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While I don't live in the area, I do know the SEPTA system pretty well. Given your mobility issues, if you decide on going via NY, I would say that Exton is the best choice as it's one less transfer. If you decide to go south to DC, then it really doesn't matter as you have to transfer at Philly no matter what.
One thing to keep in mind regardless is that your sleeper ticket entitles you to use the Club Acela lounges in NY, DC, and Philly. So if you do change trains in Philly, get a Redcap to take you up in the elevator to the Club Acela lounge.
And of course in either NY or DC, depending on your choice, make sure to use the Club Acela Lounges there to wait for the connecting train. They are nice places to wait with comfy chairs, instead of the plastic seats in the main waiting areas.
In Chicago the lounge is called the Metropolitan lounge, and again your sleeper tickets entitle you to its use. No lounge in Seattle yet; but we're hoping that the recent renovation of the station will eventually allow for one.
One final thought, since you're going round trip, you might want to consider going via DC in one direction and NY in the other; just for the variety.
2 weeks, 4 days ago on Coming Soon: New Long Distance Cars
Mike, I've been in an accessible room a few times with friends, even though I personally don't have need of the special room. So I might be able to help if you have specific questions or concerns and if I don't know the answer, I do have a good friend who does require the special room and travels frequently on Amtrak, so I bounce questions off of them if need be.
In general leaving from Philly you would have 3 initial options. You could ride the Pennsylvanian directly west to Pittsburgh and transfer there to the Capitol Limited. The Pennsy is a coach only train; so you won't see the accessible room until you transfer to the Capitol at Pittsburgh around midnight. Option 2 would be to ride a Regional train south to DC and then transfer to the Capitol Limited there. Option 3 is ride a Regional north to NY City and transfer to the Lake Shore Limited to Chicago.
Option 1 is likely to be the cheapest. But it's a very long ride in coach on that train to Pittsburgh. And then there is the late night transfer. Plus you have to buy dinner on the train.
Options 2 & 3 get you into your room much earlier and the ride in coach is much shorter. You would also get dinner on the train as that is included in the price of the room.
The Lake Shore is a single level train, which might make it easier if you choose to walk to the dining car for your meals. Of course if you prefer, the attendant will bring you your meals and save you the walk. If you can handle the walk, I personally think it's more fun to eat in the dining car. But the choice is yours and you can even do some in the room and some in the dining car.
The Capitol uses bi-level equipment. And the accessible room is on the lower level, while passage to the other cars happens on the upper level. So you must climb the stairs, in addition to the walk to the dining car. The same will happen on the next train that you take out of Chicago; the Empire Builder.
Regardless of your choice, assistance will be available to help you get to the trains at all stations. I would especially recommend that you get a redcap in Chicago, as the walk from the train to the Metropolitan Lounge is very long! The redcaps in Chicago drive carts that passengers can ride in. Usually one is waiting right outside the sleeping cars, but if not, your sleeping car attendant can get one for you.
On the single level train, you have a shower right in your room; its part of the bathroom. And in fact you put the lid down on the toilet and can sit right on it if needed. You also have the option of using the public shower at the far end of the car. On the Bi-level trains, the only shower is outside your room, just a few steps away. Also on the bi-level trains, the toilet is only hidden behind a curtain. The single level car actually has a room with a door for the combo toilet/shower. The beds are also bigger in the single level car.
I hope that helps some and again, please don't hesitate to ask more specific questions if you have concerns that I didn't address.
While the name on the side of the train does say "Amtrak", actually the fault for the line you mention lies with the State of California. They have kept that line, as well as the Capitol Corridor up north, as unreserved trains. And because they actually pay Amtrak under a contract to operate those lines, they get to set the rules.
Nearly every other train operated by Amtrak has reserved seating only, meaning that Amtrak knows how many passengers to expect on any given train. But because California insists on unreserved trains, anyone with a ticket can show up on any day to ride the train. It doesn't matter if you brought a ticket planning to ride today; you can use that ticket tomorrow if your plans change.
This prevents Amtrak from knowing how many people may show up to ride any given train and therefore they cannot help but to end up with oversold trains. The ability to upgrade your Metrolink ticket to an Amtrak ticket onboard the train doesn't help matters either.
