I have never been on an Amtrak train where there were any time limits imposed. As the previous response indicates I have heard of conductors imposing some time limits, especially on the CZ but I have never experienced it even in my travels on the CZ.Question not asked/answered - Any TIME limits on sitting in the SSL ? If so how long ? Who monitors it ?
The above answers are correct. I'd only add that the upper level of the Sightseer Lounge is open to anyone on the train, at any time. The lower level is reserved for people who are consuming purchased food or beverages.
Here are some photos of the SSL. Half of the upstairs is configured as tables (games & family snacks, bring-your-own food OK) and half is configured as couches and chairs, facing the windows for sightseeing. Note these are from two different trips, one was before Covid, one last winter when masks were required. In summer, most every seat will be full and you may have to check back later to find space for the family to sit together.
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I know you will ahve a wonderful family trip, and I hope you report back afterwards and let us know the high points (and the low ones).
Hope you have a great trip. Take advantage of the smoke stops to step outside for a bit. Take plenty of snacks and some water. A sleep mask is recommended. North Dakota and eastern Montana are good places to take a nap so you will be awake and alert by the time you reach Glacier Park late in the afternoon. Look forward to your report.Thank you, I'll be sure to report back with a rundown of the journey!
The Words " Lounge Lizards" and "Seat Hogs" come to mind.I just left the California Zephyr yesterday after riding from Chicago to Emeryville. The observation car was very fill for extended periods during the most scenic parts of the journey. After about 2 hours climbing the Rockys out of Denver, the Conductor asked anyone who had been sitting there from Denver to please leave so others could enjoy the views for a while. I was in my roomette ate the time, so I do not know how well the request worked. Ever time I tried to find a seat during Colorado, the place was full.
Lounge lizards and parlor seat hogs as you mentioned are my only form of frustration while traveling on LD trains. It’s just the look of entitlement when they park their ass in a seat for the day.The Words " Lounge Lizards" and "Seat Hogs" come to mind.
Everytime I've been on the Zephyr there have been people who seemed to Live in the Lounge, and most of the Conductors do make the announcements about sharing the Seats in the Lounge.
When the PPCs were on the Starlight, the same thing happened with the nice Swivel Chairs in that Car.
I’m thinking a parking meter. But whatever it takes.Maybe if Amtrak didn't make the seating so comfortable it would discourage the practice and putting drink holders
and other perks with the seating arrangement is not helpful.
Prime time for the SSL would be in passing notable sites - that would be a tough time to enforce sharing.
Perhaps a surcharge (fee) for use of the SSL might be a way - with a limit to how many tickets are sold - - -
But then again that lower level snack bar area poses an access problem when the upper would have restrictions.
Amtrak has designed a NO-WIN solution to their popular SSL concept.
In a sense the SSL is a non-revenue car excepting the snack bar !
I was on Car #2730 last week. It was the last car. However, they used a track that goes through the station. As a result we were first to board and boarded just adjacent to to the concourse. (easy-peasy!)I'm going to be in car 2730 on the Empire Builder, as I am walking out of Chicago station to the tracks will this car be the first car or the last car? Wondering if I will need the Red Cap service.
Or look at it as these tracks are closest to the Chicago River - - -2730 is the last car. They almost always board the Builder from the north side concourse on track 19 (the north side version of the through track). If they do, 2730 will be the first car you reach on the platform.
Very occasionally they will board from the south side's version of the through track, track 30. It does happen, it happened to me once. In that case, it will be the very last car.
Chances of it boarding from Track 19 are probably over 90%, though.
Note that the through track (19 north, 30 south) is the furthest track east and the farthest from the Metropolitan Lounge.
Usually both arrives and departs on Track 19, the designation the through track has on the north side. They seldom pull through to the south side, where the through track becomes Track 30, to unload.Or look at it as these tracks are closest to the Chicago River - - -
When EB #8 arrives usually on that Track 30 - end of the train short walk - front long walk
All the other tracks at Chicago Station are dead-ended.
You may also want to be sure you have some foam ear plugs or noise cancelling ear buds with you just in case small humans lose their cool.Hope you have a great trip. Take advantage of the smoke stops to step outside for a bit. Take plenty of snacks and some water. A sleep mask is recommended. North Dakota and eastern Montana are good places to take a nap so you will be awake and alert by the time you reach Glacier Park late in the afternoon. Look forward to your report.
The scenic highlights are the Mississippi, Glacier Park and the run along the Columbia River in the morning before arriving in Portland.
Might add avoid the front - rear of the car with the doors opening/closing and being a drafty noisy location - also restroom !You may also want to be sure you have some foam ear plugs or noise cancelling ear buds with you just in case small humans lose their cool.
Also, make sure you have a blankie with you as the cars can get chilly especially at night.
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