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Author Topic: AutoTrain
Janet
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This is my first post on this forum. I have not ridden the train very often.

Since I'm somewhat disabled, I'm taking my scooter and minivan from Lorton to Sanford on the AutoTrain, leaving on 11/28/07. I have never done this before and have heard both good and bad reports. I will be traveling alone and have booked a bedroom "B". I did this mainly because of reports of nasty restrooms and can't see myself setting up all night. I'm not sure if I would be able to move in the morning. [Big Grin]

My car is between a lounge and diner. Are these on the upper level as my bedroom is? [Confused]

Please share any tips you may find helpful. My daughter and her family are flying in order to save days out of school for my grandchildren.

Thanks,

--------------------
"Prayers Go Up, Blessings Come Down"
"If it's to be, it's up to me”

Posts: 3 | From: Maryland | Registered: Oct 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
George Harris
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Mr. G. Norman should see this soon and give you a good answer, as he has ridden a few times, provides very solid informantion, and when things are done poorly, he will say so.

For what I can answer: These are the two level Superliner cars. All passages between cars are on the upper level. Food service is on the upper level only in the diner. There is no need to go to the lower level of the lounge unless you just want to do so. Expect a somewhat less than smooth ride quality. There will be quite a few bumps and sways along the way. Expect to spend time with random unexplained stops in the middle of nowhere. Expect arrival to be anywhere from about 1/2 hour early to an hour plus late. Train crews change at Florence SC.

Posts: 2693 | From: Olive Branch MS | Registered: Nov 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
notelvis
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I've observed significantly improved timekeeping over CSX in recent weeks. That's not an assurance of an 'on-time' arrival but at least the time spent standing still for no reason has diminished noticeably.

I think due to the incident where the FRA restricted portions of the old 'S' line through the Carolinas to 10mph a month or two ago that CSX is trying harder.

Don't be alarmed MomMom, the Auto-Train does not use that particular route. It travels on a parallel route further east.

Meal service is upstairs on the Auto-Train as is your bedroom B. With the bedroom you will have your own restroom facilities.....albeit quite small. The aisles are very narrow and I can't imagine that you will be able to use your scooter on-board (doesn't sound like you plan to do that anyway). At least you won't have to deal with stairs other than boarding and disembarking the train. Finally, if you are having serious difficulty moving about the train, you could speak with your car attendant about having your meals brought to your room.

Best wishes to you and I hope your trip is a wonderful experience.

--------------------
David Pressley

Advocating for passenger trains since 1973!

Climbing toward 5,000 posts like the Southwest Chief ascending Raton Pass. Cautiously, not nearly as fast as in the old days, and hoping to avoid premature reroutes.

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Gilbert B Norman
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Ms. MomMom, with now seventeen trips on the Auto Train myself, it would appear to me that Messrs. Harris and Presley have addressed the pertinent issues so far as your voyage is concerned.

I think you were wise to have booked a Bedroom; the Staff will certainly bring you all meals in your room if that is your choice.

Not being aware of the extent of your mobility challenges and if ascending and descending a set of narrow stairs to board and alight the train will be a problem, Amtrak has rooms for mobility impaired passengers. These rooms are designated "H" (I guess for the nowadays non-term), are on the lower level of the car, and have room to accommodate securely a wheelchair and presumably a scooter. Possibly such may be a more suitable accommodation for you. My best advice is to contact Amtrak by phone, make full disclosure of any mobility impairment issues, and then determine if a Special Room would better suit your needs. Those rooms, and there are six such on each Auto Train, are not released for general sale until one week prior to departure.

Posts: 9388 | From: Clarendon Hills, IL USA (BNSF Chicago Sub MP 18.71) | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Janet
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Thanks for all the info. I was told that the accessible bedrooms were all sold out and were usually booked months ahead. Possibly because I am going south there there are a number of snowbirds that need those rooms.

I think I will take advantage of having my meals in my room. With my bad knees, I would hate to have a fall if we hit a bumpy spot. It's too bad I'll be traveling in the dark as I don't think I'll be sleeping much. Maybe with a glass or two of wine. [Wink] I should change my log in name. My name is Janet.

Thanx again. I'm looking forward to this experience. [Smile]

--------------------
"Prayers Go Up, Blessings Come Down"
"If it's to be, it's up to me”

Posts: 3 | From: Maryland | Registered: Oct 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
ehbowen
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One thing that no one has covered so far: Tipping. You should receive professional service whether you tip or not but, as with waiters, the IRS expects that train service (not operating) crew will be tipped and makes them pay taxes accordingly whether they actually receive tips or not.

If you request and receive no special services, my recommendation is a MINIMUM of $5 per night per room. (That is in a roomette; as a bedroom passenger you might want to be more generous.) If you eat in the dining car, even though your meal is prepaid, tip in cash as you would for the same meal in a restaurant. If you eat in your room your attendant is your waiter; tip him with the meal or add it into your regular tip for the trip. If you ask for other special services, such as asking your attendant to fetch you a drink or a snack from the lounge car (most will), adjust your tip upwards accordingly.

Remember, it is only the train SERVICE crew (car attendants and dining car staff) who are tipped. The OPERATING crew (engineers, conductors, brakemen) is never tipped.

--------------------
--------Eric H. Bowen

Stop by my website: Streamliner Schedules - Historic timetables of the great trains of the past!

Posts: 413 | From: Houston, Texas | Registered: Mar 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Janet
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I had planned to tip the red cap who will be helping me with a wheelchair and aiding me aboard the train $5; and the porter $25 if I get all my meals in my bedroom.

I'm familar with tipping. My DD was a performer )singer, dancer, actress)for many years mainly in dinner theatre (she hated being on tours and NYC) and she made most of her money by waiting tables. $15-25 a show was not much for the calibur of the cast but she knew how to "work" the audience with her personality and made out very well with tips. I had to tell many people how porely those "kids" were paid. Most people were shocked thinking they made what most actors made.

I'm anxiously awaiting my adventure. I wish I could take the next leg of my journey to Atlanta via Auto Train. Oh, well, maybe someday.

--------------------
"Prayers Go Up, Blessings Come Down"
"If it's to be, it's up to me”

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delvyrails
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I've been told that an unusually large number of Amtrak employees ride the Auto Train off season on pass. Any verification of this report?

John Pawson

Posts: 137 | From: Willow Grove, PA | Registered: Dec 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
MDRR
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They sure do, wouldn't you?
Posts: 332 | From: Long Island, NY USA | Registered: Jan 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
train lady
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Absolutely!!!
Posts: 1577 | From: virginia | Registered: Jun 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

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