Quantcast

What is your daily routine on LD trains?

Help Support Amtrak Unlimited Discussion Forum:

20th Century Rider

Conductor
Joined
Jan 26, 2020
Messages
1,059
Location
Oregon Coast
I've often wondered what people do to pass time during an entire day of rail travel... especially on Western routes which include that 'day in the middle' when you wake up to a full day, followed by yet another night. Uniquely the Texas Eagle has two such days. Coach travel will vary with roomette and bedroom travel. Single travelers might vary from two traveling together.

Do you have breakfast delivered? Do you saunter to the lounge car after a meal... do you nap after lunch? Do you return to your room in late afternoon for a bit of happy hour? Do you take a vigorous walk at fresh air stops? Do you blog and/or take pictures? It's certainly difficult for me to just stay stationary for a three day trip. So, what is your daily routine?

Moderators... if you find this is redundant to other forums please place this where you think it is best. But I've wondered how others actually pass the time and am interested in their take.
 

Sidney

Service Attendant
Joined
Jul 12, 2020
Messages
141
A typical day on a long distance train with a sleeper used to begin with coffee from the attendant. Now it's their scaled down breakfast. I ll sit in the sightseer car for a couple of hours,then back to my room until lunch. After lunch back to the sightseer car,then I get a couple of glasses of ice,bring them to my room and drink a few mini bottles of wine with snacks I brought with me. Dinner follows and when darkness arrives,I have the bed put down and go to sleep. Of course,I take advantage of all the fresh air stops and I always have a radio and my extensive Spotifly playlists with me. A perfect day in a moving hotel.
 

20th Century Rider

Conductor
Joined
Jan 26, 2020
Messages
1,059
Location
Oregon Coast
Certainly the pandemic has put a damper on daily routines due to covid restrictions and the absence of opportunity to make friends in the dining car. The quality of travel is diminished during the pandemic paralysis. But I still find it fascinating to see how others spend time... and like you I'd go back to the room at 4ish for drinks and snacks. Thank you for sharing!
 

Sidney

Service Attendant
Joined
Jul 12, 2020
Messages
141
At the fresh air/smoking stops I'll always take a walk,usually trainside until the "all aboard" is called. If we are early and have extended time I'll walk into the town or city,making sure I'm back at least ten minutes early. Last year we had over an hour stops in Klamath Falls,Minot and Fort Worth.Plenty of time to explore and get some good walking in. Does anybody else do this? Usually all I see are smokers.
 

Qapla

Conductor
Joined
Jul 15, 2019
Messages
1,547
Location
Gator Country Florida
I like to take pictures at stops long enough to get off the train. However, now that I have some walking issues, I am not as eager to walk about since too many smokers gather too near the areas I can walk to ...

Maybe, by the time I can take another train trip my mobility issues will have improved.
 

jiml

Conductor
Joined
Feb 27, 2019
Messages
2,300
Location
Somewhere in Southern Ontario
I always take advantage of the fresh air breaks (non-smoker). I usually try to get some better photos of the train that weren't possible in the terminal or boarding station. Always try to get a shot of the head end when permitted, since you never know when your favorite locomotive model will be retired. (I'm partial to VIA FPA-4's and Amtrak P30CH's - neither of which were very reliable, but always interesting.) Getting out for a walk and fresh air is just a bonus.

I actually like lower level roomettes and the family bedroom for ease of hopping off the train.
 

flitcraft

OBS Chief
Joined
Jan 10, 2018
Messages
692
Love those euphemistically denominated "fresh air" breaks! These days, though, in the great expanses of the West, they might call them "try your cellphone" breaks--I see a lot of folks huddled in or near the station hoping that there might be Wifi there! Me, I think being unplugged from email and the Internet is one of the great features of LD train life. I always put an 'out of office, no Internet' notice on my email, but I still get students who persist in sending me emails while I'm away--when I ask if they'd seen my out of office message, they usually say something like, "Well, yes, but I didn't think it included *my* emails."
 

Qapla

Conductor
Joined
Jul 15, 2019
Messages
1,547
Location
Gator Country Florida
I actually like lower level roomettes and the family bedroom for ease of hopping off the train.
Too bad we don't have train cars like the one in the movie The 39 Steps ... that definitely made getting on and off the train from your room easy
1609790722989.png
1609790810923.png
1609790851456.png
1609790932194.png

Getting directly into your room would be "interesting" to say the least.
 

