Take this train — please!

Posted by Fred Frailey
on Wednesday, September 1, 2010

I sure don’t want it. I nominate as the most overrated Amtrak train the vaunted Adirondack. I am riding it as I write, and if we go over much more jointed rail, I’ll need a kidney transplant.
First, what’s good about this New York-Montreal train? No. 1: it goes through some pretty little towns. No. 2: there is no No. 2. Some have reported that the Adirondack passes alongside picturesque Lake Champlain. I cannot confirm this, because I was directed in Montreal by the assistant conductor to the side of the car pointed away from the alleged lakes and told to stay there. Mr. Boardman, that’s the same assistant conductor who fell asleep in the snack car.

The conductor and his assistant run the Adirondack for their convenience only. Most passengers on at Montreal are going to New York City, and we were herded into the last two cars, virtually filling them. Then the platform doors of those two cars are never to be opened until we reach Penn Station. The front two coaches, used for intermediate passengers, are virtually empty, but Mr. Sleepy, the enforcer, prevents us for relocating there. I just hate being held prisoner on a train I've paid to ride.

Speaking of asleep at the switch, meet the U.S. Border Patrol! It took five of those brave agents one hour and 56 minutes at Rouses Point, N.Y., to clear 140 passengers for entry into this great country of ours. That rate of efficiency would qualify these guys and gal for employment in the former East Berlin.
I’m sure other Amtrak trains operate over worse track than the Canadian Pacific line I am encountering between Rouses Point and Schenectady. When I find out which trains those are, I’ll alert you, because you deserve better. I'd rate CP's track condition on a par with tourist railroads.
Did I tell you to bring your own food aboard the Adirondack? The nice woman in the snack car ran out of microwavable stuff a few hours out of Montreal. Then, at Sarasota Springs, N.Y., she closed it entirely.
Other than that, it’s been a great trip. — Fred W. Frailey

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