The Cardinal Train #50

Discussion in 'Amtrak Rail Discussion' started by RailFanLNK, Jun 16, 2013.

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  1. Jun 20, 2013 #26

    AlanB

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    AlanB

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    No, you've got it backwards. Going eastbound you start out on the southern side of the gorge no matter what, putting the gorge on the left side of the train's forward motion. IIRC, there are two places where the train can cross the river. If it takes the earlier bridge, then about 1/2 to maybe 2/3rds of the gorge is on the left, the rest on the right. Generally however they take the second bridge, which puts about 90 to 95% of the gorge on the left of the train.
     
  2. Jun 20, 2013 #27

    guest

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    Laura at AGR is going to have her head spinning by the time all this is figured out! lol
     
  3. Jun 20, 2013 #28

    the_traveler

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    Alan, I don't want to say you're wrong (otherwise I won't get paid this century), but what is the "Gorge" area? I thought it was area before and after the bridge. If so, the tracks run on the north side of the river in that area. Thus it is on the right of the train headed east. (#50 goes eastbound.)

    The doors are in the front, next to the baggage car. So the bedrooms and odd roomettes are on the right side.

    Please correct me if I'm wrong.
     
  4. Jun 20, 2013 #29

    the_traveler

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    I've ridden #50 a total of 4 times during the past 5 years or so, and I guess each time has been the 5-10% as each time it was on the right. Maybe I should play the lottery!
     
  5. Jun 20, 2013 #30

    AmtrakBlue

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    Come on guys, get this straight so I'll know which side of 51 (western, oops, westbound) to try to get a seat when heading to the gathering. :)
     
  6. Jun 20, 2013 #31

    Michael061282

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    Honestly, I think the best crew I've EVER had was on the Cardinal, not just with me, but with everyone. The Lounge/Diner lady knew at least half of the customers by name. She took time with a lineof customers to ask my son, who was 4 or 5 if he wanted more milk when she saw he'd finished his glass. We were actually in time into Charlottesville and she fixed him up a little extra doggie bag for the bus ride to Richmond. I think I wrote 2 or 3 commendations letters to Amtrak about her and the other crew.

    As for smoke/fresh air breaks. Indianapolis, Cincinnati (middle of the night), Huntington (a short one), Clifton Forge (short one while we waited for the line to clear, we were early and "they didn't expect us".. that was the announcement) and Charlottesville.
     
  7. Jun 20, 2013 #32

    the_traveler

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    I'd try to get a seat or room on the INside if possible in case it rains!
     
  8. Jun 20, 2013 #33

    AmtrakBlue

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    Ha Ha. :)
     
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  9. Jun 20, 2013 #34

    AlanB

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    Essentially based upon Amtrak stations, it runs from just east of Montgomery, WV (some consider the Gauley Bridge to be the start) to Hinton, WV. From Gauley down to Hawk's Nest the tracks are only on the southern side of the river, meaning that even's are on the river side. Just past Hawk's Nest Dam, is the split. I was a bit off on where the split happens; this is maybe 10 to 15% of the way through things. Now if the train crosses the river, then the odds get the better view from that point on. Sound like you've always crossed, whereas I've never crossed. Not even years ago when I ran this route in Superliners.

    At Sewell, just past Upper Railroad Rapids and just west of Thurmond the southern track crosses the river to the northern/eastern side of the river. This is about the halfway point. At that point, it would be the odd numbered roomettes that have the best view. However, IMHO, the best part of the run was from the start to this point.

    Not saying that the remainder is terrible, but the best part is the first part again IMHO.

    By the time one reaches Hinton, the excitement is over and shortly after Hinton the track leave the river behind, or at least the New River and hence the New River Gorge.
     
  10. Jun 20, 2013 #35

    the_traveler

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    I'm not exactly sure of the points, but east of Montgomery I've crossed a bridge with the River changing from left to right. (Before this the River was on the left.) After this railroad bridge, what I think of as "the Gorge" is on the right side, with the roadway bridge crossing seen on the right. Farther east and before Hinton, the tracks cross a second bridge with the River switching from the right side to the left.

