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It is also worth examining the Wikipedia article entitled Rail In The United States for more background. Before setting out on a railroad adventure around America, it is worth understanding the precarious situation in which Amtrak exists today. The other long distance train company is Alaska Railroad [3] which runs from Seward through Anchorage, Denali, and Fairbanks to North Pole, with spurs to Whittier and Palmer.
Many large American cities have commuter rail systems that connect the suburbs with that metro area's central metropolis.
California is the next prominent set of regional & commuter railroads available outside of the northeastern part of the country.
ACE (Altmont Commuter Express)' [15] goes up from San Jose to Santa Clara and over to Stockton through the Altmont Corridor. Capitol Corridor [18] runs frequent trains between San Jose, Hayward, Oakland, Richmond and Sacramento. Sounder[23] goes south from Seattle to Lakewood via Tukwila, Kent, Auburn, Sumner, Puyallup, Tacoma and South Tacoma in one direction and north to Everett via Edmonds & Mukilteo on a separate route, in the other direction. UTA FrontRunner, [26] runs along the Wasatch Front between Pleasant View, UT (north end), Ogden, Salt Lake City & Provo (south end) with a total length of 88 miles (142 km).
Throughout the US, there are many heritage lines or tourist trains that have been maintained or rebuilt as privately owned, touristic lines, which occasionally connect to Amtrak or regional systems.
Also, many medium to large cities have their own subway or light rail system for local travel within the city. The peak periods for most rail companies in North America is somewhere between April to September, and the cost of rail passes and tickets will rise during these periods to reflect this.
Recently (2007), Amtrak has also gotten into the act by publishing user-submitted stories at their "Whistle Stop" webpage [32]. If you are planning more than one journey on an Amtrak train, you may be better off investing a rail pass, which allows unlimited rail travel within a certain period and area. The California Rail Pass [35] This pass offers seven days of travel within any 21-day period on most California trains.
Amtrak tickets can be purchased in person from any staffed Amtrak station, over the phone (1-800-USA-RAIL in the U.S.
Tickets for most routes are priced in incremental 'buckets': in other words, as seats on a train sell out, the remaining tickets become more expensive. On many routes, tickets can also be purchased by credit card on board the train at peak prices. Discounts are also offered to active members of the military, war veterans, senior citizen, and students. Amtrak offers heavily discounted coach fares on certain trains on the 'Hot Deals Weekly Specials' section of their website [42].
Since 2005, Amtrak's offering of many of these heavily discounted coach fares has been limited by language in the legislation which grants Amtrak a yearly subsidy. For frequent Amtrak travelers or those planning ahead for a big trip, Amtrak's loyalty program, 'Amtrak Guest Rewards' allows redeeming points for Amtrak tickets.
Amtrak tickets generally do not indicate a coach or seat number, merely that you have a place in a reserved coach. Coach (economy) is Amtrak's most affordable class of travel and is offered on all trains except the high speed Acela Express trains of the north-east corridor (between Boston, New York City, and Washington DC). An Amtrak coach class seat is roughly comparable with a business class airline seat: there is ample leg room, a reclining seat back and fixed armrests on the outside of each pair of seats. The only first class service offered by Amtrak that does not include a sleeper is found on the Acela Express trains along the northeast corridor. Amtrak markets and prices sleeper accommodation as First Class, with a level of service that aims to be equal to that of a hotel. First class accommodations are priced in addition to the lowest available coach fare, and are priced in incrementally priced 'buckets' according to availability.
Amtrak operates two types of sleeper carriage: the precise standard of accommodation that you will have depends on the type of train you will be riding on. Old railcars passed down from predecessor railroads, they only run as Dining and Baggage Cars. Superliner two-level coaches are used on all long distance trains west of Chicago, and certain other routes. Accessible Bedrooms should only be booked by those with reduced mobility or a physical disability. Viewliner single-level coaches are generally used on all long distance trains that operate in and out of New York Penn Station (where Superliner trains are too tall to enter the tunnels that approach the station). While there are no actual limitations, accessible Bedrooms should only be booked by those with reduced mobility or a physical disability, and family bedrooms should only be booked by families traveling together. On the shortest of journeys, Amtrak offers an at-seat trolley service of drinks and light refreshments.
