: Ridin the rails as I type this...



Playdrv4me
07-08-07, 05:49 PM
So being that I like to try strange non-sensical new things, Jesda's recent Amtrak jaunts inspired to give the rails a shot. Im on my way to pick up a car for my brother in Charlotte from Tampa and I have to say thus-far I am very impressed, even the train station was clean, properly air conditioned, and had clean facilities. Being that I only paid about 100 bucks for this whole trip, I was not expecting much. On the train I am on, there is an electrical outlet at every row on each side, I only wish I would have brought an electrical spilitter with me as I need to power both my cell phone and this laptop, so right now Im having to shuffle between each one as they lose power. Still, I havent hit an EV-DO dead spot yet (thanks Verizon).

Anyway, these rail cars ride surprisingly well given the rails they ride on. The seats are wide and comfortable in coach, and have CAVERNOUS legroom ahead of them so you can lie back. The restrooms are no bigger than the ones on your average 737 and work basically the same way. The fold out tables ahead of you are just the right size for laptops and meals.

Ill report on the meal service after I have dinner. My reservation is set for 8pm.

The main downside is the amount of time it takes to get to the destination. *And* the amount of time between trains at change-overs. But if youre not strapped for time and dont want to deal with the rigors and stresses of flying, and ESPECIALLY if the rails take you through scenic territories, I strongly recommend giving rail travel a shot. The only thing I otherwise enjoy this much is driving my own vehicle, and for this trip it wasnt practical. I think trains are a long forgotten throwback to the past, and a time where we werent in such a damn hurry to get everywhere.

urbanski
07-08-07, 06:31 PM
:cool:
await the next blog!

General_Motors_Fan
07-08-07, 08:29 PM
I'm an old rail fan from way back and I'm glad to hear good things about the current rail service.

dkozloski
07-08-07, 10:14 PM
Ride the Alaska railroad from Fairbanks to Denali Park and on to Anchorage for the experiece of a lifetime. The food is to die for.

noahsdad
07-08-07, 10:39 PM
We take the train quite often into Chicago and back, and have even planned a trip out to Glacier national park. Amtrak does a great job given the conditions they have to work under. The trains are quiet, clean, comfortable, and actually have leg room. To me, it's the only graceful way to travel.

Air travel used to be a great experience. Now it's just a Greyhound bus with wings, and that's being generous.

Playdrv4me
07-08-07, 11:22 PM
great comments guys. koz i definitely have that alaska tour marked down as a must do! unfortunately i put away my laptop already so this update will be brief on the nokia tablet. food was very good and i really liked the cheeseburer my table companion was eating. gonatry to get some rest and watch the occasional freight train go by for now... by the way i have no doubt they have already taken this monster up to 78 a few times!! at least it felt that way.

Jonas McFeely
07-09-07, 12:18 AM
I rode the Amtrak from Camden, SC to Winter Park, FL and vice versa every couple of months for a year and a half. That was when i was attending Camden Military Academy.

Amtrak is awesome. It was dirt cheap and actually fun. I always ended up getting totally shit-faced and hanging out with everyone in the smoking car. I have some video of it. It would usually be around 5-20 kids that went to the school all on the same train. Always had a blast.

I got caught smoking trees in the bathroom once and the conductor messed with me soo bad. I heard him on the radio saying "we need a drug dog down here" and something else, I flushed the joint and rinsed my mouth out with soap(i dont know why). The conductor and his cronies were standing out there with a stern look on their face. After a couple seconds, one of them started laughing. Then the conductor said "youre stupid, dont let me catch you doing that on here again" in a very nice way. I said "yes sir" and went back to tell my buddies the story.

Good times...

Jesda
07-09-07, 02:13 AM
I love the train. Last time I rode, two drug dealers with a massive (size of my head) wad of cash paid for my breakfast. Nicest guys I've ever met. Excellent conversation.

Playdrv4me
07-17-07, 04:06 PM
Wow bad news guys... This VERY train, the SAME route I took last week, hit a car yesterday and all 4 girls in the car were killed in Lakeland, though the train wasnt affected. They had ANOTHER fatality with a car on June 13th I didnt know about ALSO in Lakeland. Both of those were fully the driver of the car's fault for going around the gates and passengers of the train were uninjured.

*NOW* I just heard on the radio the *SAME* train (Silver-Star 92) just de-railed in Plant City! What's amazing is this is one of Amtrak's longer runs, between Miami and NEW YORK, and yet this is their THIRD incident on the small stretch between Tampa and Daytona Beach. Dont have all the details yet.

Playdrv4me
07-17-07, 05:01 PM
Looks like they hit ANOTHER vehicle, this time a pickup truck. Damn; Rural Florida has bar-none some of the most degenerate people on this planet... and I thought the meth belt in Missouri was bad!

Unfortunately this time people on the train WERE injured when the train de-railed. The driver of the truck is dead, the train apparently travels at 79mph (the max for non high-speed trains) through these areas.

