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frazzled max
Posted on 2006.07.29 at 00:12
I may, in the past, have spoken kindly of trains. I may have even recommended them. I have memories (very vague now, and I'm wondering if they were planted there by hypnosis) of a very pleasant train ride to NYC to see a Dream Theater concert about eleven or twelve years ago.

I was wrong. Amtrak sucks. Really sucks. Sucks like few things suck. Taking Amtrak is about as smart as getting out of the boat. Don't do it. Not if your life depends on it. They will let you down.

Ow, my back.


georgejas at 2006-07-29 04:29 (UTC) (Link)
i assume this is a different dream theater concert than the one we took greyhound buses to in rhode island while drinking alcohol out of iced tea bottles and trying to sleep on the sidewalks of providence in the winter?

the only time i've been on a train is when i took it (probably amtrack) from pittsburgh to lancaster (across pennsylvania) at an average speed of 40 mph. LAME. it would have been faster to take a greyhound, but there was lots of legroom. just nosy seat-row-partners who wouldn't let me read.

speaking of providence, earlier today i found two coasters in one of my memorabilia boxes from "trinity brewhouse" in providence. i wonder if that's where the concert was, or maybe it was where all those transvestite hookers were hanging around.

max1975 at 2006-07-29 04:43 (UTC) (Link)
Ha. I already hated greyhound for that trip (though the company was excellent). And I must say, as bad as today sucked, I don't feel nearly as close to death as I did after the greyhounds.

Speaking of alcohol, I should have some rum. Rum eluded me all week.

No, this was a DT concert in Long Island (I think) that I went to with Anukul, Ratha, and...um...I thought someone else went along but I can't remember now.

Trinity Brewhouse sounds familiar, that might have been the place. But it was a long time ago.
Mr. Yozhik
yozhik at 2006-07-29 14:17 (UTC) (Link)
The problem with Greyhound is that if the toilet backs up then you are stuck with that smell the whole way to wherever you are going. Oh what a hellish six hours that was . . .
max1975 at 2006-07-29 14:19 (UTC) (Link)
That sounds pretty nasty. How did the raving drunken lunatics react?
Mr. Yozhik
yozhik at 2006-07-29 14:48 (UTC) (Link)
Even if the toilet don't flow, that don't mean they stop going.
ludimagist at 2006-07-29 04:47 (UTC) (Link)
Have they changed their service?

I haven't taken Amtrak in years but I remember really liking them.
max1975 at 2006-07-29 05:04 (UTC) (Link)
Well, let's see. I was supposed to have a 2.5 hour wait in DC before switching trains, and I ended up being a half hour late for the second train. Because my 4 hour ride from Newport News to DC took seven hours. They ran out of food, so I wasn't able to eat any before getting to DC. Then at DC I had to scramble to find the the people who were supposed to meet me right outside the train to take me to the bus*, after which they paraded us through the station, laden with luggage, to a gate where we were supposed to catch the bus. They told us we'd have ten or fifteen minutes to go get a drink or some food. Someone asked "What about our luggage?" to which the reply was, "get someone to watch it for you." Which doesn't work so well when you don't know anyone. So me and my guitar and laptop and suitcase and bad back took long enough to get to the restroom, let alone food or, what we really needed, a place to smoke.

Of course, even though they told us wewere about to leave every five minutes or so, we didn't actually get on the bus for another hour and a half.

There was a whole lot of that sort of thing, hideous communication, no idea whether we had to be ready to move in thirty seconds or we'd be sitting around for an hour. Basically I was left with the impression that they were treating us like luggage, only worse, because luggage at least gets carried.

*The whole point of taking the train was so that I wouldn't have to take a bus.
Mr. Yozhik
yozhik at 2006-07-29 14:18 (UTC) (Link)
Amtrak is safe for short trips usually, but I would never plan on making a connection to another train.
max1975 at 2006-07-29 14:22 (UTC) (Link)
Never again.
Jeremiah Blatz
jeremiahblatz at 2006-07-29 14:21 (UTC) (Link)
I've had decent luck with amtrak up and down the east and southern west coasts. If you want to go east-west, though, fuggadaboudit. I'm surprised that they were so magnificently late on a north-south trip, though.
max1975 at 2006-07-29 14:31 (UTC) (Link)
There was some problem with a single-track bridge whose switching mechanism wasn't working properly. They said "We apologize for the delay, we don't really know how long this is going to take."

That didn't bother me so much. Shit happens, and what are they gonna do, step on the gas and plow through all the other trains in the way? What I didn't like was the way they didn't mention the problem again till a couple hours later, when they said we'd soon be crossing the single-track bridge. By this point we'd already crossed one or two of those, at 5 mph, and I thought there was some other problem. I really think they should have updated us on the situation at least once an hour.

But okay, maybe the engineer was too busy applying breaks for three hours to talk to us. The real kicker was the way we were treated once we got to DC.
Michael Higgins
sui66iy at 2006-07-29 14:44 (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, Amtrack, sadly, sucks. But it's Amtrak, not trains. Trains can still be cool! But you have to go to Europe or somewhere to find the cool trains.
max1975 at 2006-07-29 15:12 (UTC) (Link)
I hear Mussolini made the trains run on time.
Jeremiah Blatz
jeremiahblatz at 2006-07-29 23:42 (UTC) (Link)
Actually, Mussolini's predecessors made the trains run on time, but the changes they made didn't really take effect until he was the honcho.

And the trains didn't run on time, but they were late less, and less late.

I think the reason I'm stupid so much of the time is that my brain is filled with stupid shit such as the above, and so I don't have and space left for the important stuff.
(Deleted comment)
monkey587 at 2006-07-29 17:22 (UTC) (Link)
I took a few trains in Germany. The first wasn't so bad, but laden with my guitar in a 30 pound flight case, a big backpack, and a messenger bag, I made the silly mistake of going to the car that was empty and sitting there. Soon, some four foot tall german woman in a uniform was yelling at me, and I understood that I had committed the sin of getting into the EMPTY 1st class car. She made me move back one car, to where it was standing-room only for the next three hours.

Making the connection in Dusseldorf was easy and there was plenty of room in the car on that train, but that one had a smoking and non smoking section in the each car, separated by line painted on the floor. That was a several hour ride, IIRC, to Luxembourg. The scenery was beautiful but I was craving cigarettes for several weeks after that, and I've never been a smoker...
ludimagist at 2006-07-29 17:42 (UTC) (Link)

My train experiences in Europe were good on the whole.

Though that said, trains are more important there as they don't have the automobile culture that exists in the states.
Jeremiah Blatz
jeremiahblatz at 2006-07-29 23:43 (UTC) (Link)
YM "subsidized gas and roads", HTH, HAND.
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