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User currently offlineGlid4500 From United States of America, joined Sep 2005, 587 posts, RR: 6
Posted (9 years 11 months 1 week 4 hours ago) and read 12950 times:

... heres part 2 of that trip report entitled LGB-SFO via SLC on DL , SFO-IAD via UAL

At 645pm, the plane … an Embraer 145 … pulls up to the gate. All passengers disembarked, and them boarding was announced a few minutes afterwards.

UA7126 to PHL

There was about 30 people on board this short flight to PHL. Due to the rough weather up above, there were no drink service on the plane. Takeoff was smooth… once we got to cruising altitude, we encountered modern turbulence. We landed in PHL at about 753pm. We didn’t pull up to the gate until about 803p. Once we arrived at the gate, several people rushed from the back to catch a connection that would depart in less than 5 minutes. Other than that, everything was smooth.

My friend Jay met me downstairs at the arrivals, and after that we decided to catch a movie.

This was the day where we would head into New York City & hang out for a while. We went to this steakhouse in Hoboken, NJ … & also went to go see another movie later that night. In between there, we hung out with some friends.

Yankee Stadium

The good 'ole 4 train
Wednesday June 21

I got a late start at about 10am. 1130am … I had all my stuff ( except for the airplane models I bought in SFO ). My friend and I boarded the 4 train to 42nd Street and then boarded the 42nd street shuttle to Times Square. From there, we would catch the 2 train to Penn Station.

We went towards the Amtrak part of Penn Sta … where I would grab my ticket stubs for this journey

Amtrak Train 49 ( New York-Chicago Union Sta ) – 959 miles
Amtrak Train 421 / 1 ( Chicago-San Antonio-LA ) – 2728 miles
Total trip miles = 3687 miles

Amtrak Train 49 ( NYC – Chicago via Albany / Cleveland ), would be about 40 minutes late leaving NYC Penn Station. After the first boarding call was made …. My friend Jay would walk to my train and help me get with my baggage. Good thing that I walked him out in time … because a few seconds later, and he would’ve been riding too ( the extra company would’ve been nice )

The ride up to Albany was uneventful. We was about 45 minutes late upon arrival in Albany … and was about 60 minutes late leaving Albany. We had passengers connecting from Boston and also had to switch locomotives. NYC-Croton Harmon is electrified rail … so Amtrak uses the GE P32AC-DM locomotives between NYC-Albany. Between Croton Harmon and Albany, the locomotives are switched to diesel mode.

Amtrak 49 at Albany NY

I strongly recommend the seared catfish with the tobasco sauce.

Somewhere between NYC and Albany

For dinner, I would have the seared catfish, mashed potatoes, broccoli, and cheesecake. The seared catfish is grilled. Quite delicious too. After dinner, I went walking throughout the train and walked it off.

10pm- I decided to call it a night and had my bed made up. I didn’t wake up until about 630am. We was running about 2.5 hours late, and maintained that lateness until we made it all the way to Chicago

One thing i like about the viewliner sleeping car Roomettes is the Folding sink and toilet in each room ... soo cool
Thursday June 22

1137am-finally arrived in Chicago. Since I was continuing on Train 21 ( Texas Eagle ) … I was guided to the Amtrak Metropolitan Lounge.

Train 49 after arrival in Chicago

The Metropolitan Lounge is reserved for all passengers whom purchased Sleeper ( First Class ) accomidations. The Metropolitan lounge had snacks ( pretzels, chips, etc ) a Fountain Drink machine with plenty of cups, muffins, etc. Nice, cushioned seats, and free wi-fi access too. In side the Metropolitan Lounge … passengers are able to have their luggage stored in a safe place until their connecting train leaves. Since I had 2 hours, I decided to go get a few snacks, at McDonalds … and just come back to the terminal. I played online for a while. First boarding call was announced at 230pm for Train 21 ( Texas Eagle ).

