Steve's Spring 1997 Rail Journey
Saturday through Sunday, Mar. 22 - 23, 1997
Steve's Spring 1997 Rail Journey - Second Segment: Travel on the
Amtrak Crescent from New York City to New Orleans.
I have talked about these travelogues with many people that I have met on
the trains before, but never have I felt so certain that some of those
people are definitely going to take a look at this travelogue. To those
people, I just want you not to be surprised if you don't find your names
here. Since I did not get permission to use your name, it does not appear
in this travelogue. Also, I would like to thank those of you that
recommended to me where to eat in New Orleans. It seems everyone I met who
was familiar with New Orleans had a great place to recommend. It is no
wonder as New Orleans has some of the best cooking in the country!
Unfortunately, I don't think I am going to see much of New Orleans on this
trip other than the 4 walls of this hotel room. I've got quite a backlog of
e-mail and a number of web pages to upload that will keep me busy for most
of my stay in New Orleans. Fortunately there is a free breakfast buffet in
the hotel or I may have left New Orleans without eating anything at all!
Saturday, 1:30 P.M. (Eastern Time), 03/22/97, New York City
I checked out of the Hotel Pennsylvania at about 10 minutes before the
official check-out time, 12 noon. I got a few photographs of the hotel
room, the corridors, the lobby and the marque. I also took a photo of
the entrance to the Amtrak Pennsylvania Station which is directly under
Madison Square Garden. There is no longer an actual station building,
but the underground area that comprises the station is bigger than most
other train stations in the United States.
I ate at Houlihans Restaurant, Bar & Grill, just one of the many places
to eat underground in Penn Station. There is also a Pizza Hut, Nathan's
Hot Dogs, Dunkin' Donuts and other eating places whether in food courts or
by themselves along the corridors and open areas. Last night I had a
hot dog at Nathan's and was a little nervous with people wandering behind
me all the time. This time I wanted somewhere I could relax for an hour
or so at a table to myself.
Before I went in, I could see that the tables were pretty close to each
other. New York City is known for restaurants like that. Personally, I
like restaurants with a bit more privacy, especially the ones with lots
of booths or high back benches.
Since it was lunch time, I was expecting the place to be packed. Fortunately,
it wasn't. I had finished most of my lunch before they seated a couple at the
table that was just about touching my own. Compared to restaurants like this
in my own part of the country, such as Bennigans, T.G.I.Fridays and Chilis,
Houlihans was pretty expensive especially for lunch! A small chicken sandwich
with fries was almost $11. If you are looking for less expensive fare, you
would be better off sticking with Nathan's hot dogs.
I took a few photographs of the Penn Station central area, including some
of the shops, gift kiosks, train status boards, etc. Then, I made my way
into the Metropolitan Lounge at a few minutes after 1:00 pm. My first
encounter with Amtrak staff in the east seems to be living up to its
reputation. The greeting was quite perfunctory, but no worse than Chicago.
Nothing like the warm welcome and helpful attitude that I found in the
Portland Metropolitan Lounge.
The lounge was pretty empty when I first came in. I scouted out the area
and found 2 computer work stations that appear to be under construction.
One already has a computer on it! The computer is from NEC. It barely fits
on the desk area and there is no room at all for the keyboard. I guess you
put that in your lap. There is also a printer on the desk. From the
screen that was currently on the system, it looked like the last person to
use it was using Microsoft Internet Explorer to try to reach the Internet.
Thinking that it might be hard wired to the Internet, I tried to bring up
my TrainWeb page. No luck! It attempted to place a modem call and the
computer was definitely not yet hooked up to a phone line.
The computer station next to it was empty except for some loose wires.
The shelf at this desk is much smaller and my notebook computer just
barely fit on it. The palms of my hands have to hang off the table as
there is no room to rest them on the shelf. There was also no power
plug at this work station. I unplugged the built-in desk lamp which was
plugged in at the other work station, and plugged in my notebook computer.
That is where I am right now writing this!
There seems to be plenty of space to sit and relax in this Metropolitan
Lounge. There are television sets, one with a local channel and the other
showing the status of trains. There are also restrooms, lots of pay
telephones, and a refreshment area. I tried to get some coffee at the
refreshment area, but it just poured out one-quarter cup of diluted
coffee. I guess nobody got the coffee ready yet. There was a good variety
of soft drinks and ice, however. I didn't see any snacks or pastries as I
have seen in both the Portland and Chicago Metropolitan Lounges. There is
a conference room for passengers, however.
Saturday, 3:05 P.M. (Eastern Time), 03/22/97, New York City
We were called to board the train at about 2:50 P.M. There isn't a special
door to get from the Metropolitan Lounge to the tracks like there is in
Chicago and Portland. You just exit the Metropolitan Lounge and head for
the appropriate track number, merging in with the coach travelers. In this
case, the train was on Track 12. I went down the escalator and mistakenly
kept going straight down the platform next to the train. I know they said
the sleepers were at the rear, but I thought I was heading to the rear. I
went a couple of cars before turning around and heading for the other end
of the train.
