Amtrak- 2012

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muralist0221

Active Member
Recently rode eight different trains from Kansas City to D.C., Baltimore, Philadelphia and New York. These included the long haul Southwest Chief, Capitol Limited and numerous Northeast Regionals. Of the eight, all were on time to the minute with the Capitol and Chief being 15-30 minutes early. But, I am retired, so who cares?.

The on-board service personnel on all trains were quite accommodating with one D.C. conductor allowing us to board early while the Newport News train swapped engines. This was a far cry from some airline trips taken in April where the stews and ticket agents were burned out and rude. I would be too!

Meal service was better than Chilis or Applebees, but not gourmet. We were fortunate to be seated with interesting people for each meal including two railfan pilots for Southwest Airlines. On the N.E. Regionals there were long lines for snack car service, a one attendant operation.

The Regionals were sold out and my wife and I couldn't find adjacent seats. The new WiFi service was a delight.

One of our Superliner II sleeping cars had been refurbished and was quite impressive, another was an older sleeping car which had duct tape repairs and needed to be sent to Beech Grove.

While Amtrak seemed to be able to run trains, they had a problem with escalators. There were out of service escalators at Penn station, Philadelphia and Baltimore. Hauling two large suitcases up stairs can be a problem. There is also a panhandling and cigarette mooching problem in D.C. and Chicago outside the station. Amtrak or city police need to clamp down.

The biggest problem for Amtrak in these "sold out" days is the eight car limit on long haul trains. I have heard that the HEP on the Genesis units cannot provide power for longer consists. (The electric Regional trains, however had as many as 10 coaches). If Amtrak can run longer trains, there is less likelihood of turning away prospective passengers away and having more profitable runs. Gee, the old railroads did it 60 years ago.

Also, I wish Amtrak would put sleeping cars in the rear section. In the past, it was an easy trip from the metro sleeping car lounge to the accommodation. Of course, this was less difficult than walking on the tarmac in the rain when the smaller United Airlines jet couldn't reach the O'hare jetway last month.

All in all, I was quite pleased with the experience.
 




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