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Pt. 3--Texas Eagle Bloomington to San Antonio

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JayPea

Conductor
Joined
Sep 9, 2006
Messages
3,885
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Colfax, WA (CFX)
After spending a day and a half at my uncle's, we left on Tuesday the 22nd from Bloomington, bound for LA, on the Texas Eagle. Our good luck with on-time trains ran out before we even started, as the message board showed a delay of 15 minutes. Looking at the Amtrak tracker, I saw the Eagle was stopped outside of Joliet. The delay went on longer and longer, and it turned out the Eagle stayed stopped for over an hour, for no reason we ever discovered. By the time we left Bloomington we were an hour and five minutes late. Fortunately the line to St. Louis doesn't see as much freight traffic as some, and there is padding between Alton and St. Louis, so we'd be fine. The dining experience was a bit different than that of the EB, as our dining car attendant, a very good one and whose name I also forget (names are the first to go and I forget the second🤣) not only took our dinner reservation but asked which entree we wanted. That was a big time saver for them, she said, as the sleeper was completely full. She also encouraged passengers to eat in their rooms, so naturally we had our meals in the diner for all meals. 😂 The diner was configured the same as in the EB, with seating at alternating tables and no communal seating. We received our meals immediately upon being seated. Too bad they can't do that with regular dining!!! We stayed about an hour behind, but figured to cut that deficit into St. Louis. As was a recurring theme on the Eagle and Sunset, wrong answer. Just a mile or so out of the St. Louis station, we came to a stop at a red signal. "Just a minute or so" turned out to be almost half an hour. So much for padding and making up time. I love skylines of cities lit up at night, though, so I got a shot of the St. Louis skyline without the movement of the train blurring it.😁20200922_201258.jpg

At St. Louis, I was on the platform, minding my own business, when a recap in a cart approached the train with an elderly gentleman in tow. I wasn't paying a whole lot of attention, but I heard a crash and saw the man had a plastic box with miscellaneous items in it that he was trying to balance on his walker, and had dropped the box, spilling its contents under the train. I wasn't paying close attention to that point, but it seems to me the car attendant, Erroll, and/or the red cap could have been more help. The redcap couldn't as she appeared to be not a whole lot younger than the man and Erroll wouldn't help retrieve the items, so I put my 22+ years of experience in the grocery industry, getting up and down and spending a lot of time on my knees, and knelt down on the platform and reached under the train to get his things. That probably violated any number of safety protocols, but oh well. It turns out the items were cassette tapes, a portable tape player, and candy bars, for the most part. Once I had picked up everything I could, there were still several things out of reach. So I laid down flat on the platform, hoping against hope that A) I didn't fall and get stuck and B) my phone didn't fall under the train and C) I'd be able to get back up!!! Once I got everything (I think) I used my phone's flashlight to look for items I might have missed in the dark. Good thing I did because I couldn't see the power cord to the tape player without it.

After getting everything (I hope) I was able to hoist myself up. We left St. Louis not a whole lot ahead of what we were. I went to bed right away but was unable to sleep too well, not unusual my first night on a train. I dozed off and on, and was awake as we rolled into Little Rock little more than half an hour late. More time made up, I thought. Wrong answer again. We sat in Little Rock half an hour, so still stayed an hour behind, actually not bad considering a lot of time is lost due to UP shenanigans throughout Arkansas. I dozed again after Little Rock, and woke for good at Texarkana, where, thanks to Tropical Storm Beta, I was treated to a driving rainstorm.

As we made our way toward Dallas, we surprisingly didn't encounter any UP interference, and in fact arrived in Dallas half an hour early, affording us nearly an hour fresh air break. In a first for me, I encountered cloudy and chilly conditions there, again due to Beta. I have only a very small sample size but's been invariably 100+ degrees and sunny.

