Cardinal and CONO questions

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tonijustine

Train Attendant
Joined
May 3, 2017
Messages
84
Location
Indiana
Hey all,

We are two months away from my trip to take my five year old son on his first Amtrak ride. We will be taking the Cardinal from IND to CHI, then heading to Jackson on the CONO. We are coach both ways in the Cardinal and have a roomette in the CONO, both ways.

A couple of questions...

1. What is the likelihood of us, as coach passengers, getting a dinner time seating in the diner from CHI to IND? From a timing standpoint (I understand the quality aspect, but dinner in the diner would be a great way to end my son's first big train trip), would we be better to eat before we got on board? I need to plan my son's meals to avoid high levels of cranky.

2. We are in the Dormitory car on 59. Does that car have a public access shower, or will we have to go to the next car over?

3. How is the sleeping with the car right behind the engine? My son can sleep through nearly anything....me on the other hand....

Thanks all!
 

Bob Dylan

50+ Year Amtrak Rider
Joined
May 31, 2009
Messages
23,636
Location
Austin Texas
Nice trip!

1. Eat in Chicago before boarding. The Cardinal has a Diner Light with Heat and Eat food and Sleeper Passengers get priority, you are not guaranteed a Rez time for the Diner when in Coach.

2.The Transdorm has three showers, one for revenue pasdengers,one reserved for the crew and one downstairs.

3.There will be a baggage car between you and the engine so the noise shouldn't be too much of a problem .FYI: the CONO like the Cardinal, also serves Heat and Eat meals( No Chef) from a Limited Menu in the Cross Country Cafe.Since train #59 doesn't leave until 8pm from CHI, you might want to have your child eat before boarding since Dinner is served late.
 

PVD

Engineer
Joined
Jul 8, 2015
Messages
5,959
Location
NYC/Queens
Every trans-dorm I've ever been in had a shower for its sleeper passengers. Sleeping through the horn is a totally individual thing everyone is different, bring ear plugs (the comfortable kind) just in case. Not sure about Cardinal dinner, I'm a roomette traveler. Neither train is at the top of the list for food, but the experience of eating in a diner can still be fun....remember, you have lounge access in Chicago for your wait, the new setup has a children's area available.

There is bag storage (unchecked but generally considered safe) in the lounge, if the Card is not too late, a trip to the one of these: Aquarium, Planetarium, or Field museum (kids usually love dinosaurs) is doable.
 
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ehbowen

Engineer
Joined
Mar 22, 2011
Messages
2,496
Location
Houston, Texas
I would second Bob's recommendation that the two of you eat your main meal in Chicago, but I would do so with the thought of buying your son a light snack from the cafe car while you are en route to Indianapolis.
 

tonijustine

Train Attendant
Joined
May 3, 2017
Messages
84
Location
Indiana
Thanks all. I did Champaign to Jackson last year on my own, so I am familiar with the CONO dining situation, but the rest of the trip will be a first for me too.

One more question on the dorm car...is there an SCA for the revenue passengers? Or are we relying on an SCA from another car?

I will take your advice about eating in Chicago on the way back. I'll probably also get him a snack before a laaaate dinner on the way out. We're fortunate as my sister and her family live downtown Chicago, and have memberships to the big museums, so our layover will be somewhere fun (depending on what my son and my 4 year old nephew agree on).
 

PVD

Engineer
Joined
Jul 8, 2015
Messages
5,959
Location
NYC/Queens
That's why I mentioned the Field and the Shedd, kids usually like dinosaurs and fish. Most times it is the SCA from the adjacent car.....
 

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