CelticWhisper Rides the Rails (Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Choo-Choo)

Discussion in 'Railways, Highways, Waterways' started by CelticWhisper, Apr 18, 2012.

  1. CelticWhisper

    CelticWhisper Founding Member

    Creating this thread a day in advance in preparation for liveblogging my train ride out East.

    I'm planning on noting departure/arrival times (plus their variance from schedule), customer-service observations, overall comfort on the train, and mentioning anything else noteworthy. Will try to have pictures available as well.

    Obviously, any involvement of the Terrorists Searching Americans will be noted as well, in as much detail as I can provide, but I'm hopeful that they and their poisonous-snake teams will be nowhere in sight.

    If there's anything in particular people are wondering about - quality of food, creepy co-riders, the rabid marmoset in the luggage car - feel free to chime right in and I'll do my best to keep an eye out for it.
  2. Lisa Simeone

    Lisa Simeone Original Member

    Sounds great and good luck, since VIPR teams are at train stations, too. I hope you don't run into any.
  3. JoeBas

    JoeBas Original Member

    You should be fine... the only TSA you MIGHT see would be in CUS, but if you do they will be on the leash of a real Amtrak policeman, and Amtrak cops like to use the choke chain. ;)

    Are you traveling coach or sleeper?
  4. CelticWhisper

    CelticWhisper Founding Member

    Coach to & from CHI<-->Pittsburgh, and Business Class coach to/from Pittsburgh<-->PHL.

    Once we plan a train trip a little further out into the future I'll save up for a sleeper, as all accounts say they're well worth it.
  5. Lisa Simeone

    Lisa Simeone Original Member

    Sleepers are fab.
  6. JoeBas

    JoeBas Original Member

    On a long enough trip they often pay for themselves, since they include meals.

    However, demand on the Lakeshore Limited and Capitol Limited is so high it's often hard to justify, especially if you're making the trip you are, with ye olde 3AM boot out in Pittsburgh for the oh-dark-thirty transfer to the Pennsylvanian.
  7. Lisa Simeone

    Lisa Simeone Original Member

    Alas, we can't take a sleeper from Balto to Montreal. Because we have to change in NYC. The ride isn't considered long enough. If it were a straight shot, we could.
  8. JoeBas

    JoeBas Original Member

    Amtrak is coming out with new Viewliner II's sometime in 13, with the increase in sleepers a couple may be added to the Adirondack... it's only a 10 hour trip at any rate.
  9. CelticWhisper

    CelticWhisper Founding Member

    Sitting in Union Station boarding lounge now, got my tickets in my bag. I actually walked right onto an underground boarding platform from the Madison Street entrance without even realizing where I was going. If the Thugs Stripping Americans want to actually "secure" this place, they've got their work cut out for them.

    Incidentally, aside from periodic PA announcements from Amtrak PD, which are more possessed of a tone of "help us help you" than the "do as I say and obey, obey, obey" City 17-style messages you hear from TSA, and a looping video about baggage screening by real cops of the APD, there has been no security in sight. None. At all. Unless you count an off-duty private security guard asking where to find the restroom.

    If any of Pistole's Perverts are reading this, I feel safer in your absence than I would if you were here. It is precisely because you are not here that I feel safe.
    Lisa Simeone likes this.
  10. CelticWhisper

    CelticWhisper Founding Member

    Fun observation: CNN is on in the lounge and they're covering some Secret Service prostitution scandal. What did the SS spokeshole have to say? Go on, guess...

    Give up?

    "This isolated incident is in no way indicative of blah blah blah BLECCCCHHHH."

    Same line of (expletive deleted) we get fed when a smurf-clerk screws up. DHS really loves that zinger, don't they?
    Lisa Simeone likes this.
  11. CelticWhisper

    CelticWhisper Founding Member

    Curious sort of atmosphere in the food court. Very laid-back compared to airport restaurants I've seen, but every now-and-again you get a rush of local commuters coming through who are in high gear.

    Currently enjoying a Long Island iced tea as my train doesn't leave for another 90 mins.

    Still no security. I could get to like this.
  12. Lisa Simeone

    Lisa Simeone Original Member

    Ah, trains -- the civilized way to travel.

    P.S. Pittsburgh's my hometown; I'd suggest places for you to go, but I don't imagine you'll have much time there. It's a shame. Great architecture.
  13. CelticWhisper

    CelticWhisper Founding Member

    I'll be there from oh-dark-thirty to quarter-past-dim, so alas I won't be able to do much sightseeing. Next time perhaps.

    On the train now. No security screening at all from home all the way here. As for the train itself, so far I'm impressed. I have easily twice the space I get on airplanes, an outlet right by my seat, and the seats themselves are quite comfy.

    People behind me discussing family drama. It's fascinating that complete strangers can talk about such personal matters after knowing one another for all of 5 minutes.
  14. Sunny Goth

    Sunny Goth Original Member Coach

    Yes they are! :)
  15. lkkinetic

    lkkinetic Original Member

    Are you kidding me? I'm from Pittsburgh too! Have lived in Chicago now for as long as I lived there, but still claim it as my hometown.

    I was going to provide suggestions, but since CW is going to be there at oh-dark-AM I figured there was little point.
  16. Sunny Goth

    Sunny Goth Original Member Coach

    This has been my experience on the train too.
  17. CelticWhisper

    CelticWhisper Founding Member

    So, 3 hours in and it's going great. Actually wound up playing cards with family drama guy in the observation car. Weird but not too weird.

    Hit a couple patches of rough track but nothing too bad. Doesn't shake the crap out of you like turbulence in the air - just jostles you side to side a bit.

    Probably going to head back to my seat and get some reading and/or shut-eye in.
  18. Frank

    Frank Original Member

    Next time you do that we could arrange a meetup in Albany during your rest stop.
  19. CelticWhisper

    CelticWhisper Founding Member

    10 min. to Pittsburgh. Groggy. Advice: bring own pillows from home, Amtrak pillows somewhat lacking.
  20. CelticWhisper

    CelticWhisper Founding Member

    Now on 42 train to Philly. Business Class is nice - pretty much like coach but a bit roomier and with WiFi.

    No TSA anywhere in sight, though the local news outlet was playing the John Brennan story. Anchors were making snide comments about his figure and saying "don't try this at the airport." Dude still has my support.

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