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Shortline

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7079D3E9-9427-4DA4-AAF4-D3BC2CFF5510.jpeg 2D288ED5-1098-416A-9E34-167265BFDA3C.jpeg Haven’t done a trip report in some time, thought I might do it this time just because. I’m a regular LD traveler, this trip will already be my 4th overnight trip this year-already work has taken me BHM-WAS, CHI-WAS-BHM, CHI-NOL-BHM. I usually average 4-6 trips a year-obviously going to exceed that this year.

Have a meeting in LA Tuesday and Wed, decided to take the Chief CHI-LA. Returning on the Texas Eagle, LAX-DAL.

Unfortunately, I live in Birmingham.....and just didn’t have the time to kill to add two nights to the trip to train all the way. So, bright and early this morning I boarded an AA commuter flight to Chicago.

I’m usually a Southwest flier, but had some AA FF miles to burn and they had a web special, only 5000 miles for the trip. Can’t beat that! Security at Birmingham was backed up a bit, looked like about a 15-20 min wait to get through. Being a VERY frequent flier, I have both TSA Precheck, and Clear. No line, walk up, scan pass, cut to the front, throw bag on scanner, walk through the metal detector and done. 1:38 seconds. If you travel regularly.....it’s worth the price!

So now about to take off from Birmingham, on an E-145 jet. Some don’t like them, because they’re small. But if I’m checking my bags anyway I actually like them, due to the 2-1 seating. I’m on the 1 side but wouldn’t have mattered, plane is only about 1/4 full anyway, open seats everywhere. I only really dislike the small planes because I usually just have a carry on, and a regular rollablard just won’t fit, so it takes extra time to gate check and pick up. Being a longer trip, I had to check a full suitcase anyway, so it’s not a problem. I actually find these tiniest of planes to be just fine, so should be a quick, comfortable 1:45 to Chicago.

I’ll add more, and just update this thread from Chicago later today!
 
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Shortline

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D3E11603-E3BC-43BF-9027-A03F20AB398B.jpeg Got in a few minutes early to OHare, bags came out reasonably quick, and now on the way downtown on the blue line. I really wish more cities had regular, frequent, inexpensive safe transit. While the El isn’t exactly comfortable, it’s probably quicker to downtown than by car.
Blue line to Clinton.
 

Shortline

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And of course, what does one do, with 4 hours to kill, at lunch time? Giordanos! I know it’s not the absolute be all end all of deep dish. But it is close enough to walk to easily. Even when it’s a bit.....brisk outside. A20445C6-3E2F-4FBD-8E73-6EFA67B7BFB4.jpeg
 

Rail Freak

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1st time I've laid eyes on a Deep Dish Pizza (?????)! Is that a serving for one person? What all is in it? Can't believe that I'm approaching 70 & I've never had one, but that will change on my next train trip thru Chi Town!!!
 

Shortline

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1st time I've laid eyes on a Deep Dish Pizza (?????)! Is that a serving for one person? What all is in it? Can't believe that I'm approaching 70 & I've never had one, but that will change on my next train trip thru Chi Town!!!
What????
Yes this is the personal size. And believe me it’s more than enough! It had sausage, green peppers, onions, and Giardiniara peppers. It’s just across the river from Union Station, so it’s my go-to afternoon killer-it takes 45 minutes to cook. If I’m going to wait around, might as well have good food and a few beers too!

Just got back to the Metro Lounge, man what an improvement over what it used to be. Assume we’ll be boarding in about 30 or 40 minutes.
 

Shortline

Conductor
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Yes, the Western Trains still have a full dining car. I’ve been on Eastern trains for the last 8-9 trips, so looking forward to seeing how it is now, if anything has changed. Will blog about that later tonight!


Boarding was called at 2:15, on board and getting settled in. For multi night trips I greatly prefer a bedroom, but this time was cost prohibitive, so I took the next best thing, the Family Bedroom. Plus, kinda like having windows on both sides of the train, and the quiet that comes (usually) from the lower level.

