Quantcast

Great Dome 2018 Schedule

Help Support Amtrak Unlimited Discussion Forum:

Maverickstation

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Mar 2, 2017
Messages
265
Location
Boston, MA (Eastie)
A few notes on setting expectations for the Great Dome on the select Downeaster trains.

First and foremost having the Great Dome on the trains indicated is NOT a guarantee, tickets are NOT sold for the

dome car and it is subject to change or cancellation.

After boarding, choose seats in the coach that is right before the dome.

After the dome is open (usually after the Anderson TC stop), you'll have the first crack at it.

For some great views sit on the right hand side (facing the front of the train) , there are great views of the sea from just before the Old Orchard Beach station.

The idea of the dome car is to rotate in and out so everyone who wants a chance to experience it can.

Please abide by this, and don't be the jerk that winds up being asked to move.

​Downeaster trains are very popular, in particular on weekends.

Lastly take advantage of the Dome while it is still running.

It is well maintained, but it is old.

Ken
 

cpotisch

Conductor
Joined
Sep 2, 2017
Messages
7,511
Location
Brooklyn, NY
A couple questions, since I'm going to be in Ocean View for the first time next week, though we're trying to figure out which train we should take. 687 leaves Boston at 6:15 PM and arrives in Portland at 8:50 PM. Will we realistically be able to see the sun set? And after the sun is down, will we still be able to enjoy the scenery, or will it likely be too dark to do so. I usually like looking out the window as we speed through towns at night, but that might be a bit "wasteful" in a 360º dome car. Also, do they serve snacks out of Ocean View or out of the plain old Amfleet cafe? Thanks!
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Maverickstation

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Mar 2, 2017
Messages
265
Location
Boston, MA (Eastie)
A couple questions, since I'm going to be in Ocean View for the first time next week, though we're trying to figure out which train we should take. 687 leaves Boston at 6:15 PM and arrives in Portland at 8:50 PM. Will we realistically be able to see the sun set? And after the sun is down, will we still be able to enjoy the scenery, or will it likely be too dark to do so. I usually like looking out the window as we speed through towns at night, but that might be a bit "wasteful" in a 360º dome car. Also, do they serve snacks out of Ocean View or out of the plain old Amfleet cafe? Thanks!
Leaving Boston at 6:15 PM in mid-August you should able to catch the sunset (provided it is not a cloudy day), around 7:50, it will be dark by the time you reach Portland.

As for snack service, the lower level of the dome may be open (based on ridership levels), but the Cafe Car on this train is a cut above the norm

The Downeaster trains are managed and paid for by the Northern New England Rail Passenger Authority, and that includes how the cafe cars are stocked.

http://amtrakdowneaster.com/themes/contrib/client_theme/images/cafe/downeaster-cafe-menu.pdf

Ken
 

Bob Dylan

Conductor
Joined
May 31, 2009
Messages
20,654
Location
Austin Texas
And the food and drinks ( Coke! )served are Much Better than the Regular Amtrak junk food! On a par with the Surfliners in California!
 

cpotisch

Conductor
Joined
Sep 2, 2017
Messages
7,511
Location
Brooklyn, NY
A couple questions, since I'm going to be in Ocean View for the first time next week, though we're trying to figure out which train we should take. 687 leaves Boston at 6:15 PM and arrives in Portland at 8:50 PM. Will we realistically be able to see the sun set? And after the sun is down, will we still be able to enjoy the scenery, or will it likely be too dark to do so. I usually like looking out the window as we speed through towns at night, but that might be a bit "wasteful" in a 360º dome car. Also, do they serve snacks out of Ocean View or out of the plain old Amfleet cafe? Thanks!
Leaving Boston at 6:15 PM in mid-August you should able to catch the sunset (provided it is not a cloudy day), around 7:50, it will be dark by the time you reach Portland.

