Most Interesting Encounter(s) on a Train

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Law638

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While waiting in the Metropolitan lounge In DC, we encountered Rep. Jerry Nadler & John Heilemann waiting for their NYC train. we all had masks on, so I wasn’t sure until a fellow traveler told me who Nadler was. He was next to me & was sitting on my purse. He was very polite & said sorry!
 

pennyk

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Prior to an OTOL fest in July 2016, several of us were waiting in the lounge in WAS and General Colin Powell was sitting not to far from us. He appeared to be with his wife and when he got up to board his Acela he was greeted with cheers and requests to run for President from those in the lounge. I took a photo at a distance but opted not to post it.
 
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Joined
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He appeared to be with his wife and when he got up to board his Acela his was greeted with cheers and requests to run for President from those in the lounge.
General Powell is an American to be appreciated for his service and to be pitied because of how he was duped to believe that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction that were untrue.

General Powell for President? I have read that his wife, Alma, squashed any thinking along those lines.

May General Powell rest in peace. He served his Country well.
 

Shortline

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Just curious, how did this turn out for you? Did you have to disembark?
No, of course not. I simply asked if they were ASKING to search, or if I was being told I HAD to let them search. Simply told them I was in the middle of lunch, was not interested in a discussion, and if they were asking, the answer was no. (this always has happened to me, at ABQ, where I usually order takeout or delivery to avoid the Flex meals for the past few years)

If they were REQUIRING it, I would have simply asked what was their reasonable suspicion, or other reason for the non-optional compliance.

They simply said thanks, and walked away, and I went back to my lunch. Oh sure, they tried the "well if you don't have anything to worry about, why not let us search" argument. I simply said I'm not having this discussion with you. Am I being asked to be searched, or am I being forced to consent to a search?

See, without reasonable suspicion, a warrant, or some other instance that would require compliance, or removal, they can only ask, if you consent. Nothing says you have to in most instances, they know that, and if they don't have that reasonable consent, warrant, or some other real good reason for requiring it, they will simply walk away. They count on passive intimidation. Which I find pretty abhorrent, personally.

The deal is, they know the law, much better than I (and most people) do, for sure, and they know there are only limited instances where they can require consent, or removal/detention. They simply like to ask, hoping for you to roll over and letting them search, even though they know there is no legal basis or requirement for you to do so. Most people don't know their rights, or are too meek to refuse, and they count on that. They count on sheep simply letting them do it. And, that's legal, for them to do. They can always ASK. And if you DO give consent, whether required or not, their search is legal. They can't always do it whithout consent. So, why give consent, when you don't need to, wasting your time, and letting them dig through your stuff.

There are several legal reviews on this, and generally, we do not have to consent to a random search without a warrant or probably cause. I'm not trying to be difficult, I sometimes let them dig through my dirty underwear to their hearts content, but when it's not convenient, I choose not to, as is my (and your) right.

If they persist, I would have consented under protest, required all relevant information, probably via video, and filed a grievance with their agency, and see where it goes from there. I'm not anti-police by any stretch......but rights, are rights. If you don't exercise them from time to time, you lose them.
 
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My fondest memory is my first transcontinental trip with my nine-month-old son from Michigan to Truckee, CA and back.

I have a lot of fond memories of meeting people in the dining car in the communal dining days. Nobody famous, but I got seated with lots of families trying something new, a lot of retirees, a screenwriter, a lady who lamented the migration of her friends as they got priced out of San Francisco.

My most notable other memory was meeting a French gentleman who, like myself, was on their way to Burning Man. Turns out we both had brought our bicycles on the train and were planning on riding up from Reno to Gerlach. They were in coach and I was in a sleeper, but we coordinated to meet for dinner every evening. I flew back, but we met up near Detroit right as they needed to cross the border so their tourist visa wouldn't run out.
 
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My fondest memory is my first transcontinental trip with my nine-month-old son from Michigan to Truckee, CA and back.

I have a lot of fond memories of meeting people in the dining car in the communal dining days. Nobody famous, but I got seated with lots of families trying something new, a lot of retirees, a screenwriter, a lady who lamented the migration of her friends as they got priced out of San Francisco.

My most notable other memory was meeting a French gentleman who, like myself, was on their way to Burning Man. Turns out we both had brought our bicycles on the train and were planning on riding up from Reno to Gerlach. They were in coach and I was in a sleeper, but we coordinated to meet for dinner every evening. I flew back, but we met up near Detroit right as they needed to cross the border so their tourist visa wouldn't run out.
Interesting about the Burning Man convention, whatever it is. My first trip on the Starlight we were roomed across from two people, one was heading to the Burning Man and the other had Graduated from MIT and had other plans. We ate two meals with them and although I still don’t have a clear view of Burning Man I really enjoyed our conversations.
 

SarahZ

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I tend to stick to myself, which my car attendant noticed during my trip on the CZ. I was also pretty melancholy about an impending breakup, which may have been obvious as well. He checked in on me pretty frequently but never pushed me to talk.

While traveling through western Colorado, he noticed one of my library school textbooks. He asked if I was a librarian, and I told him I was working on my MLIS.

