Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Taking the Train to Iowa - All Aboard the Lake Shore Limited - Dispatch #2

It has been a pleasant ride so far, and I have been lucky to have the seat to myself so far. I’ve noticed that some passengers have filled the two seats with bags and things, and are stretched out across both seats. However, we are now stopped at Albany-Rensselaer where we will be picking up more train cars, and more passengers. The conductors have come down the aisle to tell people they have to move their bags off the seats, but I can see some who just didn’t listen.

What may become an issue is the bathroom situation. There are two bathrooms in this car, and to my surprise, they aren’t any better appointed than other short-distance train bathrooms. One is already showing signs of not flushing correctly, and the trash bin is overflowing onto the floor. I am wondering if there is any provision on the train for bathrooms to be cleaned, trash emptied, etc. The smell is pretty bad too, and I was feeling sorry for the passengers sitting directly in front of the bathrooms, but the air system seems sufficient to control that. Again, so far.

I thought that someone would offer passengers the comfort kit, which contains a blanket, a pillow, earplugs and eye mask for us overnighters, but now I see on the website that you have to buy that in the Lounge or Café car — neither of which is on this train. However, apparently, there will be a café car attached with the new cars, so I guess I will get that when we resume moving and it go back to the dining car for dinner.

Something I find disappointing is the so-called “wi-fi where available.” Although my phone and my laptop say they are connected to the Amtrak Wi-Fi, the screen never gets past, “Join Amtrak Network” and sometimes doesn’t even get that far. 

Right now, outside the left windows I can see a thin ribbon of pink along the horizon, telling me that the sun is setting. The outside temperature here in upstate New York is very fall like, and I took advantage during this stop to get outside the train and walk around a bit. This still beats being squished in an airplane or driving endless miles by myself. I’m getting hungry for dinner.

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