Actually, the newer looking Superliner's are really the older cars which were refurbished a few years back.
5 months, 2 weeks ago on Coming Soon: New Long Distance Cars
Yes, Amtrak's Regional Trains do go 125 MPH in places on the corridor.
But these cars are for long distance trains like the Silver Meteor, Silver Star, Cardinal, and the Crescent. Those trains currently can only travel at 100 MPH on the corridor. They are limited first by the current baggage cars and dining cars which can only go 100 MPH IIRC. And then the current Viewliner sleepers are limited to 110 MPH.
These new cars will allow for the long distance trains to run at the same speeds as the Regional trains. This will not only shorten overall runs times a bit; but it will make scheduling & dispatching the various train on the corridor easier.
12 months ago on Coming Soon: New Long Distance Cars
As noted by Markbeardsley, the bulk of these new cars are to replace 50 to 60 year old dining cars and baggage cars. The Superliners that are used in the west are much newer than that.
That said, the west will actually see the new baggage cars on its trains. The new dining cars and extra sleeping cars will only be found in the east.
Get Congress to provide some more funding and Amtrak will be happy to buy more Superliners for the west. They've had a plan ready to do just that for the last 4 years now, as directed by Congress. But in typical fashion, Congress seems to take those plans that they asked for and do nothing but order a new plan the next year.
1 year, 2 months ago on Coming Soon: New Long Distance Cars
It's not the cars, but rather the tracks. Yes, the new cars might ride a tiny bit better than the older ones, but it won't be a big difference. And one shouldn't worry about the cars tipping over. While the ride may feel a bit rough to you, the simple reality is that the tracks would be downgraded in terms of maximum speed long before things got bad enough to cause problems.
What feels rough to those of us on the train is still well within safety limits.
1 year, 5 months ago on Coming Soon: New Long Distance Cars
Except that the State of Virginia didn't end up subsidizing that service. Yes, they contracted with Amtrak to provide that service and set aside enough funding to subsidize a 3 year test. However, the service was so successful that Virginia ended up making a profit off of the train.
Virginia estimated a first year ridership of just under 60K. By the end of the first 6 months of service, they had already bested that. They ended the first year with more than 126,000 rides taken and the train turned a $2.1 Million operating profit. VA used its portion of the profit to help pay the bill owed for some of the other Amtrak services in the state. And the train continues to do well since that first year with both ridership and the operating profits increasing.
By the way, both flying & driving are subsidized too. In fact, it was Governments decision to intefere in the Free Market by subsidizing flying & driving that led to the freight RR's wanting out of the passenger business and Amtrak's creation.
You only see half & half arrangements in cars that run on routes where the train isn't turned around. For example, the Keystones. They have an engine on one end and a cab car on the other end.
So when the train arrives in Harrisburg, it's not turned around, they just change ends and go the other way. There is no time to turn all the seats manually, so they just leave the car in half & half mode as it were.
But on Regionals, because the entire train is turned around at the end of the run, all seats face forward except the end row.
I can confirm that as of a year ago the original proto-type sleeper was sitting in the Wilmington Shops being used as a mock-up to look at a coach version of the Viewliner car.
Everything is modular. Even the full bags are modular. It's not as dramatic as the sleepers, but each shelving unit is a module that is slid into the car and bolted down.
And actually it wouldn't surprise me at all if Beech Grove does the rebuilding of the I's.
Sorry, I can' t offer any insight into the production rate; I've heard differing numbers too.
But please do keep in mind that the big issue here really is the shells. Everything else is modular, so it can be completed long before the shells are even done. Heck, they can even send the empty shells someplace else to have the modules installed if they need to.
As I mentioned in another post, and I'll repeat here just to give some idea of this; when Amtrak was rebuilding the Superliner I sleepers it was taking about 3 months per car. They hope that refurbing the existing 50 sleepers will take about 1 month per car. And I think that time frame is determined more by needed HVAC work, truck work, etc. Sliding out the old modules and sliding in the new ones is the easy part by comparison.
That date has already been adjusted to compensate for the delays that have been encountered to date. And AFAIK, that's the date provided by CAF; not Amtrak.
