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Old April 23rd, 2009, 04:28 PM   #1301
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Old April 23rd, 2009, 08:21 PM   #1302
He Named Thor
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FlyFish View Post
Where do you want the Government to get all of this money so that they can make it cheaper for the miniscule percentage of the population who actually rides Amtrak? All taxpayers, regardless of whether they ride the train should pump more money to Amtrak to make it easier for the folks who do ride it? Sounds fair. And I am called ignorant.....


What they should do is reveiw where the system is above water and focus efforts there. Amtrak is a viable alternative and does amazing business in some areas. Those should be focused on and everything else should be up for review. We are running unholy deficits in this Country and at some point we are going to have to start spending public funds more responsibly. Like it or not, we are auto-mobile centric as a nation. Changing that, while definetely a good thing and a great goal for the long run, will take a long time.
If Amtrak can not provide for those seeking to ride the train due to lack of equipment, then it's time for some investment. Take the Hiawatha, for example. Despite 7, yes 7 round trips daily many end up being standing room only because Amtrak can't afford to purchase cars to add to the train. Its long distance trains are pretty much the same story (except the standing room part). Ridership has been increasing, but the number of cars has not, because Amtrak simply doesn't have the money to buy more (with the exception of Amtrak California, which gets funding from the state).

Amtrak prices are high because demand is far higher than what they can supply.

If they get enough money to buy equipment to run currently once-daily long distance trains more often, we'll probably see quite a jump in ridership simply because they'll have seats that weren't available before. Plus another jump because they'll be a more flexible option for passengers.

You can't starve Amtrak of funding, then claim that it doesn't work and shut it down.


Our huge budget deficits are due to tax cuts for the wealthy, two wars, and businesses screwing people over and running themselves into the ground in the process. Don't stick the blame on Amtrak.
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Old April 24th, 2009, 06:18 AM   #1303
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dachacon View Post
does anyone know if you can bring alcohol on board trains??
Yes, sleeper passengers can bring their own alchohol, to be used in the private sleeper room. But be warned that the train conductors have the authority and will use it to kick a drunken/troublemaking passenger off at the next station.

Quote:
Originally Posted by He Named Thor View Post
Amtrak's pricing is a bit funky.

Short version: Seats in Coach start at what's called a "bucket price", which is to say very low. As they start to fill up the seats get more expensive.

Roomettes and sleepers each have set prices in addition to whatever the current price is for a coach seat. I think a roomette is ~$150 extra. Now if there are openings on board the day of departure, they are automatically back at "bucket price", meaning you will pay the least.
Actually, there isn't just one "bucket price". They use a "bucket pricing system". When tickets for coach go on sale 11 months before departure, they are sold in the lowest price bucket. Once a certain number of seats are sold, then the tickets jump to the next higher price bucket. There are typically five price buckets. So the earlier you buy your ticket, the lower the price bucket you'll be in.

The same system is in effect for the sleeping compartments. The first ones sold are the cheapest, and they get more expensive as more are sold. But since there are a limited number of sleeper compartments, they go up to higher buckets very quickly.

Quote:
Originally Posted by He Named Thor View Post
That pricing system isn't on all lines. Hiawatha (Chicago-Milwaukee) is $21 each way. That price never changes. That train runs several times a day though (and is so busy they will be using some federal money to add more daily trips to that route).
The reason the Hiawatha is different is because it is an "unreserved" train. Most Amtrak trains (and all long-distance trains) have reserved seating, which means when you buy a ticket, it is for a particular train and you are guarunteed a seat on that train. But on the Hiawatha, you can use your ticket for any train departure within one year of the ticket purchase, so that's why tickets are a set price and do not use the bucket pricing system.

*********

My wife and I rode the City of New Orleans last summer in a Roomette and it was fantastic. The train left Chicago at 8 PM and arrived in New Orleans at 3:30 PM the next day. A great relaxing start to our vacation. Luckily for us that train is one of the most underutilized, so we got low bucket pricing both ways and paid $700 round trip for the two of us, which wasn't that much more than plane tickets would have been. But the travel was just as much a part of the vacation as the destination, which isn't something you can say about airplanes and airports. And since we live in the Milwaukee area, we took an earlier Hiawatha to Chicago and had time to eat lunch and go to the Sears Tower. And since we were sleeper passengers, we were able to use the first-class Metropolitan Lounge at Chicago Union Station, which has comfy leather chairs, TVs, a free baggage room, and complimentary refreshments.

