Government Passenger Rail (Amtrak)

Discussion in 'Travel' started by DGS49, Aug 30, 2018.

  1. malnila
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    malnila Active Member

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    I took a overnight Amtrak from L.A. to Salem, OR about 20 yrs ago. Would have been fine if it wasn't an El Nino year so got stopped near Mt Shasta due to mud slides in front and behind our train. No announcement whatsoever when our Amtrak bus was loading to take us to Salem. Only by the grace of God did we see buses loading and found out we were being bused. As far as accommodations, not a prob for me falling asleep on the train and the food was great since air, you have to provide your own. I really want to take either the Orient Express or the Royal Canadian. They have sleeper cars like in the olden days so there's more room even if your bunks have been made.
     
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  2. Pogo
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    Pogo Diamond Member

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    All of that is true, I found the same things. And it's quite a selling point list.

    What you might have mentioned though is the obsession the thread started with. What do I mean?
    Well when I think of "Amtrak" --- or any rail service at all --- many things come to mind including the scenery, the timing, the environment, the passenger interaction .... but none of them is "government'. I've ridden many an SNCF train in France and never once did I stop and ponder "what's the French government got to do with this?".

    Same with Amtrak -- I wondered where we were at the moment, what that passenger's story is, what's on the dinner menu, how far are we off schedule, what's that weird set of lights out there --- never occurred to me to think about "the government". Come to think of it I've been on many an airline flight and never thought about "the government" there either, even though if I think about it I know the whole thing depends on the operation of the FAA. But that's got no relevance to my travel.

    It's just a bizarre association.
     
  3. martybegan
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    martybegan Diamond Member

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    I just did a cross country trip on Amtrak from NYC to Reno, stopping along the way in Pittsburgh, Chicago, Omaha, Denver and Salt Lake City. I had a wedding in Lake Tahoe to go to so I decided to go by train, giving myself two weeks about to enjoy the country. I just did a coach seat, and each trip segment was from 8-15 hours between the cities. I stayed at least 48 hours in each city except Chicago (36 hours).

    A few things I learned.

    1.The trains will be late. They share tracks with freight trains, and the freight companies own the rails. Don't travel by train if you are time constrained.

    2. Amish, lots of Amish. They use the train between communities, and for some reason they all vacation in Glenwood Springs, Colorado.

    3. Sleeping in the coach seats during night trips takes work getting used to. I had 3 overnight segments and only really got good sleep on the 3rd.

    4. The snack car food is microwave/pre-packaged. The diner car food is much better, but still not great.

    5. They have booze and beer and wine.

    6. A tradition along the Upper Colorado river for rafters and canoeist is to moon the trains as it's going by

    7. Some of the stations can be in the middle of nowhere (or a rail yard). Caution is needed when you arrive in a podunk town station at 3 AM

    All in all it was an interesting experience. The ticket cost me around $480 bucks for the trip. One thing that helped is that I stayed in very good hotel rooms in the cities I stopped in.

    I also flew back home from Reno, but that was part of the plan.
     
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  4. DGS49
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    DGS49 Gold Member

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    The reason why I brought up "government" passenger rail was because there were clearly people involved who simply didn't give a shit. It is inconceivable to me that a privately run transportation company would have an 8-hour delay, whether it was their fault or not, without letting the customers know exactly what was going on, if not a precise arrival time. Nor would they have a P.A. system that was inaudible in half the train.

    Having worked in government for 8 years, I am sensitive to that attitude, which is a major reason why I got out.

    My wife and I got surveys from Amtrak yesterday, asking a few questions about our level of satisfaction. Interestingly, there was no opportunity to write a few words of explanation.
     

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