We left Dallas right on time and as we did so, crossed over Dealey Plaza, the scene of course of President John F. Kennedy's assassination. It always gives me chills to see this.20200923_115229.jpg

We encountered no delays into Fort Worth, arriving early and again having an hour long fresh air break. By now the sun had broken through the clouds. We left on time, and continued to make good time and still surprisingly encountered no UP freight train interference. At Temple, we were joined by Jim Hudson, aka Bob Dylan from the AU forums. It was good to be able to catch up with him again. It was like having our own tour guide as he told us of the towns we were passing through, their history, and the industries that were making these towns' population boom. We met in the lounge, and I saw something there that bothered me greatly. I don't think Jim nor my uncle noticed, but there was a young Amish or Mennonite girl who was singing in the lounge. No problem, but a uniformed Amtrak employee (not sure which one) went up to her, told her to cease and desist her impromptu concert, this was her first and last warning, and if she didn't stop she'd be thrown off the train. Whichever position she held on Amtrak, I thought this was way over the top.

As we approached Austin, we began to encounter delays to freight traffic. We said our goodbyes to Jim as he returned to his home in Austin. Our dining car attendant, who had said last seating for dinner would be at 6:30, around the same time as our arrival into Austin, graciously extended dinner hour to accommodate us and allow us to visit with Jim as long as we could. Talk about going above and beyond!!!! Wish I could remember the good one's names and not the bad ones. After Austin, we did run into more freight traffic. I went to bed right after San Marcos. I was asleep before San Antonio and slept through the switching there.

I'm running low on my phone's battery power so will cut it off here and continue with the Sunset Limited portion later.
 

caravanman

Conductor
Joined
Mar 22, 2004
Messages
3,791
Location
Nottingham, England.
Interesting, good of you to help out the guy that dropped his belongings... Not many folk would be happy to reach under a train!

Here in the UK, public singing is said to be a major no-no these days, as it is thought to expel more covid-potential droplets, so maybe that prompted the heavy handed response?

Looking forward to the next instalment!
 
Joined
Dec 26, 2014
Messages
2,867
Wow—talk about being in the right place at the right time!😊

Those tapes and candy bars were comforts for the journey, and I am glad you were able to get them back for the gentleman.👏👏👏

Yes, it’s possible you broke a few rules, but I notice no one tried to stop you!😁

Wonderful that you got to visit with Jim.😊
 

JayPea

Conductor
Joined
Sep 9, 2006
Messages
3,885
Location
Colfax, WA (CFX)
Interesting, good of you to help out the guy that dropped his belongings... Not many folk would be happy to reach under a train!

Here in the UK, public singing is said to be a major no-no these days, as it is thought to expel more covid-potential droplets, so maybe that prompted the heavy handed response?

Looking forward to the next instalment!
You know, I'll bet you're right. As I think back on it now, the young gal wasn't wearing a mask (don't know whether they have a religious exemption or not) and I'm sure this was the same woman who in the course of making announcements over the PA system made it clear that anyone that didn't wear a mask other than in a room would be put off the train and be met by local law enforcement. So I stand corrected and owe the Amtrak employee an apology!!
 

AmtrakBlue

Conductor
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May 6, 2011
Messages
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Location
Delaware
You know, I'll bet you're right. As I think back on it now, the young gal wasn't wearing a mask (don't know whether they have a religious exemption or not) and I'm sure this was the same woman who in the course of making announcements over the PA system made it clear that anyone that didn't wear a mask other than in a room would be put off the train and be met by local law enforcement. So I stand corrected and owe the Amtrak employee an apology!!
I don't think the Amish have a no mask "policy". I rode the Cardinal a couple of weeks ago and there was an Amish family at my home station that was also taking the Cardinal. Every time I saw them, they had on their masks.
 

caravanman

Conductor
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Mar 22, 2004
Messages
3,791
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Nottingham, England.
My understanding of Amish customs is pretty limited, but I guess if folk lead a fairly isolated existence from the mainstream, they avoid regular newspapers, tv and radio, they may simply not know about the virus and the rules?
Seems a bit far fetched in our information super highway age, but maybe it's possible?
(I feel that I could be better off mental health wise not knowing about the virus, your president, my prime minister, etc...)
 

Barb Stout

OBS Chief
Joined
Mar 13, 2019
Messages
529
We met in the lounge, and I saw something there that bothered me greatly. I don't think Jim nor my uncle noticed, but there was a young Amish or Mennonite girl who was singing in the lounge. No problem, but a uniformed Amtrak employee (not sure which one) went up to her, told her to cease and desist her impromptu concert, this was her first and last warning, and if she didn't stop she'd be thrown off the train. Whichever position she held on Amtrak, I thought this was way over the top.
Was the singer wearing a mask?
Sorry, I see after I posted this question that it has been addressed. How does one delete their own post?
 

