Celebrities on Amtrak

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Joined
Apr 28, 2010
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On my last Amtrak trip I was on the Crescent. The SCA had my lower bed turned down when I got on (it was a Viewliner Roomette), but I told him I always preferred the upper bunk and he set me up. During this, he said a lot of actors and actresses like to sleep in the upper bunk so they can study below. When my trip ended I asked him if he could tell which actors and actresses had been on board. He said none on the ride I was on, but Morgan Freeman had my room on the previous trip. (I know, a roomette, but that is what he said).

I was a little surprised that celebrities would ride Amtrak. Not because it is not comfortable or a great ride but because I figured there is a greater chance at being recognized, then harassed and so on. I bet most of them have their food delivered to their room.

So, does anyone have any celebrity/Amtrak stories they are willing to share?
 

Acela150

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I can tell you that this past Thursday when I was at PHL I saw the Baltimore Ravens arriving at PHL for their Preseason Game. What a cool thing to see! I didn't realize it was them until I walked into the Faber book store to buy a lotto ticket and an Amtrak employee said to me "You see the Ravens come in on Stairway one"? My reply was "That's who that was"?
 
G

guest

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I was in the same sleeping car a few months ago with John Amos (the dad from "Good Times" - looks younger now than he did then!), and have personally seen Kirstie Alley and Karen Black on the train...
 

Dovecote

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Burl Ives was in my car on a eastbound Empire Builder back in the 80's. We shared a quick hello at the coffee stand a few times on the way to the Chicago. Meryl Streep sat across from me on a southbound FC Acela to WAS. My wife and I had one five minute conservation with her but otherwise we respected her privacy. On another southbound FC Acela to WAS, U.S. congressman Charles Rangel and former U.S. Senator Sam Nunn were traveling seperately in our car. Both men were very hospitable and I had lengthy conversations with both of them.
 

AlanB

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On another southbound FC Acela to WAS, U.S. congressman Charles Rangel and former U.S. Senator Sam Nunn were traveling seperately in our car. Both men were very hospitable and I had lengthy conversations with both of them.
Didn't see him actually on the train, but I got to meet and shake Mr. Rangel's hand in the NY Club Acela a few months back. I was headed to Boston while he was going south to DC.
 
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Bob Dylan

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May 31, 2009
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Three times I rode on FC Acela with Joe Biden (very nice guy!) when he was a Senator from Delaware! I also saw many media and political types riding between NYP and WAS going back to the Metroliners that preceeded the Acelas!

Havent seen any celebs on LD trains, but have had OBS tell stories about various famous types that rode their trains, mostly in California and the NEC! Did get to see Dan Ackroyds PV on the back of the CS but didnt see him!
 

Shanghai

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Feb 4, 2008
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I saw Chris Wallace in the Washington station on NTD this year.

Anyone care to say who paid the Acela First Class fares for Rangel, Nunn & Biden???

Rangel probably has the government pay for his ticket, then deduct the cost from his

rental income on his villa in the Caribbean, then forgets to include the income for

his personal income taxes!!
 

amamba

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Jun 11, 2008
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Sadly I haven't seen anyone famous on the train yet, but all this talk of congresspeople reminds me of a cute little story that I saw on the anniversary/exhibit train. It was a news article about a gentleman who used to be the ticket agent for the capitol building. I didn't realize that there was such a position, but apparently he handled all of the amtrak ticketing for congress people. Sounded like an interesting job and an interesting man who sadly passed away at a young age.
 

saxman

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I was on the Texas Eagle last year and saw Marcia Gay Hardin eating in the dining car with her family. She was in movies like Flubber and Rails and Ties, and quite a few other movies. I figured she was coming from LAX. Not sure where they were going.
 

leemell

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About five years ago we were taking the California Zephyr from Chicago to Emeryville. At the Denver stop we saw that Linda Lavin (Alice on TV) was on the train, later saw her in the sleeper.
 

Bierboy

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Oct 14, 2008
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On our SWC trip in 07, we had dinner with a gentleman who told us he worked with George Lucas on his special effects team. He was traveling home to visit family in KC...
 

railiner

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One of the most prolific celebrities of all time to ride regularly was former CBS commentator and NFL coach John Madden. From the end of the 1970's and the last of the steam heated trains into the early 1980's with Superliners and HEP fleet, he was a regular rider during the NFL season, and was well know to train crews and passengers.

