What is your daily routine on LD trains?

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Maglev

Conductor
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Sep 4, 2016
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Orcas Island, Washington
Spending a whole day in bed watching the scenery go by is a great pleasure for me. I'll always set aside one day for that. My last long distance trip was with my wife Los Angeles to Seattle, and she spent the second day on the bed while I sat on the chair. Our SCA had us move to another Bedroom before arrival so he could make the beds. We still went to the dining car for meals--in all my travels, I have only once requested a meal in our room and that turned out to be sandwiches for dinner because the diner went down (although the champagne I had brought was still delicious).

IMG_7725.jpeg
 

oregon pioneer

Engineer
Joined
Feb 15, 2011
Messages
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Location
near Seneca, Oregon
I love to travel coast-to-coast, as I live in Oregon and I have family in Chicago and New England. That gives me three full days to appreciate the scenery and to occupy myself. While I am generally a sociable person, when traveling alone I regard the three day trip as "Me Time" and don't go out of my way to make conversation. I always bring a hand project (crocheted potholders or a small knitting project), and a library book loaded on my iPad. Back when I was a working nonprofit director, I brought my work laptop and some hours of video clips for which I needed to write a script. Of course, I used headphones so as not to disturb my neighbors. That project occupied my spare time for the entire eastbound journey! Looking out the window occupies a large percentage of the time, whether my hands are busy or just my thoughts!

I'm a tea drinker, so I have found a small hot pot that uses only ~500 Watts. It doesn't boil the super very fast, but it has never blown a fuse, either. This allows me to make a cup of *good* tea in my own thermal mug whenever I want.

I am not used to sitting around at home, so I walk the train and take walks at the "fresh air" stops. It only takes a moment to move past the smokers so I can stretch my legs. I try to not get too far from an open door, unless it's a service stop and plenty of time till scheduled departure. Fun story: I live in a cold, snowy place, so I travel prepared for real weather. One January I was bundled up and walking vigorously up and down the platform at Shelby, with ten minutes left to go, when I noticed I was the last one on the platform. The attendants were waiting by several open doors, and they looked cold. I asked one if they were there just for me, and she admitted that if I got back on the train, they could all get back inside too. I got back on. We sat there for ten more minutes, and left right on schedule.

Just a note: I have not traveled since the pandemic started, and I won't until it's over. All my stories are from a time when we did not need to take any precautions.
 

Eric in East County

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East San Diego County
For us, a long-distance train trip is an experience to be enjoyed to the fullest. To accommodate Pat, who is not a morning person, we'll have breakfast in our bedroom. Once the breakfast things have been cleared away and the bed made up, we get down to the serious business of making every minute of our trip count. This includes enjoying the passing scenery, monitoring radio traffic to and from our train and between crew members, tracking our train’s progress on our route map and on our GPS device, consulting our route guides, and jotting down anything of interest to include in our trip report.

Eric & Pat
 

Lonestar648

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May 17, 2015
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2,803
My routine on the train starts with boarding. I have always wiped down a few common touch areas, now I do so more. From my backpack I pull out a surge strip with a six foot cord, the various charging cables, my iPad, etc. if I have been in a business formal event, I change into something comfortable. Now I relax as the train departs. I like to spend time in the Sightseer Car viewing the scenery. In the evening I try to watch the sun set, I like to relax to music as I sit on the bed with the curtains open watching the small towns pass by or maybe it’s a full moon so you can watch the landscape pass in the night. Well before sunrise, I get up, get a shower, then have coffee. I used to enjoy having breakfast as the sun was coming up. I always take a cup of coffee to the Sightseer to enjoy the morning with beauty of this country passing by. There is so much to see, no matter how many times I have been on a route, I always find something new. I will spend late morning on reports if on business or if on a trip with a grandchild talking about what we have seen and what is coming up soon. We will also review photos taken when waiting for a freight to pass, eliminating those photos not worth keeping. I used to look forward to the mels because I got to talk to others traveling by train. Yes, I carry a book, but there is too much to see outside to be reading. The trip has always ended way too soon. I also talk with the SCA, Conductor to get to know them. These people are very interesting and so caring about their Guests.
 

