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Amtrak Northeast Direct Old Dominion
Steve's March 25, 1998 Travelogue

Steve's rail travel on the Amtrak Northeast Direct Old Dominion from Newport News, Virginia to Washington, DC on March 25, 1998.

Click here for photos from this journey!

I got up at 6:00 AM and got ready. I was out of the room and checking out at the front desk by 6:45 AM. There wasn't far too walk since my room was right next to the front desk! I had made an appointment for a taxi to come by at 7:00 AM the night before. The taxi arrived right on time! The taxi got me to the station before 7:30 AM. The station had opened at 6:45 AM and I briefly looked around inside. Lots of chairs and a soda machine. Then I went outside and took photos around the station. Those are shown below.

TUE 08:40 AM ET 03/25/98 Newport News,VA - Ch ?? 16?.???

The above 6 photos were taken around the station. You may need to click on the last two to bring up a full size image to see them more clearly. There was a steam locomotive and tender in a part directly across the street from the driveway leading into the Amtrak station. The very last photo shows the train I took pulling out from behind a long line of coal cars. Since I could see a long way down the tracks in both directions and did not see any Amtrak trains, I was wondering where they had it stored. It was on a track behind the long line of coal cars!

Above is a sequence of photos showing how the Amtrak train moved from storage to the platform. First, it pulled way down the tracks. Then a CSX freigh train pulled up behind it and started to cross over to the other side of the Amtrak train. I don't know what happened as the freight train then backed up, not having changed tracks at all! Then the Amtrak train crossed several tracks to the track by the platform and backed into the station. The last photo shows the Club Car that I boarded. This was an interesting car in that the front half was the Custom Class section and the back half was the Club Class section, with the kitchen area in the center.

Once onboard the train, I was immediatley given a Washington Post Newspaper and offered a choice of beverages. I selected some Orange Juice. The orange juice was brought to me along with a bag of pretzels and a bag of goldfish. I put them away for later.

The Car Attendant then took out a list of names and took attendance! One person was missing and there was one person in the car not listed. They had a Club Class ticket, so they were O.K. A few other people accidentally wandered into the Club Class section and they were politely escorted out. I'm sure they just came in by mistake.

The Car Attendant then gave everyone a menu and explained the special hot and cold selections for breakfast. I selected the hot breakfast sandwich. It was served in a large tray along with a fruit plate and more orange juice. Real silverware and a linen napkin were also provided. After I finished, the tray was taken away and I was offered a hot towel and a chocolate mint. I can't afford to splurge on first class in an airplane, but for a few extra bucks, Club Class on Amtrak is really worth the service!

TUE 09:03 AM ET 03/25/98 Williamsburg,VA - Ch ?? 16?.???

Click on the first photo above to see the CSX locomotives on the trestle in the full-size photo. The second photo shows a gothic looking building in Charlotsville, Virginia.

TUE 10:17 AM ET 03/25/98 Richmond,VA - Ch 54 160.920

The first photo shows the Beatrice MacDonald Cafe Car that was part of an Amtrak train on the next track in the Richmond station. They pulled out before we did and I took these pictures as the train was moving away. The next two frames show the Amtrak RoadRailers. Look how close the tires are to the tracks!

TUE 10:25 AM ET 03/25/98 Richmond,VA - Ch 54 160.920

TUE 10:37 AM ET 03/25/98 Ashland,VA - Ch 54 160.920

TUE 11:19 AM ET 03/25/98 Fredricksburg,VA - Ch 54 160.920

TUE 11:39 AM ET 03/25/98 Quantico,VA - Ch 54 160.920

TUE 11:51 AM ET 03/25/98 Woodbridge,VA - Ch 54 160.920

TUE 12:11 AM ET 03/25/98 Alexandria,VA - Ch 54 160.920

TUE 12:39 PM ET 03/25/98 Washington,DC - Ch 54 160.920

The Car Attendant let everyone know that this train would depart promptly at 1:10 PM, but that he would like to see everyone back by 1:05 PM. He told everyone not to worry about what the Conductor said about making sure they had their ticket stubs. The Car Attendant said that didn't apply to Club Class as he knew everyone by their face already! He then took all of my bags and brought them off the train. I thought it would be appropriate to tip him, but by the time I got off, he had already hustled down to another section of the train and was helping others! I did't see anyone else attempt to tip him. Guess something else I'm going to have to explore so that we can all learn what is customary in this circumstance!

The escalator was right by the door where I detrained and I headed up the escalator. It was a short walk in Washington Station to the Metropolitan Lounge. You can read the continuation of the travelogues for this rail journey by clicking here now!

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