U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Travel
 [Register]
Please register to participate in our discussions with 2 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
View detailed profile (Advanced) or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
Reply Start New Thread
 
Old 03-29-2019, 12:24 AM
 
Location: Tulsa
1,802 posts, read 805,408 times
Reputation: 1839

Advertisements

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jimrob1 View Post
I did a Boston to Portland round trip in the 90s. The train broke down in CT. I had to then take commuter rail to NYC. Now I'm late for connections. Amtrak offered no info. Then a train to Philadelphia to catch a train to Chicago. The train hit a pickup truck in Ohio. 5 hour delay as truck occupants were killed. Made it to Chicago but missed connections. Stayed in hotel my expense..Then a train to Portland by way of Denver. I was exhausted and got off in Denver for 3 days. Contemplated ending the train trip in Denver, but my ticket was paid for. I didn't want big bills for plane tickets. Finally a train to Portland thru Salt Lake. Finally made it to Portland


2 weeks later teturn trip was less eventful thankfully. 3 days travel. We did run out of water in Nebraska so delay there, Some delays because Amtrak doesn't own the tracks. So freight trains have right of way.

I took this trip because it was $99 each way coach. I'd never done it before so an adventure. The trip obviously lived up to an adventure.

I have to add There are some colorful people travelling by train. I really learned alot about myself on this trip. I am a lot more tolerant of ignorant intolerant people, than I ever knew about myself. There are also some very nice interesting people on the trains. I especially enjoyed the Meals, observation Car, and Movies. Beautiful scenery in much of the West.

No I would never take Amtrak that distance again. A much shorter trip probably.
Portland, OR?
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message

 
Old 03-29-2019, 06:07 AM
 
Location: Lakeland, Florida
6,972 posts, read 12,482,290 times
Reputation: 8712
Quote:
Originally Posted by GoodHombre View Post
Portland, OR?
Yes Portland, OR
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 03-29-2019, 06:43 AM
 
Location: San Antonio/Houston
37,967 posts, read 55,724,604 times
Reputation: 89645
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cida View Post
I've done it, too - New York to L.A.!


There Is No Reason to Cross the U.S. by Train. But I Did It
By Caity Weaver

A chance to look behind the American scrim: to learn where the nation makes and stores the hidden parts that run it, to find new places you wish you had been born, to spy on backyards and high school football fields whose possible existence had never occurred to you.

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/...ca-amtrak.html
I don't know... Maybe you should read my post here:
Never Been On A Train

I guess, traveling with Amtrak could be both - depending where, at what time of the year and what are the travellers expectations.
__________________
.
"No Copyrighted Material"
Moderated forums:
World, Europe, Texas, Corpus Christi, El Paso, Lubbock, Tyler, Houston, San Antonio, Tallahassee, Macon, Duluth, Fish, Home Interior Design and Decorating, Science and Technology Forums
.

Need help? Click on this: >>> ToS, Mod List, Rules & FAQ's, Guide, CD Home page, How to Search
Realtors are welcome here but do see our Realtor Advice to avoid infractions.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 03-29-2019, 06:56 AM
 
9,188 posts, read 9,267,265 times
Reputation: 28759
In the late 1990's my wife and I took advantage of a promotion offered by Amtrak and did this:

1. Salt Lake City to Las Vegas (spent one night in Vegas)
2. Las Vegas to Los Angeles (spent two nights in Los Angeles)
3. Los Angeles to New Orleans (spent three nights in New Orleans
4. New Orleans to Chicago (spent one night in Chicago with family)
5. Chicago to Denver (spent one night in Denver)
6. Denver to Salt Lake City.

It was very educational trip, but I would not do it again. I learned a number of things on this trip. Amtrak did not do a good job of keeping to its schedule and trains were frequently late. I learned to call ahead from our motel to find out how late the train was and stay later at the motel if necessary. I learned that the infrastructure of America is not conducive to train travel. Many train stations are simply falling apart or inadequate. Hotel, restaurant, and rent a car facilities were simply not available at train stations outside of the largest cities. Cheap train tickets mean that some awfully unusual people can be aboard the train with you. I met an inmate that had just been released from prison in Illinois and was on his way home. I met a woman who made at least part of her living as a prostitute and was not embarrassed to say so. I also met a professor at a Canadian university who made paper cut ups for all the children in our car. I met Amtrak employees who gave tremendous service. I met other Amtrak employees who treated passengers like dirt. I learned that the dining car facilities were not adequate for all the passengers on many trains and it was "first come, first serve".

