April 17, 2014 |
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In January, 2008 I rode Amtrak from KC to St. Louis (Kirkwood). The train left KC at 4:00pm. The train didn't arrive at the Kirkwood station until 1:50am...nearly 5 hours late. We sat on the track just east of Jefferson City for over 4 hours...due to a problem with a freight train ahead of us. The conductor told me this was not uncommon and he'd experienced trips where they didn't arrive in St. Louis before dawn. I could've driven to St. Louis and back in the time I sat on that train. The train stunk like an outhouse, the food was terrible, and some jerk spoke on his phone loudly the entire trip even though the conductor told the passengers that cell phone use was to be only at a minimum in the coach. The employees on the train were, in my opinion, lazy and not interested in the welfare of the passengers. My return trip was only 90 mins late and I was grateful. I used to ride this train regularly when I was in college back in the 80's. I'll never ride it again.
If not in hurry train travel can be fun. We've done it 3 times in the last few years and twice on our honeymoon wayyyyyyyy back in 1980. Thus far never had a bad experience. We dine in addition to packing our own wine and snacks.
In 1980 while on the honeymoon our bicycles were part of our luggage. Starting in Tulsa on bikes going for a about 250 miles then hitched a ride to Albuquerque. Biked around Albuquerque and visited friends for 3 weeks then caught the Super Chief to LA. LA on bikes is quite an experience. From LA to San Diego on bikes ... what fun. Helped sail a boat to Cabo San Lucas then hitched back to San Diego. Caught a ride to Baltimore. Left Baltimore on train to KCMO. Then managed to get back to Tulsa.
Train Service was good for people who want to travel with bicycles as luggage. Cocktails in the dome car is scenic.
Laying miles of rail is far more efficient than laying down miles of roads. Rails do not get pot holes or need resurfacing annually. Roads and cars are rather expensive budget items.
Sleeper rooms on trains was not any more expensive than a motel room while traveling by car.
A five layover in downtown Chicago is far more fun than a five hour layover in an airport. Downtown train depots leave open many choices for killing time. Museums, libraries, American Girl Doll stores, old architecture etc etc.
Amtrak is fine for short trips, but I traveled regularly (and recently), largely overnight, from the midwest to upstate NY. The service ranged from terrible to abysmal. One employee kept waking people at every stop, just because, apparently. People were rude and on cell phones constantly at all hours of the night. Delays were frequent because Amtrak doesn't own the rails, so freight trains take precedent, and we often had to wait. Once the train was on time. Others, it could be anywhere from 2-8 hours late. I once beat the train driving during daytime hours when it arrived at 4 pm instead of 8am, and I was much happier and more refreshed even leaving early in the am than I would have been if I were on that train! It's a terrible way to travel. Notice: almost all positive reviews are for short trips!
loved it. it was my first train trip and i went to st. louis for the weekend. the ride there was good and the ride back was good. i never went to the snack cart, because i brought my own snacks and i didn't want to have to use the bathroom. the seating was roomie and my neighbors were social. i plan to take another trip soon.
Once a month in the early 80s my two young boys and I would go to Dodge City where my mom and dad would pick us up and we would spend the weekend with them. The drive was too hard for me alone and my dad died soon after. I will never regret going. the boys would just play on the floor with their star wars toys or their legos and we would sleep when we could - lots of stops but the only way I was able to spend the last few months of my dad's life with him. I couldn't tell you anything about the service or condition. I didn't care really.
We used to ride the train all the time fromLawrence to OKC or Ardmore where my family would pick us up and go on to our hometown. I started doing this when Amtrak first started until they abandoned the Chicago-OKC route, I think in 1985. We had some good service, some bad service, and I once rode from Lawrence to Wichita in the dining car (before reservations and assigned seating) My assesment of the situation is that you will find some good trips some bad trips and a few really rotten enployees, just as you will find in any customer service situation. My view is that Amtrak is no better than any other travel mode nor any worse. I do not like to fly, the current security restrictions are necessary but very tiresome. Driving is long and ardous, and I would rather ride the train.
It is pretty petty for anyone to claim that their general service is "horrible" opr "excelent", this is planet Earth, transportation means are staaffed by regular humans, and as with most any customer service affiliation, you may get great service or rotten. Amtrak is no better. I would encourage people to go, but more than once. You might find that traveling by train is much like any other lifetime experience, you win a few, you lose a few and a few get rained out, and you generally get where you need to go,
I rode the train from KC to St. Louis and back last summer. I enjoyed the ride. The coach seats aren't anything fancy, but they're plenty big and you don't have to wear a seatbelt. Electrical outlets for gadgets...it was relaxing. As for the person talking about rude workers...I dunno. Everyone I met was really nice.
from what I've heard - if you're not rich and don't have alot of time then you had better skip the experience.
I took the Southwest Chief to Chicago from Lawrence within the last six months. The Amtrak employees were all nice to me, the snack car was overpriced but adequate, and the trip was long, but it was a normal old train, not the new-fangled high-speed trains like they have in Europe and Japan.
I do wish they'd add more power outlets so I could recharge my computer from the snack car. Some cars seem to outlets while others don't. Wireless Internet would be wonderful, but I'm not sure if the technology exists for local wireless on a moving train.
Next time, I will also bring my own snacks, booze and neck pillow. Some cards or dominoes would also be nice.
Took the train from Seattle to Portland - it was great. Haven't ever taken the train here, because the times never worked out leaving the Lawrence station. I'd love it (and would use it) if there were light commuter rail available between KC and Lawrence, with more than one train daily there and back.
