NYP-DLB and back on the Silver Meteor - live report

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cpotisch

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Christmas Dinner last night was super nice, like quite a lot of things on this trip.  :)  

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They started us off with this spinach and red cabbage salad that had some cranberries, chopped pears, strawberries, walnuts, and mandarin oranges, on the side, and a choice of either raspberry vinaigrette or mango truffle vinaigrette. I went with the latter, and I’m glad./monthly_2018_12/D469A68F-A16E-4965-B9F9-55A361D5F1E8.thumb.jpeg.e2958e8f20f75afd0270fc96a87c8e19.jpeg

I don’t think the menu has ever changed in the many years we have done this, so as always, I went with the Sea Bass. As the menu says, the Bass was “Herb Roasted with Maine Lobster Cream”, and it came with some asparagus on a creamy butternut squash purée, a potato casserole, and Brussels Sprouts.

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Dessert was a buffet (the fourth one on this trip), with plenty of cookies,/monthly_2018_12/17D32D3A-E43F-4057-9019-54F10BBAE789.thumb.jpeg.ffacfd99a90311fbb19b2a303e07fe1c.jpeg

...fruit and cakes,/monthly_2018_12/99D65851-0C0A-43BF-A95B-239CAF55D43B.thumb.jpeg.1eb3629aefbd7b91652005de6bf24679.jpeg08CF2B1F-CCE9-4A26-B061-268976892466.jpeg

...and this pretty hilarious/disgusting typo that my dad noticed:

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There were also plenty of cupcakes, brownies, cream puffs, etc, and a cherries jubilee stand, bananas foster stand, and ice cream stand. :huh:

I didn’t actually end up having that much of it though, since dinner itself was extremely filling. Here is maybe half of what I ended up having: some coconut and coffee ice cream with chocolate sprinkles, a brownie, two cream puffs, and chocolate chip cookie.

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On the way out, I made sure to grab plenty of chocolates ( 1@Mystic River Dragon[/USER] ) “for the road”,  at the very festive table they had out front:/monthly_2018_12/1187A04E-4B11-430D-8750-8CF3CB40BBAB.thumb.jpeg.9258734c667c79dd68aba3f257bdb4c8.jpeg/monthly_2018_12/53127B1F-3AD0-47A0-9621-7279D74B2CF2.thumb.jpeg.03bd85af2c0d9d29d18fa2d93f1eae2b.jpeg/monthly_2018_12/9B4820CA-063B-402E-A663-3F6659B42EB1.thumb.jpeg.e16ba4dbacb839ec542dda4297700fe8.jpeg

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cpotisch

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As I said yesterday, today we said goodbye to my dad and sister. :(

My grandmother, mom, and I took them to the airport, and we dropped by Waffle House one last time on the way. Unfortunately my sister didn’t get anything and my grandma only got a tiny grilled cheese on white bread. As always, dad got a pecan waffle, as did mom, and I got my standard two chocolate chip waffles with whipped cream. And of course me and dad split a well-done Triple Hashbrowns, smothered, covered, diced, and capped.

Waffle House never disappoints. ^_^  

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cpotisch

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On the way to the airport, we happened to pass a pretty big Tri-Rail draw bridge going up:/monthly_2018_12/2E958516-5A12-4189-A9E2-1238B0BF76FD.thumb.jpeg.57de4ff1dd30516528578945da1bf1b6.jpeg/monthly_2018_12/4CE4D0A5-ED1F-4C28-904D-7E0304CBEEC7.thumb.jpeg.0b1097405e37139d5a3e3f5e7c99e8d1.jpeg

I got a bunch of plane and, actually train pics at FLL.

An old 727 in the far corner of the airport:8A9D1A3D-16FD-42FB-9516-D2DCEA455449.jpeg/monthly_2018_12/39FECB48-BB0D-4E0F-A8E7-41E15FC51536.thumb.jpeg.c8e7780e0197c211a51997c43087ae2a.jpeg/monthly_2018_12/C882A4A5-BF51-4258-97A1-2F2D18DB8FF2.thumb.jpeg.f2fd282691d5c133ffcd76ef286ff1ef.jpeg

(That plane all the way in the back of that last pic is a Delta 757)

A fleet of FedEx freighters (big and little):9FBB808B-6D83-47E3-96B2-D454949B00B2.jpeg/monthly_2018_12/9070A513-ECEF-4C15-A61E-420493B484D1.thumb.jpeg.ff7337cf0ef022b9e577ea5823a31eb3.jpeg

A couple more FedEx freighters, and some private planes:D725A1CC-100F-447F-9CAD-7F9DA746B529.jpegB04AB470-62AB-401F-910D-44CEF9C515F3.jpeg

More private planes and airline Terminals 1 and 2 at the back:2EADBBC0-6AD5-4A83-A6EA-6A64B58AA927.jpegA2BEA888-2CCC-47AB-A26B-2063DFE66143.jpeg05A13EC5-889F-4199-88DB-2C415A4FDA53.jpeg