As I boarded the Viewliner Sleeper, I started to look for the luggage rack.
There isn't one on the Viewliner Sleeper! I carried my suitcase to my
room which was number 7. Keeping the suitcase in my room wouldn't be a big
problem as I was traveling alone. I wondered how I would manage if I was
traveling with my wife and had the full allotment of carry-on bags. I
believe each person is allowed 2 bags, and I never count my backpack as a
bag. I soon discovered a luggage rack at the very top of the bedroom. The
luggage area actually extends over the ceiling of the outside corridor.
Overall, the impression that you get is that the Viewliner Standard
Bedroom is slightly roomier than the Superliner Standard Bedroom. Both
beds are a bit wider in the Viewliner Bedroom. They did a bit of a trick
on the top bunk. They made the top of the bed much wider by extending it
almost the full width of the room. The bottom portion of the bed where
your legs go remains about the same width as the top bed in the Superliner
upper bunk. This extra space is how you climb up into the bunk. The toilet
and a ledge over the toilet are the steps up to the top bunk. Since you
don't need the full length of the room for climbing into the upper bunk,
they used that extra space to make the head of the bed much wider. This
was also also possible because the bed lowers down from the ceiling and
does not fold out from the wall. Folding out from the wall would require
the bed to be a uniform width, but coming down from the ceiling allows the
bed to be any shape.
Another great benefit of the Viewliner is the top set of windows. This
allows the person in the top bunk to see out the window while laying in
bed! It also allows the morning light to wake you up if you leave the
curtains open. This is ideal for me. I had two problems in the Superliner
bedroom. First, I like to keep my computer set up all night because I
sometimes wake up in the night and want to jot down a few ideas. That
meant I had to sleep in the top bunk which had several disadvantages.
First, it was narrower than the bottom bunk. Second, I couldn't see out
the window while I was up there. Third, I like to get up on the train
when the sun comes up so I can get as many daylight hours of viewing
the scenery as possible. I would sometimes get up late on the train
because it was always dark in the top bunk, even after the sun was up!
In the Viewliner, the top bunk is fairly wide, I can see out the window,
and the morning light will stream in to wake me up at daybreak. Also, I
won't even have to get up right away. I'll be able to relax in bed in
the morning and watch the scenery from under the covers!
There is a luggage rack at the very top of the bedroom. The
luggage area actually extends over the ceiling of the outside corridor.
Since it is above the ceiling, people walking down the corridor have no
view of your luggage, but in this way, the luggage takes up no space in
your room. Even though my roller luggage isn't very big, it is pretty
heavy with the items that I pack. Thus, it was a bit of a chore lifting
the suitcase up to that overhead rack, especially since the upper bunk
is kind of in the way. I would not recommend bringing suitcases any
bigger than the average size roller-luggage with you in a Viewliner
Sleeper. A regular size suitcase would definitely require you to open the
upper bunk before attempting to manuever your suitcase into the storage
The mystery of where they fit the toilet into the room has been solved.
My guess that they made the seats smaller than the seats in the Superliner
Standard (Economy) Bedrooms was only half right. That is, the seat next to
the toilet is smaller, but the seat across from the toilet looks about the
same size as the one in the Superliner. This arrangement does not give
small or medium size people much of a problem as it still leaves lots of
room to move around. However, if I was here with my wife, I could see
making good use of all that room in unconventional ways. For example, I
might put a pillow on the closed toilet and prop myself up sitting on the
pillow so I could look directly out the window. However, I think larger
people might feel a bit more confined in this room than in the same type
bedroom in the Superliner. If you are a larger person, have serious concerns
about your comfort, and money isn't too great an issue, I'd suggest going
for the Deluxe Bedroom.
There are a tremendous number of buttons and lights in the Viewliner
Bedrooms! There is one set of 5 buttons that controls the audio/video
(up/down volume, up/down channel, and a reset button). With these 5
buttons they have a sixth button used to call the Car Attendant. Next to
this set of 6 buttons is another set of 3 buttons that control the lights.
The top button controls the ceiling light, another controls the "wall"
light which is really the big flourescent lamp directly above the headrest,
and the third button controls the reading lamp. The reading lamp directly
above my seat wasn't working, but the one above the seat across from me was
Get a picture of the 9 buttons that I described to you, or look at the
photo of them. In addition to these 9 buttons, there is also an LED
channel indicator directly in the middle of the audio/video buttons.
