Lake Shore Limited discussion

Amtrak Unlimited Discussion Forum

Help Support Amtrak Unlimited Discussion Forum:

NES28

Service Attendant
Joined
Jan 18, 2019
Messages
136
The Boston & Albany route was built very early in the Railroad Era. The routing is very circuitous, built that way to minimize the grades while the Mass. Pike accepted substantial grades. I have always thought that, at least, the Worcester (Auburn) to Palmer section should be bypassed with an electrified passenger-only routing adjacent to the Pike. A shortcut to Hartford, parallel to I-84, could diverge at Sturbridge creating a Boston-NYC route shorter and faster than the Shoreline and putting Worcester and Hartford on the mainline!
 
Joined
Jan 17, 2019
Messages
1,443
When it comes to 448 I am afraid that I have not led a charmed life. In the ten or so times I have taken it in the past 12 years it has been early only once. On two occasions, 2014 and 2017, it was so late (4 to 7 hours late) that I and others had to spend the night in South Station because public transportation had ceased for the night and the last Concord Coach lines bus to Maine had left hours earlier.

On my trip in 2016, 448 arrived in Boston at 11:09 p.m., three hours and 8 minutes late after departing Albany 2 hours and nine minutes late. It was only through a frantic, almost heart-attack-inducing run/fast walk (with luggage) from the South Station train station to the South Station bus station that I was able to make the last Concord bus lines bus to Maine departing at 11:15 p.m.

I am glad to hear that 448 has been making better time but I have no intention of going back.
 

fdaley

OBS Chief
Joined
Jan 25, 2020
Messages
572
Location
upstate New York
Going back to May 1, the average delay for 448 into Boston is 30 minutes, not ideal but not catastrophic.

I am curious though - I've done the bustitution for 449, which took about 2.5 hours BOS-ALB. We went non-stop, and my understanding is the Mass Pike is much more of a straight line than the rail route BOS-ALB. How much more competitive can the time realistically become from its 4.5-5 hour block?
The Mass Pike is about 30 miles shorter from Boston to Albany, which amounts to about 15 percent shorter than the rail route. It's still 170 miles, so 2.5 hours is about the best possible road time; if there's heavy traffic around Boston, it could be 3 hours.

Alas, the train will never cover that run in anything close to three hours without essentially rebuilding most of it on a completely new alignment. But getting the time down to something like 3:55 seems like it could be possible with some upgrades to the current route, and at that point, with a couple more frequencies that had reliable OTP, it could be a corridor people would use. I don't think it needs to be exactly car-competitive in terms of time, but it can't take twice as long. East of Springfield, where there are no mountains to speak of, much of the route right now has awfully slow running times.
 

NES28

Service Attendant
Joined
Jan 18, 2019
Messages
136
I don't think that the modest improvements proposed by rs9 would attract many riders. There would be a major operating deficit that the Commonwealth would need to cover. Fast, frequent service would be profitable to operate.
 
Joined
Sep 2, 2021
Messages
1,119
Location
Lubec, ME
I have found that the problem with delays to 448 is sometimes the MBTA and being held in the yard at Worcester while the MBTA train crews take their break at Worcester and tie up the line, at least that is how it has seemed to be to me. It seems to be civil war era railroading at its best.
The problem with the old layout at Worcester is only one platform track so both MBTA and Amtrak have to compete for it. The ongoing project to add a second platform should greatly improve the situation as 448/449 will be able to platform even if MBTA is laying over there.

Worcester Station new platforms
 
Joined
Sep 15, 2017
Messages
2,105
The local intrastate Mass ridership on 448/449 has improved since the timekeeping of 448 has improved have witnessed it myself (not hours late usually these days). I think if they went to multi frequencies a day with modest improvements to the time there’d be riders.
 

fdaley

OBS Chief
Joined
Jan 25, 2020
Messages
572
Location
upstate New York
There was a piece in the Times Union of Albany awhile back that said the Baker administration, on its way out the door, was applying for federal funding from the infrastructure law to add two more BOS-ALB frequencies each way -- and that the NYS DOT was supporting the application. Definitely having more frequencies, with more reliability, and at least modest improvement in schedule time, would make it a much more useful route to many more people. If there were an eastbound that arrived at BOS about 11 a.m., and another by, say, 4 p.m., and presumably at least one late afternoon departure westbound, I know my family would use it lots more.
 
Joined
Sep 15, 2017
Messages
2,105
There was a piece in the Times Union of Albany awhile back that said the Baker administration, on its way out the door, was applying for federal funding from the infrastructure law to add two more BOS-ALB frequencies each way -- and that the NYS DOT was supporting the application. Definitely having more frequencies, with more reliability, and at least modest improvement in schedule time, would make it a much more useful route to many more people. If there were an eastbound that arrived at BOS about 11 a.m., and another by, say, 4 p.m., and presumably at least one late afternoon departure westbound, I know my family would use it lots more.
In addition to the Boston - Albany frequencies they are looking at reinstating some inland route service New York - Boston via Hartford and Springfield which would involve some additional frequencies on the eastern end of the corridor.
 
