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Have You Made a Lifelong Friend on Amtrak?

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oregon pioneer

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This was posted on another thread, and I thought it was so wonderful it had to be its own thread!
Here's a topic I haven't seen much of on this forum... when lifelong friendships are made on the train!

It's certainly not beyond reality that truly wonderful things happen during a train journey. We meet people and promise to keep in touch but most times that never materializes. We get off the train and move on... forgoing many opportunities to maintain contact and build long lasting friendships. So this may actually be an unusual story...


Was on the SW Chief heading to LA and upon walking past the first bedroom the door was open... and I said a friendly hello. We met at lunch a bit later and continued to exchanged stories about our lives and backgrounds. It seemed that the topics of interest were endless. They were coming out west to see their adult daughter living near Flagstaff AZ; by the time we got there we had exchanged email and text addresses. Was given a home made pot scrubber as a momento... I was so sad to see them get off.


Our communications continued; and for the next Christmas I received a big sturdy box in the mail... in it was a bag of noodles that were made in the church women's group... along with a beautiful card. The postage on the box was almost $9 - which brought tears. Then I created a graphics message and framed it... sending it back. It arrived with the glass broken but it arrived! Posted below.


We have been corresponding for many years... and this has turned into a lifelong friendship. They are aging... as are we all, but am encouraging them to come out to the Oregon Coast for a visit. And I too… would like to visit them in Indiana. Now there's covid... but we are all hoping the reunite once again.


I wonder how many on this forum have made life long friends from a casual acquaintance on a train??? For sure, there's nothing in the entire world as special as traveling on a train!

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I'm going to start by saying I've made two! One was a similar situation to the above (an open door, a cheery greeting). The woman I greeted shared a poster of herself with one of her students, a famous basketball player. She had been his favorite teacher. The second was one of my meal companions on a trip where we shared the same trains (and arranged to eat together) all the way across the country. I have visited both in their home towns, we are friends on social media, and we share common interests. I will see them any time I'll be traveling near where they live.

One of the things I found most interesting the first trip I took without Hubby was the community of women traveling alone that develops on a two-day journey. Most of them are passing friends, but a few turn into a long-lasting friendship.
 

20th Century Rider

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Oregon Coast
This was posted on another thread, and I thought it was so wonderful it had to be its own thread!


I'm going to start by saying I've made two! One was a similar situation to the above (an open door, a cheery greeting). The woman I greeted shared a poster of herself with one of her students, a famous basketball player. She had been his favorite teacher. The second was one of my meal companions on a trip where we shared the same trains (and arranged to eat together) all the way across the country. I have visited both in their home towns, we are friends on social media, and we share common interests. I will see them any time I'll be traveling near where they live.

One of the things I found most interesting the first trip I took without Hubby was the community of women traveling alone that develops on a two-day journey. Most of them are passing friends, but a few turn into a long-lasting friendship.
Add to this discussion of meeting people and making friends on the train... looking forward to meeting you, Oregon Pioneer... you helped me so much when I got started on this forum... and are also an Oregonian! Here's an invite for you to come out to the coast when this nasty virus thing goes away. I make a really good clam chowder; and the coast is great to visit any time of year.

Also looking forward to meeting up with others in San Diego or wherever / whenever there is finally another gathering of Amtrak Unlimited folks. We put together a ZOOM gathering earlier and it would be nice to do that once again!

Until then, stay safe... and wishing you and all of Amtrak Unlimited community a happy new year!

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tim49424

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I've made many. Some I'll sadly never see again, due to distance, but they're still friends. I communicate with those on Facebook. I've also gone in reverse and met people online on Amtrak related pages on Facebook and visited and/or met them for the first time. Also, I've made friends of many Amtrak staff members, mostly conductors. They've become like extended family and I look forward to receiving and giving hugs every time I see them. Unfortunately, one retired recently, and that person is not on social media at all. Two more retire in 2021 and I'm hoping that the pandemic subsides and so I can see them again. Also, I've talked to people on AU that I've subsequently met or have plans on meeting. In essence, Amtrak related activities are my social circles and I don't have much else outside of our little train world.....and the Covid-19 crisis has temporarily taken away Amtrak from me.
 

flitcraft

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Jan 10, 2018
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692
I met a senior front-office person with the Seattle Mariners on the Empire Builder once; I was in the corridor trying to get a ballgame on my radio in eastern Montana to get a current score--no cell coverage. He stopped me, we chatted for awhile about baseball and the Mariners, and he mentioned that he had been forced to sit through a law school graduation early in Safeco's history, because it was the first big non-baseball event held there and he was checking on how it went. He said that he was assuming that the whole shebang would be boring as heck, but the faculty speaker's speech was "Ten Things Yogi Berra Could Teach You about Practicing Law," and he said it was both funny and inspiring. I had to laugh when I said, "That was me!" Anyway, he promised to keep in touch, and we actually did, till his retirement a couple of years ago. Over the years we met up a few times in real life, emailed quite a bit, and I'm happy to say that he was instrumental in two of my students being hired by the M's--one in legal, one in analytics. So a serendipitous meeting indeed!
 

