Just bought Amtrak tickets

Pastor John May 15, 2021

  1. Pastor John

    Pastor John TrainBoard Member

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    I will be attending a Scout conference at Philmont Scout Ranch in July and my wife will be traveling with me. Since every flight lands hundreds of miles away and still requires a long bus ride afterwards, we decided that Amtrak, though longer, is the preferred carrier despite it's additional length. So, we will board the Lakeshore Limited at 1:00 am (two blocks from our church) heading west. After a six hour layover in Chicago, we'll be on the Southwest Chief to Racon, NM. Then, a week later, do the same thing backwards.

    I intend to shoot lots of video for an episode or two of my (not yet launched) model railroad YouTube channel.

    What should we anticipate? Watch for? Get pictures/video of?

    We will be traveling coach just because a roomette was *triple* the price. Yikes.

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  2. Shortround

    Shortround TrainBoard Member

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    Best wishes. It's to bad the Infrastructure business hasn't started yet.
     
  3. Point353

    Point353 TrainBoard Member

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    Check with the Amtrak conductor to see if you can step off the train, briefly, at La Plata MO so that you can wave at Virtual Railfan's live webcam.
    Assuming that it's on schedule, the westbound SWC stops there about 7:30PM, while the eastbound stops at about 9:30AM.



    Along your route, there are also VR cams at the stations in Elkhart IN and Galesburg IL, but they don't have quite the close-up view of the platform as at La Plata.
     
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  4. Chops

    Chops TrainBoard Member

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    Tell us how it went. I believe you meant, "Raton," not Racon. Basically, in Espanol: "Rat City." Going North out of Rat City is a whole lot of nothing. But, if you go South, there is a whole lot of nothing. East/West, mmmmm, don't know quite how to describe it, except, uh, whole lot of nothing.

    All that being said, Raton Pass is famous for its 2.49% to 6% grade.
     
  5. Pastor John

    Pastor John TrainBoard Member

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    Doh. Yes, Raton.

    And yeah, it's in the middle of nowhere. The nearest flight still lands a three or four hour bus ride away. That's at least*part* of why we opted for train travel instead. Raton still isn't close to Philmont, but it's a $50 bus ride and not a $300 bus ride.

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  6. Philip H

    Philip H TrainBoard Member

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    More importantly - let us know how Philmont is recovering from the fires.
     
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  7. RBrodzinsky

    RBrodzinsky Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    A few years ago, we did Buffalo to Oakland (Lakeshore Ltd / Cal Zephyr). The LL was almost 4 hours late getting into Chicago (we sat on sidings in Indiana for almost 3 hours as freight traffic moved). Our 4+ hour layover was instead 30 minutes of hell (at least they held all outbound trains since so many of the connecting trains were so late).
     
  8. Pastor John

    Pastor John TrainBoard Member

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    Quick correction: Alliance, where we live, is where we will board the Capitol Limited and not the Lakeshore Limited.

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  9. Pastor John

    Pastor John TrainBoard Member

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    Bags are packed. Our dogs go to the kennel in a couple hours. Our first train leaves at 1:39 am (if it's on time) and we'll be in Chicago by 8:45 for breakfast. Then leave on the Southwest Chief at 2:50 pm.

    For the next couple of hours I plan to download videos, movies, and stuff to do when there's no cell service.

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  10. r_i_straw

    r_i_straw Mostly N Scale Staff Member

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    These scouts got on at La Junta, Colorado for a quick ride over Raton Pass. The buses were waiting for them at Raton to take them to the camp.
    DSC_0072.JPG
     
  11. Point353

    Point353 TrainBoard Member

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    If you're up at 7:30AM, wave to the camera at Elkhart.

     
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  12. Pastor John

    Pastor John TrainBoard Member

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    Well, the train was "on time" 30 minutes out and then got stuck behind a slow freight (we saw the freight train pass the station two minutes ahead of the Amtrak) and picked us up 45 minutes late. At first, they thought we'd make it up before we made it to Chicago. But then Cleveland happened, not sure what but we'd move, then sit, move, then sit, then Elkhart, then South Bend, and now we're just leisurely strolling along. Officially, were still supposed to arrive in Chicago before 11:00 (about two hours late). So far. But, we had a six hour layover planned so we're not worried about making our connection. I'm just enjoying the ride.

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    Last edited: Jul 9, 2021
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  13. sd90ns

    sd90ns TrainBoard Member

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    I guess a traveler should count him/herself lucky when they arrive on the scheduled day.

    We should be able to do better than this but seeing as how Amtrak runs over UP's and BNSF's and CSX's rails, among others, I guess we're lucky to have any available long distance passenger rail at all.

    Except perhaps between closely spaced, large population centers.
     
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  14. Pastor John

    Pastor John TrainBoard Member

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    I'm not sure why people look down on anything outside the NE corridor. Last I checked, the Capitol Limited was sold out and the Southwest Chief was at least 90 percent sold (as of yesterday). And, that's with no COVID capacity reductions but at 100 percent capacity.

    The worse news: there was a freight derailment in Ames, Iowa and the tracks are blocked to all traffic. Soooo, now they're going to bus us from Chicago to Kansas City, and board the Southwest Chief southbound from there.

    Whee. Ten hours on a bus. Exactly what I was deliberately trying to avoid.

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  15. sd90ns

    sd90ns TrainBoard Member

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    In my case its because there are enormous swaths of America that have no passenger rail service available to them and I happen live in the middle of that.

    Once Upon a Time, a person living in my town had access to passenger trains headed east, west, north or south and they had a choice between two different railroads to travel on.

    Now; crickets and frogs.
     
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  16. acptulsa

    acptulsa TrainBoard Member

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    Ames, Iowa?

    I guess running your Chief on the route of the Chiefs, rather than rerouting it via the dark side of the moon, was too much trouble?
     
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  17. Pastor John

    Pastor John TrainBoard Member

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    That's my point. The folks in the Northeast seem to think that the rest of the country should do without, but if the trains we have are selling out then maybe we need more of them and not less.

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  18. Pastor John

    Pastor John TrainBoard Member

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    I don't know. We're being put on a bus because the "track is blocked" by a freight train. Which, I assume, is shorthand for, "there was a derailment.". With a cursory Google search (the Capitol Limited doesn't have wifi), I found a derailment in Iowa. Maybe that's not it, but we're still taking a bus to KC.

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  19. acptulsa

    acptulsa TrainBoard Member

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    Ah. Getting the mushroom treatment.

    Well, hope you have better luck out west.

    Oh, it's better than that. The poorer states out west should not only do without, but should pay to keep the trains in the wealthier states running.

    Democracy is two wolves and a sheep discussing what to have for supper.
     
  20. sd90ns

    sd90ns TrainBoard Member

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    I don't think there's enough money in the world to rehabilitate/rebuild what we have lost with regards to an actual national passenger rail service such as we once had and there sure isn't enough to build an entirely new system especially for "High-Speed" rail.

    Look at the mess and cost/time overruns California is experiencing with their attempts and they haven't even gotten to the hard parts yet.

    Do you realize that there are still large portions of the Interstate Highway System that haven't been built yet, and likely never will be.
     
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2021

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