Shep rides Amtrak (56k DIE!)

AMP: sci-fi art, regular art, pictures, photos, comics, music, etc.

Moderator: Beowulf

User avatar
MKSheppard
Ruthless Genocidal Warmonger
Ruthless Genocidal Warmonger
Posts: 28972
Joined: 2002-07-06 06:34pm

Shep rides Amtrak (56k DIE!)

Post by MKSheppard » 2011-10-02 05:04pm

First up, a recent short trip on #29 Capitol Limited:


Image
Union Station, DC -- Main Shopping Concourse Looking towards B&N

Image
Union Station, DC -- Showing Amtrak Ticket Counters

Image
Virtual Flipboard. My train is #29

Image
NEEEEEEEERDS!

Image
Union Station, DC -- Beginning of main waiting area.

Image
QuickTrak Machines -- god it's such a time saver to go to these and get your tickets right away.

Image
Capitol Limited Station Itinerary

Image
People lining up to have their tickets checked to board the TRAIN.

Image
Walking through the track area...

Image
The Capitol Limited is on the Left, a MARC commuter train is on right.

Image
Passengers lining up to enter the coaches.

Image
Interior of Coaches.

Image
Resty.

Image
I don't think this leads to the dining car...

Image
Amtrak needs to clean their coach windows better...

Image
And we're off! Moving past the WMATA Metro maintenance facility (Building on left) and the tracks (elevated things) going to and from UNION STATION for the WMATA Red Line.

And we move on to the SIGHTSEER LOUNGE, which is many times pure win:

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image
Currently unmanned, but when it's manned; you can get BOOZE from here.

Image

Image

Image

Image
Downstairs area of Sightseer lounge, showing cafe store area, currently unmanned

Image
Closeup of Cafe store attendant

Image
Dining Car, all set up for that night's dining.

Sadly; after only 30~ minutes, I had to get off at Rockville, if I was going to be able to make it home without waiting for the next day's train...

Image
Conductor leans out of window to check on the upcoming station.

Image
Rockville, MD MARC/Amtrak Station.

Image
Conductor checks platform ahead.

Image

Off goes the Capitol Limited to Pittsburgh. :sad:
"If scientists and inventors who develop disease cures and useful technologies don't get lifetime royalties, I'd like to know what fucking rationale you have for some guy getting lifetime royalties for writing an episode of Full House." - Mike Wong

"The present air situation in the Pacific is entirely the result of fighting a fifth rate air power." - U.S. Navy Memo - 24 July 1944

User avatar
MKSheppard
Ruthless Genocidal Warmonger
Ruthless Genocidal Warmonger
Posts: 28972
Joined: 2002-07-06 06:34pm

Re: Shep rides Amtrak (56k DIE!)

Post by MKSheppard » 2011-10-02 05:49pm

Oh, forgot to add descriptions:

Washington Union Station

Washington Union Station opened in 1907 and during WWII saw 200,000+ people a day pass through.

Following the collapse of Passenger rail in the 1960s, Union Station went un-used, and was eventually converted into a visitor's center. Quoting Wikipedia:
In 1967, the chairman of the Civil Service Commission expressed interest in using Union Station as a visitor center during the upcoming Bicentennial celebrations. Funding for this was collected over the next six years, and the reconstruction of the station included outfitting the Main Hall with a recessed pit to display a slide show presentation. This was officially the PAVE (Primary Audio-Visual Experience), but was sarcastically referred to as "the Pit." The entire project was completed, save for the parking garage, and opening ceremonies were held on Independence Day 1976. Due to a lack of publicity and convenient parking, the National Visitor Center was never popular. Following a 1977 General Accounting Office report indicating Union Station was in danger of imminent structural collapse, the National Park Service closed the presentation in "the Pit" on October 28, 1978.
It was closed in 1981 for restoration, and didn't re-open until 1988 in it's present form.

Currently, it serves:
  • Amtrak
  • MARC (Maryland Commuter)
  • VRE (Virginia Commuter)
  • WMATA (Washington Metro)
  • Greyhound Buses (Adjacent Building)
  • Peter Pan Buses (Adjacent Building)
The tracks are numbered west to east and are laid out as follows:

Upper Level
Tracks 1-6: No longer exist. Were removed during WMATA (Metro) construction. Metro's lines pass through where these used to be.
Tracks 7-8: Low Platforms w/out catenary.
Tracks 9-14: Electricified High Level Platforms used for MARC/NE Regional. (MARC uses AEM-7s and HHP-8s)
Tracks 15-16: Electricified Low Level Platforms. The Capitol Limited leaves from 16 usually. 16 is also an inspection track (pit beneath the rails)
Tracks 17-20: Electricified High Level Platforms used for Acela Express.

Lower Level
Track 21: No longer in Revenue Service
Tracks 22-28: ELectricified Low Level Platforms used for VRE and Amtrak trains headed southbound.

Superliners

These are large double decker railcars used on long haul trains outside the Northeast Corridor.

Height/loading gauge limitations preclude their use on eastern long haul routes which pass through Penn Station, NYC.

Dimensions are 85' (25.91m) long, 10'2" (3.1m) wide, and 16'2" (4.93m) high, and the coaches mass 148,000 lbs (67.13 tonnes).

The design is based on the 1956 Budd Hi-Levels used by the ATSF before Amtrak.

The first order of 284 x Superliner I cars were built by Pullman Standard and delivered from October 1978 to July 1981.

A second order of 150 x Superliner II cars built by Bombardier was delivered from 1993 to 1995.

The configurations shown below in the floor plans are from 1982; but the cars haven't really changed much, other than losing their earth tones in successive refits, and being fitted with modern amenities like a pair of 120VAC receptacles at each seat pair.

Image

One big exception is the Lounge/Cafe. The Electric Piano, shown on the floor plans here, and in this photo:

Image

Was removed and replaced with more booth seating.
"If scientists and inventors who develop disease cures and useful technologies don't get lifetime royalties, I'd like to know what fucking rationale you have for some guy getting lifetime royalties for writing an episode of Full House." - Mike Wong

"The present air situation in the Pacific is entirely the result of fighting a fifth rate air power." - U.S. Navy Memo - 24 July 1944

User avatar
MKSheppard
Ruthless Genocidal Warmonger
Ruthless Genocidal Warmonger
Posts: 28972
Joined: 2002-07-06 06:34pm

Re: Shep rides Amtrak (56k DIE!)