On almost all long distance trains, Amtrak offers a dedicated dining car, that will be open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The Amtrak Lead Service Attendant, or LSA in Amtrak-speak, who runs the dining car will seat travelers together to fill a table, instead of assigning individuals or couples to a table by themselves (however, the LSA will seat a family together). As mentioned above, all meals (but not alcoholic beverages) are included in sleeper tickets.
Many seasoned travelers bring their own snacks with them on the train, and then supplement them with the odd item from the lounge or cafe car. With the exception of sleeper passengers who consume them in their own cabins, passengers are not allowed to bring their own alcohol on board any Amtrak train. However as of 2008 Amtrak has increased its effort to ensure trains are on time and most trains arrive on time well over 50% of the time. Chicago is the long-distance rail center of America, many routes converge on the Windy City and could require a passenger to change trains here, when traveling cross country. Downeaster, [57] The Downeaster runs from Boston, MA to Brunswick, ME with stops in Woburn, Haverhill, Exeter, Durham, Dover, Wells, Saco, Old Orchard Beach, Portland, and Freeport. Text is available under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0, images are available under various licenses, see each image for details. Many years later, early in my career in Washington while I was still young and unencumbered, Peter Ashman proposed that we take the last great passenger train in America, Southern Railwaya€™s Southern Crescent, all the way to New Orleans for a long jazzy weekend of eating, drinking and wenching in the French Quarter. But on the 27th of last month Susan and I flew to London and took the Chunnel train (the Eurostar) to Paris, where we stayed overnight at a Left Bank hotel; and on Friday the 29th, at the Gare de la€™Est, we boarded the Orient Express for Constantinople a€” arriving there on September 3rd a€” over a period of six days with three nights on the train and two more in hotels in Buda-Pest and Bucharest.
Soon after nine oa€™clock on the morning of the day on which the police received his note, he left his hotel for the Gare de la€™Est and the Orient Express. I must start with the Orient Expressa€™s reputation for intrigue, for my still-present if recently dormant counter-intelligence antennae were reactivated by something even before boarding the train. The great trains are going out all over Europe, one by one, but still the Orient Express thunders superbly over 1400 miles of glittering steel track between Paris and Istanbul. The Passengers: about one hundred, and while I may miss a nationality or two, I noticed American, British, Canadian, Australian, French, Spanish, German, Swedish, and even a Korean couple. Also aboard was the current president of the Orient Express Company, a French-man, and his wife. The Route: Paris a€” Strasbourg a€” Baden-Baden a€” Munich a€” Salzburg a€” Vienna a€” Buda-Pest a€” Sinaia a€” Bucharest a€” Varna a€” Constantinople, for a total of 3,469 kilometers (2,155 and a half miles, a good deal more than James Bonda€™s 1400) through seven countries.
Marco had made up our sleeping berths while we were at dinner, the lamp on the folding table beneath the window shining upon the compartmenta€™s polished wood and brass. One is to say that Susan and I got quite used to be met and sent off at each station by a brass band, beginning with the traina€™s arrival in Buda-Pest a€” nor did it seem more than right for us to use, Orient Express passengers only sa€™il vouz plaA®t, the stationa€™s special entrance and sumptuous waiting-lounge built a hundred and fifty years ago for Emperor Franz Josef.
The folkways grew still stranger as we moved eastward, perhaps never more so than when leaving Bucharest, where we were seen off by not only a band, but by folk dancers, including a dancing bear, a dancing troll, and what I can only think must have been a dancing werewolf. This was my fourth visit to Buda-Pest, whose uprising against the Soviet puppet regime in 1956, crushed by the Red Army and secret police, was the event that launched me at age ten on my education in international relations and my career.
