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  1. D.P. Roberts

    Southwest Chief LAX-CHI Live-ish Blog

    I usually forget to write trip reports, and now that we have decent wifi on the train, I figured I'd use this opportunity to write one as it happens. Also, this trip may be a bit more of an adventure than most of our trips - and by "adventure" I mean we may miss our connection in Chicago, but...
  2. D.P. Roberts

    "Chipotle-style quick-service station" dining car?

    I just read Amtrak's blog for January, and they discussed what the Culinary Team was up to. Personally, I thought that the Culinary Team was disbanded a while ago, as all references to them have disappeared from the menu. However, they are still around, and they've got some changes planned for...
  3. D.P. Roberts

    California Zephyr, Coast Starlight, & Empire Builder

    I always mean to write trip reports for our Amtrak journeys, but by the time we get home & get the photos organized I have forgotten many of the details. So, this time I thought I'd write one "in progress" and add the photos whenever we have time and wifi. Our journey is as follows: Waterloo...
  4. D.P. Roberts

    Coast Starlight 14 delay into PDX 6/30-7/6

    Amtrak just sent me new tickets, no information as to why. 14, which is normally due into Portland at 3:32 pm, now shows as 5:32 pm. We're getting on in Sacramento, which still shows a departure time of 11:59 pm, so the CS is going to lose 2 hours between those stations now. I assume this is...
  5. D.P. Roberts

    Current state of Sacramento station?

    I know the Sacramento station has been under construction for a couple of years now - is it still pretty torn up? In the past it looks like it had a separate small waiting area for sleeping car passengers - is this still in existence? Is the building air conditioned? I assume not, but it's...
  6. D.P. Roberts

    Modifying an old AGR reservation?

    We made a reservation last fall under the old AGR system for our trip next month. If we wanted to modify it (same date and departure station, just extending the arrival to a different station), would AGR basically refund our points and start over under the new rules, or would it be modified...
  7. D.P. Roberts

    sleeper pax - free drinks in lounge car?

    I've never heard of this before, but over on one of the Facebook groups someone claimed that sleeper passengers (according to their SCA) were allowed to get free soft drinks in the lounge car. Is this true?
  8. D.P. Roberts

    Noob question - amtrak.com vs station

    Having traveled thousands of miles on Amtrak I feel like I should know this by now, but we never purchase tickets at the station. SO, I need some quick help. Amtrak.com appears to offer 4 different buckets (at least they look like buckets) - Saver, Value, Flexible, and Premium. For a short trip...
  9. D.P. Roberts

    Amtrak's 400% food markup

    I know there have been a million threads about the current state of Amtrak's dining cars, their problems, the causes of those problems, and how to fix them. But when I see something like this, it truly makes me wonder just how broken the dining system truly is. One of Amtrak's new "Healthy &...
  10. D.P. Roberts

    New blankets?

    Amtrak just posted this picture of a roomette on Twitter. Every blanket I've ever seen on Amtrak has been blue. Even when they went to the packaged blankets, I've still only seen blue ones. Is this a really old photo or a really new blanket (and throw pillow)?
  11. D.P. Roberts

    Pets will be allowed on all trains

    I apologize if this is being discussed in another thread, but I just saw an article stating that the new appropriations bill will require Amtrak to have a pet-friendly car on all trains. I knew about the pilot program in Illinois, but this seems like a major step up from that...
  12. D.P. Roberts

    Can't book CZ-CS-EB?

    I tried booking a trip for a trip on trains 5 to 14 to 28, but Amtrak's site won't let me. It will allow the reverse, though, going 27 to 11 to 6. So, the "route" is there in one direction, but not the other. I thought at first that perhaps the connection between 14 and 8 was too tight at PDX...
  13. D.P. Roberts

    overlapping reservations?

    My wife and I are thinking of taking our "bucket list" Amtrak long distance trip - CHI-EMY on the California Zephyr, in two roomettes across from each other. In order to reduce the expense (technically in AGR points), we were thinking of booking the second roomette for only part of the trip -...
  14. D.P. Roberts

    The new menus are here! The new menus are here!

    Amtrak's dining car menus were updated today - the first time since October 2014. For reference, here's a pdf of the Coast Starlight's new menu: http://www.amtrak.com/ccurl/814/559/Coast-Starlight-Dining-Car-Menu-0515.pdf For lunch, the special has changed from turkey meatballs & mash to a...
  15. D.P. Roberts

    Capitol Limted - "diner lite" now?

    I saw on the Amtrak Facebook group that the CL now has a "diner lite" instead of a lounge. Is that just an "off season" thing, or is that permanent? I've ridden the CL every summer for the past few years and I haven't seen that - just the regular Sightseer & diner.
  16. D.P. Roberts

    Train 98 connection- DC (29) vs NY (49)

    We're thinking of taking a round trip this summer from Toledo to Orlando. On the way out, that means a layover in DC between trains 30 and 97 of about 6 hours. Being that Union Station is so close to the National Mall and all the museums, I'm sure we'll find lots to do. We've never taken either...
  17. D.P. Roberts

    CZ/SWC to Grand Canyon & Bryce

    This post is very convoluted, so here's the TL; DR version: 1. We have about a week in mid June to see some national parks of the West. 2. We're taking the CZ from Chicago, & detraining somewhere in Colorado or Utah. 3. We're driving from SLC, Provo, or some other station (which station?) to...
  18. D.P. Roberts

    "Zombie" AGR accounts!

    Many people I know are interested in taking an Amtrak trip, but are reluctant to do so because of the cost. I often recommend that they set up an AGR account & start earning points for shopping, to at least get them started on earning points toward a free trip. Earlier this week I realized...
  19. D.P. Roberts

    Useless Amtrak voucher?

    After I complained to Amtrak about an unpleasant experience aboard the SWC last summer, they gave the matter some serious consideration... and after several months, sent me a voucher for $25. It's a very nice voucher. It looks a lot like a check, and has a very official-looking hologram...
  20. D.P. Roberts

    NASA vs Amtrak?

    I readily admit I don't know much of anything about Amtrak's financing. But recent news from NASA about the Boeing & SpaceX contracts got me thinking. (Here's a link to NASA's new contracts, if anyone hasn't heard about this...