Stretch/Smoke Stop List

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drdumont

Service Attendant
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Interesting thread. Since I just got my 4th stent and finished my 3rd Widowmaker, that is behind me, it seems. But on the Texas Eagle, ISTR Austin, Temple, FTW, Dallas, Mineolaor Marshall, sometimes Texarkana (since that is next to a prison, they're a little cranky about getting off the train. I'm usually asleep till STL.
Hope this helps...
 

dogbert617

OBS Chief
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Aug 19, 2016
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Interesting thread. Since I just got my 4th stent and finished my 3rd Widowmaker, that is behind me, it seems. But on the Texas Eagle, ISTR Austin, Temple, FTW, Dallas, Mineolaor Marshall, sometimes Texarkana (since that is next to a prison, they're a little cranky about getting off the train. I'm usually asleep till STL.
Hope this helps...
So for Mineola and/or Marshall, are those only called as smoke/stretch stops if the train is on time? I know on a different Amtrak long distance train(Empire Builder), that I got the impression Williston, ND seems to only sometimes be called as a brief smoke/stretch stop ONLY IF the train is running on time. I didn't get off the train to briefly look at Williston's platform a little closer going west, and as the Amtrak employees going east on #8/28 announced Williston wouldn't be a stretch stop going east, I was a tad disappointed about that. Reason being that I didn't get off at Williston going west, and looking back I wish I had stepped off briefly to take a very fast look from that platform. Ah well, next time am crossing my fingers I'll get to check out Williston's station during a smoke/stretch stop passing through there, provided it is called again as such a stretch stop if I pass through there again on the EB on a later trip. As for Texas Eagle, I've heard Little Rock is a smoke/stretch stop, IF you're up that late/early when the train gets to Little Rock.

Never did figure out if Grand Forks and/or Fargo are ever allowable smoke/stretch stops if one is oddly up that darned late, but next time I ride the EB, I'll ask an Amtrak train employee this question. The Havre, MT one was interesting, as it's long enough to allow someone a quick walk south to US Hwy. 2 to look at that street and make it back for some quick pictures, before the train leaves. It's too bad at Shelby, MT the platform is on the north side of the station(and not south), since I would've liked a quick look at Shelby's downtown. Although since I discovered there is a local shuttle one can ride(and surprisingly for free) between Shelby and Great Falls( https://northern.rural-transit.com/green-route-shelby-great-falls/ ), maybe I'll try riding that shuttle someday? I almost wonder if I should one way fly into Great Falls, then take that shuttle either north/south to Shelby, then do Amtrak's Empire Builder one way? I wish one still could take a train between Havre and Great Falls, like how I noticed passenger train service was obviously once available(and ran by Great Northern Railroad) in the pre-Amtrak days.
 
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Bob Dylan

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Neither Marshall ( Crew Change Point/ Now a Very Nice Unmanned Station with a Museum!) nor Mineola is a Smoke/ Fresh Air Stop.

If the Eagle is on time Texarkana is one ( brief/ stay Trainside) and Little Rock is @ O-Dark-Thirty.

Going West Dallas is your first brief opportunirty( stay Trainside) after Texarkana and of course Ft Worth is a Long Stop.( #21 more so than #22).
 

dogbert617

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Neither Marshall ( Crew Change Point/ Now a Very Nice Unmanned Station with a Museum!) nor Mineola is a Smoke/ Fresh Air Stop.

If the Eagle is on time Texarkana is one ( brief/ stay Trainside) and Little Rock is @ O-Dark-Thirty.