Not only does the prospect of the food allure us, but the fact that we shall be devouring it in a fantastic chariot of steel and glass, hurtling through a foreign country.
While we had a dinner and a lunch in Buda-Pest and a dinner in Bucharest, we had three dinners and four lunches aboard the Orient Express, along with continental breakfast served in our compartment each morning we were on the train. The experience reminded me of something I once read about the cooking aboard the 20th Century Limited in the 1930s and a€™40s, that each passenger on the runs between Chicago and New York, with just one dinner and a breakfast, consumed a pound of butter. Bucharesta€™s traffic is terrible, but in Roumaniaa€™s countryside horse-drawn wagons are common, and speckled bands of gypsy encampments could be seen from the train as we traveled. Nonetheless, Vlad Tepes, Vlad the Impaler, Draculaa€™s fifteenth-century original, is a national hero, she said, because he fought the Turks. I thought of the Undead again the next day as we entered Bulgaria and headed for the port of Varna, for it was to the a€?pearl of the Black Seaa€? that Dracula, aboard the ship Czarina Catherine, fled from the brave party vowed to destroy him. A taste of the casbah, a whiff of Asia, a pause at the cross-roads of two continents, is surely the promise which has brought so many travelers on the long and tedious railway journey from Paris. Southern Roumania, eastern Bulgaria and Thracian Turkey resemble Americaa€™s badlands, with towns full of old crumbling houses a€” so much so that I was unprepared for Constantinople, a fascinating city, the stuff of dreams in a gorgeous setting of green hills rising above the deep-blue Sea of Marmara, Golden Horn, and Bosphorus. I am not one hundred percent sure I found the precise chamber in question when we visited Topkapi Palace, for there were more than a few candidates. I also report with some pride and a little surprise at the accomplishment that we did not buy any rugs. No one likes to leave Venice in a hurry but the Orient Express departs at 19.28, and the cocktails we downed in Harrya€™s Bar an hour or so earlier are proving just the thing to make locating the right platform that bit more exciting. An hour or two later, during the final lunch aboard the Orient Express, he entered our dining-car with two Twentieth Centurys on a silver tray, and served them to Susan and me with his compliments.
Yet once again an east wind is being felt by central and eastern Europeans along the storied route.
A A A  Many years later, early in my career in Washington while I was still young and unencumbered, Peter Ashman proposed that we take the last great passenger train in America, Southern Railwaya€™s Southern Crescent, all the way to New Orleans for a long jazzy weekend of eating, drinking and wenching in the French Quarter. A A A  The Passengers: about one hundred, and while I may miss a nationality or two, I noticed American, British, Canadian, Australian, French, Spanish, German, Swedish, and even a Korean couple. A A A  Also aboard was the current president of the Orient Express Company, a French-man, and his wife. A A A  The Route: Paris a€” Strasbourg a€” Baden-Baden a€” Munich a€” Salzburg a€” Vienna a€” Buda-Pest a€” Sinaia a€” Bucharest a€” Varna a€” Constantinople, for a total of 3,469 kilometers (2,155 and a half miles, a good deal more than James Bonda€™s 1400) through seven countries.
We dined that night in the second dining-car, CA?te da€™Azur, gleaming ebony wood with striking Lalique glass panels lit softly by the Orient Expressa€™s trademark rose-shaded lamps on the tables. A A A  The folkways grew still stranger as we moved eastward, perhaps never more so than when leaving Bucharest, where we were seen off by not only a band, but by folk dancers, including a dancing bear, a dancing troll, and what I can only think must have been a dancing werewolf.
A A A  The experience reminded me of something I once read about the cooking aboard the 20th Century Limited in the 1930s and a€™40s, that each passenger on the runs between Chicago and New York, with just one dinner and a breakfast, consumed a pound of butter. We entered Transylvania in darkness, close (but not too close) to Borgo Pass, and stopped in its legendary Roumanian mountains at a town called Sinaia to visit Peles Castle, the summer residence of King Carol I.