Conductor & Engine Crew relief points :
-St Louis, Mo
-Little Rock, Ar
-Ft Worth, Tx
-Austin ( Dining crew got off here )
-San Antonio ( Texas Eagle crew deboarded here. Sunset Limited crew took over )
-Alpine, Tx
-El Paso, Tx
-Benson, Az
-Yuma, Az

I proceeded to the Train and was shown to my room. Since this train connects with Train 1 in San Antonio … the passenger cars were configured in this exact order …. 2 locomotives, 1 transition sleeper ( crew car ), dining car, lounge/ snack car, 3 coaches, 2 sleepers

Departure from Chicago was a few minutes behind schedule … due to a few late arriving passengers. Instead of the sleeping car attendant showing us where everything was, he used the intercom. We were about 10 minutes late between Chicago and Alton, Illinois.

Tonights dinner was Pork Chop

Coming into St Louis was pretty exciting ….as our train went over an old bridge for about 10 minutes, and finally crossed the mighty Mississippi River. We arrived in St Louis about 10 minutes ahead of schedule. In St Louis, one of the passenger cars was detached from our train. At 922pm-We finally departed St Louis … about 20 minutes behind schedule. One of the cars was detatched here. At about 11pm, I decided to call it a day.
Friday June 23

I woke up at about 4am in my home state, Arkansas. There was a thunderstorm outside that put on one helluva lightning show. At about 445am, we arrived in Little Rock. I went back to sleeep, and didn’t wake up until 11am. We was about 2 hrs late arriving into Marshall, Texas. I missed the station stop of Texarkana, Arkansas …. As half of the station is in Texas, and the other half is in Arkansas. Disappointed because I also missed breakfast, I put on my prosthetic device and decided to head down to the café car, which is 3 cars ahead. I bought a ham + cheese sub, which was very long and very tasty. Also got some yogurt and a diet pepsi. Lunch call was made shortly after departing Marshall, Texas. My car attendant, Mike, offered to go get me lunch … and I requested the Cesar Garden Salad. It’s not that I am anti-social, its just that I don’t want to miss the scenery as I go through the cars. Right before the train pulls into Longview, Texas, the trains emergency brake was applied, so that we could wait for an eastbound UP freight to come by us.

Lunch was served after departure from Longview, Tx. I went into the diner, and opted for the Chicken Caesar Salad, which was rather tasty.

At about 4pm, we arrived at Dallas Union Station… about 2.5 hours behind schedule. There was a train accident somewhere between Dallas and Ft Worth, turns out somebody tried to beat a freight train and didn’t win. We held our position in Dallas for about 2.5 hours until the mess was cleaned up.

After arrival at Dallas

Our Conductor from Little Rock to Ft Worth

A trinity rail express commuter train and a DART LRV

801pm-We arrived at Ft Worth Texas. We picked up people that transferred from Train 821 ( Heartland Flyer – Oklahoma City to Ft Worth ) . Most of these passengers were continuing on to San Antonio. Theres a family of 5 in the deluxe bedroom next door.One word to describe them … roudy.

Our new conductor from Ft Worth to San Antonio

1130am or so I decided to call it a night
Saturday June 24

We arrived in San Antonio around 5am or so. The lounge / observation car, and my sleeping car was disconnected from Train 21. The lounge car was to be taken back to Chicago ( Train 22 ), where it would be taken to the Amtrak Beech Grove Facility for refurbishment (located in Beech Grove, Indiana ) . My sleeping car would be attached to the end of Train 1 ( Sunset Limited ). The train was now configured as followed …. 2 locomotives, 1 baggage car, 1 transition sleeper (crew car –also the sleeping car for Train 1 ) 4 coaches ( the coach closest to the dining car had a café downstairs ), Train 421 sleeper car( the car I’m in now ).

Ironically, I slepted through the whole time they were configuring the trains. I didn’t wake up until about 730am …. We were just passing through San Antonio Air Force Base.

The conductor on board today was also the tour guide for the journey … pointing out various spots, etc.

