Any National Train Day stories?

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Trogdor

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National Train Day is either over or almost over, depending on your time zone. So, what did everyone do for NTD?

I rode a quick round-trip on the Hiawatha from Chicago to Glenview, on 331/332 (had about 20 minutes at GLN due to a slightly late #332). Once I got back to Union Station, they were just about getting ready to let people into the Great Hall for the festivities.

The highlight of my day was buying a couple of prints from Robert West (see http://www.trainpaintings.com/ for more info). Among other things, he works for GE doing the "artist's impressions" of locomotives before they're built.

I met up with a few of my coworkers during the day, and also saw Amtrak_Russ briefly. Anybody else at Union Station I may have missed?

Amtrak's equipment on display included 54013 (Wheel of Fortune Horizon car), 39029, 37004, and 34100. Even though it wasn't officially part of the equipment display, a couple of us talked our way onto the "Evelyn Henry" private car for a quick walk-through. It was parked on track 17, attached to the "Patrick Henry" dome car. Talk about a railcar that's furnished nicer than my apartment! (Oh, and for those interested, those cars, with a bunch of others, will be a part of the annual National Restaurant Association dinner train that leaves CUS at 4:45 pm next week Saturday, en route to Sturtevant and back.)

Amtrak had advertised a "train driving simulator," but it just turned out to be Microsoft Train Simulator, which I have at home, so I passed on that one.

A few other nice displays, including one on Pullman Porters, a few on railroad photography, and others. Fun stuff for the kids, too.

What about others' experiences?
 

daveyb99

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I would have loved to be in Fort Worth AND Dallas for the festivities.

I resorted to wearing my AMTRAK hat at my son's baseball tournament and promoting AMTRAK and National Train Day to those who might listen.

BTW, he pitched a one-hit shutout.
 

AlanB

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Well I rode trains on National Train Day, just no Amtrak trains. I was limited to the LIRR and the NYC Subway trains today.

On the other hand I did get to see the Harlem Globetrotters demonstration game at NYP. In addition to five of the regular team members putting a show themselves and then a show that involved many of the kids and even a few of the adult, legendary Curly Neal showed up to play around for a bit. He sat out the intial performance, but then proceeded to do a few of his own tricks, as well as to walk the crowd and take pictures with many people in the crowd. At 69 he still moves pretty darn well and remains a great entertainer. His is one of only five numbers ever retired from the team, his number 22 was lifted to the rafters of the Garden just this past February.

I also picked up my National Train Day t-shirt, plastic bag, and pencil all emblazoned with "National Train Day." If there were any static equipment displays, nobody was talking about them and there were no signs or announcements. I'm not exactly surprised however that there were none, as NYP is still a busy place even on a weekend.

I'll probably get up a few pictures of the Globetrotters and a model N display tomorrow or Monday.
 

saxman

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Well I caught the festivities in Fort Worth and Dallas today.

I parked at DFW/Centreport station and rode the TRE into Fort Worth. The party had begun by the time I got there. Several booths included, TRE info, Texas Rail Advocates, which I joined for $10 and got a NTD T-shirt, and Amtrak volunteers were handing out all kinds of info on Amtrak and the Texas Eagle. And a prize for two trips on the Texas Eagle. The little country band played too. The song I of course recognized was Folsom Prison Blues by Johnny Cash. Inside the station was BNSF giving out corn plastic mugs and other info about BNSF. Next to them was the Southwest to Northeast commuter rail project. This line is suppose to open in 2013 and go from SW Ft Worth to Grapevine and DFW Airport. Outside were an Amtrak cabbage loco, joined to a Superliner car and joined to a brand spankin new BNSF GE locomotive. (Sorry don't know my loco's) I took lots of pictures though.

I walked around a lot and just missed the arrival of the Heartland Flyer from OKC. I noticed there was a huge crowd to get off. After asking the conductor, he said a whopping 266 riders got off that day!! They used 4 Superliners for the trip instead of the normal 3. It was quite an impressive train.

My next plan was to ride the Eagle to Dallas. It was a little late, but not too bad. It left about 3:30 and we arrived in Dallas at 4:30. The festivities had already ended, but there was a treat. (Again don't know my loco's) But it was an old Sante Fe diesel from about the 50's or 60's era. It was all painted red and gray, and looked almost like a toy. It was brought over from the Dallas Railroad Museum by once again, another brand new BNSF GE loco. It also had a Pullman car on back. As I was taking pictures of this on the end of the platform, in came a UP stack train and then comes Amtrak in the other and the display was right between me. It was pretty cool feeling standing that close.