A A A  Bucharesta€™s traffic is terrible, but in Roumaniaa€™s countryside horse-drawn wagons are common, and speckled bands of gypsy encampments could be seen from the train as we traveled. A A A  Nonetheless, Vlad Tepes, Vlad the Impaler, Draculaa€™s fifteenth-century original, is a national hero, she said, because he fought the Turks. The Orient Expressa€™s club car has an able bartender, Attilio, but like so many bars it lacked the blonde Lillet to make my favorite cocktail, the Twen-tieth Century, named after the American train I mentioned before.
A A A  An hour or two later, during the final lunch aboard the Orient Express, he entered our dining-car with two Twentieth Centurys on a silver tray, and served them to Susan and me with his compliments. A A A  Yet once again an east wind is being felt by central and eastern Europeans along the storied route.
A A A  And in Bulgaria, we were taken at the end of our afternoon in Varna to its Eastern Orthodox cathedral.
Somewhere between being a private and a public company (all of Amtrak's preferential shares are owned by the U.S.
While tens of thousands of kilometers of railroads criss-cross the North American continent, virtually all the lines that Amtrak uses are owned and maintained by private freight companies.
And yet they remain popular with many travelers because of the social atmosphere on board, the lighter environmental impact compared to planes, the spacious design of the cars, the scenic routes, and the overall comfort of the train ride.
The railroad is famous for its summertime passenger services but also plays a vital part in moving Alaska's natural resources--primarily coal--to ports in Anchorage, Whittier and Seward as well as fuel and gravel for use in Anchorage. Eleven lines radiating out of Boston, serving much of eastern Massachusetts, with one line extending south into Rhode Island. The Metro-North has two very busy commuter lines, extending from New York City's Grand Central Station north to upstate New York, and one line going into Connecticut. Service to many points on throughout Long Island, including well know beach resorts such as Montauk. Service from several underground stations in Manhattan to Jersey City and Newark, New Jersey. Eleven train lines extending throughout New Jersey, including to Newark Airport, Trenton, Atlantic City, Princeton University, Camden, and Philadelphia, PA. Service within and around the greater Philadelphia area, including to Philadelphia International Airport. Several lines extending north from Washington, DC to Baltimore and well beyond, including to West Virginia. Eleven lines radiating out from Chicago, serving much of the Chicago metropolitan area in northeastern Illinois, with one line extending into southern Wisconsin. A single line running along the south shore of Lake Michigan, from Chicago to South Bend, Indiana.
BART provides frequent service from San Francisco, Richmond and Oakland to several suburbs, and provides connections to Amtrak trains at the Richmond station.
Caltrain runs approximately hourly between San Francisco and San Jose stopping at several cities in Silicon Valley (between San Francisco & San Jose).
Goes north from the downtown Santa Fe Station in San Diego to Oceanside in the northern suburbs.
The majority of the trains leave Seattle in the afternoons & evenings and come in during the mornings.
Most of these lines use old train equipment (such as steam locomotives) which have been refurbished. You should, however, compare the cost of individual tickets when pricing and planning your trip. When buying point-to-point tickets, especially during busy holiday periods, it is important to book in advance. American students should purchase a Student Advantage [40] card; all other students should purchase an International Student Identity Card [41] (ISIC). These non-refundable and non-changeable fares are generally available for travel in the next thirty to sixty days on routes that have spare capacity. Pay close attention to announcements and station staff, who will tell you where to wait and board the train. Otherwise, follow the directions of the conductor who checks your ticket, and once on board your coach, you may select your own seat.
Private train companies and commuter rail services will offer differing standards of on-board facilities. A ticket in coach guarantees you a seat in a carriage with fifty-eight to seventy-five other seats, arranged in pairs either side of the aisle.
Seats are arranged in pairs to one side of the aisle, and singly on the other side of the aisle (called '2+1 seating'). Used on long-distance trains in the West, may be found elsewhere but they never run into New York. Family Bedrooms and Accessible Bedrooms are located on the lower level of the Superliner carriage.
