Journey on the Southwest
Tuesday, January 17th, 2006 Train
49 Lakeshore Limited
Allowing for delays, we set out from Brockville, Ontario for
the train station in Syracuse N.Y. six hours before departure time.
Normally this would be a 2.5 hour drive but with freezing rain,
snow and high winds in the forecast plus the uncertainty of a speedy
border crossing, we thought it best to prepare for the worst. I
would rather wait an extra few hours in a station than nervously
stew in traffic counting down to my train’s departure. Luck was
with us as the border guards basically waved us through and the
only precipitation we encountered was a light rain drizzle.
Upon arrival we picked up our reserved tickets at the Amtrak
counter, then enjoyed a quick dinner with our husbands at the Subway
outlet located in the station before sending them home early in
hopes of avoiding the impending inclement weather. We passed the
time watching television and chatting with a young gentleman who
introduced himself as Nathan. He was from Arizona but had been living
in Syracuse the past five months and was looking forward to a visit
from his friend arriving from Tennessee on the next train. There
were now quite a few people waiting, some on cell phones others
using laptops, and I marveled at one woman calmly working on a handicraft
Our 9:26pm train arrived a bit late at 9:40pm. An elevator
took sleeping class passengers to the upper platform level where
we waited inside a glass enclosed structure until the train came
to a complete stop. George, our car attendant, stored our big bags
then led us to our room where he ran through some of the features
and reminded us to buzz if there was anything we needed. The
diner was closed at this late hour; however we were welcome to go
to the lounge car. I inquired about the train consist and in short
order George was back with a list so that I didn’t have to brave
the elements to get those numbers.
Train 49 Lakeshore Limited Consist
Lead unit – 152
Trailing unit – 138
Baggage – 1241
crew – 2515
View liner – 62041 – 62045
Diner – 8552
Coach – 25027 – 25083 – 25064 – 25070
– 74030 – 74048 – 74041
The train departed the station at 9:50 pm.
On the way to the lounge car we talked to one of the conductors
who was finishing up some paperwork. Talk centered on Amtrak and
some of the problems it faced. He thought Mr. Gunn had done
a good job the short time he was at the helm, yet he worried about
the future of passenger rail and the many invaluable employees.
When I mentioned that the Lakeshore is often nicknamed the
“late shore”, he exhibited a sense of humor by remarking that he
has heard it referred to as the “never on time 49” and the “always
late 48”. Back in our room, we retired at 11:00 pm.
George, our Lakeshore Sleeping Car Attendant
train #49, the Lakeshore Limited
Wednesday, January 18th, 2006 Train
#3 Southwest Chief
I slept poorly as most of the night was spent listening to one
side of a cell phone conversation. The “cell phone lady”,
a door away from ours, talked well into the night in a loud voice
with her door open. She must have fallen asleep around 4:00
am. Because that’s the last time I remember looking at my watch.
At 7:00 am. I washed up, making the best of my “bed head”; no shower
today. Darlene was stirring so I took the complimentary U.S.A.
Today, and told her I’d meet her in the lounge car, thereby giving
her some privacy to ready for the day.
The coffee machine
wasn’t working in our car but there were juices available. In
the forward sleeper the coffee was ready so I poured myself a cup
and chatted with Maria, the sleeper attendant in this car, who has
been with Amtrak for 16 years and loves her job. She told me we
were basically on schedule and should be arriving in Chicago pretty
much on time.
The diner was only half occupied and it seemed
everyone stared as I walked through. (I knew it was the hair.)
There were a few people in the lounge car so I sat by myself and
watched the dawn arrive. The trees and fields all had a fresh,
soft cover of newly fallen snow.
An 8:30 announcement stated that the diner was now closed. I
went looking for Darlene to let her know that we missed breakfast
but could buy something in the lounge. Miscommunication, she
had already eaten breakfast. Back in the lounge I got another
coffee and sat with Linda, who was on her way to Chicago to meet
her son. Linda was from Bad Axe Mich. and had run a gift shop
in the Ace Hardware store for over 40 years. We chatted about everything
while watching the passing scenery. At 9:00 am. The train
pulled into South Bend, Indiana, home of Notre Dame University.