Joined
Nov 6, 2016
Messages
909
Location
Brownsburg IN
It's a New Year's Eve Miracle on the Lake Shore Limited!

I just boarded with my wife and daughter in 4912. Karen is our SCA.

She gave us a quick tour of the VLII. As we rounded the corner past the bedrooms and towards our roomettes - she said "here is the drink station, with water, coffee, ice."

What - ICE! In the actual VLII Ice Dispenser! You've gotta be kidding me! In 6 or 8 trips this is the first time I've EVER seen a SCA take the time to actually fill it with ice. Wow!

After I expressed my surprise and pleasure at this monumental event - Karen commented "yeah, a lot of the other attendants don't bother to use all the accessories, but I always do…"

BD36BD96-6C6D-4625-9688-CE242BAA7FAF.jpeg

Then I thought - Wait! could this mean she actually set up the shower using the towel rack????!!!!!!!!

Take a look!
A8E0C52B-0E10-4D5E-A5D8-D3091CF2AF4A.jpeg
 

Willbridge

50+ Year Amtrak Rider
AU Supporting Member
Joined
Mar 30, 2019
Messages
2,182
Location
Denver
It's a New Year's Eve Miracle on the Lake Shore Limited!

I just boarded with my wife and daughter in 4912. Karen is our SCA.

She gave us a quick tour of the VLII. As we rounded the corner past the bedrooms and towards our roomettes - she said "here is the drink station, with water, coffee, ice."

What - ICE! In the actual VLII Ice Dispenser! You've gotta be kidding me! In 6 or 8 trips this is the first time I've EVER seen a SCA take the time to actually fill it with ice. Wow!

After I expressed my surprise and pleasure at this monumental event - Karen commented "yeah, a lot of the other attendants don't bother to use all the accessories, but I always do…"
............................

Then I thought - Wait! could this mean she actually set up the shower using the towel rack????!!!!!!!!

Take a look!
..............................
Thanks for the good news to close out the year!
 
Joined
Nov 6, 2016
Messages
909
Location
Brownsburg IN
FWIW on the LSL 49(12/31) - 4911 was a VLI & 4912 was a VLII.

The SCA (Karen) on 4912 and Tim in the Diner were very, very good. Tim was a relatively new hire, not sure about Karen.

For dinner in the VLII Diner out of Albany, Karen took orders and delivered food. Tim prepared the food. Karen insisted on clearing the tables when we were done.

For breakfast on 1/1, Tim handled it solo - taking orders, delivering food and drinks and clearing afterwards.

All in all, a very good trip. Only slight negative was the heat in the roomettes was cranked too high.
 

mediaman

Train Attendant
Joined
Mar 7, 2012
Messages
66
Location
Georgia
Thanks for sharing this information. Congratulations to Karen for a job well done. It really is just about those little things that make a great impression and enjoyable trip.
 
Joined
Jan 17, 2019
Messages
1,443
I understand that 49/449 (1) arriving in Chicago today (Jan. 2) had no Boston sleeper. I don't know if it started out with one and it went missing en route or if it failed to appear at the departure of 449 at South Station yesterday.
 
Joined
Sep 15, 2017
Messages
2,105
FWIW on the LSL 49(12/31) - 4911 was a VLI & 4912 was a VLII.

The SCA (Karen) on 4912 and Tim in the Diner were very, very good. Tim was a relatively new hire, not sure about Karen.

For dinner in the VLII Diner out of Albany, Karen took orders and delivered food. Tim prepared the food. Karen insisted on clearing the tables when we were done.

For breakfast on 1/1, Tim handled it solo - taking orders, delivering food and drinks and clearing afterwards.

All in all, a very good trip. Only slight negative was the heat in the roomettes was cranked too high.

I have to add my experience that the lake shore has some great OBS staff in the sleepers/sleeper diner. While it is flexible dining the attendants make the most of it and try to provide good and friendly service.
 

capltd29

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Jun 27, 2004
Messages
338
Location
Richmond, VA
I understand that 49/449 (1) arriving in Chicago today (Jan. 2) had no Boston sleeper. I don't know if it started out with one and it went missing en route or if it failed to appear at the departure of 449 at South Station yesterday.
Is this the only set missing a sleeper? I am supposed to leave Boston on 1/6 on 449 and I am trying to decide if I want to just leave from NYP and get a sleeper reservation while they still have them rather than take the chance at being in coach or being cancelled outright due to lack of space. If my calculations are right then the train of 1/6 would have arrived BOS yesterday and go out again today.
 