Last I heard Amtrak was mainly waiting on Norfolk Southern to install a switch or two at Pittsburgh to allow for the needed switching of the cars. Once that is done, they could actually start the run through service with a coach & cafe car. The sleeper will have to wait until enough of the new sleepers are received.
And there is no crew base in Toledo; at least none for the On Board Service personnel.
Well since that train doesn't currently have checked baggage at all; if it does get a new car with the bike racks at all, it will be one of the last to get the cars. Amtrak wants to retire the current baggage cars ASAP, so at least initially the new cars will go to trains that already have baggage currently.
Unless a major problem is encountered during the testing phase, all 130 cars are to be delivered by early 2016. Unless options are exercised, the production line will be shut down or building something else in 2017.
I don't have a link handy, but I too recall Mr. Boardman making a statement just around the time that he approved the order of these new Viewliners that he wouldn't buy any more long distance cars until Congress gave him some clear direction & support on whether or not Amtrak should continue to run the long distance trains.
Of course expecting to get clear direction from the current Congress would seem to be impossible.
I'm not sure that any really knows, as it is dependent on just how fast the cars are approved and roll off the production line. It wouldn't surprise me either if Amtrak initially elects to keep all the new one's on the east coast where less are needed.
Were I to hazard a guess, I'd say that you probably won't see them until the fall out there. But again, that's just a guess on my part.
Exactly! It's an extra car that sits in the yard to "protect" the service should a train come in with a car that needs to be taken out of service for work. So for example during a run of the Silver Meteor to NY, the air conditioning fails and stops working in a car, when the train reaches NY crews in the yard will take out the bad car so that they can fix it and they'll put in the protect car so that the train is ready to go back south on schedule.
Amtrak currently has 20 Heritage dining cars on its active roster, plus the lone Viewliner Prototype Dining car 8400. I believe that 1 car listed as active is presently out of service and unavailable for use. Then there are currently 15 out on the road at any given moment; with a few in the shop and a few others as protection cars.
But regardless; the net gain in dining cars, assuming no contract options are exercised, would be 5. In theory, 2 of those will end up the Cardinal. And if the Card goes daily, that will require 3.
The other 2 I'm sure Amtrak will want to hold onto as protect cars.
And now the NARP Blog at the following link confirms that the sinks will remain.
AFAIK the sinks remain, and based upon the picture above it indeed looks like the sink is there.
No. And only the tables closest to the end of the car provide for wheelchairs. Therefore only the occupant of the H room closest to the diner will be able to roll out of their room, across the threshold, and into the dining car. All other H room occupants will remain dependent on their attendant if they cannot get out of the wheelchair.
Correct, the new cars are supposed to have an undercarriage to help hold in the residual heat and give Amtrak more time for switching and other things in the cold weather.
And I also have to assume that should the refurbishment program happen on the I's, that the existing 50 will be retrofitted with that same protection.
I think it was a combination of the complaints, the extra costs of cleaning, and the freeze issues that came with all the pipes that led to the removal.
Last I knew, yes. But Amtrak did mention that there were a few small last minute changes as they went to production, so I suppose that could have been one thing changed.
I wouldn't think that there are too many other places where Amtrak could find funding. Not saying it's impossible, just that I don't see money falling into their hands via any source other than the Fed.
Now depending on what Congress eventually does regarding the budget, if they ever do anything, it might be possible for Amtrak to apply for an additional loan from the FRA so as to exercise some of the options. But Amtrak will need a budget in order to know if they can find enough extra cash to pay off the already existing loan that they just took from the FRA plus any additional amount for a supplemental loan.
Amtrak has an option to order 70 more cars. Not sure if they can pick any type or if they're locked into specific numbers for each type of car.
As for how likely that is, it will come down to available funding.
While I wouldn't rule anything out with 100% certainty; I would say that it is highly unlikely that you'd see a new sleeper on your trip.
While not exactly the B'way limited, one of the current proposals is to put one of the new sleepers on the Pennsy and take it off along with a cafe car and 1 coach car at Pittsburgh to be picked up by the Capitol Limited. Coming east, the Cap will drop off the through cars for the Pennsy to hook onto prior to departure.