I am glad we had this adventure and I realize things change over time. Still, I would caution most people before undertaking such a trip.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 03-29-2019, 07:18 AM
 
5,271 posts, read 3,313,639 times
Reputation: 6434
Quote:
Originally Posted by markg91359 View Post
I met an inmate that had just been released from prison in Illinois and was on his way home. I met a woman who made at least part of her living as a prostitute and was not embarrassed to say so. I also met a professor at a Canadian university who made paper cut ups for all the children in our car. I met Amtrak employees who gave tremendous service. I met other Amtrak employees who treated passengers like dirt. I learned that the dining car facilities were not adequate for all the passengers on many trains and it was "first come, first serve".

I am glad we had this adventure and I realize things change over time. Still, I would caution most people before undertaking such a trip.
Mark, sounds like you could have written a book or short story or been a story in a Seinfeld episode!

I've never ridden Amtrak yet, don't really have a desire, but do know all about the horrific schedules and them having to share tracks outside the NE corridor. I realize it's probably not fair to compare trains in other countries, since some countries are a lot older and smaller and prioritize rail traffic, which the US does not. I always say, if you're not in a hurry, don't mind crazy delays, are afraid of flying, don't like to drive or take buses, then Amtrak is a great option, if they have stations in cities on your travels.

Having said that, I have had the chance to ride trains in New Zealand, Thailand, Peru, the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Hungary and Serbia and had some amazing experiences and crazy stories to tell, that's for sure.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 03-29-2019, 08:51 AM
 
9,425 posts, read 7,076,026 times
Reputation: 12187
Quote:
Originally Posted by M3 Mitch View Post
Yeah, I thought about organizing a train sortie to Powell's Books and other Portland attractions, starting in the Tri-Cities. The expense of the trip for say 6 people, and the unreliable scheduling, plus starting off in Pasco at 0500 more or less, assuming the train was going to be on time, which it would only be if I were late getting to the station - it would be more practical to rent a van and just drive down. Which is a damn shame, but I have a hard time taking Amtrak seriously when apparently they don't take their own schedules seriously. Back in the 30's and 40's, I have read, that the trains took great pride in being on time and on schedule. Them days are gone, apparently.


That said, Amtrak does offer the chance to avoid the indignities of TSA, and the overall unpleasantness of air travel any more, and you can, I believe, bring ordinary personal items like pocket knives, etc. You just have to have considerable time to waste.

Well, a couple of things.. first.. TSA.. Not always. If you leave Union Station in DC, or Penn Station in NY.. You're probably encountering TSA. Though they usually aren't as.. 'thorough'? as they are with plane travel.

But, the schedule, honestly.. You can't really blame Amtrak. Since they don't own the rails.. They are treated as third class citizens, basically. Here in the southeast.. It's all Norfolk Southern with a touch of CSX thrown in.

So.. In those situations, Amtrak goes on their tracks.. Who gets priority? Not Amtrak.

Now.. While I'm saying you can't blame Amtrak.. I'm certainly not saying "Well, you have to live with it".. Nope, you've got other choices with your dollar, and.. THAT is the problem. While I don't blame Amtrak for the issue.. I also am not going to give them my money because of the issue.

Hey.. Remember the Crescent that I talked about yesterday being 2 hours and 45 minutes behind? Want to know where that train is now?


Outside Gastonia, NC. 10 hours behind schedule. It's supposed to be in NY at 1:46pm today.. It's estimated to get there at 9:50pm tonight.

Look at this site.


https://juckins.net/amtrak_status/ar...ml/history.php


Plug in train 20 and GRV as the station. Train has been under 30 minutes late 10 times THIS YEAR. It runs every day. On AVERAGE, it's been 2 hours and 5 minutes behind schedule.