That set of 9 buttons and LED channel indicator is repeated around the
room 3 times! One is above the headrest of each seat and a third is
high up within reach of a person sleeping on the top bed. One additional set
of just the audio/video set of 5 buttons, LED channel display and Call
Attendant button has been placed directly above the flat screen LCD Color
Television. I'm not sure why it is there since an identical set is just
about a foot away above the passenger seat. Maybe so as not to disturb
whoever is sitting in that seat while the person in the opposite seat tries
to adjust the channel and volume to the television. I guess some people
prefer to use controls directly by the TV than the ones by their own seat.
At the door there is another switch which controls the same ceiling light
controlled by the other 3 sets of switches in the room. Both above and
below the mirror are switches for the mirror light. The toilet flush
button is directly above the toilet. There are also lights above the toilet
to indicate that the sink is down or that the toilet is out of service.
There are 2 110 Volt electric outlets. Unlike the Superliner Cars, there
is no sign saying "Razors Only". By the way, the "sink down" light
indicates that the sink is not properly folded away into the wall. A small
sink folds right out of the wall above the toilet. If you do not fold it
up into the wall properly after you are finished, the light will remain on.
Also, the bright light serves as a warning in the night if you attempt to
sit on the toilet while the sink is down. Without that warning, you
might have your back hit the sink pretty hard when you try to sit on the
toilet with the sink in the way!
There is also a thermostat which allows you to set the temperature in the
room. This one seems much more sophisticated than the one in the
Superliner sleepers. The thermostat has degree markings on it and you can
set the temperature that you want. There are vents under the window that
you can open or close. There are also two circular fans. One can be
directed to blow at one bed and the other at the other bed, or during
the day, can be directed to blow into the room. Each fan has an "OFF"
position and 3 speeds: "LOW", "MED", and "HIGH". Thus, there are 8 more
I think I have itemized all the controls in the room. Unless I missed
something, that is a total of 46 buttons in just one room!
Have you started to wonder how these controls interact with each other
since there is only one TV and one set of speakers in the room? They
must be using a microprocessor for guidance and control to figure out
how all these controls inter-relate. Don't fret! They pretty much act
the way you would expect them to.
With each control is a jack for headsets. The Car Attendant didn't offer
me any, so I assume you are supposed to bring your own along. Any headsets
that you have that work with a portable radio, CD or tape player should
work fine! I tried my set which I use with all my electronics: scanner,
radio, tape player, and that fit and worked fine.
If you plug your headset into a control, the volume, channel, and LCD
channel indicator just work that headset. You will get the audio of
whatever channel you select. Thus, you could have up to 4 people in the
room all listening to whichever channel they wanted and whatever volume
they wanted without interfering with anyone else's listening pleasure!
(Though, the room might be a bit crowded with any more than 2 people).
If any one person selects a video channel (such as 4 or 5), then the TV
will automatically turn on and set itself to the selected video channel.
If someone changes the channel directly on the control nearest the TV,
that one takes precedence and the TV will change to that channel. Everyone
else will continue to listen to whatever audio channel they had selected,
even if they selected the sound track of another video channel.
The speakers in the room work pretty much the same way as the television.
The control nearest the television controls which audio channel is played
over the speakers. All the other channel controls in the room only
control what is played over the set of headphones plugged into them.
Thus, it is possible to play no sound in the room and have everyone listen
to the TV or other audio just over headphones. Or, you can select any
audio channel to be played over the speaker while others listen to the
sound track of the TV on just the headphones. Pretty much any combination
There are 5 channels active at the moment. Here is what is playing on
them right now:
Channel Number & Content:
Going above Channel 5 brings you back to Channel 0, which is really Off.
I'm not sure of this, but I think more channels are possible. Maybe the
channel numbers don't exist if no video is playing in that unit.
- 01 - Big Band music
- 02 - Rock & Roll music
- 03 - Mild Pop Vocals music
- 04 - Sound track of television movie
- 05 - Sound track of television movie: "Jack"
For additional details about the Viewliner accommodations, click on that
selection when you reach the bottom of this page.
As soon as I arrived into my room I started unpacking the items from my
backpack that I would use during my travel. First, I set up my computer.
I immediately noticed there were two 110 volt outlets above the toilet.
I plugged my computer into one. These weren't even marked "Razors Only"
the way they are marked on the Superliner outlets. I then started to plug
my digital clock into the other outlet. As soon as I plugged it in, a big
yellow light directly above the outlet went on and the train fell into total
silence! I immediately unplugged my clock and wondered if I had blown
the circuit breaker for my room or even the entire car! I quickly checked
next door and found their red light also on.
Rational thought soon took over and I knew that power does go out on
trains while they are in the station quite often. I also realized that
the yellow light was labeled "Toilet Out Of Service" and not "Outlet Out Of
Service". It was just a coincidence that the electricity went out at the
same time I was plugging in my clock. Once the electricity was restored,
I plugged in my clock and my computer and everything was fine.