20th Century Rider

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I've made many. Some I'll sadly never see again, due to distance, but they're still friends. I communicate with those on Facebook. I've also gone in reverse and met people online on Amtrak related pages on Facebook and visited and/or met them for the first time. Also, I've made friends of many Amtrak staff members, mostly conductors. They've become like extended family and I look forward to receiving and giving hugs every time I see them. Unfortunately, one retired recently, and that person is not on social media at all. Two more retire in 2021 and I'm hoping that the pandemic subsides and so I can see them again. Also, I've talked to people on AU that I've subsequently met or have plans on meeting. In essence, Amtrak related activities are my social circles and I don't have much else outside of our little train world.....and the Covid-19 crisis has temporarily taken away Amtrak from me.
Has there been much of an effort to connect on Zoom through AU? The one time I did it early on in my AU experience it was only three of us, and I didn't know the other folks as well; but after communicating and familiarizing for about a year [joined last January] it would mean so much more. Wondering about how others feel in setting up some zoom gatherings???

We musn't let this pandemic get us down... it's great to have this forum because it really is a great way to connect with others having similar interests in trains!

 

20th Century Rider

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Has there been much of an effort to connect on Zoom through AU? The one time I did it early on in my AU experience it was only three of us, and I didn't know the other folks as well; but after communicating and familiarizing for about a year [joined last January] it would mean so much more. Wondering about how others feel in setting up some zoom gatherings???

We musn't let this pandemic get us down... it's great to have this forum because it really is a great way to connect with others having similar interests in trains!

Play it again... yup... he sang the exact same way back in 1940! Quite a few 'New Year's ago!

 

20th Century Rider

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Oregon Coast
I met a senior front-office person with the Seattle Mariners on the Empire Builder once; I was in the corridor trying to get a ballgame on my radio in eastern Montana to get a current score--no cell coverage. He stopped me, we chatted for awhile about baseball and the Mariners, and he mentioned that he had been forced to sit through a law school graduation early in Safeco's history, because it was the first big non-baseball event held there and he was checking on how it went. He said that he was assuming that the whole shebang would be boring as heck, but the faculty speaker's speech was "Ten Things Yogi Berra Could Teach You about Practicing Law," and he said it was both funny and inspiring. I had to laugh when I said, "That was me!" Anyway, he promised to keep in touch, and we actually did, till his retirement a couple of years ago. Over the years we met up a few times in real life, emailed quite a bit, and I'm happy to say that he was instrumental in two of my students being hired by the M's--one in legal, one in analytics. So a serendipitous meeting indeed!
Wow! ;)
 

Seaboard92

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South Carolina
I hosted an AU Zoom some time back ... I would be open to hosting another one if there would be enough response. Like was mentioned, the one I hosted before had only three other people.
I could be interested depending on when it is done. I'm still traveling quite a lot so it would have to fit into that schedule.
 

Willbridge

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My dad rode at least once a month PDX<>SEA on the Pool trains and then Amtrak for 42 years as part of his job with the Seattle Times. He used to tell us about running into Jack Steinberg (spelling?), a music instrument salesman who was another regular and great raconteur. When Steinberg passed away the dining car crews let the other regulars know.

I met my wife on the Montreal section of the Super Continental between Winnipeg and Edmonton. After my time in the U.S. Army we were married for 31 years. The train was running in two sections all the way across and originally I was booked on the Toronto section, which ran ahead of the Montreal section. I wanted to have a bit more time in Winnipeg, but the CN-AC computer said that the Montreal section was sold out. My agent in the downtown Portland NP-SP&S City Ticket Office told me to ask the CN in Winnipeg to rebook me. Sure enough, enough time had passed for a coach seat to be available. She and a girlfriend were on their way home from the Montreal World's Fair.