Now.. The same train going opposite direction. From NYP to New Orleans.. That train averages being less than an hour late. Mainly because it's coming from the northeast, but also because it gets here at 5am, so, it's had the overnight hours to makeup some time.




So.. This is an odd situation where you say you can't blame them, it's not their fault.. But that doesn't change the fact that it happens and is unacceptable.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 03-29-2019, 10:49 AM
 
Location: Florida
5,232 posts, read 3,010,111 times
Reputation: 9586
I went NY to Chicago via Pennsylvania RR back in 1954. Nothing remarkable happened. Flying was for rich folks back then. It was different, but not exciting.

In 1989 we took the train from Melbourne to Sydney Australia. That was different, different scenery included an incredible number of sheep. Our fellow passengers were friendly folks and we really enjoyed the trip.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 03-29-2019, 12:36 PM
 
Location: Fort Lauderdale, Florida
9,190 posts, read 8,287,258 times
Reputation: 19866
I love the train, and have ridden it many times, I'd love to do a cross country trip.

That said, the article was so wordy, it was hard to read. I would have liked more photos.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 03-29-2019, 02:38 PM
 
43 posts, read 15,118 times
Reputation: 69
The article was hilarious! Getting into the top bunk is indeed a bit of a maneuver.

Living in Chicago, it is easy to access some of the more scenic routes. For those considering such a journey, I recommend taking the Empire Builder from Chicago or Milwaukee or St Paul west to East Glacier, MT. There, spend the night at the marvelous Glacier Park Lodge. Rent a car the next day to explore Glacier National Park and it's many hundred year old lodges, built by the Union Pacific to encourage tourism on the railroad. You can re-board the train in West Glacier or Whitefish MT and continue to Seattle or Portland.

From those cities you can travel on the Coast Starlight, which has a restored 1950's era parlor car with movie theater on the lower level and wine and cheese events on the upper level. This train travels to Sacramento through the gorgeous, lush forest of the Cascade mountain range, passing the ethereal Mt Shasta. Get off in Klamath Falls to visit Crater Lake National Park, San Francisco, or continue all the way to Los Angeles, with lovely views of the Pacific Ocean.

If you choose, you can take a local train to Sacramento, where you can visit the California State Railway Museum, within walking distance of the station. Then board the California Zephyr, which will take you through the spectacular Sierra Nevada range, across salt flats of Utah, along the Colorado river through red hills of the Glenwood Canyon and through a six mile long tunnel into the heart of Denver. Ultimately you can arrive back in Chicago on this route, with less inspiring scenery through the plains.

Sleeping in a roomette can be expensive but meals are included and the food is rather tasty. The person sharing your room only pays for the coach ticket, yet get meals included. Volunteers from the park service board at intervals along the most interesting parts of the routes to provide commentary over the loud speaker system.

I encourage you to try this type of vacation. It is extremely relaxing and the scenery is unsurpassed.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 03-29-2019, 03:50 PM
 
Location: Florida and New England
1,231 posts, read 1,416,614 times
Reputation: 1671
I've taken the Empire Builder to Seattle twice -- once as a kid in the 1970s in coach and once again in the 2000s in a stateroom. I've also taken the Super Chief a few times for shorter runs (Albuquerque-KC; KC-Chicago). Never all the way to LA. I took the Zephyr once from Denver to Omaha. These are all pretty easy overnight runs in a roomette for a solo traveler.

I still take the Auto Train going to and from Florida. The double-decker trains are nicer than the single-level trains that run between the East Coast and Chicago.

If you do it in a sleeper, it's actually a decent experience. Bring your own booze (only allowed in sleepers) and your own music (play it softly). Amtrak provides ice. Always order the steak and baked potato -- Amtrak's dining car has a limited menu, but a few items are reliable.

I think everyone should cross the country at least once by train.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.


Reply
Please update this thread with any new information or opinions. This open thread is still read by thousands of people, so we encourage all additional points of view.

Quick Reply
Message:

Over $104,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Travel
Follow City-Data.com founder on our Forum or

All times are GMT -6.

2005-2019, Advameg, Inc. · Please obey Forum Rules · Terms of Use and Privacy Policy · Bug Bounty

City-Data.com - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35 - Top