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willem

Maintenance
Joined
Aug 17, 2014
Messages
1,187
Location
in the depths
It's sort-of related to train numbers...
[...] But they more or less all use the so called "railroad direction" and not necessarily "geographical direction" to determine their train number.
[...]
In Montana, just downstream from the confluence of the Jefferson and Madison Rivers, two railroads ran on opposite sides of the Missouri River. Westbound railroad direction NP (Northern Pacific Railway) trains ran downstream and westbound railroad direction Milwaukee Road (Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific Railroad) trains ran upstream. If the timing was serendipitous, two Seattle-bound trains would pass each other going opposite directions.
 

Cal

Foamer
Joined
Jan 23, 2021
Messages
3,386
Location
Socal
Just a wonderment…what does happen when your stuck on a train….I mean a long distance train that isn’t just late, but 8 or more hours late…I’ve never had the experience thankfully but it’s happening according to the big map…

1. Does OBS communicate it? I’ve always thought this was hit or miss. Sometimes they do, most times they do not
2. it has to be asked, but what about the toilets….
3. do they run out of food? I’ve heard about Amstew and I actually like Dinty Moor so I guess I would be ok for a few meals
4. do they let you off? I’m not a smoker (not Anymore for a long time) but man that would be a tough one for those that are…
5. What if you are in the middle of nowhere…so they come to get you are so you just sort of camp out?

anyway I would like to hear about what that is like. It has never happened to me…I think I’ve only been 3 hours late at most after 20 years of Amtrak travels, but I’ve seen some epic delays lately and just wonder what they do…
Heres my late-story:

Was on train #14, the northbound Coast Starlight. Right around Davis we had a tresspasser incident and therefore were delayed for four hours. We lost another hour overnight but gained it back by Klamath Falls. However, Union Pacific had planned track work, and due to our delay we had missed our timeslot. The crew announced we would be at Klamath Falls for three hours, and that we could go into town if we'd like but to stay close. Well three hours was actually four hours, and we ended up departing at 4:41 PM, nearly 8 and a half hours late. Lunch was served at Klamath Falls from the diner as usual, and dinner was around Chemult. Since these meals were scheduled anyway, no Dinty Moore. We continued to lose time, and that evening the lovely couple who were in the roomette next to us said that Amtrak emailed them saying the train would be truncated at Portland (Note our arrival time would be about midnight into Portland) and we would be put onto a bus at Seattle. We asked our SCA, who had no idea what we were talking about. Eventually it was decided we would continue on the train to Seattle. We ended up arriving just before 5:00 AM, about 8 and a half hours late. That day's 11 left three hours late.

1. The crew kept us well-informed to the best of their abilities.
2. I was in the transdorm, and the toilets, IIRC, were fine.
3. Because of the Starlight's schedule and where all this happened we didn't have any extra meals, so the food was fine in my case. I don't think the cafe ran out but I'm not sure.
4. I believe all main smoke stops were kept, although I doubt many used them they were almost all in the middle of night with the exception of Eugene.
5. If you remember the Starlight that was stranded in southern Oregon due to snow a few years ago, I don't think they were let out, and they were in a town. But that might vary on crews as recently another stranded CS let passengers walk around even though there was nothing around.


Heres the data from that train: Amtrak 14 (7/11) (transitdocs.com)
 

John819

Train Attendant
Joined
Aug 29, 2021
Messages
69
Location
New York
For the New York Central, Grand Central Terminal was the eastbound terminus. For the New Haven Railroad, it was the westbound terminus. So New Haven trains to New York had odd numbers and NYC trains had even numbers.
 