Again, it is very common for a sleeper on today's Star to end up on tomorrow's Meteor. So you can't just designate one train to have the new cars as it reduces the flexibility of the yard to get the train out on time.
The LSL doesn't have that issue as much.
And I'm only repeating what I've heard, that the LSL will be the first to see the new sleepers. There may well be other reasons that I'm unaware of. That same rumor said that the Cardinal will be the second to see them.
The Silver's will essentially not see the new cars until and unless Amtrak is successful with their refurbishment plan for the existing 50 Viewliner I sleepers.
Of course anything with Amtrak is always subject to change.
The shower isn't going away, the attendant's room (essentially room #14) is being replaced with 2 public toilets. The attendant will move to what is now room #12, leaving 11 revenue rooms in the car.
Sadly there isn't too much that they can do about that. Making the seats wider means making the aisle narrower. Can't really do that as there is barely enough room for 2 people to pass each other now, especially if one is holding a tray full of food.
Again, the Silvers interline their cars too much, especially since Hialeah is home base for the Viewliner cars. A car on the Star today could well be on the Meteor tomorrow. It's easier to keep things isolated.
And with the baggage dorms getting the crew out of revenue rooms, that will make up for the loss of 1 room.
Ps. The LSL was also where Amtrak debuted the reworked prototype dining car, 8400. It's first run, which by pure dumb luck I happened to be on, was on the LSL. And it remained there for many months, before they started circulating it around so that other crews could see & work the car.
@JerichoWhiskey @ahblid ,
Because the LSL is one of the better performing routes for Amtrak in terms of sleeper occupancy. You put the product where the most people will see it and use it.
Additionally, except during the winter months, the LSL equipment is largely captive to the LSL. It doesn't interline was much as the Silvers & Crescent do.
The speed issue isn't really a big deal, they're not gaining all that much in time. But additionally, it will require schedule changes if they do speed up things.
While the baggage cars & diners could pop up any place, rumor has it that the new sleepers will appear first on the Lake Shore Limited. Since the new sleepers have 1 less roomette, they have to be introduced into the system one route at a time so that they can properly control how many rooms are being sold. Don't want to sell 12 rooms in a car that only has 11.
There are 20 Heritage Dining cars still listed as active on the Amtrak roster, so this gives them 5 more than what they currently have.
Only the baggage cars will be seen on the Southwest Chief.
If everyone rode Amtrak, then there would be no collisions between cars and trains because no one would be driving cars and therefore there would be zero dead.
Too bad you couldn't figure that one out!
1 year, 9 months ago on Amtrak sued over Vt. teens death
: Times Argus Online
And once again you show you total ignorance of the subject matter at hand.
Amtrak isn't a greedy RR. It doesn't pay it's president $1 Million salary. Heck, Amtrak doesn't even make a profit. So NO, this poor boy wasn't run down by a "greedy railroad."
And while you are correct that this story is about a boy being hit by a train, I want to know where your feigned outrage for those 32K+ people killed by cars is. Please point me to any story that you've ever posted on lamenting the death of someone killed only by a car.
I'm sure you can't do that, because your outrage here isn't about that poor dead boy. Your outrage here is all about you seeking vengeance for whatever wrong you think that the RR's did you. So once again, please take off your rose colored glasses and join the rest of us here in the real world.
As for the rest of your post, it's completely incoherent. Please try English the next time with complete sentences. Thank you!
Not if they suspect you of doing something to their property & equipment.
BNSF should be paid for allowing people to build a road across BNSF's private property. Would you allow someone to build a road across your private property without compensation?
Finally, I didn't use any math skills to give you those numbers. They came from a report that you've linked to in the past.
So again, why don't you care about the 32,000+ people killed by cars?
I'm a computer/network consultant by trade and have never worked a day in my life for a RR. But I can assure you that if they had RR police following you, then it was because they were worried based upon your outlandish postings that you would try to sabotage tracks & equipment. I can assure you beyond any shadow of a doubt that they weren't worried about your facts; because you have no lucid, real facts. Sorry!
