It’s the Small Stuff that Bothers me.

At the moment, I am sitting in Amtrak’s First Class Lounge in Chicago’s Union Station. The Southwest Chief arrived this afternoon just about on time and I have until probably 9:15 tonight to relax when the Lake Shore Limited will take me on another overnight ride to Springfield, Massachusetts.

This give me ample time to report on my rail journey from Los Angeles and still get a bite to eat.(Dinner will not be served in the Lake Shore dining car tonight because of the “late” departure.)

Sitting here in the First Class Lounge in Chicago’s Union Station, I’m not sure when exactly we exactly arrived here in Chicago, but as long as it was close to being on time, I’m fine with that.

In the meantime, it’s the little things that bother me about Amtrak’s operation . . . and I know this is going to sound as though I’m really being picky, but if your employees screw up in little ways and no one calls them on It, the next thing you know, they’ll be making really big mistakes. Anyway, here’s what the Amtrak employee overseeing the two dozens folks waiting on trains in the First Class Lounge bellowed out a couple of minutes ago:

“We’re now boarding train 370, the Peer Marquette, on track 20.”

Dad Gummit! The departing train is the Pere Marquette and its name is pronounced PEAR, like the fruit, not PEER, like staring at something intently. I don’t know . . . maybe that shouldn’t bother me, but correct pronunciation of the name of one of my employer’s trains, strikes me as basic good business practice for an employee.

I know, I know . . .  I’m being picky. And I must also admit that I could have been the only person here in the lounge that noticed, let alone cared. But that’s the kind of thing that has always bothered me. AndI do believe, it’s the kind of thing that should bother mangement, too.

Join the Rail Passengers Association…

. . . You'll receive rail travel news alerts, valuable discounts from Amtrak and other travel-related companies, plus many other benefits!

Click here to learn more at the RPA website.
 Rail Passengers Association Logo


Just Released!

A New Book by

Fifty stories from life and 350,000 miles of train travel.

  • Across the U.S. and Canada by train.   
  • London to Paris at 187 mph.      

  • An unexpected performance of Cats in Mongolia.
  • Goose bumps on a warm night in Red Square.
  • Spotting wild camels in the Australian outback.
  • Finding real cowboys in Hungary.

Now available in Kindle and paperback editions from Amazon.



This new book by Jim Loomis is a quick and easy read, full of interesting information about Hawaii that most people don’t know and are surprised to learn:

• There were actually two attacks by the Japanese on Pearl Harbor during World War Two

• There were real cowboys working on ranches in Hawaii *before* there were cowboys in Texas.

• Outdoor advertising (billboards) has been illegal in Hawaii for 100 years.

$6.95 per copy6
6Order direct from the publisher, and use the code: FASCINATEME and the publisher will pay for the shipping.




All Aboard: The Complete North American Train Travel Guide

Fifty stories drawn from 300,000 miles of train travel. The latest version of Jim Loomis's acclaimed All Aboard: The Complete North American Train Travel Guide (4th Edition, 2015) is available in stores and online in both printed and electronic formats.
Chicago Review Press, 4th edition (Jan 2015)

Available in four formats:
Trade Paper, EPUB, PDF, and Mobipocket (for Kindle)
ISBN 9781569761823

Learn more about the book or order it now directly from Chicago Review Press.


Recent Posts