RalphCT

Service Attendant
Joined
Jan 16, 2014
Messages
155
Just a wonderment…what does happen when your stuck on a train….I mean a long distance train that isn’t just late, but 8 or more hours late…I’ve never had the experience thankfully but it’s happening according to the big map…
1. Does OBS communicate it? I’ve always thought this was hit or miss. Sometimes they do, most times they do not
2. it has to be asked, but what about the toilets….
3. do they run out of food? I’ve heard about Amstew and I actually like Dinty Moor so I guess I would be ok for a few meals
4. do they let you off? I’m not a smoker (not Anymore for a long time) but man that would be a tough one for those that are…
5. What if you are in the middle of nowhere…so they come to get you are so you just sort of camp out?
anyway I would like to hear about what that is like. It has never happened to me…I think I’ve only been 3 hours late at most after 20 years of Amtrak travels, but I’ve seen some epic delays lately and just wonder what they do…
Here's my story of one winter trip that was originally scheduled to travel Empire Builder 8/28 from Shelby Montana to Milwaukee WI, I was riding in coach. We left Shelby close to on time on a winter day with temperatures near zero F. Somewhere east of Havre, MT we pulled onto a siding to let a west bound freight pass. The switches froze preventing us from going forward or backward onto the main track. After an hour or so the switch behind us was cleared and we backed onto the main and continued east. By now high winds were drifting snow and the train reduced speed due to the cold. We arrived in Williston ND 2-3 hours late. The winds had increased and snow was falling horizontally and also blowing around. After a longer than normal stop we departed Williston. Somewhere between Williston and Stanley ND the train encountered very deep snow drifts blocking the track. On board staff said drifts were over 10 to 15 feet deep. The train hit one of these drifts at low speed and actually became stuck. It seemed to take some time but eventually the train backed clear of the drift. We were ordered to backup to Williston ND which we did slowly. We were informed of the problem and were told BNSF is clearing the drifts. The train sat much of the night in Williston next to the station. It was late at night and I don't recall whether anyone was allowed to get off the train. Smoking was not an issue then because there was a coach car where smoking was allowed in the lower level. I think it was the last year Amtrak allowed smoking in one of the cars. Not long before daylight we began to move slowly east again.

As we approached Minot the conductor announced that heavy snow and high winds had blocked the tracks east of Minot and that the train would be turned there to become the westbound 7/27. Passengers were told to detrain in Minot and collect their baggage. We arrived in Minot about 12 hours late around 9 AM. As we reached Minot ND the conductor announced that after collecting our baggage transportation would be provided to nearby hotels. It took a while to get everything organized but by noon I was in a nice hotel room, had a breakfast there, took a shower and relaxed. This was on Amtrak's dime as I was not charged for the room or the shuttle. There was a fast food place nearby where I purchased a late lunch. Around 5 or 6 PM Amtrak called my room and told me to prepare to leave the motel at 8 PM. The tracks had been cleared and I could board the next east bound 8/28. I boarded the train around 9:45 PM and we soon began moving east. I was now over 24 hours behind my original travel schedule.

The train lost more time due to the severe winter conditions. Instead of traveling to Milwaukee, I checked my bags only as far as Saint Paul MN and arranged for friends to meet me there. I arrived in Saint Paul's Midway station around 11 AM which meant I was about 28 hours late.

The trip provided a good story for me. Fortunately my travel schedule was flexible so the late arrival was didn't really matter. I do recall a woman and her husband screaming to Amtrak officials in the Minot station that they could not be delayed as they were traveling to their daughter's wedding in Chicago. Unfortunately all roads were closed by the blizzard and no flights were leaving the Minot airport. That taught me to build in a day or so extra in my travels so this would not happen to me.
 

Gary Behling

Train Attendant
Joined
Mar 28, 2019
Messages
72
Here's my story of one winter trip that was originally scheduled to travel Empire Builder 8/28 from Shelby Montana to Milwaukee WI, I was riding in coach. We left Shelby close to on time on a winter day with temperatures near zero F. Somewhere east of Havre, MT we pulled onto a siding to let a west bound freight pass. The switches froze preventing us from going forward or backward onto the main track. After an hour or so the switch behind us was cleared and we backed onto the main and continued east. By now high winds were drifting snow and the train reduced speed due to the cold. We arrived in Williston ND 2-3 hours late. The winds had increased and snow was falling horizontally and also blowing around. After a longer than normal stop we departed Williston. Somewhere between Williston and Stanley ND the train encountered very deep snow drifts blocking the track. On board staff said drifts were over 10 to 15 feet deep. The train hit one of these drifts at low speed and actually became stuck. It seemed to take some time but eventually the train backed clear of the drift. We were ordered to backup to Williston ND which we did slowly. We were informed of the problem and were told BNSF is clearing the drifts. The train sat much of the night in Williston next to the station. It was late at night and I don't recall whether anyone was allowed to get off the train. Smoking was not an issue then because there was a coach car where smoking was allowed in the lower level. I think it was the last year Amtrak allowed smoking in one of the cars. Not long before daylight we began to move slowly east again.

