Things to take with you

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dogbert617

OBS Chief
Joined
Aug 19, 2016
Messages
839
Location
Chicago, IL
On my last Amtrak trip(Capitol Limited from Chicago to Pittsburgh and back), I'm really glad I brought an inflatable pillow(that you blow up on your own) on that trip. It made it a lot easier to sleep for myself, since I don't sleep easily on Amtrak trains in coach per my experiences over the years. I still hadn't tried a sleeper(which I'll save potentially doing for those much longer Amtrak trips), but maybe I will one of these days.
 

Rail_Gurlz

Train Attendant
Joined
Aug 2, 2018
Messages
39
We brought a power strip after seeing it mentioned here. It’s been very handy.

Also brought windex wipes though our windows were pretty clean.
 

JRR

OBS Chief
Joined
Jul 17, 2017
Messages
932
We brought a power strip after seeing it mentioned here. It’s been very handy.

Also brought windex wipes though our windows were pretty clean.
We also carry an extension cord which allows us to “snake” the cord around the roomette so that the power strip lies between the table and window of the roomette. The gaffer tape helps keep it all in place.
 

Matthew H Fish

Train Attendant
Joined
May 28, 2019
Messages
86
I can't believe that nobody mentioned to bring some drugs with you!

Okay, calm down if you misinterpreted that :)

I always bring a little kit with some ibuprofen, dextromethorphan, and loporamide. (Advil, Robitussin and Immodium AD as the brand names). I don't want to get a bad headache, a coughing fit, or diarrhea on a long train trip.

Without getting into too many details, Loporamide/Immodium also makes it easier to hold defecation in, even if you don't have diarrhea. When I would rather not use the train bathrooms, I can take some and uh, it makes it easier to wait for my next real bathroom.
 
Joined
Jun 10, 2019
Messages
7
I've compiled this list from various threads on this board:

1. A small flashlight – for use at night or to see stuff dropped under seats

2. 3 or 4 large pins like the diaper pins or safety pins (this is to keep the curtains closed at night)

3. Some small snack packs for nibbling

4. A roll of transparent tape

5. A very small sewing kit and

6. A few Band-Aids

7. A few rubber bands

8. Moist towelettes.

9. Take along 12" or so of duct tape, wrapped around a ballpoint pen. Use the tape to silence any squeaky panels or fixtures inside your roomette. Bring even more, and some heavy folder-type paper, to cover excessive vents.

10. Wire - 16 or 18 gauge, to hold door shut

11. 3-prong extension cord

12. Instead of pjs, take lightweight knit pants and a t shirt to sleep in. Then if you get up during the night to use the bathroom you are for all purposes dressed.

13. A small bottle of water as there have been times in the past when they run out.

14. A route guide - that makes the trip more interesting.

This sounds like a lot of stuff, but it could easily fit into a quart or gallon-size bag.
This list hasn't gotten any less actual, worth a repost :)
 

dogbert617

OBS Chief
Joined
Aug 19, 2016
Messages
839
Location
Chicago, IL
We brought a power strip after seeing it mentioned here. It’s been very handy.

Also brought windex wipes though our windows were pretty clean.
Funny you mention windex wipes. Though honestly for me, it's too often the outside of windows on long distance Amtrak trains that were dirtier than I was hoping(sometimes making it a little tougher to pull off doing a photo of some scenery I'm passing by), vs. the inside of windows being an issue.

I've compiled this list from various threads on this board:

1. A small flashlight – for use at night or to see stuff dropped under seats

2. 3 or 4 large pins like the diaper pins or safety pins (this is to keep the curtains closed at night)

3. Some small snack packs for nibbling

4. A roll of transparent tape

5. A very small sewing kit and

6. A few Band-Aids

7. A few rubber bands

8. Moist towelettes.

9. Take along 12" or so of duct tape, wrapped around a ballpoint pen. Use the tape to silence any squeaky panels or fixtures inside your roomette. Bring even more, and some heavy folder-type paper, to cover excessive vents.

10. Wire - 16 or 18 gauge, to hold door shut

11. 3-prong extension cord

12. Instead of pjs, take lightweight knit pants and a t shirt to sleep in. Then if you get up during the night to use the bathroom you are for all purposes dressed.

13. A small bottle of water as there have been times in the past when they run out.

14. A route guide - that makes the trip more interesting.

This sounds like a lot of stuff, but it could easily fit into a quart or gallon-size bag.
Looking back at this post from years ago, I always do a google search for those old 2000s/early 2010s Amtrak route guides for each of their long distance trains they used to publish, before those were discontinued during the(I suspect) Joe Boardman era, as likely a weird cost cutting measure. :( Found one for Empire Builder just before my trip a week ago, and I was so glad I found that so I could read info about those towns and cities the EB was passing through. Even info for places, the EB doesn't stop at and just passes through.

Never thought about bringing something like a safety pin on trips, but now I think I may try that in the future, in case I'm trying to close a curtain and can't do so all the way. That's a good idea to bring along, for future Amtrak trips.
 
