Train 449: Pluses and Minuses.
ABOARD THE LAKE SHORE LIMITED–I suppose it’s the nature of the beast, but less than ten hours into my ride to Chicago, there are already some negatives to report. I will start, however, with something positive.
I have just checked my emails and sent a couple of my own because there is Wi-Fi on the Lake Shore now! I will not attempt to actually post this until tomorrow in Chicago, however. The ride is too rough at the moment and it would take me forever.
What ISN’T on this train is a real honest-to-God dining car. The crew may call it a dining car but, by God, I know a café car when I’m sitting in one! A couple on board took this train from Chicago to Worcester, Massachusetts, a week ago and said it was the same on that trip. But I must give Amtrak its due: in an inspired touch, the guy heating our meals in the microwave is wearing a chef’s hat.
I have some issues with the attendant in this car (the Boston sleeper). There was no orientation for the roomette and, when I said I wanted to sleep in the upper berth, he said the mattress was up there with the sheets already on it and all I had to do was open it up. He was also kind enough to let me know that my blanket was also up there in a plastic bag. And so, when I finish this, I am going to make up my own bed.
(TUESDAY A.M.) We’re running just a bit late–about a half hour, as near as I can figure it–so I will have no problem posting this and connecting with the Empire Builder this afternoon.
The Wi-Fi is still working and I have just received an email from my editor at Chicago Review Press confirming lunch today. I expect the subject of a 5th edition of my book will come up and I confess I have mixed emotions at the prospect. In a way, the revised/updated editions are more work than the original edition because there are little ticking bombs on almost every page–obscure details that may have changed since the previous edition and which, if I don’t spot them, will generate scornful emails from “foamers”.
Once again, our car attendant falls short–offering no assistance to anyone struggling to get their luggage down the steps of the sleeping car and onto the platform. He probably is unhappy in his job and complains about all the cheap passengers who don’t tip.
There is no Wi-Fi on the Empire Builder, so my next post–a report on the next-to-last segment of this trip–will be from Seattle.
I don’t know why a train running between two major commercial centers should be so dilapidated and second-rate. The sleepers are usually sold out so can it be that there aren’t enough passengers to warrant a better train?
No, there isn’t enough MONEY for a better train. Without doubt Amtrak badly needs new equipment, but the Republicans in Congress want to save money by cutting health care for millions of people. What are the odds those heartless b——s will provide more money for Amtrak?
What’s a “foamer?”
It’s a term used to describe someone who is so passionately interested in trains–freight as well as passenger–that he starts to foam at the mouth when one comes into view. I think I can safely say that it’s not really a derogatory term–that there is more than a little affection included when Amtrak employees use the word because they know that foamers are the first to send off passionate letters and emails to their members of Congress in defense of Amtrak. I am ready to be corrected, but I also think it’s accurate to state that 95-percent of all foamers are 60-plus and male. In fact, I have never met a female foamer.