Lake Shore Ltd boarding in Chicago and diner

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Deni

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May 11, 2008
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Hi all,

I've got cousins in town taking the LSL out tonight to Springfield, MA. It has been years since I've been on that train so it was before the 9:30 departure time and early boarding situation. So a few questions for them:

1 - Do they need to be there for the early boarding for sleeper passengers? Will they miss their chance to board earlier than the coach passengers if they are not there when they take hem from the Metropolitan Lounge?

2 - Does the diner serve a late dinner or is it just the cafe car until the morning breakfast? Trying to decide if we want to go out to eat before they leave or if they should wait for thei rmeals on the train.

Thanks.
 

the_traveler

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I'm not sure what they do now with the earlier departure, but they do have early boarding for sleeping car passengers. They do not serve dinner out of Chicago, but there is a wine (or cider) and cheese get together in the Dining Car for sleeping car passengers only. That is why you will want to board from the ML!

I'd eat dinner in the city or area. Also note the Dining Car is towards the rear of the train while their sleeper (going towards Boston) will be at the front of the train.
 
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Bob Dylan

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Go ahead and have Dinner before you get to Union Station, as you know plenty of Great places in Chicago!

There is No Dinner on the LSL since it leaves @ 9:30PM! There is a Wine and Cheese Reception for the Sleeping Car Passengers aboard the Train and the Lounge Staff takes the Sleeping Car Passengers to the Train on the Kindergarten Walk about 8:15PM! (You can also leave your Luggage in the Check Room inside the Metro Lounge till time to Board the Train!) The Coach passengers board from the Coach Waiting Room through the Regular Cattle Gates! :( You can also have a Red Cap take you to your Car from the Lounge on a Cart which is a good way to get to your Train since the Walk is long and the platform is narrow and usually crowded!! (please remember to tip them, $5 is a fair amount!)
 
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greatcats

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They do not have to be there earlier, but passengers are advised to return to the lounge by 8pm. They could board right up to a few minutes before departure. Dinner is not served on that train leaving Chicago. Wine and cheese is served in the diner to sleeper passengers shortly after the initial boarding. I am not sure how long after departure that service is available. It is not a high class presentation, but is a nice touch.
 
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Also let them know that when they leave Albany, the diner goes on down to NYP and there is only the diner car. As they are getting off in Springfield, not sure they will have time for dinner unless the train is running late (which it has been doing on occasion). As the train is scheduled into Springfield around 6, I would have them check with the SCA about getting in on the dinner in the cafe car. They set up one end of the cafe car for the sleeper passengers and they have usually two different things offered for them. If they don't like those, they are able to get what is on the cafe menu.
 

oregon pioneer

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Still haven't really answered the "must board from the lounge" question, and time considerations. When I took the LSL out of CHI last November, I wanted to skip the wine and cheese thing because I was taking my (Chicago resident) nephew out to dinner. I wanted to spend as long as possible with him. I could have boarded later through the "cattle gates" with the coach pax, but I also wanted to leave my bag checked in the lounge, so I would not have to tote it around with me or find a locker. The lounge desk attendant sternly warned me that the lounge would close soon after they boarded the sleeper pax (I think she said it closed at 8:30, they must have decided it's cheaper to serve wine and cheese than to keep the lounge open later, LOL!). So that was my time limit for retrieving my bag. I got there in time, she walked me out to the end of the platform and pointed the way down the train, then left me to find my car as she returned to close up the lounge. I assume it would be similar if I had boarded with the coach pax, I'd still have had to find my own car and no attendant watching out the door to greet me and show me my room. So be warned, if you miss the early boarding call, you're "on your own." YMMV.
 

Deni

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
May 11, 2008
Messages
303
Thanks for the help everyone. Knowing about finding a Red Cap if too late for the Metropolitan Lounge boarding was especially helpful. Amtrak is not very forthcoming with this information, only putting a line on the schedule that says "early boarding" is available in Chicago for sleeping car passengers. Not everyone who takes the train is a member the Amtrak Unlimited message board (like my cousins, who didn't know such a thing existed) so many people in sleepers must end up boarding with the coach passengers and missing the early boarding.
 
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