Steve's Winter 1998 Amtrak Travel
January 3 - 10, 1998
This is the travelogue of the segment of my rail travel on the Amtrak
Adirondack from New York City to Albany - Rensselaer, New York and the
Amtrak Empire Service from Albany - Rensselaer back to New York City.
Adirondack - Train #69
Thursday, January 8, 1998, 08:25AM, New York City,NY
I had never seen a train car like this before. The outside was
painted in the Amtrak red, white and blue, but this was neither an
Amfleet Car nor a Horizon Car. It was single level, so it wasn't
a Superliner Car either. It was very modern looking and definitely
seemed newer than the Horizon or Amfleet Cars. The ceiling was very
high as were the overhead luggage racks. There was a lot of lighting
in the car and the windows were very big which gave a great view.
On the inside, some of the cars had Canadian symbols on the
walls. Best I could guess is that these were Canadian cars that
were added to the mix of trains which connect cities on both
sides of the border. This train is definitely superior to both the
Amfleet and Horizon Car. I could live with these if they wanted to
put them into service on the San Diegan Route!
Talk about smoke! For about 15 minutes, there was a VERY stong smell
of cigarette smoke, and then it vanished. I think someone really was
smoking in the restroom this time. The odor was unmistakeable. Since
the entire car has one air system, the smoke from the restroom just
circulates throughout the car and everyone can smell it. The Conductor
from that other train could have had a field day here!
Thursday, January 8, 1998, 11:00AM, Albany-Rensselear,NY
I guess I should know better than to try to travel by Amtrak in
January! The same thing happened this year as happened in January of
1997: my trip has been terminated in the middle due to bad weather!
There have been unusual ice storms in Montreal for the last few days.
I had been watching the progress of this on the weather reports hoping
that it would not affect my travel. Already most of this trip in
the northeast has been in dense fog and heavy overcast. It was so dark
all morning that there was no hope of using my camera. Even if there
was more light, the fog was so dense that little could be seen out
The ice storms in Montreal had evidently taken down power and phone
lines everywhere and made the streets treacherous. Hundreds of square
miles in and around Montreal were without electric power. The Conductor
announced that there were no taxis or bus service available in Montreal
because of a state of emergency that had been declared. Just 10 minutes
before we arrived in Albany-Rensselear, he announced that this train
might be terminated. He said we would know better once we arrived into
I called the hotel to find out how far it was from the train station
in case I had to walk, and if there was any available transportation.
Just as I have come to expect from my travel agents,
Slotsy Tours & Travel,
the hotel they had booked for me was only one block from the station!
I wouldn't have to worry about getting to the hotel, taxi or no taxi.
The hotel also informed me that they had electric power, were in full
operation, and that the taxis were running just fine, contrary to the
Conductor's announcement. In case you would like to book that same
hotel when you visit Montreal, here is their information:
Marriott Chateau Cha, 1 Place Du Canada, Montreal, PQ CA H3B4C9,
FAX: 514-878-6761, PHONE: 514-878-9000, with a rate of about $129
Canadian dollars per night (or about $100 U.S.). Or, since
Slotsy Tours & Travel did
all the research to find this hotel, you might want to support their
efforts by booking your hotel reservations and other travel arrangements
Click here for more
While I was on the phone with the hotel, an announcement came over the
speaker in the train by the Conductor that this train was being
terminated in Albany-Rensselear and that there would be no futher
transportation to Montreal this day. So, while I still had the hotel
on the phone, I cancelled my reservation. Looks like there is no way
I can make Montreal on this trip! That means I'll have to book a trip
on the Adirondack and the Vermonter later this year to complete my
travel of all the Amtrak miles.
Thus, I have only traveled two new routes on this trip: the International
and the Maple Leaf, but did not travel a lot of new rail miles. The
International was all new rail miles for me, but the only other part that
was new was the travel from Toronto to the Buffalo. I had already
traveled from Buffalo to New York on previous trips via the Lakeshore
I then called the hotel where I had just stayed in New York City last
night and also had reservations for tomorrow night. I added reservations
for this evening. Seemed like the thing that made the most sense was
to just stay in the hotel until my flight on Saturday morning. The
hotel where I always stay in New York City is the
Lexington Services - Hotel Pennsylvania.
It is directly across the street from Penn Station which makes it
tremendously convenient when you are making overnight connections
in New York City. Amtrak offers Carry Bus connections to both
Kennedy and La Guardia Airports which makes the hotels convenient
even for the air segments of your travel in and out of New York City.
We were told that a train would be heading back to New York City out of
Albany-Rensselear at 12:15PM and that we could just present our stub for
a free trip back. We were also told that we could exchange or get a refund
for our tickets right there at the ticket desk, or we could do the same
in New York, or we could mail them in for a rebate. I had nothing else
to do for the next hour in the station, so I got a refund on the
segments of my journey between New York City and Montreal.Radio Frequencies:
- 64-161.070-New York City,NY to Albany-Rensselaer,NY
Empire Service - Train #254
Thursday, January 8, 1998, 12:15PM, Albany-Rensselaer,NY
I obtained credit slips for both my trip from New York to Montreal and
for the return trip. Eventually the money will be credited back to my
credit card. Thus, this round trip from New York City up to
Albany-Rensselaer was free, but I would rather have paid and made it
up to Montreal!
I'm sitting by an electrical outlet again in case I run out of
batteries. This time I'm in seats 19 and 20 of an Amfleet Coach.
I think the seats are reversed from the other train. The row right
in front of me is 23 and 24. If these two rows were turned around,
then the outlet would be at seats 23 and 24 again! Thus, when you want
electric power for your notebook computer, check both rows on the train
and hope those seats aren't already taken.
- 64-161.070-Albany-Renssellaer,NY to New York City, NY