Pecos River Canyon

Bend Bend Nat'l Park .... and a truck on the highway. Looks like something from the Dukes of Hazard

This was Lunch

At about 4pm, we arrived at Alpine, Texas. Mr tourguide conductor left us at Alpine. ..and we got 2 new conductors, that would make sure we would get to El Paso.

This was dinner ....

730PM-Arrived in El Paso…pickedup up more people and detrained some too.
755pm-Departed El Paso 2 hrs late

Whilst at El Paso

Departig El Paso Texas, we cruised alongside the Rio Grande River Westbound. I took a shower after we departed from El Paso. After the shower I decieded to go upstairs and get a few cups of ice for later on…just in case I go thirsty in the middle of the night.
Sunday June 25

453am-Wake up somewhere between Maricopa & Yuma, Arizona. Interstate 8 was to the right of us. I went back to sleep, and drew the curtains together, so the sun wouldn’t get in the room.

Right before the sun came up

Somewhere east of Yuma Arizona

Woke up again around 830 in the morning. The room across was empty, so I got dressed, took a washup, and let the sleeping car attendant make up my bed. Keep in mind that when preparing to arrive at the final destination, the sleeping car attendants prepare the sleeping car by changing the sheets to every bed in every room…and also changing the pillow cases.

My roomette

Just outside of Palm Springs.....

941AM-We made the stop at Palm Springs. Passengers that were destined to Bakersfield and points north were told to transfer here to the Amtrak Bus to Bakersfield, which was waiting for them outside.

...approaching Colton

1116am-We made a stop at the UPRR Colton Yard to drop off some UP crew, and then we were on our way to the next stop of Ontatio. KONT is also to the south of the tracks. There is a good view of the cargo area and passenger terminals, as we are immediately to the north of the airport.

1142-Arrived at Ontario Station.
1146-Departed Ontario

122pm-Arrived at LA Union Sta. Took a cab home

***what an incredible 4 day adventure on the train. loved every minute of it. One way flying, other way by rail  Smile

8 replies: All unread, jump to last
User currently offline767747 From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 2131 posts, RR: 23
Reply 1, posted (9 years 11 months 1 week 3 hours ago) and read 12889 times:
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Great report! Wow, I really do have to try Amtrak for a long distance trip. The food doesn't look too bad either!

I love to fly!
User currently offlineGreaser From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 1102 posts, RR: 3
Reply 2, posted (9 years 11 months 1 week 2 hours ago) and read 12830 times:

Quoting 767747 (Reply 1):
Great report! Wow, I really do have to try Amtrak for a long distance trip. The food doesn't look too bad either!

my thoughts exactly, i mean all the amenities you get??? how was the fare compared to flying, Glid4500? I would like to try Amtrak long distance (longest ive done was baltimore somewhere to newark) if im not in a rush, the routes look really scenic!

Now you're really flying
User currently offlineTaichen From Spain, joined Jul 2001, 220 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (9 years 11 months 6 days 20 hours ago) and read 12702 times:

Yeah, I'd like to ride across the States by train because of the scenery. I'm surprised you had so many delays ! Food does not look so great, though ...

User currently offlineGlid4500 From United States of America, joined Sep 2005, 587 posts, RR: 6
Reply 4, posted (9 years 11 months 6 days 19 hours ago) and read 12688 times:

Coach fare from NYC-LA was $126 for the entire trip. Since i got the sleeper ( First Class ) accomidations the whole way, it was an extra $700 bucks, and well worth it too. The cost for the sleeper varies on the distance travelled of course. It also varies on the type of room you get. The sleepers, in my opinion, is worth it. Your meals are included with the price of the ticket ( breakfast, lunch, and dinner ). Meals normally run between $9-$24 depending on what u order... and thats not counting for desert or drinks.
The meals are always prepared when u place your order. They are fresh, hot, and very appetizing.