He stood in my doorway talking to me for at least 30 minutes.** We had similar tastes in authors, so I recommended some new ones, and he wrote out a list for me. He also informed me that there was a really nice bookstore at Denver Union Station and that I should check it out during the long stop.

When we got closer to Denver, he reminded me to check out the bookstore. (It really is a great bookstore.) When I returned to the train with my purchases, he asked what I bought. I showed him the books, and we talked about them for a little while. The next day, as I was reading one, he asked if I was enjoying it, and we talked a bit more.

I can be really shy, and I can't stand the usual small talk about jobs and such, so I valued my conversation with him. It was the highlight of the trip. It's rare that I connect with someone immediately. I tipped him more than my usual amount and sent feedback through the Amtrak site.

I wish I could remember his name. I hope he's doing well.

**Edit: I should note that our car was practically empty. There were two people in the room next to me and one person farther down the hall. He wasn't ignoring anyone or not performing his duties.
 

vinceg723

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Jun 12, 2009
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I just came across this thread while searching for something else and have to add some of mine:

  • On my first long-distance train trip, the Southwest Chief from Chicago to Los Angeles in August 2000, the first person I met was an ex-convict who, years ago, fled a life of drugs in California by driving until he ran out of gas in Oklahoma, where he had lived ever since. On that same trip, I met a woman who was completing a month-long journey on a North American Rail Pass, and her trip across the Canadian Rockies and prairies inspired me to make the same trip four months later.
  • Would anyone happen to remember a snack car attendant named Dolly on the Coast Starlight, circa 2000? She was a character, not totally in love with her job. I’ll always remember her telling me to choose a career I enjoyed, because she did not :(
  • In June 2001, on my second weeks-long train journey around the United States and Canada, I lent my telephone calling card — before mobile phones were ubiquitous — to a man traveling with his wife and children on Amtrak’s Empire Builder. We ended up talking for much of the evening. At 3 am, he woke me up and took me to the lower level of the train to show me that one could conspicuously open the train window and take in the fresh air. We were near Sandpoint, Idaho, along the Pend Oreille River, and dawn was starting to break. We took turns — one enjoying the view through the open window and one keeping watch for Amtrak employees. To this day, it remains one of my most memorable Amtrak experiences.


  • While traveling north along the Eastern Seaboard in November 2019, I was annoyed to find that alcohol sales ceased once we crossed into the Carolinas, as many counties there prohibited alcohol sales on Sundays. My seatmate in the coach invited me, in limited English, to return to the cafe car, where he proceeded to share with me a small feast he had brought aboard: cooked lamb cubes, beef sausage, Uzbek bread and more. He also shared videos of bakeries in Uzbekistan and urged me to visit someday.
 

Seaboard92

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I just came across this thread while searching for something else and have to add some of mine:
  • While traveling north along the Eastern Seaboard in November 2019, I was annoyed to find that alcohol sales ceased once we crossed into the Carolinas, as many counties there prohibited alcohol sales on Sundays. My seatmate in the coach invited me, in limited English, to return to the cafe car, where he proceeded to share with me a small feast he had brought aboard: cooked lamb cubes, beef sausage, Uzbek bread and more. He also shared videos of bakeries in Uzbekistan and urged me to visit someday.
That is very typical in the former Soviet Union states actually. I just did the train across Russia (As you can see in my trip reports) and it is very common for your roommates or seat mates to share their food, drinks, and entertainment. And they will bring a literal smorgasbord. I know Elena and Irina my friends parents must have cooked all day to send us food for our trip to Irkutsk from Novosibirsk as we never ran out of food the whole way there. Grapes, Potato Wedges, Chicken, Dumplings. You name it we had it. It was amazing.

Uzbek Bread is really good. I really need to learn how to make that. You should definitely visit Uzbekistan someday.
 

Cal

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In June 2001, on my second weeks-long train journey around the United States and Canada, I lent my telephone calling card — before mobile phones were ubiquitous — to a man traveling with his wife and children on Amtrak’s Empire Builder. We ended up talking for much of the evening. At 3 am, he woke me up and took me to the lower level of the train to show me that one could conspicuously open the train window and take in the fresh air. We were near Sandpoint, Idaho, along the Pend Oreille River, and dawn was starting to break. We took turns — one enjoying the view through the open window and one keeping watch for Amtrak employees. To this day, it remains one of my most memorable Amtrak experiences.
I've always wanted to do this but really don't want to risk being found. 🤔
 

Cal

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I did so at the outside ambiant temperature of -25F!
Not sure if you saw my recent post in the weather thread, but I would be a literal ice cube at that point. :)

However, the Alaska Railroad is on my bucket list. Doesn't the Rocky Mountaineer also let you do it?
 

jis

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Not sure if you saw my recent post in the weather thread, but I would be a literal ice cube at that point. :)
Other than looking like Rudolph the Red Nosed Raindeer for a little while when I forgot to cover my nose for a bit, I was nice and toasty warm in my adequately equipped North Face gear. :)
 

Ziv

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Not trying to one up your cold weather tale, but one one of Bald and Bankrupt's videos about the BAM TransSib railroad in the USSR (or Russia now), an ad on the side of a Siberian building boasted that their boots were good down to -60 Celsius which I think is -76 Fahrenheit. Having grown up on the Hi Line in Montana, I have seen cold weather but -25F is very cold and -76F is ridiculous!!!
And I would love to look out the Dutch Door in Alaska at a still bone chilling -25F, too! :D

More accurately... 🥶

If you must experience open dutch door running, do so on Alaska Railroad without breaking any rules. Do so in the winter Aurora trains to add an extra zing of coldness to the experience :) I did so at the outside ambiant temperature of -25F!
 