    I consider the right side eastbound to be more scenic. I've had roomettes on both sides.

    Please let me know if this route is the 90-95% or the 5-10%.

    And Betty, I'm not sure of the direction headed westbound. I've only taken the Cardinal eastbound each time.
     
  11. Jun 20, 2013 #36

    Linda T

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    Just stepping off the 50 and 51 the odd number roomettes on the 50 were on the New River Bridge side, on the 51 they were on the opposite side. Today I stepped off the 51 and to tell you the truth, I never saw the beauty of the non-bridge side as much as I did today. I was simply astonished. Both sides have their pros and cons, the non-bridge side's strongest points include the Kanawha Falls, Hawk's Nest, more remains of the ghost towns (i.e. coke ovens, old silos, abandoned homes...), there is still plenty of white water (though not as many rafters). I thought I had all the pictures of the gorge during trips past, but found myself shooting pictures of the non-bridge side today as it was simply gorgeous.

    I love the gorge side, don't get me wrong, but I found so much to love on the other side too, that well... I don't honestly care which side I'm on. I'm usually in the dining car anyway when the gorge comes around. ;)
     
  12. Jun 20, 2013 #37

    AlanB

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    This map from the National Park Service will help one to see what I've described. You can magnify it so that you can see the clearly marked tracks.

    In an unrelated note, I just love the names of some of the rapids on the Gauley River if you follow that river out a bit.
     
  13. Jun 20, 2013 #38

    the_traveler

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    Thanks for the map!

    I've always taken the bridge across the river just passed Hawks Nest, and then had the river and bridge on my right side. Now that I think about it (how can I think at this time of night - it's only 9:15 am :huh: ), I do recall seeing a track switching off to the right just before that bridge crossing.
     
  14. Jun 22, 2013 #39

    Linda T

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    There is a track that runs on the other side of the gorge, and the Cardinal has run on it on rare occasions. Probably about 98% of the time the Cardinal runs on the track that does cross the Hawk's Nest Bridge. I have been told by those who have been on it, that the track that does not cross the river at Hawk's Nest, does not have as good of a view of the gorge, or the NRG Bridge. So you want to cross the HN Bridge. :)
     
  15. May 30, 2014 #40

    crescent2

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    Reviving an old thread, but I'd like to know for my trip later this summer.

    Was the consensus finally that the train crosses the river near Hawk's Nest (putting it on the north side of the river) 90% of the time? Or is that the 10% routing?

    I have an odd-numbered roomette so I'm pulling for 90%--and traveler (sorry, Alan :p )! Thanks-
     
  16. May 30, 2014 #41

    Linda T

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    No doubt about it, the train crosses at Hawk's Nest unless there's a reason to do otherwise. Of the many times I've been through the gorge only 4 times have we crossed over to the south-side. Two times was due to a brush fire, two times I don't know. I do not like the south side as it's higher and has more trees between it and the gorge. It is hard to see much besides trees. The prettiest part of the south side is crossing the Southside Bridge, during which you get a very pretty view of the mountains, water, reflection, etc. (on good days, of course).

    It seems to me that I've seen odd and even on different sides just depending on how the cars are attached, right?

    And the gorge officially starts at Gauley. The gorge at that point is on the left side of the train and runs for five and a half miles. That section of the gorge is officially known as "The Dries." That's the area where most of the water runs through a tunnel and under the mountain at Hawk's Nest Dam. About 5.5 miles down the tracks the train crosses over the Hawk's Nest Bridge and enters what most people refer to as the gorge where the main body of water is on the right. :giggle:

    During the rainy season I prefer the cliff side where so many magnificient waterfalls run both near the tracks, and back in the hollows.
     
  17. May 31, 2014 #42

    crescent2

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    Thanks, Linda. It sounds like there are some good views from either side of the train.

    Every time I've ridden the Crescent anywhere between WAS and NOL, the Viewliner sleeper had the H unit forward. I know it could be turned the other way, though. One advantage of having an odd-numbered roomette is that you can leave and grab a view of the opposite side of the train from the hallway windows across from the bedrooms. Not that I had any choice of which roomette I got!