I returned to my room to pack and to thank George. Darlene
was raring to go as we pulled into the Chicago station at 10:05
We made our way to the Metropolitan lounge to check our baggage
and relax for a few minutes. The lounge was quite large with
numerous couches and chairs and two large screen TV’s. Fresh
coffee and tea, cold drinks and juices plus a tray of fresh muffins
were available at the courtesy counter.
We left the solitude
of the lounge to explore the station. The food court was the
first stop. I had a sandwich at one of the eateries, and then we
headed off to Robinson’s to purchase a bottle of their famous hot
Next on our self-guided tour was the majestic Great Hall.
I marveled at the staircase leading to one of the exits where a
pathway was visibly worn into the marble up the entire length.
Robinson’s, famous for their rib sauce
The Great Hall in Union Station
The architecture of the Chicago Station
was simply outstanding
The pathway up the marble steps
We found our way back to the lounge and settled in to wait for
our train’s departure time of 3:15 pm.We struck up a conversation
with Don, from Cleveland Ohio, who was on his way to rendezvous
with his son, a student at the University of Edmonton. Here was
a super train buff who admitted he required a few train trips a
year, and believed, like many of us, that the train ride was the
holiday. He had many worthy travel tips such as, “be sure
to book by the full moon so you can see more scenery”, and he told
us he was an avid collector of those Amtrak guest rewards
points. The call for the Empire Builder was announced and Don set
out on his adventure, but not before wishing us luck on ours.
Announcements at 2:45 pm. directed us to line up at the exit
door where someone would take us to the train. My large suitcase
was stored on the luggage rack as we boarded leaving only a satchel,
my purse and camera bag to store in the Super liner Roomette. As
we made our way to the upper level, I was startled to see an Amtrak
Policeman standing at the top of the stairs. He seemed to
be scrutinizing everyone, but I suppose it was for security purposes.
My coat was hung in the tiny closet before heading to the
sightseer car. For the next two hours we enjoyed the changing
vistas from our seats. With the high-rises of Chicago behind
us, we were enjoying vast panorama of farmland. A farmer on
his tractor working the land in January would be an unfamiliar scenario
Darlene and I were both hungry so we made our way to the diner
for the 5 o’clock seating and sat with a lovely couple, Vivian and
Stan, who were on the return leg of their journey to Los Angeles.
Both were retired teachers originally from New York but for
the past 25 years have called Los Angeles home. This was their
first trip on Amtrak and they absolutely loved it. They proclaimed
“very good food, courteous staff, and wonderful, interesting traveling
companions”. For the next 1.5 hours we mostly talked politics
and discussed the imminent federal election in Canada. My
dinner selection this evening was cod with baked potato and green
beans accompanied by a fresh baby green salad and cheesecake with
strawberry sauce. The meal was not overly hot, but very tasty.
John Isler, our server tonight, was not only attentive but
friendly and personable. Normally we wouldn’t sit that long
in the diner, but very few people were eating and we weren’t made
to feel rushed at all.
Stan and Vivian from Los Angeles
Pinkey, our sleeping car attendant
I stepped off the train in Fort Madison for a bit of fresh air.
It would be an early bed time tonight to try to compensate for the
bout of sleeplessness caused by the inconsiderate “cell phone lady”.
Wherever she was I hoped “cell phone lady” had slept in and
missed her stop.
Around 11 o’clock I awoke to discover we were
stopped at the Kansas station which was all decked out in Christmas
lights. I didn’t sleep well even though I was beyond tired
so I reversed my pillow to the foot of the bed then slept soundly
until Darlene went to the restroom about 2:45 am.
Thursday, January 19th, 2006
I slept soundly until 6:00 am when I arose and took my shower.