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Opening the Dutch door on Amtrak is a non starter. One or two warnings I suspect then you are off the train. They did let us open the Dutch doors on the Rocky Mountaineer in Canada in red leaf class. Gold leaf class had open platforms. They have changed the cars since my trip in 2003 or 2004.
 

Cal

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Opening the Dutch door on Amtrak is a non starter. One or two warnings I suspect then you are off the train. They did let us open the Dutch doors on the Rocky Mountaineer in Canada in red leaf class. Gold leaf class had open platforms. They have changed the cars since my trip in 2003 or 2004.
I’ve heard and seen many do it; including simply railway multiple times. I’d be curious to know what the staff think of him doing it.
 

George Harris

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finally! Back in Mississippi
Opening the Dutch door on Amtrak is a non starter. One or two warnings I suspect then you are off the train. They did let us open the Dutch doors on the Rocky Mountaineer in Canada in red leaf class. Gold leaf class had open platforms. They have changed the cars since my trip in 2003 or 2004.
Times have changed considerably. In the early to, mid 1960's the norm on the Frisco was to run with the Dutch Doors open. Maybe if it was really cold, they would close it, but I don't know about that one.
 

Ziv

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I opened the top Dutch Door when the EB was in parts of Glacier Park. I didn't get caught and I kept it open just long enough to take a couple pictures. Which did not turn out at all. Between the dark and the vibration even a fast shutter speed was not fast enough to keep the pictures sharp. And the slower shutter speeds were a complete mess. The feeling of the evergreen trees rushing by, the scent of the forest, moonlight cutting between the trees and the cold air on my face was a phenomenal experience.
I did not want to get caught though.

I’ve heard and seen many do it; including simply railway multiple times. I’d be curious to know what the staff think of him doing it.
 
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Pat Harper

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I have two interesting encounters while on different trains. Once when we traveled from Louisiana to Maricopa AZ, we had dinner with a couple who were getting off in Tucson. When we introduced ourselves, their last name was the same as a member of the quilt guild I belong to, so I asked if they knew her, and he said that he did because she was his sister-in-law. I took their picture and sent it to her the next time we had access to wifi. She responded with "how do you know these people?"

Another time we were traveling on the Empire Builder from Chicago to Seattle, and we had dinner with an Amish man enroute to Montana to check on some property he inherited. His wife was on board, but she didn't dine with us. He was traveling via coach and evidently the wifes don't eat with the men. Passing through the coach car where they were sitting, I saw the women all sitting together.
On that same trip, I ventured into the sightseer lounge and a group of them were having a prayer meeting and sang their songs a capella. It was wonderful!
 

Seaboard92

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If you must experience open dutch door running, do so on Alaska Railroad without breaking any rules. Do so in the winter Aurora trains to add an extra zing of coldness to the experience :) I did so at the outside ambiant temperature of -25F!
Unfortunately it isn't allowed anymore. It has something to do with some obscure FRA rule that few people ever discuss. This is also the same rule which led to Amtrak banning PV owners, crew, and passengers from partaking in open vestibule riding on board their cars behind Amtrak. Now Gold Star on the ARR still has open platforms so I'm not sure how that is different. I do know it is not the same though.
 

Cal

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Unfortunately it isn't allowed anymore. It has something to do with some obscure FRA rule that few people ever discuss. This is also the same rule which led to Amtrak banning PV owners, crew, and passengers from partaking in open vestibule riding on board their cars behind Amtrak. Now Gold Star on the ARR still has open platforms so I'm not sure how that is different. I do know it is not the same though.
Now have you ever broken the rule, on Amtrak or elsewhere? 🙂
 
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Unfortunately it isn't allowed anymore. It has something to do with some obscure FRA rule that few people ever discuss. This is also the same rule which led to Amtrak banning PV owners, crew, and passengers from partaking in open vestibule riding on board their cars behind Amtrak. Now Gold Star on the ARR still has open platforms so I'm not sure how that is different. I do know it is not the same though.
If you ride the train from Williams to the Grand Canyon in whatever they call the first class service, you can experience the open platform on the rear car. Ditto the open platforms of the cars on the Durango to Silverton narrow gauge train. I spent practically my entire trip out there.
 

UserNameRequired

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If you ride the train from Williams to the Grand Canyon in whatever they call the first class service, you can experience the open platform on the rear car. Ditto the open platforms of the cars on the Durango to Silverton narrow gauge train. I spent practically my entire trip out there.
Boone Scenic Valley Railroad dinner train has an open platform too, allowed to ride outside (at least a few years ago we could)(BSVRR photo):
1639595670417.png
 
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