Joined
Sep 2, 2021
Messages
1,119
Location
Lubec, ME
Is this the only set missing a sleeper? I am supposed to leave Boston on 1/6 on 449 and I am trying to decide if I want to just leave from NYP and get a sleeper reservation while they still have them rather than take the chance at being in coach or being cancelled outright due to lack of space. If my calculations are right then the train of 1/6 would have arrived BOS yesterday and go out again today.
You could book the sleeper ALB - CHI and ride coach BOS - ALB which would not be terrible, the only thing you miss is the "free" lunch from the cafe.
 
Joined
Dec 18, 2007
Messages
1,032
Location
suburban Chicago (Deerfield)
This morning's 49 had the Boston sleeper, but an odd situation with the coaches. (Seen at Elkhart so combined 49/449.) Following the Boston sleeper and cafe were only three coaches. Then following the diner, two NY sleepers, and baggage were two coaches.

Does anyone know if those were NY coaches, or deadheads on a train that happened to also be two coaches short (usually five coaches between the cafe and diner)?

The two rear coaches didn't platform, but they could've had those passengers walk up to a platformed car so that's not dispositive. The odder thing is if they were in-service, passengers in those coaches would have to walk through the baggage, sleepers, and diner (and three more coaches) to get to the cafe or a platformed car at shorter-platform stations. 🤔
 

rs9

Service Attendant
Joined
Dec 26, 2021
Messages
218
Location
Chicago
This morning's 49 had the Boston sleeper, but an odd situation with the coaches. (Seen at Elkhart so combined 49/449.) Following the Boston sleeper and cafe were only three coaches. Then following the diner, two NY sleepers, and baggage were two coaches.

Does anyone know if those were NY coaches, or deadheads on a train that happened to also be two coaches short (usually five coaches between the cafe and diner)?

The two rear coaches didn't platform, but they could've had those passengers walk up to a platformed car so that's not dispositive. The odder thing is if they were in-service, passengers in those coaches would have to walk through the baggage, sleepers, and diner (and three more coaches) to get to the cafe or a platformed car at shorter-platform stations. 🤔
I was on the train you are referencing and was in the coach car directly in front of the diner. There was very little forward-backward foot traffic through my car, so it seems unlikely anyone was coming forward through the diner. The diner had the usual "Do not enter" sign posted on the galley entry door.
 
Joined
Nov 9, 2011
Messages
2,146
Location
Poughkeepsie NY
This morning's 49 had the Boston sleeper, but an odd situation with the coaches. (Seen at Elkhart so combined 49/449.) Following the Boston sleeper and cafe were only three coaches. Then following the diner, two NY sleepers, and baggage were two coaches.

Does anyone know if those were NY coaches, or deadheads on a train that happened to also be two coaches short (usually five coaches between the cafe and diner)?

The two rear coaches didn't platform, but they could've had those passengers walk up to a platformed car so that's not dispositive. The odder thing is if they were in-service, passengers in those coaches would have to walk through the baggage, sleepers, and diner (and three more coaches) to get to the cafe or a platformed car at shorter-platform stations. 🤔
This may actually be the post holiday winter consist. Today's 49 just went thru Poughkeepsie with just 2 coaches. I assume the two on the rear were DH for whatever reason...
 
Joined
Oct 16, 2018
Messages
2,903
Location
12 miles from Walt Disney World
This morning's 49 had the Boston sleeper, but an odd situation with the coaches. (Seen at Elkhart so combined 49/449.) Following the Boston sleeper and cafe were only three coaches. Then following the diner, two NY sleepers, and baggage were two coaches.

Does anyone know if those were NY coaches, or deadheads on a train that happened to also be two coaches short (usually five coaches between the cafe and diner)?

The two rear coaches didn't platform, but they could've had those passengers walk up to a platformed car so that's not dispositive. The odder thing is if they were in-service, passengers in those coaches would have to walk through the baggage, sleepers, and diner (and three more coaches) to get to the cafe or a platformed car at shorter-platform stations. 🤔
If they were separated from the rest of the train by the baggage car, they were undoubtedly deadheads.
 

John Santos

Lead Service Attendant
AU Supporting Member
Joined
Jun 24, 2018
Messages
311
You could book the sleeper ALB - CHI and ride coach BOS - ALB which would not be terrible, the only thing you miss is the "free" lunch from the cafe.
I had to do that once, and they put me in business class between Boston and Albany (both ways) and fed me. (I had a roomette in the New York sleepers between Albany and Chicago.) On the east-bound trip, however, dinner was a salad that was mostly still frozen. Fortunately, I was planning to take the Red Line from BOS to Alewife and meet up with some friends for dinner at Jasper White's Summer Shack (fantastic seafood next door to the Alewife MBTA station) and a ride home, so I didn't really want to eat anyway.
 
Top