And for some reason there was this stationary and extremely long freight train consisting exclusively of tank cars about 40 feet from the runway fence:  :huh: /monthly_2018_12/A659DF61-00D0-4B4B-B737-78FDDF51C556.thumb.jpeg.bd348294af70afebf47d012ff4a72f46.jpeg17C0759F-9D94-47FE-9AE0-C9223B38548A.jpeg

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VTTrain

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Strawberries don’t belong in a salad.  Never.  It’s one thing that drives me crazy about Florida.  
 

cpotisch

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Strawberries don’t belong in a salad.  Never.  It’s one thing that drives me crazy about Florida.  
Agreed. But at least it wasn’t really in the salad, but rather on the side. And IMHO, the much bigger issue with that particular strawberry was the decently sizeable soft spot/bruise. I do not **** around when it comes to strawberries. ^_^
 
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cpotisch

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A pretty chill day. It was sort of pouring earlier but I went out, ignored the rain, and relaxed in the hot tub. There’s something surprisingly nice about being in a hot tub while it’s raining. Tonight I think we’ll be getting Italian again (Stalone’s).

Tomorrow I’ll be meeting up with jis in West Palm Beach for our trip on Brightline to Miami and back. We’re taking Smart down and Select back, and of course my plan is to post my experience back here, with plenty of pictures. :)
 

cpotisch

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Greetings from Brightline West Palm Beach! Here with 1@jis[/USER] waiting for the currently-on-time 12:00 train:

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PVD

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BCAD is Broward County Aviation Department...it a retired FedEx plane they donated to be used for training and education.
 

cpotisch

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Greetings from Brightline! We are on BrightBlue (for those who don’t know, each of the five Brightline consists have their own color and name). We’re currently stopped in Fort Lauderdale, and my overall impression so far is that THIS TRAIN IS NICE. It feels modern and roomy, and to be honest really puts to shame the equipment and ride quality of Amtrak. And of course the station was really nice as well. I have gotten a bunch of pictures, but WiFi is slow onboard so I may have to upload them later.
 
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cpotisch

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In Select on the train back. And let me tell you, it is WAY nicer than Smart. In the Select Lounge at the station, there is plenty of booze (which I obviously did not avail myself of), coffee, tea, soda, and chips (this was the first time I’ve ever found salt and vinegar chips at any kind of free snack stand!). And of course the onboard experience is much nicer as well, with 2x1, more legroom, and some tables. We’re sharing one of the three two-person tables, in the 1 seat side of the aisle. And at the end of the car is this pretty huge self serve snack cart with all the snacks that the lounge had and more. Select is well worth the premium, IMO.
 

cpotisch

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Okay, here we go with the pics...

An overhead shot of the rear (north end) locomotive as we headed down to board the southbound:

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From inside Smart coach #3 in West Palm Station having just boarded:DE5855A7-8814-4649-BBE0-0152E3E48636.jpeg20C2942B-47CD-4D68-83A0-BBBC0568BDF9.jpeg

Somewhere between West Palm and Fort Lauderdale:

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Passing Fort Lauderale Airport, just before arriving at Fort Lauderdale Station:
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Making our way up the pretty steep grade to MiamiCentral:80CCAFA4-EA6D-42C6-9211-C53A391D01D1.jpeg

Passing (northbound) BrightOrange on said grade:/monthly_2018_12/7537F137-2289-4391-AF21-E60DC42EB851.thumb.jpeg.daa053147a08f140024f9e3128489b32.jpeg519DB82C-756B-4E1E-9172-EF58B5E8F6CF.jpeg/monthly_2018_12/AAC2F5E5-0F24-4F49-83D2-89704723CA86.thumb.jpeg.a4a1a60c923da9818e38075ee1a1bba9.jpeg

Pulling into the station:/monthly_2018_12/DB8B9AD5-1A96-408B-956B-40042DCDA748.thumb.jpeg.5f1c4b9f3ec6d8a586b448405cc3725d.jpeg093A590F-B16E-4E40-A5F5-5C72BBE673CF.jpeg/monthly_2018_12/6E812332-43F3-4EE5-BD0A-1B0256F96C47.thumb.jpeg.17bfcd059fdfe89af351af84f015d521.jpeg

BrightBlue, after disembarkation in Miami:/monthly_2018_12/21367254-1FC1-419E-BC14-7D02C6569EE4.thumb.jpeg.54b747ff0a88f8b9fc0b8271436a8bc1.jpeg

The lower level MiamiCentral concourse:/monthly_2018_12/D3603992-7DF7-4AA1-BD4E-4F4A5B97FA57.thumb.jpeg.89c236fdb3c6ca8565c4eb679646e3b1.jpeg/monthly_2018_12/3FBC102B-AD28-4029-87E3-08AABE270A09.thumb.jpeg.788aa50309c6995b3a61325aac382d6c.jpeg

The restaurant in the station where we got lunch, and the tasty-enough avocado, mozzarella, tomato, and pesto sandwich I got there:/monthly_2018_12/FCB25E8F-9921-49AF-99F9-38E8DF08AC1C.thumb.jpeg.407f9b0f413766e13eaf3e6734e921a7.jpeg/monthly_2018_12/40B82914-5767-443F-8D1B-B9EB05848EFC.thumb.jpeg.c04ab97012e046f5cfc6b24c8d03a624.jpeg

[to be continued]
 

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cpotisch

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The northbound run also happened to be on BrightBlue...