The shower room was located on the lower level of the sleeping
car. There were three bathrooms on this level as well, plus
one on the upper level at the top of the stairs. Towels, facecloths
and individual bars of soap were provided but you had to supply
your own shampoo. The bedroom across from ours was vacant so Pinkey,
our car attendant, suggested we use it as a dressing room. That
proved to be a lifesaver as the rooms were so small when the beds
were down that it was really quite awkward to dress. Pinkey
did everything to make our stay as comfortable as possible. She
made the beds the way she had been taught when she first joined
Amtrak 26 years previously. That meant you could gently loosen
the sheets to get between them and not feel that you needed a can
opener. When I asked her about the train consist she replied,
trouble”, and produced a list for me.
Train #3 westbound Southwest Chief Consist
Lead Unit - 181
Trailing Unit - 179
Unit - 186
Baggage - 1716
Sleeper - 32104 - 32049
Lounge - 33034
34048 - 34039
Express trak - 74045
- 74029 - 74066 - 74013
We had breakfast with Tom who had just returned from an 18 month
stay in Europe and was on his way to visit his son in Las Vegas.
I dined on a complete western omelet with ham, green pepper,
onion and Monterey jack cheese. It was accompanied by bacon, potatoes,
a hot biscuit, orange juice and fresh coffee.
We arrived in La Junta Colorado fifteen minutes early and made
a half hour stop. Passengers seemed more familiar to us now
and greetings were parlayed in friendly fashion, especially at these
stops. Some people looked forward to the smoke breaks while
others liked the fresh air and the opportunity to walk on solid
ground. Announcements forewarned us at every stop to listen
for the train whistle which alerted us to board immediately. People
often had been left at stations because they had wandered too far.
The train waits for no one.
The train departed La Junta
at 8:30 am. Darlene and I watched the scenery from the comfort
of the sightseer car. Even barren, rural scrub covered flats
have a distinctive beauty, and off in the distance a snow covered
mountain appeared to be hovering over the flat land.
Pinkey informed us it was Pike’s Peak at an elevation of 4,300
feet and as we got closer, we realized it was part of the mountain
range. The train began the slow, laborious ascent of the mountainous
terrain. It creaked and groaned as it traversed the winding
tracks, and the powerful engines spewed long trails of diesel exhaust
as they strained against the steady incline. “I think I can, I think
I can, I think I can” echoed the childhood story of “The Little
Engine that Could”. We were headed toward Raton Pass, the highest
point we would attain in the Sangre de Cristo Range, and then would
pass through the tunnel to begin the very long cautious descent.
The wheels squealed as the brakes were applied and the
cars rocked from side to side as we continued the slow descent into
Raton, New Mexico, arriving at the station at 10:38 am.
The slow ride up the mountain
Entering the tunnel, Raton Pass
We responded to first call for lunch and were seated with T.R.,
whose love of the rails began when his grandparents took him on
his first overnight ride back in the early fifties. His recollection
of the different types of cars over the years was truly amazing.
Also seated with us was Jerry who had enjoyed many Amtrak
trips and had fond memories of a trip across Canada on the “Canadian”.
I ordered the veggie burger and feasted on lemon shortbread
for dessert. Jeanine and John, the two servers in this diner,
worked very well together and covered for each other in the busiest
We stopped in Las Vegas, New Mexico at 12:43 pm.
and departed at 12:45 pm. Not all stops on this run were smoke
At 1:10 pm. we pulled onto a siding and the power was shut down
to let the engines cool (that was what I was told). Twelve minutes
later the power was restored and we continued on. It didn’t look
like there would be much spring run-off this year. Most of
the creeks were bone dry, with a few having the barest amount of
ice in them.
In the sightseer car that afternoon we listened
to a gentleman who was wearing headphones and singing Spanish ballads.
Unfortunately his familiarity with the lyrics was sketchy
and he obviously didn’t realize that we couldn’t hear the music.
Nonetheless he was entertaining and elicited spontaneous smiles.
