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Amtrak trip to Boston, June 19-June 21, 1998
Trenton, NJ to Boston, MA

This is the travelogue of a trip taken on Amtrak’s Twilight Shoreliner between Trenton NJ and Boston South Station MA. My name is Anthony and I have been riding Amtrak since December 1996. Since then I have taken many Northeast Direct trains, the Adirondack to Montreal, the Carolinian, and the Twilight Shoreliner. I hope to post the travelogues of some of my past Amtrak trip’s on the Adirondack and Carolinian.

We arrived at the train station at 1030pm and I looked at the Information Board, it said Train 76 Shoreliner Service to Boston-On Time. The people going on the trip were my Aunt Debbie, my sister Tana, her friend Andy, and me, Anthony. My parents dropped us off at the station and wanted to watch us board the train. I had called Amtrak before we left my house and they reported the train as twenty minutes late so i figured maybe it picked up time in Philadelphia. We decided to go down to the platform and wait for our train so we took walked down to track four, which was where the board said the train would be arriving.

Eleven o’clock came and no train arrived and no announcements were made (the trains departure time was supposed to be eleven o-three). Around eleven thirty an announcement was made “Those waiting for the arrival of train 76 to Boston and the delayed arrival of train 90 from Florida should wait on track four, they will both arrive within twenty minutes, they are waiting at a signal to pass.” That explained what happened. It turned out that a lot of the signals between Richmond and Boston were not working. Our train finally arrived at eleven forty-five. The consist was as followed:

•AEM-7 “Metroliner” Engine
•AEM-7 “Metroliner” Engine
•US Mail car
•Amtrak Express Car
•Am Fleet I coach
•Am Fleet I coach
•Am Fleet I coach
•Am Fleet I coach/cafe/dinette
•Am Fleet II coach “Custom Class”
•Am Fleet lounge/cafe/dinette “Twilight Lounge/Diner”
•Viewliner Sleeper 6700 “Wayward View”

As the train pulled in it appeared that the coach cars were full and the lights were on, as custom class went by the lights were off and it appeared to only have about 15 people in it. When the train finally stopped no door to the sleeping car opened so we walked to the door where the conductor was standing, at the Custom Class car. He asked us if we were in Custom Class and we told him we were in the sleeper. He instructed us to go down to that door. When we turned around two attendants were standing at the door so we waled down there. The one attendant asked for our tickets, appeared to look at them for a while, and then told us how to get to our rooms. It seems like the entire train was waiting for us to board because we were standing at the door to the car for a few minutes. I gave my parents hugs and said goodbye, they wished a great trip and I got on the train.

As we got on the train I showed everyone how to get to our rooms, they all seemed impressed about the train. Almost immediately the car attendant introduced himself and told us about the rooms, how everything worked, and told us the “dining car” was serving dinner and would be open until 15 minutes before we arrived in Boston. The attendant then asked us if we wanted a wake up call and we told him one hour before we arrive in Boston.

The beds in the rooms were already made up and there were two candies on each bed, they were in the shapes of moons and stars (keeping with the symbols of the Twilight Shoreliner). The small counter/steps to the top bunk had two hospitality kits with “Twilight Shoreliner” printed on them and a few towels were set under them.

Everyone soon went to the “dining car” for dinner. The crew kept referring to it as a dining car even though it was a dinette, probably to enhance our first class experience. As we entered the dinette there was a lot of baggage stored in the vestibule (probably because there was no baggage car). Anyway, we all sat down and the attendant brought us four menus and asked us if we wanted something to drink while we decided. My sister got red wine, Andy got a beer (he was asked to show ID), and my aunt and I got Pepsi’s. The menus didn't say much, they had a dinner and breakfast side, and after each item, such as “hot entrees” it said something like “Your server will describe today’s special offerings, chosen from a tempting selection of chicken, beef, and seafood varieties.” The server told us he was out of beef and he had grilled chicken over Fettucini with steamed vegetables and salmon steak with garlic herb potatoes and and steamed vegetables. My sister got the salmon and everyone else got the chicken. It took about 15 minutes and the food was served.

The food was served on a big tray with a “Twilight Shoreliner” place-mat that had a hard plastic plate with the entree, a dish with a roll and butter, a dish with a slice of chocolate moose cake, and a hot towel in a package. They also used silverware and paper napkins. In the middle of our meal the server came and brought us more drinks and asked us if everything was ok. This food was really good and did not remind me of airline food at all, the quality was higher then that of first class on an airline, the portions were also rather larger then I had expected. He also came when we were done and asked us if we needed anything else and we got a few drinks to bring back to the rooms. We left him a five dollar tip on the table for his service and went back to our rooms.

