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» RAILforum » Passenger Trains » Amtrak » Why some folks refuse to travel in coach (Page 1)

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Author Topic: Why some folks refuse to travel in coach
Henry Kisor
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Plucked from the blog of a young person I hope never to encounter on the train or anywhere else:

yesterday molly and i boarded the amtrak in whitefish, where we had spent our christmas indulging in the family traditions: skiing, drinking and eating. our train left approximately 16 hours late after a freight carrying japanese autos had derailed and held up other lines outside shelby. molly and i had rallied saturday night so that we would board our night train and pass out until we woke up in portland. but with the delay we boarded with our hastily packed bags feeling disheveled and slow, and without proper libations to get us through the 14-hour ride.

this didn't last long. after a couple of expensive amtrak rounds of red i called up dewey morgan to meet us at our stop in spokane with two boxes of franzia. he promptly delivered. due to the delay, amtrak also promised subway for all the riders to assuage their complaints. they came back with kfc. wow, amtrak. needless to say, the smells of deep-fried chicken and its havoc on the digestive system didn't make our train smell very nice. never mind, we had our ****ty wine. i don't think either of us had actually purchased franzia before, or realized how much wine came within the box, but even with the group of chicagoans we befriended, 10 liters of wine may have been a bit much. we sat around the lounge playing a bean farming game with the group and this girl amber, whom i had befriended with our offerings.

amber was a cute brunette with a good smile. she is from lone wolf montana, but lives in portland now, just up the street from us. i think amber was kind of drunk because she kept looking at me, repeating questions and losing track of her electronics. we went back to our seats and put in this really shitty movie -- dan in real life. after a couple of minutes she excused herself to go to the bathroom. she came back reeking of vomit. she told me some guy had booted on her between cars. i didn't really believe her, but i made out with her anyway. thankfully, for the sake of my sensitive olfactory system and steve carrell's horrendous movie, my computer's battery died and we passed out until our arrival in portland.

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Gilbert B Norman
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No wonder I have an admitted disconnect with the young.

Franzia? "to each his own". Lone Wolf MT?, no such community. Likely Wolf Point is what the author had in mind. As an aside, it appears that at least on this journey, Amtrak was not enforcing any rules regarding consumption of "private stock' in Coaches.

And finally, what would these youngsters do if they were "untethered" from their electronic playthings. Apparently I must accept they are far more an integeral part of a young person's life than they ever are of mine (haven't touched the cell phone in now three months).

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Henry Kisor
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GBN, I'm creeping up on you in the disconnect department.
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RRCHINA
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These may be among the voters who answered exit polling questions like "do you know who Nancy Poloci is" with a negative shrug.
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City of Miami
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I have behaved worse and on trains too - 40 yrs ago. It seems appalling now, but when young it seemed pretty normal. I used to drink Gallo Red Mountain which was $1.99/GALLON -but it said 'real wine' on the label. These days I don't drink at all - for 34 yrs. My, how things change.....if you manage to live long enough.

Electronic playthings? Just the current form of mental masturbation....to each his own. Someone gave me an iPod a few months ago and I Love it - I had no idea what I had been missing. I'm with you though, GBN, on the cell phone. I wouldn't know what to do with it if you handed me one. Of course, I haven't had a land line either since 1994.

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Ocala Mike
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My disconnect began in the early 80's when I realized my then teen-age son and I practically needed a translator in order to communicate. I would say it is now (at the age of 67) complete; I don't even understand some 40- and 50-somethings any more. C'est la vie.

--------------------
Ocala Mike

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smitty195
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Or you could be like my 75 and 77 year old parents, and try to learn what all of this new technology is all about. They have their own Mac computers (my mom has a new MacBook/my dad a new iMac), iPods, and they LOVE their cell phones. Come on all you old farts---learn something new and quit your complaining!

(By the way, yes, that is precisely why I avoid Coach travel on Amtrak. You couldn't pay me to ride back there in that mess.)

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Mike Smith
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Smitty, OK, I'm jealous... Your parents have Macs???

My next laptop will be a Mac. I'm sick of MicroCrap.

