of Baltimore, the cafe was never really a bustling center of activity, so that wasn't a problem, thankfully! Now...the midday trains that were hot as blazes and I wanted a breeze...

Hmmm....I rode the Crescent NOL to NYP 12-13 November...but not sure if it had the foam or the liquid (which I prefer).....could they still be using the older soap, as well?:unsure:

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Hmmm....I rode the Crescent NOL to NYP 12-13 November...but not sure if it had the foam or the liquid (which I prefer).....could they still be using the older soap, as well?default_unsure.png

I doubt it. I first noticed it on the corridor when I visited back in August, and thought it was weird, but assumed it was an "enhancement" for the corridor services.

 

Then I saw it being used out of Seattle (while Portland still had the old liquid stuff, meaning both kinds were being mixed which at..gross).

 

I thought I wasn't going to like the new stuff, but I have quickly grown to like it. The only issue I have is that with the built in pumps on the Talgo sets (much like the built ins on the Acelas), it doesn't foam up the soap, so we're using more soap than we should be.

 

Anyway, I'm guessing New Orleans may have still been using up their old supplies still at that time.

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On 12/16/2018 at 7:12 PM, cpotisch said:

I honestly like the “Amtrak smell”. Of course that likely is just because I love the train, and while the smell itself might not be particularly anything, I find it sort of comforting because that’s what I associate it with, but still the actual scent is at minimum neutral to me. Then again, what I’m thinking of isn’t really chemically per se, so this might not be what you all are talking about...

So does anybody know what I’m thinking of when I say that Amtrak trains have their own distinct and non-chemically smell?

I can testify that that Amtrak smell was just as comforting as it always has been when I was on the Meteor yesterday and the day before. So they definitely haven’t changed the air freshener or whatever that gives it that smell.

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On 12/16/2018 at 5:48 PM, SarahZ said:

We had some Glade plug-ins at work that had the "Amtrak" smell. I don't know what the scent is called, but the plug-in liquid was blue.

Well, at least it's the right color!

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