As we walked back to our rooms we were traveling in between Newark and New York. Andy and I watched out the back window of our car as we went under the tunnel into New York, then we went back to the room and he watched “Grease” on the TV. I went to get a shower and then realized that there was no bar soap in the package so I found the attendant on the platform and asked him if there was any soap. He quickly brought me two full sized bars of Dove soap and asked me if i needed anything else. He also told me that the light in the shower would not be working for another 20 minutes until full power was given to the train. I guess they don't have all the power going at long station stops. While I was waiting I found out we were 40 minutes late but would still be stopped in New York for 45 minutes. Finally the lights went back on and i got a shower. I thought it was really fun getting a shower on the train and the water pressure was fine. I thought the train started moving half way though my shower but when i was done i found out we were still stopped in New York. I figured we would be leaving in a few minutes because 45 minutes was almost up so I went back to the room, brushed my teeth and got into bed.

From the top bed the room seems to be large because you can look right out the window and there is also a gap to look down to the floor, there is also a small luggage rack about 1/2 the length of the room which also makes the room to appear larger then it is.

The train is still not moving??? I wondered what was happening but i was also happy that we had all this extra time. At about 130am I heard a lot of noise in the hall so I looked out the door and saw about 5 crew members all standing at the back door looking out the window, I never found out what they were doing. I walked to the lounge and asked the attendant if he though we would still be arriving in Boston at 655am and he told me we would make time up in New Haven, but the conductor said she wasn't sure and we would find out at New Haven. We pulled out of New York about one hour fifteen minutes late.

As soon as we came out of the tunnel we stopped, we were stopped with the Amtrak yard on one side and a stapler factory on the other. Our room was on the side with the factory, which had a huge neon blinking sign which was cool to look at. We were stopped here for about an hour, apparently we were at a red signal. About halfway through the stop I closed the curtains and tried to fall asleep but didn’t until we crossed the Hells Gate Bridge. I slept though the Stanford stop and woke up again as we passed through Bridgeport, CT. I then fell back asleep and didn’t wake up again until New Haven.

We arrived in New Haven at 410am. During our New Haven stop the power went out for about ten minutes but then it went back on. I thought we would be leaving right away but then a lot of small trucks came on to the platform and were loading boxes onto the express and cafe cars. They also put a few boxes in the US Mail car, maybe they decided to put them on our train instead of the Fast Mail train since it was already 415am. They probably wanted to get some work out of the way, or maybe this is just routine for this train. I walked up to the lounge and some women was in there and who had just woke up, she told me it was 430am and she was waking up to get ready for our 655 arrival into Boston. The attendant told her we were running two hours late but told her we would make up time in Providence because we have a scheduled 45 minute stop there, so we would arrive in Boston one hour 15 minutes late. I was doubting the lounge attendant because he kept telling us we would make up time and all we did was lose time.

I went back to the room and got in bed. We left New Haven around 450am and almost as soon as we pulled out of the station we stopped. I decided to close the curtain and I soon fell asleep. When I next woke up we were speeding along a causeway (water on both sides of a narrow strip of land) somewhere in Connecticut. I went to the lounge and the attendant told me we were running two hours 30 minutes late, I think it was like 600am. I went to my aunt and sisters room and woke them up and told them we were 2 and 1/2 hours late, just so my aunt didn't wake up at 650am and think we would be in Boston in 5 minutes and freak out or something. My aunt told me to go back asleep so I did.

I went back to my room and fell right asleep until my aunt was knocking on the door at somewhere before Kingston, RI. She thought I was awake and she said sorry for waking me up. She told me she would be in the lounge so I got dressed and went to the “dining car” and found her, she was sitting at a table with coffee and was reading a newspaper. She said she felt bad she woke me up and I told her not to worry about it because I wanted to get up soon anyway. I sat there and then we decided to wake up Tana and Andy and order breakfast. I went back and woke them up and told them to meet us in the dining car. In about five minutes they came in and we ordered.

The attendant told us all he had was a Hot Breakfast Sandwich platter or a Breakfast Burrito platter. We all ordered the Burrito platter and in about 10 minutes he brought it out. Breakfast was served on the same type of tray as dinner and it was again on a hard plastic plate. The “Burrito” was rather large and was basically a flour tortilla shell filled with scrambled eggs. A cup with salsa was on the side and the rest of the dish was covered with potatoes, peppers, and sausage mixed together. The food was again good. We were also served with cloth napkins and silverware again. When we were done breakfast we again tipped the attendant for his service and went back to our rooms to get ready for our arrival into Boston.

We stopped at Route 128, Boston Back Bay, and then they made a long announcement that they were sorry for the delay and we arrived in South Station Boston. We arrived at 925am, 2 and 1/2 hours late. I was very happy about the late arrival because I had so much extra time to sleep. As we got off we tipped the car attendant who was helping people with there luggage.

