Texas Eagle vs Sunset Limited

Discussion in 'Amtrak Rail Discussion' started by john h, Dec 3, 2018.

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  1. Dec 3, 2018 #1

    john h

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    john h

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    I am a first time rail rider who will be traveling from  New Mexico to Dallas

    Will the conductor board people in both sections of the train separately or all at once?

    Can I stay on board in San Antonio or do I have to get off? Assuming I buy train 422

    Also I noticed they only stop on request. How far in advanced do I need to buy my ticket so the train is aware to stop to pick me up? 

    Also do all seats have ac plugs? I do not plan to get a room
     
  2. Dec 3, 2018 #2

    the_traveler

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    I think you meant Texas Eagle or SUNSET Limited. Yes, as long as you book train 422, you can stay onboard in San Antonio. Those 2 cars are switched between trains. However, if you book train 2 connecting to train 22 you must get off and wait for general boarding at 6:30 am!

    As long as you have a reservation ahead of time that is reasonable (not 90 seconds before arrival), it will stop.

    There are 2 plugs at every seat by the window.
     
  3. Dec 3, 2018 #3

    Devil's Advocate

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    1. Usually coach and sleeper board separately.

    2. Tickets on 422 can stay on board or get off, but if you do deboard it's up to the staff when you can get back on again.

    3.  Flag stops are pretty rare at this point and most stops will be active with or without any warning.

    4. Yes.
     
  4. Dec 3, 2018 #4

    ehbowen

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    I assume you're planning to board at Deming or Lordsburg in New Mexico, which were both "flag stops". I see in the most recent online timetable that the "flag stop" designation has been removed; even were it still active the train is supposed to slow down at these station stops so that it can safely stop if a last-minute passenger "flags" the train down from the platform and it is not supposed to pass that station until the time officially listed in the schedule...if the train comes through ten minutes early, it will wait ten minutes "for time", even if the station is only a flag stop. If you return by train make sure that your conductor knows that you will be detraining in Deming or Lordsburg. This would be the conductor who takes over in El Paso; while car attendants and cafe/diner staff stay with the train for the entire trip the operating crew (conductors, engineers) change out every 6-10 hours (no more than 12!) for safety's sake.

    Since these stations are unstaffed you need to buy your tickets in advance online or through the 1-800-USA-RAIL telephone system. While it is technically possible to purchase your tickets on board, don't be surprised if the conductor makes the experience as pleasant as pulling teeth. With your ticket purchased and your reservation made in advance, your boarding and destination point should be listed on the conductor's manifest so you don't have to worry about your stop being skipped.

    Have a great trip!
     
  5. Dec 3, 2018 #5

    john h

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    Yes my mistake sunset limited

    I do plan to buy and pay for via Amtrak phone app tye day before 

    Thanks 

    Yes board in Lordsburg as city bus silver city makes that trip daily its $7 more them boarding at Deming. $118 and cheaper then driving as a solo driver would take 12 hrs I know Amtrak take 26 hrs or so

    I think best I just stay on I assume I can pay for dinner and breakfast not sure if lunch will already be served at that point

    Thanks everyone for the reply
     
  6. Dec 3, 2018 #6

    cpotisch

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    I would recommend you not buy your ticket the day before, as booking that close in often results in a higher fare, or even a sell out. :unsure:  My advice is to book the moment you know your exact date of travel.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 16, 2018
  7. Dec 3, 2018 #7

    john h

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    Oh ok thanks I was just comparing coach for today vs next Monday and was the same price $118 but roomettes seem to be more which I am not booking but I guess holidays play a role too so I will book as soon as I confirm my solo travel with the wife who's working out here

    I just need go home for a couple weeks then come back
     
  8. Dec 3, 2018 #8

    ehbowen

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    Unless the train is late, lunch service should still be in progress when you board in Lordsburg as the dining car usually seats lunch customers until 2 pm or so. There are apps and web sites you can use to keep up to date on the progress of your train. Lunch in a dining car is a lot of fun and fairly reasonably priced, so I'd encourage you to take it there unless you see that the train is likely to be more than an hour late. Dinner and breakfast the next morning should be available without any issue, as well as another lunch the next day before you get to Dallas.

    A sample menu is here, although it may not be up to date.
     
  9. Dec 3, 2018 #9

    ehbowen

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    You need to look up Amsnag. It's a tool which shows fares for a range of dates. Amtrak organizes their fares into "buckets" depending on how busy they expect a train to be. If it looks like a train will be full, the fare will go up. Contrariwise, if it looks as if there will be empty seats, the fare will go down.