Steve4031

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Aug 27, 2002
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Chicago
My trips often originate in Chicago. I catch a Metra train to Union station and spend extra time in the lounge. I usually get a brats from Gold Coast hot dogs. Once on board 21,3,5 or 7 I settle into my roomette and listen to music.
The first meal of many onboard a long distance train is my favorite. I enjoy writing my car and room number on the check. I always get the steak. Often enough a crew member recognizes me from previous trips. I enjoy that.

Day 2 I always make 6:30 call to breakfast. Pancakes or French toast. Then an after breakfast nap. Then I enjoy the mountains on the CZ. For lunch I get the cheeseburger. And then a nap and more scenery. Steak again for dinner.

Day 3 is pretty much the same.
 

20th Century Rider

Conductor
Joined
Jan 26, 2020
Messages
1,932
Location
Oregon Coast
I love to travel coast-to-coast, as I live in Oregon and I have family in Chicago and New England. That gives me three full days to appreciate the scenery and to occupy myself. While I am generally a sociable person, when traveling alone I regard the three day trip as "Me Time" and don't go out of my way to make conversation. I always bring a hand project (crocheted potholders or a small knitting project), and a library book loaded on my iPad. Back when I was a working nonprofit director, I brought my work laptop and some hours of video clips for which I needed to write a script. Of course, I used headphones so as not to disturb my neighbors. That project occupied my spare time for the entire eastbound journey! Looking out the window occupies a large percentage of the time, whether my hands are busy or just my thoughts!

I'm a tea drinker, so I have found a small hot pot that uses only ~500 Watts. It doesn't boil the super very fast, but it has never blown a fuse, either. This allows me to make a cup of *good* tea in my own thermal mug whenever I want.

I am not used to sitting around at home, so I walk the train and take walks at the "fresh air" stops. It only takes a moment to move past the smokers so I can stretch my legs. I try to not get too far from an open door, unless it's a service stop and plenty of time till scheduled departure. Fun story: I live in a cold, snowy place, so I travel prepared for real weather. One January I was bundled up and walking vigorously up and down the platform at Shelby, with ten minutes left to go, when I noticed I was the last one on the platform. The attendants were waiting by several open doors, and they looked cold. I asked one if they were there just for me, and she admitted that if I got back on the train, they could all get back inside too. I got back on. We sat there for ten more minutes, and left right on schedule.

Just a note: I have not traveled since the pandemic started, and I won't until it's over. All my stories are from a time when we did not need to take any precautions.
One of the most interesting things I do but never realized it... was to strike up conversations with the attendants as they stood outside their car doors. Some were extremely friendly and shared stories of their Amtrak work experiences; others shared info about their families. But the one most amazing experience was when I was chatting with the Amtrak Chef... and after the interesting things she said about how she made those angus steak burgers by the dozens, I asked her where she lived. Startling... she resided right near my home.

As she was always traveling we never were able to get together... but you never can tell how an acquaintance can turn out!
 

Eric in East County

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Jan 20, 2016
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East San Diego County
What kind of equipment? Do you have a special GPS for railroads?
We use a nuvi 2797 “car GPS” which we like because it has a large screen. We set it to the bicycle/walking mode which usually keeps it on the railroad tracks. We also invested in a sunshade to keep the ambient light from washing out the image. Last year, there was a AU discussion on the GPS devices which people use on Amtrak and which you should be able to find in the archives.
 

Charles785

Service Attendant
Joined
Nov 24, 2017
Messages
113
I think there was one other post above that reminded me of my habits in a sleeper. Probably more often than not, I leave the bed down during the day because I do get sleepy - and like naps. And I enjoy falling asleep to the rhythm of the moving train. And I always bring a book to read - which does help in falling asleep.

I go to the dining car for meals - although I haven't traveled since Covid. And I've been unsure if passengers during Covid can sit in the diner these days. Can someone give me a definitive answer?

Anyway, I've always wondered if I was unusual with those quirks of wanting to nap during the day, and if others also liked having the bed remaindl down during the day. (Of course one reason I get sleepy during the day is that I often wake up at night and can't fall back to sleep.)
 

SarahZ

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Joined
May 8, 2011
Messages
8,325
Location
KAL
Anyway, I've always wondered if I was unusual with those quirks of wanting to nap during the day, and if others also liked having the bed remaindl down during the day. (Of course one reason I get sleepy during the day is that I often wake up at night and can't fall back to sleep.)
Others on this forum have mentioned leaving the bed down for this reason. More commonly, the top bunk is left down so that one can choose to nap or sit.
 

