Advice on traveling long distance by Amtrak

Oh yeah: they are experimenting with wi-fi on the train. We were in the sightseeing car earlier when another passenger announced it. I tried it, as did others, but it then wanted me to copy and paste a different URL. That sent my spidey sense tingling and i told everyone there was a chance it was spoofed. My husband asked a staff member and heard about the experiment. I still wouldn’t encourage anyone to log into their bank accounts.

I imagine @Wildabeest is getting ready to head to the station right about now, as he’s got 2.5 hours until departure.

We’re currently slightly over 2 hours late, i.e. have lost a bit more time overnight. They’re claiming we’ll make up more time by Grand Junction, and miraculously arrive in Chicago 51 minutes early, though that may be their default, since I think they predicted the same for yesterday’s train.

Update later, since this failed to post.

3 hours late into Granby. Still estimating only 2 hours late into Denver, which I’ll believe when I see it. Still predicting an early arrival in Chicago. Ditto.

Loads of scenery between Glenwood Springs and Granby, including lots of rafters who waved at the train, and several who mooned it - apparently ac tradition. They will be on the right hand part of the train.

A little excitement a while back. The train stopped for a while, then backed up a bit!! they announced a while later that apparently some debris got stuck on a freight train wheel, melted, fell onto a tie, set it on fire, then it spread to a couple others. They inspected it and determined it was safe to proceed, though I wouldn’t be surprised if there were delays tomorrow due to repairs.

The toilets are getting gross. Not spillage, per se… but they simply don’t do a good job flushing #2.

And on that note (and while I have a signal), it’s dinnertime!

Just found out that today’s train arrived 4 hours late into Chicago. I sure hope they hold the connecting eastbound trains.

I think your clock is off; I’ve been on the train since around 11:00 this morning. Coincidentally I was just coming here to post an update on my trip when your post popped up.

We left Sacramento pretty much on time, and we haven’t had to stop or anything, so I think we are more or less on schedule but I honestly haven’t checked.

The observation car was pretty crowded climbing the Sierras. My roomette is on the right side of the train and unfortunately most of the views were on the left. But I got a good picture of Donner lake. A surprising number of people got off in Trukee. Seems like lots of people from the Bay Area take the train up there for a weekend trip.

When we stopped for our smoke break in Reno someone pointed out that we’re pulling a private car at the back of the train.

I decided to try the shower before my dinner dinner reservation. I thought it wasn’t that bad. The water was warm and the pressure was good in my car. We do unfortunately have the super soaker sinks in the bathrooms.

Oh I just saw that you wrote that hours before it posted. Should have read the whole post before replying.

I have to say, the steak on Amtrak is really quite good. Maybe my expectations weren’t that high; I was pretty much expecting “better than airplane food, but not by too much.” But my expectations have been greatly exceeded. That was a really good meal.

They’re out of a lot of food items. No tamale appetizer, nor tortellini; the attendant said Amtrak is changing the menu soon and using up the stocks of what they had.

We’re looking at 3 hours late into Denver now - we are only 30ish miles away right now, but going very slowly as the tracks got quite hot today.

We are weighing our options for tomorrow. Unless they make up time, it’ll be iffy as to whether we make it on the Capital Limited. Our checked bags… who knows. Options include Amtrak holding those trains (unlikely; they did not do so today), being put on the Lake Shore Limited (which puts us in NY; there are hourly trains that would get us to DC), or renting a car and driving. If we did that, we’d likely need to get out to O’Hare, as I suspect no rental desks would be open at Union Station. In fact I know they won’t - we once had to return a car there on a Sunday.

oh yeah: you said “since 11”: I had dozed off (in our luuuuurvely family bedroom and didn’t pay attention to how long it took to get cto Sacramento. We actually passed through Sac on our way south (from Oregon) and stayed in an AirBNB there.

We ran into several other couples who had been at the same hotel we used. We were all in the lobby trying to get our Lyft or Uber rides sorted out, and being told “very few drivers available”. Not really a big deal - this was before 8 AM, and yeah, we had to wait 15 minutes for our ride.

According to the conductor we’re a little early getting into Elko tonight. What a difference a day makes.

We were on time all day yesterday. Then overnight something happened. I woke up around 6 am in Salt Lake City. Wait, weren’t we supposed to stop there in the middle of the night? Now we’re something like 2-3 hours late.

Re: toilets on trains - always brings back memories of this classic song:
1956 Oscar Brand - Humoresque (Passengers Will Please Refrain) - YouTube

We are getting more and more concerned. At every single station, the arrival time will say sonething like “x minutes late” and the departure time will say “x + 3 minutes late”. In other words, they have lost time at Every. Single. Stop. And they have never shortened their longer stops. I think we were at Denver for well over 45 minutes.

Their predictions for future stops are charming fiction. Supposedly we’ll gain an hour by Naperville, IL. I don’t believe that.

We were 3:34 late leaving our last stop (Creston, IA) If that holds, we will have SIXTEEN MINUTES to make it from one train to another. If it slips, we are screwed. Not to mention I’m not especially mobile right now.

I did look up avaliability of the Lakeshore Limited and it’s all booked. That leaves Chicago much later, and we should be able to make it easily.

Waves from Naperville

I boarded the EB in eastern Wisconsin one time and we were just bombing through, hitting all the stops on the mark. Then we stopped in Shelby Montana and sat in the station for 14 hours because BN told us there was a wildfire across the tracks up Glacier way. When we got to Spokane, they put us on buses, which got us to where we were going only about 4 hours late.

Our car attendant actually cleaned the bathrooms this morning, including scrubbing the toilets.

Denver is the refueling stop as I recall, so that might be why they couldn’t cut too much time off of that one.

Our toilets were definitely NOT scrubbed at any point. There are 48 hour old feces caked in them this morning. One of them was out of towels last night and was not replenished until I hit the attendant button.

I’m not going to tip the attendant as well this trip, for some reason… The two meals we had in our compartment were both wrong, as well.

The lunch is actually the full lunch, though they started it a bit later, and service has been slow.

Our conductor told us that there’s padding built into the schedule, so even though we are 2 hours behind now we should still arrive in Chicago on time. You probably won’t be on time but you might still in fact make your connection.

I hope so. At lunch just now, there were announcements about certain connections that were certain to be missed, and what to do on arrival in Chicago. They are claiming a 5:45 arrival in Chicago… I have serious doubts.

Well, we DID wind up arriving about 5:40. And the website said no dinner, so I ordered a small pizza from Giordano’s, to be brought to the entrance of the Metropolita Lounge. All in all, we had just enough time to get to the lounge, use the toilet, and meet the delivery person before I caught a ride with a red cap while my husband walked. He got there faster, but I took the heavier bags.

It turns out they DO offer dinner, but it’s the same prepackaged crap we had on the Cardinal, so we will be glad of the pizza.

Anyway, we can now collapse with exhaustion and relief.

Ack!! That’s a different reason for delay than usual!

Train is rarely faster than car, all else being equal, though you don’t have to stop for bathroom and sleep breaks on a train. NY to DC being an exception; driving is 4.5 hours or more, and the train is 3.