Dakota 400

Conductor
Joined
Mar 5, 2014
Messages
2,455
After arising, a pre-breakfast O.J. (when that was available), a shower, breakfast in the dining car, then to the SSL for awhile. Back to my Roomette to read (usually more sightseeing than reading, though) followed by another visit to the SSL for a Bloody Mary. Lunch in the dining car; back to the SSL; then to the Roomette for more "reading". Happy Hour in the SSL followed by dinner in the dining car. After dinner, if it's still before sunset, I will return to the SSL to finish my bottle of wine or to the Roomette for the same purpose. Before I ask the SCA to prepare my bed, I enjoy sitting in the dark for awhile watching the lights and passing scenery after dark.

Probably will also take photos during the day and will occasionally get out of the train during a few longer stops. Really always try to find some people who are willing to engage in conversation. And, as willing to do, converse with the SCA, the LSA, and SA.

Never find myself bored even on a longer trip such as the full route of the Sunset Limited. Usually disappointed that the book I took along to read never gets completely read.
 

IndyLions

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Nov 6, 2016
Messages
462
Location
Brownsburg IN
Too bad we don't have train cars like the one in the movie The 39 Steps ... that definitely made getting on and off the train from your room easy
I got the Blu-Ray of “The 39 Steps” for Christmas from my oldest daughter. One of my all-time favorites to be sure.

If you haven’t already, check out “The Lady Vanishes” and the slightly more obscure “Young and Innocent”. Two more great Hitchcock films from that era. Lots of great train scenes on The Lady Vanishes.
 

20th Century Rider

Conductor
Joined
Jan 26, 2020
Messages
1,059
Location
Oregon Coast
After arising, a pre-breakfast O.J. (when that was available), a shower, breakfast in the dining car, then to the SSL for awhile. Back to my Roomette to read (usually more sightseeing than reading, though) followed by another visit to the SSL for a Bloody Mary. Lunch in the dining car; back to the SSL; then to the Roomette for more "reading". Happy Hour in the SSL followed by dinner in the dining car. After dinner, if it's still before sunset, I will return to the SSL to finish my bottle of wine or to the Roomette for the same purpose. Before I ask the SCA to prepare my bed, I enjoy sitting in the dark for awhile watching the lights and passing scenery after dark.

Probably will also take photos during the day and will occasionally get out of the train during a few longer stops. Really always try to find some people who are willing to engage in conversation. And, as willing to do, converse with the SCA, the LSA, and SA.

Never find myself bored even on a longer trip such as the full route of the Sunset Limited. Usually disappointed that the book I took along to read never gets completely read.
Very nice... and very well done. Me too... like you I find the joys of rail travel and for sure there is nothing quite as nice as gliding along the rails ... looking out the window... and appreciating how really good life is... on the rails!

Viewliner-Accessible-Bedroom.jpg
 

Night Ranger

Train Attendant
AU Supporter
Joined
Jan 22, 2020
Messages
89
Pre-COVID our routine seldom varied. We spent most of the time in our roomette enjoying the scenery, reading, napping, and listening to music. From to time, we would visit the club or lounge car and walk as much of the train as we could. All of our trips have been mostly on the Crescent (the first time we rode it was still called the Southern Crescent) and have been to DC, NYC or NO. Each one was a positive experience in its own way.

We are already thinking of Post-COVID trips we want to take but only if or after this thrice weekly schedule ends. We are less concerned about the food than we are about the schedule.
 

20th Century Rider

Conductor
Joined
Jan 26, 2020
Messages
1,059
Location
Oregon Coast
Pre-COVID our routine seldom varied. We spent most of the time in our roomette enjoying the scenery, reading, napping, and listening to music. From to time, we would visit the club or lounge car and walk as much of the train as we could. All of our trips have been mostly on the Crescent (the first time we rode it was still called the Southern Crescent) and have been to DC, NYC or NO. Each one was a positive experience in its own way.

We are already thinking of Post-COVID trips we want to take but only if or after this thrice weekly schedule ends. We are less concerned about the food than we are about the schedule.
Sweet... it sounds like you just relax and enjoy the railroad experience the way it suits you most. The happiness of the travelers gazing out the windows is so much of what this is all about. On a personal note it makes me feel really good to be sharing in the experiences of others. I wish you many many more scenic and restful rail voyages!