I'll say it again; you sound like someone who has unfortunately lost someone that you knew to an accident with a train. And if that is the case, I am truly sorry for your loss. I do know what it feels like to lose people. But it is time to let go of your rage; take off those rose colored glasses; stop calling people names (because that only makes them stop listening to you); and see the real world. If you are actually worried about people being killed, first go fix the 32K+ people killed by cars. Then you can come back and worry about the 702 killed by trains; many of which were suicides; and many more of which were caused by the failure of the driver to obey the law.
You can't build a road across the RR tracks without having an agreement. Every private crossing has an agreement with the RR. Most are many years old at this point in time; but they do exist and must exist. You can't build a house without a contract and you cannot building a crossing without a contract.
And once again you display your lack of knowledge on this subject, which is why of course you always have to resort to calling people names. It's the only weapon you have, since you have no facts.
Jon, There is nothing that you can say that could help. Anyone blinded by rage isn't seeing things clearly.
Case in point, I just told you in my post above how you would know that you can't get across. And you ignored it because it's not what you want to hear. All you want to hear is that the RR's are bad and that drivers share zero blame for anything. But I'll repeat it one more time for you.
If you can see a headlight; it is not safe to cross the tracks. If you turn off the stereo and open your window and hear a horn; it is not safe to cross.
It's real simple and it only requires common sense.
And what part of "the owners of the private crossings put it into their contracts with the RR to NOT blow horns did not sink into your rage induced anti-RR brain?
As for the Supreme Court, keep dreaming!
As for paying for signs and killing people, once again Jon, come back and talk to me after youi fix the problem with drivers killing 32,367 people in 2011. You're here crying about 700 people killed by trains and ignoring the fact that 46 times as many people were killed by cars as were killed by trains.
If you want something to worry about, fix the car murders first. Then come back and talk to us about how many were killed by trains. You're busy counting the grains in a sand box and ignoring how many grains of sand exist on the Jersey Shore.
Actually, it depends on the temperature, moisture content of the snow, as well as the depth, as to whether or not it crunches. And regardless, that crunching is far less noticeable, especially if one has head phones on like most kids do today, than a car on dry pavement.
I do agree that if you're paying attention you will feel the vibrations of the approaching train.
1 year, 9 months ago on Amtrak sued over Vt. teens death
: Rutland Herald Online
Regarding #2 - Guess we should get rid of air horns on trucks too. After all, they're big and don't stop easily too.
3) Railroads have to pay to maintain those signals forever. And all so you, a driver who can't obey the law, can cross the private property of the RR. How would you like it if you owned a farm and the city came to you and asked to build a highway through the middle of your fields. Then after traffic gets so bad that you can't safely cross from one field to the next, you ask for a traffic light and the city tells you to pay for it. How would you like that?
Because that's what you want from the RR's. They don't need the signals, you need them!
4) The RR isn't held harmless if they failed to maintain a signal. And they shouldn't be. But if you were stupid enough to drive around a lowered gate then they most certainly should be held harmless.
#5 Isn't even a coherent statement. Try again to make sense, please.
#6. Totally irrelevant to any part of this discussion.
If you stop at a crossing and you can't get across in time, then the answer is real simple. You shouldn't have gone! You risked your life and the lives of others with your stupid mistake. If you can see a headlight coming, then you shouldn't be going. If you've turned off your stereo and opened your window and can hear a horn; then you shouldn't be going.
This is simple common sense. No need for fancy cameras or anything else to stay alive. Just use common sense and obey the law.
I understand that it is difficult for you to look beyond your hatred; but try.
The Fed didn't tell the trains not to blow at private crossings. That's the agreement that the owners of the private road made when they asked for permission to build their driveway across the private property of the RR.
As for the second half, it's clear that you didn't check. If you had, there would be a link here to prove me wrong. Furthermore, the Fed wasn't the only one who studied it.
Yes, the Fed does trump state laws. However you prove your ignorance of this entire situation with your statement. The states & cities tried to make quiet zones that weren't safe and the Fed stepped in and said no. For example dozens of crossings in Florida down by Miami were made quiet zones by the locals. And the accident rate doubled. So the Fed stepped in and said no and once again trains now blow their horns and the accident rate went down.