I know some will consider that selfish....but when a bedroom is something like $850 more......and room 15 was nearly on par with the roomette cost....well, I’m on to relax, and get work done. Easier with all this space. If it had been even close, I would have chosen the bedroom for the in room shower. (Return, will be in a Roomette, both the Bedrooms and Family Bedrooms we’re already sold out)

Edit to add-didn’t notice it in the dark of the station, but when we got out into the light-man, these windows are filthy. Wish I had cleaned one side before we left Chicago. Guess I’ll have to take care of that at Galesburg...


So, 20 minutes to departure, and ready to go to LA! 6EB2EC88-09DF-4C80-93A6-50549A5D1774.jpeg3AFAC6C2-1125-4ABA-97FC-5132D272EF03.jpeg58F38D8A-62D5-41E2-878F-34CB2E43681C.jpeg8B4CD9F0-962C-4A6F-83E7-7F1C649AAFED.jpeg1A3B8B74-ED65-46B2-9DA4-887362BD8F68.jpeg
 
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anumberone

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1st time I've laid eyes on a Deep Dish Pizza (?????)! Is that a serving for one person? What all is in it? Can't believe that I'm approaching 70 & I've never had one, but that will change on my next train trip thru Chi Town!!!
I've only seen the DDP in print myself. I'm also wondering what's going on in there.
 

printman2000

Conductor
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Nov 9, 2005
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Couple of times, I have ordered a deep dish from there while still on the train coming into Chicago. Time it so there is enough time for us to arrive and then walk to Giordanos and pick up and take back. Course, the last time I did that was in the old first class lounge when they did not forbid outside food.
 

Shortline

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Mar 13, 2011
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E941BA83-DD9F-4A3B-845A-90AE22A87A47.jpeg 035954FB-AE11-4A31-A4A4-FD02B4EF99CE.jpeg 5F346AC3-BDDF-40BC-B2CE-8EF6BAA170F7.jpeg 88EED299-CA2A-43BA-B0D2-ACF1A4D2C413.jpeg 565EF6BA-39E0-4222-B614-E50792265D0A.jpeg Enjoyed the afternoon and evening. Took a walk through the train, only two coaches but they were pretty close to full. And saw a reason why I don’t travel on Long Distance coach much.....seems some people just have no sense of class whatsoever.......I’m sure they’re in sleeper too, but at least I’m behind a door and can’t see it....

Enjoyed the evening, other than my own error, in bringing a bottle of wine, but not a corkscrew-that’s on me.....And I have to say, being all alone in the Family bedroom is fantastic, it’s palatial compared to a roomette.

Dinner was as it has been, service was pretty good really. Compared to dinner on the Crescent a few weeks ago, it was absolutely gourmet.

Returned after dinner to find my room made up. And surprise-the blanket was already on it, not in a bag. Go figure.....the only thing Amtrak is consistent at, is inconsistency. But it was appreciated.

Slept great through Kansas, and woke up to a sunny morning in Colorado, to the clickety-clack of jointed Rail. But for how long? I noticed a welded rail train in a siding, looks like some of the jointer rail anyway, is going to be replaced. Probably for the best, this is a fairly rough stretch.

There is not much out here.....and I like it. Flat, open western ground, I miss it a bit. We’ve only lived in Alabama going on 3 years, and while we do love it there, I do miss living out West a bit. We’re from Oklahoma, so was a bit nostalgic to be in this particular sleeper!

Enjoyed watching the mule deer run from the train during breakfast, huge compared to the little white tails we have down south.

Breakfast was good too, I noticed a few little changes-the croissant now is different, not as flaky as they used to be. Almost more of a roll, but it was ok. And it came heated, which was an improvement over how I’ve had them before. And the omelette now has onions and peppers, in addition to the cheese-much better than the “vegetable medley” they used to have as an option so that was cool.

Now just settling in for a long day of reading, I have some new regulatory NPRM’s to sort through, a presentation to finalize, and a few other things. But I have all the time in the world to do it. And who knows, maybe I will have time in ABQ to find a corkscrew!
 