Post by MKSheppard » 2011-10-02 06:49pm

Now for my trip back in July, when I rode #91 Silver Star to Orlando:

In the East, Amtrak uses three types of equipment for long distance trains:

Amfleet

Image

These were developed from the failed 1969 Metroliner 125MPH EMUs, using the same body shape.

The first order of Amfleet I's consisting of 492 cars, was delivered 1975-1978.

The second order of Amfleet II's consisting of 150 cars, was delivered 1981-83.

Dimensions are 85 ft long, 10'6" wide, and 12'8" tall and they mass around 116,000~ lbs.

Viewliner

Image
Notice plug door where modules can be slid in

These are the first all new sleepers on eastern routes since the 1950s. They were developed as modular cars, in which everything is slid inside as modular units, allowing the interiors to theoretically be reconfigured quickly and cheaply at car shops.

The first order of 50 Viewliner Is was delivered from 1995-1996 and are all sleeper cars.

The second order of 130 Viewliner IIs will be delivered from 2012-onwards. They will include Diners, Sleepers, and Baggage cars.

Heritage

Image
Typical Heritage Diner in Phase III scheme. Notice Amfleet and Viewliner next to it

These are 40-50 year old baggage cars and dining cars that were built for Amtrak's precedessor railroads and are being used in lieu of replacements. Old. Did I say they were old?


Image
Different view of main waiting area at Union Station

Image
Amfleet II coach interior. Notice stuffed animals. A lot of kids on the train.

Image
WE HAVE LIGHTS! At Union Station, the Silver Meteor/Silver Star switch over from using electric locomotives (AEM-7) to using diesels (Genesis) for the trip south. As a result, power is off when you initally board the train.

Image
Passing over the Potomac River

Image
Passing over the Potomac River

Image
Passing over the Potomac River

Image
Passing over a Random Virginia River

Image
Passing over a Random Virginia River

Image
Amfleet Cafe/Lounge. Pay for overpriced sodas and hotdogs!

Image
Conductor resting in the Cafe/Lounge, which was used by the train crew as an area to rest and fill out their paperwork throughout the trip.

Image
Dinnertime! Would you believe that this is a 40-50 year old dining car? There has not been one new single-level dining car bought by US Railroads since the 1950s! Amtrak has however beautifully restored some of it's Heritage Fleet cars.

Image
Dinnertime II! Notice Pennsylvania Railroad Ad for Washington DC on the wall.

Image
Salad! That's a fake wood plastic bowl.

Image
Muffin! Again, plastic dish.

Image
While I was waiting for the main course, we passed through a Virginia college town. That's someone's front yard. Notice how you can walk right up to the tracks? Yes, we did slow down to 30 MPH as we passed through the town and the college that is part of it, but yeah, SAFETY FIRST!

Image
DINNER! Steak, Baked Potato, Vegetables. The Steak was decent, with very little fat.

Image
Dessert. Sigh. They could have at least taken it out of the can.

Image
We passed through quite a lot of freight railroad yards. This is my favorite shot. A train on a train!

Image
Crossing over a river in Virginia

Image
Same river as before

Image
I think this was a former US Military ammo dump/factory that was being demilitarized. This went on for like a minute or so, of buildings being torn down.

Image
Another river.

Image
Passing through a small town on an elevated trestle. You pass through a lot of small towns on your way to Florida.

Image
Same Small town as before

Image
Getting off the train at Orlando.

Image
Conductor helps people get off the train at Orlando.


By the way, sleeping in the coach seat for that trip down...was not fun. All the more so that they don't turn off the lights fully at night in the car; and even with the window curtains closed, crossing gate lights and bright lights still can mess you up.
"If scientists and inventors who develop disease cures and useful technologies don't get lifetime royalties, I'd like to know what fucking rationale you have for some guy getting lifetime royalties for writing an episode of Full House." - Mike Wong

"The present air situation in the Pacific is entirely the result of fighting a fifth rate air power." - U.S. Navy Memo - 24 July 1944

User avatar
Thanas
Magister
Magister
Posts: 30779
Joined: 2004-06-26 07:49pm

Re: Shep rides Amtrak (56k DIE!)

Post by Thanas » 2011-10-02 07:01pm

Man, Amtrak looks quite luxurious in the dining areas and the sighseer lounge. Steak being served onboard?

Green with envy.
Whoever says "education does not matter" can try ignorance
------------
A decision must be made in the life of every nation at the very moment when the grasp of the enemy is at its throat. Then, it seems that the only way to survive is to use the means of the enemy, to rest survival upon what is expedient, to look the other way. Well, the answer to that is 'survival as what'? A country isn't a rock. It's not an extension of one's self. It's what it stands for. It's what it stands for when standing for something is the most difficult! - Chief Judge Haywood
------------
My LPs

User avatar
MKSheppard
Ruthless Genocidal Warmonger
Ruthless Genocidal Warmonger
Posts: 28972
Joined: 2002-07-06 06:34pm

Re: Shep rides Amtrak (56k DIE!)

Post by MKSheppard » 2011-10-02 07:44pm

Thanas wrote:Man, Amtrak looks quite luxurious in the dining areas and the sighseer lounge. Steak being served onboard?
On the Empire Builder, which travels from:

Chicago to Seattle (2,206 mi / 3,350 km / 46 hours)
or
Chicago to Portland (2,257 mi / 3,632 km / 46~ hours)

If you board the train in Seattle/Portland/Chicago as a sleeper passenger, you are given free champagne upon boarding.

Later, on the second day of travel; there is a wine/cheese tasting held in the dining car. Sleeper passengers get it free, while coach passengers have to pay a nominal fee of $5~.

There is also a quiz period held, in which passengers can win prizes if they guess correctly.

Someone on AmtrakUnlimited.com said:

On the second day, I very much enjoyed the wine and cheese tasting in the dining car. I won a half-bottle of Pinot Grigiot, which I shared with my table mates at the tasting. The Riesling was by far my favorite. Also very nice was the "Purple Moon" cheddar, which is apparently soaked in an emulsion of red wine. Excellent stuff.

PHOTO BELOW NOT BY ME!

Image

Above all, because MURCA does not have the footballer hooligan problem of Europe...