Lonestar648

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May 17, 2015
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2,803
On the VL I use the upper for sleeping or napping and have the lower for sitting day or night. Harder to do on Superliners since no windows on upper and more cramped.
 

20th Century Rider

Conductor
Joined
Jan 26, 2020
Messages
1,932
Location
Oregon Coast
Anyway, I've always wondered if I was unusual with those quirks of wanting to nap during the day, and if others also liked having the bed remaindl down during the day. (Of course one reason I get sleepy during the day is that I often wake up at night and can't fall back to sleep.)
One of the pleasures of LD travel is that afternoon nap... lulled by the swaying of the train... for me personally it is refreshing to doze off after lunch. I guess that in my 70's I am returning to that same afternoon nap enjoyed in all day kindergarten... LOL! But being on a train makes that nap so enjoyable... awaking refreshed... then heading back to the observation car to watch scenery and make friends! 😌☺
 

caravanman

Engineer
Joined
Mar 22, 2004
Messages
4,373
Location
Nottingham, England.
Mostly I fly to Chicago to start my Amtrak adventures, taking the blue line into town. Since I retired, with money now being tight, I stay at the Chicago HI hostel for a night or two before heading to Union station. I always get some food items to bring on the trip, either from the hostel kitchen, such as hard boiled eggs, or I visit the Walgreens type shops near the station. I buy a gallon size bottle of water for the trip too.
Previously, I enjoyed travel in a roomette, but recently, for reasons of economy, I mostly travel in coach.
As you might imagine, having a nice seating companion is a big factor in my enjoyment of the journey, or being able to use the two seats for myself if the train is not crowded. I have often slept in the lounge/observation car at night, as I do find it hard to get comfortable enough to sleep in a single coach seat, but can sort of manage with the two seats to myself.
I like to make notes as I travel, so often jot down a few thoughts about the previous days events, people that I have chatted with, sights seen, etc, etc. I am always travelling for leisure, not work, and I very much enjoy meeting and chatting to my fellow travellers when possible.
The daily routine starts with a visit to the café car, a hot drink and an extra cup of hot water for my own instant porridge when I get back to my seat. Reading, daydreaming, spending time in the lounge, and so the time passes. I sometimes buy a hot dog to supplement my own food supply.
With a lucky mix of passengers, the coach car can become something like a mobile "village", as folk start chatting with other passengers over the course of a few days, similar to the lounge vibe, but more enduring as folk see the same faces constantly.
I hope the above does not sound too much like a poverty stricken person's lament, I very much enjoy my economy travels!
 

Sidney

OBS Chief
Joined
Jul 12, 2020
Messages
659
I'll be starting a circle trip on Friday. Roomettes for most of the trip. Coach on the first night leaving out of Pittsburgh at Midnight. Can't see spending money for a room. Also,I ll be in Coach between Portland and Martinez,Ca after a roomette on the Empire Builder and between Chicago and Schenectady after a roomette on the Texas Eagle. I have two upgrade coupons for business class. The guarantee of both seats to myself was the clincher doing three overnights in Coach. The prospect of that same flex dining food on my journey was another factor in doing three overnights in Coach. I certainly won't miss any great meals.
 

Bostonjetset

Train Attendant
Joined
Oct 24, 2020
Messages
32
Location
Boston suburbs
I think there was one other post above that reminded me of my habits in a sleeper. Probably more often than not, I leave the bed down during the day because I do get sleepy - and like naps. And I enjoy falling asleep to the rhythm of the moving train. And I always bring a book to read - which does help in falling asleep.

I go to the dining car for meals - although I haven't traveled since Covid. And I've been unsure if passengers during Covid can sit in the diner these days. Can someone give me a definitive answer?

Anyway, I've always wondered if I was unusual with those quirks of wanting to nap during the day, and if others also liked having the bed remaindl down during the day. (Of course one reason I get sleepy during the day is that I often wake up at night and can't fall back to sleep.)
I’m on the Silver Star now and had breakfast this morning and dinner last night in the diner car. It was the flex meals of course but sleeper car passengers can sit there to eat. Same last week on the Silver Meteor.
 

