My Auto Train #52 Report

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Dakota 400

Conductor
Joined
Mar 5, 2014
Messages
1,696
Arrived at Sanford shortly after Noon and met pleasant staff members who made the start of this new journey a pleasant experience. Both at the area where I left my car as well as in the Station, the staff were very pleasant and helpful.

Boarding the train with the help of a staff member, my SCA, Holly, welcomed me. Once all of her guests were aboard, her PA description of what we could expect on our trip was exceptional. Visiting each of us, she answered questions.

Visiting the Sleeper Lounge Car, the LSA Beth, welcomed me and I began HH before the train departed. A brief, but very friendly conversation with a couple across from where I was sitting (they "beat me to the Lounge Car") started the trip well. Beth's service, as well as Holly's, warranted a letter to Customer Relations for Amtrak which has been sent. Yes, it was that exceptional.

Dinner in the Diner was very good. Food/service was very good. Breakfast in the morning was acceptable. I'm a light diner in the morning, usually. And, that breakfast filled the need.

Arriving in Lorton, my car arrived within 35 minutes after the train arrived. And, it was in as good condition as it had been in Sanford.

A negative: my gosh, the rough ride which I think was in North Carolina and southern Virginia. The train was running late and maybe that contributed to the rough ride. Going over switches were particularly noticeable. I decided not to try to take a shower. The ride was just too rough.

Would I consider taking the Auto Train again? Yes. It saved me time, miles of driving, and gave me another Amtrak experience that I have been wanting.
 

Qapla

OBS Chief
Joined
Jul 15, 2019
Messages
840
Thank You for this report

Glad your trip went so well
 

Thirdrail7

Conductor
AU Supporter
Joined
Jul 9, 2014
Messages
4,459
Will you give us a few more details, please?

The duvets and new amenities were supposed to start appearing around 2/27. Did you see them? Was there a checklist? How about a bag? What type of accommodations were you in? Did you notice any food trucks?
 

Dakota 400

Conductor
Joined
Mar 5, 2014
Messages
1,696
Will you give us a few more details, please?

The duvets and new amenities were supposed to start appearing around 2/27. Did you see them? Was there a checklist? How about a bag? What type of accommodations were you in? Did you notice any food trucks?
My trip was on January 28, 2020. Bedding was the usual thin blue blanket with none of the new amenities. I had two carry-on bags, small. One was my usual over the shoulder bag in which my camera and equipment along with my medicine and a book was in. Since this was an overnight trip and I had plans for the next morning to go directly to my hotel, all I had were very few essentials for the trip: toiletries, shaver, PJ, slippers. These fit comfortably in a nice bag that my cruise line had given me. I was in a Roomette on the bottom level of a Deluxe Sleeper (only one other Roomette was occupied. The Family Room and Handicapped Room were empty. At Sanford, there was one food truck. If there were others, I was not aware of them. I did not have any interest in searching for one.

It was a very enjoyable trip except for some very rough roadbed during the night. I am a side sleeper and the motion at one point was enough to "roll me about" a bit. My SCA was really excellent; the Lounge Car's LSA was really excellent; the Dining Car's staff were very friendly and efficient. Being busy, I had little opportunity to directly interact with them. I did write a letter to Amtrak's Customer Relations Department with praise for them. And, also for the staff at Sanford and Lorton as well. Amtrak's Auto Train service is well run.
 
Last edited:

Michigan Mom

OBS Chief
Joined
Jan 28, 2012
Messages
597
Being tossed around a little bit over rough tracks never bothers me, but maybe for your journey it was extreme. Cushion any nearby hard surface.
Reminds me of a road trip way back when, college days. Group of friends had been at a wedding and reception in western MI, time to drive back home to campus and the car owner was too intoxicated to drive. Don't get me wrong, everyone was intoxicated. As the least intoxicated, I was picked to drive, but didn't know how to operate a stick shift. (Still don't). So my friend, who was conscious, manipulated the shift and pedals with her hands, yelling commands at me, with other people passed out in the backseat, until we were up to highway speed, and I just held the course for a few hours until we were back in Ann Arbor.
Oh the part that your post brought to mind? The vehicle had little shock absorbing capability and afterwards, my friend remarked that it felt like we were "hauled over lumpy rocks."
 
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