RailForum.com
TrainWeb.com

RAILforum Post New Topic  Post A Reply
my profile | directory login | register | search | faq | forum home

  next oldest topic   next newest topic
» RAILforum » Passenger Trains » Amtrak » Western Trip - enroute

   
Author Topic: Western Trip - enroute
palmland
Full Member
Member # 4344

Member Rated:
5
Icon 1 posted      Profile for palmland     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Since reality shows seem to dominate the media, thought I would give a running commentary on our current Amtrak trip.

Day 1

Started the day with an on time, clean and quick Amtrak Thruway bus connection from seeing our friends in Santa Rosa, CA to the Amtrak Martinez, CA. station. Only downside: the ridiculous 0600 departure time. San Joaquin service train 712 was on on time at Martinez. Unfortunately it was the somewhat unpleasant Horizon single level equipment. We decided to take this routing as we had never traveled down the San Joaquin valley. The ride so far Update day 2-a beautiful cloudless NM morning. Strange to see lots of water in the stream beds. Good sleep last night and appears to be a good crew ~ Flávio is LSA and Julio is SCA. We'll see how good the food is. been ok but lots of freight traffic in this nonstop agricultural part of the country. Quite a change, in many ways, from our last few days in Sonoma and Napa valley area. Looks like we'll be about 20 mites late into Merced.

I'll just keep updating this post as we go so check back if you want to see the latest updates.

Update- arrived Bakersfield 10 min late but seamless transfer to thruway bus to LAX. Due there around 4pm

Now in Metropolitan lounge - very nice. After a very long day we stopped at the new market and bakery in the station. Looking forward to our dinner 'en suite' with cocktail munchies, dinner salad and Baklava for desert. More to the point, we'll be sampling our Napa wine and perhaps a bit of single malt scotch. Amtrak cuisine can wait. In a few minutes the redcap will take us to BR 'D' car 0430.

Update Day 2

A beautiful cloudless NM morning. Strange to see lots of water in the stream beds. Good sleep last night and appears to be a good crew ~ Flávio is LSA and Julio is SCA. We'll see how good the food is.

Wi-Fi on the SWC! Sort of. Slow and intermittent given the wide open spaces of our route. SCA said they have had it for about a week. Apparently each sleeper has its on connection as each sleeper has its own password. Surprising that they would install it in these cars as they are in need of refurbishment: SS 1 with the dirty brown carpeting on the walls - although seats/coaches have the newer blue.

Looks like we will be into Albuquerque early even though we were 30 min. late out of Gallup. The water on the ground turned to snow around the state line but now only visible in the higher elevations.

Had a good lunch and the dining car crew is one of the best I've seen. And, miracle of miracles, last call for breakfast was at 0930.

Much of the line over Glorieta Pass was well maintained even with sections of jointed rail. However a meet with No. 3 and a slow order due to erosion, maybe from the recent heavy rains resulted in a 30 minute late departure from Las Vegas.

Despite some 25mph slow orders, we arrived LaJunta 10 min late. I did see another federal grant awarded recently insures the SWC will remain in its current route. BNSF is not waiting for the funds to trickle down. Much work already. Total for various grants and city contributions is now around $45 M.

Update day 3 -

Another clear day and an on time KC departure. We had breakfast with two young guys from southern California. Both were modern day railfans and had a large model railroad. Good to see the younger generation keeping the hobby alive. One, who was headed to UCLA grad school in financial planning, had built a large railroad on four levels that was mostly SP inspired. We spent a lazy morning reading in the lounge and in our room. We decided to skip lunch since we had eaten so much heavy food the last couple days. Our plan is to walk to a Greek restaurant in Chicago for an early dinner.

On board there is a large Mennonite group from Ohio. They are returning from a mission trip to Mexico where they were teaching in the schools. They had boarded the train in Albuquerque after a long bus ride. As always, the people you meet on the train have interesting stories to tell. Another couple was returning to Indiana (we had a long discussion about the Hoosier State). They had helped their daughter, a medical student, move to San Diego for her residency work. They like to use the train because they had the time and like the slower pace. He was a ‘never again’ frequent flyer. Too many airport hassles and long plane rides around the world as he accumulated over 3 million miles. Another couple was returning home and took the train because the price was right and getting to a local airport then a multiple stop plane ride was too hard and expensive. The sleepers have remained full throughout the trip. Surprisingly the coaches were quite empty yesterday in NM and CO, but have filled up overnight and are mostly full heading into the big city.