There is also snack service in the lounge/observation car. They have an even bigger selection of sandwiches, breakfast sandwiches as well, candy, chips, yogurt,juice, water, soft drinks, beer, wine, etc, pizzas, hot dogs

In the sleeper cars ... You get a route guide describing the route in full and photo opprotunities.There are also a few bottles of water when u walk in, fresh pillows, coat hangers. The sleeping car attendant also has ice available nearby ... in addition to fresh coffee, bottled water, orange juice, apple juice, cranberry juice, which all sleeper customers can help themselves to day or night. Early in the AM, the sleeping car attendantusually slips u a morning newspaper under your sleeper compartment door.

Quoting Greaser (Reply 2):
my thoughts exactly, i mean all the amenities you get??? how was the fare compared to flying, Glid4500? I would like to try Amtrak long distance (longest ive done was baltimore somewhere to newark) if im not in a rush, the routes look really scenic!

User currently offlineANCFlyer From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 5, posted (9 years 11 months 6 days 19 hours ago) and read 12688 times:

Excellent!!! Another Amtrak report.

I've never travelled in the Viewliners, only the Superliners. I prefer the toilet and sink facilities in the room, I wish they'd done that with the Superliner Roomettes.

The one time I got a Superliner Roomette from Seattle to L.A. on the Coast Starlight I found it obnoxious to get up at whatever hour to go down the corridor to the toilet. Subsequent trips have been in a Superliner Bedroom - whether accompanied or not. Plus, in the bedroom, there's a shower  biggrin .

Quoting Greaser (Reply 2):
how was the fare compared to flying, Glid4500?

$$$$$ Amtrak is cool, but it's pricey. The coach fares aren't bad, but the First Class Sleeping Car prices can make you dizzy. Worth every penny IMO. Considering your meals are included, you have private or semi-private restroom facilities, and a car attendant. IMO, worth the $$$>

I wonder when Amtrak and UP will finally solve their traffic management problems along the southern border and the trains will get more on time?

Great Report - as usual Glid5400!  thumbsup 

User currently offlineVHVXB From Australia, joined Apr 2006, 5534 posts, RR: 16
Reply 6, posted (9 years 11 months 6 days 17 hours ago) and read 12674 times:

That was great trip report Glid5400 I really enjoyed it as well as the pics. How do you put up with those delays??

User currently offlineAv8rDAL From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 474 posts, RR: 1
Reply 7, posted (9 years 11 months 5 days 1 hour ago) and read 12406 times:

I've always wanted to take the train someplace in the USA more for nostalgic reasons than practical ones. Amtrak is so old-fashioned compared with the trains in Europe and Asia, but you won't get that level of service on a bullet train in Japan or on the ICE in Germany.

If you want speed, efficiency, and punctuality- go ride an ICE (and arrive on time, on the minute).

If you want scenery, service, and don't have a schedule to keep, take Amtrak (and still enjoy every minute of it).

Great report, I'm sure A.netters sometimes appreciate seeing a different means of travel once in a while. Now let's get a Greyhound cross-country report!

Maintain thine airspeed, lest the Earth rise up and smite thee.
User currently offlineGlid4500 From United States of America, joined Sep 2005, 587 posts, RR: 6
Reply 8, posted (9 years 11 months 4 days 21 hours ago) and read 12366 times:

Between the viewliners and the superliners, I love the viewliners ... simply because of the toilet & folding sinks. I had to get up several times during the night and walk to the toilet on the superliners.

Quoting ANCFlyer (Reply 5):
I've never travelled in the Viewliners, only the Superliners. I prefer the toilet and sink facilities in the room, I wish they'd done that with the Superliner Roomettes.

1. The laptop keeps me company  Smile and 2. understanding that most of the Amtrak Routes run along freight tracks. I love taking Amtrak ( and I like flying too ). I ride the rails when I'm not in a hurry.

Quoting VHVXB (Reply 6):
How do you put up with those delays??

I used to work for Greyhound between 2000-2004. When vacation time came my way, I used to do cross-country bus trips. I might post a GLI journey that happened back in 2002 ... the one that I will not forget.

Quoting Av8rDAL (Reply 7):
Great report, I'm sure A.netters sometimes appreciate seeing a different means of travel once in a while. Now let's get a Greyhound cross-country report!

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