Going West Dallas is your first brief opportunirty( stay Trainside) after Texarkana and of course Ft Worth is a Long Stop.( #21 more so than #22).
Thanks for clarifying, about Marshall and Mineola. Thought Texarkana was a smoke/stretch stop, but wasn't sure. I assumed Dallas and Fort Worth were such a stop too, but wasn't sure.
 

drdumont

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ISTR they will cut the "normal" stop time, and leave as soon as their station work is complete if the train is running late. The operating crews really would prefer to do away with them altogether, I'm sure. They have enough to do without herding cats. Most riders don't understand that they are fighting not just the clock, but freight movements and more in the multiple unknown equations of running a train.
 

dogbert617

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ISTR they will cut the "normal" stop time, and leave as soon as their station work is complete if the train is running late. The operating crews really would prefer to do away with them altogether, I'm sure. They have enough to do without herding cats. Most riders don't understand that they are fighting not just the clock, but freight movements and more in the multiple unknown equations of running a train.
Doesn't bother me, if the train crews sometimes have to shorten or eliminate the shorter smoke/stretch stops on trains, at times. I.e. Williston, ND on the train I took going east, where looking back on that trip I should've briefly stepped off for a look going west, as it unfortunately wasn't a brief stop going east. My opinion is that I'm glad Amtrak allows passengers to have those brief smoke/stretch stops, but hey I could see how a few Amtrak employees may quietly not care(but for whatever reason don't express that opinion out loud, much) for the tradition of allowing passengers smoke/stretch stops.

Was only simply saying that part of myself quietly wishes I had gotten off the train at Williston going west on 7/27(as this wasn't a called stretch stop on 8/28 going back for me), to take a brief look on that platform and inside the station building. Like I did at the other stops(i.e. Shelby, Havre, Minot, etc). That's okay, since I have no doubt in the future I'll do another EB trip beyond Williston.
 
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brianpmcdonnell17

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I don't seem to be able to edit the original post anymore, but Barstow, CA is now a regular smoke stop on the SWC. Kingman, AZ was not going westbound, although the train was severely delayed and I was not awake to check if it was eastbound. Also, Dodge City, KS was a smoke stop westbound, although it seemed to be a one time thing as something needed to be reset in the locomotive. I haven't ridden the route to know for sure, but I wouldn't be surprised if Dodge City is similar to Savannah and Columbia on the SS in that it is a middle of the night stop that can be used as a smoke stop at the crew's discretion.
 

dogbert617

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I don't seem to be able to edit the original post anymore, but Barstow, CA is now a regular smoke stop on the SWC. Kingman, AZ was not going westbound, although the train was severely delayed and I was not awake to check if it was eastbound. Also, Dodge City, KS was a smoke stop westbound, although it seemed to be a one time thing as something needed to be reset in the locomotive. I haven't ridden the route to know for sure, but I wouldn't be surprised if Dodge City is similar to Savannah and Columbia on the SS in that it is a middle of the night stop that can be used as a smoke stop at the crew's discretion.
Interesting info to mention about the SW Chief, and thanks for mentioning that about Barstow and Dodge City. Also funny you mention about something in the locomotive needing to be reset, since I suspect that's what also occurred in Shelby, MT, when I rode the Empire Builder ultimately to Glacier NP last week. Due to positive train control/PTC requiring that for one of the 2 locomotives, per talking to an Amtrak employee.

I get the impression from the schedule that Shelby is typically only a very short smoke/stretch stop (5 minutes both ways), but that the locomotive issue relating to I assume PTC on one of the 2 locos, made it longer than usual. Like for I guess 10-15 minutes both ways?

And as for Williston, ND on EB, that I get the sense it's ONLY an optional smoke stop called at the discretion of the train crew, IF that train is running on time. As like I said it was a brief smoke stop going west, but wasn't a smoke stop going east. Similarly I get the sense that Shelby on certain EB trains may not be called as a smoke stop, if the train is running late. But funny enough in both directions Shelby somehow ended up as a longer than usual stop, due to the fact one of the 2 locomotives had to download info relating to positive train control that slowed the departure of the EB from Shelby, the 2 different days I rode through that town.
 
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me_little_me

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If Greenville, SC is a smoke stop on the Crescent, it's news to me. I've taken many trips from and to there and the train stops, people get off and on immediately and the train leaves.