At 4:14 pm. we pulled into Albuquerque, 19 minutes late. This
was the only stop where I’d have enough time to take pictures of
the units pulling this train, but this was a service stop so I had
to wait until the fuel truck finished. Most people detrained as
there was plenty of time to check out the vendors selling authentic
native ware and go for a leisurely walk along the platform. The
whistle sounded, and the train departed at 4:48 pm.
On the way to my room I stopped to talk to Pinkey and let her
know that I had noticed some of the little extras in this car. The
candy dish with the never ending supply of assorted, hard candies,
the box of chocolate mints and the ginger cookies were an appreciated
addition, and the constant supply of ice and juice did not go unnoticed.
I complimented her on the cleanliness of our car and emphasized
the pleasure of using a well stocked immaculate public washroom.
She said this was her home away from home and she considered anyone
who stayed in her sleeper to be a guest and treated them as such.
Something else we noticed was the great camaraderie among
the staff. They often aided each other and genuinely seemed to care
for one another. Pinkey agreed and added “Crew number 9 has been
together for many years and, yes, we all look out for one another.”
In the diner tonight we were joined by Tom from Saratoga Springs,
not far from Albany, N.Y., his destination was Los Angeles. This
active retiree had been a college math and science teacher in Saratoga
Springs. His persona and intellect reminded me of “My Fair Lady’s”
professor Higgins, only without the accent. Gary, also seated with
us, is an Amtrak employee who truly wishes for the success of passenger
service. It was his job to maintain good relations with the freight
companies in order to secure expedient operating of the passenger
trains on their rails. I enjoyed the turkey tenderloin wrapped
in bacon as well as the conversation.
Tom, from Saratoga Springs
Virginia and Harrietta
We decided to pack up tonight rather than tomorrow morning as
the train was due to arrive in LA at 6:34 am. We stopped to say
hi to Harrietta and Virginia, two sisters we had met many times
on the platform when the train made scheduled stops. Through
the course of general conversation we came to find out that Virginia
had written a book about the struggle she and a group of parents
endured to help bring school choice in the District of Columbia.
She talked of the personal pride she felt toward her fellow
parents as they watched from the gallery when the house voted and
the bill passed by one vote. It was very inspiring listening
to these girls and to feel the love and respect they had for one
another. The book is titled “Voices, Choices and Second Chances”
by Virginia Walden Ford.
By the time we organized our belongings and readied for bed it
was almost eleven o’clock. I awoke a few times during the
night when I had the sensation that we were flying. That’s my favorite
type of ride and I imagined the engineer to be asleep at the throttle
or perhaps trying to break the ultimate speed record. Momentarily
I returned to reality and nodded off once more.
Friday, January 20th, 2006
At 4:30 am. I went to the shower and finished getting ready in
our “dressing room”. The roomette is definitely fine for one
woman, or a man and wife. When two females are trying to prepare
for the day ahead with barely enough elbow room for one and only
one power outlet, that’s pushing the limit. We went for an early
breakfast as the diner was open at six this morning. We enjoyed
another savory meal and thanked John and Jeanine for the splendid
John, our dining car server
my very excellent omelet breakfast
The train, which had been on time or early all trip, was one
hour late. We sat in the sightseer waiting for the sunrise.
The professed population of California is 35 million but as I looked
at the throngs of people and congested traffic at this early hour,
calculated I may have seen 12 million so far. The train pulled into
the Fullerton Station at 7:33 am. We gathered our luggage,
stepped off the train and were greeted by Ray of Trainweb.
Ray became our personal chauffeur during our stay. We
spent Monday at trainweb helping out in the afternoon with the Train
Party orders. There were six of us boxing, checking, packing,
labeling and taping to meet the 4:30 pm UPS pickup deadline. The
remainder of our visit was spent shopping and enjoying a week of
warm temperatures and solid sunshine, but too soon it was time to
Friday, January 27th, 2006 Return
trip, Train #4 Southwest Chief
We arrived at the platform close to 6:50 pm with plenty of time
to gather our thoughts and take a few pictures before our 7:20 pm
departure. The last metro of the evening arrived and departed.
