Saturday, November 11, 2006


First Class on the Lake Shore Limited, Chicago to Albany

Sunday evening, October 22

Aboard the Lake Shore Limited, we were welcomed by Sharon, our hospitable sleeper car attendant, who informed us we could head straight to the dining car for supper. (It's been interesting finding our way to the dining car on the four different trains. On the first train, it was a simple matter of going into the next car; on the second and third trains, we had to go upstairs and then pass through another sleeping car to access the dining car. On this train, you follow long, winding. windowless corridors through two sleeping cars to get there. Of them all, I liked this setup the least. It's sort of claustrophobic.)

We were seated with an interesting couple from St. Louis and enjoyed a lively conversation about the Cardinals and the World Series. Mr. T and I both had beef ragout with mashed potatoes, carrots and broccoli, plus the salad and rolls that are usual with dinner here. Mr. T had a piece of mud pie for dessert.

Sharon was a real sweetheart. Finding herself with a number of extra rooms, she made some changes and allotted us the room across the hall for ours as well. So we could sit in one and sleep in the other. Since the roomettes on this train all have in-room sinks and toilets, it was like having a private bathroom (minus shower) as well. It was like our own little suite and was a very comfortable arrangement.

Monday, October 23

We both slept very well. After showers and a nice cup of hot coffee (courtesy of Sharon -- she has a nice little area all set up with drinks and snacks) we headed for breakfast. We both ordered the three-cheese quiche with sausage and hash browns. Our waiter -- whom we had observed last night waiting on others -- was a delight to watch. He literally runs up and down the aisle between tables, alternately holding his tray high and dipping it low as he runs. He serves things with a flourish and obviously loves his job. (And, as Mr.T pointed out, all of that running, lifting, and dipping may also help him keep his balance while serving food and beverages on a lurching train.)

After breakfast, we returned to our sitting room for devotions, prayer, and relaxation. The scenery was lovely -- we were traveling alongside the Erie Canal at times -- and, although the skies were overcast, there was still some beautiful fall foliage to be seen. The train was running about 2 hours late, due to having to wait for freight trains, but Sharon assured us our connecting train in Albany would wait for us.

It did, too! Soon after a late lunch (we both had pizza and salad), we were pulling into Albany. We didn't even go into the station this time, but switched from one train to another at trackside.

The last leg of our journey was pretty much exactly like the first one, so there's not much need to write about coach class from Albany to Springfield. We slept through much of it. We stopped at Cracker Barrel in Holyoke, MA for supper. It was a fitting finale to our Amtrak Adventure!


  1. Anonymous1:05 PM

    Sounds like such a great trip. After you have reviewed it all in your mind to write these posts..would you take the train again?
    We have thought of going back to Michigan..but don't really want to fly, and have considered the train. This sure was helpful to see just how taking the train might be.
    Blessings, Patty

  2. Hi Patty,

    It was a great trip. Yes, we would definitely take the train again. I'm not sure if we would take the train all the way to Elko, because of the inconvenience of getting to the "station" in the middle of the night or asking people to pick us up in the wee hours of the morning. But we are considering a springtime trip to visit friends in Florida, and sometime a weekend trip to see friends in another New England state.

    I think one of the most important things to consider in taking the train is that there will be delays. If a person can handle them without getting all stressed out (which one might as well do because there is nothing one can do about it), then take the train and enjoy it. We especially liked being able to enjoy and photograph the passing scenery without having to concentrate on driving and navigation. Let me know if you decide to do that trip to Michigan... maybe you could write it up on your blog, too?

    God bless,


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