Bostonjetset

Train Attendant
Joined
Oct 24, 2020
Messages
32
Location
Boston suburbs
Did you have a VII???
I did. On both trains. They are really nice. I looked into the old cars when walking through and they were so shoddy, bordering on disgusting when considering they are a first class product. They really should accelerate the roll out to all eastern trains. We are booked on the LSL in May and now I feel like I’m going to be disappointed after the Silvers. Though I will admit that the old sleepers on the Silver Star were in better shape than those on the Meteor earlier in the week.
 

Cho Cho Charlie

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Joined
Apr 9, 2009
Messages
2,271
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Near an Amtrak station
This is pre-dining car cut backs and pre-COVID-19.

I always LD traveled in a roomette.

In the AM, I would find myself a cup of coffee. Get myself a shower, under my assumption that it was easiest to find a free shower earlier in the morning. A full breakfast in dining car would be next.

Lunch and dinner in the dining car will use up other parts of the day. I really enjoyed being seated with a stranger or two. Most made good conversation, and some even were pretty interesting people.

For the dining car food, I can say that I enjoyed the railroad french toast, and I have to admit, their burger too. I would vary my dinner choices, as to try to not repeat a selection.

Other times involved me looking out the window at the passing scenery. A lot of times we passed by the rear of peoples' homes, and I found it interesting to see how that part was kept.

At night, I would watch a movie on my portable DVD player. I also brought along my Garmin GPS, who's maps included rail tracks. This way, when I awoke, I could check on our overnight progress in our journey.

I would slowly walk around the train, checking other views and stretching my legs.

At the longer stops, I would leave the train and walk around the station. Occasionally, there was some type of historical exhibit. Always, keeping an ear out for the we-are-leaving whistle.
 
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Shortline

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Mar 13, 2011
Messages
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All over the United States
I am almost always travelling for business, I justify the extra cost, by being able to be productive while getting where I need to be. So, my routine is about the same as a workday. Shower, breakfast, (now that means raiding my bag for an apple or something and grabbing a cup of coffee). Then, on the computer. Often split between my room, and the lounge car, as long as the lounge isn't full. I don't take up space on the especially scenic parts, like the Sierra Nevada and Rocky's portion of the Zephyr, but if it's not packed, I love working from a table, rather than the little table in my room.

Other than that, reading, deconstructing regulations, and writing keep me plenty busy. Then, in the late afternoon, I break out the wine, or gin and tonic.

I know some think it's a travesty to keep your head buried in a computer most of the day, but hey, it's why I'm there. I spend 30-40 nights a year on a train, so I still get plenty of time to stare out the window when I need a break. And I'm pretty familiar with the longer stops, and where I can go grab something from a restaurant or market nearby, which helps avoid the miserable offerings they throw at you now, so that gets me some walking in, which helps.
 

Cal

Foamer
Joined
Jan 23, 2021
Messages
3,192
Location
Socal
I see I'm late to the party, but I saw this thread come up and I'd like to answer. I'll summarize what I did on my most recent trip (two months ago)

Woke up early and enjoyed the scenery while lying in bed. Finally got up and went to breakfast in the diner, then walked the train and spent a little bit of time in the lounge. I always try to step off for smoke breaks to take pictures of the train and to just get some fresh air. After that, since it wasn't the most scenic part of the trip, I spent some time in my room relaxing and watching some downloaded shows. Had lunch that was delivered to the train, and more time in the room. Then went to the SSL for a few hours to enjoy the scenery. For most of the afternoon and early evening I popped in between the SSL and the room, but mostly the SSL. Went back to the room and then enjoyed dinner in the diner. After that, chilled in the room while watching shows. Finally went to bed later than expected, but that's okay.
 

neroden

Engineer
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Feb 23, 2014
Messages
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Ithaca, NY
Wake. Breakfast. Nap. Watch scenery. Go to obs car. Go to lunch. Back to watching scenery. Nap again. Dinner. Watch scenery again. Read. Sleep.

...except that I get out at every station with a long stop and snap a couple of photos.

When the meals were decent and I could get ingredients information, I planned around those meals. When they weren't, I had a cooler of food and planned around those meals.
 
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