Coast Starlight Discussion

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Coast Starlight Discussion

Postby Gilbert B Norman » Sun Aug 15, 2004 9:01 am

Look what went "thump" against my storm door this morning (he scored a bull's eye for once): ... train.html

First read appears "positive".

Other rail travel related articles, Russia, Peru, are noted over at the Rail Travel Forum.
Last edited by Gilbert B Norman on Tue Aug 17, 2004 1:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Rhinecliff » Sun Aug 15, 2004 11:12 am

I guess the report is characterizable as positive, but the author of the article -- an obvious railfan -- is positively obnoxious in his demeaning attitude towards railfans. His behaviour strikes me as being similar to that of the homosexual that engages in gay-bashing to mask his or her own insecurities. I have no time for the guy.
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New York Times -- Coast Starlight -- positive

Postby NellieBly » Sun Aug 15, 2004 12:09 pm

I wouldn't characterize the author's attitude as "demeaning". Frankly, many "foamers" can be a bit odd. I work in the railroad industry, I'm a foamer too, and I tend to try to avoid them myself.

Also, I think the author's conclusions about the Starlight are fair. It certainly isn't the "Coast Daylight" or any other train of the pre-Amtrak era, but it offers good scenery and a reasonable level of amenities. On too many Amtrak trains, you get bad service and maintenance problems to go with the mediocre food and poor timekeeping, so I'm glad to hear that the Times correspondent enjoyed his trip.

Now that airfares have dropped so much, and Amtrak's on-time performance has fallen to new lows, I've sworn off LD trains for the near future (I've ridden virtually all of Amtrak's mileage in any case). I see no reason whatsoever to pay a premium over quick air service for lateness and abuse by the staff.
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Postby Irish Chieftain » Sun Aug 15, 2004 12:33 pm

On too many Amtrak trains, you get bad service and maintenance problems to go with the mediocre food and poor timekeeping

Mind naming these trains?
Irish Chieftain

Postby JFB » Sun Aug 15, 2004 12:45 pm

I must agree with Rhiencliff. Those nine uses (by my count) of the word "foamer" denote a self-consciousness that can make the reader as uncomfortable as the author. Taken together, they comprise a profound disassociation that must baffle most readers, who have no disposition toward railfans one way or another.

Announce that people who like, for instance, lima beans are weird--nine times--and people will think you're weirder.
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Postby Irish Chieftain » Sun Aug 15, 2004 12:53 pm

Let's not get further into the subdivisions within "railfandom". They are quite prevalent, but not relevant to the article, really.
Irish Chieftain

Postby Rhinecliff » Sun Aug 15, 2004 2:50 pm

If anyone can still get their hands on Mr. Tierney's NYTimes Article: "Amtrak Must Die", I think they will agree that Mr. Tierney has some railfan-related issues of his own with which he should try to resolve before endevouring to demean railfans and patrons of Amtrak's long-distance trains.

It's ok to like trains. They really are quite magnificent. Mr. Tierney needs to come to terms with that.
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Postby Gilbert B Norman » Sun Aug 15, 2004 4:49 pm

If you want the article noted by Mr. Rhinecliff, $2.95 and the following link will do it for you. ... 94DA404482

I remember the article well, and was surprised that a nominally pro-Amtrak (or at least pro-Corridor) publication such as The Times would have printed such.

Reading the Times, for as long as I have (try 56 years; started reading it when I was 7), has done much to formulate my conviction that, even if the economic value of the National system (i.e. the LD's) is inconsequential, it is quite essential for providing Federal level funding for the only thing that really counts - The Corridor.
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Postby EastCleveland » Sun Aug 15, 2004 10:22 pm

I wouldn't say the current article is glowingly positive. It's more a series of backhanded compliments of the "it was a pretty low-rent experience, but the scenery was nice" and "isn't it cool to slum it with the peons" variety.

As noted, the guy has a peculiar obsession with foamers. And the opening paragraphs (which many readers will never venture beyond) make the typical "Amtrak experience" sound like the next best thing to root canal.

Of course, he insists on dragging his unenthusastic wife along, and turns up his nose ever-so-slightly at his deluxe room ("cramped and spartan. . . but luxurious compared to the regular seats"), the food ("just passable"), and the service ("relatively good by Amtrak standards, not a high bar admittedly").

But I guess when you're writing for a travel section where a $175 per night room is considered a "Budget Hotel" and a $125 dinner for two (without wine) is considered an excellent bargain, one has to make the best of a substandard situation. My heart goes out to the guy.

Did he enjoy his trip? I guess he did by the end, if grudgingly. But it's a schizoid article -- unlikely to inspire the average Times reader to throw down their newspaper and race outside to find the nearest Amtrak station. But hey, it's sure to pump up the occupancy rate for the American Orient Express.
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Postby AmtrakFan » Sun Aug 15, 2004 10:43 pm

I rode the Coast Starlight last Summer and thoroughly enjoyed it. As a big rail and scenery fan, the trip was just great. Also a tip: BRING LOTS OF FILM becuase on the 1st Day, I brought four rolls of which I went through three.

The food was good; also there was Wine and Cheese Tasting which was a Soda (Sierra Mist) Tasting for me :D :D But the bad part was the Parlour Car A/C broke on the 2nd Day around Wine and Cheese Tasting time. The car was just refurbished but they didn't do much work to the A/C :( I would do the trip again even with UP timekeeping issues.


Postby LI Loco » Mon Aug 16, 2004 10:41 am

I, too, object to the term "foamer." I don't think too many Times readers are likely to warm up to the idea of spending 12 hours on a train surrounded by crazed foamers, no matter how spectacular the Pacific scenery is.
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Regarding the Coast Starlight Route in Oregon

Postby CNJ » Fri Aug 20, 2004 6:34 pm

There appears to be some confusion as to the status of the tunnel that caught fire in Oregon.

Looking on the websites newswire, a spokeman for Union Pacific is denying that the tunnel in Oregon has collapsed.

Has the tunnel collapsed or hasn't it?????

For what it be worth

Postby Gilbert B Norman » Fri Aug 20, 2004 6:47 pm

As of a few moments ago, the Amtrak website shows #11 running SEA-LAX.

However, be it noted, this is simply the 'Gospel being read at 60 Mass" - that's a long way from Cascade Summit.

Dream on Dept; a "Deschutes Daylight for the duration", or UP to Dalles-BNSF/OT through Bend connecting to the UP near Kalamath Falls. There are reports elsewhere that the Starlight set "caught" is Seattle is presently en route (deadhead; although I;ll bet a mileage buff employee wangled his way aboard) to Kalamath Falls via the Oregon Trunk.

"For the duration", the plan appears to be operate "extra" Train 1011 Coach Food Svc Seattle-Eugene, Bustitution #3011 to KFS, thence Full amenities #11 to LA.
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Coast Starlight

Postby kevikens » Mon Nov 01, 2004 1:37 pm

I have an adult daughter who wants to go by train from the Bay Area to Seattle and asked me to try to get some info on what it would be like to take amtrak on this route. Can anyone who has taken this route give some pointers on travelling on this train. Thanks
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Postby AmtrakFan » Mon Nov 01, 2004 1:43 pm

I can help you I rode on it last summer It can be very late because of Freights, I would get a Sleeper because you get a 1st Class Lounge with all sorts of things just on the Starlight, the Secenary is Awesome especially after Dunsmuir until like around Eugene. Well taking Amtrak is a great way see America also you get to meet new people a lot of Railfans ride the Train. But one Warnning If she is in a hurry I would give her a warrning that they can be late but with no Mail and Express their doing pretty well with OTP.



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