From way down the track a headlight could be seen slowly getting
brighter as it progressed towards the station. Ice gripped
my spine as Ray exclaimed that the train looked like it was on the
other track. It was too far away to tell for sure so we waited
for an announcement that never came. Other people had picked
up suitcases and were anxiously watching too. By the time
we could determine the situation, Ray and Darlene were at the elevator
while I took the stairs. When I got to the first level I whacked
the other elevator button so that it would be waiting for them when
they reached this floor. Then I raced down the second set
of stairs. The important outcome was that we did get aboard,
The train departed at 7:28 pm. We met cool, calm Bob who
stashed our suitcases on the rack and escorted us to room #5. He
excused himself for half an hour while he went for dinner. At
8:00 pm the last call for the diner was announced but we had already
eaten dinner in Fullerton. The train pulled into Riverside
Station and departed five minutes later. We met Ed and Barbara,
our neighbors across the hall, and the three of us had a good laugh
watching Darlene struggle to the top bunk. I had a hard time
getting to sleep.
Saturday, January 28th, 2006
I heard every mechanical creak and groan imaginable. The
most annoying rattle was traced to a strip of chrome which ran under
the window. A bit of pressure and the threat of ripping it
off the wall solved that problem. The loudest squeaking sound came
from the headrest area but the most irritating sound was the ticking
of Darlene’s alarm clock. This was the first time she had
ever used one, and I suspected she was apprehensive about oversleeping
because of the time zone we would cross during the night, and she
feared that she might miss breakfast.
I awoke at 2:00 am and watched the hands pass 5:00am. Realizing
I wasn’t going to sleep anymore I got up and took a shower. This
was a different, more compact shower layout than on the #3 southwest
Chief, but nonetheless appreciated. I poured a cup of freshly
brewed coffee available in each sleeper car, and walked forward
to the sightseer car until Darlene made an appearance, and then
we went for breakfast. I had the tasty omelet once again. Our server
this morning was Cindy, and Elaine and another Cindy joined us for
We stopped in Winslow Arizona at 7:00 am. Near Holbrook
we thought we saw huge clouds of smoke in the distance but as we
got closer we realized it was billows of steam from what looked
like a co-generation station. The train raced along the flat
lands of the plateau, skirting the painted desert of Arizona. The
pattern was punctuated by a few mountains, but unfortunately, photos
do not do justice to the striking, colored rock formations of the
Early morning shadows
Alvarado Station NM
Shortly after 8:00 am a sign welcomed us to New Mexico, identified
as the land of enchantment, and a half hour later we reached Gallup.
There was a bit of confusion at the gate in the station, as passengers
who had just detrained couldn’t get to the station and those waiting
to board were idling on the other side, but it was all sorted out
when someone came hurrying with the key.
I read in the complimentary
Arizona Daily Sun this morning that one hundred years ago “The joint
New Mexico-Arizona Statehood Bill had passed the house”. I
wasn’t sure what it meant but felt special that one hundred years
later I would be traveling through these two beautiful States where
Yucca flowers and Saguaro cactus plants abound.
also looking forward to the native tour guide who was supposed to
board in Gallup and describe the various areas we would pass through
between Gallup and Albuquerque as stated in our route guide but
was disappointed to hear that this service had been discontinued.
On we sped. The land appeared parched and desolate but
every now and then we passed a small residence with a few animals
about, looking for grazing material. In the distance, dotting
the landscape was the odd flat topped massive rock formation.
met Bob on the way to my room and asked him about the trains consist.
