Geez, Amtrak, can't you be any more uncomfortable?

In this thread, I discuss my trip to Minot, North Dakota.

Now, Minot is not a large town by any means, and the easiest way to get there from my home in St. Paul, MN is to take the train. It’s relatively inexpensive, it’s overnight, and I could sleep while on the train. I successfully did this on the way to Minot. I suppose the fact that I’d been up till about 4 am and worked a full shift had a lot to do with that.

On the way home, I tried to go to sleep. I was tired, and the train was moving. However, I couldn’t get comfortable. I kept hitting my foot on the seat in front of me, my left hand kept going to sleep, and my right hip got sore. My neck now has a permanent kink in it. I wonder if I can bill Amtrak for the chiropractor.


I took Amtrak’s commuter rail to work for a bit. They were tolerable for the short ride, but comfort was not in the original blueprints. Reading the paper or a book was difficult, even. Could never find the right position to sit in.

I guess you get what you pay for. Oh, wait, they’re subsidized by the government. Maybe that explains it.

On the other hand, aynrandlover, you’ve never ridden VIA, have you?

Amtrak’s Metroliner from Baltimore to D.C. isn’t too bad.

Whoever wrote that song, “There’s something about a train, that’s magic” must have been smoking crack on the trains I’ve been on. I’ve taken some long trips on Amtrak. My only piece of advice is that if you take the Metroliner, now new, improved, more expensive , go for Business class. It’s like 40 bucks more , but it’s a much nicer ride.

I'd like to ask if anyone here has gotten a sleeping car. Everytime I price this out, it's outrageously expensive. In the end more than the plane, so what's the point?

The advantage of a sleeping car, aside from the fact that you can sleep horizontally instead of obliquely, is that your meals are included with the price of your ticket. Since I was in coach (I was unwilling to spend the extra dough for a sleeper for a nine-hour ride), I had to pay for breakfast. It was fairly expensive(six bucks for coffee and French toast), but not overly so.

I can accept that train travel is necessarily Spartan. I just wish they’d extend a little more to creature comforts.


Train travel is NOT necessarily spartan. If the American system has decided to become such, more’s the pity, but other countries, for example in northern Europe and [/modesty] Canada have got rail systems that are amenities rather than utilities.

Go cross-country by VIA Rail sometime, in one of those 360 cars that let you watch the vast, solitary landscape as it passes by, out of a comfortable club car. Let’s just say it’s on the short list of honeymoon options for when I finally meet Mr. Right, who will, of course, be a train nut like myself.

[hijack]matt_mcl, has VIA gone coast-to-coast again? I didn’t think it went through the western provinces anymore.

I ride Amtrak’s NE Corridor frequently. From NYC to Albany or Boston or Philly it’s ok. My problem is that from NYC to Philly you have to stop every five min. in NJ.

Also about Acela

In NY Penn Station there are seperate waiting areas for Amtrack and NJ Transit trains and now there is an “Acela Express Waiting”. I guess if you ride the other trains you have to wait to wait but with Acela you can wait right away.

¿De qué estás hablando? VIA Rail Western Transcontinental Line, Toronto to Vancouver with stops in Winnipeg, Saskatoon, Edmonton, and elsewhere.

You think that’s miserable? I spent 29 hours on a Greyhound going from Boston to Florida. The thing was packed, I couldn’t barely move. I had crazy people offering me chicken feet, everyone reeked (it was probably the lack of showers), we had to tote around all our luggage at every switch, and nearly every bus was late, so we had to wait for hours at a time. I didn’t sleep for days, and I called my mom in tears every night from my cell phone because I was so miserable. She took pity on me and bought me an airline ticket home :smiley:

But, I only paid like $112 round trip. Like someone said, you get what you paid for.

I take the Amtrak from New York to Rochester often, and it isn’t that bad. The food is decent, and I learned that you can spend most of the time in the far-more comfortable cafe car working on your laptop. (They even have electricity in there…woohoo.)

