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Old 11-12-2010, 11:16 AM
 
Location: Emmaus, PA --> ABQ, NM
1,039 posts, read 1,564,558 times
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The wife and I are thinking about taking the train from Philly to ABQ. Leave early Friday morning and arrive Sunday afternoon. There is a 5 hour lay over in Chicago. We have never been to Chicago and have only had the opportunity to see parts of this great county from the sky. For anyone who has taken the train; what will the experience be like?
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Old 11-12-2010, 02:54 PM
 
Location: Albuquerque
5,553 posts, read 9,452,947 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thelazyone
... taking the train from Philly to ABQ. ...
I did exactly that - in 1990 - January.

I assume that there is no smoking on the train any more, but back
then, the lounge car was like a bar and after a few hours, every
single car was like a bar. I had to sit in between the cars where
an employee would be with the window open.

The cars were all way-the-heck hot hot hot!!!
There was no fresh air ventilation.

All the bathrooms froze up car-by-car until there was only one car
in the whole train that had a functioning bathroom - kept functioning
by the heat of human waste. ... Nice.

The layover in Chicago was way longer than it was supposed to be
- because of the cold.

Since much of the ride was in the dark in New Mexico it wasn't very
interesting. I like looking out the windows on the train, car, airplane.

I also rode Amtrak in 1999 from San Diego to San Jose.
The service really was terrible on that train with the surly,
miserable conductor or whatever person working it.

If I was going to make that trip again, I would meet a few trains
arriving from Chicago and ask people getting off what the experience
was like. Things might have changed .... ..... ..... or not.
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Old 11-12-2010, 05:31 PM
 
Location: Chicago
3,066 posts, read 3,238,286 times
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You guys talking about Chicago?
Or is there actually a county somewhere called Chicago?
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Old 11-12-2010, 08:38 PM
 
Location: New Mexico
401 posts, read 250,530 times
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You didn't say whether you were going to have a sleeper/roomette or not. I would recommend the roomette coming out of Chicago....it costs a lot but your meals are included in the price. My wife & I went from Kansas City to Albuquerque in 2007 and we had a roomette and enjoyed the trip (slept through Kansas, b'fast and lunch in Colorado and at Albuquerque by 4:30 in the afternoon). It might be too bumpy to get a good night's sleep but you can stretch out and you also have a place to stow your stuff and can move around the train without worrying. My daughter made the same trip this past August and rode in coach and said she would only do it again if she had a roomette. Don't expect anything great from the dining car -- those days are over -- but there are a few menu choices and you will meet other travelers since you will share a table. We've met some interesting people and enjoyed visiting and sharing stories. Sleeping cars have attendants who try to keep things clean and the coffee hot. They now make smoking stops at a few stations where the smokers jump off the train and smoke a cigarette but the train crew gets testy if they don't get back on when told. The scenery is pretty good depending on the season. We have seen some elk and mule deer and little critters along the way. There are steps and twisting stairways in some cars. If you choose to ride in coach try not to be too close to the restroom.
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Old 11-12-2010, 09:29 PM
 
Location: Emmaus, PA --> ABQ, NM
1,039 posts, read 1,564,558 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SunGrins View Post
You didn't say whether you were going to have a sleeper/roomette or not. I would recommend the roomette coming out of Chicago....it costs a lot but your meals are included in the price. My wife & I went from Kansas City to Albuquerque in 2007 and we had a roomette and enjoyed the trip (slept through Kansas, b'fast and lunch in Colorado and at Albuquerque by 4:30 in the afternoon). It might be too bumpy to get a good night's sleep but you can stretch out and you also have a place to stow your stuff and can move around the train without worrying. My daughter made the same trip this past August and rode in coach and said she would only do it again if she had a roomette. Don't expect anything great from the dining car -- those days are over -- but there are a few menu choices and you will meet other travelers since you will share a table. We've met some interesting people and enjoyed visiting and sharing stories. Sleeping cars have attendants who try to keep things clean and the coffee hot. They now make smoking stops at a few stations where the smokers jump off the train and smoke a cigarette but the train crew gets testy if they don't get back on when told. The scenery is pretty good depending on the season. We have seen some elk and mule deer and little critters along the way. There are steps and twisting stairways in some cars. If you choose to ride in coach try not to be too close to the restroom.
Thank you for the tip. Is there wifi on the train? I only seen wifi on the northeast corridor.
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Old 11-12-2010, 10:21 PM
 
Location: Albuquerque, NM
1,331 posts, read 1,946,727 times
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I have a friend who has taken the train here (including once or twice before I lived here) from Florida, I think, or anyway some state quite a distance away, and she was fine with it. She is a bit of a train enthusiast though. Needless to say, she also checked out the Rail Runner, which she enjoyed as well.

Speaking of trains, I knew someone who worked for Amtrak (in a desk job) and he told this anecdote told to him by a train conductor or something like that. A rider approached the conductor and said she had seen a mouse on the train on the way to her destination, and then she had just seen a mouse again, "and I think it's the same one." The conductor replied: "Maybe it had a round-trip ticket." (Not necessarily verbatim, but that's the gist of the conversation.)
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Old 11-12-2010, 10:40 PM
 
Location: Everywhere and Nowhere
14,141 posts, read 16,248,903 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thelazyone View Post
Thank you for the tip. Is there wifi on the train? I only seen wifi on the northeast corridor.
It's coming but not in time for your trip. Chicago Union Station is a great historic building with plenty of places to eat lunch but you can grab a cab and see more of downtown Chicago if you feel like it.
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Old 11-12-2010, 10:43 PM
 
5,231 posts, read 9,502,281 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CAVA1990 View Post
It's coming but not in time for your trip. Chicago Union Station is a great historic building with plenty of places to eat lunch but you can grab a cab and see more of downtown Chicago if you feel like it.
Walk across the street and see the Sears Tower (or whatever it's called now)
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Old 11-12-2010, 11:20 PM
 
Location: Emmaus, PA --> ABQ, NM
1,039 posts, read 1,564,558 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CAVA1990 View Post
It's coming but not in time for your trip. Chicago Union Station is a great historic building with plenty of places to eat lunch but you can grab a cab and see more of downtown Chicago if you feel like it.
Deep dish pizza and Wrigley field. I don't want to take in too much since I will be passing through again in a weeks time.
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Old 11-12-2010, 11:25 PM
 
Location: Everywhere and Nowhere
14,141 posts, read 16,248,903 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thelazyone View Post
Deep dish pizza and Wrigley field. I don't want to take in too much since I will be passing through again in a weeks time.
But on the way back your layover will only be about 2-3 hours.
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