I had the pleasure of riding the CZ three different occasions with him during the years. Unlike other celebs, who might hibernate in their rooms, he was a terrific people person, and enjoyed mixing with fellow passengers. Indeed, he held court until late night in the lounge car, talking football and imbibing in the product of his biggest sponsor--Miller Lite.

On several occasions, he would lead a group of revelers off the train, and into a nearby bar during service stops such as McCook, Ne., to the amazement and delight of the proprietor and patrons, for a quick one. He became an expert on all things Amtrak, and he knew crew and station personnel everywhere.

Sadly this all ended when he was given a luxury tour-bus motorhome to do his travels in, which he found more efficient to get around in then having to deal with the sparse routings and schedules that Amtrak offered.

One tidbit....He was not afraid of flying, but rather suffered from a severe form of claustophobia that manifested itself when the aircraft took off, and he felt trapped on board. He did fly during the years he coached the Oakland Raiders prior to his CBS job.

S
 

A.J.

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Jul 22, 2010
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a few years ago I was on the LSL and SWC and there were several handsome, friendly older men traveling as a group in my sleeper on both trains. turns out that one of them was Warren G, a rapper and hip hop producer. he was traveling with his friends and coworkers. they were all super friendly and the SCA later told me that he dislikes flying, so they regularly take the train. she also said that she had had dennis quaid in her car before and that he too was friendly and very easygoing.
 

abcnews

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It's my understanding that Harper Lee (Pulitzer author of "To Kill a Mockingbird") lives pretty much in seclusion in Alabama - but perhaps her last "public trip," so to speak, was to accept an award out in Los Angeles. However, at first she declined because she did not want to make the trip to California, so after some discussions, and just determination by the granters of the award in LA - they convinced her to travel to Los Angeles on Amtrak, and they provided for her trip. I assume it was in a bedroom on the Sunset Limited - since the trip took place many years ago.

Imagine meeting Harper Lee on a train - in the dining car.

BTW - My aunt and her husband were friends with Lee in the early 1960s in New York City - back when Harper Lee first moved to NYC. My aunt's husband was originally from AL, and he had attended the University of Alabama with Harper Lee - I think that they were the same age, or in the same class.
 
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spidersfan351

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Aug 1, 2011
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I am not sure they count as celebrities, but a lot of members of Congress use Union Station due to how convenient it is. I worked for a Virginia member, and he would take the Lynchburg train on occasion, and when discussing this with some colleagues learned that a lot of your eastern seaboard members like the reliability of getting into Union Station, which is just a short walk (if your a staff member) or taxi ride to the Capitol. What some do is leave a car at the Capitol (actually, beneath it in a parking garage) and ride in for the week. It also has the benefit of seeming more "everyman like" as opposed to flying from Pittsburg or Raleigh to DC.
 

Anderson

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I had breakfast with Joe Haldeman on the Silver Meteor coming up from Richmond to New York (he was on his way from Florida to DC for a sci-fi writers' convention). The nice thing is that it was a friend of mine, myself, Mr. Haldeman, and Mrs. Haldeman...so we all had a nice, private conversation for about an hour. Turns out he's been a regular on the Florida trains since the 70s and actually did a fair bit of writing en route (he taught up at MIT but he lives in Florida for much of the year). Table 4, car 8531.

(Yes, I know I've mentioned this before...but the question was asked)
 

trainman74

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Apr 7, 2011
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A number of celebrities (of various levels of fame) take the Surfliner between LAX and SAN for the big San Diego Comic-Con in July.
 

jis

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Soon after the introduction of Acelas I once sat next to the CNN anchor Bernard Shaw in Acela FC.

I have also had the pleasure of riding and dining with several relatively high level Amtrak Management folks, and have had some really informative and illuminating conversations with them over breakfast or such. The most recent one was on the Capitol Limited coming back from the OTOL Fest.
 
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tp49

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The Tampa Bay Devil Rays rode Amtrak from NY to Boston last night for their series with the Red Sox this week.
 

JayPea

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Sep 9, 2006
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While not perhaps a celebrity amongst the general population, I had the pleasure of meeting someone who is well-known by Amtrak enthusiasts last year while on a CS trip last summer: Mauris Emeka, author of "AMTRAKing" and "Heart and Soul of the Train". He was selling his latter book while on the CS last year and he was kind enough to autograph the copy I got from him.
 
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