They are distinctive because of the two rows of windows on the side of the train, allowing both upper and lower berth passengers a view from their beds. On most journeys however, there will be a dedicated cafe or lounge car that offers a marginally broader selection of hot and cold drinks and refreshments, although all snacks will be pre-packed and all hot snacks will be microwaved. In an effort to cut costs, Amtrak has implemented its "Simplified Dining Service" where meals are generally prepared off the train before departure and then reheated and plated on-board. This is because private railroads own the tracks used by Amtrak, and they are more concerned about their own freight trains than about Amtrak's passenger trains. These are some of the most popular routes offered by Amtrak, selected because of popular destinations they serve or because they travel very long distances. However, New York is the most popular railroad opportunity in the country, with a high commuter ridership and its possession of the most-used Amtrak station. The Amtrak Cascades takes you from Eugene, Oregon to Vancouver, British Columbia via Portland, Oregon and Seattle, Washington.
The Empire Builder runs from Chicago to either Portland, Oregon; or Seattle, Washington via Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Minneapolis, Minnesota, and Glacier National Park. Runs from Chicago to either Boston, Massachusetts or New York, via Cleveland, Ohio and Buffalo, New York. The Southwest Chief travels from Chicago, Illinois to Los Angeles, California; via Kansas City, Missouri and Albuquerque, New Mexico. My mother had wanted us to fly, but my father said No, the kinds of passenger trains we know wona€™t be around much longer, and I want Jon to know what they were like.
But before we could, the Crescent derailed a bit south of Charlottesville, Va., killing several passengers. But this was so exceptional an experience that I want to write about it for you, and while it is fresh in my mind. After checking in at the Gare de la€™Est and seeing our luggage whisked away, an Orient Express demoiselle led us across the way to an Alsatian brasserie to wait embarkation time at the Orient Expressa€™s expense, with other travelers for Constantinople. While the chef was French, most of the crew were Italian out of Venice, including our sleeping-car steward Marco, and couldna€™t have been better.
He was clearly along to be sucked up to (and was, by the chef especially), without ever descending from Olympus to speak to another passenger as far as I noticed, let alone ask whether the rest of us were enjoying the ride. We had not finish-ed tea before the MaA®tre da€™ and an assistant came to take our reservation for dinner; we took the second seating in order to relax and enjoy while the daylight lasted the view of the French countryside through which we were passing. But I didna€™t go back to sleep until the train finally moved again a€” on through the night to cross the border into post-Anschluss Austria, heading for Buda-Pest. I only want to mention a few things for the record, hoping that they will be of interest to you.
So after Hungary had ejected the communists in its first free election in 1990, it was my first destination behind the crumbling Iron Curtain just two weeks later as we started developing defense and intelligence relationships with the new emerging democratic Eastern European governments. The meals were splendid, more often than not more than we could manage a€” something the chef found distressing, as he made his way through the dining-cars each time to see if wea€™d been good boys and girls. Meal for meal, those aboard the Orient Express may not be quite that rich, but its chef got more of a crack at us over our six days aboard. And in the moments when the racing wheels quieten, one can hear cartridge-clips being fed into well-oiled automatics, ready for the final shoot-up amid the snows of the frontier. Built principally between 1873 and 1883, ita€™s a knock-out inside and out, and I will never again think of The Prisoner of Zenda without visualizing Peles. Bucharest itself has a long way to go before it matches Buda-Pest or other Eastern European capitals, even though theya€™re also recovering from fifty years of communism. After a tumultuous welcome at Sirkeci station, Susan and I stayed for three additional days at the Seven Hills Hotel in the Sultanahmet a€?old citya€? district, with a staggering view from our balcony of Hagia Sophia rising a block up the hill. Yeats-Brown, the old Bengal Lancer, we are all indebted for some knowledge of how, in April five-and-thirty years ago, Abdul-Hamid the Damned spent his last night as Caliph of Islam.
But I certainly looked for it, and I took away, if not a precise identification, then at any rate an enviable ticket of admission to the Harem. Anyone who has been to Constantinople or similar points in The Levant will know how hard that can be. The Orient Express was historically a train of international intrigue, running originally from the heart of the Entente Cordiale at its western terminus through Wilhelmine Germany and the Austro-Hungarian Empire to the seat of the Ottoman Empire at its eastern end. Our voyage aboard the Orient Express took place as Russia was invading Georgia in the Caucasus Mountains on Turkeya€™s eastern border, and it was on the minds of both the passengers and the peoples through whose lands we were passing.
It looks ancient but is actually not, having been built only in the beginning of the twentieth century after the Turks were finally expelled.
There are a number of private operators who offer exclusive and luxurious packages on private passenger trains, but it is onboard the trains of the state owned and subsidized Amtrak [1] that most tourists and travelers experience America by rail. Government) Amtrak has to provide both a public service and seek to remain profitable as a competitive mode of transport. Amtrak operates services over some 35,000 km (22,000 miles) of track, serving more than 500 communities in 46 American states and even 3 provinces of Canada.
The Alaska Railroad is the only remaining railroad in North America to use cabooses on its freight trains. A number of travel agencies that sell Amtrak tickets in other countries are listed on the Amtrak website.
Round-trip (return) tickets are priced by simply adding together the two cheapest available one-way fares. In all cases, you should quote your membership number when booking your ticket, and show your card with your ticket. The page is updated every Friday, and you should check back regularly if you want to snap up a bargain. There are several popular credit card programs that allow transferring points into your Amtrak Guest Rewards account, including Amtrak's own co-branded credit card. Once you find your seat, you will want to stay there until the conductor comes by to check your ticket after departure. Seats can be arranged in facing sets of four, but in almost all cases you will find that seats will all face the direction of travel.


On longer distance routes, there is more legroom as well as a deeper recline and a padded rest that folds up to support your legs when you recline. There is more room than coach class, as well as an at-seat attendant service with complimentary refreshments and a newspaper. It is worth noting, however, that after an Amtrak train departs its originating station, if there are any sleeper accommodations still available on the train, they revert in price to the cheapest originally available price. They were built as improved versions of Comet commuter cars, thus they are not very comfortable. The Diners are only used on Eastern long-distance trains but the baggage cars are found across the entire system.
Most accommodations are located on the upper level, with toilets and other facilities located on the lower level. Cafe and lounge cars offer an open area of seating around tables that will be open for most of your journey. During lunch and dinner service, for example, customers are presented a preprinted menu with a selection of a couple of appetizers, about six entrees, and few dessert items.
Additionally, historic routes like the Empire Builder were listed not only because of the destinations, but also because of the legacy of these routes left on tourism in North America. Although the moniker is "Coast Starlight", the coast is visible for only a short while between Los Angeles and San Luis Obispo. The Palmetto travels from New York City to Savannah, Georgia; via Charleston, South Carolina. So we drove to Chicago, stayed overnight at my aunta€™s, and then took the Pennsylvania Railroada€™s Broadway Limited to New York.
We found ourselves at a table, as if the other two seats had been kept open just for us, with an affable man in his fifties and his younger blonde wife. When it began to grow dark, we unpacked and changed into black tie (no mean feat, to do that simultaneously in a Pullman compartment), and set forth for the club car where the champagne was flowing generously on the house that evening. To me those games of CIAa€™s are little more than the Mad Magazine spy vs spy hijinks I enjoyed as a kid, but I was reading it for a reason a€” to be able to discuss it in London later with someone whoa€™s turning it into a screenplay.
Peering out past the edge of the window shade, I saw we were sitting in Municha€™s Hauptbahnhof a€” with people milling about on the platform at that beastly hour?
