First time long distance passenger on LSL from NYC to CLE

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Peter

Guest
Hi all,

I'll be on the 9/21 (Thursday) Lake Shore Limited train from NYC to Cleveland and I have a few questions. Thanks in advance if you can give me any feedback on these:

  • First and most obvious question: can I expect the seat next to me to be empty on a Thursday departure in late September? I've never taken Amtrak outside of the NEC so I have no idea what to expect in terms of passenger loads.
  • Are seats really assigned by the conductor when you board? Do you have any say in the matter?
  • How often is the train delayed and is it ever early? Because I'm arriving at 3:27am, I'm hoping to get some shut eye between 9pm and 3am, but this is obviously contingent on the train not being early.
  • Is there power at every seat on the LSL? I've read conflicting reports on this.
  • Bags: I have one airline-sized carry-on. Would this be stowed above the seat like Northeast Regional trains or are these trains double decker with some other arrangement?
  • Seats: I'm looking at some pictures of the Amfleet II seats and some appear to not have an armrest between the two seats? Is this normal? There does seem to be quite a bit of recline though.

Thanks for the help!
 

AmtrakBlue

Conductor
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May 6, 2011
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11,728
Boarding at NYC you'll most likely only be assigned a car in which you can select your own seat.

The seats do not have armrests. They do recline and have leg rests. More legroom than the NEC trains.

There should be power outlets at all seats.

The LSL is single level and your bag will fit overhead.

You can check the OTP here:

https://juckins.net/amtrak_status/archive/html/home.php
 
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caravanman

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3,669
You may be lucky to get two seats to yourself, but may well have to share later with passengers needing seats who are boarding down the line.

Even if a train arrives early (not very realistic...) it won't depart Cleveland before published time. You will be woken in good time anyway by the conductor.

Sounds as if your trip is already booked? If not, you may like to consider booking as far as Albany. The LSL adds a business class coach here which has come from Boston. You can then book the business class seat Albany to Cleveland. This offers 1+2 seating layout. The single seats get taken first, but you might be lucky, and the 2 side by side have a little more space between them, with proper fixed armrests. The drawback to the 2 side by side is that you can't sprawl across both, like you can on the regular coach seats!

Ed.
 

Lonestar648

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The LSL is a busy train most of the year so it is more likely than not that you will have someone in the seat next to you. Your bag will fit in the overhead above your seat which will not be a problem since you are boarding at NYP. Conductors try to group passengers into specific cars by stop (i.e. everyone going all the way to Chicago would be together, everyone getting off in the middle of the night, etc.) doesnt always work out but they try, makes it easier to get passengers on and off. Under the window is an outlet to be shared by both seats. The Train's PA will be used until 10AM so getting sleep may be difficult. I suggest a sleep mask and ear plugs to block out annoying distractions like bright screens or talking passengers.
 

CCC1007

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Jan 2, 2015
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1,719
The LSL is a busy train most of the year so it is more likely than not that you will have someone in the seat next to you. Your bag will fit in the overhead above your seat which will not be a problem since you are boarding at NYP. Conductors try to group passengers into specific cars by stop (i.e. everyone going all the way to Chicago would be together, everyone getting off in the middle of the night, etc.) doesnt always work out but they try, makes it easier to get passengers on and off. Under the window is an outlet to be shared by both seats. The Train's PA will be used until 10AM so getting sleep may be difficult. I suggest a sleep mask and ear plugs to block out annoying distractions like bright screens or talking passengers.
Did you mean 10PM?
 

Devil's Advocate

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May 24, 2010
Messages
11,428
First and most obvious question: can I expect the seat next to me to be empty on a Thursday departure in late September?
I'd advise against "expecting" to be seated alone in Amtrak coach. Sometimes it happens and sometimes it doesn't but if you need to be seated by yourself Amtrak coach comes with no guarantees. Even if you buy two coach tickets the Amtrak booking system can invalidate the second ticket and Amtrak staff can simply ignore your second paid ticket and put people next you anyway.

Are seats really assigned by the conductor when you board? Do you have any say in the matter?
Cars on LD trains will generally be assigned by the conductor. Seats will sometimes be assigned by the conductor or car attendant. Other times you'll be allowed to pick from among the available seats. So far as I am aware there is no method for finding this out prior to boarding time.

How often is the train delayed and is it ever early? Because I'm arriving at 3:27am, I'm hoping to get some shut eye between 9pm and 3am, but this is obviously contingent on the train not being early.
I've had trains that ran up to an hour early, even excepting daylight savings time, but that's extremely rare in my experience. Most of the time they're either on time or slightly late. Occasionally they're extremely late.

Is there power at every seat on the LSL? I've read conflicting reports on this.
It's been several years since I heard of any mainline LD coach seats that didn't have power ports installed. However, they can still fail and become inoperable or be taken up by a selfish neighbor.

Seats: I'm looking at some pictures of the Amfleet II seats and some appear to not have an armrest between the two seats? Is this normal? There does seem to be quite a bit of recline though.
Amtrak doesn't seem to value armrests (or any other divider) for single coach passengers on LD trains. As a result you may end up sleeping with a stranger instead of next to them.
 
P

Peter

Guest
Thanks for all the feedback, everyone.

You may be lucky to get two seats to yourself, but may well have to share later with passengers needing seats who are boarding down the line.

Even if a train arrives early (not very realistic...) it won't depart Cleveland before published time. You will be woken in good time anyway by the conductor.

Sounds as if your trip is already booked? If not, you may like to consider booking as far as Albany. The LSL adds a business class coach here which has come from Boston. You can then book the business class seat Albany to Cleveland. This offers 1+2 seating layout. The single seats get taken first, but you might be lucky, and the 2 side by side have a little more space between them, with proper fixed armrests. The drawback to the 2 side by side is that you can't sprawl across both, like you can on the regular coach seats!

Ed.
Regarding the business class seat from Albany, I'm actually gonna do that. It's like $60 more but the reason I'm taking the train is that I have a big eVoucher from a previously cancelled business trip that's expiring.

A few threads on this forum suggests that business class on LSL is pretty empty, in part due to it not being available from NYC and being hidden behind the arrows for the room options when it is available. I know I won't be getting on from the origin station, but it's worth a shot.

I looked at the on time performance data and in the past three years, the train has never arrived more than 20 minutes early, with most of the recent trips arriving way late, so I should be good to go. I'll stay updated on the OTP tracker as my trip approaches.

Thanks again for all the feedback!
 
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