This was a great trip with great service! I was very pleased and would recommend this to anyone. I hope that I will be able to take the train to Florida sometime within the next year. I will only do it if I have enough money for a sleeping car because it is like a vacation in itself and sitting in coach would be too uncomfortable for that period of time.

Boston, MA

When we arrived in Boston we checked our bags for the day at the baggage check-in area. This is a really nice train station that has a large food court combo waiting area. You sit at a table and wait for your train.

We then boarded the subway (or as the people of Boston call it, the “T”) and took the inbound red line to Park Center and transferred to the outbound green line to Boylstone. The green line subway is actually a trolley system that goes underground when it reaches Back Bay and Downtown Boston. At Boylstone we walked up the stairs and found ourselves in Boston Common, the nations oldest public park. We looked around to find the “Bean Town Trolley Tour” station and when we found it we bought tickets.

We went on a trolley tour of the city where you can get on and off and 18 different stops throughout a continuous loop. We got off at many of the stop’s including M.I.T./Cambridge, The Prudential Center (a mall and tower), the Boston Tea Party Ship, the Boston Long Wharf waterfront, Faneuil Hall/Quiency Market, the Italian Section (where we had homemade Italian Ice Cream), Paul Reveres house, and the USS Constitution.

My favorite stops on the tour were the Prudential Center, Quiency Market, and the Italian section. After we were done with the tour we walked though the Public Garden located next to Boston Common, this is a fancy park that has swan boat rides. On the one side of the garden is the Bull and Finch Pub, home of the NBC sitcom Cheers. We went in for drinks. As you walk in someone at the door asks if you will be drinking alcohol if you appear to be young and after checking your I.D. they stamp your hand to show you can drink. My aunt asked if she needed to show her I.D. and the guy apparently didn’t get the joke and he just said, “No, just go in.” My aunt and I had iced tea, Andy had a beer, and my sister ordered there “world famous” bloody Mary, she said it wasn't that good.
After we left Cheers we took a walk through one of the neighborhoods. Boston seems like a good place to raise kids, they have safe feeling neighborhoods that are clean with lots of trees. This is my third time in Boston and I have yet to have anyone ask me for money like in New York. We then decided to look for a place for dinner so we got back on the tour bus and took it straight through to Quieny Marketplace.

At Quiency Market you can find many shops, restaurants, and pubs plus live entertainment all day and night. We found a seafood restaurant and pub and ate in it. The lobster in New England seems to be really cheap, they even had it at McDonald's! I got the Lobster and Fries dinner that also came with Cole Slaw. It was pretty good but I had a hard time cracking it. I also had New England Clam Chowder which was extremely good (I guess so, I mean I was in New England). After dinner it was about 735pm and we decided to take a taxi back to the train station because we had to catch the 830pm train home, plus we had to get our baggage.

We got to the station at 745pm on the dot! We got our luggage and then Andy and I tried to upgrade our return Custom Class tickets to another sleeping room but they were sold out. Ohh well, well just have to do with Custom Class.

Overall Boston is a great city that i would love to visit again! There is so much to see and do there that I have now been there 3 times and I could still see more. For first time visitors I definitely recommend a city tour, you really get a good idea of the city and what you can do there. I also recommend going to the observation deck at the Prudential Center because you can see the entire city from there and you can get a good idea of the layout of Boston. When we stayed at a hotel in Boston once we went out at night to Quiency Market and Government Center and they had so much entertainment and a concert. It seems to me they have this every day in the summer! This is a great city and I can’t wait to go back!

Boston, MA to Trenton, NJ

At about 815pm they announced that people traveling in Custom Class and Sleeping Cars may board the train. Train 67, the southbound Twilight Shoreliner was sitting on track 8 and was the exact same train as the one this morning. We boarded the Custom Class Car and got four seats together. Only about 10 other people got on this car, so the attendant came around and told us we could spread out and each take our own two seats.

This was a nice car compared to AmFleet I coaches. It was decorated in blue colors compared to the red AmFleet I cars. The seats were also softer then coach and they reclined a lot more too. The windows also had curtains on them and each seat had a foot rest where you could rest your feet instead of on the floor.

As soon as the train left the station at 830pm the attendant came around and took our tickets and placed them on the overhead ticket area along the luggage racks so the conductor can just come by and take the tickets. She then came around and gave everyone a hospitality kit, newspaper, pillow, and “Twilight Shoreliner” blanket (which I kept as a souvenir!). She then announced that the hospitality hour would be held in the lounge between 10pm and 11pm.