SuperlinerRoomette.jpg
 

Michigan Mom

OBS Chief
Joined
Jan 28, 2012
Messages
700
Location
MI
What a fun topic to read through... it's been a while, and I wonder if it will ever be the same again, but this was my morning routine on LD trains, whether it was looking forward to an entire new day and night on the train, or disembarking sometime that same day.

Wake up much earlier than normal, and when the SCA had the canister brewing, whether it was at 5, 6 or whatever time, I'd get that early morning coffee. Never traveled without my kids and they'd be asleep. Curled up with the steaming cup on the lower bunk, watching the surreal landscape and even an early morning station stop, 2-3 hours would pass by like as many minutes, and soon the bunk upstairs and across the aisle would be awake, and we'd go off to breakfast, or just have the snacks we brought along.

Will 2021 make this possible again, sure hope so
 

Seaboard92

Conductor
Joined
Dec 31, 2014
Messages
3,879
Location
South Carolina
For me I have a fairly regular routine on the western routes with a Sightseer Lounge. I wake up in my room right around dawn because I love seeing that hour from a train as I find it one of the most surreal and enjoyable experiences. Then I will go to the diner for breakfast. After that I will go to the lounge for the rest of the daytime period of the day leaving only for lunch in the diner, and fresh air stops. After dark I tend to stay in my room more.

At Fresh Air stops I will walk up to the locomotive photograph it and then hang out on the platform next to my vestibule for as long as I can. If it is a really long consist and I'm not sure I'll have time to reach the locomotive I'll walk to the most forward vestibule.

On VIA Rail it is basically the same except I will go wherever the musician is playing. On VIA I've had really good luck having musicians who really just love making music and me, maybe a few others, and the musician are still singing until one in the morning. It's a lot of fun.

At night on the train I generally tend to be in a state where my mind tends to be less blocked up and I feel I can think much clearer than I can anywhere else. I love that state.
 

IndyLions

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Nov 6, 2016
Messages
462
Location
Brownsburg IN
I love travel in general – and traveling by train in particular.

My routine seems to be similar to many others. Start out with a coffee – hopefully from the sleeper pot at about 5:30 AM. Watch the scenery go by while I enjoy the coffee. My favorite is when there is an early morning haze drifting over the landscape.

Usually I’m one of the first for breakfast at the diner. Some trains open at 6am, others at 6:30. More often than not I’ll get the Railroad French Toast if it’s available, and another coffee. I do miss the days of freshly cooked eggs, But even the reheated French toast somehow tastes better on the train.

I have been fortunate to be able to justify taking the train for several business trips over my career. So if that is the case on this trip, I will head back to my room and start working on my project, or presentation, or whatever else I need to prepare for. After a couple hours I will head to the lounge (on Eastern trains) for a new environment in which to do my work. If room is at a premium I’ll make sure I don’t stay too long, and that I don’t take up the entire booth.

For non-work trips, I will spend a fair amount of time reading, listening to audiobooks, or doing some online browsing where the data service allows. I will usually get off at the extended stops to stretch my legs.

For lunch, the cheeseburger is probably the selection I’ve gotten most. The lunch menus on Amtrak aren’t especially extensive, and I usually save an entrée for dinner. At dinner, I will pick out an entrée with a single glass/small bottle of wine. And I will always have dessert. I will save my calorie counting for another day. I have also learned to enjoy meeting others and sharing in some unexpected conversation.

For trains without a diner or on shorter trips, I will usually spend some time chatting up the lounge attendant if they are not too busy. And it gives me an excuse to partake in a completely unhealthy snack. Once again, I’ll save my calorie counting for another day.

And then the final highlight of the day is falling asleep on the train. If you are fortunate enough to be at least somewhat nimble - the best experience on Amtrak for me is the bunk on the Viewliner Roomette. It’s cozy, but more importantly the window level is just right. Drifting asleep while the world flashes by in combination with the sounds of the train can’t be beat.

I was fortunate enough to have a couple of safe overnight trips even during this Covid crisis. I missed the morning coffee in the sleeper, the meals in the diner, the time hanging in the lounge - but it was still pretty great. For me as long as they’re still offering sleeper service and a way to purchase food – it will still be worthwhile. But all those other things just make the trip that much better.
 