Booze is served on trains, and Sleeper passengers are allowed to bring their own alcohol aboard with them, which they can consume inside their cabins. So yes, you can bring a cooler full of booze and down it as you watch the Rockies or whatnot fly past your window.
"If scientists and inventors who develop disease cures and useful technologies don't get lifetime royalties, I'd like to know what fucking rationale you have for some guy getting lifetime royalties for writing an episode of Full House." - Mike Wong

"The present air situation in the Pacific is entirely the result of fighting a fifth rate air power." - U.S. Navy Memo - 24 July 1944

User avatar
Thanas
Magister
Magister
Posts: 30779
Joined: 2004-06-26 07:49pm

Re: Shep rides Amtrak (56k DIE!)

Post by Thanas » 2011-10-02 07:48pm

Well, you can get booze on German trains as well but the sightseers lounge and the dining arrangements blow the German equivalents pretty much out of the water. Consequence of cutting costs and trying to jam as many passengers as possible into the trains....
Whoever says "education does not matter" can try ignorance
------------
A decision must be made in the life of every nation at the very moment when the grasp of the enemy is at its throat. Then, it seems that the only way to survive is to use the means of the enemy, to rest survival upon what is expedient, to look the other way. Well, the answer to that is 'survival as what'? A country isn't a rock. It's not an extension of one's self. It's what it stands for. It's what it stands for when standing for something is the most difficult! - Chief Judge Haywood
------------
My LPs

User avatar
Zaune
Emperor's Hand
Posts: 6508
Joined: 2010-06-21 11:05am
Location: In Transit
Contact:

Re: Shep rides Amtrak (56k DIE!)

Post by Zaune » 2011-10-02 07:54pm

Thanas wrote:Man, Amtrak looks quite luxurious in the dining areas and the sighseer lounge. Steak being served onboard?

Green with envy.
Definitely with you on that one. I think the height of on-train catering I've ever experienced in the UK was a reheated cheeseburger and a can of beer, for which I paid well in excess of a tenner. (Admittedly this wasn't while travelling in First Class.) We don't even get free tea and coffee anymore.

The contrast between US and European, or at least British, attidudes to railway tracks as a feature of the landscape is also quite striking; we trainspotters usually have high fences and a warning of thousand pound fines for trespassing between us and the track except at stations.
There are hardly any excesses of the most crazed psychopath that cannot easily be duplicated by a normal kindly family man who just comes in to work every day and has a job to do.
-- (Terry Pratchett, Small Gods)


Replace "ginger" with "n*gger," and suddenly it become a lot less funny, doesn't it?
-- fgalkin


Like my writing? Tip me on Patreon

I Have A Blog

User avatar
MKSheppard
Ruthless Genocidal Warmonger
Ruthless Genocidal Warmonger
Posts: 28972
Joined: 2002-07-06 06:34pm

Re: Shep rides Amtrak (56k DIE!)

Post by MKSheppard » 2011-10-02 08:04pm

Thanas wrote:Well, you can get booze on German trains as well
Right, my bad. Was mixing up Pezook's experience on Polish trains in the 1990s where they banned booze essentially, due to hooligans.
but the sightseers lounge and the dining arrangements blow the German equivalents pretty much out of the water. Consequence of cutting costs and trying to jam as many passengers as possible into the trains....
To be fair, they only have the sightseers lounges on long distance trains that travel west of Chicago. East of Chicago, you have to make do with cafe cars, which I will show in my next post dump. A lot of trains in the Northeast are also without full dining service -- essentially you have a attendant who microwaves hotdogs or prepackaged foods, since the distances are too short to justify full service.

Amtrak also has one specialist dome car "OCEAN VIEW", left over from the Great Northern Railroad, which they use on specific routes on specific dates, putting passengers even higher up for even better views:

Image
"If scientists and inventors who develop disease cures and useful technologies don't get lifetime royalties, I'd like to know what fucking rationale you have for some guy getting lifetime royalties for writing an episode of Full House." - Mike Wong

"The present air situation in the Pacific is entirely the result of fighting a fifth rate air power." - U.S. Navy Memo - 24 July 1944

erik_t
Jedi Master
Posts: 1108
Joined: 2008-10-21 08:35pm

Re: Shep rides Amtrak (56k DIE!)

Post by erik_t » 2011-10-02 09:01pm

Strictly speaking, IIRC only on the Empire Builder are the meals truly cooked to order. Shep's steak was, as I recall, reheated. Part of that is the limited space available on the Amfleet etc. sets vs GLORIOUS SUPERLINER, but I don't know why meals aren't cooked at mealtime on Coast Starlate, CONOLA, etc.

Note that Amtrak might well be all Superliners but for loading gauge restrictions in Eastern tunnels. Everything west of Chicago is the double-decker sets shown in the first post; on the east side, it depends on the conditions on the route in question.

User avatar
MKSheppard
Ruthless Genocidal Warmonger
Ruthless Genocidal Warmonger
Posts: 28972
Joined: 2002-07-06 06:34pm

Re: Shep rides Amtrak (56k DIE!)

Post by MKSheppard » 2011-10-02 09:15pm

So here we are. Going back to Washington, from Orlando, on the #92 Silver Star.

This trip was much better than the one down, since I knew what to expect, and bought:
  • Extra large pillow
  • Eye-Shades
  • Sleeping Pills
and thus was a bit better prepared for the coach seats.


Image
Parking lot of Amtrak Orlando (ORL) station. Also where you pick up and drop rental cars off.

Image
As you can see, ORL is an old 1920s Seaboard Coast Line (SCL) station. Wait. Who's that mountain of a man there?

Image
Looking Northbound

Image
Looking Southbound

Image
Interior of waiting room, southbound.

Image
Interior of Waiting room, northbound. This Hertz post is manned only if you have made a reservation in advance. I was simply dropping my car off that day, so it wasn't manned.

Image
BIG STEVE IS BIG. I'm 6'0, and he towers over me. Also, Yay STS-135.

Image
Lining up to wait for the train. It was running an hour late. But that's OK.

Both times in a row I've flown between MCO (Orlando Int'l) and IAD (Dulles, VA), my flight back home has been delayed by a minimum of 4-5 hours, BOTH TIMES.

In the end, by the time I arrived at Washington, we'd made up the time in the Carolinas overnight, and were only 15~ minutes late.

Image
Pulling into the station.

Image
As it pulled in, it began to pour rain, which you can see on the sides of the train car.