Devil's Advocate

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As I think back on it now, the young gal wasn't wearing a mask (don't know whether they have a religious exemption or not) and I'm sure this was the same woman who in the course of making announcements over the PA system made it clear that anyone that didn't wear a mask other than in a room would be put off the train and be met by local law enforcement.
There's an exception that allows the indiscriminate spreading of pathogens for religious reasons?

I don't think Jim nor my uncle noticed, but there was a young Amish or Mennonite girl who was singing in the lounge. No problem, but a uniformed Amtrak employee (not sure which one) went up to her, told her to cease and desist her impromptu concert, this was her first and last warning, and if she didn't stop she'd be thrown off the train. Whichever position she held on Amtrak, I thought this was way over the top.
Even if you ignore the pandemic this is no less presumptive than bringing a boom box into the lounge and assuming everyone else wants to listen to your favorite mix tape. Music is a personal choice that should be self-selecting rather than requiring strangers to challenge your unsolicited audition. Kudos to Amtrak staff.
 
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Bob Dylan

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May 31, 2009
Messages
20,486
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Austin Texas
There's an exception that allows the indiscriminate spreading of pathogens for religious reasons?


Even if you ignore the pandemic this is no less presumptive than bringing a boom box into the lounge and assuming everyone else wants to listen to your favorite mix tape. Music is a personal choice that should be self-selecting rather than daring strangers to interrupt your unsolicited super-spreader audition to confront you. Kudos to Amtrak staff.
The Amtrak Staff was the Asst Conductor. Shes strict but Fair, and a Good Conductor!
 

JayPea

Conductor
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Sep 9, 2006
Messages
3,885
Location
Colfax, WA (CFX)
I was way off base concerning the assistant conductor. She was right to do as she did. Regarding the question of a religious exception to wearing masks, I do not for a minute think there should be such a thing. I only asked because on this trip and two prior trips I took on Amtrak this summer there were many Amish/Mennonites on the trains, and as many if not more did not wear masks. And no one on Amtrak that I saw confronted them over it. I asked the question based on those observations.
 

hlcteacher

Train Attendant
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Feb 17, 2020
Messages
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cleveland
They are not ignorant to what is happening in the world. They are very aware of the rules/mandates. I go to the Cleveland Clinic often and they have many Amish/Mennonite patients, all following the rules. They do read newspapers and work/interact with the "real world".
 

anumberone

Conductor
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Aug 8, 2015
Messages
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Location
Los Angeles
There's an exception that allows the indiscriminate spreading of pathogens for religious reasons?


Even if you ignore the pandemic this is no less presumptive than bringing a boom box into the lounge and assuming everyone else wants to listen to your favorite mix tape. Music is a personal choice that should be self-selecting rather than requiring strangers to challenge your unsolicited audition. Kudto Amtrak staff.
DA, you seem to have forgotten How much comfort the SINGING NUN was during trying times in the movie Airplane.
 
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MARC Rider

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Apr 5, 2011
Messages
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Location
Baltimore. MD
Even if you ignore the pandemic this is no less presumptive than bringing a boom box into the lounge ...
"Boom box?" Maybe this thread should be merged with the "old technology" thread. :)
A boom box is no longer needed for this sort of thing. One can obtain the same functionality with the smartphone that's in nearly everybody's pocket.
 

Devil's Advocate

Sarcastic Misanthrope
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Texas
"Boom box?" Maybe this thread should be merged with the "old technology" thread. :) A boom box is no longer needed for this sort of thing. One can obtain the same functionality with the smartphone that's in nearly everybody's pocket.
Phones can be played at nuisance volumes but the modern equivalent would be a battery powered Bluetooth speaker. In my view the term "boombox" is just quicker and more concise for the typical age of our forum membership. 🤷‍♂️
 

anumberone

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Phones can be played at nuisance volumes but the modern equivalent would be a battery powered Bluetooth speaker. In my view the term "boombox" is just quicker and more concise for the typical age of our forum membership. 🤷‍♂️
The Boom Box may be old school. Believe me, it's still loud and proud in some circles.
 
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