20th Century Rider

Conductor
Joined
Jan 26, 2020
Messages
1,059
Location
Oregon Coast
I love travel in general – and traveling by train in particular.

My routine seems to be similar to many others. Start out with a coffee – hopefully from the sleeper pot at about 5:30 AM. Watch the scenery go by while I enjoy the coffee. My favorite is when there is an early morning haze drifting over the landscape.

Usually I’m one of the first for breakfast at the diner. Some trains open at 6am, others at 6:30. More often than not I’ll get the Railroad French Toast if it’s available, and another coffee. I do miss the days of freshly cooked eggs, But even the reheated French toast somehow tastes better on the train.

I have been fortunate to be able to justify taking the train for several business trips over my career. So if that is the case on this trip, I will head back to my room and start working on my project, or presentation, or whatever else I need to prepare for. After a couple hours I will head to the lounge (on Eastern trains) for a new environment in which to do my work. If room is at a premium I’ll make sure I don’t stay too long, and that I don’t take up the entire booth.

For non-work trips, I will spend a fair amount of time reading, listening to audiobooks, or doing some online browsing where the data service allows. I will usually get off at the extended stops to stretch my legs.

For lunch, the cheeseburger is probably the selection I’ve gotten most. The lunch menus on Amtrak aren’t especially extensive, and I usually save an entrée for dinner. At dinner, I will pick out an entrée with a single glass/small bottle of wine. And I will always have dessert. I will save my calorie counting for another day. I have also learned to enjoy meeting others and sharing in some unexpected conversation.

For trains without a diner or on shorter trips, I will usually spend some time chatting up the lounge attendant if they are not too busy. And it gives me an excuse to partake in a completely unhealthy snack. Once again, I’ll save my calorie counting for another day.

And then the final highlight of the day is falling asleep on the train. If you are fortunate enough to be at least somewhat nimble - the best experience on Amtrak for me is the bunk on the Viewliner Roomette. It’s cozy, but more importantly the window level is just right. Drifting asleep while the world flashes by in combination with the sounds of the train can’t be beat.

I was fortunate enough to have a couple of safe overnight trips even during this Covid crisis. I missed the morning coffee in the sleeper, the meals in the diner, the time hanging in the lounge - but it was still pretty great. For me as long as they’re still offering sleeper service and a way to purchase food – it will still be worthwhile. But all those other things just make the trip that much better.
Train travel is carefree... no worry about getting drowsy as while driving... or where to stop for a meal or a hotel. Your world is riding with you as the other on the outside passes by. :)
 

Sidney

Service Attendant
Joined
Jul 12, 2020
Messages
141
drifting asleep while the world passes by and sound of the train perfectly sums up after dark in a sleeper. I just wish the Superliner roomettes matched up with the window ,but that is one of the most pleasant aspects of sleeper travel.

i also enjoy getting up in the middle of the night,and I do quite often wondering where we are. I usually check the Amtrak app to see how late we are.
 

anumberone

Conductor
AU Supporter
Joined
Aug 8, 2015
Messages
2,230
Location
Los Angeles
The train has always been for vacationing for me. I wanted to just unwind from the hustle of last minute work situations. So, set up some type of GPS to keep track where I may be and kick back, gaze out the window and wait for the dining reservation. Then never a plan. Always something to look at, or someone to talk to. Drink some wine, take a shower, eat some snacks, go to the observation car, get off the train at some stops, in no particular order.
 

jis

Conductor
AU Lifetime Supporter
Gathering Team Member
Joined
Aug 24, 2003
Messages
26,553
Location
Space Coast, Florida, Area code 3-2-1
When I visited Clapham in 1970 there were still slam-door carriages on commuter runs.

View attachment 20136

View attachment 20137
I used to travel regularly on these Slam Doors from Waterloo to Bracknell or Winnersh Triangle on the Waterloo - Reading Service, to commute to work back in the '90s when I spent quite a bit of time in London and Paris each year. On the way back to London I usually took the Slam Doors to Reading then a Western Region HST back to Paddington. It cost the same after 7pm.

