Amtrak Capitol Limited Thread

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Amtrak Capitol Limited Thread

Postby ToledoRailFan » Sat Feb 11, 2006 12:54 am

Well, I'm finally taking the plunge I have been waiting for since I was 7 and saw a special on "Reading Rainbow" on Amtrak trains in school... I just bought my ticket for a trip to DC to visit a friend over Spring Break.

I'll be taking the C.L. from Toledo, Ohio to DC, and returning on the C.L. a few days later. The Capitol Limited is set to depart at 10:35PM from Toledo and get to DC at 11:59AM the next day... from my train watching excursions to the Station, it seems to come in late most of the time, but that is part of the adventure, so it's no big deal. I'll be leaving D.C. at 3:55 PM and returning to Toledo at 4:40 AM the next morning when I come back... so I think the return trip will be where most of my sightseeing will be done.

I've done a lot of reading on here, but haven't found a lot about this route. I don't think I will sleep well on the train due to excitement, so I don't know what I will do on the way there. Are there any interesting sites that I should be on the lookout for on the return trip? Is there anything I should know about beforehand?

I'm a bit weary of checking my baggage, because I have heard horror stories of people losing things on the airlines (I have never flown commercially) - are my concerns of this unfounded with Amtrak?

Thanks for dealing with my myriad of stupid questions... I'm very excited about this trip and want to make the most out of it!
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Postby JoeG » Sat Feb 11, 2006 9:28 am

The most scenic part of the trip is east of Pittsburgh. Since your train will most likely be quite late leaving Pittsburgh, this part will probably be in daylight. My favorite part of it is where the railroad runs along the Youghiogheny river (pronounced yah-kuh-GAIN-ee).
I think the Capitol Limited is the most scenic train between Chicago and the East Coast. Between Pittsburgh and the East Coast, I like its scenery better than the former Pennsy route through Altoona. Although the Lake Shore Limited has the Hudson River between New York and Albany, I don't find the rest of the Water Level Route particularly scenic, probably because it doesn't have may hills!

Postby EastCleveland » Sat Feb 11, 2006 11:17 am

Print out this Capitol Limited route guide and take it with you:

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Postby jsc » Sat Feb 11, 2006 11:17 am

my wife and i traveled from DC to CHI on the Capitol Limited last July and slept poorly west of PGH....track conditions were awful! We had a Bedroom (formerly called a Deluxe Bedroom) and somewhere in the middle of the night we awoke to violent shaking back and forth that started every loose item in our room to rattling and clicking. We finally stuffed spare blankets, pillows, clothing into every one of these things and slept some the rest of the night, but we werent' exactly refreshed when we arived at Chicago Union. We were about two hours late and when we got to the hotel our room was ready so we took a nap for a couple hours before setting out to explore Chicago. I'm guessing that the reverse trip would be somewhat better as the track east of Pittsburg seemed smoother and the train was slower climbing the mountains.

The dining car was a real treat...real good food. The scenery was nice and overall the trip was relaxing, but we went home on Southwest...cheaper and faster.

I wouldn't even consider making this trip without a bedroom but quite a few do so.

That about sums it up for me.

Postby JoeG » Sat Feb 11, 2006 11:34 am

Mr ToledoRailFan doesn't say if he is going coach or sleeper. If he is going sleeper, I suggest he bring a roll of duct tape and pliers and screwdrivers or one of those "all in one" tools--to be able to fix rattles and make minor repairs to his accommodations.

Postby Sam Damon » Sat Feb 11, 2006 11:55 am

I haven't ridden east of Pittsburgh in years on the Capitol. And when I did, it was at night. Hopefully I'll be able to correct this before Amtrak gets whacked. Anyway...

Of late, CSX has delivered #29 into Pittsburgh on time, while NS has knifed it west of Pittsburgh into Chicago. Track it for yourself; we'll see how well it does once the MoW season begins.