Had I gone along with the CN-AC computer, I would have missed her and would have missed a good ride on a Winnipeg trolley coach and a visit to their new "radio-equipped" control centre. There's a whole string of things that wouldn't have happened, most of them good.
 

20th Century Rider

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I hosted an AU Zoom some time back ... I would be open to hosting another one if there would be enough response. Like was mentioned, the one I hosted before had only three other people.
Enjoyed having the chance to meet you... and would like very much to do it again. At that time I was relatively new and it would mean a lot more now having been able to know the forum and the many participants better. 'Still wet behind the ears;' member since last January and strongly in favor of another zoom gathering!
 

pennyk

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I have several AU friends that I'm friends with off the forum. And I have met some in person besides at gatherings.
Like Betty, I have "train friends." When Alan was alive, we would text almost daily. I text quite often with Betty, Ryan and Dick, all of whom I met through AU.
....and there is Kevin from OTOL. Somehow, we have become very good friends and there have not been too many days in the last 6 or so years that we have not texted. We do not have much in common, other than trains, but we seem to get along (avoiding any discussion of politics).
 

20th Century Rider

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I don't do group sessions very well. One on one works best for me. That's why you probably will never see me at Gathering....via Zoom or in person.
Me too... but I try it anyway... like most others I do best in a casual and relaxed atmosphere... where there is an understanding to respect and appreciate each participant. I wouldn't mind doing a 1 on 1 with you... and I've visited Holland MI just to see my hometown of Milwaukee from the other side. The curvature of the earth didn't permit that but find it fascinating. Never had a chance to take the Ludington Ferry either during those early 'happy days' growing up in Milwaukee. Look forward to meeting up with ... best wishes and happy new year!
 

pennyk

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I don't do group sessions very well. One on one works best for me. That's why you probably will never see me at Gathering....via Zoom or in person.
I enjoyed meeting you on my last cross country trip, when you were leaving Jacksonville on your first Florida visit.
 

tim49424

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Me too... but I try it anyway... like most others I do best in a casual and relaxed atmosphere... where there is an understanding to respect and appreciate each participant. I wouldn't mind doing a 1 on 1 with you... and I've visited Holland MI just to see my hometown of Milwaukee from the other side. The curvature of the earth didn't permit that but find it fascinating. Never had a chance to take the Ludington Ferry either during those early 'happy days' growing up in Milwaukee. Look forward to meeting up with ... best wishes and happy new year!
Have you taken the ferry from Milwaukee to Muskegon? I did that with my mom 6 1/2 years ago in the process of moving from Central Wisconsin, here. Beautiful trip and you skip the drive through Chicago. I'd rather maneuver through Muskegon than Chicago any day!

I need to get back to Milwaukee to visit the statue of the Fonz, speaking of those early "happy days". Maybe that's what you were subtly aiming at. I've been through MKE on the Empire Builder, but also a few times via car. I attended Summerfest in 2011 as well as the aforementioned ferry trip.
 

tim49424

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I enjoyed meeting you on my last cross country trip, when you were leaving Jacksonville on your first Florida visit.
That was a fun trip, definitely a highlight, including hanging out at Union Station. I'll never forget the surprise I had when you were across the hall from my roomette and you asked if I was Tim from AU and introduced yourself when I said yes!
 

Bob Dylan

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I don't do group sessions very well. One on one works best for me. That's why you probably will never see me at Gathering....via Zoom or in person.
I think you'll like the Gatherings, very low keyed, lots of friendly folks and everyone loves trains. Lots of Sports fans too! Win! Win!
 

Qapla

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Gator Country Florida
I could be interested depending on when it is done.
njoyed having the chance to meet you... and would like very much to do it again.
I am in Florida - I am in Eastern Standard Time Zone.

I am semi-retired.

Let me know what time (in EST) would work best for you and on what day(s) and I will see if I can set something up.

I usually do a Zoom Meeting at 9 PM EST several nights a week with some friends I have elsewhere so that would not be a good time for me ... but I am willing to fit something in if that is the best time for everyone else.
 

tim49424

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I think you'll like the Gatherings, very low keyed, lots of friendly folks and everyone loves trains. Lots of Sports fans too! Win! Win!
Lose for me. I don't do well in group situations. Believe me, Jim. No crowds bigger than two or three.
 

tim49424

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Tim - I would be happy to do a 1-on-1 Zoom Chat with you ... PM me if you want to set something up
Maybe sometime, sure. I'm new to Zoom. I used it for the first and only time a few months ago when I had a conversation with my pastor. It was pretty easy.
 
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