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Letters to the Editor

Letter: Relaxing Amtrak

August 12, 2014

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Recently, we took a great trip to Flagstaff on Amtrak. We arrived at the Lawrence station about 15 minutes before Amtrak No. 3 arrived. We parked our car at the station (no cost). We pulled our luggage about 10 yards to the platform (no lines). When No. 3 arrived, a steward took our baggage and stored it. Our beds were made up.

We rocked gently to sleep and awakened about Garden City. We had a nice breakfast while visiting with an interesting couple. We went for miles just watching the great scenery roll by. Part of the time, my wife was in our compartment and I was in the glass-roofed observation car (no road rage).

At the hour servicing stop in Albuquerque, we purchased a few pieces of jewelry from the Hopi craftsmen and toured a bit of the city.  We had a nice dinner back on the train while watching the sun set. We arrived in Flagstaff rested and content. Our friends met us at the station (no cost for parking). Our return trip was just as pleasant and convenient. We consider each day on the train as a relaxed vacation day that also gets us to our destination.

Comments

Amy Varoli Elliott 4 months, 2 weeks ago

Money buys a lot of comfort with anything, those sleep cars can easily run $500/person for a trip, you would have felt relaxed in first class on a plane too

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 4 months, 1 week ago

After going through security and wondering if you'll ever see your luggage again. And the food sucks, except maybe that airline that serves chocolate chip cookies. Do they still do that? Is that Frontier?

Joe Blackford II 4 months, 2 weeks ago

Mr. Budde - we made the trip to Flagstaff in Sept. '08 (significant because McCain picked Palin while we were in AZ, & reporters had rained upon Sedona to see one of McCain's houses the day we visited).

Unfortunately, our Amtrak vacation turned out to be indicative of the sad state of U.S. passenger train service . . . .

Upon boarding the train for our return to Newton, we caught the aroma of septic odors. The Amtrak employee apologized and told us the rest room on our car was Out Of Order. The fumes travelled with us all the way to Albuquerque, where we only consumed fresh air.

Upon pulling out, we were advised Amtrak had not been able to repair the cause of the odor during the layover, so we continued all the way to Newton holding our noses.

My wife enjoys Amtrak, as she doesn't have to drive. She has since travelled to the Pacific NW, and has a train booked for Montana next month.

I haven't flown since 2000, and don't recall an airborne meal comparable to the Amtrak dining fare. It is unfortunate that our nation's passenger RR is unprepared to swap out a car when the need arises.

Sharon Rodriguez 4 months, 1 week ago

My husband and I have traveled exclusively by Amtrak for the last 15 years. These days I would only consider getting on a plane in a dire family emergency. While we've had some delays and minor problems, we've never in all those years had a trip as horrendous as the one described by the disgruntled rider who responded above. When we take our young grandsons we book the family room, which has room for all five of us. As for sleeping on a train, nothing beats it! Yes, a room can be expensive, but you can book up to 11 months ahead and pay the cheapest rate. Don't forget, that rate also includes all your meals, and they are great. Because you are seated four to a table, you can meet people from all over. I can't even begin to tell you how many times we've found we had mutual friends, had worked at the same bank office, or had the same favorite restaurant in a town in another state. It has made us realize how small the world is. My hope is that everyone will ride Amtrak at least once and decide for themselves.

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 4 months, 1 week ago

My husband and I have had a wonderful experience with Amtrak too, even with some minor problems. We were delayed going into DC, because of a major wind storm from the night before, but we had a comfortable room where we could nap and read with our luggage right at hand.

A month before our plane was delayed and we had to wait in a noisy uncomfortable airport where some guy was watching a TV show on his phone and not using headphones. We missed our link in Dallas and had to eat supper there, The food was too expensive and not good (the service was good though). After finally being able to get on a late night plane, my husband got us bumped up to first class to pamper me, but we were too tired to enjoy it. On the train home the air conditioner wouldn't kick off, so it was freezing, but our attendant did everything possible to make us comfortable. He passed out blankets, and turned the air off and on until we got to a place where the crews could jump on and fix it. We had a layover in Chicago, and there was a wonderful waiting room with free coffee and soda, TV, Wifi, comfy chairs. I love train travel.

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