Seattle to New York on 8 and 48

Tell us where you were and what you saw!

Moderator: David Benton

Seattle to New York on 8 and 48

Postby John Laubenheimer » Tue Mar 23, 2010 8:00 pm

A recent business trip took me west to Seattle. I flew out (the less said the better) and rode the rails home. Below is a short synopsis of my experience. (BTW ... I've been riding the rails since 1967; so, I'm not a newcomer to this experience.)

Empire Builder – Amtrak #8 – Seattle-Chicago – Friday 2010/3/19

Boarded at 4:20 PM – car 0831/Deluxe Bedroom B
Departed Seattle promptly at 4:40 PM
On time/waiting for time until Spokane merge with #28 from Portland
Consist:
2 engines – 1 pointed east/1 pointed west
1 baggage
1 crew-dormitory
2 sleepers
1 diner
2 coaches
1 sightseer lounge (from here down - on at Spokane)
2 coaches
1 sleeper
Train took on many passengers (ski vacationers) at Whitefish, Montana – train full
On time/waiting for time until Grand Forks, North Dakota
20 minutes late at Fargo, North Dakota, due to the cresting of the Red River
EB waded across the Red River
About 40 minutes late by Detroit Lakes, 45 minutes late by Staples and St. Cloud, Minnesota
15 minutes late arriving at Minneapolis, Minnesota – on-time departure
Remained on-time until Tomah, Wisconsin
30 minutes late at Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin, due to freight train interference
20 minutes late at Milwaukee
At Rondout, Illinois, the METRA district enters, and EB stuck behind a commuter train
30 minutes late into Glenview, Illinois – same at Chicago Union Station (at 4:25 PM)
Food was very good – diner was regularly operating with a wait list – dinner was by reservation
Track anywhere from exquisite (not much) to atrocious … mostly fair
BTW … I’ve never been impressed with the ride qualities of Superliner stock – too much sway
Sleeper attendant excellent – dining car service excellent
The first night, I smelled diesel fumes being circulated through the ventilation system of the car – no particular reason given; not present the second night

As a side note, I noticed a departing (#507) and an arriving Cascades service while waiting for the EB at Seattle. The inbound (#506) was about 22 minutes late. Both trains were overstuffed with passengers … good service expansion potential.

Lake Shore Limited – Amtrak #48 – Chicago-New York – Sunday 2010/3/21

Boarded at 7:30 PM – car 4812/Roomette 2
Departed Chicago promptly at 9:00 PM
No dinner was served; a wine and cheese event took place before departure
On time/waiting for time at most stops … those that weren’t on time were minor delays, which were made up by the next station stop
Consist:
2 engines – both pointed east
1 baggage
1 sleeper
1 coach
1 café (above off at Albany … #448 annulled today!)
1 dual-power engine (ALB-NYP)
1 coach (or café? … not sure; but, it was on the train at NYP)
4 coaches
1 diner (ex-NP/NCL Budd heritage)
2 sleepers
1 baggage
At several stops, the sleepers didn’t quite make it to the platforms, due to train length.
The train was split before entering Albany station. The dual-mode engine was attached, and we proceeded into the station.
Departed Albany about 30 minutes early – only a “D” stop at Croton Harmon before NYP
About 55 minutes early at Croton Harmon
Just before entering the single track ramp into NYP, LSL sat for about 25 minutes, waiting for a track to clear (and an outbound Empire service train to pass) since this is the evening rush, it is a bad time to have the LSL showing up an hour early
Arrived at Pennsylvania Station at 5:52 PM – 33 minutes early
Food was very good – diner was regularly operating with luncheon reservations
Track mostly good
BTW … the Viewliner stock appears to ride much better than the Superliner stock
Sleeper attendant excellent – dining car service excellent

Note to AMTRAK – please invest in some (cheap) Velcro! The (aisle) curtains (both trains) didn’t have anything to attach to in order to keep them closed.
John Laubenheimer
 
Posts: 96
Joined: Fri Mar 19, 2004 5:10 pm
Location: Brooklyn, New York USA

Re: Seattle to New York on 8 and 48

Postby David Benton » Wed Mar 24, 2010 12:29 am

thanks for the report . Good to see timekeeping is good overall .
Was the track between milawaukee and the twin cities rough ??? . i remember it been that way some 20 years ago .
Moderator worldwide railfan , Rail travel & trip reports
The only train trips I regret are the ones I didn't take.
User avatar
David Benton
 
Posts: 7804
Joined: Thu Mar 11, 2004 11:29 pm
Location: New Zealand

Re: Seattle to New York on 8 and 48

Postby mtuandrew » Wed Mar 24, 2010 10:23 pm

David Benton wrote:thanks for the report . Good to see timekeeping is good overall .
Was the track between milawaukee and the twin cities rough ??? . i remember it been that way some 20 years ago .

Last time I rode 8 between MSP and CHI, the track was quite smooth (excepting some Metra trackage near Chicago, which was still fairly good.) CP Rail has definitely made huge advancements over The Milwaukee Road, Inc. and the immediate post-purchase Soo Line.

Also, I agree with John about the excessive sway, and hope that when Amtrak buys S-IIIs they have better shock absorption - the spring/shock setup seems like it's built for a Heritage car, not a taller/heavier Superliner.
User avatar
mtuandrew
 
Posts: 4005
Joined: Tue Feb 20, 2007 2:59 am
Location: the Manassas Gap Independent Line


Return to Travel & Trip Reports

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests