Incremental Progress Comes to Amtrak.
As I write this, the Southwest Chief is sitting in the Albuquerque station, the locomotives refueled, the windows washed. Earlier today, somewhere near Gallup, I went on line with my laptop and checked my emails at Maui.net. I was stunned. There is WiFi on this train! I’m still stunned.
I gather it comes and goes–in fact we’ve lost it at the moment–but this is a big deal! Over and over, I have heard people saying they couldn’t possibly take one of Amtrak’s long-distance trains because the couldn’t be without an internet connection for two-plus days. Now that’s changed. At least we can get on line some of the time.
The attendant in this sleeper is a short, plump woman whom I would judge to be in her 60s. She isn’t particularly friendly, and she lost points by not offering an orientation for my accommodations when we left Los Angeles, but she knows her stuff. When I left for breakfast this morning, I slid the glass door to my room closed, leaving the drape open so she could see my unmade bed and that the room was empty. When I returned from breakfast, the room had been restored to its daytime configuration. The jury is still out, but that’s a good sign.
The dining car crew is efficient and friendly and–based on dinner last night and breakfast this morning–the food is well-prepared.
I was seated at breakfast this morning with Phil, a dour older man who tucked his napkin into the collar of his T-shirt and contributed nothing of interest or relevance to the conversation. We were soon joined by another man, well into his 60s, named Jim and who, also like me, was born in Hartford, Connecticut. Furthermore, it turns out he is a NARP member.
Finally, I feel obligated to report that in his regular PA announcements, the lounge car attendant urges passengers to visit him “on the lower level of the observatory car.” Sometimes you just want to cry.
And now, for the first time ever, I’m going to post something to my blog from an Amtrak long-distance train. Will miracles never cease!