No, but I got drunk on a Greyhound bus one time.....
Lawrence to Chicago and once from Portland to Seattle. For a short term trip a coach seat is fine, but over 3 days I would recommend a sleeper. I got a real good deal on the Chicago trip.
We just traveled on what used to be the worst route on Amtrak, K.C. to St. Louis and back. Except for one minor delay returning, it was a very good trip. It is very much improved. Our whole group really enjoyed it. The crews were very nice and helpful.
We have ridden the Southwest Chief in the past, and really look forward to doing it again, and the same for the California Zephyer.
DC to Atlantic City. the train station in DC was immaculate. everything after that was borderline 3rd world. I've never seen so many burned out buildings and trash piled up alongside fences.
Yup, and we had a lot of fun. Like many things, it depends on your approach to life. Some people are just naturally crankier than others :-)
A couple of times. Last time was about 1994 or '95. Went with a big family group to Santa Fe and we had a pretty good time. Restrooms were fine. Personnel was polite. I don't remember much about the food, good or bad.. The train was on time, or close to it. Lots of stops, of course... And, yes, it goes through KS in the middle of the night, but as none2 says, it has to be somewhere during those hours...
I wouldn't want to travel that way all the time, and it's often cheaper to fly, but I'm glad I had the experience. You see the land from a different perspective--and can watch the countryside more attentively than you can while driving.
I recently priced a train trip. I was surprised to see how expensive it was once you started adding room options. Cheaper to fly.
Wanted to when I traveled from Virginia to Lawrence for my freshman year. But then I found out it would take 3 days! For the love! So I went Greyhound instead. That only took 36 hours.... I know, I know, not a great trade-off. It wasn't so bad (for an 18 year old, that is, you can take that kind of stuff that young) until one guy decided to get off the bus (that had a bathroom) at the main terminal in Terre Haute (that had several bathrooms) and take a whizz right beneath my window... in broad daylight.
Should've taken the extra time.
not since 1987
we took the Southwest Chief from Emporia to LA and the Pacific Coast Limited
to Seattle in 1995 and I took the City of New Orleans from Hammond La
to Chicago and the Southwest Chief from Chicago to KC. I love the scenery
from the dome cars. We ate many times in the restaurant car on the way to Cali
and Seattle. It's not as bad as some these people say.
Out to Great Bend by myself for my thirteeneth birthday and met up with folks and hunted Cheyenne Bottoms.
I frequently traveled by rail in the east and the cars were clean, new, and well kept. The service was friendly, which was quite surprising in the East, and the trains usually kept to their schedules. In the Midwest, I've taken Amtrak trains to Chicago, Denver, and Las Vegas and found them a miserable traveling experience. As most everyone else has stated, the food was bad, the service was bad, several of the seats were broken, the restroom was filthy, and the trains ran anywhere from 2-4 hours behind schedule...every single trip. I guess Amtrak figures that if you don't live in the East, you don't deserve anything better.
I found the help to be extreemly rude. The food was very overpriced and sucked. The car I wan in has some stinky bum in the seat behind me, the seat in front had some looser bragging on his cell phone for most of the trip, and the lady a couple of seats in front was doing all she could to keep her children quiet. I took the train just for the experience of it. The damn thing about beat me to death, reminded me of the timberwolf. The seats were very comfortable and plenty of room. The view was great if you were not in a town, in town you got to see most of the dumpsters.
It would have been cheaper and much quicker to fly. I would assume that the north south routes would be shorter, so maybe less stinky people. By the time they got to Chicago from Wash DC... well... I am glad I was not headed to California.
WORST TRIP EVER!!
1. Toilets not cleaned from Chicago to California...oh the stench!
2. Toilets across from our compartment with our heat stuck on high (90+F) and no employee who could turn it off or give us a different compartment although they were not all occupied
3. Stopped for hours in the mts. near Donner's Pass without food or drink service or ventilation because of a derailment until buses finally took us to Sacramento
4. Missed train to Seattle because of previous delay and had to take the oh-so-scenic overnight train which was so loud that sleep was impossible.
5. Flu hit by the time I got off the train in Seattle, where I could have had some fun
I WILL NEVER TAKE AMTRAK AGAIN, EVER, IN THIS LIFE OR THE NEXT!
Yes! I love traveling by train!
When I was about 11 or so my grandparents took my sister and I from Topeka (getting on in the middle of the night) to California.
But it was the first time I ever saw microwave popcorn and was fascinated. Also, my grandfather worked for Amtrack for a while back in the day and actually worked on some of the cars that we were on.
Years ago, I flew back into the country after living abroad for three months. I was almost broke, and a plane ticket home was out of the question. It was either get a job in NYC or take Amtrak home. I rode the Southern Crescent from NYC to Atlanta...met a girl who got on in Baltimore...split a bottle of wine...split another bottle of wine...got home 24 hours after leaving NYC, and was hardly aware any time had passed at all. One of the easiest ways to travel I've ever found. Well, except for the train system in Europe.
Sure the hours are bad, but I realize that some part of this huge country has to be traveled during the night on such a long train route.
However, that doesn't excuse the extremely rude people that work for Amtrak. I assume they are all members of a union of rail workers. They should all be replaced by union members from the airline industry. You would never see the kind of attitudes they display amongst their cousins the airline industry.
The food in the snack car was horrible. The return trip from the SW was akin to a trip across the border of Nogales.
The train routes will not be improved with this plan to go to Dallas Ft.Worth. Not sure why AMTRAK hasn't figured out that the trip West needs to be more Fred Harvey like.
Too bad Lawrence doesn't have a La Posada.
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