Image
11:15 PM, and we've pulled into Jacksonville, FL (JAX). Jacksonville is a designated rest point, which means the train stops for about 15-20 minutes to:

  • Offload trash
  • Drain sanitary systems
  • Reload food provisions
  • Reload water tanks


Image
Jacksonville, looking Southbound.

Image
Conductor inspecting people's tickets.

Image
Cafe/Lounge Car Attendant, View 1.

Image
Cafe/Lounge Car Attendant, View 2.

Image
Cafe/Lounge Car Sitting/Viewing area. This is what passes for standard food service on most Amtrak trains outside long-distance trains. Took this while I was waiting for the dining car to open for breakfast at 6~ AM.

Image
Floorplan of Amfleet Cafe/Lounge to help understand this car.

Image
View out the window while I was waiting.

Image
This is an older renovation of a heritage diner. OK looking, but not as good as the one we had going down.

Image
Waiter at the table she's using for paperwork at the moment. To her left, you can see the kitchen.

Image
Floorplan of a Heritage Fleet Diner, to help you comprehend the prior picture.

Image
Food. Grits, Sausage Patties, and Scrambled Eggs + Croissant. Not the best looking breakfast I've had. I guess the cook was a bit sleepy that early.

Image
Interior scene from my seat somewhere in the Carolinas (I think).

Image
Small Town Crossing.

Image
Lunch. Burger was okay. It was better than McDonald's fare, but less than a upscale chain restauraunt like TGI Fridays.

Image
Dining Car Exterior at Richmond, VA. The number lets me identify it via the 'net:

It was one of six 48 seat dining cars built by the Budd Company in 1950 for the Southern Pacific's SUNSET LIMITED. Her original number was SP 10210.

So you just saw a 61-year old dining car. This BTW, is why Stainless Steel is the perfect traincar material -- it practically never wears out with proper service.

Image
Baggage Car Exterior at Richmond, VA. This is a Heritage Fleet Baggage car. They'll be replaced from 2012 onwards with Viewliner Baggage cars. Unfortunately, I didn't capture the number of this car, so I can't tell you it's history.

Image
Big Brawny Bugsmasher Engine Lieks you. This is a P42DC Genesis locomotive. 4,250/3,875 hp. It's a monocoque carbody locomotive that has greater fuel efficiency than previous diesels. It's a pain however to repair them after they hit something on the tracks with enough force to wreck them however...

Image
This seal indicates that the next engine in the consist was rehabilitated under the stimulus SPENDULUS. Amtrak always has a pile of wreck damaged rolling stock just waiting for $$$ to fix, so they were ready with "shovel ready" projects.

Image
We pass through Ashbury, VA, the crazy town I was telling you about previously in my #91 travologue.

Image
SAFETY FIRST! (Randolph Macon College)

Image
EVEN MORE SAFETY FIRST!

Image
We arrive at Union Station in DC.


If you want to see a video of the Silver Star #92 consist shot around that time; go to this youtube link Link

Should give you an idea of how big/long the train is.

EDIT: Here's #92's Timetable for the date I came back up:

Image
"If scientists and inventors who develop disease cures and useful technologies don't get lifetime royalties, I'd like to know what fucking rationale you have for some guy getting lifetime royalties for writing an episode of Full House." - Mike Wong

"The present air situation in the Pacific is entirely the result of fighting a fifth rate air power." - U.S. Navy Memo - 24 July 1944

User avatar
MKSheppard
Ruthless Genocidal Warmonger
Ruthless Genocidal Warmonger
Posts: 28972
Joined: 2002-07-06 06:34pm

Re: Shep rides Amtrak (56k DIE!)

Post by MKSheppard » 2011-10-02 11:20pm

Someone out there has made a walkable 360 panorama of an Amtrak Superliner that's much better than anything out there. As he describes it:

From my numerous Amtrak 360º interactive panoramas, I have now made a complete virtual tour through a typical Amtrak Superliner. Follow simply the pulsing hotspots. In each scene you can look around by dragging of your mouse or by using the onscreen controls. I is recommendable to see it Full Screen by clicking the corresponding button on the screen. You can see all types of cars and you can observe each and every detail. The tour starts in Princeton Illinois on the California Zephyr in 2007 and ends on the platform in Albuquerque coming off the Southwest Chief in 2009.

Link
"If scientists and inventors who develop disease cures and useful technologies don't get lifetime royalties, I'd like to know what fucking rationale you have for some guy getting lifetime royalties for writing an episode of Full House." - Mike Wong

"The present air situation in the Pacific is entirely the result of fighting a fifth rate air power." - U.S. Navy Memo - 24 July 1944

User avatar
FSTargetDrone
Emperor's Hand
Posts: 7877
Joined: 2004-04-10 06:10pm
Location: Drone HQ, Pennsylvania, USA

Re: Shep rides Amtrak (56k DIE!)

Post by FSTargetDrone » 2011-10-03 06:16pm

Nice stuff here, Shep.
MKSheppard wrote:Amtrak also has one specialist dome car "OCEAN VIEW", left over from the Great Northern Railroad, which they use on specific routes on specific dates, putting passengers even higher up for even better views:
The Great Dome car will be in use again at the end of the month and during part of November, just in time for the leaves changing colors:
Amtrak Announces Return of “Great Dome” Car Just in Time for Fall
by danielle-germain on September 29, 2011

Fall is officially here. Although the transition from summer to fall is not that apparent in Southern California, all across the United States leaves are changing colors, temperatures are dropping, and people are beginning to pull out their scarves and boots. It’s a beautiful season and Amtrak knows that, which is why they are reintroducing their “Great Dome” car. With only one dome car left in circulation, this is a unique experience to be a part of.

The “Great Dome” is unlike any other train in circulation. On the train’s upper level passengers will be immersed in the fall beauty because of the panoramic windows, which will allow them to see the New River Gorge, the Shenandoah Valley, and of course, the changing colors of the leaves from all angles, including overhead. What makes this dome car even more special is the size of the viewing windows, which run the entire length of the car.

Unfortunately only those living between Chicago and Washington D.C. will be able to experience a ride on the Amtrak Cardinal train. The train will travel eastbound from Chicago on two Saturdays, October 29 and November 5, and westbound from Washington on two Fridays, November 4 and November 11. However, due to the car’s height it will not be able to travel between Washington and New York, but there are plenty of other places to catch it-Indianapolis, Cincinnati, and Huntington in West Virginia. This is definitely a unique opportunity for railfans across United States and a fun way to spend a family afternoon. Reservations aren’t accepted and tickets are distributed on a first-come, first-served basis so make plans accordingly. Happy Fall!
If you have the time and funds for the trip, sounds like it will be well worth it.