Tom Booth

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View attachment 16653 View attachment 16654 View attachment 16655 View attachment 16656 View attachment 16657 Enjoyed the afternoon and evening. Took a walk through the train, only two coaches but they were pretty close to full. And saw a reason why I don’t travel on Long Distance coach much.....seems some people just have no sense of class whatsoever.......I’m sure they’re in sleeper too, but at least I’m behind a door and can’t see it....


Enjoyed the evening, other than my own error, in bringing a bottle of wine, but not a corkscrew-that’s on me.....And I have to say, being all alone in the Family bedroom is fantastic, it’s palatial compared to a roomette.

Dinner was as it has been, service was pretty good really. Compared to dinner on the Crescent a few weeks ago, it was absolutely gourmet.

Returned after dinner to find my room made up. And surprise-the blanket was already on it, not in a bag. Go figure.....the only thing Amtrak is consistent at, is inconsistency. But it was appreciated.

Slept great through Kansas, and woke up to a sunny morning in Colorado, to the clickety-clack of jointed Rail. But for how long? I noticed a welded rail train in a siding, looks like some of the jointer rail anyway, is going to be replaced. Probably for the best, this is a fairly rough stretch.

There is not much out here.....and I like it. Flat, open western ground, I miss it a bit. We’ve only lived in Alabama going on 3 years, and while we do love it there, I do miss living out West a bit. We’re from Oklahoma, so was a bit nostalgic to be in this particular sleeper!

Enjoyed watching the mule deer run from the train during breakfast, huge compared to the little white tails we have down south.

Breakfast was good too, I noticed a few little changes-the croissant now is different, not as flaky as they used to be. Almost more of a roll, but it was ok. And it came heated, which was an improvement over how I’ve had them before. And the omelette now has onions and peppers, in addition to the cheese-much better than the “vegetable medley” they used to have as an option so that was cool.

Now just settling in for a long day of reading, I have some new regulatory NPRM’s to sort through, a presentation to finalize, and a few other things. But I have all the time in the world to do it. And who knows, maybe I will have time in ABQ to find a corkscrew!
There's a great little market on 3rd and Silver St - one block (north I think, 2 minute walk) from the front of the ABQ train station. They have food and other things - I'm sure they have a wine opener.
 

OBS

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Ask your attendant or a dining car crewmember to get your wine opened....I'm sure you could get someone to $$$ help....
 

Shortline

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F4381988-7983-4005-952C-FA16FD3F4873.jpeg A3510C8F-D669-4195-8727-FB6D4AC2FAF8.jpeg DFA330B4-3317-42FA-BC13-A7D9D8820BC5.jpeg Was a pleasant day, for some work done. Had to work downstairs in the lounge the upper area power outlets were not working on the non-sun side. The whole train seems to be made up of the older un-refurbished cars. All are a little tired. And the bathrooms are the old style. I prefer greatly, the newer style with the sink in the corner, and toilet in the corner. Much more room, and the old shower with the curtain isn’t as nice as the newer style with the glass door. But it’s passable anyway.

Finally got around to trying the mussels for lunch. Always been skeptical of seafood on the train, but they were actually very good!

Dining car, cafe car and sleeping attendant have been great overall, which is a change from what I’ve become used to in the East. They’ve even been announcing super bowl info. Personally, I don’t care much, but I’m sure some on here do, so that’s nice.

Overall it’s been great, and a great day of relaxation, and still managed to get some work done, which is how I justify these trips to begin with.

Rectified my corkscrew situation in ABQ, plenty of time to walk over to the little grocery store nearby, bought some cheese and crackers, a bottle of Prosecco, and a corkscrew for my red wine. There was an older lady in the H room, who was asking the attendant if she would go in the station and see if she could buy her some deamamine....She wasn’t sure she could, so I picked that up as well. Hope she’s feeling better.