I can't wait to take my next long-distance train trip.
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Old April 24th, 2009, 08:07 AM   #1304
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so then if i had booked my trip a month earlier my fare would have been under a grand. ill keep that in mind for next summer when i go to new york.
Kramerica you said tickets go on sale 11 months before the departure date?
i better start planning the trip now with my friends to get the cheapest train fare then.
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Old April 24th, 2009, 10:10 AM   #1305
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Here's a photo of the cab in a GE Genesis locomotive for you. The Genesis is what Amtrak uses on almost all of it's long distance runs, and even some of its shorter ones.








Last edited by He Named Thor; April 25th, 2009 at 09:38 AM.
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Old April 24th, 2009, 11:07 AM   #1306
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Quote:
Originally Posted by He Named Thor View Post
I just got back from Washington, D.C. today. Took Amtrak. Coach from Chicago-Washington, then Sleeper on the return trip.

I'm very happy. Our train arrived at Washington 5 minutes ahead of schedule (it was as much as 30 minutes ahead at some stations), and we got back into Chicago about 45 minutes ahead of schedule!

I don't think I can ever go back to Coach though. Sleeper cars are amazing. Aside from having an actual bed (which I, at 6'0" was able to stretch out across), the bathrooms are larger, there's a shower, meals are included, drinks are included, there's a newspaper under the door each morning, Priority boarding, Club Acela lounge access at station, and you can't hear all of your neighbors. W00t.

P.S. Has someone been redecorating the Superliners? They used to be hideous shades of brown and tan with the occasional garish blue. Now every car is decorated in blue, wood paneling, and fake granite. It actually looks very nice, though there are still a few hints at the what the cars used to look like.

Pics, of course.

Union Station, Chicago
[IMG]http://i37.photobucket.com/albums/e71/kingriffleteh1st/DSCF2435.jpg[/IMG
[IMG]http://i37.photobucket.com/albums/e71/kingriffleteh1st/DSCF2437.jpg[/IMG
[IMG]http://i37.photobucket.com/albums/e71/kingriffleteh1st/DSCF2439.jpg[/IMG

Train
[IMG]http://i37.photobucket.com/albums/e71/kingriffleteh1st/DSCF2449.jpg[/IMG
[IMG]http://i37.photobucket.com/albums/e71/kingriffleteh1st/DSCF2447.jpg[/IMG

Only in America can you see a TGV and a Genesis in the same photo.

Union Station, Washington
[IMG]http://i37.photobucket.com/albums/e71/kingriffleteh1st/DSCF2681.jpg[/IMG
[IMG]http://i37.photobucket.com/albums/e71/kingriffleteh1st/DSCF2696.jpg[/IMG
[IMG]http://i37.photobucket.com/albums/e71/kingriffleteh1st/DSCF2702.jpg[/IMG
[IMG]http://i37.photobucket.com/albums/e71/kingriffleteh1st/DSCF2684.jpg[/IMG
Sorry, but thatīs not a TGV. Itīs the Acela, and itīs more LRC-Train from Bombardier than TGV from Alsthom --> see:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acela_Express
and
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LRC_(train)
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Old April 24th, 2009, 12:24 PM   #1307
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Old April 24th, 2009, 12:28 PM   #1308
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Old April 24th, 2009, 12:30 PM   #1309
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Old April 24th, 2009, 12:31 PM   #1310
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Old April 24th, 2009, 12:33 PM   #1311
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Old April 24th, 2009, 12:36 PM   #1312
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Old April 24th, 2009, 12:36 PM   #1313
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Old April 24th, 2009, 12:38 PM   #1314
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Old April 24th, 2009, 12:39 PM   #1315
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Old April 24th, 2009, 12:41 PM   #1316
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Old April 24th, 2009, 12:42 PM   #1317
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Old April 24th, 2009, 12:44 PM   #1318
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Old April 24th, 2009, 12:46 PM   #1319
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Old April 24th, 2009, 12:48 PM   #1320
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