Oh, and speaking of Budd Co. and stainless steel rail cars, the Budd Company's BB-1 float plane Pioneer was built from stainles steel in Philadelphia in 1931 and after 1000 flying hours, was retired in 1935 to the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia where it has remained ever since.
Image
Droning on and on before it was fashionable.

User avatar
MKSheppard
Ruthless Genocidal Warmonger
Ruthless Genocidal Warmonger
Posts: 28972
Joined: 2002-07-06 06:34pm

Re: Shep rides Amtrak (56k DIE!)

Post by MKSheppard » 2011-10-03 07:17pm

Too expensive for my blood. Ticket+Roomette seats are going for $540. Some of you might be able to live with a coach seat at $88, but at 24 hours for the Cardinal....I NEED A BED TO SLEEP GOOD.
"If scientists and inventors who develop disease cures and useful technologies don't get lifetime royalties, I'd like to know what fucking rationale you have for some guy getting lifetime royalties for writing an episode of Full House." - Mike Wong

"The present air situation in the Pacific is entirely the result of fighting a fifth rate air power." - U.S. Navy Memo - 24 July 1944

User avatar
Mr. Coffee
is an asshole.
Posts: 3258
Joined: 2005-02-26 07:45am
Location: And banging your mom is half the battle... G.I. Joe!

Re: Shep rides Amtrak (56k DIE!)

Post by Mr. Coffee » 2011-10-04 02:07pm

Good pics, Shepster. I gotta say out of all the modes of travel available in the US, taking a train is probably my favorite (going Greyhound is my least favorite, horror stories abound). You get to see a lot more of the country then you'd see with commercial air travel. Driving is my second favorite, and you see more then you do with a train, but driving anything more than 800 miles at a crack can make you pretty damn tired.
Image
Goddammit, now I'm forced to say in public that I agree with Mr. Coffee. - Mike Wong
I never would have thought I would wholeheartedly agree with Coffee... - fgalkin x2
Honestly, this board is so fucking stupid at times. - Thanas
GALE ForceCarwash: Oh, I'll wax that shit, bitch...

User avatar
Phantasee
Was mich nicht umbringt, macht mich stärker.
Posts: 5776
Joined: 2004-02-26 09:44pm
Location: I have returned

Re: Shep rides Amtrak (56k DIE!)

Post by Phantasee » 2011-10-05 02:41am

I like the Orlando station.

Your first post made me think all Amtrak passengers are a slovenly-looking bunch but your other trips didn't seem to have that problem.
XXIX

KhorneFlakes
Padawan Learner
Posts: 371
Joined: 2011-04-23 12:27pm

Re: Shep rides Amtrak (56k DIE!)

Post by KhorneFlakes » 2011-10-05 07:39am

Amtrak travels through nice-looking urban areas, it seems.

Now I wish Brisbane didn't look so ugly :P

User avatar
Uraniun235
Emperor's Hand
Posts: 13772
Joined: 2002-09-12 12:47am
Location: OREGON
Contact:

Re: Shep rides Amtrak (56k DIE!)

Post by Uraniun235 » 2011-10-06 05:52pm

Fun thread, especially the information about Empire Builder. :) I'm looking at taking the train across the country sometime next year (Portland -> Chicago -> New York -> Montreal), and I'll be getting a sleeper for the Empire Builder segment.
"There is no "taboo" on using nuclear weapons." -Julhelm
Image
What is Project Zohar?
"On a serious note (well not really) I did sometimes jump in and rate nBSG episodes a '5' before the episode even aired or I saw it." - RogueIce explaining that episode ratings on SDN tv show threads are bunk

User avatar
phongn
Rebel Leader
Posts: 18484
Joined: 2002-07-03 11:11pm
Location: San Jose, CA
Contact:

Re: Shep rides Amtrak (56k DIE!)

Post by phongn » 2011-10-07 12:54pm

Uraniun235 wrote:Fun thread, especially the information about Empire Builder. :) I'm looking at taking the train across the country sometime next year (Portland -> Chicago -> New York -> Montreal), and I'll be getting a sleeper for the Empire Builder segment.
Chicago eh? Let me know when you're in town.
HAB | Rei Likes Pie | Vote Kynes! | SDN Senator | ASVS Great Old One c/o '98 | SB First One

User avatar
fgalkin
Carvin' Marvin
Posts: 14557
Joined: 2002-07-03 11:51pm
Location: Land of the Mountain Fascists
Contact:

Re: Shep rides Amtrak (56k DIE!)

Post by fgalkin » 2011-10-09 11:35pm

I once rode all the way to the Crimea and back in this, something like 5 days one way.

Image

Image

Yes, those are bunks. No, they are not closed off. Yes, you have to watch your stuff like a hawk.

It was drafty and I caught pneumonia on the way back, despite it being summer.

My train adventure> your train adventure. :P

Have a very nice day.
-fgalkin

User avatar
MKSheppard
Ruthless Genocidal Warmonger
Ruthless Genocidal Warmonger
Posts: 28972
Joined: 2002-07-06 06:34pm

Re: Shep rides Amtrak (56k DIE!)

Post by MKSheppard » 2011-10-15 06:31pm

Image
IMG_3233 by RyanCrierie, on Flickr

Taken about 2 hours ago at the Rockville, MD (RKV) station. Train was barreling towards me at 70 MPH. Still a bit blurry, so I need to step up my shutter speed past 1/320 for shooting moving trains.
"If scientists and inventors who develop disease cures and useful technologies don't get lifetime royalties, I'd like to know what fucking rationale you have for some guy getting lifetime royalties for writing an episode of Full House." - Mike Wong

"The present air situation in the Pacific is entirely the result of fighting a fifth rate air power." - U.S. Navy Memo - 24 July 1944

User avatar
LadyTevar
White Mage
White Mage
Posts: 19926
Joined: 2003-02-12 10:59pm

Re: Shep rides Amtrak (56k DIE!)

Post by LadyTevar » 2011-10-15 11:43pm

Amtrak Announces Return of “Great Dome” Car Just in Time for Fall
The Cardinal Line is the one running through the middle of WV, following the New River. Thus, you get fantastic views of the area foliage as you pass through the Gorge. It then travels through the industrial Kanawha Valley, past Charleston.
This is the line that Sen. Byrd demanded stay open as long as AMTRAK receives federal money.

