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April 12, 2015 By Sherry Kennedy 73 CommentsAmtrak overnight trains are the best way to travel across country. While the trains’ names may have changed, or worse, disappeared, some linger like the last flicker of sun setting behind the burnt-red colored rocks, ironically seen from aboard the long-running California Zephyr. 7:30 pm- The station agent announces the arrival of our train and all the passengers in the building scatter to their designated waiting points along the platform, carefully observing not to get to close to the yellow line. While china plates are now disposable plastic, the cutlery is real as are the wine glasses.
If you’re not feeling sociable or just want to have a quiet dinner alone, you can order complimentary room service!
In case someone feels the need to shower, there is a public shower room in each sleeper car.
This route is especially picturesque in winter, even better further north if there’s a dusting of snow. If you are remotely interested, it is very important to be ready because, going 70 mph, you have to frame and shoot pretty fast. As the train slowly came to a halt, the transom opened, the stairs unfolded and an extended arm from the attendant helped all of us alight from the train. Just as I was about to haul my gear myself, the conductor steps off the train and asks why I didn’t already have the Red Cap to assist me. I really enjoyed your description of your Miami-NYC train trip, as I am thinking of taking a NYC-Jacksonville train in March 2014 to spend a week in St. I am Indonesian with global citizenship, have homes in Bali, Jakarta Java, Singapore, Kaysville Utah and L.A. The following year, Amtrak officially took over the management of the nation-wide rail system.
Unlike dinner where you have a reserved seating time, breakfast (and lunch) are open seating.
The train rolls past what looks like a scene from a Thomas Kincaid painting; singularly lit little houses and storefronts, no more than maybe two dozen yards away from the tracks.

The crew had to break everything down, tally up and clean up before reaching New York’s historic Pennsylvania Station.
I was the last to leave and to my dismay, the Red Cap had already left with his luggage cart filled to the max. I said I didn’t hear the announcement and I was waiting to see if anyone would return with a luggage cart. It was a one-way ticket so it was just about half of what you were quoted for a round-trip. There are two trains that bear this status; the Silver Star and the Silver Meteor, operating about four hours apart. Sleeping car passengers, like me, had our own area to congregate, although there were only four of us compared to at least twenty-five coach passengers. As the passengers stepped off the train, hugs were the norm as families and friends were reunited.
For coach passengers, it’s pay-as-you-go, so many will choose to either brown bag it or get snacks from the Club Car. On really long-haul trips, I’ll grab my shampoo and conditioner and head over to the shower room. It’s interesting scenery, so I probably spent as much time looking out of my window as I did trying to write a couple of articles.
It’s almost like you were suddenly transported to the middle of a toy train set, one that was carefully assembled in a cozy living room over the winter holidays.
I find it helps to sit in the chair that faces forward, (there are two chairs in a roomette) then when you spot something coming up, you  quickly jump to the other chair that makes you sit backwards.
A train person had walked past my room just before arriving in New York asking if anyone would need luggage assistance. Two years ago, I took Amtrak from Montreal (Canada) to NYC, stayed in NYC one night and boarded a train to Savannah the next morning.
While I’ve been a frequent passenger on both, last week it was the Silver Star that would take me from Winter Park, near Orlando, to New York City.

With twenty-four station stops along the way to New York City, it was anyone’s guess who was going where. You’ll be seated at a table for four and if you are lucky, the three others at your table will be friendly, conversant and all-around pleasant table-mates. Of the other two across from us, one was rather quiet and left for her sleeper right after coffee. And it would give me something to do in NYC; find a restaurant with take-out, close to the hotel.
The angle of looking back at the glass window diminishes the glare or reflection so you can get a pretty good shot. While only a snack bar was available, it was relatively pleasant until the evening when washrooms were sadly neglected by staff. Each roomette has two electric outlets, so after your shower, you can use your hair dryer and charge your phone at the same time. These are just guidelines and reflect an 18-20% tip should you have had to pay for the same meals. Following the advice of many bloggers, I had brought a small cooler and my own lunch and dinner. For your room attendant, it’s customary to hand him or her your tip as you depart the train at your destination. I can see from your description that a roomette provides better comfort and dining options. Even though he refused, I insisted on giving him the tip that would have gone to the Red Cap. I am not at all fond of flying and as a senior female traveling solo, the train is my favourite.

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