In the afternoon I had wondered how well Ia€™d sleep with the motion and sounds of the moving train; but it was only when it occasionally stopped in the middle of the night that I would awake, with a start, alert and tense. Buda-Pest in 1990 was threadbare, soiled and wary, since the Red Army had not yet pulled out. Susan once provoked close to the reaction of Aunt Dahliaa€™s temperamental chef Anatole when Bertie Wooster organized a hunger strike amongst some star-crossed lovers in P. The final one took place in Turkey en route to Constantinople, after a Turkish chef and groceries came aboard at the frontier to prepare and serve our final lunch aboard.
But poor King Carol did not put the finishing touches on it until 1914, the year he died; and by then the World War had already begun to destroy the civilization Peles represented.
Thanks to Ceausescu tearing down beautiful old neighborhoods to build pyramids to himself, prior to Christmas 1989 when the Roumanian Army shot it out with the secret police (shooting Mr.
The next night, back on the train for dinner, we were served shot-glasses of really scorching Romanian grappa.
Our guide, a woman who was probably an Intourist guide in the bad old days, was full of facts and figures about Varna, none conveying anything of its character. Lord, as he liked to put it, of Two Continents and Two Oceans, he whom Gladstone had dubbed the Great Assassin knew on that night that already the obstreperous Young Turks, twenty thousand strong, were starting toward him from Salonika.
He speculated as to what among his bottles might make a decent substitute for Lillet until he was back in Venice at the end of the return voyage, with full resources for comprehensive testing. Instead of Lillet, he had used a lesser amount of Galliano, he said, so the chocolate of the crA?me de cacao stood out a shade more than it would otherwise. World Wars interrupted service, and then the Cold War brought the Orient Express to a halt, for too many years.
As we rolled through Strasbourg, how best to respond to Russiaa€™s reviving imperial ambitions was being debated in the European Parliament there.
There half a dozen priests chanted prayers for us, and the bishop spoke to us, one of our guides providing a running translation. The route between Talkeetna and Hurricane (between Talkeetna and Denali) features the last remaining flag stop train service in North America.
Trains fill up much quicker in the summer and around national holidays, and coach class passengers in particular will have less room to stretch out.
Amtrak, for instance, publishes a number of brochures, including the Amtrak System Timetable (with timetables for every Amtrak train and Thruway bus) and the Amtrak America travel brochure. To obtain a discount on Amtrak trains, passengers must reserve three days in advance on all trains.
Long distance coach fares of $70 from Chicago to Seattle (for example) are not uncommon, although they become much less common during the more popular summer months. Upon doing so, the conductor will place a seat check (a small piece of paper) above your seat, to indicate that the seat is occupied.
Luggage racks and spaces for larger items are provided, along with toilets either at the end of the coach or in the lower level of two-level trains. Long-distance trains that travel overnight generally do not offer business class; sleeper class is available instead.
For example, if a train has one remaining room available prior to be departure, it would be priced in the most expensive 'bucket'.
Menu items ordered are served on disposable plates and cups, as are the napkins and tablecloths; cutlery and wine goblets are, however, fashioned of steel and glass, respectively. Reservations are required for lunch and dinner; after boarding the LSA will travel through the train taking reservations. The Silver Meteor travels from New York City to Miami, Florida; via Charleston, Savannah, and Orlando, Florida. I have never forgotten that trip; I can still see the gleaming chocolate-brown Pullman cars alongside the platform at Chicagoa€™s Union Station, still remember our sleeping compartments and dinner in the dining-car.
And rich smooth Colombian coffee afterwards, followed by Armagnac and such in the club car.
Now Peles Castle is to be returned in two years to the king in exile, Michael, already eighty-nine years old, whom the Roumanian government expects will sell it back to the State for a sum that will set up Michaela€™s daughter and grandson for life, or however long the loot lasts after their grieving arrival in Monte Carlo. On the large round bottlea€™s label was a famous fifteenth-century woodcut of Vlad the Impaler. What she did convey again and again is how Bulgarians feel about Turks, who conquered and ruled the land for several centuries.
He could only issue a statement breathing his somewhat belated passion for constitutional government and then await another daylight.
Finally the implosion of Soviet Russiaa€™s evil empire in 1989-90 made it possible for service to be restored.