He was back in a minute with the list and also offered me
some duct and packing tape that would take care of those rattling
Train #4 eastbound Southwest Chief Consist
Lead unit - 152
Trailing unit - 137
Working Baggage - 1208
Dormer - 32045
Sleeper - 32043 -
Diner - 38018
Lounge - 33049
- 34094 - 31036
Express trak -
I was snoozing a bit when I heard the announcement that we would
arrive early in Albuquerque. Bob said the10:55 am arrival
time was the earliest in his ten years on this run and we would
enjoy a two hour interval to investigate the surrounding area. The
day was sunny but cool and windy as Darlene and a bunch of others
went for a walk downtown. I stayed behind to take some pictures
and sample one of the highly recommended burritos sold by platform
vendors. Because of our early arrival, there were only two
or three vendors commencing to set out their wares so I went to
my room and enjoyed my very excellent tasting burrito.
did go to lunch and sat with Jan and Harry. Try as I might though
I could not finish my chicken burger after eating the burrito appetizer.
Back in my room I relaxed, but unfortunately the glass on the
bottom half of the window in our roomette looked permanently mottled
so picture taking was limited. I found by standing and bracing
my forehead on the upholstered underneath of the top (stashed) bunk,
it left me both hands to steady a shot directed out the top half
of the window. I had the best results placing the camera lens
flush to the window; (especially in the sightseer car) this seemed
to prevent most of the reflections that occurred when the camera
was angled to the left or right.
We passed many hamlets and
small villages consisting of earth-colored, flat-topped houses.
So different from the houses back home where the steep pitch
on our roofs is necessary for the snow and rain runoff. Seeing
small herds of horses and the occasional cow made me wonder how
they found enough to graze on in these dry lands.
We stepped off the train in Las Vegas, NM to stretch our legs.
The route guide informed us that the house beside the tracks
was called Castaneda, one of the old Harvey houses. While
it looked in need of some repair, one could easily imagine its former
A house in the hills
eastbound Southwest Chief
I had to ask Bob to rescue my battery charger as it had fallen
between the seat and wall. Unfortunately he had to take the
seat apart, and then he adjusted the heating for us which we found
to be too warm. He was a handy man to have around. I
really liked the privacy afforded by the one-piece, floor length
curtains on the doors in our car. No problem with not staying
The bathrooms were the gaudiest green color
but more importantly, like the Western Chief, they were always clean
and well stocked.
At 4:30 pm we watched a bit of the movie “Charlie and the Chocolate
Factory”, until dinner call. I tried the Delmonico steak which was
very tender and cooked just the way I had requested. For the
next hour we enjoyed a relaxing meal with Ed and Barbara. We watched
the unfolding landscape until darkness closed in around us.
Back in the sightseer car we watched the second feature of the
night, “Must like Dogs”, a comedy we all enjoyed. By 10:30
pm we had retired for the night. The room was all quiet thanks
to Bob’s sticky tape but I stuck a pair of earplugs in just in case.
Sunday, January 29th, 2006
I couldn’t believe it was almost 5:30 am. I hadn’t awakened
once during the night. When I returned from my shower Darlene
wasn’t ready to follow like she usually was. I immediately
felt guilty after waking her when she informed me of the very poor
night’s sleep she’d had.
I enjoyed a cup of Bob’s coffee before
I went to the diner. The Railroad toast was not overly hot
and would have tasted better with real maple syrup. Cindy was the
only server in this diner, but she always managed just fine.
The air was fresh but not too cold when we stepped off the train
in Kansas City. For whatever reason, I like detraining and
leaving my footprints in a place I’ve never been before. I
had really hoped to be awake when the train stopped in Dodge City;
I think there’s a little inner cowboy in all of us.
the Missouri River on a 135 foot steel bridge towards our next stop,
LaPlanta. This was great farm country with many hillside pastures
and healthy looking cow herds.
Some of the worked fields had
crops already growing.
I tried to take pictures of all
the little hamlets but we were moving too fast and the whistle seemed
to be blowing continuously. The freight trains flew by us
one after another. A dome car added to the Southwest Chief
would make photography so much easier, at least there would be a
bit of warning when a train was approaching.
The skies were beginning to cloud over and the soil appeared
to be saturated with plenty of rain.