Then it was about time to head back on the TRE from Dallas to my car at DFW station. It was for sure a fun day. And I look foward to next years. Over all it was a huge turnout at both stations. I'll figure out how to post a few pics here.

Here are my pics from National Train Day!
 
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WhoozOn1st

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While I took a flyer on NTD, it was good to read the reports. I just hope everybody recognized the signifcance of the date, got down on their Amtrak prayer rugs, and bowed toward Sacramento and Omaha.

May 10, 1869, was the Golden Spike deal. Completion of the first transcon, at Promontory, Utah.

All hail the Big Four, and Theodore Judah.
 
G

Guest

Guest
I attended at Washington Union Station. Good that I arrived early because they ran out of the free posters and t-shirts before 11am. There was a short line to visit the Dover Harbor parked at the platform. Since I've seen it previously I skipped the line and walked straight to the ACELA which was parked in front of it. This is quite an impressive train and if I could afford it I'd certainly use it. The on-board staff was extremely attentive to visitors. Meals displayed in the first and business class were real food, not plastic. On the other side of the platform displayed were a MARC electric locomotive, MARC bi-level car and another private car (sorry I can't remember the name). Inside the station many vendors had displays plus lots of freebies. A local model railroad club had a huge operating display running. That drew a large crowd. By 11:30 the line to view the platform displays had over an hour wait. In would have been nice if there were signs letting people know that the line was just to see the Dover Harbor. There were no lines to enter anything else.
 
S

Steven B

Guest
I took a Regional down to the Washington, DC station. For a first-time event, Amtrak really did a nice job. The turnout was great; the station was packed the whole day. The free posters, t-shirts, and playing cards were a nice surprise. The Sara Bareilles concert at 1 o'clock was really good.

The one negative was the handling of the train displays. The line to view the rail cars was long by 10:30 am and by noon it was unmanageable. As the previous poster noted, the reason for the line was the first car, the Dover Harbor. People had no idea they could tour the Acela or the other historic equipment (the Hickory Creek) instead. The event staff should have sent some of the people in line to the other cars first.

Also, it would have been nice for Amtrak to have a Viewliner or Superliner sleeper on display. By showing two Pullman sleepers as "historic" rail cars, and Acela and Amfleet equipment as "modern" rail cars, they may have given the impression that sleeping cars are not part of contemporary rail travel.

Overall, though, it was a great event and a nice way of promoting train travel, especially to kids and families.
 

WhoozOn1st

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This is quite an impressive train and if I could afford it I'd certainly use it.
I know exactly what you mean, Guest. Though I rode an Acela Express a few years ago, I had forgotten how much it costs. While visiting D.C. recently I offered to take a friend to New York for lunch. She said sure, why not? She'd never been on Amtrak, and I wanted to show her an Acela ride. Then I got a look at the fares. We rode MARC to Baltimore for crabcakes and the B&O museum instead.

So the poor girl still hasn't been on Amtrak.

EDIT: She did like MARC, though, and had never been on that, either.
 
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tj722

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Jul 23, 2007
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I took an Acela Express up from NYP - BOS (my first taste of 150mph! :) ), and when I arrived in Boston there was a jazz trio playing with a display giving out various trinkets, including an Amtrak branded train whistle that all the kids were loving (and the parents hating :) ). There was a tour of an Acela train, and the Club Acela was having an "open house." All and all it seemed like a nice setup, and it was the first time I had been to South Station!
 

The Metropolitan

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My Train Day was nothing of note, only a short ride from Baltimore to Aberdeen to save my friend the expense of putting more gas in the before we hung out for the day. Train 82 was half an hour late, we rode in a Retro-Red 21000 series Amfleet, and the train was very heavily booked for a Saturday midday.

Was my first trip to the Aberdeen Amtrak Station, so that was a first, and we had a good day getting a "Sonic fix" cured in Lancaster, even driving right past the Lancaster Station enroute.

We toyed with the idea of riding the Keystone to Philly and back from there, but instead just chilled out in a local park.

