Great trip on the CZ from Sacramento (area) to Glenwood Springs

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Great trip on the CZ from Sacramento (area) to Glenwood Springs
Posted by JOHN PRIVARA on Saturday, August 03, 2019 2:16 PM

Took the CZ from Sac area to Glenwood Springs on July 25 and returned on July 30.   

The eastbound train was on-time for the entire trip.  Seems like this was an anomaly as the train the following day was 10 hours late.  When I reserved the rental car and asked to schedule a pickup the guy asked if I was taking Amtrak and said:  "Well, the train is never on time, so just call us when you get here".   I guess being late is "normal".   

Overall, the track was rough, especially the ex-SP.  The ex-D&RGW was rough through “Helper”, but was pretty smooth beyond; but probably because there were no trains.   I don’t recall passing a single freight on the ex-D&RGW on the trip out.   There were lots of UP engines stored in Grand Junction. 

This was the first time I ever had a room in one of the transition sleepers.  I suppose it was because the train was sold-out (there were 3 regular sleepers and 3 coaches).   The car was in good-shape, clean, and was very tight (not much in the way of noises and rattles, even though I was above the trucks).  The odd thing was the transition-sleeper car attendant was also one of the coach car attendants, so we didn't see him very much.  But he warned us ahead of time and it wasn't a problem (he must have gotten a good workout that trip going back and forth).  

The dining car crew was very good.   Very well organized and the food was surprisingly good: I had the chicken the spouse had the steak.  Also, surprisingly, the green beans were actually good.   They didn't taste like rubber.   They may have even been fresh.  We ate at the last sitting (7:30?) and when we were done, we stayed and talked with the couple across from us.  We stayed until about 8:15+ and the dining-car crew did NOT ask us to leave.   That was a very pleasant experience.  

As usual, the sleepers were mostly rich old-farts who like trains, but there was a smattering of young-couples.   We ate dinner with one; they were going from Oakland to Denver to Chicago to Boston.  They had never taken a train in the US but really enjoyed it.  I saw them again in Grand Junction and asked them if they still liked it, and they said they did (but they also mentioned the rough track).  They asked us if there were other trains they could take from Oakland so I told them to try the Starlight.  There were also quite a few older Asians taking the train.   Good to see some variety. 

 

The trip back was also good, but the train was 3 hours late into Glenwood Springs and ended up 6 hours late in total.   It seemed to take forever getting from Helper to Sal Ta-lake Acity.  Arrived there about 3am.  It seemed that the train couldn’t make-up time due to track-speed limits, not congestion.  There were more freights on the way back (west of Helper), but the freights were usually in the sidings.   We just couldn’t make-up time (maybe to many slow orders).  

On the way back we had a normal sleeper (a Superliner 1) and it was in very good condition.  And VERY clean.  AND, what do I find in the Roomette?  A copy of "Classic Toy Trains" (sleepers ARE for rich old-farts who like trains, stop denying it...).   “Flo”, the sleeping-car attendant, was one of the best ever.  She was very organized, always around, and brought her own (I think) cleaning supplies for each of the bathrooms.  There was always coffee available, water, and juice.  I think she was cleaning the car herself throughout the trip.  It was cleaner when we got off than when we got on.  

The rest of the crew was also very good.  The dining car crew was organized and friendly, and the breakfast was very good.  I wish they brought back the French Toast tho…   

Overall, a great time.   Too bad Amtrak is structured the way it is. 

 
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Posted by Deggesty on Saturday, August 03, 2019 4:19 PM

Quoting John Primavera "The odd thing was the transition-sleeper car attendant was also one of the coach car attendants, so we didn't see him very much. " John, consider that the attendant had a little than half as many rooms to serve as an attendant has in a sleeper that has 21 rooms--and only (as I recall) about half as many restrooms to take care of. I really do not know who takes care of the rooms reserved for the on board service crew--does each take care of his/her own room?

Was your car at the head of the train? If so, were the other sleepers right behind it (that seems to me to be the standard procedure for this train now).

A few years ago, the standard procedure was to place the coaches immediately behind the transition car, and the rest of the sleepers were at the rear--and it seemed to me (I had a roomette in the transition sleeper on one trip west) that this was a logical arrangement, and a coach attendant made the berth down for me..On the trip that I rode in this car, we were more than two hours late leaving Chicago because both the Capitol Limited and Lakeshore Limited were extremely late in arriving. Naturally, we lost more time, arriving in Lincoln about five hours late, and arriving in Salt Lake City about six hours late. 

Johnny

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Posted by JOHN PRIVARA on Saturday, August 03, 2019 4:42 PM
Deggesty
I really do not know who takes care of the rooms reserved for the on board service crew--does each take care of his/her own room?
Yeah, I don’t know either.  The car was really clean tho, so maybe it was due to the lower paying-passenger usage AND the crew making sure it was kept clean for themselves.
 
Deggesty
Was your car at the head of the train? If so, were the other sleepers right behind it (that seems to me to be the standard procedure for this train now). 
Yes, at the headend.   Baggage, transition-sleeper, 3 x standard-sleepers, diner, lounge, 3 x coaches.  It was the same configuration both ways.
 