RunningOnEMT
07-17-07, 05:18 PM
you'd be surprised the number of incidents there are with trains and cars

there is an entire 100+page book we have of incidents at grade crossings, people are stupid and think trains can stop

the brakes do absolutely nothing in emergency stop mode... to be completely honest with you the only reason someone would dump the train brakes would be a legal thing, to show that an effort was made, a fully burdened passenger train doing 79 mph takes about 2 miles to slow down to a complete stop in full service braking.


an 80 car freight takes almost 2.5 times that from 55 mph...

engineers only blow the big hole (train speak for pull the emergency handle) so that the lawyers can pull the event recorders and say "hey they put on the brakes instead of throttling up to see how many they could pop like grapes"

and about derailing, you have to be careful when trusting media accounts of derailments, technically a derailment is when the wheel is no longer aligned properly with the rail, doesnt mean the train fell over crumpled or even crashed, its scary to think that the contact patch of a locomotive is only about 3.5 square inches... the size of 8 dimes ....

respect the grade crossing gates and realize the "power of the train"

sorry about the PSA i work in the railroad and have personally seen some really retarded stuff, having to powerwash teeth out of a steel pilot plate is not what i want to do!!!!!

Kev
07-17-07, 05:19 PM
Looks like they hit ANOTHER vehicle, this time a pickup truck. Damn; Rural Florida has bar-none some of the most degenerate people on this planet... and I thought the meth belt in Missouri was bad!

Unfortunately this time people on the train WERE injured when the train de-railed. The driver of the truck is dead, the train apparently travels at 79mph (the max for non high-speed trains) through these areas.Thanks for the information ... :thepan: :mad: my youngest daughter and two nieces are taking the train from Oregon to here come the end of the month. I feel so much better now after reading this post! :alchi:

We thought the train would be safer than Greyhound, especially since the bus route requires the girls transfer in Sacramento and Oakland. Sac is probably not too bad but I wouldn't send my worst enemy to the Oakland bus station..... :eek: :hitstick::gun2::blasted:

RunningOnEMT
07-17-07, 05:19 PM
oih and the silver star passes my office every day ... leaving union station passing through Alexandria VA look to your left and wave... :p

Playdrv4me
07-17-07, 05:24 PM
GotmeaV, great info! I agree with you about the "derail" part, although I just got some video of the wreck and the rear-most cars are definitely mostly off the track, though not toppled over on their sides. Still that has to be pretty scary in one of the cars as fast as it happens.

Kev, the train is not unsafe, and if anything these incidents go to show that even a full speed collision with something the size of a tractor trailer (they revised the story again apparently it was a Semi, which makes sense as to why it derailed), still only results in a mild derailment and just a few people scraped and bruised up. I would not put your kids on the bus, period. Ive been on Greyhound and its not a comforting place to be.

Heres a link to the overhead video...

http://www.tampabays10.com/video/news/?aid=45067&sid=59250

RunningOnEMT
07-17-07, 05:24 PM
Thanks for the information ... :thepan: :mad: my youngest daughter and two nieces are taking the train from Oregon to here come the end of the month. I feel so much better now after reading this post! :alchi:

We thought the train would be safer than Greyhound, especially since the bus route requires the girls transfer in Sacramento and Oakland. Sac is probably not too bad but I wouldn't send my worst enemy to the Oakland bus station..... :eek: :hitstick::gun2::blasted:

i migth be slightly biased having worked to design railcars since i left college...but rarely if ever is there a truly disasterous rail accident where people riding the train are hurt.

think of it this way ... would you rather your daughters and neices be travelling in a 170,000 pound steel reinforced tube designed for maximum comfort while still being able to withstand 20G impacts without protrusion into passenger occupied spaces.... or a bus? car? plane?

Kev
07-17-07, 05:56 PM
i migth be slightly biased having worked to design railcars since i left college...but rarely if ever is there a truly disasterous rail accident where people riding the train are hurt.

think of it this way ... would you rather your daughters and neices be travelling in a 170,000 pound steel reinforced tube designed for maximum comfort while still being able to withstand 20G impacts without protrusion into passenger occupied spaces.... or a bus? car? plane?It's cool, I'm just having fun here. My uncle was a conductor in Michigan.

gary88
07-17-07, 06:15 PM
http://youtube.com/watch?v=zCrHwqGfkYs

wait4me6920
07-17-07, 09:57 PM
Have covered most of Japan, Korea & a good bit of Europe via train - mostly transport with little by way of food (okay, some European xport has excellent fare).

But the schedules are to die for - especially the Japanese & Koreans. Trains are always on time - if you get on a train a minute before or after the posted departure time, you've hopped on the wrong train. Wonderful way to travel.

Hoping the do the transcontinental thing across Canada within the next year or two.

Jesda
07-18-07, 07:17 AM
Flying sucks.
Flying sucks.
Flying sucks.

Watch "Airline" on A&E. Evidence of why I never fly if I can help it.