Now it may be that when they had baggage service, one had enough time to get off and back on but no longer. And since it's always late northbound, they don't want to lose any more time.
 

dogbert617

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If Greenville, SC is a smoke stop on the Crescent, it's news to me. I've taken many trips from and to there and the train stops, people get off and on immediately and the train leaves.

Now it may be that when they had baggage service, one had enough time to get off and back on but no longer. And since it's always late northbound, they don't want to lose any more time.
Good question. That is a middle of the night/very early morning stop, so not sure on that one. I would guess Charlotte would be a longer stop, IF you're still up that late when the Crescent arrives into there. And I believe Greensboro, NC is supposed to also be a stretch stop? Am asking this, since soon I'll likely take the Crescent to do a short trip to Atlanta for a few days.

Anyway, I will take it that Greensboro and Greenville are shorter smoke stops that sometimes the crew will shorten or eliminate if the Crescent is running late, and that Charlotte is the main stretch stop north of Atlanta. A la what I noticed about Williston, on the Empire Builder. That Williston was called as a brief stretch stop when going west on the #7/27 Empire Builder, but wasn't on the eastbound #8/28 train due to it running late, and the crew wanting to make up time. Which I totally understood! I just only wish I had gotten off while the EB was in Williston going west, so I could've gotten a brief closer look at that station. No worries, since I have no doubt that one day, I'll again ride the EB west of North Dakota!
 

Seaboard92

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Dec 31, 2014
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Here is the Canadian’s stretch stop list.
-Kamloops
-Jasper
-Edmonton
-Biggar
-Saskatoon
-Melville
-Winnipeg
-Sioux Lookout
-Hornepayne
-Capreol
 

dogbert617

OBS Chief
Joined
Aug 19, 2016
Messages
790
Here is the Canadian’s stretch stop list.
-Kamloops
-Jasper
-Edmonton
-Biggar
-Saskatoon
-Melville
-Winnipeg
-Sioux Lookout
-Hornepayne
-Capreol
When I was browsing VIA Rail's website, I have to say I like how one of the pages on their site mentions the stations that are smoke stops. Since Amtrak's schedule unfortunately doesn't mention the stations that are smoke stops or crew change points(which often end up being brief smoke/stretch stops), at all. At least thanks to this message board, I have picked up on all the stations that usually are such a stop, on long distance trains.

And of course to the average rider, the only smoke/stretch stops that seem obvious are ones with a separate arrival and departure time shown, on the schedule in the middle of a route(i.e.Toledo, Cleveland, Havre, MT, Whitefish, MT, Jacksonville, etc).
 

brianpmcdonnell17

Conductor
Joined
Mar 5, 2016
Messages
1,264
Vermonter:
Springfield, MA
New Haven, CT
New York, NY (Stretch stop only, non smoking)

There didn't seem to be an official policy enforced as none were announced and I only found out about these three by looking at the schedule and asking employees. New Haven seemed to be well-known as a stretch stop by other passengers, but I didn't see anyone else get off to stretch or smoke at Springfield or New York. Both trains I was on were delayed, so given the lack of official policy I wouldn't be surprised if the crew allowed other stops as well if the train was on schedule/early.
 

drdumont

Service Attendant
AU Supporter
Joined
Apr 16, 2017
Messages
191
Neither Marshall ( Crew Change Point/ Now a Very Nice Unmanned Station with a Museum!) nor Mineola is a Smoke/ Fresh Air Stop.
Ft. Worth is a crew change, service stop, and can last up to an hour. However, comma, the fine folks at the Ft. Worth Intercontinental Multimodal Transportation Center and Otherwise Center of the Universe and Arbiter of All Things get highly urinified if you light up anywhere near the train. There is a 4 lane bus lane trackside, and you can stand in the middle of the road and light up, but I have had both "official" and civilians give me a ration.
 
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