It seems to me based on my ride last year the worst section of track is the ex-PRR Pittsburgh to Cleveland section, once you get past Conway yard, and going through Columbiana and Alliance. The ex-NYC Water Level Route was smooth, and on my last trip, the NS dispatcher turned us loose -- we made up time we had lost from CSX (my trip departed an hour late out of PGH).

Diner-lite is coming to this train, if it hasn't already, so look for some current comments concerning it.
Sam Damon

Postby benltrain » Sat Feb 11, 2006 12:46 pm

i recently road the route (albeit in a sleeper). I find it scenic east of pittsburgh, yet a little bit boring. Amtrak has a route guide on their website, on the capitol limited route page

Postby ToledoRailFan » Sat Feb 11, 2006 2:16 pm

Excellent! Thank you all.

I will be travelling there and back in Coach. I can't really justify the price of a sleeper for just the one night I will need to sleep there... I'm graduating college in May - I'm pretty sure Coach will be more accomodating to my slumber than some of the places I have slept in the last 5 years.

I've done some more reading, and pardon if I have missed something, but are there AC outlets at the Coach seats in a Superliner (for which I can plug my compuer into (with a surge protector :) ?
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Postby Gilbert B Norman » Sat Feb 11, 2006 2:42 pm

Mr. Toledo, as a 'veteran" with more than 250K lifetime rail miles to my name, I strongly suggest you reconsider and use Sleeper for your trip.

Basically, it is the difference between reasonable expectation of an enjoyable travel experience and AFAIC the certainty of a masochistic endurance contest.

I note from your university's Provost page (wow, what a military term) the "party's over' April 28. I checked at the website for several days after that and find that Roomettes are presently available at rates (we don't quote specific Amtrak rates here at the Forum) that I would expect to pay for an "economy commercial' (Marriott Fairfield, Holiday Inn Express, Hilton Garden) room in your area.

You've earned it; go for it!!!
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Postby Nilet Railroad » Sat Feb 11, 2006 3:43 pm

Does the Capitol Limited use superliners? Those aren't bad. When I rode up from Florida on the Auto Train, it wasn't an endurance test in coach. I can't sleep well normally, and for me, staying up 'til 3 AM is normal, so I can't say it was that bad. Well, thanks to my little sister, we ended up in the "for travelling with kids" car, so there were a lot of empty seats, and that helped, and it wasn't exactly pleasent, but it wasn't bad.
Nilet Railroad

Postby ToledoRailFan » Sat Feb 11, 2006 4:22 pm

Gilbert B Norman wrote:Mr. Toledo, as a 'veteran" with more than 250K lifetime rail miles to my name, I strongly suggest you reconsider and use Sleeper for your trip.

Hmm, I'll take a look at it and see. I might go all out on this (secretly, I am thinking about perhaps expanding this trip and taking the Acela into NYP at some point from DC... but who knows.

Now I'm off to Wauseon to do some railfanning... surely I'm gonna freeze.
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Postby David Benton » Sat Feb 11, 2006 4:30 pm

i would go coach . i would save the sleeper fare for a ride where you get a longer nites sleep , as you are leaving late at nite , and returning early morning .
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Postby george matthews » Sat Feb 11, 2006 7:27 pm

David Benton wrote:i would go coach . i would save the sleeper fare for a ride where you get a longer nites sleep , as you are leaving late at nite , and returning early morning .

I have done it on the seats from Chicago. The views of the Cumberland Gap and so on are worth seeing, and the view is better in Coach. When I arrived in DC (late) I wasn't very lively but snoozed a while in the hotel near a university.
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Postby crazy_nip » Sat Feb 11, 2006 10:51 pm

for the record, the cardinal is a much more scenic train during most of its route than the capitol

pittsburg and points west is downright depressing

Postby benltrain » Sat Feb 11, 2006 11:01 pm

i find the low speeds and delays east of pittsburgh downright depressing. i was so happy to be going faster than 60, i didn't care about the depressing scenery. well, it was relatively dark :-)


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