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smitty195
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From Smitty to Smitty (LOL)---Yup, and those new iMac's are VERY slick. The clarity on the screen is amazing, and it is lightning fast. Although I think I've become their new tech support person, but that's okay.  [Wink]

I have a MacBook Pro that's about 6 months old, and I really like it. The new version that just came out has a different keyboard that I don't care for though.

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Stephen W
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I see now why I never read blogs ......other than Henry's of course!
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Henry Kisor
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Only on RailForum could we get from a Franzia buzz to Mac euphoria in the space of eight posts. GBN had no inkling what he was starting with that word "disconnect."
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Mr. Toy
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Some years ago I met a man from Germany who got a 15 day rail pass and was riding all over the west in coach. He was fairly affluent, being a casting director for the German movie industry. But he said he never rode in sleepers "because you never meet anyone there." He said he preferred coach because "That's where all the crazy people are." (By "crazy" he meant interesting.)

Some of the nicest and most interesting people I've met over the years were riding coach. Some of them had funny colored hair, or earrings in odd places, though.

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Henry Kisor
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The last time I rode coach was from La Plata, Mo., to Chicago.

It was a fairly full train, and the attendant seated me next to a huge fellow who must have weighed 300 pounds. Of course he took up half my seat and so I rode all the way in the lounge car, which was all right.

One does meet interesting people in coach. Also large ones.

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sbalax
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Nothing wrong with Franzia. The 5 liter box is our carry on wine of choice on longer cruises. I believe they make "Two Buck Chuck" for Trader Joe's. It's a 100 year old company that is, I believe, one of the largest producers of wine in California.

I agree with Smitty, though. The Mac makes being able to use a computer so simple. As do the iPod and iPhone. I just visited with my 6 year old grand-nephew in Nashville who is now the "owner" of his father's "old" iPhone. He pulls up the weather each morning and calls his grandfather with a weather report.

I was hoping to get either a new iPod or my FIRST iPhone for Christmas but I guess I must be on the naughty list.

Frank in cool but gorgeous SBA

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palmland
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I guess all the new electronics are ok. Certainly my IMAC and IBook make life a little easier and I tolerate my cell phone. But, on a train I like to unplug, disconnect and enjoy the company, scenery and maybe a book - not to mention the fun of just being on a train.

But as far as I can tell there are no redeeming features to sitting up all night in a coach. The blog quoted above clearly shows why Amtrak needs a first class lounge on LD trains - although his story sounds somewhat familiar and I may have 'been there done that' in my younger days.

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amtraxmaniac
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Those of you that are regulars to this site, have read my views on coach versus sleeper. I'm really quite surprised and impressed that GBN hasn't tried to bait me on this one. My views have changed a little (but not much) since my tirade that ignited some colorful conversation on the subject. I will say this; variety is the flavor of life (ok, I may have butchered that saying). Yes, I'm young and my body can handle overnight in coach better than the chronologically advanced. If I had the money, I would splurge for the comfort, but not the isolation. Maybe its because I love observing people (and the more bizarre, the better), but I find it personally despicable how people will spend $500 or more to hide themselves away in a closet on rails because they cannot tolerate being integrated with 'the rabble'. I certainly wouldn't have joined these kids in their debauchery, but I might have been slightly amused by the scene. Some of us are disconnected because we fail to understand that the next generation isn't any better than the prior. Only the technology and vehicles of their rebellion have changed.
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Mike Smith
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Getting back to wine-in-a-box, Corbett Canyon is my daily drinker. It's smooth with no bitter aftertaste. Yes, I'm under doctor's orders to drink 8 oz of red wine each day. It was that, or eat an aspirin a day...

And sleeping in coach.. I cannot do it. I cannot sleep sitting and I cannot sleep being surrounded by 50+ strangers. A decent percent of our population is nuts... bonkers... loony-toons... Because I have not personally screened everyone on the train, I cannot vouch for everyone's sanity...

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Gilbert B Norman
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Time to again note this related discussion which addresses why some people PREFER Coach:

http://www.railforum.com/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi/topic/11/3709.html#000000

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Henry Kisor
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Peons! We in the elite classes prefer the locomotive, where you get to hang out with the cream of the crop as well as enjoy the best view on the line.

Of course, we have to put up with Matt . . .

;-)

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RR4me
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I too can enjoy the "interesting" people one meets anywhere. However, I really appreciate the ability to withdraw (and to sleep prone) when situations get too "interesting". Traveling in a sleeper gives me this choice, and I take it every chance I get. For instance, a drunken discussion with twenty-somethings can be somewhat entertaining, but as the author indicated himself, it can also be mundane and repetitively boring, and I have no desire to put up with it for the sake of making out with the smell of vomit. Even in my younger days, there were unsavory liquid lines I never crossed. First class on the train give me choice, coach does not.
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Ocala Mike
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I think I recounted it before, but on a trip back home on the Silver Meteor (coach) back in May, 2007, my sleep was interrupted by the appearance of several of North Carolina's "finest" walking through the coach to the lounge car to quell a disturbance.

It seems that several youths ("did you say yootz" - My Cousin Vinnie) had decided that the lounge should stay open all night for their imbibing of adult beverages, but the train crew had other ideas. The group was escorted off the train at one of the stops in NC, and, as far as I know, may still be the guests of the Tar Heel state today.

--------------------
Ocala Mike

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City of Miami
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Who's Matt? Matt Dillon? That's not so bad.....
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Henry Kisor
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Matt Bown, the host of "Extreme Trains," the human pinball machine . . .

To be fair, often it's his cameraman who seems supercaffeinated.

I kind of like Matt anyway. He is such an eager small boy around trains that it's hard to dislike him.

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Railroad Bob
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In my early train riding days during the 50s, I don't recall any problems in those wonderful old "Hi level" Budd cars on the El Cap...the porters would issue full-sized BED pillows for the coach passengers for a fifty cent rental. Even my mom seemed to be able to be comfortable. I don't recall anyone behaving badly, and when you went to the diner parents controlled their kids. Seems today we have a 'dumbing down' of the citizenry; just watch Jay Leno and those "Jaywalking" episodes to see how truly clueless so many are. But as for today I would not do a 2 1/2 day train ride in the chairs; mainly because my old bones can't take the 'sleeping contortion' in the chair car...
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train lady
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Three yeas ago we were in Denver and I got a miserable cough.Got aboard the CZ aweek later and it was still with me. The car attendents on both the CZ and CL were super. Now my point..I simply couldn't sleep lying down so they made the chair in the bedroom into a bed using pillows and blankets so I could get some sleep. They brought all our meals and kept bringing me hot tea. I could have been a memnber of the family. I cringe when I think of what it would have been like in coach . I rode onthe El Cao several times as a child. They had one car that was woman and children only. The seats were very comfortable and the atmosphere excellent.
A Tip:: Paulette on the CZ brought me a cupof tea with a Hall menthal cough drop in it. "It will help" she assured me.It did and now all my friends use that for coughs and I tell them courtesy of Amtrak

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train lady
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once again a slight slip...El Cap
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Gilbert B Norman
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It would appear that this "post college pre life" youngster is fast on his way to "having a problem" if he hasn't got one already.

http://postcollege-clary.blogspot.com/

Any bets he is just sitting at home reading a good book tonight?

Speaking of blogs, may I refer to one that is informative and worthwhile (the blog owner is a journalist who I know face to face):

http://ridingmytrain.blogspot.com/

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Ocala Mike
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With apologies to Billy Shakespeare, "now is the winter of our disconnect".

--------------------
Ocala Mike

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Henry Kisor
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Ah, GBN, I see you found the blog referred to in the original post. You're right, that young fellow is well on his way into alcoholism.

What astonishes me further is how shortsighted he is about what future employers are going to think about these posts. Already Facebook "profiles" are resulting in disaster in the personnel offices for those who write them.

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notelvis
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quote:
Originally posted by Henry Kisor:
Ah, GBN, I see you found the blog referred to in the original post. You're right, that young fellow is well on his way into alcoholism.

What astonishes me further is how shortsighted he is about what future employers are going to think about these posts. Already Facebook "profiles" are resulting in disaster in the personnel offices for those who write them.

And my employer has cautioned those of us in the state's employee to virtually 'watch our step' should we choose to express ourselves on My Space or Face Book.

