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» RAILforum » Passenger Trains » Amtrak » Trip Report 69(12) and 68(13)

   
Author Topic: Trip Report 69(12) and 68(13)
Train Granny
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Loading at NYP on train 69(12) to Montreal was interesting. This was my first time at NYP, and it was rather hectic (as I’m sure it always is). All Montreal passengers were herded into the same car, and the train was sold out, so changing seats after leaving Albany was not an option. There was some fantastic scenery, but not much to be said for service except for the guy at the café car, Maurice. He was friendly, helpful and chatted with guests even though he had a long line and had to work quickly. We had an uneventful ride except for the amusing challenge at the border, which I told more about in my blog.

Loading this morning in Montreal on 68(13) was fantastic. We got red cap service with our bags and were able to get priority boarding and great seats on the “good” side of the train with full window view. I think the weather today was better, too. Certainly the visibility was excellent. The view today seemed twice as scenic as yesterday’s although it was the same route in the opposite direction! The conductor (same one we had yesterday) seemed to be in a better humor, also. Maurice, the AmCafe attendant was still friendly and helpful. I tried a Santa Fe Panini sandwich today from the AmCafe and liked it. (I don’t usually like microwaved quick food of any sort!) No problems at the border (the agent used to live in Georgia and wanted to chat about Savannah) and all went well!

I highly recommend the Queen Elizabeth Hotel, just up the escalator from the station in Montreal. ($168 per night) We were very comfortable, although we had to pay extra for internet service. It was such an easy entrance and exit to the station! Also, I would highly recommend the Beaver Hall Bistro, just a short walk from the station. It was a little on the pricey side for my budget (entrees were $18 to $30) but it was about the best food I’ve ever eaten! There’s more about that experience on the blog, too, if you are interested. It was hilarious!

One other note: We had pretty good internet connection on the trip to Montreal. On the trip back, today, however, the internet was non-existent.

We had a fantastic trip!!

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Martha (Marty) Hale
Savannah, Georgia

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Joe Urda
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Granny, I think there have been a couple of times where you mentioned no Internet. Here's a suggestion.

Several years ago, someone on this forum was posting live to the forum. He was on the CZ. The service is called Millenicom ( http://www.millenicom.com/ ) I signed up that day and have been using it ever since for access in my home, my cottege, on the train and in the car. Works great with no issues. Any place you have cell phone coverage, you have internet. I just plug it into my laptop. It's secure too. Check it out.

Joe

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Train Granny
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Thanks Joe!! I will definitely check it out! Sounds delightful!

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Martha (Marty) Hale
Savannah, Georgia

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SilverStar092
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Thanks for the insightful trip report. It always amazes me how great the experience is boarding at Montreal due to the redcaps. Not only do they take your luggage right to your seat or, in the case of the Ocean and Chaleur, right to your room, but they also often can get you early boarding. A nice trick during layovers in Montreal is to give a redcap your luggage to store then they will take it to the train when it's time to board. This allows you to do some sightseeing or go off site for a meal if you wish. Naturally, a nice tip is in order.
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smitty195
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quote:
Originally posted by Joe Urda:


Several years ago, someone on this forum was posting live to the forum. He was on the CZ. The service is called Millenicom ( http://www.millenicom.com/ ) I signed up that day and have been using it ever since for access in my home, my cottege, on the train and in the car. Works great with no issues. Any place you have cell phone coverage, you have internet. I just plug it into my laptop. It's secure too. Check it out.

Can you explain a bit more what this service is? I checked their web page and I still don't understand it. If you have cell service, then you have Millenicom service---correct? I guess what I'm trying to figure out is why a person would need Millenicom if you've got cell service? In other words, with my iPhone, what would I do with Millenicom? Cell service means I probably have a 3G connection, so I just go online and get email, surf the web, etc. I'm not understanding what this service does (I hope I'm making sense?).
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Henry Kisor
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Smitty, I am only guessing, but I think Millennicom provides cell DATA service, which is different from cell phone service. It also provides dongles for the data service to plug into your laptop.

