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Old 06-03-2009, 09:00 PM
Hedda Rosa Hedda Rosa is offline
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I am posting this from on board the Lakeshore Limited, waiting for a 9 PM departure from Union Station in Chicago. We are headed to NYC; we are traveling in coach; the trip should take about 20 hours with no changes. We brought a metric ton of crap, 3 huge bags, plus a lot of carryons.

This is a return journey, we took the same train from upstate NY to Chicago last week, again an overnight trip.

As we walked to our car, which is 3rd or 4th from the rear in what looks like a 10 car train we passed 2 cars of sleepers, one lounge car. I didn’t see the dining car so I suppose it is in front of us. The food in the dining car was surprisingly good. Better than an airline. Not high dining but really not bad. Along with the dining car there also is the lounge/snack car – last time we didn’t buy anything there but they have things like bagels, and microwave pizza I think.

The sleeper cars look nice from what I could see through the windows, but there are kind of plastic and industrial, not even as plush or upholstered as you might think of a RV being. Last time I was in a sleeper was in 1996 on a cross-country journey, for that it was totally worth it. For this less than 24 hour trip that we are on tonight, coach is fine. I will say that in the sleeper car you get more personal attention from the train staff and food is included in the price so that may be worth it.

The coach car we are in is one of the newer ones. On the previous trip, I noticed one older car among 6 coach cars in the train. It had noticeably outdated fixtures, bathroom etc. This car we are in now is newer. Very clean, with spacious seats. Each row of seats in this car has two 120 volt outlet plugs - I have my laptop pluged in to post this and also have my iphone charging in the other plug on my side. Across the asile, my husband has his laptop plugged in and my son is watching a movie on an ipod which is also plugged in. (My daughter is singing her ABCs in the seat next to me, waiting for me to finish posting, so I can tell her a story.)

The seats all tilt well back and also have foot rests that flip up (from behind where you calves would be if you were sitting with your feet flat on the floor). With the foot rests flipped up it makes a flatish area that is comfy enough to fold yourself onto for one night. There also are trays, like what you would see on an airplane.

As this discussion said earlier I chose a seat in the middle of the car – we had one on the end last time and the banging of the doors was obnoxious. A few other things I learned from our trip last week:

- Bring a blanket. Even if it is hot outside these things are pretty well air-conditioned.
- They provide each seat with a pillow, just like an airline pillow. But we also brought our own.
- Earplugs. Most people sleep on the overnight trips, so loud talking wasn’t a problem, but I’m sensitive to snoring. An eye mask would have been a good idea too, except I can’t sleep well in one.
- Sleeping pills.
- Bring lots of stuff to do, magazines, books, games, laptop with movies, etc. The train doesn’t have WiFi but I have a Verizon broadband card-thingy and on our trip last week, I never lost access between Syracuse and Buffalo and then somewhere in Indiana to Chicago.
- Bring snacks and water. This may be less of a big deal if you are traveling without little kids.
- Look out the window a lot – this country is huge and beautiful and the experience of seeing farm after filed after town after farm whizz by should not be missed.

I hope that is helpful. The train just started moving so I'm going to post now. If I get bored later and can think of more, I may post again.

Last edited by Hedda Rosa; 06-03-2009 at 09:02 PM.