This is also the way Nitram took when he visited me before moving here, and he's been wanting to take me on a trip to DC on the Train.
Image
Librium Arcana, Where Gamers Play!
Nitram, slightly high on cough syrup: Do you know you're beautiful?
Me: Nope, that's why I have you around to tell me.
Nitram: You -are- beautiful. Anyone tries to tell you otherwise kill them.
"A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. LLAP" -- Leonard Nimoy, last Tweet

User avatar
MKSheppard
Ruthless Genocidal Warmonger
Ruthless Genocidal Warmonger
Posts: 28972
Joined: 2002-07-06 06:34pm

Re: Shep rides Amtrak (56k DIE!)

Post by MKSheppard » 2011-11-09 07:27pm

This is the line that Sen. Byrd demanded stay open as long as AMTRAK receives federal money.

After having riden it; I can say it's a waste of manpower and equipment to keep it running in it's current state -- it has no full service dining car, and only a single sleeper car, which explains why Sleeper berths sell out fast and are $$$ compared to the Capitol Limited; and it runs only three times a week.

Most of the towns on the route can't even really support Amtrak Train service -- about the only stops in West Virginia which could support it would be Charleston and White Sulphur Springs (Greenbriar Resort).

Prince, WV is a posted stop, despite Prince, WV literally being the train station and a couple dozen houses (total population 116~ in 2010).

In case you think I'm being too brutal, I support discontinuing Amtrak service in Rockville, MD; my hometown; since the Rockville station is right next to a METRO red line station that connects it to Washington Union Station in 40 minutes; so why is there a need for an Amtrak stop? It just wastes diesel slowing down and then accelerating out of the stop.

I'd kill the Cardinal and take the rolling stock and distribute it across the existing single level routes like the Silver Service from NYP/MIA; allowing better return on investment in the rolling stock/manpower that is currently used to run the Cardinal.

If West Virginia wants Amtrak service, then they can contract out to Amtrak and fund the cost of it via the West Virginia DOT, like how:
  • North Carolina DOT funds the Carolinian
  • Oregon DOT and Washington DOT fund the Cascades
  • Pennslyvania DOT funds the Pennsylvanian
  • Vermont DOT funds the Ethan Allen Express
  • California DOT fully funds the Capitol Corridor and mostly funds the Pacific Surfliner.
...etc

But enough ranting. PEECSHURES.

Image
IMG_3329 by RyanCrierie, on Flickr
--Boarding at Washington Union Station--

Image
IMG_3332 by RyanCrierie, on Flickr
Image
IMG_3338 by RyanCrierie, on Flickr
--Great Dome at end of Train--

Image
IMG_3344 by RyanCrierie, on Flickr
--Crossing the Potomac River Southbound--

Image
IMG_3347 by RyanCrierie, on Flickr
--At the Alexandria Stop, the Ocean View Great Dome Car opened to the public--

Image
IMG_3352 by RyanCrierie, on Flickr
---Looking forward in Ocean View Upper Level--

Image
IMG_3353 by RyanCrierie, on Flickr
--Downstairs Looking Forward in Lower Level--

Image
IMG_3355 by RyanCrierie, on Flickr
---Downstairs looking aft in Lower level; the car had refrigerators and microwaves to act as a cafe car, but it was not manned for our trip--

Image
IMG_3361 by RyanCrierie, on Flickr
--If you're thinking about using a circular polarizer to eliminate glass reflections on window shots...don't. Amtrak already polarizes their windows, so you cut down the light a LOT...also bonus points for ZOMGCAMERA on table.--

Image
IMG_3364 by RyanCrierie, on Flickr
--You can understand why people liked the Dome Cars in the old days, since you could see ahead of the train like this--

Image
IMG_3366 by RyanCrierie, on Flickr
--Some More Dome Car Action--

Image
IMG_3379 by RyanCrierie, on Flickr
--Conductors working on their paperwork with ticket stubs--

Image
IMG_3386 by RyanCrierie, on Flickr
--Stopped at a train station, more dome view action--

Image
IMG_3392 by RyanCrierie, on Flickr
--MOAR DOME ACTION--

Image
IMG_3399 by RyanCrierie, on Flickr
--Super-Lightweight Shep Deployed!--

Image
IMG_3401 by RyanCrierie, on Flickr
--Some more Dome interior action--

Image
IMG_3410 by RyanCrierie, on Flickr
--Yes, we just passed over that. Doesn't that inspire ya?--

Image
IMG_3419 by RyanCrierie, on Flickr
--Amtrak really needs to do a better job of cleaning their windows -- we had these scale-like after effects on the outside of the dome windows on all but one or two panels--

Image
IMG_3420 by RyanCrierie, on Flickr
--Stopped in Charlottesville, VA--

Image
IMG_3421 by RyanCrierie, on Flickr
--Dome Car In Charlottesville---

Image
IMG_3425 by RyanCrierie, on Flickr
--Different View; this really pissed off some older railfanner, since I got in front of their cameras to get this view. Oh well, lesson learned. This was my first time travelling on a train with rare rolling stock, so...--

Image
IMG_3428 by RyanCrierie, on Flickr
Image
IMG_3429 by RyanCrierie, on Flickr
--Different Views--

Image
IMG_3435 by RyanCrierie, on Flickr
--View out the window on the Mountains--

Image
IMG_3437 by RyanCrierie, on Flickr
--Along the way, we passed the eastbound Cardinal, and she had 'private varnish' attached to her--

Image
IMG_3442 by RyanCrierie, on Flickr
--Interior of Dome Car as we go through a very very long tunnel---

Image
IMG_3446 by RyanCrierie, on Flickr
--View out the window somewhere--

Image
IMG_3449 by RyanCrierie, on Flickr
--View out the back of the train somewhere--

Image
IMG_3453 by RyanCrierie, on Flickr
--This is Clifton Forge, WV; it is also a semi-major CSX trainyard too--

Image
IMG_3456 by RyanCrierie, on Flickr
Image
IMG_3461 by RyanCrierie, on Flickr
--Dining service on the Cardinal -- Split Cafe/Diner in which half the cafe-lounge car is set aside for dining service, and one Dining Car Attendant does the work of five people on a full size car. The poor guy was always, always constantly overworked, doing a ton of things at once--