    I'm glad I could find space on the Cardinal this summer on a day that worked for me.
     
  18. May 31, 2014 #43

    Linda T

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    When will you be traveling? I am actually a narrator on the eastbound train between CHW and WSS. I have my June and July schedule already, but could maybe trade days for a chance to meet a fellow AU member. The Cardinal has its share of problems, but for scenery, and sleeper attendants it can't be easily beaten in the east. And I confess, I think their operating crew from HUN to CVS is made up of some of the best guys I've met. They are friendly, funny, but most of all hard working. They do the best they can with what they're given. Yeah, I'm biased, but I also know things are wrong, and can go wrong, and 50s otp has some room for improvement. But she's my hometown train and I love her. :p
     
  19. May 31, 2014 #44

    printman2000

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    Hey Linda. My family and I will be taking our first ever Cardinal trip going Washington to Chicago on July 4-5. If you are going to be on it, let me know and I will come say hi.
     
  20. May 31, 2014 #45

    crescent2

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    Linda, that would be such a fabulous bonus! Amazingly, one of my friends wants to come with me. I'll pm you with our travel info. We'll be the two WGW's that people are pointing to and snickering. We have teacher-voice volume; I sound like I'm from the Alabama backwoods and she's from small town Kentucky. :unsure:

    I hope this works out, thanks!

    I've read a good bit here on the forum about the Cardinal. I know it's "different" but I'm really looking forward to this segment, and I'm so glad I could get space this close to my travel dates.
     
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  21. Jun 1, 2014 #46

    Linda T

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    Saw your dates and sadly I'll be just starting on my western trip. A narrator is scheduled for that day, he's the fellow who got me interested in the narrating program, and is probably the most knowledgeable person on the route.

    Printman, holidays are always done by an older gentleman. And he is scheduled for July 4. Sounds like I'll miss two opportunities. :( Oops, quick edit to add there is never any narration on the 51, just the eastbound. Though we ride home on 51.
     
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  22. Jun 1, 2014 #47

    crescent2

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    Too bad that I'll miss you, but good that you'll be on a great trip too. Thanks for trying and enjoy your trip!
     
  23. Jun 1, 2014 #48

    PJnVA

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    Hi Linda, the #50 Cardinal is the last leg of our AGR Great train adventure #3. I am very excited about this trip because we are adding four routes we have never seen before and the Cardinal is one of them. Meeting another AU member would just make more memories for this trip. We board the #50 in Chicago on the 7/26 that would make it Sunday the 27th for your narrative. Would love to meet you if you are on board.
     
  24. Oct 3, 2014 #49

    WindyCityTexan

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    [SIZE=10.5pt]A friend and I are taking this train from CHI to NYP in mid-October. We are in a Roomette, on the odd-numbered side as recommended by most here. I've read that since sometime last summer the train consist includes a second sleeper car. Have they upgraded the dining car to accommodate twice as many sleeper passengers? Will we still be fed dinner out of Chicago or only have meals on Sunday?[/SIZE]

    [SIZE=10.5pt]And Linda, will you or someone else be doing the narrative on Sunday October 12?[/SIZE]

    [SIZE=10.5pt]I've only recently started traveling by train and I absolutely love it. Thanks everyone for all the great info and advice here![/SIZE]
     
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  25. Oct 3, 2014 #50

    Bob Dylan

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    You'll still get Dinner out of CHI in the Diner- Lite which is a combo Diner/Cafe Car that is totally inadequate even with one sleeper!

    You won't know until you board whether there will be One or Two Sleepers on the Card!

    Sleeper pax get first call for meals so take Early Meal times and don't order the French Toast "Sticks", they're terrible! Also don't let them seatt you @ the table with no window and the trash right by the table!

    Your Food Attendant will be LSA, Waiter, Cook ( Convection Oven/no grill), Bus Person! In the other half of the Car, there is a LSA that runs the Cafe/Lounge.
     
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