We arrived 17 minutes early
into Fort Madison Station near the Illinois border where a number
of people seemed to be boarding. We crossed the “Mighty Mississippi
over the longest double-decked swing span bridge completed in 1927.
The centre section of the bridge pivots to allow river traffic
to pass. As river traffic takes precedence, the Southwest
Chief will occasionally have to wait for river traffic to pass”.
My Angus beef burger was absolutely delicious. We sat with
Joe, a documentary film maker just back from Peru, who would be
returning to China in the near future. Sharon was enjoying
her first train ride. She told us she had been quite nervous
traveling alone and had almost changed her mind while waiting in
the Chicago station. She had high praise for the personnel
and gave top marks to the food. “It doesn’t take one long
to get into the swing of things” she remarked.
The air was definitely colder as we stepped off in Galesburg,
Illinois to take a few pictures. I returned to my room to
double check everything and repair a bag with some tape Bob had
lent me. Until our train arrived in Chicago, I just sat in
the room looking at everything outside. The train pulled into
the station at 3:40 pm. just 20 minutes late. We detrained
into the dampness and made our way to the station to once again
enjoy the comforts of the Metropolitan lounge.
We did the tour again after checking our luggage but, being fatigued,
we plopped into those comfy chairs in front of the t.v. and vegetated
for a while.
The call to board our Train48 Lakeshore was announced.
We walked the 2 miles (just kidding) to our viewliner at the
front of the train. We were told we’d have to store all of
our luggage in our rooms until the attendant could verify that there
would be a vacant room. Luckily for us Kathy, a young girl
across the hall, offered to take one of our larger pieces so that
we could at least get out of the hallway. We began to mentally
picture how and where we would sleep if our luggage had to remain
in our room. Of course things became silly and sillier and
when Wallace, our car attendant, walked through telling us to “stop
having so much fun”, well, that put us over the top. There
were unoccupied rooms and Wallace promptly stored everything for
us. Roger had a room next to Kathy’s and he joined in the
merriment. He really didn’t have much choice. This was a first
train ride for Kathy and she said she had never realized they were
so much fun.
We all sat together in the diner and had a very jovial dinner
laughing at nothing in particular. I enjoyed a very crisp salad
and ordered the New York steak which was a bit tough but the fresh
broccoli and carrots were hot and delicious. Kwame was our
server tonight; extremely efficient and professional with a sly
sense of humor.
We retired to our room but not to sleep just yet as everything
seemed to be hilarious. Roger marveled that we were still
friends after being together for two weeks. He also found
and fixed an annoying squeak on the car. I finally plugged
those earplugs in and went to sleep.
Monday, January 30th, 2006
I awoke a few times during the night when the train either stopped
or started but overall enjoyed a pretty good night’s sleep.
had the eggs and bacon with potatoes and biscuit for breakfast.
Back at our room we packed up and Wallace came by to ask how
we slept. We talked about Disney World and how he and his
wife and four year old had enjoyed their recent trip. He was,
like all of the other staff we met on the trip so far, just great.
I asked him about the consist numbers and he told me I would
have to check with the conductor as he was the one with the paperwork.
I asked but they weren’t available so I walked the train when it
stopped in Syracuse and got most of them before the train left.
Train #48 Lakeshore Limited Consist
Lead unit - 189
Trailing unit - 13
Dome lounge - 2516
- 62039 - 62020
Dining car - 8530
Coach - 25109 - 25085
Express trax x 2
Train #48, Lakeshore Limited
I enjoyed a wonderful journey on the Southwest Chief. The staff
were proud Amtrak employees who did the best with what they had,
and did it well. All of those personal touches were noted
and appreciated. The cars were kept clean at all times and
the food while not gourmet was certainly very good. I think
it’s a mistake to bring aboard prepared food, because entering a
diner and sensing the aroma of good food is indeed part of the adventure.
Crew Number 9 working as one, was the best crew I’ve experienced