In Buda-Pest, Istvan took us to the Citadel the Austrians built after the 1848 revolutions, a spectacular artillery platform high above the Danube below which the entire city lies totally exposed. The bishop spoke for at least ten minutes, maybe fifteen, but I can reduce what he told us to these few pointed words: a€?Make no mistake about it, the Cold War is coming back. Coach class is generally competitive in price with Greyhound bus, while sleeper accommodation may be competitive with the price of an airline ticket; however this depends on the route, and the case may be a coach ticket is more comparable to a plane ticket, while a sleeper costs even more. A stretch of the track along an area inaccessible by road serves as the only transportation to cabins in the area. These can be found at most staffed stations, or can be ordered free of charge for worldwide delivery online [27]. These fares cannot be upgraded to sleeper accommodation at the time of booking, although you may be able to upgrade to a sleeper if one is available after you board the train. If this is the case, the numbers of the carriage are displayed on the doors; pay attention to these as the trains rolls in, so you can be at the right spot on the platform in time to get into your carriage. Once the train leaves, however, a coach passenger on-board the train can approach the conductor and upgrade to the sleeper for the price the room would have been when it first went on sale. Reservations are handled in time increments, so during meal time the LSA will periodically announce when each group of reservations will be served. Recently, Amtrak has upgraded the food service available on this train with a "Diner-Lounge" car.
The Silver Star follows essentially the same route as the Silver Meteor, except it takes a different route through the Carolinas and makes a detour to Tampa, Florida. But it wasna€™t that we were unsteady on our feet as we made our way back to our sleeping-car, you understand; it was the rocking of the train as it sped along.
Susan, seeing it for the first time, loved it and wants to return sometime to spend a week there. It takes 2 hours 45 minutes from San Diego to Los Angeles, 2 hours 45 minutes from Los Angeles to Santa Barbara, and 2 hours 30 minutes from Santa Barbara to San Luis Obispo.
And just had dinner the night before with good old class-of-a€™69 Bob Kimmett, the Treasury under-secretary! This stop was only twenty-four hours, but we had perfect weather, a personable young guide named IstvA?n SzabA? whose enthusiasm for his city was infectious, rooms on the Buda heights with smashing views of the Danube below and Pest on the other bank, a banquet at the Academy of Sciences, a cruise up and down the Danube as well as an excellent tour of the town, and lunch the day of our departure at Gundel, one of Buda-Pesta€™s great surviving institutions. It must have come all right in the end, though, because when the chef inscribed a menu for Susan at the end of the journey, it was practically a mash-note.
It was the chimney, he told us, of a nineteenth-century power plant now converted from coal to natural gas. When they want to come to town, they wait by the side of the tracks and "flag" the train, giving it its name. What the Roumanians make of Bucharest life today is mixed, according to our intelligent young guide Alexandra, but no one would think of bringing that vampiric era back. To hear her talk, Bulgarians still brood over Britain and France siding with the Ottoman Empire in the Crimean War.
Today, he told us, all of Hungarya€™s electricity, power for industry and business, and heat comes from natural gas; and, he said, a€?Ninety-eight percent of it comes from Russia. Though he bathed daily in milk and never forgot to rouge his saffron cheeks, Abdul-Hamid looked all of his sixty-six years. His concubines, of whom in that house of a thousand divans he had, through the force of tradition, acquired rather more than he any longer remembered what to do with, were themselves having the vapors. And anyway, if he must somehow while away the time until dawn, he would need a more potent anodyne.
Happily this was provided by the linguists at the press bureau, for in the nick of time there came dawdling into Constantinople from London a recent issue of The Strand Magazine, and they all worked like beavers on a translation from its pages. I suspect it was the issue distinguished in the minds of collectors by the first publication of the magnificent story called a€?The Bruce-Partington Plans.a€? Thus it befell that the Great Assassin spent his last night as Sultan sitting with a shawl pulled over his poor old knees while his Chamberlain deferentially read aloud to him the newest story about Sherlock Holmes.



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