Can't say that this isn't wise counsel.

--------------------
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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train lady
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As a charter member of the Devil's Advocate club It occurrd to me that maybe,just maybe we were "being had " by someone who wanted to see how far a discussion could go and his/her ability to write would take him/her.
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Henry Kisor
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TrainLady, to me there seem to be too many entries in that blog (most of them having to do with drinking) for someone to be that wily.
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ehbowen
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If impecunity was an overriding consideration, I would be (and have been) willing to sit up a night in Coach. Were that to be two nights in a row, though, I would go to great lengths to either spring for a sleeper, break the journey, or find alternate transportation of the aviation variety.

Some people can sleep just fine in a coach seat. I am not one of them.

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

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

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Konstantin
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Your original subject sums it up for my wife and I. I really would not mind coach if other people were not in it. But this is the exact reason why we never ride in coach anymore. This is also why we like the Coast Starlight best. The first class passengers have their own lounge car, and therefore we don't have to mix with the riff-raff.

A little off the subject, but this is why I wish travelling on Amtrak was a lot more expensive. If it were quite a bit more expensive than flying, then we would not have to put up with these kinds of passengers.

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amtraxmaniac
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Riff raff huh? And I've been accused of starting class warfare in here. It just goes to prove that while the universe may not be infinite, human arrogance is.
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MightyAlweg
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Nice to hear I'm not the only one without a cellular telephone. I can't stand the things, and have learned that they tend to turn even the nicest people into obnoxious boobs in public. I have friends and family and loved ones who I cherish and enjoy spending time with, but there is absolutely no one on this planet that I would want to be permanently tethered to, or allow them to have constant access to me and my thoughts during all waking hours. And if I don't take their call on purpose, it only creates more drama and questions once I do speak with them.

I love to take the train down to San Diego or up to Portland just by myself, explore and hang out and do whatever suits my fancy, and I can't even imagine having people I chose not to include in the trip calling me or texting me daily.

Friends at work were showing off their new "App" on their iphones that allow them to see exactly where on the planet the other iphone user currently is. I'm sorry, I like my coworkers, but I will never care that they are at the grocery store at 8:00 PM.

As for the usual argument "What about emergencies?", in the last four decades I have yet to come across an emergency that a cell phone would have prevented or helped with. I blew a tire once on a lonely highway on a rainy night in North Carolina. Know what I did? I got out and changed the tire.

The day the airlines allow cell phone use inflight is the day I will have to restrict all of my travel to Sleeping Cars or private automobiles. Sadly, I think that day is coming.

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ellenorigby
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I love sleeping on a train, though I've been lucky not to have to try to sleep in coach. I also like to be able to get away from those interesting folks. Since I work with the public I don't want anything to do with them when I'm on the train for fun. Then you have to listen to other people's phone conversations and kids too. I think coach is fun for "very" short trips for me anyway.
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blancoj
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My family was just here for 16 days celebrating the holidays (and who knew that 16 days could feel longer than three weeks, but I digress...) and my niece's husband spent the entire time (less the ten minutes it took him to open his Xmas gifts) logged on to the computer communicating on Facebook. Fine with me since I cannot stand him, but how rude is it to go to someone's home and never tear yourself away from the laptop?

I'm officially a dinosaur (a connected dinosaur, but still a dinosaur) who has a cell phone but only uses it for emergencies. Not only that, I'm glad there were no cell phones when I was a teenager.
The excuse "But I didn't have a dime for the pay phone," got me out of trouble more times than I can count.

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blancoj
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I forgot to add that I enjoy sitting in coach and meeting new people, but when it's time to sleep, I prefer a sleeper. Just as I discovered last spring that I'm too old now to enjoy staying in funky old motels, I also do not enjoy sleeping in coach. I can't seem to fall asleep on airplanes, either.
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Henry Kisor
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Maybe we railfans should count our blessings about coach travelers, as this news story about 40 drunken airline passengers suggests:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/worldnews/article-1104517/Airliner-hell-40-passengers--drunk--run-amok-flight-Gatwick-Cuba.html?ITO=1490

Posts: 2236 | From: Evanston, Ill. and Ontonagon, Mich. | Registered: Feb 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
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