Saturday, 3:50 P.M. (Eastern Time), 03/22/97, New York City
Yes, we are still in the station! The Conductor just announced that we
should be leaving in about 10 minues. I'll try and find out what the
problem was. I do know that they did change engines.
I just turned on the scanner and immediately found we are on Channel 12
(160.290). They were talking about needing the paperwork for the engines
and then we would be ready to go.
Now For The Complaints:
While the electric power is turned on in the train, the P.A. speaker has
been making very frequent loud buzzing noises. Now that we are underway,
the buzzing is constant! I hope they get this thing fixed or turned off
very soon, it sounds almost as bad as a Jack Hammer! The only other
problem seems to be the windows. They are the dirtiest most spotted
windows I have ever seen at the start of a trip. I guess they don't wash
the cars at the New York end of this route. I hope this doesn't affect
the photographs too much.
We are finally underway and I think under the North River Tunnels under
the Hudson River, known as the Twin Tubes.
Saturday, 4:10 P.M. (Eastern Time), 03/22/97, Newark, New Jersey
We are at our first station stop. This station looks a lot like the
subway stations that I grew up with in Boston. They are about the same
vintage (though Boston subway stations have all been modernized since
I was little) and the loading is at platform level.
Saturday, 4:36 P.M. (Eastern Time), 03/22/97, 22 Minutes South of Newark
This train sure does move fast! The ride is a little bit more shakey than
what I am accustomed to on the Superliners, but what this train lacks in
stability it sure makes up for in speed! I don't think I could take a photo
out the window right and end up with anything other than a big blur.
I think the concept of a "megalopolis" existing from a big north of Boston
all the way down to a bit south of Washington, D.C. must be a bit exaggerated.
The train has been traveling through nothing but farmland and forests for
about 20 minutes. Even when I used to live in Boston and drove to New
York several times and once in a while all the way to Washington, D.C.,
I knew that it wasn't just cities and suburbs throughout the entire
journey. There may be a higher concentration of cities and suburbs
throughout the northeast than most other parts of the country, but there is
still a significant amount of open land along the route.
Saturday, 4:48 P.M. (Eastern Time), 03/22/97, Trenton, New Jersey
Cheryl Hainey is the Car Attendant of my Viewliner Sleeping Car. I told
her about the buzzing noise earlier. I thought I was nuts since nobody
else had complained about it and she wasn't sure what I was talking about.
Naturally, the buzzing had stopped while I was asking her about it. When
it did start again, I wandered up and down the car and noticed it was
loudest in my room and the in the hall and the room across from me. It
was still annoying in some other rooms, but not as bad as in my area. In
some rooms, the buzzing wasn't there at all. My guess was that the
amplifier for the P.A. system was picking up transmissions either from
the flourescent lighting or from the overhead power line. This train
is pulled by an all electric engine powered by an overhead power feed
from New York to Washington. Cheryl just returned to my room and asked
if the noise was better now. It had stopped and I hadn't heard it for a
while, so I assume that she did get it fixed. I thanked her for that.
I wonder how they fixed it. Maybe they turned the P.A. system off and I
won't be hearing any more announcements from the Conductor. If given
the choice between getting the train announcements or avoiding the buzzing,
I'll take the silence any day!
Saturday, 5:16 P.M. (Eastern Time), 03/22/97, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
We took a couple of minutes less to get here than expected, but we are
still running a bit more than 40 minutes late. We just passed by a very
large Amtrak yard on the right with many electric locomotives in the yard.
I was able to take a few pictures of the yard, but because they went by so
fast, I wasn't able to take the angles I most desired. I will certainly
try to get additional and better photos when I take my trips up and down
the eastcoast this fall now that I know what to expect.
Radio Frequency: Channel 54 (160.920)
Saturday, 5:42 P.M. (Eastern Time), 03/22/97, Wilmington, Delaware
Just a note: This train has been receiving passengers little by little
along the stops from New York City to here. A passenger finally occupied
the room across from me at the last station, Philadelphia. Until then, I
was able to hop back and forth to enjoy the view on both sides of the
train or take pictures. The Crescent can only receive passengers as it
travels from New York to Washington. You can not travel on the Crescent
if you wish to get off at any station north of Alexandria, Virginia.
There are many trains that you can take between any of the stops from
New York City to Washington, D.C. They don't want those passengers using
up space on this New Orleans bound train. Thus, you can only get onto the
Crescent if you are going somewhere south of Washington, D.C.
Saturday, 6:18 P.M. (Eastern Time), 03/22/97, South of Wilmington
I checked the movies on the television. Channel 5 is playing "Jack". I
don't recognize the movie on Channel 4. I hope they play it again this
evening. I like to spend most of my time looking out the window during
daylight. It is already dusk. I took one photo of a bridge over a river,
but I don't know how well it will come out in this low level of light.