Passengers who choose to travel in Custom Class on The Twilight Shoreliner get to sit in an AmFleet II coach which have larger seats that recline more then standard coach. AmFleet II coaches are used on most long distance single level trains, so if your taking the train to Florida, Chicago, or New Orleans from New York and you can’t get Custom Class, don't worry, you’ll be traveling in the same car used for Custom Class travel. I am shocked that Amtrak did not use AmFleet II coaches for this entire train considering it is an overnight train, this is a classic case of greed! In Custom Class you also receive complimentary beverages, and access to the Twilight Lounge Car which is only open to passengers traveling in Custom Class and the Viewliner Sleeper. At 10pm a hospitality hour is held where passengers receive complimentary “TGIF Mudslides and Pina Colldas” and potato chips. The hospitality hour wasn't very lively on this trip, but last year when I traveled on this train many passengers attended and there were some good conversations.

Our trip ran pretty smoothly until we left Stamford, CT. We stopped and all the power went out. We were stopped for a pretty long time and then we found out that the engine had broke. Soon the lights and air conditioning went back on but we didn’t move. In about 25 minutes another engine pulled up along side of us and I think they put that one on. I wonder why they use two engines if they have to replace one if it breaks, maybe our train was so heavy it needed two engines??? The total time we were stopped was an hour.

When we got into New York City we rode right along the side of Manhattan before we went into a tunnel to go under the East River. The skyline of New York looked nice, all of the buildings were lit up. As we pulled into Penn Station passengers were already waiting on the platform for the train along with a few Amtrak Police. They probably announced the boarding of the train before we got there so we could make up some time. We were schedule to stop for 26 minutes but we only stopped for about 15 minutes. A lot of people got on here. The Custom Class car had about 15 people in it now! The attendant went around again passing out pillows, blankets, and hospitality kits.

Two of the people who got one in New York, a husband and wife, were using the cafe car intended for the coach people. I wonder if they knew about the Twilight Lounge and the complimentary beverages? I wonder if they paid for there drinks. Ohh well. We left New York and then stopped at Newark, NJ and Metropark, NJ. I slept for the rest of the way back to Trenton since I already got my stuff ready to go in New York. We arrived on Trenton at 330am, 41 minutes late.

This was also an enjoyable train trip considering we had Custom Class seating. I would definitely recommend this for daytime travel, and overnight travel if your in coach and your train doesn’t offer AmFleet II cars as regular coach (most overnight trains use AmFleet II coaches, this is the acception) and you can’t afford the sleeping car.

I really like traveling by train, there is something about it that makes it feel so lively, you feel like your accomplishing something, and when you get off the train, you feel satisfied. The felling is different when you travel in coach because the level of service is not as good and the accomidations are not as good as a Sleeping Car. I can’t wait for my next train trip, which I am hoping will be to Florida. I have always wanted to take a train to the Florida Beaches and now I want to make this wish come true.

Twilight Shoreliner Menu
(First Class Passengers Only)

Breakfast Selections

Good morning, and thank you for traveling with us on Northeast Direct’s Twilight Shoreliner. Please enjoy a complimentary breakfast before you leave us today.

Hot Breakfast Sandwich
Ham, scrambled egg, and American cheese

Fresh New York Style bagels

Served in a variety of flavors with butter or cream cheese

Warmed Breakfast Pastries
A selection of muffins and danish

Low-Fat Fruit Yougurt

Fresh-Cut Fruit
Refreshing chilled medley of oranges, grapefruit, and pineapple

Cold Cereal Selections

Served with your choice of fresh skim or 2% milk

Hot Entree

Choose from a delicious assortment that includes two of the following:
Cinnamon Swirl French Toast, Blueberry Pancakes, Gruyere Cheese Omelette,
Salsa Egg Burrito

Coffee, fresh brewed, regular or decaffeinated
Hot Tea
Chilled Juices
Bottled spring or sparkling water
Soft drinks

Your choice may not be available due to an unexpected high demand. Thank you for understanding.

Dinner Selections

Welcome aboard Northeast Direct’s Twilight Shoreliner. Please enjoy complimentary meal and beverage service as you travel with us today.

Fresh Sandwiches
Choose from a selection of delicious deli style sandwiches, served with chips
and a pickle spear.

Fresh Salad
For a lighter meal alternative, ask about today’s salad selection.

Hot Entree
Your server will describe today’s special offerings, chosen from a tempting selection of chicken, beef, and seafood varieties.

The best is always last...ask your server about today’s choice.

Soft Beverages
Coffee, fresh brewed, regular or decaffeinated
Hot Tea
Chilled Juices
Bottled spring or sparkling water
Soft drinks

Bar Selections
Please enjoy a complimentary glass of premium wine, a cold beer, or a coctail.

Your choice may not be available due to an unexpected high demand. Thank you for understanding.

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