Extraordinary Staff on Train 11.

At the conclusion of the Fall meeting of the Rail Passengers Association in Sacramento, I took the Coast Starlight overnight to Seattle. Then, on Sunday, I boarded the same train southbound for the overnight ride to San Jose.

Both rides were fine, but I had some truly extraordinary experiences on board during the ride back down from Seattle to San Jose.

The car attendant in my sleeper, Roger Keilbach, clearly loves his work. He volunteered to bring my bag up to my roomette when I first boarded, then handed me five sheets of paper with a text he had written explaining how the roomette worked, what his duties are, and noting that he could be found at any hour, day or night, in roomette #1.

Page two included a copy of Amtrak’s timetable for trains 11 and 14. To save money, Amtrak doesn’t supply timetables anymore—a maddening decision because you can’t figure out if you’re running late and by how much without knowing what time you should have arrived in Klamath Falls.

The next page was a map of California tracing the route of the train from Seattle to Los Angeles and noting many of the points of interest  you can see from the train along its route.

The last two pages described some odd the train’s history and went into some detail about the points of interest along the 1,377 mile route.

When I woke up the next morning, I couldn’t find my wallet. Roger went through the roomette with his flashlight with no luck. Thinking I may have lost it at dinner the previous night, I went to the diner and asked Sandy, the LSA, if anyone had turned in a wallet at dinner the previous night. No one had, but she led me back to my roomette and conducted her own search . . . and, mind you, she took the time to do this while breakfast was being served in her dining car.

Both of those folks are extraordinary employs and Amtrak is damn lucky to have them.

By the way, I found my wallet. It had slipped off the berth and landed and become almost invisible in my shoe of an almost identical color.