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Steve's Fall '97 Amtrak Journey
Sept 28 - Oct 7, 1997
Amtrak Northeast Direct Twilight Shoreliner - Train #67
Boston, MA to Washington, DC

The fourth segment of my rail journey was on the Amtrak Twighlight Shoreliner from Boston, Massachusetts to Washington, DC. The Amtrak Twighlight Shoreliner is just one of the many Northeast Direct trains that operate all day on the Northeast Corridor (NEC) between Boston and Washington, DC. Service between New York City and Washington, DC is almost hourly on the NEC. The Amtrak Twighlight Shoreliner used to be called the Amtrak Night Owl until its departure time from Boston was moved from 10 PM to 8 PM. Judging from the darkness of when the train left Boston, maybe they should have stuck with the "Night Owl" name instead of changing it to "Twilight" anything!


While in the waiting room, I would think it quite a coincidence if David Bowe was the Conductor on this train. I know he is on some of the trains out of Boston. He sends out regular bulletins about Amtrak and especially keeps me up to date on the progress of the electrification project of the NEC between New York and Boston. If by rare chance he did end up being the Conductor on this train, I figured I'd find out when he came to collect the tickes.

Well, the Car Attendant took my ticket as I boarded the Viewliner Sleeping Car. They rarely do that, but it does happen from time to time, especially when passengers are boarding very late at night. That way, the passengers can go right to sleep and not wait for the Conductor to come around to collect the tickets. Although 8PM is not that late, this train used to be the "Night Owl" instead of the "Twilight Shoreliner" and used to depart at 10 PM. Maybe because of that, it just became a regular practice that the Car Attendants collect the tickets instead of the Conductor in the Sleepers.

In any case, it didn't click with me that I wouldn't be meeting the Conductor on the train since my ticket was already collected. As it turned out, David Bowe was the Conductor on that train! He sent me an e-mail the following morning telling me that he found my name on the manifest, but figured it was another Stephen Grande. There are quite a few of them in Boston, my original home town. He saw my door closed with the blind drawn and didn't want to wake me if I was asleep, especially if I wasn't the right Stephen Grande! So ... we came pretty close to meeting face to face. Maybe we can make a point of meeting next time I head through Boston.

Monday, Sept 29, 1997, 07:30 PM EDT, Boston, MA

One of the first things I noticed as I boarded the train was a design on the windows of the Viewliner. This design was stuck to the windows in a manner similar to how advertising is stuck to bus windows. From walking along the outside of the Viewliner, I could barely see in at all. From the inside of my room looking out, the view was like looking through a spaghetti strainer, but with more holes. To the eye, it doesn't seem to interfere with the view. But, I'm not sure that a camera isn't going to take a picture that looks like it was taken through a spaghetti strainer! I'm trying to figure out why they did this. It is not to sell ad space on the train since there is no ad. It is just a design. It might be a nice design to celebrate the innauguration of the Twilight Shoreliner, but it is a bit gaudy for everyday display. I was thinking that it might be for privacy. Since many of the Northeast Corridor (NEC) stations have high level platforms, people on the platform can easily see into every lit room as they walk by them at night. This isn't as much a problem outside the NEC since there are few, if any, high level platforms. (I did not find anything on the windows of the Viewliners on the other segments of this rail journey).

Tuesday, Sept 30, 1997, 09:00 AM EDT, Washington, DC

Washington Union Station & Old Post Office Building

Metropolitan Lounge - Washington, DC

  • Metropolitan Lounge Representative, Customer Services: Diana Price

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