A Bit of This; A Bit of That.
SANTA FE–There are some very rough stretches of track on the Southwest Chief’s route. They are, of course, the reason that several hundred miles of track in Kansas, Colorado and New Mexico have to be brought up to standard. As I was getting dressed this morning, a particularly violent and sudden sway threw me off balance and my back slammed into the little pull-out tray in the roomette. It hurt like hell for several minutes and I can tell you for certain that a frail elderly person could have easily wound up in the hospital from it. Those track improvements can’t com fast enough. Me personally? Until the work is done, I would really hesitate to take the Chief again unless there’s no reasonable alternative. It’s an uncomfortable ride.
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My sainted mother was a bear when it came to her kids using the right grammar. She would send back my letters from college with red circles around infractions such as when I would carelessly write “its”, the possessive, when the correct usage should have been “it’s” — with the apostrophe forming the contraction of “it is”.
I thought of dear old Mom today as the Chief was approaching one of the station stops. The entire train heard a conductor suggest that passengers planning to “de-board” should begin to gather up their belongings. Actually, this is not the first time I’ve heard that abomination coming from a conductor. God help us … you don’t suppose it could actually be in the conductors’ manual, do you?
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On Tuesday, I rode Train 381, the Carl Sandburg, from Chicago to Galesburg to spend a few hours with my brother and his wife before catching the Chief. I had some upgrade vouchers, so rode in Business Class, which consists of wider, nicer seats in the rear half of the cafe car. Throughout the ride, the cafe car attendant cheerfully served anyone who came into the car, but at no time during the ride, did she use the PA to tell the rest of the train that the cafe car was open and serving. I can imagine that here were passengers who didn’t know the cafe car was even there.
On the Chief, the lounge car attendant used the PA to tell people on board where the cafe was located and to alert us when she was going on a meal break, but there was not a word in any of the announcements about what she had available in the way of food selections. I have to think that a little hype over the PA would generate more business and more revenue.
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I’ll be back aboard the Chief on Friday for the final lap: Santa Fe to Los Angeles.