Last year I took the same ride just for the heck of it. No slam doors. All brand spanking new air-conditioned EMUs with automatic centrally operated doors. Reading Station is unrecognizable, and all the trains, except for a few HSTs and Turbos coming in from the Oxford and Cornwall sides everything else is electric traction with Class 8xxs instead of HST doing the honors.

Coming back to daily routine on LD trains... I spend most of my time in my roomette listening to music, reading books and staring out of the window. I do quit a bit of photography, both out the window and at every stop where I can safely get off.

On the whole though, my primary goal is to relax and laze away my time. I am not much into socializing and avoid it as much as I can, except for spending some time with people that I already know, if they happen to be co-travelers. Not much into making new acquaintances. Even when I am in the SSL or Lounge, I tend to spend time by myself rather than get into major conversations with anyone.
 

me_little_me

Conductor
Joined
Jul 16, 2010
Messages
3,494
My train day:

Pre Flex Meals:
Leisurely breakfast and sit and talk with tablemates.
Watch scenery
Go to Lounge car (on superliners) and watch scenery.
Walk up and down train for a bit
Watch scenery

Leisurely lunch and sit and talk with tablemates.
Watch scenery
Go to Lounge car (on superliners) and watch scenery.
Walk up and down train for a bit
Watch scenery

Leisurely dinner and sit and talk with tablemates.
Watch scenery
Go to Lounge car (on superliners) and watch scenery.
Walk up and down train for a bit
Watch scenery

After flex meals started:
Quick breakfast and watch my sugar go through roof.
Watch scenery
Go to Lounge car (on superliners) and watch scenery.
Walk up and down train for a bit
Watch scenery

Quick lunch then throw most of it out.
Vomit.
Watch scenery
Go to Lounge car (on superliners) and watch scenery.
Walk up and down train for a bit
Watch scenery

Quick dinner then throw most of it out.
Vomit.
Watch scenery
Go to Lounge car (on superliners) and watch scenery.
Walk up and down train for a bit
Watch scenery
 

Sidney

Service Attendant
Joined
Jul 12, 2020
Messages
141
Gee,I wonder if Amtrak is even remotely aware of how unpopular flex dining is? I wonder if Richard Anderson ever actually ate one of those entrees,or for that matter even rode a long distance train for more than one day?

Obviously,Anderson is long gone,but getting back to the topic on hand,the removal of full service dining has altered the way you spend a day on a long distance train. Remember when meal time was something you looked forward to? I did plan my days around the meals. I looked forward to the conversations at the tables. I always took the cheesecake back with me to my room and had it with coffee an hour later.

I still love riding. I took several trips last year and I have a nice circle trip coming up a week from Friday hitting Chicago,LA and New York. Anxious to see the new train station. The lack of full dining is unfortunate,but I would still rather spend a full day on a train than anywhere else.
 

jiml

Conductor
Joined
Feb 27, 2019
Messages
2,300
Location
Somewhere in Southern Ontario
Remember when meal time was something you looked forward to? I did plan my days around the meals. I looked forward to the conversations at the tables. I always took the cheesecake back with me to my room and had it with coffee an hour later.
There's another current thread on the raison d'etre of the Texas Eagle and, similar to your comment here, it's worth noting that if a Chicago to Los Angeles or vice-versa trip on it or the SWC priced out the same, you'd get more meals on the Eagle - and that wasn't considered a bad thing. Heck, back in the day you'd even get a change of menus at San Antonio, where the diners switched.
 

Bob Dylan

Conductor
Joined
May 31, 2009
Messages
21,294
Location
Austin Texas
Gee,I wonder if Amtrak is even remotely aware of how unpopular flex dining is? I wonder if Richard Anderson ever actually ate one of those entrees,or for that matter even rode a long distance train for more than one day?

Obviously,Anderson is long gone,but getting back to the topic on hand,the removal of full service dining has altered the way you spend a day on a long distance train. Remember when meal time was something you looked forward to? I did plan my days around the meals. I looked forward to the conversations at the tables. I always took the cheesecake back with me to my room and had it with coffee an hour later.

I still love riding. I took several trips last year and I have a nice circle trip coming up a week from Friday hitting Chicago,LA and New York. Anxious to see the new train station. The lack of full dining is unfortunate,but I would still rather spend a full day on a train than anywhere else.
look forward to your trip report!Stay safe!! 😷
 
Top