I think that will be the last outdoor photo for today.
Saturday, 6:40 P.M. (Eastern Time), 03/22/97, Baltimore, Maryland
I wonder how the meal service works on this train. It is already 6:40 P.M.
and I haven't heard any announcement about the Dining Car being open. For
that matter, I haven't heard any announcements since they got rid of that
static buzzing noice! I bet they did turn the P.A. system off completely.
I don't want to go eat now as our next stop is Washington, D.C. and we
might be stopping there for as much as 45 minutes. Although, our stop
might be a lot less to make up for the lateness of the train. No matter
what, I think the train still has to stay long enough to change from an
electric locomotive to a regular locomotive. The tracks are not electrified
from Washington, D.C. to New Orleans. If they stop serving in the Dining
Car by the time we leave Washington, D.C., I might just have to buy myself
a sandwich in the Cafe Car.
Saturday, 7:10 P.M. (Eastern Time), 03/22/97, Washington, DC
Here we change locomotives. I asked the Car Attendant how long we would
be in the station and she said about a half-hour. Normally we are here
for 45 minutes, but I'm sure they would try to shave some off that if
they can to make up for the lost time. She asked me if I wanted to get
off for a short while and I said I would certainly like to. It was a
little cold and windy, but my light jacket was adequate.
I walked to the front of the train as quickly as I could and got there
just before they disconnected the electric locomotives. I took a few
pictures of them both before and after they were disconnected. The
engineer gave me a friendly wave and I returned it after the engines
were disconnected and they rumbled past me.
I waited about 5 minutes and got a few more pictures as they attached
a pair of regular locomotives to the train. Then I headed back to my
Viewliner Car as quickly as I could walk. I wasn't sure how long the
train would remain in the station once the new locomotives were attached.
I had little to fear as the train did remain in the station for quite a
I stepped on board the Viewliner, but no sooner had I gone a bit down
the aisle that the fire alarm sounded! Red lights were flashing, red
signs were flashing indicating the fire alarm had been activated, and
an automatic voice system was instructing passengers to leave the train
and not to bring their belongings with them. I headed back toward the
door where I had just boarded, but just found our Car Attendant there
explaining that this always happens in the Amtrak Washington station.
I guess it has something to do with the change of the locomotives and the
power shutdown that triggers the fire sensors. She had to instruct each
person to go back to their rooms as they approached the exit doors.
I took a few more pictures of the interior of the Viewliner aisles while
waiting for all the commotion to settle down.
Saturday, 10:10 P.M. (Eastern Time), 03/22/97, Charlottesville, Virginia
It's dark outside. Not much scenery now. I turned on the televisions and am
watching a movie called "Dear God". Seems to be a family movie with a bit of
comedy. There is a little bit of static on the screen. That could be fixed
with a slight adjustment to the tracking.
I went for dinner at about 8:00 P.M. There was just a short line with one
family of 4 people in front of me. I sat with a couple that also do quite
a bit of train travel. They've traveled much of the VIA system in Canada
as well as quite a bit of travel in the United States. I told them about the
Coast Starlight. They got so interested that they just about started making
plans right there over the dinner table!
The dinner discussion was quite interesting since we both liked to travel by
rail quite a bit. He asked about my web page and we ended up exchanging
business cards. His company is considering puting up a web site, so this
meeting might end up in some business for my company.
The dinner menu looked pretty good, but I sometimes have a little problem
finding items that I like. I don't like any type of seafood (except tunafish),
and I don't like chicken that is still on the bone. I like steak, but I
usually avoid it if there are other appetizing selections. On most trains,
the vegetarian selections are usually excellent and that is what I usually
get. On this particular menu, the vegetarian selection sounded like they
just left off the main course and gave you more of the vegetables. I don't
know if that is what it wouild have tasted like, but the way they wrote the
menu item looked like that to me. The other couple had sat down and ordered
long before I arrived so they were already in the middle of their meal. They
both had steak and it looked pretty good.
I ordered the steak and it came out pretty good. I had ordered the mashed
potato but ended up with a baked potato instead. Why is a baked potato more
healthy than a mashed potato? I don't know, but I have a hard time returning
a more healthy item when it arrives by mistake instead of a less healthy
item. So, I had the baked potato and it was quite good. I usually don't
have dessert on the train, but I did order the apple pie a la mode. That
topped off this overall less than healthy meal. I'll have to make up for this
meal with a bit better eating for the rest of the trip!
Saturday, 11:21 P.M. (Eastern Time), 03/22/97, Lynchburg, Virginia
We stayed at this station until 11:35 P.M. I'm not sure why we stayed here
for 14 minutes. There is no extended stop scheduled for this station.
