Well rather than create another thread, found and am updating this thread.
For various reasons, my sojourn to Georgia is a bit later this year (but tragically the second time since the start of the year, the first for a very unexpected death of a friend and colleague down there, for that I flew.
This time for a change I ended up boarding in Philly (related to being in the area for my work.)
One advantage of boarding in NYP is generally better seating. In this case, I don't think it would have helped (and in fact would have made it worse).
While generally I've had no real issues with the assigned seating boarding policy (especially on a crowded train) today's was a bit... shall we say intense.
She was pretty much boarding the first car (the "Atlanta'" car, which was directly behind the engine, btw, more on that in a bit) front to back. Pretty much no exceptions.
I found myself confronted with sitting in an aisle seat, which was an issue only because I had work to do and needed to plug in the laptop and didn't want to inconvenience the lovely woman in the window seat. So I politely asked the woman in the row behind me, who had an aisle see if I took the window seat beside her. She didn't mind, especially since it's one of the seats where the window is 1/2 blocked by a pillar anyway).
So, I moved seats. I later looked for, but could not find the car attendant. So I asked the conductor to find her so I could let her know and make sure her seating could still be handled.
That was the beginning of the "Excitement". Very long story short, basically she was easily confused and very excitable (for want of a better word). Even if a person sat in a different set just for a few seconds (in one case to make a quick call) she was insistent he move back immediately since in 45 minutes we were picking up more passengers. She claimed she had to renumber her tags 3 times (this was just after leaving Philadelphia) and we were all making her crazy. (My "crime" was saying "here's my old seating number, #36, I'm now in #31." She within 10 seconds claimed it was my seatmate's number and my seatmate had moved someplace else (despite my seatmate still sitting in her original seat.) When we both tried to correct her, she refused to believe us!
Let's just leave it at, no one had problems with seating and any of us would have moved back to our original seats had she asked. The issue was entirely with her attitude to all of us. Unfortunate.
That said, I'm glad to see once again someone from the Diner car came through and asked folks if they wanted a reservation. I've seen this not happen in the past and I've found that disappointing as I think it means fewer coach passengers even learn of the diner.
I happened to notice one of my fellow passengers who had observed the seating "fun" also took a reservation.
This was all done before we arrived at WAS.
We arrived on-time and were promised an on-time departure, but the new engine didn't even couple until 6:25 or so. So 6:30 was not happening.
I have to say, this was the most violent coupling I've yet while seated in a lead car. To the point my laptop almost truly ended up in my lap and I noticed a jolt to my neck.
My reservation was at 8:00 so I bided my time until then and then made my way back to the diner.
I'm not sure the number, but definitely NOT 8400 and not one I recall being in before. It had the "cafeteria" counter, and was open at the end of that, but of course that was not functional. I was directed to a booth by myself.
Several other passengers showed up and each were also directed to their own booths. For a moment I feared I'd end up sitting stag.
But the woman from above soon showed up and was directed to my table.
I will keep it short and say we had a lovely conversation, but as she was suffering from a cold, it soon became apparent that she was fading fast. After dinner while I waited for my dessert she offered to stay, and while normally I would have accepted the company, it was clear she really would benefit from making her way back to her sleep and getting some sleep.
On to dinner.
I've lately been trying to watch my caloric intake (that middle age is being enhanced by more girth in the middle.)
Fortunately the Chef's special tonight was short-ribs and that was in my budget (both dollar-wise and calorie wise) and left room for dessert.
The salad as usual was nothing to write much about. I think this is one area I'd love to see SOME improvement on. Perhaps even just an option of red onion on the side or something.
Finally the entree arrived. First the vegetables. These had been clearly rewarmed in the bowl and at ones at the bottom were much hotter than the ones sitting at the top (which apparently had had some "air-cooling".) Again, a tad overdone, but not terrible. I think they'd do better warming them separately and adding them to the finished plate.
The mashed potatoes again were fairly good. Just a tad of starchiness, but nothing terrible. (a little ketchup made them to me nearly perfect!)
Now the short-ribs. The sauce had a flavor I couldn't put my finger on. By itself, not really something i'd enjoy. However, combined with the meat, very good.
The name is a bit of a misnomer as there were no bones to be found, But the meat was literally falling apart at the touch of the fork. Very nice. Just the right amount of fat and barely any gristle.
My only complaint was the salt content of the sauce.
This was paired with several fine glasses of... tap-water (sorry. but 0 calories in that!)
Of course now, sitting in the window seat, with the aisle seat blocked, 4 glasses of water later, I'm thinking perhaps the aisle seat MIGHT have been the better idea.
Anyway, we're somewhere deep in Virginia now and either sleep or a DVD is calling.
More perhaps later.