    The key, though, is that (barring a special sale) the fare will not drop to lower than the lowest "bucket". If you look on Amsnag for a two-week range and find that $118 is the lowest fare shown, that almost certainly means it is "low bucket". It won't ever drop any lower than that, so grab it...it could go higher without any warning if you don't.

    Right now Amsnag doesn't seem to be working or else I would post a sample, but it's a valuable tool. Keep checking it until it's back up.
     
  10. Dec 3, 2018 #10

    cpotisch

    cpotisch

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    AmSnag is working fine for me. I’m using the newest version, 2.02.
     
  11. Dec 3, 2018 #11

    john h

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    Wow thanks ranges from $94 to $149 so booking now thanks for the advise
     
  12. Dec 3, 2018 #12

    ehbowen

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    I think I was having a JavaScript issue.
     
  13. Dec 3, 2018 #13

    john h

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    Thanks everyone I have booked my trips both ways glad I did I was able to say a saver fare for the way back

    I will be traveling over Christmas eve and day. Are they anything special as far as meals those days?
     
  14. Dec 3, 2018 #14

    the_traveler

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    Years ago, they used to have a special holiday offering - but I think that is long gone! :(
     
  15. Dec 4, 2018 #15

    cpotisch

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    Yep, all gone. :(  They used to have a turkey dinner with cranberry sauce and I think stuffing (maybe it was mashed potatoes?) on Thanksgivings, and on Christmas (my memory is getting foggy here), I think they had roast beef. But I could be hallucinating about that second one. :)
     
  16. Dec 4, 2018 #16

    john h

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    Oh well so much for holiday meals

    I know since I'm traveling coach I cant bring alcohol but may bring some cream soda (I'm cheap)

    Does the snack bar sell ice cups?
     
  17. Dec 4, 2018 #17

    cpotisch

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    They don’t sell them, but I’m sure they’d be fine with just giving one to you.
     
  18. Dec 4, 2018 #18

    Devil's Advocate

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    I'm having a hard time following this.  I've disembarked at all sorts of stations and never had to warn any of the conductors ahead of time.  If you're disembarking in Deming or Lordsburg I'm confident you'll be put off the train when you reach your ticketed destination whether you warn the conductor or not.

    It's true that Amtrak conductors are notorious for resisting or refusing onboard sales of sleeper compartments but this is the first I've heard anyone claim they would balk at selling a basic coach seat.  I myself have purchased a last minute long distance coach seat from a conductor and didn't get no guff from nobody. 
     
  19. Dec 4, 2018 #19

    ehbowen

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    Yes, as long as you're getting off at your ticketed destination there won't be a problem...and if there is it's on Amtrak, not you. However, I've seen a case where a passenger decided en route that he needed to get off in Sanderson instead of Alpine. At this point the Sunset Limited was already west of Del Rio. I told him that he needed to find the conductor Right Now and inform him, because otherwise the train would likely not stop in Sanderson at all!

    Regarding your last, perhaps I exaggerate.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 4, 2018
  20. Dec 4, 2018 #20

    john h

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    Tickets purchased 

    So I can just have them scan the code off my cellphone correct? Other than phone losing battery is there another advantage to printing a hard copy? I would have to go to ups store to print in New Mexico 
     
  21. Dec 4, 2018 #21

    Devil's Advocate

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    They can technically board you with or without a phone or paper ticket.  So long as you have acceptable identification and your name appears on the digital manifest you should be able to board.  The benefit of having the QR code is that it's much faster than forcing the conductor to scroll through and verify names manually.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 4, 2018
  22. Dec 4, 2018 #22

    cpotisch

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    It’s not strictly necessary, however I would still recommend keeping your ticket on your phone to avoid any risk of an issue. There isn’t any benefit whatsoever of having a paper ticket.
     
  23. Dec 4, 2018 #23

    OlympianHiawatha

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    Depending on the conductor, he or she may just click you in without looking at your ticket.   But when you board, be sure to remain in your seat until they come by and make it official. 
     
  24. Dec 4, 2018 #24

    john h

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    Thanks no problem there I have a Texas drivers license 
     
  25. Dec 4, 2018 #25

    the_traveler

    the_traveler

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    Many (most :huh: ) times you don’t even need ID. The Conductor has just asked me my name and “lifted my ticket” on his/her scanner. Be sure to stay at your seat until they do, so you get a seat check. Also, if you are not checked in, your future reservations may be cancelled!
     

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