Texas Eagle Trip Report Southbound boarded December 28th in Chicago.

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  • Member since
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  • From: Texas
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Posted by PJS1 on Monday, December 30, 2019 8:39 AM

Unless there has been a change in operating procedures, the Texas Eagle equipment that arrives in Chicago goes out that evening as the City of New Orleans.  Likewise, the City of New Orleans equipment that arrives in Chicago goes out as the Texas Eagle.

The Eagle offers traditional dining; the City offers flexible dining.  I wonder what logistical problems that creates as far as stocking the dining and lounge cars. 

Rio Grande Valley, CFI,CFII

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Posted by daveklepper on Monday, December 30, 2019 7:50 AM

Also, thanks

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Posted by York1 on Monday, December 30, 2019 7:23 AM

CMStPnP
Train departed on time again with two sleepers directly behind the locomotive.   Only 20 passengers for sleeping cars out of Chicago

 

Thanks for the report on your trip.  I find this kind of post very interesting, and I hope some others riding Amtrak will continue to tell us their experiences.

John  --  Saints Fan  

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Posted by CMStPnP on Monday, December 30, 2019 4:11 AM

BaltACD
Freight railroads have Hot Box Detectors located every 15 to 25 miles along their tracks - If a train gets a activation from one of the DD's they do have to inspect their train - how deep the defect is detected within the train will affect how quickly the inspection can be accomplished.  Dispatchers don't control the DD's they just have to react to the situations they create - thus your 'delayed' freight MIGHT have been one that got stopped by a DD - even when there is little freight traffic on ling.

I'm sure there are delays.   What my point is the previous suggestion that freight trains operate on schedules and are usually on time.   Which could be happening but just based on my observation via hotels next to rails (hearing the horn blasts and looking at the clock) and being on Amtrak.   Lots of late or unscheduled freight trains based on what I see.

The last time I remember being in a hotel with scheduled railroad was BNSF and the hotel was next to the San Diego Amtrak station (Hyatt Manchester - San Diego one of my favorite hotels in U.S.).    You could set your watch to the BNSF freight trains rolling by.    That was back in the early 2000's though.    Hotel in KC next to KC Union Station.    Erratic schedules these days.   Perhaps it is how that specific line is dispatched in KC.   Though I have a similar experience with CP in Wisconsin with trains being random.

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Posted by CMStPnP on Monday, December 30, 2019 4:08 AM

PJS1
According to Amtrak's webpage, coach class passengers on the Coast Starlight, Empire Builder, Southwest Chief, Sunset Limited, and Texas Eagle can purchase meals in the dining car.  How long they will be able to do so is unknown.

Yes the dining car was open in both directions to coach passengers.    No boxed meals, everything served from the kitchen on plastic plates.     The only change I saw was the car attendants were bringing meals to the sleeping car compartments in addition to the mixed drinks.    Had one guy at one of my tables debating if he should tip the attendant at all for bringing him previous meals to his compartment........he was serious. 

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Posted by PJS1 on Sunday, December 29, 2019 10:11 PM

Enzoamps
 I don't know how often you travel that train, but as to slow breakfast, were the previous busier times before the "sleepers only" dining car rule?  I was a 6:30 guy on the Capirol for years, but had to give up the sleepers once I retired.  Now I no longer can attend the diner.  Any chance that is the reason? 

According to Amtrak's webpage, coach class passengers on the Coast Starlight, Empire Builder, Southwest Chief, Sunset Limited, and Texas Eagle can purchase meals in the dining car.  How long they will be able to do so is unknown.

On the Auto Train coach class passengers can buy meals, snacks, and beverages in a dedicated car.

Flexible dining, which is offered on a complimentary basis for sleeping car passengers, is available on the Capitol Limited, Cardinal, City of New Orleans, Crescent, Lake Shore Limited, and Silver Meteor.  Coach passengers, as well as sleeping car passengers, may purchase meals, snacks, and beverages in the lounge car.  