Sunday, 7:30 A.M. (Eastern Time), 03/23/97, Toccoa, Georgia
I'm sold on these new Viewliner Sleeping Cars! Forget any prior doubts I
may have mentioned over changes they have made relative to the Superliner
Standard Bedroom. The increase of perceived space, the openness, and the
additional amenities and convenience of control make up for any minor
If you sleep in the top bed, the logic of the layout of the room becomes
obvious. Unlike the Standard Bedroom in the Superliner Sleeping Cars, I
can easily reach just about every control from here! The switch for the
overhead/night light, the wall light, and my reading light are right next
to the head of the bed. The channel and volume controls for the audio and
video are also right there. Maybe the only criticism here is that I can't
easily watch the TV from the upper bed even though I can easily turn it
on and off and change the channel.
From the upper bed I can also reach the thermostat to adjust the temperature
at night if I feel the room becomes too warm or cold. That is a great
feature since a comfortable temperature often changes once you've been under
the covers for a while. There is also a fan right next to me that I can
either aim toward or away from me and I can easily adjust the fan speed
right from the bed.
From the top bed, you can also easily reach your suitcase in the overhead
storage area. However, depending on the shape of your suitcase, you may or
may not be able to open it. My roller luggage is pretty thick and doesn't
leave too much clearance between the top of the luggage and the top of the
storage area. There was enough room however for me to slip things in and
out of the front pockets and the main storage area of my luggage.
There are also a number of improvements over some of the features that you
will find in the Superliner Standard Bedroom. The fold-out table has been
made much more sturdy. I certainly wouldn't recommend sitting on it, but
I honestly doubt it would suffer any damage at all if I did sit on it. I
could never understand why they made the fold-out tables in the Superliners
so fragile. It only took a minor design change to insure that any weight
placed on the table could be managed by the structure. The table is also
just a bit wider and maybe a bit longer. This is easy for me to tell. My
notebook computer fits on it with room for my mouse. In the superliner, I
always had a hard time figuring out where to put my mouse. Also, the cup
holders in the Viewliner are much deeper than those in the Superliner.
I've never seen a cup fall over in the Superliner, so I'm not sure that
was really an improvement. However, this route at times has seemed to be
a lot more shakey than any route I have taken west of Chicago. Maybe the
added stability is needed for these tracks.
Another curious item is the ashtray. Next to the cup holder is the tiniest
ashtray I have ever seen! It is about half the size of the one of the
Superliner Sleeping Cars. On the Crescent Route, they do allow smoking
at certain set times. I know that Amtrak's policy is to eventually eliminate
all smoking except in specially provided smoking lounges. If you are a
smoker, you should check the policy of your particular train before
attempting to light up. I'm not sure of the rationale behind the tiny
ashtrays. Since smoking is only allowed for so few hours, maybe they figure
you won't generate as much ash. Or, since Amtrak intends to eliminate
smoking from all Sleeping Cars soon, maybe they figured that ashtrays soon
won't be needed at all so a small one would be good enough for now. It's a
mystery to me.
The trash bin in the Viewliner Standard Bedroom is greatly improved over
the one in the Superliner. The one in the Superliner is very small and
you have to slide it out and back in to throw things into it. The size is
totally inadequate. Usually, the Car attendant sets up two very large
trash bags, one downstairs in the vestibule and one upstairs in the corner
near the coffee service area. These are usually filled to the brim after
a couple of days of travel. I didn't see any similar big trash bags set
up in the Viewliner. Possibly because the size of the trash containers in
each room is adequate. I don't know exactly how much bigger it is than the
one in the Superliner, but it is easier to use and does seem bigger.
The sliding door closes very solid. There are very few vibration noises,
but that could just be because these cars are brand new. Instead of
curtains for privacy, the door and the window to the aisle have slide
down shades. These aren't shades like the old days, but shades built
right into the window frames. The shades easily slide up and down to any
position. I like to leave the window shade to the aisle always closed.
When it is open, all I can see is the wall across the aisle from me, but
it does allow people walking down the aisle to look in on me. Thus, I see
no purpose for leaving it open. The shade on my door I like to close
just enough so that it doesn't block my view out the window from the
bedroom across from me. As long as there isn't anyone sitting in the seat
diagonally across from me in that opposite bedroom, we aren't staring
each other in the face. Thus, I get a fairly good view out the windows on
both sides of the train. Also, with the shade at half-mast, I don't make
eye contact with people walking down the aisle. Don't get me wrong. I
don't avoid serendipidous social contact all the time, just much of the
The outside window curtains have also changed. Both the top and the
bottom are connected to things that slide in the grooves. Thus, there
are no more tie-backs. There are also a couple of velcro spots to keep
the curtains in place when they are open and a snap to keep them in
place when they are closed. This seems to be an improvement over the
old method, but I'm not sure why. The curtains to the upper window
work in an identical manner, though I can't see why I would ever want
to close those curtains.