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MARC Rider

Conductor
Joined
Apr 5, 2011
Messages
2,956
Location
Baltimore. MD
I've never had the need for duct tape. I always take a flashlight (well, a headlamp) when I travel, anyway, and not just for the train. My meds are always in the carry-on. I also take a pocket knife (Swiss Army), which I usually use to slice cheese, though I guess it has other uses as well, but I've never needed them so far. Fortunately, unlike the airlines, they let you carry a pocketknife on board. Also, my cell phone recharger and an external cell phone battery, which I try to always keep charged up. If I remember, I bring along a scanner, though I haven't used one in a while, and when I last checked it out, it doesn't seem to be working, even after I put in fresh batteries. I think there's corrosion on the battery terminals. I really need to take the batteries out between trips.
 

flitcraft

OBS Chief
Joined
Jan 10, 2018
Messages
824
Yup, batteries do fail, and when they do they can mess up the thing they were meant to power. During a spate of pandemica-decluttering a few months back, we came across several battery-powered items that had corroded batteries in them. Live and learn...
 

Devil's Advocate

Sarcastic Misanthrope
Joined
May 24, 2010
Messages
12,327
Location
Texas
I've never had the need for duct tape.
How do you stop excessive squeaks and rattles? How do you close off a broken ceiling vent or keep the door open when the temperature is uncomfortable? How do you cover up the speaker when the volume control is stuck on max? How do you keep electronics plugged into a loose socket or keep the lights on/off when the button is intermittent? It's true that I used to laugh at the idea of bringing (gaffers/painters) tape but now it's part of my routine travel kit.
 

PaTrainFan

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
May 1, 2017
Messages
297
Location
Pittsburgh, Pa.
How do you stop excessive squeaks and rattles? How do you close off a broken ceiling vent or keep the door open when the temperature is uncomfortable? How do you cover up the speaker when the volume control is stuck on max? How do you keep electronics plugged into a loose socket or keep the lights on/off when the button is intermittent? It's true that I used to laugh at the idea of bringing (gaffers/painters) tape but now it's part of my routine travel kit.
It is a sad state of affairs when these things are critical for enjoying a long distance train journey. For goodness sake, rookies don't know this and how many first time riders are permently lost because of poor experiences. Amtrak has to get its act together! Rant over.
 

Cal

Conductor
Joined
Jan 23, 2021
Messages
1,247
Location
Socal
I've taken many Amtrak trips, and some of these are very creative! I think for our next trip (also first on in a bedroom), I'll be checking back here!

I have a scanner, but I haven't use it in quite a while, so knowing how to use it may be a problem
 

MARC Rider

Conductor
Joined
Apr 5, 2011
Messages
2,956
Location
Baltimore. MD
How do you stop excessive squeaks and rattles? How do you close off a broken ceiling vent or keep the door open when the temperature is uncomfortable? How do you cover up the speaker when the volume control is stuck on max? How do you keep electronics plugged into a loose socket or keep the lights on/off when the button is intermittent? It's true that I used to laugh at the idea of bringing (gaffers/painters) tape but now it's part of my routine travel kit.
I guess I've just never had any of these problems on my rides.
 

Railspike

Train Attendant
Joined
Nov 29, 2020
Messages
26
Location
Houston
Speaking of dirty exterior windows, I recall boarding in Chicago on the SWC a few years back and noticing how dirty the exterior window was in our bedroom. I wondered if the cars had been through the washer when serviced. I later called Amtrak and talked to a customer service rep whereby I explained the situation about the filthy windows upon departing. She assured me that it is standard procedure that as soon as the train is taken for servicing that washing the cars is the first thing they do. So it appears that the just-washed cars sit in the servicing yard for hours unprotected while being serviced. Does it make too much sense that washing would be the last thing done before returning the consist to the station for boarding and not the first? Go figure.
 

Devil's Advocate

Sarcastic Misanthrope
Joined
May 24, 2010
Messages
12,327
Location
Texas
I guess I've just never had any of these problems on my rides.
Do you ride in Superliner sleepers? I've had so many examples of busted controls and broken fixtures I've lost count and simply assume every ride will have at least one major problem. Even if the SCA is receptive to customer complaints it's rare that they can fix the problem either. Consider the CZ for example. I can't recall a single trip where some part of the plumbing system never seized up somewhere in the mountains. When that happens the "fresh air" vent becomes a "sewage fumes" vent and a fat roll of tape becomes a lifesaver.
 
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Cal

Conductor
Joined
Jan 23, 2021
Messages
1,247
Location
Socal
Do you ride in Superliner sleepers? I've had so many examples of busted controls and broken fixtures I've lost count and simply assume every ride will have at least one major problem. Even if the SCA is receptive to customer complaints it's rare that they can fix the problem either. Consider the CZ for example. I can't recall a single trip where some part of the plumbing system never seized up somewhere in the mountains. When that happens the "fresh air" vent becomes a "sewage fumes" vent and a fat roll of tape becomes a lifesaver.
I've ridden in superliner sleepers, never have had anything that bad...
 

caravanman

Conductor
Joined
Mar 22, 2004
Messages
4,098
Location
Nottingham, England.
Folk mentioned corrosion on equipment from leaking batteries. It should be possible to renovate minor rust/corrosion by rubbing the equipment terminals with some abrasive item, such as a nail file or emery board, or scratching with a small screwdriver. I have also used tiny balls of tin foil to stiffen and improve battery connections.
One of the benefits of low level rooms on the superliners, is that one can clean outsides of the windows from the station platforms. :)
 
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