Day Two – Thursday October 4, 2018

SORRY FOR THE LATE POSTING DUE TO LIMITED SERVICE

D4648BFB-94A7-4090-BE74-EBF9318BC863Good morning from the Capital Limited!  It’s 8:45 AM, Eastern Time as I write this from the couch in Room E in car 2900, as our room has been turned back into its daytime version.  According to the schedule, we should be about an hour from Chicago, with scheduled arrival there at 8:45 Central Time. Phil our car attendant, however, just announced that our arrival time will be more like 11 to 11:30 due to delays during the night.  Frankly, this is a good situation for us, as we probably won’t be able to board the Southwest Chief till about 2:15, and we’d much rather be sitting on the train, than in a station waiting room.  The view is much better from here!!  

Before I continue with today, let’s give you an idea of our sleeping arrangements last night.

Thanks Babe…as always, I owe you!  

An update…we just stopped at Waterloo, Indiana, where the schedule had us at 6:36 AM.  We stopped at 9:26, fully 2 hours and 50 minutes behind schedule. It’s scheduled to be about 3 hours and 10 minutes from Waterloo to Chicago, so if we don’t lose anymore time, we should make Chicago just before noon Central time. 

A brief look at the reason for these delays as I understand them.  Once you leave the Northeast Corridor, Amtrak doesn’t own the tracks the trains ride on.  Back when America was giving up on rail travel, and Amtrak was formed, most of America’s rail roads kept their freight operations going, because that was still profitable.  Fully 97% of the tracks Amtrak trains run on ARE NOT owned by Amtrak, because those tracks, and the freight trains running on them, are owned  by the lines or their heirs that gave up passenger service in the 20th Century.  So, the freight running on these lines, takes precedence over Amtrak and it’s schedules, which may necessitate an Amtrak train pulling onto a siding and waiting while a freight train rumbles past. This happened to us several times last night, and you know how long freight trains can be!  

Because the Capital Limited lacks a Dining Car, the included breakfast this morning was a box breakfast in the Sleeper Lounge. A yogurt parfait, a muffin, some fresh fruit, and a hot tea.  We heard some grumbling, but we didn’t have a problem with it, but we are looking forward to the Southwest Chief having a Dining Car AND kitchen!  Stay tuned for real meals!  Oh, another item…some folks are just so cheap!  There was a couple across from us this morning who apparently didn’t like the breakfast, and who did they take it out on?  Why the young lady working the lounge!  “Tip for that breakfast?  No way”.  Glad we’re not “those people” and never have been!  

An update….we just arrived at Chicago’s Union Station!   It’s 12 Noon Central time,  and we were scheduled to be here at 8:45 AM.    Here’s some views as we headed into the station.

We’re now in the Amtrak’s Metropolitan Club in Union Station, and it was a zoo, till they just announced two trains!  Folks are crazy.  When they put out some snacks (cheese and some veggies), you’d have thought most folks hadn’t eaten in months!!  It’s much quieter now!  This place is brand new and beautiful.  Here’s what we’ve got now. 

Talk to you next from Train 3…the Southwest Chief!

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So welcome to Room C of Car 330, on the Southwest Chief.  The room is exactly like what we had last night, but Susie and I think this train is newer.  Life will be easier today as we know what to expect, but we may miss Phil, last night’s Sleeping Car Attendant. We had not an auspicious start, as the door to our car was closed, and we had to stand and wait for somebody to show up!   We’ll see how things go, but we already asked her about wash cloths and hand towels and she said, “they’re there”…they’re not!  Fingers crossed for the next 2 nights on the train!  

At 2:47 they announced, “close all access doors” and just after 2:50 we chugged out of Union Station.  We’ve already made our first stop at Naperville, Illinois.  Quick, extra credit if you can name one of the movies, Naperville and an Amtrak train played a supporting part in?  I can think of two off hand.  Leave it in the comment section below for a grand prize!  (FYI…the “Grand Prize” is just my gratitude for reading this far!)

The Dining Car Steward has already come around and we have a dinner reservation tonight at 6:30, and we’re looking forward to see what kind of meals an Amtrak Dining Car can dish out.  Here a layout of the Dining Car if you’re interested.  

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Susie has already found the ice (and the wash cloths) but we’ve yet to “officially” meet our Sleeping Car Attendant, but we are ready to enjoy the next 40+ hours on Amtrak’s Southwest Chief!  Cheers!!!

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Now it’s just time to relax, and watch America pass by our picture window!  

Okay..I just went and got more ice, and had a very nice conversation with our Car Attendant.  Her name is Pinky, and she’s worked for Amtrak for 40 years. She lives in LA 2 blocks from the station, and her Dad lives in Chicago.  She works one week on and one week off, so twice a month she’s with her Dad overnight.  I think everything’s going to be fine, different, but fine!  

Right around 6:30, we crossed the Mississippi River, leaving Illinois and entering Iowa.  The sun was just going down, and I don’t think beautiful is an adequate description!

Shortly after that, we got called to the Dining Car for our 6:30 reservation!  We’d been looking forward to this, and if tonight’s meal was any indication, we won’t be disappointed!  Amazing what you can do with a real kitchen and a real Dining Car.  Last night’s meal was ok, but nowhere near tonight’s standard!  I said to Susie, that back in January when I booked this trip, the Capital Limited had a Dining Car.  They took the car away in the Spring to save money, but never sent me any money back!  I don’t think we got what we paid for!

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And as to dinner?  We started with a glass of nicely chilled Pino Grigio, and both chose for our entree the Land and Sea.  A perfectly cooked NY Strip Steak, accompanied by a Crab, Shrimp, and Scallop Cake, with string beans and a baked potato!  It was very good!  And then to top it off, a taste of Greek Yogurt Cheesecake.  Take a look!

Then it was back to our bedroom for a round of 5000 and a perfectly chilled glass of Titos Vodka.  Pretty soon Pinky will turn our day room into a night room, and our second night on the road (the RAIL road) will begin!   

Here’s Susie in the hall outside Bedroom C.

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So far, we are having a great time!  Since leaving Chicago, the views have been great. When the sun comes up tomorrow morning, we should be in Colorado (At least that’s where we’re scheduled to be)  and the view should be getting even better!  We know train travel isn’t for everybody, but so far, we’re really enjoying our trip!  We should see some spectacular sights tomorrow and can’t wait to share them!

See you on day 3!

5 thoughts on “Day Two – Thursday October 4, 2018

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