As for me, I have a Verizon 3G iPad 2, and I sent some posts from the train (some from hotels) on my recent Zephyr trip. That was fun. It was nice to be able to get the Times every morning as well as email and weather reports.

The new iPad has 4G data, which I think is still limited to big cities, but presumably it defaults to the slower 3G out in the boonies.

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Ira Slotkin
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If there's anything a foamer needs
It's dongles for my data service;
Without them I am surely lost
and scared and rightly nervous.
With dongles absent from my life
I'm way way up a tree;
But enlighten me Hank, I'm clueless
As to what does a dongle be?
Dongle envy I might suffer
Unless I can download to my buffer
This knowledge that I seem to lack.
Help me Hank, please have my back.


Ira

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Henry Kisor
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For want of a better definition I'll say a dongle is an electronic thingle from Hongle Kongle (often left under the tree by Kris Kringle) that, plugged into your laptop, accesses the 3G broadband waves.

When it fails to work it's a dang dingle dongle.

You started it, Ira!

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smitty195
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Ah, so that's what the service does. I'm an "all Apple" guy, so that's why I didn't understand the need for it since my devices have it built-in.

(I got the "new" iPad two weeks ago and it is incredible. The 4G LTE speeds on Verizon in my area are extremely fast).

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Joe Urda
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With regards to the Millenicom Internet service.
I live in a rural area of the Finger Lakes Region. No cable, no DSL, dial-up at 28Kbs, and just 2 bars on my cell phone. Millenicom service is a cellular modem that I can use directly with my laptop or plug it into a wireless router to enable Internet service in my home. While traveling on Amtrak my wife can work remotely at her desk top in Ithaca. As long as you can receive a cell tower signal you're good to go.

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smitty195
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Okay, that makes sense. No wonder I didn't understand it---I live in the SF Bay Area and there is strong cell service everywhere.

(Do you live near my favorite road course racetrack: Watkins Glen?)

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Joe Urda
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Smitty,
Watkins Glen is about half an hour away. Was just in town for a conference there and my wife and I shop at the Famous Brands store a couple of times a year. We live within 1/2 hours drive of 4 of the lakes and probably 100 wineries.

Joe

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Train Granny
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Love it, Ira (and Henry)!
The difference, as i understand it, is that the Millenicom turns your cell phone into a wireless hotspot. For example, I could FaceTime with my grandkids from the train if I had it (and, I can't with just a cell phone signal). When I turn on my computer to use the web while on the train, my computer would recognize my iPhone as a wireless network that is available for connection.
I chatted with the people at Millenicon today. I think I'm going to try it. You can also turn it off when you don't need it. If I don't have any train trips July through October, I could just turn off the service and then turn it back on when I'm ready to use it again.

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Train Granny

http://www.traingranny.com
http://www.facebook.com/traingranny

Martha (Marty) Hale
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RR4me
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Ahhh...too bad, no coverage from Millenicom in my neck of the woods! Trying to have an option to Wild Blue.
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palmland
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OK, now I'm confused. It sounded like Millenicom was a thingy you bought and plugged into your laptop to get internet access anywhere you get a cell phone signal. You also pay a monthly fee, when you want it, as on a trip, for the data.

But, I've also heard there is a way to use your smart phone to to act as the thingy so no need to buy one separately. I believe its called 'tethering' but haven't figured out what is involved. Does anyone know what I'm talking about?

Of course if you want to use your smart phone or Ipad for data access, no need to go through any of this, as Henry points out. But in my case a smalll laptop on a trip is very useful for things like editing and cataloging photos or any kind of extensive writing, such as a trip report. As my old laptop is about dead, I'm thinking of the MacBook Air. I do wonder why Apple can't figure out a way for laptops to have 3G/4G access built in.

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Henry Kisor
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Palmland, I wondered about the lack of embedded 3G/4G in Mac laptops myself, and perhaps the answer is here.
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palmland
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Interesting report Henry, thanks. Think I'll wait til late this year before getting a new toy. Maybe there will be a new version of Apple laptops by then and also give time for the new OS (that supposedly appears this summer) time to get the bugs out.
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