Why trains instead of planes for long distance?

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railiner

Conductor
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Mar 20, 2009
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That was the same era when “Airfone’s” came out on airliner’s...might have been the same company providing both. Not sure...
IIRC, some planes only had one or two near the galley, later ones had one with every three seat row...
 

jloewen

Train Attendant
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Mar 10, 2009
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A Bit OT (although I had just taken her family on a Houston-LA-Houston Amtrak trip; so there :p), but when my niece turned thirteen I decided that for her birthday we'd dress up and I'd take her to a really nice restaurant. I remember her looking at the menu, then asking, "What is fill-it mig-nan?" The first thing which ran through my mind was, "You're not getting out of here for less than eighty bucks...."
When MY niece was maybe half that age, we went to a really nice restaurant for breakfast and she ordered "a quickie." Turned out to be a sort of egg pie with cheese in it....
 

drdumont

Service Attendant
AU Supporter
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Apr 16, 2017
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Amtrak phones started with Manual Mobile - An operator placed the call and took care of billing, same as the regular LD or Maritime Mobile operators.
They then played with IMTS radios, which was the analog FM system you used when you "dialed" a call from your friend's van. It was semi private, but channels were limited. And expensive, subject to bad handoffs and physical woes the same as any electronics mounted in a railcar.
AMTRAK then began experimenting with cellular technology in the earliest days, before coverage was almost universal.
Not needed nowadays, of course.
I remember it being hideously expensive, as it was in the early cellular days.
And as for Internet service, it has been my experience that even when the onboard or station AMTRAK Internet service is available, I get superior service using my phone as a hotspot.
 

railiner

Conductor
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Mar 20, 2009
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The Penn Central Metroliner’s were running with automatic pay phones two years before Amtrak started...I don’t know what technology they used, but the only difference between their coin phone’s, and land ones that I recall, was a light that showed whether or not they were in a service area...
 

basketmaker

Train Attendant
Joined
Apr 19, 2018
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On the same note, a trip from DC to Indianapolis on the Cardinal, which arrives at O dark 30 created nightmares for my inlaws, believing they were in danger having to go to the Amtrack station at that time of night to pick us up. arriving at odd hours is an issue.
Not per se a fear of any criminal activity though downtown Denver can be a bit iffy. I use FMG instead of DEN. Beats the heck out of fighting downtown traffic and "trying" to find parking plus the long walk to the station. FMG is all open Interstate highway and free parking trackside. It is an hour's drive from front door-to-vestibule but traffic, parking and getting into the station is about the same time-wise just way more convenient, cheaper and less stressful.
 

Devil's Advocate

Conductor
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May 24, 2010
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I remember it being hideously expensive, as it was in the early cellular days.
Early cell phones were crazy expensive but only lightly used by many who owned one, whereas early smart phones had lower fees but were generally subjected to routine use and were constantly sending and receiving data long before flat rate contracts were offered. As a result my most most expensive smart phone bill was more than double the cost of my most expensive analogue cell phone bill.
 
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basketmaker

Train Attendant
Joined
Apr 19, 2018
Messages
85
Bought the first model that Radio Shack offered (about '78-'79) with the big heavy battery and corded handset for $500 and got a $500 rebate check after 2-years of service with Bell South. Airtime was like 35¢/minute but since I used it for my business (local cartage) I wrote it off at tax time. Used to deliver parts/supplies to the Bell South lab in Nashville during the development of the cellular system. Have gone through many many phones over the years. Even the fantastic Motorola BRICK! And the IBM that had a phonebook and games built in.
 

Bob Dylan

Conductor
Joined
May 31, 2009
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18,932
Bought the first model that Radio Shack offered (about '78-'79) with the big heavy battery and corded handset for $500 and got a $500 rebate check after 2-years of service with Bell South. Airtime was like 35¢/minute but since I used it for my business (local cartage) I wrote it off at tax time. Used to deliver parts/supplies to the Bell South lab in Nashville during the development of the cellular system. Have gone through many many phones over the years. Even the fantastic Motorola BRICK! And the IBM that had a phonebook and games built in.
Yep, everytime I watch Old Movies and TV Shows I'm reminded of how far we've come in Phone ( and ALL) technology!
 
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