The rear (south end) locomotive:/monthly_2018_12/25C84D33-2BAB-4F7B-ACB1-C89BADAEF6F0.thumb.jpeg.58178253af0e0e2bdb51ab97b935c273.jpeg

The Select coach:/monthly_2018_12/E46D37AC-E00E-458B-9C5B-814930D1F60D.thumb.jpeg.e14f816f989e9e646b4bd82f3099a8b1.jpeg/monthly_2018_12/FF4FCB36-0796-4734-A3A4-E1C9B5522618.thumb.jpeg.725cd3dc503a7dc96368d2b67cc642e5.jpeg/monthly_2018_12/9EBC3486-91DC-44EA-91FE-C265096DC03F.thumb.jpeg.0fc8ed62233e28ef2f57e404bb8eaf1a.jpeg

The (complimentary) snack station at the end of the car!/monthly_2018_12/2BA2CCFB-614B-4682-AD51-C0FD4BFE119A.thumb.jpeg.b23a264c4407233e64b6868854e2827c.jpeg

I forgot to get pictures of our seats, but they were really roomy, and the table had cute little pop out USB and outlet modules for each passenger, as well as pop out table extensions with these weird 0.5 mm deep cup holders (I guess they are more supposed to keep things from sliding around  than from tipping or spilling?).

So that is my first trip on Brightline, courtesy of its trainset “BrightBlue”. The equipment and stations all felt incredibly modern, clean, comfortable, and quiet. The whole booking and seat selection process is really simple and streamlined, and the whole ride is made experience and hassle-free by having the station turnstiles instead of someone onboard checking tickets. I have it to endorse the BrightID system as well, in which the app automatically provides a QR code to scan at the turnstiles, based on your account, such that you don’t need to pull up an individual ticket or boarding pass to get through. It just knows from your account what trip you have coming up, and sees whether you have any rides coming up and therefore that you can be let in.

I think that the fact that this is a basically brand new company means that they can do lots of cool and innovative stuff without being bogged down by beurocracy or old, dated infrastructure.

Anyhow, sorry I forgot to get take pics of the seating and Select Lounge. Maybe next time. :)
 

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railiner

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Talk about "Mind The Gap"....any idea of the overall width of those cars?
 

cpotisch

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Talk about "Mind The Gap"....any idea of the overall width of those cars?
Brightline trains actually have an automatic bridge plate under each door that slides out and completely spans the gap.  :)

 
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railiner

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I did notice that...any idea of the overall car width?   They look "Euro" to my eye...sort of like the Ren cars on VIARail....
 

cpotisch

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I did notice that...any idea of the overall car width?   They look "Euro" to my eye...sort of like the Ren cars on VIARail....
Unfortunately I don’t know. As far as I can tell Brightline is the only operator of this particular type of coach and I don’t think it has an official public model number or name, so I’m having a hard time finding any specs. :wacko:
 

jis

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They are 10’ some inches wide. They are compliant with the PRIIA NGEC single level car specification. European cars are generally as wide as American cars. Rens are British loading gauge. That is much narrower.
 

TEREB

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Getting ready to head out to “Shinju Japanese Buffet”. Time to get my eel on!
Lucky you, Since we won't be on the Meteor till early January we have to wait to overindulge.  We go to the one on University Dr.

And speaking of dinner, since we were Meteor riding snowbirds for past 8 years, we've always ordered the fish entree and have never been disappointed.  Only one time the salmon was a little dry, but still delicious. I ask for the mashed potatoes instead of the rice. I think their mashed is so much better. 
 

TEREB

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I am so enjoying your travelogue.  Thank you for your posts and pics. 

P.S. Brooklyn people rule. 
 

railiner

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They are 10’ some inches wide. They are compliant with the PRIIA NGEC single level car specification. European cars are generally as wide as American cars. Rens are British loading gauge. That is much narrower.
Then why the large gap at the platforms, and need for the 'bridge plates'?
 

jis

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Then why the large gap at the platforms, and need for the 'bridge plates'?
To reduce/eliminate cost of maintaining a close tolerance edge of platform. This is common practice on many railroads in main line operations. The bridge plates actually provide a much more secure and predictable path for wheelchairs at each door than attempting to do the same with close tolerance platform edges in main line operation. Most Amtrak trains have to use a bridge plate anyway at station with platform edges that are supposed to be the right height and right distance from the train edge. And then there is of course Metropark!
 
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Looks absolutely wonderful! Thank you for sharing the trip with us! :)

For people without smartphone/apps, etc., did you notice a ticket booth? Or would you reserve online ahead of time and print out a ticket like you can on Amtrak?
 
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