Arrived Union Station about 25 minutes early! Tonight Bedroom A on Train 59. A quick tour of the Great Hall found the steps down to it from Canal St have been replaced as part of the station renovations. Since it is a landmark building, had to use the original specs. That means the 50 tons of marble used had to come from the same quarry- near Rome, Italy! Also a good exhibit off the new Met. Lounge to be in the vaulted ceiling entrance into the Hall. Exhibit incl. good history of each of Chicago stations. Worth a trip just to see it.

Posts: 2394 | From: Camden, SC | Registered: Mar 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
notelvis
Full Member
Member # 3071

Member Rated:
5
Icon 1 posted      Profile for notelvis     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Happy rails to you!

--------------------
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.

Posts: 4203 | From: Western North Carolina | Registered: Feb 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
yukon11
Full Member
Member # 2997

Member Rated:
5
Icon 1 posted      Profile for yukon11     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Santa Rosa! Let me know the next time you're out my way, Mr. Palmland, and I'll buy you a beer and sandwich, somewhere, if you have time.


Richard

Posts: 1790 | From: Santa Rosa | Registered: Jan 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
palmland
Full Member
Member # 4344

Member Rated:
5
Icon 1 posted      Profile for palmland     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Thanks, David. And Richard, who knew you lived in Santa Rosa! Our friends live in Oakmont village.
Posts: 2394 | From: Camden, SC | Registered: Mar 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
yukon11
Full Member
Member # 2997

Member Rated:
5
Icon 1 posted      Profile for yukon11     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Mr. Palmland:

I'm glad the Amtrak Thruway bus was clean and pleasant. I have been considering taking it to link up with the Coast Starlight. However, the latest bus from Santa Rosa to Martinez gets in at 8:30 PM. It's about a 2 hr. bus ride from Santa Rosa to Martinez, then another 2 hrs. waiting for the Starlight to arrive. In the other direction, the Starlight arrives at MTZ at 7:30 AM and the bus to Santa Rosa doesn't leave until 10:30 AM.

There is another option. Enterprise car rental has an agency in Martinez, just south of the station. They will pick you up to and from the depot. Driving from Martinez to Santa Rosa is only a little over 1 hr.

Richard

Posts: 1790 | From: Santa Rosa | Registered: Jan 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
palmland
Full Member
Member # 4344

Member Rated:
5
Icon 1 posted      Profile for palmland     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Richard, sounds like that's a good option. But I saw your new SMART train testing in Santa Rosa. The railroad looks gold plated with gauntlet tracks at the platforms, heavy ballast, concrete ties. Will be a good way to get into SF when they get it built and the extension to Larkspur and the ferry. Route of the old Northwestern Pacific.
Posts: 2394 | From: Camden, SC | Registered: Mar 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
yukon11
Full Member
Member # 2997

Member Rated:
5
Icon 1 posted      Profile for yukon11     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
The SMART passenger train is suppose to be up and running sometime in 2016. However, it will only be from San Rafael to the Santa Rosa airport. I don't think it will have much of a ridership except for people who want to experience the first passenger train, in Marin & Sonoma counties, in over 60 years. I think the ridership will pick up when it eventually runs from Larkspur to Windsor, as some will use it to visit the Sonoma County wine country.

Too bad the SMART train won't be following the old Northwestern Pacific route, Larkspur to Eureka.

Richard

Posts: 1790 | From: Santa Rosa | Registered: Jan 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

Quick Reply
Message:

HTML is not enabled.
UBB Code™ is enabled.

Instant Graemlins
   


Post New Topic  Post A Reply Close Topic   Feature Topic   Move Topic   Delete Topic next oldest topic   next newest topic
 - Printer-friendly view of this topic
Hop To:


Contact Us | Home Page

Powered by Infopop Corporation
UBB.classic™ 6.7.2




Copyright © 2007-2016 TrainWeb, Inc. Top of Page|TrainWeb|About Us|Advertise With Us|Contact Us