If my memory serves me correctly, there is no dining car on the Silver Star.  It is the lounge car for everyone.  

 

Rio Grande Valley, CFI,CFII

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Posted by BaltACD on Sunday, December 29, 2019 9:42 PM

Freight railroads have Hot Box Detectors located every 15 to 25 miles along their tracks - If a train gets a activation from one of the DD's they do have to inspect their train - how deep the defect is detected within the train will affect how quickly the inspection can be accomplished.  Dispatchers don't control the DD's they just have to react to the situations they create - thus your 'delayed' freight MIGHT have been one that got stopped by a DD - even when there is little freight traffic on ling.

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Posted by Gramp on Sunday, December 29, 2019 9:01 PM

When I rode the Eagle, the Amtrak crew members were on the intercom anytime there was a stoppage to let us know what was going on. 

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Posted by Enzoamps on Sunday, December 29, 2019 7:05 PM

I don't know how often you travel that train, but as to slow breakfast, were the previous busier times before the "sleepers only" dining car rule?  I was a 6:30 guy on the Capirol for years, but had to give up the sleepers once I retired.  Now I no longer can attend the diner.  Any chance that is the reason?

  • Member since
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  • From: Dallas, TX
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Texas Eagle Trip Report Southbound boarded December 28th in Chicago.
Posted by CMStPnP on Sunday, December 29, 2019 3:42 PM

Train departed on time again with two sleepers directly behind the locomotive.   Only 20 passengers for sleeping cars out of Chicago however overheard via Amtrak employees yelling back and forth.   Definitely not a full train on the way back to Dallas as some sleeping car compartments were empty including almost all the Deluxe bedrooms in my sleeper which I had to pass to get to the Dining Car.

Train was on time until about  Elmo, TX which was about 45 min to an hour outside of Dallas.   We were held at a siding there for about 45 min.    Train Conductor stated over the intercom that Amtrak was led to believe the UP RR train was waiting for Amtrak to pass only to arrive and see no UP RR train.    Now why you would tell all the passengers on the train this is beyond me.     Perhaps we could have used a trains contributor on board to assure Amtrak that Freight Trains ran on schedules and catch hell if they are late?     Oh well, Amtrak was ontime until Elmo.    We sat for 40-45 min and finally the UP RR freight train arrived.     Then we pulled out and resumed our journey.    Despite the delay we were only approx 5-10 min late into Dallas Union Station per schedule..........which according to Amtrak is on time.    I had calculated a 40-45 min delay off schedule for the car service that would pick me up so this delay worked in my favor considering I also had to claim baggage.   So not a hit to my travel plans.   However, I can't help but wonder how a dispatcher could make a judgement mistake of this magnitude on a lightly traveled line during a holiday period.   Maybe there was another factor I was not seeing.       I did see a freight held at the New Orleans line which I believe joins at Marshall, TX     A second freight held just outside of Dallas at SP JCT which I believe is the former SP line to Houston.

Again the whole trip I think I counted 4 total freight trains passed on the trip (2 more held at WYE junctions before they entered the line) which is abnormally light for any UP railroad class I line of this length.

Overall the trip was great and everything on the train worked including the toilets and once again the toilets were attended to properly and kept clean by the car attendents.......which again impressed me.     Once again it seemed the Dining car staff was targeting a 45 min turn in Dining Car seatings which to me is a lot more efficient than the 60-70 min turn I experienced last year.     All food was served hot and at the proper intervals.   Only three tables showed up for the first seating of breakfest at 6:30 a.m. which I thought was a little unusual.

Only item of note unusual was some idiot opened the vestibule door in one of the Superliner Coach Cars and it was discovered by passenger or crew while the train was traveling above 70 mph on the Illinois to St. Louis route.   So had to endure a short lecture over the intercom by the Conductor on why open the doors to the outside on speeding trains is a bad idea.   It was the Coach just ahead of the Sightseer Lounge Car.    So my guess it was a passenger in Coach that decided to detrain out that door or just opened it for kicks......who knows.

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