I gotta say, I know the Family room really should be for families, but man, it’s a great place to spend a few days. I still would prefer a bedroom, with in room facilities, but down here it’s SO quiet. Can’t hear through the partitions like you can upstairs, and everything everyone does in their in-room toilet....gotta say, this may be the best kept secret.

In any event, entering the last night of the trip, enjoying the en-suite cheese and crackers and wine, before dinner, watching the sun go down over the desert.
 

willem

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Aug 17, 2014
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1,000
[...] the old first class lounge when they did not forbid outside food.
On two visits in the last three months, the Chicago lounge attendants have told me that outside food is allowed in the new Metropolitan Lounge.
 
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printman2000

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Nov 9, 2005
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On two visits in the last three months, the Chicago lounge attendants have told me that outside food is allowed in the new Metropolitan Lounge.
Well that would be a change from a few years ago right after it opened. Would be good to hear if others have also experienced that as well. That would sure be awesome.
 

Shortline

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Mar 13, 2011
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Meh. I did anyway. Just walk in like a boss. They only seem to prey on the weak! Lol

Dinner on board was good. Service was much better than I’m used to. I do wish I could get the Burger or Chikiquiles for dinner, but it is what it is. Back in the room, enjoying the remaining wine, room was again made up while I was gone, blanket included. SCA is a young woman named Mary, she’s done good. I think I’ve seen her more this trip, than the last 7 SCA’s I’ve had combined. Been on time, or close to it most of the way, overall, it’s been exactly the unplug time I’ve needed. Will probably skip breakfast in the AM, and just get up when she kicks me out to turn over the room for arival in LA. Then do some work out here, before heading back on Wed on the Texas Eagle.
 
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MARC Rider

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Apr 5, 2011
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On two visits in the last three months, the Chicago lounge attendants have told me that outside food is allowed in the new Metropolitan Lounge.
I certainly hope it is. I brought my lunch in and ate it while I was waiting for my Texas Eagle ride to the Gathering. Nobody bothered me, so I figured it was OK.
 

Dakota 400

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Mar 5, 2014
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Your Post #15 during your review showing the view through your window of the sitting Sun is a great one. Thanks for your review. I enjoyed reading it.
 

anumberone

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Quote
" seems some people just have no sense of class whatsoever."....
Yeah, that coach scene was rude. Thankfully you were just passing through.
 

dogbert617

OBS Chief
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Aug 19, 2016
Messages
790
There's a great little market on 3rd and Silver St - one block (north I think, 2 minute walk) from the front of the ABQ train station. They have food and other things - I'm sure they have a wine opener.
In the future, I'm thinking about doing a SW Chief Amtrak trip. Will keep that market in mind for a brief walk over to, if I am traveling west of ABQ during the long smoke break there.

And as for your report Shortline, I'm loving reading this trip report so far! Looking forward to hearing more about this trip, soon.
 
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Palmland

OBS Chief
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May 25, 2006
Messages
758
Excellent report, Shortline. We’ve only had one trip in the Family room and agree it’s a good alternative to a bedroom especially if the price is right as you encountered.

Liked having the two windows but wished they were larger. Unfortunately being able to have windows on both sides won’t be possible if Amtrak goes to all single level cars. Didn’t really miss the bathroom as the shower was so close and nicer than in a bedroom. Also enjoyed being able to easily hop off at station stops.
 

crescent-zephyr

Conductor
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Oct 21, 2015
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Quote
" seems some people just have no sense of class whatsoever."....
Yeah, that coach scene was rude. Thankfully you were just passing through.
In an online trip report I saw a similar scene in the Park car on the Canadian. You can't escape it these days.
 

IndyLions

Service Attendant
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Nov 6, 2016
Messages
223
On two visits in the last three months, the Chicago lounge attendants have told me that outside food is allowed in the new Metropolitan Lounge.
The policy on outside food in the new Metropolitan Lounge changed when the other lounge closed.

Can’t remember what they called that other lounge, but it was the one where you could pay $20 to use it - it wasn’t tied to Sleeper or Business Class. That lounge always allowed outside food.
 
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