Maybe next year I can be more on the ball - at least I got a ride in though! :)
 

had8ley

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This is quite an impressive train and if I could afford it I'd certainly use it.
I know exactly what you mean, Guest. Though I rode an Acela Express a few years ago, I had forgotten how much it costs. While visiting D.C. recently I offered to take a friend to New York for lunch. She said sure, why not? She'd never been on Amtrak, and I wanted to show her an Acela ride. Then I got a look at the fares. We rode MARC to Baltimore for crabcakes and the B&O museum instead.

So the poor girl still hasn't been on Amtrak.

EDIT: She did like MARC, though, and had never been on that, either.
Patrick;

I had a first class ticket and went and sat in the bistro car with the lower class. The train is nice; it's articulated so that you don't have to jump over bouncing plates between cars but even as an engineer in the seat who had run at 110 mph I really didn't care for 150~ you can't even count the telegraph poles! MARC ain't bad and the price difference from DC to BWI or Baltimore between Acela and MARC is atrocious. (Don't try to price first class on Acela unless EMS is standing by with oxygen.)
 

WhoozOn1st

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it's articulated so that you don't have to jump over bouncing plates between cars
I happen to LIKE jumping over bouncing plates between cars, pausing in the vestibules to enjoy the railroad experience. A foot on one car, a foot on the other, and feeling the motion. Doesn't get much cooler than that, sez I.
 

RailFanLNK

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Mine had the making of an epic disaster, but since I took so much time "prepping" everyone, I think I and Amtrak made 3 new customers for our loved railroad. Four of us went to DEN from LNK for $260 RT total. My best friend from work has a son who lives in DEN and has a nieghbor that rides Amtrak all the time. His neighbor is elderly and HE HAS A MILLION stories of picking her up from buses, delays, weather etc. So his attitude toward Amtrak was not favorable. Our times in LNK are real late night trains. So he has had to pick her up in Omaha before etc due to bustitutions etc. The other was a young couple and I work with the male of the couple. I drilled into them "it won't be on time" and I didn't let them down! :lol:

The #5 was 2 hours late making our departure from LNK 2am Saturday morning. We were seated in the lower level since the train was jampacked! WE had a blast going to DEN, great service in the Dining Car and had fun in DEN. Now comes the really #$^[email protected]@^%^@#@# part! :angry: The #6 was rolling on time until about 5pm. The estimated arrival was 7:20pm. Well..it got hung up near the Moffat Tunnel and our train arrived 6 hours late. Arriving DUS at 1:30am. My couple friends had gone to the station and just napped pretty much, this gave my friend and I extra time with his son. This could have been a total disaster but one thing rectified this: THE CREW OF THE #6! I looked at upgrading to roomettes but the bucket price was $265 per roomette. So for two roomettes that was way TOO much. We upgraded onboard at 2:30am for the price of $107 per roomette and we all slept like babies.

The conducter on the #6 was my favorite conductor Lester Peterson. The guy was great! Alexander in the Dining Car made us feel special, he was an EXCELLENT waiter and our sleeper attendent Sandi made us laugh alot. The crew took what would have been a totally @#^!##*& up National Train Day and made 3 folks say, "man, I want to do this again!" I had taken a few folders of Amtrak material and magazines and brochures of Glenwood Springs CO "if" this trip went well and gave it to all of them at the end of the trip. If they would have been shaking thier heads saying, "this sucks" I would have quietly kept all the material in my suitcase. Today, its in the hands of 3 "possibly" new Amtrak customers and pretty much the employees of Amtrak made that happen since the OTP was terrible. Lester Peterson our conductor even walked beside us to my car in LNK thanking us, making light of the OTP and wished everyone a great day and said, "come ride with us again". I mean...how neat is that! The crew made a damn good impression for my friends.
 