Image
IMG_3463 by RyanCrierie, on Flickr
--Mushroom/Cheese Pasta. It was surprisingly good for something nuked in a microwave---

Image
IMG_3466 by RyanCrierie, on Flickr
--More Views out the Back--

Image
IMG_3471 by RyanCrierie, on Flickr
--Sunset out the front of the Dome Car

Image
IMG_3484 by RyanCrierie, on Flickr
--Dome Lounge at Nighttime--

Image
IMG_3492 by RyanCrierie, on Flickr
--Viewliner Sleeper at Night--

Next post will be my experiences of travelling back home via Cardinal; which will be a bit heavier on scenery, since I knew what was coming, etc.
"If scientists and inventors who develop disease cures and useful technologies don't get lifetime royalties, I'd like to know what fucking rationale you have for some guy getting lifetime royalties for writing an episode of Full House." - Mike Wong

"The present air situation in the Pacific is entirely the result of fighting a fifth rate air power." - U.S. Navy Memo - 24 July 1944

User avatar
Thanas
Magister
Magister
Posts: 30779
Joined: 2004-06-26 07:49pm

Re: Shep rides Amtrak (56k DIE!)

Post by Thanas » 2011-11-10 08:09am

Man, these pictures make me want to visit the USA again. Too bad that would require surrendering all my financial data to the CIA...
Whoever says "education does not matter" can try ignorance
------------
A decision must be made in the life of every nation at the very moment when the grasp of the enemy is at its throat. Then, it seems that the only way to survive is to use the means of the enemy, to rest survival upon what is expedient, to look the other way. Well, the answer to that is 'survival as what'? A country isn't a rock. It's not an extension of one's self. It's what it stands for. It's what it stands for when standing for something is the most difficult! - Chief Judge Haywood
------------
My LPs

User avatar
MKSheppard
Ruthless Genocidal Warmonger
Ruthless Genocidal Warmonger
Posts: 28972
Joined: 2002-07-06 06:34pm

Re: Shep rides Amtrak (56k DIE!)

Post by MKSheppard » 2011-11-13 03:48pm

Continued....

I arrive in Cincy about an hour late, to find that my taxicab had waited and left without me; since I told them to be there at the posted time, and the company didn't even check to see if my train was late.

Blegh.

So I had the night watchman at Cincinatti Union Terminal call a NEW taxi; which took forever to arrive.

I didn't get to FRANK HIMMLER's house until about 4 AM, upon which I crashed, and then I puttered around the house later that day while waiting for my returning train.

But I did get this photo:

Image
30 seconds to a fury of licking

Aw who's a cutiepie? YES YOU FRECKLES. *make baby noises*

After visiting FRANK HIMMLERS at his workplace, which now resembles SPORTS BAR CENTRAL rather than MEXICAN RESTAURANT, I got into a taxi and arrived at Cincinnati Union Terminal around midnight; and had approximately four hours to burn...

...so I took photographs of it.

CUT Wikipedia

During its heyday as a passenger rail facility, Union Terminal had a capacity of 216 trains per day, 108 in and 108 out.

In 1971, after the creation of Amtrak, train service at Union Terminal was reduced to just two trains a day, the George Washington and the James Whitcomb Riley. Amtrak abandoned Union Terminal the next year, opening a smaller station elsewhere in Cincinnati on October 29, 1972

After Amtrak abandoned the station, Southern Railway purchased some of the land to use for its own expanded freight operations in its Gest Street yard. The Southern planned on removing the 450-foot (140 m) long passenger train concourse to allow additional height for its piggyback operations. On May 15, 1973 the Cincinnati City Council's Urban Development and Planning Committee voted 3–1 in favor of designating Union Terminal for preservation as an historic landmark, preventing Southern Railway from destroying the entire building.

In 1974, the Southern Railway did tear down most of the train concourse, an action that has since been regretted by the railroad.

Before the concourse was destroyed, the fourteen mosaic murals depicting important Cincinnati industries were removed by Besl Transfer Company from the concourse and installed at the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport. The only mural which was not preserved was the world map, which was destroyed when the concourse was removed.

Image
CUT showing the old concourse that was torn down.

Image
Concourse from Track Level

Image
Concourse Interior showing missing world map

Link to Map of Main Level of CUT as completed

In 1978, Columbus, Ohio real estate development group the Joseph Skilken Organization converted the terminal into a shopping mall known as the "Land of OZ". This was projected to be a family entertainment and shopping complex including a shopping area, roller skating rink, bowling alleys, and restaurants. Skilken invested upwards of $20 million in renovations preparing the terminal in the hope that this would revitalize the complex and help keep people in downtown Cincinnati.

These plans were put into action and on August 4, 1980, after 23 months of conversion construction, the mall had its Grand Opening, with 40 tenants. The complex drew on average 7,900 visitors per day and it would see a high of 54 shops or vendors. The recession of the early 1980s caused the project to fall on hard times. In 1981 the first tenant moved out and by 1982 the number of tenants had fallen to 21. Also in August 1982, the Cincinnati Museum of Health, Science and Industry opened in the terminal. The OZ project officially closed in 1984. However, Loehmann's, a clothing store located in the rotunda remained open until 1985. The passenger drop off ramps that ran under the rotunda were used for a weekend flea market for several years.

The terminal lay empty for the next decade or so. In May 1986 the voters of Hamilton County passed a bond levy to save the terminal from destruction and to transform it into the Cincinnati Museum Center. Former Cincinnati mayor Jerry Springer was one of the major proponents of saving the building and transforming it into a museum. It was opened in 1990 and now provides a home to six organizations:

Cincinnati History Museum
Museum of Natural History & Science
Robert D. Lindner Family Omnimax Theater
Cincinnati Historical Society Library
Duke Energy Children's Museum
The Cincinnati Railroad Club

The renovations also allowed Amtrak to restore service to Union Terminal via the thrice-weekly Cardinal on July 29, 1991. Of the seven Ohio stations served by Amtrak, Cincinnati was the third busiest in FY2010, boarding or detraining an average of approximately 40 passengers daily.

The Cincinnati Railroad Club occupies "Tower A" above the station, offers public access to the space, and serves as a museum for the former rail yard and station's innovative interlocking system of remote-controlled track switches.