As we approached Minot the conductor announced that heavy snow and high winds had blocked the tracks east of Minot and that the train would be turned there to become the westbound 7/27. Passengers were told to detrain in Minot and collect their baggage. We arrived in Minot about 12 hours late around 9 AM. As we reached Minot ND the conductor announced that after collecting our baggage transportation would be provided to nearby hotels. It took a while to get everything organized but by noon I was in a nice hotel room, had a breakfast there, took a shower and relaxed. This was on Amtrak's dime as I was not charged for the room or the shuttle. There was a fast food place nearby where I purchased a late lunch. Around 5 or 6 PM Amtrak called my room and told me to prepare to leave the motel at 8 PM. The tracks had been cleared and I could board the next east bound 8/28. I boarded the train around 9:45 PM and we soon began moving east. I was now over 24 hours behind my original travel schedule.

The train lost more time due to the severe winter conditions. Instead of traveling to Milwaukee, I checked my bags only as far as Saint Paul MN and arranged for friends to meet me there. I arrived in Saint Paul's Midway station around 11 AM which meant I was about 28 hours late.

The trip provided a good story for me. Fortunately my travel schedule was flexible so the late arrival was didn't really matter. I do recall a woman and her husband screaming to Amtrak officials in the Minot station that they could not be delayed as they were traveling to their daughter's wedding in Chicago. Unfortunately all roads were closed by the blizzard and no flights were leaving the Minot airport. That taught me to build in a day or so extra in my travels so this would not happen to me.
GOD--- just think how lucky you were that the heat didn't go out in your cars. I was on a train once (Zephyr) back in 1977 (Steam Heated cars) where on January 1st, the heat went out in all the coach cars all the way from Reno, Nv to Chicago. It was bitter cold outside and in. I'll never forget that trip
 

AmtrakBlue

Engineer
Gathering Team Member
Joined
May 6, 2011
Messages
13,411
Location
Delaware
At 12:05 pm today I'm seeing Last Updated: 12:01 pm. Maybe you need to clear your cache?
 

AMTRAK709

Train Attendant
Joined
May 6, 2021
Messages
74
Location
Columbus, GA
I have been telling this story for nearly 30 years now: when asked by my coworkers what is the COLDEST place you have ever been;
one February morning in 1997 on Empire Builder CHI-PDX stepped off the train to stretch in Minot ND = gorgeous clear morning, snow stacked to the sky, temp minus 19. Significantly cold to one who has spent most of his life in southern California and Daytona Beach FL.
 

Cal

Foamer
Joined
Jan 23, 2021
Messages
3,386
Location
Socal
I have been telling this story for nearly 30 years now: when asked by my coworkers what is the COLDEST place you have ever been;
one February morning in 1997 on Empire Builder CHI-PDX stepped off the train to stretch in Minot ND = gorgeous clear morning, snow stacked to the sky, temp minus 19. Significantly cold to one who has spent most of his life in southern California and Daytona Beach FL.
Ditto, except when I got off in Shelby it was only around 14.
 
Joined
May 13, 2015
Messages
856
Location
N. Texas
Thanks for this…I didn’t know it was there. I love the old route maps and the juckins.net schedules and printing them out in full colors, then taking a pencil or pen and crossing out the stops In between…as well as planning Sunrise and Sunset and where we are gonna be for breakfast lunch and dinner. It’s a really fun part of the Train experience. It’s kind of old school but lots of fun.
I think you'll find the Maps of pre-Amtrak beginning in 1962, and the evolution of Amtrak routes, interesting at this site:

 

Barb Stout

Conductor
Joined
Mar 13, 2019
Messages
1,004
Location
Albuquerque, NM
I have been telling this story for nearly 30 years now: when asked by my coworkers what is the COLDEST place you have ever been;
one February morning in 1997 on Empire Builder CHI-PDX stepped off the train to stretch in Minot ND = gorgeous clear morning, snow stacked to the sky, temp minus 19. Significantly cold to one who has spent most of his life in southern California and Daytona Beach FL.
Possible new friend: Where are you from?
Barb: North Dakota
Pnf: Gets cold there.
Barb:

Repeat hundreds of times.
 
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