Where do you put things during the day? I like to keep my backpack always
at the ready and I keep a number of items that I might use at any time
in there such as my camera, scanner, radio, books, schedules, pens,
clothing for the day, etc. In the Superliner Standard Bedroom, it is just
a little bit tight keeping my backpack on the steps that lead to the
upper bunk. In the Viewliner Standard Bedroom, there is plenty of room
for my backpack! Directly below the TV is a very wide long shelf where
my backpack and additional items fit comfortably. For items that you
don't mind moving whenever you need to use the toilet, there is plenty of
room on top of the closed toilet seat.
The one major drawback just seems to be the way the seat next to the
toilet has been made quite a bit more narrow than the seat across from
the toilet. I sat there last night to watch television and didn't find
it a problem, but I don't think it would be as comfortable for a larger
person. This would be especially true if there are two larger people
sharing the room.
I did mention before that I wasn't sure if I was sold on the idea of
having a toilet and sink in the room. My concerns are still valid.
Unless you and your roommate have an unusual lack of modesty, where
does your roommate go when you use the toilet? Unlike the Superliner
cars, there are no open areas in the Viewliner Car. I guess your roommate
either heads for the Cafe Car, or stands in the aisle dodging traffic
through the narrow passageway. For traveling alone, however, having the
toilet in the room is a real convenience. No need to get dressed just to
go down the hall. Also, it is a lot easier for washing, shaving, brushing
your teeth, etc. since there is a lot more room in the Viewliner Bedroom
than in the standard restrooms in the Superliner Cars. As a small side
benefit, you don't have to miss any of the movie if you find you need to
go during the movie. The toilet seat has a better view of the screen than
the passenger seat that is right next to the TV!
If you look at the diagram of the Viewliner Bedroom, you might think that
not much legroom is provided for using the toilet. The designers had
their thinking caps on for even this one. Although the diagram shows the
toilet facing forward, the toilet seat itself is actually diagonal facing
in toward the center of the room. Thus, sitting on the seat, you are
actually facing away from the corner of the room, not away from the back
wall of the room. This gives you a lot more leg room than if you had to
face directly forward.
The only minor inconvenience about having the toilet in the room, in
addition to the one I mentioned above, is how to reply if the Car Attendant
decides to knock on your door at that moment. This is something that is
unlikely to ever happen while you are in the restroom on a Superliner Car.
The Car Attendant would just assume you are "busy" and don't want to be
disturbed at the moment. Maybe this isn't a concern at all. The only
time the Car Attendant has ever knocked on my door during this trip is
when I asked about coffee and she said she would let me know when it was
ready. One other item you might be thinking about I don't believe is a
concern. Between all the power fans and vents in the room, new fresh air
appears to enter the room about as fast as you could ever desire.
One last but not least important item is the location of the toilet paper.
Before you panic thinking you are going to have to call the Car Attendant
before you can get off your seat, the toilet paper is in those two little
cellophane packets across from you right next to the "TRASH" door. You might
have mistaken them for packets of facial tissues which I have as yet to find
in the room. You are not provided with a lot of toilet paper, but I'm sure
you can ask the Car Attendant for more. However, those of you that have
owned an RV or a yacht will probably agree with me that the amount of toilet
paper provided is adequate. Until you have had to repair or pay for a very
expensive repair of a portable waste system clogged with toilet paper, you
don't appreciate how little toilet paper you really need to use. Amtrak is
not trying to be stingy with the toilet paper, they just want to keep the
system working. Also, I would not recommend bringing your own from home
nor using facial tissue in place of toilet paper. These portable waste
systems are usually designed to work best with single-ply tissue that
can dissolve easily and don't take kindly to paper not designed for the
Ever hear one of the many jokes about toilet paper tearing everywhere
except at the perforations? Well Amtrak seems to have solved the problem.
They have found toilet paper with no perforations at all! I've examined
it closely and can find no hints of perforations on the toilet paper at
all. First time I've ever seen a roll like that.
Sunday, 9:30 A.M. (Eastern Time), 03/23/97, Atlanta, Georgia
Once we left the station, I wasn't sure if we were going through suburbs
or rural areas. Compared to the density of housing in the Los Angeles
area, this would definitely be considered rural. Every home has quite a
bit of land, regardless of whether the home looks like a run down little
shack or a beautiful mansion. Naturally, the mansions have a lot more
land, but even the shacks have many times the size of land that I have
with my house in California. The land in most people's yards is also
very wooded here making it look like all these homes are out in the
forest. That adds to the confusion of whether this would be considered a
suburban or rural area.
