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  1. BalmyZephyr

    New member from Germany traveling on the Southwest Chief

    I did this trip in 1985 to Lamy and again in 2019, to Flagstaff, both round trip. You will love it! We had a super bedroom both times, but spent most of the daytime in the dining car and observation lounge. Much better views from there, since you can see out both sides all along the car. Also...
  2. BalmyZephyr

    Petition to establish mask-required cars

    Ran across this today. Thoughts? https://www.change.org/p/amtrak-protect-people-by-designating-some-mask-required-cars-on-each-train
  3. BalmyZephyr

    Niece will start rail commuting, need gift ideas for her

    That does look excellent! There's a long description here, for those interested. I see an artist named Ranulph Bye was thanked, probably did the cover painting. I know his son. Thanks for the tip.
  4. BalmyZephyr

    Niece will start rail commuting, need gift ideas for her

    Who knew, Stunbrellas are illegal in Rhode Island! Good thing I was joking. I did get her this guy to ride in the seat next to her for protection: https://www.amazon.com/Inflatable-John-Doll-60-Inches/dp/B0049H1UPE
  5. BalmyZephyr

    Niece will start rail commuting, need gift ideas for her

    Stunbrella! https://www.amazon.com/STREET-WISE-SECURITY-PRODUCTS-Streetwise/dp/B07PN77R44?th=1
  6. BalmyZephyr

    Niece will start rail commuting, need gift ideas for her

    She does, and good suggestion. I did research on whether there was a book about rail commuting and came across one that seemed promising because it was by a conductor, but a review made it sound casually sexist and she wouldn't like that. This gives me an idea that would take more time, but I...
  7. BalmyZephyr

    Lesser known Railroad Museums in small towns

    Just back from Steamtown in Scranton PA. Stunning, as is the marble/tile lobby of the nearby Lackawanna depot, now the Radisson. Steamtown is part of the National Park system and free to enter. If you only have 15 minutes, spend it with the newly painted (last year) Big Boy 4012 in the parking...
  8. BalmyZephyr

    Niece will start rail commuting, need gift ideas for her

    I'll spy on her current backpack(s), but she is probably all set with that. Good idea though.
  9. BalmyZephyr

    Niece will start rail commuting, need gift ideas for her

    Great idea, I have one of those small cloth/canvas zip-purses and it saves me. It is barely bigger than the credit cards and money so it fits in every pocket. Thanks.
  10. BalmyZephyr

    Niece will start rail commuting, need gift ideas for her

    My 34-yr-old biologist niece got a great job starting the end of May, and will start commuting by rail (Wickford RI to PVD) to get there. Any ideas for a fun or useful "commuter" gift for her birthday tomorrow? (Yes, I am late to ask this question.) A book of tickets would be nice, but she's...
  11. BalmyZephyr

    New transportation authority created for Philadelphia suburbs

    Beautiful picture. Is the Port Kennedy station a possibility too?
  12. BalmyZephyr

    Steamtown (Scranton, PA)

    We went there too, very cool to see my childhood P&W Norristown trolley. Well, an older one. Also fun to see John Oliver's Scranton-y trainset. We only had 2.5 hours for both museums, though with no one else there, we could see things pretty quickly. Need to go back and spend a couple of days...
  13. BalmyZephyr

    Steamtown (Scranton, PA)

    We are back and here is my Trip Advisor 5-star review (despite some shabby aspects of the hotel): Must visit for magnificent lobby alone Review of Radisson Lackawanna Station Hotel Scranton Reviewed yesterday The original marble train station lobby, with its tile murals and fountains, is worth...
  14. BalmyZephyr

    Steamtown (Scranton, PA)

    Just going by reviews online, and what jiml said above. I haven't been there. A couple of recent reviewers had said that the walls were thin, which suggests they didn't update the soundproofing anyway. Looking forward to the murals!!
  15. BalmyZephyr

    Steamtown (Scranton, PA)

    Thanks. We wanted to stay in a train station with original details, realizing it is not exactly up-to-date and luxury accommodations. And maybe walk to Steamtown from there. We're stopping over on our way from RI to WV, so won't have time to go the other direction to the viaduct, most likely...
  16. BalmyZephyr

    Steamtown (Scranton, PA)

    Tomorrow we're going to Steamtown (bee-yoo-ti-ful Scranton PA), staying in the old Lackawanna Station (Radisson Hotel). We only have about two hours at Steamtown, and maybe another hour or two on Friday, and the train excursions aren't running yet. What should we definitely not miss? Also, food?
  17. BalmyZephyr

    Cardinal (and other trains) Cafe Lounge - or Employee Lounge?

    Not cumulatively. In a cafe car, you have a half-a-car row of windows, out both sides of the train. It's a much better view. Fabulous in the NER in Connecticut, water view both sides. The longer side is much better than the short side we were forced to use on the Cardinal in December, but the...
  18. BalmyZephyr

    Tips for sleeping well in a Viewliner

    I sleep poorly in new places and extra poorly on sleeper trains. Motion (lurch and bump) is even more of an issue than noise and light. I always carry an old-school white noise machine and a roll of black photographic tape (amazing tape, doesn't ruin walls but sticks nicely, is reusable a time...
  19. BalmyZephyr

    Cardinal (and other trains) Cafe Lounge - or Employee Lounge?

    This has been outrageous behavior for a long time. Maybe it's time to complain directly to them about it, instead of meekly padding back to our sleepers and missing out on half the reason we travel by train, to chat with strangers over a beer or coffee, and look out the larger windows. If a lot...
  20. BalmyZephyr

    Videos out the window, advice needed

    Thanks. Also I often include the window frame, and interiors. (1) SWC Westbound crossing the Mississippi (2) Cardinal Eastbound to the Gorge
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