My apologies to MsRobyn. I should have known, but you made it sound almost like a pleasure cruise! I’ve never had too much luck on Amtrak. It’s either I can’t sleep because of some little child screaming in terror, or the fact that everyone feels the need to drop their luggage on my napping head as they pass by . . .

All I can say are these two simple words: Bring Alcohol
And as far as NJ Transit goes, thems are pretty good trains. Obviously yer not taking them overnight somewhere, but they are cheap and great for them NYC binge drinking Fests. I used to take NJT from Ramsey to Ridgewood everyday to work. T’was great. . .

Robyn, sorry you had a bad return trip. First I have to expose you to this town, and then ship you back on a crappy train. My bad. . .

I should’ve given you some beer or wine or something. . .

I have-on the DC to Boston route with an ex-SO(interesting to say the least), and later on a Boston to Atlanta trip-but only on the overnight portion. I’ve also done Atlanta to DC in coach.

For a long haul trip, I’d recommend it if you can afford it. If you can’t though, the coach seats I’ve been in recline pretty far and are comfortable. But then, I have a thing for trains.

Ah, my mistake - the VIA stopped coming through Calgary, and I mistook that to mean that it stopped coming out West. Thanks for the info.[/hijack]

It wasn’t bad on the way in. I was exhausted and slept really well. The train going home was different. The seat didn’t recline that far back, and there were knobs on the armrests that I kept hitting. It was OK, it just wasn’t comfortable.


Thus speaks a person who never had a chance to ride the Little Bear to Moosonee. It was a freight with a couple of passenger cars tacked on. Old passenger cars. Extremely old passenger cars. Cars with wooden benches rather than seats, letting you get to know you fellow passengers as you slide into them. But most wonderously, open balconies at the ends, letting you sand outside, leaning on the railing, as you thunder through the muskeg and black spruce. Amenities? There was one. They’d let you sleep in the boxcars for a night or two while waiting for the train to head out.


You’ve been to Moosonee? I’ve been planning to get to Moosonee for ages! For some inexplicable reason I’ve always wanted to see Hudson’s Bay.


The Polar Bear Express (a nice passenger train, unlike the old Little Bear freight) runs up there from Cochrane. If you wish to stay overnight, book a room early, for there are only a couple of places in town.

Moose Factory, an island accessible by water taxi, is the original trading settlement. The historic site (including most excellent guided tours) is well worth a day.

Tent sites are available on another island at Tidewater Provincial Park, but often there is no water, usually there are bears, and sometines there are children chasing the bears (I’m not kidding), so I can’t recommend it.

Cheap flights out over the bay are available. Water taxis can be hired to take you out into the bay, and can drop you off for camping for as long as you like (but bring water). There is some sort of cruise boat which tootles out into the bay and back, but I have not been on it.

If you just hang around for a few days, you’ll meet some neat people. There are some folks who still live mostly traditional lives, and quite a few who remember living traditional lives.

The best approach is by canoe rather than plane or train, but I’m sort of biased in that area. The best way out is by train with the canoeheads, where you’ll hear lots of tall tales. I caution you about paddling on the bay, though, for it is so shallow that when the wind picks up the waves can get extremely nasty in little time.

I have some pics of the bottom of the bay at Kattawagami Untouched: Out into the Arctic Ocean.

Only took Amtrak once, but I do have to give them some props. . .

It’s a Tuesday. I’ve been in Manhattan for Spring Break for the past week and a half. Classes have been cancelled yesterday and today due to the huge fucking amounts of snow, but they’re certian to be on again tomorrow so I’ve got to get to Albany or I’m shit out of luck on my midterms. More importantly, the Weezer concert is in 6 hours and I’ve got tickets to scalp, which I can’t very well do if I can’t get to Albany. Greyhound? “Sorry, we’re little bitches who won’t be sending buses north of New York City today.” Friends? “I ain’t drivin to no Albany is this shit. Sorry.” Amtrak? “No, fuckin’ problem.” I get to Penn Station and every fucking train, save one, is leaving on time (and that one was delayed about 10 minutes).