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TheKorean

Overnight Amtrak trip

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Lake Shore Limited

 

Prepare for border patrol agents on the train in the middle of the night.

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Why? Its not going over to Canada. Do I need my identification?

 

It comes within 100 miles of the border, which is within the authority of border patrol.

 

Make sure to bring one of the Amtrak-required forms of ID. (drivers license, etc.)

 

Details

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Arrived in San Diego yesterday via the Pacific Surfliner. The trip was incredible. Unfortunately my camaera broke down in Chicago and all I have of pics are the Lake Shore Limited and the Union Station in Chicago. I will have them posted up soon.

 

The Southwest Chiefs I rode on had to stop for 6 hours because someone got hit by the engine. Tragic. And before that in Chicago someone got hit by the subway I rode on.

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Arrived in San Diego yesterday via the Pacific Surfliner. The trip was incredible. Unfortunately my camaera broke down in Chicago and all I have of pics are the Lake Shore Limited and the Union Station in Chicago. I will have them posted up soon.

 

The Southwest Chiefs I rode on had to stop for 6 hours because someone got hit by the engine. Tragic. And before that in Chicago someone got hit by the subway I rode on.

 

Could you please write a trip report? (see examples http://discuss.amtraktrains.com)

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So I arrived at New York Penn at about 3, waiting to take Lake Shore Limited which departed at 3:40. Got on train at about 3:20.

 

Going up to Albany, there was nothing much to see until we got past Poughkeepsie. I swear Amtrak needs their own set of tracks on this route, but I doubt this would happen. S

 

Arrived at Albany at about 6:30. Stopped at Albany Renassler for about an hour waiting for the train arriving from Boston. Didnt get to see the process of the trains being combined, sadly. Beautiful station though. Looks like a lot of people do use Amtrak to Albany. Not on this day, but you know. Metro North should think about extending the service.

 

I always heard that the tracks between Albany and Buffalo was awful, but it wasnt quite as bad, it was bad dont get me wrong, as I expected.

 

Dinner time. At 7 I had my first dinner in the diner car. Delicious. I had chicken and wild rice.

 

Arrived at Rochester at about 11. Scary moment as the border patrol boarded the train. I had my ID with me but still. Thankfully, nothing major occured, and the Guards got off the train with inspecting too many people.

 

Got off at Buffalo for 10 minutes to take a break, got to Buffalo at about midnight I believe.

 

Then I fell asleep until I got to Cleveland at about 3 AM. The station is extremely small and crappy. Just a tiny building with chairs and few ticket booths in it. Paul Brown stadium was right next to the station though.

 

Then I fell asleep again, until Toledo, where I had breakfast in the dining car. Great food, I had french toast, and bacon.

 

Midwest has too many cargo trains, so the traffic was quite bad. I still despise the cargo trains to this day.

 

We arrived at Chicago at about 10, but we had to wait 2 hours RIGHT OUTSIDE of the Chicago Union Station. Forgot why, but it was frustrating to watch Metra and other Amtrak services being allowed to enter while we were not.

 

Union Station is a wonderful little station, but keyword here is little. Way too small for what it has to serve. I mean its not Cleveland small, but still. Its a major station. And there also seems to be some construction going on, are they building high platforms? Does anyone know anything about this?

 

Part 2, trip to LA coming soon.

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Take the plane. It's a 2 and a half hour flight from NY to Chicago.

 

If you can stand going through security then by all means take off your shoes and be prepared to have TSA agents look at your genitals while you receive unknown level of radiation through your body. Plus, this country is much more beautiful at ground level (though the Rockie Mountain flyovers are the *ish).

 

There are 4 ways to get to Chicago from NYP by Amtrak:

 

(1) NYP-CHI direct via Lake Shore Limited

 

Good and bad:

(1) Good: Fastest, most convenient route, pretty scenic along the Hudson

Bad: Can be expensive, sells out fast, equipment is not as great as (2), layover in Albany.

 

One more thing: The Lake Shore Limited has historically been refereed to by rail fans as the Late Shore Limited due to it's capacity for being late. While the ontime performance has gotten better recently, you've been warned. Having said that, it's by far one of the most beautiful and best routes one can take from Chicago to New York, and the delay is absolutely worth it!

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Sorry guys the part 2 is very very late.

 

So I waited 2 hours in chicago. Great city, loved the Buckingham Fountain for sure.

 

I boarded the Southwest Chiefs around 3:45, I rode coach.

 

I met some interesting people on this train, Vietnam veterans, Boy Scouts etc...All good people I must say. Definitely had interesting meal conversations. This is why I love riding Amtrak, it is a very sociable place to be since everyone is so close together.

 

Nothing too special until we got to Kansas City at approximately 4 AM

 

Then we got to Trinidad Colorado where I bought a postcard and sent it home.

 

After that thats when someone got hit by our train and the train was delayed by 6 hours. Good thing I had people to talk to.

 

By the way, the prairie along the way to colorado was absolutely stunning. We got to watch thunderstorm far away from where we were. Very cool experience.

 

We got to California that Saturday around 4ish. AM of course.

 

We got to Victorville by 11, Fullerton by 1 PM.

 

And then finally got to LA Union Station (a beautiful station) by 3 PM ish.

 

Part 3 to San Diego next.

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Guys I just booked a trip back to NYC.

 

Coast Starlight from LA to Portland, Portland to chicago by Empire Builder, and 2 days later Cardinal from Chicago to New York. Its gonna be fun.

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Take the lake shore, it's very neat, the nyp end of the trip you actually go over the northeast corridor under the west side yards in the tunnel & you're along the hudson for many, many miles, very scenic & relaxing. I'm a PRR guy, so i'd probably take the route through pennsylvania (also philly is very close), but this is the best way as amtrak has it set up right now.

 

- A

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Guys I just booked a trip back to NYC.

 

Coast Starlight from LA to Portland, Portland to chicago by Empire Builder, and 2 days later Cardinal from Chicago to New York. Its gonna be fun.

 

Some notes:

 

(1) Why did you just book it now? It would be really expensive compared to if you booked the 2 trips at the same time.

 

(2) Coast Starlight occasionally runs very late. The connection at Portland is pretty tight, so if they think you won't be able to make it, they will bus you from Kalamath Falls to a stop on the EB between Vancouver, WA and Spokane (forgot exactly which one).

 

(3) What accommodations did you book? Remember, there is no dining car Portland-Spokane. Sleeper passengers get cold meals. Coach passengers must live with just the sightseer lounge. On the Coast Starlight, don't forget the parlor car if you have a sleeper!

 

(4) Cardinal only runs 3 days a week. There is no checked baggage to/from Newark and NY Penn. It's also very long and delay-prone, and with only 1 sleeper, often expensive.

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I booked the two trips together. everything coach.

 

I could go without food until Spokane, doesnt really matter. Takes what? 2 Hours? 3?

 

No checked baggage to NYP? Why? Its the biggest station in the entire Amtrak network.

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I could go without food until Spokane, doesnt really matter. Takes what? 2 Hours? 3?

 

No checked baggage to NYP? Why? Its the biggest station in the entire Amtrak network.

 

Depart Portland 16:45, arrive Spokane 00:13, depart Spokane 01:30.

 

As for the Cardinal baggage, it will be sent via the Lake Shore Limited if you check it to NYP from CHI. The LSL should have arrived in NYP by the time the Cardinal pulls in, so no waiting there. If you were to check it from some other station on the Cardinal, then no baggage to NWK or NYP.

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So dinner at midnight? Wow.

 

No, you just won't have a hot dinner. There will be a cold dinner option in the lounge car.

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