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wayman

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3 "possibly" new Amtrak customers and pretty much the employees of Amtrak made that happen since the OTP was terrible. Lester Peterson our conductor even walked beside us to my car in LNK thanking us, making light of the OTP and wished everyone a great day and said, "come ride with us again". I mean...how neat is that! The crew made a damn good impression for my friends.
Wow. Reading this just completely made my day :)

For National Train Day I, um, rode two buses to work early in the morning and one bus back late at night. I heard some train horns while wandering around town, but didn't even see the trains. :(

But I'm really looking forward to taking a lot of trains from May 21 to early June. I'll spend a day riding the MAX light rail in Portland, and then probably take the Cascades to Seattle, rent a car, drive up to British Columbia and at least watch the Canadian come through Kamloops, and take the Builder back east from Seattle (which means I'll have ridden the entire train, including both Portland and Seattle ends). :)

My dad, railfan and model railroader in Lynchburg, VA, drove out to the O. Winston Link museum in Roanoke where there was a "Celebration at the Station" day--Roanoke railroad history, Link photography, model railroads, etc. He brought and was operating a model layout all day. Oddly, he said there was no mention of National Train Day.
 

Mark

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Apr 11, 2006
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rmadisonwi pretty much covered my day at Chicago as well. Donna McLean, (Chairman of the Amtrak board), was on hand for the initial remarks. I tried to think of a good question for someone in her position but could not at first. Then later when I wanted to ask her position on the opening of the NEC to outside competition and of course, could not find her.

It looks to me that the Diner-Lounge/CCC for the Texas Eagle has been reconfigured. #37004 was on hand serving appetizers which had a nice effect. The big U-shaped booths were still there but the small tables were gone and it looked like everything could comfortably fit four for a meal. There were nice new 'Texas Eagle' specific menus displayed at every table. I heard quite a bit of excited chatter from adults as well as children and got the impression that the majority of the people taking the tours had never been in an Amtrak train before. For me it was neat to pass from the 'Wheel of Fortune' Horizon Coach, (yawn), and up into the Trans/Dorm, (yea!), which was displayed with several rooms made up for private in-room dining, (with flowers and all the 'Amtrak' trimmings), and some with beds down. I had never been in a T/D before and thought that the car was interesting as we passed through to the CCC.

Overall I thought it was a pretty good display and a very positive day for Amtrak. I saw a good amount of people in and around the station carrying the 'National Train Day' goody bags. Amtrak had people posted throughout CUS pitching the event and that seemed to be pretty effective. The Great Hall at CUS has plenty of room for more vendors which, depending on the perceived success of this event at Amtrak, will hopefully turn into an annual event which will grow every year.
 
G

Guest_Save Our Trains Michigan_*

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We had a good turnout in East Lansing had a group of kids from a local school district ride the train to CHI just for National Train day.They returned back on train 364 on Sunday.

We went thru 150 cups of coffee and 2 doz donuts along with 300 cookies thru the day.
 

RailFanLNK

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My two work buddies who rode on National Train Day are both chompin' at the bit to go again. Both are wanting to join AGR and both of them are asking questions about "their" next trip.....and not MINE! It was a success here in Lincoln NE! :)
 

SharonLPK

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Apr 3, 2008
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We had a great time in Chicago. Our train was 2 hours late so we left our station closer to 6am rather than 4am, and arrived in CHI 2 hours late also (closer than noon than 9:45). 5 of us were first-time riders and all of us would definitely ride again!

Union Station is amazing and I thought Amtrak was generous with the stuff they gave away, we missed the train tours though which was disappointing, I wish they would have been all afternoon instead of such a limited time. The acoustics of Union Station just didn't lend themselves to the band, however, although we stayed for a couple of songs later.

4 of us had never been to Chicago before so that was another pleasant part of the trip, we'd go there again also :)

Enjoyed seeing the differences in the Lakeshore Limited train and the Capitol train, each has its merits in my opinion!

I think Amtrak gets an A for this promotion, hope it benefits them in the long run!
 

AlanB

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Sharon,

Thanks for a first timer's perspective on things. :)

Glad you had a good time and I too hope that this benefits them long term.
 

p&sr

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I'll spend a day riding the MAX light rail in Portland, and then probably take the Cascades to Seattle, rent a car, drive up to British Columbia and at least watch the Canadian come through Kamloops...
Will they let you cross the Border in a rented car? You might want to check on this. Otherwise, you could take the Train from Seattle to Vancouver, BC and THEN rent a car to visit Kamloops.
 

p&sr

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We had a great time in Chicago. Union Station is amazing...

I think Amtrak gets an A for this promotion, hope it benefits them in the long run!
Thanks everybody for reporting the events and adventures.

I celebrated Train Day quietly at home... watching "Silver Streak" on DVD (available from third parties via Amazon.com).
 
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