As for snack service, the lower level of the dome may be open (based on ridership levels), but the Cafe Car on this train is a cut above the norm

The Downeaster trains are managed and paid for by the Northern New England Rail Passenger Authority, and that includes how the cafe cars are stocked.

http://amtrakdowneaster.com/themes/contrib/client_theme/images/cafe/downeaster-cafe-menu.pdf

Ken
Thanks. I have yet to take the Downeaster, but I am looking forward to the special locally sourced offerings in the cafe car. Unfortunately, it looks like we'll have to do all this Labor day weekend, instead of next weekend, which will push the sunset to about 7:13 PM unfortunately. It's pretty hard to justify choosing to ride a Great Dome when most of the trip will be done in the dark.
 

Bob Dylan

Conductor
Joined
May 31, 2009
Messages
20,654
Location
Austin Texas
Suggest you spend the night in Portland (a great little SeaPort) and return in Daylight on a Dome equipped Train?
 

cpotisch

Conductor
Joined
Sep 2, 2017
Messages
7,511
Location
Brooklyn, NY
If I travel on the Thursday and Friday right before Labor Day weekend, should I expect it to get busy? And is Labor Day itself usually more or less busy than the Saturday or Sunday?
 

Maverickstation

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Mar 2, 2017
Messages
265
Location
Boston, MA (Eastie)
If I travel on the Thursday and Friday right before Labor Day weekend, should I expect it to get busy? And is Labor Day itself usually more or less busy than the Saturday or Sunday?
Maine bound will be heavy on Thursday and Friday.

Boston bound Sunday and Monday.

Saturday would be the lightest, but still quite busy.

Ken
 

cpotisch

Conductor
Joined
Sep 2, 2017
Messages
7,511
Location
Brooklyn, NY
If I travel on the Thursday and Friday right before Labor Day weekend, should I expect it to get busy? And is Labor Day itself usually more or less busy than the Saturday or Sunday?
Maine bound will be heavy on Thursday and Friday.

Boston bound Sunday and Monday.

Saturday would be the lightest, but still quite busy.

Ken
Arghh. We're either doing it Thursday and Friday or Sunday and Monday. Almost certainly can't do it Saturday.
 

railiner

Conductor
Joined
Mar 20, 2009
Messages
8,364
Location
Palm Beach County
The only thing I disliked about the Skyline car, when I had a chance to ride it on the Jonquiere train, was the car was configured with the stairway forward, as seen in that photo.

A small matter, but I liked riding in those cars with the stairway in the rear....
 

Maverickstation

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Mar 2, 2017
Messages
265
Location
Boston, MA (Eastie)
The only thing I disliked about the Skyline car, when I had a chance to ride it on the Jonquiere train, was the car was configured with the stairway forward, as seen in that photo.

A small matter, but I liked riding in those cars with the stairway in the rear....
A small matter, but the picture you see is of the Park Car on the end of The Ocean, not a Sky Line Car.

This train did have a Sky Line Car 2 back from the end, to allow for extra dome seating since the train was running with closets 23 cars, 10 of which were sleepers.

Ken
 

OBS

Conductor
AU Supporter
Joined
Nov 9, 2011
Messages
1,597
Location
Long Island, NY
The only thing I disliked about the Skyline car, when I had a chance to ride it on the Jonquiere train, was the car was configured with the stairway forward, as seen in that photo.

A small matter, but I liked riding in those cars with the stairway in the rear....
Why the preference?
 

Seaboard92

Conductor
Joined
Dec 31, 2014
Messages
3,762
Location
South Carolina
The only thing I disliked about the Skyline car, when I had a chance to ride it on the Jonquiere train, was the car was configured with the stairway forward, as seen in that photo.

A small matter, but I liked riding in those cars with the stairway in the rear....
Why the preference?
I can't answer for him. But if I was making a bet it's because at night time people riding in the dome can see better if the stairs are rearward. As less light from the main level would be coming up.
 

railiner

Conductor
Joined
Mar 20, 2009
Messages
8,364
Location
Palm Beach County
The only thing I disliked about the Skyline car, when I had a chance to ride it on the Jonquiere train, was the car was configured with the stairway forward, as seen in that photo.

A small matter, but I liked riding in those cars with the stairway in the rear....
A small matter, but the picture you see is of the Park Car on the end of The Ocean, not a Sky Line Car.

This train did have a Sky Line Car 2 back from the end, to allow for extra dome seating since the train was running with closets 23 cars, 10 of which were sleepers.

Ken
Sorry....it looks the same as the Skyline I rode from your photo.
 

railiner

Conductor
Joined
Mar 20, 2009
Messages
8,364
Location
Palm Beach County
The only thing I disliked about the Skyline car, when I had a chance to ride it on the Jonquiere train, was the car was configured with the stairway forward, as seen in that photo.

A small matter, but I liked riding in those cars with the stairway in the rear....
Why the preference?
I can't answer for him. But if I was making a bet it's because at night time people riding in the dome can see better if the stairs are rearward. As less light from the main level would be coming up.
That...and also because of the distraction of people coming and going.
 

OBS

Conductor
AU Supporter
Joined
Nov 9, 2011
Messages
1,597
Location
Long Island, NY
The only thing I disliked about the Skyline car, when I had a chance to ride it on the Jonquiere train, was the car was configured with the stairway forward, as seen in that photo.

A small matter, but I liked riding in those cars with the stairway in the rear....
Why the preference?
I can't answer for him. But if I was making a bet it's because at night time people riding in the dome can see better if the stairs are rearward. As less light from the main level would be coming up.
That...and also because of the distraction of people coming and going.
Thanks...
 

cpotisch

Conductor
Joined
Sep 2, 2017
Messages
7,511
Location
Brooklyn, NY
So we're currently down to the following options:

Option 1:

Saturday, 9/1

691 BON-POR

9:45 AM - 12:15 PM

Sunday, 9/2

692 POR-BON

8:20 AM - 10:50 PM

Option 2:

Saturday, 9/1

691 BON-POR

9:45 AM - 12:15 PM

Sunday, 9/2

696 POR-BON

3:30 PM - 6:00 PM

Option 3:


Monday, 9/3

681 BON-POR

9:05 AM - 1:35 AM

Tuesday, 9/4

686 POR-BON

2:20 PM - 4:50 PM

What do you guys think? Are any of those combinations going to be better regarding crowding, scenery, etc?
 

Palmetto

Conductor
AU Supporter
Joined
May 12, 2014
Messages
2,065
Location
Miami
I grew up near the Downeaster route. The scenery along it is singularly blah, except when the leaves are changing colors--which they are not when the dome is scheduled to run. So, for those who get a kick out of riding the dome, great; enjoy! But aside from crossing the Merrimack River between Bradford and Haverhill, MA, and a brief, but speedy run through the Scarborough Marsh, the lack of scenery is noteworthy.
 

Bierboy

OBS Chief
Joined
Oct 14, 2008
Messages
550
Location
Fishers, Indiana
...Superliner Sightseer Lounges.
The SSLs are such a poor excuse for a dome car. Absolutely no comparison. I really miss the Vista Domes of the Northern Pacific...
They’re worse than a proper dome but they’re better than any other non-dome lounge out there. And considering how y’all Superliners already are, a full 360 dome in a Superliner consist would have to be absolutely massive. My point is, considering what they had to work with. SSLs do the job pretty well.
I certainly understand the present-day limitations the original dome cars would have. But my observation (no pun intended) still stands -- there is nothing like the original dome cars for a beautiful, nearly unlimited view/
Then you best head up to Canada, where they still use them on some trains...I did a couple of month's ago just for that purpose when they ran one on the Jonquiere train...

They are still regular on the Canadian and the Ocean...not sure about the Prince Rupert train...
Excellent suggestion. We just booked a five-night trip to the SW from IND for next spring. Canada should be next on our itinerary...
 

cpotisch

Conductor
Joined
Sep 2, 2017
Messages
7,511
Location
Brooklyn, NY
I grew up near the Downeaster route. The scenery along it is singularly blah, except when the leaves are changing colors--which they are not when the dome is scheduled to run. So, for those who get a kick out of riding the dome, great; enjoy! But aside from crossing the Merrimack River between Bradford and Haverhill, MA, and a brief, but speedy run through the Scarborough Marsh, the lack of scenery is noteworthy.
Fair enough. However from what I've heard, riding a true dome car is enjoyable through pretty much any scenery. For me, it's much more to ride Ocean View and have fun in Maine than to ride the Downeaster itself.
 
Last edited by a moderator:
Top