Crude rendition of CUT's floorplan today

Red is what was torn down, green is what survived (may not be 100% accurate). I've marked out the Amtrak waiting room and how it's arranged.

So lets go outside:

Image
IMG_3553 by RyanCrierie, on Flickr

Image
IMG_3556 by RyanCrierie, on Flickr

Image
IMG_3561 by RyanCrierie, on Flickr

Image
IMG_3544 by RyanCrierie, on Flickr

OK, now lets go inside....

Image
IMG_3510 by RyanCrierie, on Flickr

Image
IMG_3512 by RyanCrierie, on Flickr

Image
IMG_3519 by RyanCrierie, on Flickr

Image
IMG_3521 by RyanCrierie, on Flickr

Image
IMG_3530 by RyanCrierie, on Flickr

Image
IMG_3539 by RyanCrierie, on Flickr

Image
IMG_3583 by RyanCrierie, on Flickr
--Doesn't he look liek a dead ringer for Harry S. Truman?--

Image
IMG_3585 by RyanCrierie, on Flickr
--FREEDOMURCA! IF THE TERRORISTS KEEP US FROM HANGING UP COMMERCIALIZED CHRISTMAS STUFF IN THE FIRST WEEK OF NOVEMBER, THEY HAVE WON!!!--

I took several panoramas with my tripod and camera; and stitched together four photos each to generate these images -- linked because of excessive sizes -- 11,000 pixels wide or so!

Main Hall
Mural A
Mural B

Now to the Amtrak Waiting room....or where I spent about two hours after I finished up my photography..

Image
IMG_3534 by RyanCrierie, on Flickr

Because it was "fall-back" time from Eastern Daylight Savings Time to Eastern Standard Time at 2AM -- I saw the Station manager walk out with a long pole and change the time on the waiting room clock -- we followed Amtrak's rules for timechanges.
  • Trains running on schedule or ahead of it stop where they are or at designated station stops for one hour so that their scheduled stops will be "on time".
  • Trains running late don't stop, and try to make up as much time as possible granted them by the 'fallback'.
By the way, when America "springs ahead" to Savings time, all trains automatically become an hour late and try to make that up the best they can.

I really should have taken a photograph of the boarding areas at Cin Union Terminal, as they kept a boarding ramp from the old days -- Pullman Sleeper passengers would use the ramp, while coach passengers took the stairs; but alas, I was a bit frazzled and my camera was packed away. Oh well.

I was quite pleasantly surprised to see that the Ocean View Dome was on the Cardinal that night!

I was expecting just the "standard" Cardinal run; but they turned around the Dome right away in Chicago to go back to Washington for next week's run; so...SCORE!

We skip ahead to the next morning...

Image
IMG_3604 by RyanCrierie, on Flickr
--Early Morning on the Cardinal's Diner/Cafe--

Image
IMG_3602 by RyanCrierie, on Flickr
--Mah Breakfast, French Toast, Sausage Patties, and Apple Crisps--

Image
IMG_3606 by RyanCrierie, on Flickr
--Early Morning in the GREAT DOME--

Because of timing, we passed through the best parts of West Virginia earlyish in the morning, unlike our trip westwards, where we reached WV just as the sun was setting; so there was a lot more photo opportunity than the last trip.

Unfortunately, even 14' feet up in the air in the Great Dome, we still found a lot of our view blocked by trees alongside the track, even with their leaves mostly gone.

You basically had to snap shots in between breaks in the trees, and if you didn't react fast enough, that shot was gone :-(

Image
IMG_3616 by RyanCrierie, on Flickr

Image
IMG_3620 by RyanCrierie, on Flickr

Image
IMG_3621 by RyanCrierie, on Flickr

Image
IMG_3622 by RyanCrierie, on Flickr

Image
IMG_3625 by RyanCrierie, on Flickr

Because of the early morning sun and the angles of us being in a valley; you had the far side in sunlight, while the tracks were in shadow.

Image
IMG_3628 by RyanCrierie, on Flickr
--How'd you like to drive on a bridge like that?--

Image
IMG_3633 by RyanCrierie, on Flickr
--This is what I mean by the trees blocking our view--

Image
IMG_3643 by RyanCrierie, on Flickr

Image
IMG_3647 by RyanCrierie, on Flickr

Image
IMG_3649 by RyanCrierie, on Flickr

--Out the back of the Train--

Image
IMG_3652 by RyanCrierie, on Flickr

Image
IMG_3653 by RyanCrierie, on Flickr

Image
IMG_3654 by RyanCrierie, on Flickr

Image
IMG_3657 by RyanCrierie, on Flickr
--Out the back, leaving a station--

Image
IMG_3664 by RyanCrierie, on Flickr
--You can't see it, but just past this point is a giant McDonald's sign on a 50 foot high pole. This little place exists just as an exit stop for people on the highway to get out of their cars, get gas, pee, and get fast food--

Image
IMG_3668 by RyanCrierie, on Flickr
--Interior Study--

Image
IMG_3687 by RyanCrierie, on Flickr
--Ocean View Exterior, Charlottesville, VA

Image
IMG_3688 by RyanCrierie, on Flickr
--Handicapped guy in wheelchair being loaded onto Train--

Charlottesville, VA is a college town; with all that entails. If only I was twelve years younger...*sighs*

From that point on, I put my camera away and sat in Coach; since it was only about three hours to Washington Union Station and read from my Kindle.

Slight Request for any Moderator With Power over this forum

Can you split off the posts I made on the Cardinal into a separate thread called:

"Shep Rides Amtrak II (56k DIE!)"

Thanks. I should have done that in the first place, to avoid overloading people's computers with thread destroying pictures, so I'll do that in the future..
"If scientists and inventors who develop disease cures and useful technologies don't get lifetime royalties, I'd like to know what fucking rationale you have for some guy getting lifetime royalties for writing an episode of Full House." - Mike Wong

"The present air situation in the Pacific is entirely the result of fighting a fifth rate air power." - U.S. Navy Memo - 24 July 1944

User avatar
TimothyC
Of Sector 2814
Posts: 3659
Joined: 2005-03-23 05:31pm

Re: Shep rides Amtrak (56k DIE!)

Post by TimothyC » 2011-11-15 06:17pm

Shep, The Museum Center has a crude floor plan:

Image

The stuff shown on the outside is located below the main level.
"I believe in the future. It is wonderful because it stands on what has been achieved." - Sergei Korolev

Post Reply