So, our attendant had to continuously walk from our car, through the 3 standard-sleepers, the dinner, the lounge and the coaches (not sure which one he was in) all day.  He spent most of the day in the coaches as our car only had 5 paying passenger roomettes occupied (and then not for the entire trip).    And, when people got on-and-off the transition-sleeper one of the conductors handled the door as he was handling the coach door.
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Posted by Deggesty on Saturday, August 03, 2019 7:15 PM

thank you, John.

From what I have seen in the past two years, the Superliner trains (except for the two that are split/combined along the way) are now made up this order--and the trains with Viewliners have the baggage car on the rear, behind the sleepers (the Lake Shore Limited had all of the Boston cars right behind the engine, with the New York City sleepers on the rear the last two times I rode it).

Johnny

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Posted by MidlandMike on Saturday, August 03, 2019 9:03 PM

JOHN PRIVARA
There were more freights on the way back (west of Helper), but the freights were usually in the sidings. 

Is it still double track west of Helper ?

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Posted by JPS1 on Saturday, August 03, 2019 10:05 PM

Deggesty
 From what I have seen in the past two years, the Superliner trains (except for the two that are split/combined along the way) are now made up this order--and the trains with Viewliners have the baggage car on the rear, behind the sleepers (the Lake Shore Limited had all of the Boston cars right behind the engine, with the New York City sleepers on the rear the last two times I rode it). 

Why is the baggage car on the LSL at the rear of the train?  I believe it is also on the rear of the Silver Star and the Silver Meteor. 

The Texas Eagle consists of a transition sleeper, sleeper, dining car, lounge car, and three coaches in that order behind the locomotive.  It had a baggage car, but it was dropped about three or four months ago.  I suspect it is because the train has been losing passengers due to its horrible on-time performance record. 

Last night #21 arrived into San Antonio at 1:36 am, 3 hours, 41 minutes late.  And this has become more typical rather than being a rarity.  

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Posted by JOHN PRIVARA on Saturday, August 03, 2019 11:54 PM

Re: Is it still double track west of Helper ?

Don't know. It was the middle of the night, but I can't sleep on anything that moves. Looking out the window, about 2 am, there WAS a second track but not not sure what its "status" was.

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Posted by Deggesty on Sunday, August 04, 2019 2:59 PM

MidlandMike

 

 
JOHN PRIVARA
There were more freights on the way back (west of Helper), but the freights were usually in the sidings. 

 

Is it still double track west of Helper ?

 

I thought I had an ETT later than 4/19/70--but I don't. That one shows 2 main tracks from Helper to Colton (mp 644.4), and from Soldier Summit (mp 651.4) to American Fork (mp 715.0), and from East Roper (mp740.7) to Salt Lake City (the old station at mp 745.1) I do not knoe how much, if any change has been made in the track since. I do expect that the short section of ABS, from the bottom of the grade at Gilluly (mp 661.0) to Springville (mp 695.8) is now CTC.

Johnny

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Posted by Deggesty on Sunday, August 04, 2019 3:04 PM

Addendum: usually, I am awake and eating breakfast when #6 arrives in Helper, but I have not paid attention to the track. I am in my  berth westbound--and on one trip, I went to bed before we reached Grand Junction (we were held at one point in Nebraska because of high winds); I woke a lttle while before we reached Green Ricer, and had to wait an hour for breakfast since it was served on Pacific time even though we were a long way from Nevada..

Johnny

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Posted by Deggesty on Sunday, August 04, 2019 3:19 PM

I may ask why the baggage car on Viewliner trans is on the rear, and I not remember to do so. I have no idea as to why this practice is followed on the trains running south from NYC; it does make for less shifting in Rennselaer for 49 and 48, for the Boston cars are right behind the engine west of there, and the entire Boston section (engine as well as the passenger cars) is coupled in front of cars to/from NYC, with the Rensselaer-Chicago enginex in front.

Johnny

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Posted by jeffhergert on Sunday, August 04, 2019 3:29 PM

Except for about a 25 mile section between Geneva and Midvale, all two main track. CTC over the entire subdivision.

A couple of years ago, the wife and I rode from Ottumwa IA to Emeryville.  Only 20 minutes late into Emeryville.  Returning east, we lost two or three hours west of Salt Lake City.  We lost about another hour at Denver when they were trying to couple some private cars on the tail end.  Took 3 or 4 tries before the coupling made.  We were 4 hours late getting into Ottumwa.  Being late didn't hurt us on the return trip, however there were a few worried about connections in Chicago.

Jeff

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Posted by Deggesty on Sunday, August 04, 2019 5:02 PM

Thanks, Jeff. That UP ETT is pretty big, isn't it?

In July of '71, a part of our wedding trip was from Denver to Salt Lake City--and we met a teenaged (I think) boy from Denver who sent me the then current ETT's of the Colorado  and Utah Divisions.

Johnny

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