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Date: Wed, 01 Oct 1997 15:21:25 -0400
From: "Ronald J. Robertson, Jr."
To: Steve Grande

After spending quite a long while in the Metropolitan Lounge in New York Penn Station, it was time to board the Lake Shore Limited. At this point, I have to tell you that at Penn Station in New York, when traveling with luggage, it is best to have a Red Cap. Red Caps have keys to the escalators, and with these keys, magically change the direction of travel of the escalator. I discovered this many years ago in Penn Station. The Red Cap lead me to an escalator which was coming up, and we had to go down! I thought he was nuts until he took out his key, and changed the direction of the escalator, and we went down! For a tip of a few dollars, the Red Caps at Penn Station will save passengers many headaches! I consider the use of a Red Cap at Penn Station in New York money well spent.

Since space is limited on the tracks at Penn Station, the trains are not brought from the Sunnyside Yard until about twenty minutes before departure. It was time for me to become acquainted with the Viewliner Sleeper. I had never been in one before, and from Steve's articles on them, I was looking forward to my stay in the Viewliner Sleeper. Now I prefer the Viewliner Sleepers to the Superliner I and Superliner II cars! Shortly after boarding the train, it was time for dinner. When I entered the diner, the tables were set with an antipasto dish at each place. The menu, other than the antipasto, is typical Amtrak. I did have a nice meal, the roast beef with very fresh vegetables, and mashed potatoes and gravy. This was one of the nicest meals I have ever eaten on Amtrak. There was not much to be seen in the way of scenery, as the train departed from New York at 6:30 P.M. In Albany, the Boston section of the train was added to the Lake Shore Limited. At this point it was a very long train.

The following morning I woke up before the train arrived in Cleveland. I saw many interesting buildings near the Amtrak Station. Off in the distance some building was all lit up in bright neon lights. Shortly after breakfast, I saw something while going across Indiana, three deer running through a corn field. What graceful and swift animals these deer were. The train at this point operates parallel to Lake Erie and it was nice to see the boats out on Lake Erie. There were then some gambling boats out on the Lake and many Great Lakes ore carriers to be seen. Before I realized it, the train had neared Chicago, and the Lake Shore Limited arrived in Chicago six minutes late! On this trip, I had the pleasure of having one of the best Chiefs on the train, Ms. Brisbane. Also, the dining car crew, chef, and the car attendant were some of the best I have seen with Amtrak.

All in all, I had a very pleasant trip on the Lake Shore Limited, and I can see why it is a train which is almost always sold out in sleeping accommodations. This was a delightful experience for me. Also, on the Lake Shore Limited, the Product Manager takes great pride in this product. Nice amenities are provided on this train, some stationery and an ink pen, and a nice toiletries kit. Also, the lounge car provides free soft drinks and bottled water for the sleeping car passengers. After the Coast Starlight, I would rate this as Amtrak's best train for overall service and food.

Jim Robertson

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