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Congress passes $15B Amtrak reauthorization bill. Both the House and the Senate have passed this with enough votes to override a veto, which the White House has threatened. Now, on to the conference committee...

Railfanning Amtrak

A few minutes ago I heard the westbound Capitol Limited blowing its horn for the crossing at Boundary Street in the Oakland section of Pittsburgh, which is just before it enters Schenley Tunnel, on its way to the station in Pittsburgh.


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Around 8 in the evening, when I have the time, I'll drive 10 minutes to watch Amtrak's Pennsylvanian turn around before backing into the station and parking for the night.

Does anyone else here go out and watch Amtrak?

Motor Coaches?

I'm looking at possibly moving to Sacramento, and I think that a lot of travel to San Francisco would be involved (if nothing else to keep me sane, I'm not a small-town person), calling for the Capitol Corridor. It looks like I can either take an Amtrak coach from Emeryville to Embarcadero, or I can just get off the train in Richmond and take the BART to Embarcadero. The difference in time is a couple minutes, tops, and I get a discount on BART due to disability that basically renders the difference in cost too close to bother calculating. For some reason, Amtrak says that the only accessible coach station in San Francisco is the Embarcadero stop (they call it Ferry Building), but that's fine by me because Embarcadero is probably the most convenient entry point to the City anyhow for Muni and bus connections.

By point of reference, the timetable is: here.

What do folks tend to do? I would think people more familiar/comfortable with San Francisco, which I am, would just skip the thruway and take BART into the City. Is there an access reason to not bother with the thruway coach?

This is all just theoretical right now, but I'm going to have to answer the question eventually, I'm either going to end up in SF or Sac it seems.

Stop-over

Planning on travelling Chicago to LA on the Texas Eagle next May.  I would like to stop off en route for a couple of days in a smallish place to get the feel of America (as a pensioner this will be my one and only trip Stateside and I want to make the best of it if I can).  I would like to go somewhere where the people are friendly, I don't need a car and it's safe to walk around.  Any suggestions please?  Thanks.

Aztec Eagle

I was reading in the 2005 edition of "USA By Rail" (invaluable aid) that there was a possibility of running a service from San Antonio to Monterey in  Mexico and to be called the "Aztec Eagle".  Did this ever get serious consideration or is it still in Amtrak's future plans?

Mar. 1st, 2008

I am (hopefully) headed to Las Vegas in April for a conference.  Even though work is paying, I'd much rather take Amtrak than fly.  I'm in the midwest, so would likely head out of Chicago.

So it looks like I could take either the Southwest Chief or the California Zephyr.  If you've taken either/both, tell me about it!  I'm trying to decide which to pick.

Right now the Southwest Chief is winning due to the bus schedules into Las Vegas, but I could be swayed.

Thanks.

So this weekend I took Amtrak for the first time. I rode the Empire Builder from St. Paul to Chicago. I had a blast and was almost crying when they said we were pulling into Union Station. Boy did those 8 hours fly.

Because I had so much fun I am thinking about just riding the train out to LA and back during spring break. However for the trip there I want to ride the same train I took to Chicago to it's final destination than go from there to LA. My return trip to Chicago would be the straight shot from LA.

I am thinking about maybe doing the sleeping car there and than riding coach back. If I do do the sleeping car option how do I find the upgrade price on the Amtrak site.

I rode coach home and it was just fine, I kind of just want to see what it would be like in a sleeper car.


NVM: I found out how. I'll stick with coach.

so that being said, has anyone done this before. am I crazy wanting to see the country like this?

am I able to shower or some how bathe on the train?

Boston to Los Angeles

I am moving from Boston to Los Angeles and am planning to use this opportunity to see some of the US. Can anyone offer me advice on how I can save money (moving is very expensive) while still making the most of my trip - or in other words, what is worth spending money on? Should I spend money on a sleeper or are the coach seats comfortable for sleeping? Is the dining food worth the money?

The crash in Chicago

For anyone who saw anything about the Amtrak train crashed in Chicago, link here, I just wanted to let you know everyone is OK as far as I know. Its a shame it happened so close to being in Chicago! It happened just past the Dan Ryan after they use a little bridge to pass it. I knew the engineer, the engineer on stand by in case the original engineer went dead, the conductors and the LSA who were working it. I think it was mostly all crew members in the hospital and one passenger, everyone else was ok.

The only problem was, from what I heard, seats in the first superliner car detached from their bases or were turned around from the crash -- even though the train was only going about 15-20 MPH.

Egg Nog on Trains

Do any of the trains serve anything special for the holidays like Egg Nog?