These houses out in the forest seem to have a certain serenity to them,
something that is lacking in the more sterile look of overly paved
Sunday, 11:21 A.M. (Eastern Time), 03/23/97, Shortly before Anniston, Alabama
For the past hour or so, the train has mostly been going through forests
with sight of a road or a home only once every 10 or 15 minutes. Traveling
through forests gives me a bit of time to just relax. I don't have to hang
by the window with my camera at the ready afraid that I will miss taking
a photo of an interesting item along the route. This segment of the journey
also gave me the time to write the extensive description of the inside of
the Viewliner Standard Bedroom. During the remainder of the time I was just
able to sit and look out the window and daydream. I don't know what it is
about forests, but I could sit and look at them going by for hours without
doing anything at all. I can't say the same for either deserts or farmland.
After the first hour of desert or farmland, I've had about enough of them
for the entire journey. Forests I like because I feel on some mysterious
journey weaving among the trees. I like towns and cities too, but that is
no time to relax as interesting items can pop up at any moment.
Sunday, 10:38 A.M. (Central Time), 03/23/97, Anniston, Alabama
This station platform looks abandoned and like it is about to fall down any
moment. There is also a station building that looks in a little better
shape. Somehow we have managed to lose quite a bit more time. We are now
running almost an hour and ten minutes behind schedule.
Ooops! I take that back. We've actually made up most of the time we lost
and are only running 6 minutes late! I didn't realize that we had
crossed from the Eastern to the Central Time Zone between Atlanta, Georgia
and Anniston, Alabama. Since my body is still mostly running on Pacific
Time, I was getting a bit hungry for lunch. I had skipped breakfast as
3 full meals is a bit much for me. Thinking the time to be 11:45 A.M., I
headed down to the Dining Car. I was wondering why the Dining Staff was
just sitting there with not a single person seated. I asked when they
open for lunch and they said between 11:30 and 11:45 A.M. I stood baffled
for a moment until the staff person looked at his watch and said that
it was now 10:50 A.M.! That is the first time that I realized that we
had crossed that time zone. So, I headed back to my room to wait another
hour for lunch.
Out the window there are more forests with a field or a few houses popping
up from time to time. Seems like a good time to get some more coffee to
tide me over until lunch. Not a bad idea since I still have my shoes on
anyway. That is another thing I don't understand about the Viewliner. It
seems to just have a small coffee pot that maybe holds 8 or 12 servings.
The Superliner has a huge coffee urn like the ones they have at banquets
or cafeterias and probably makes at least 30 cups of coffee or even more.
Sunday, 12:25 P.M. (Central Time), 03/23/97, Birmingham, Alabama
We made up our lost time and left Birmingham right on time! There were a
few interesting cars in the station and I got pictures of them. There
was a "CD" Civil Defense Rail Car and a Pullman Car. The weather was very
mild and no jacket was needed.
As soon as I boarded the train and made a few notations on the computer
about my experiences and the photos, I headed straight to the Dining Car
for lunch. There was no wait and I was seated at a table with one other
person. They were traveling from Washington, D.C. They had already ordered
and their meal was served just about the time I sat down. I did most of
the talking. I don't think the other person minded as it gave her a
chance to eat her meal and she occasionally interjected some comments.
It was quite a while before I was given a menu. I didn't mind much since I
really wasn't in a rush to get anywhere. Possibly another person would have
started asking for a menu and considered it poor service. Once I did get to
order, the food was delivered to me almost immediately.
I ordered the meatloaf with macaroni & cheese and rolls. I can see I'm going
to need to take some affirmative measures to make up for all this meat and
cheese! I generally don't like eating so much meat and dairy products and
usually try to stick with grains and vegetables as much as I can. However,
once again there wasn't much else on the menu to my liking. If you have any
diversity in your tastes, you wouldn't have had a problem finding one or
more items appealing. I almost went for the ommlette, but the main feature of
the ommlette was the creole sauce and I'm not much for spicy food.
The meatloaf was very tasty and I haven't had macaroni & cheese
since I was a kid. It still tastes as good now as it did then! The rolls
were warm and soft and quite good also. Actually, the meatloaf with
macaroni & cheese is also what they offer as the children's meal at dinner
time. I almost ordered that for myself last night until I noticed that it
was "for our guests under 12". At lunch time, that item was on the main
Sunday, 1:36 P.M. (Central Time), 03/23/97, Tuscaloosa, Alabama
We arrived right on time, but we are a couple of minutes late in leaving.
Cheryl, the Car Attendant, is very friendly and helpful. With that offer
to make coffee right away after I boarded and then letting me know when
it was ready pretty much guaranteed her my maximum tip. Also, last night
when I rang for her to make my bed, she sized up the situation immediately.
She knew right away that I would want to sleep on the top bed so I could
work on my computer below. Instead of just making the bed, she demonstrated
the full procedure to me and where I could store the extra mattress so that
I could put down my bed myself when I was ready to go to sleep. She was
concerned that I would not want the bed down until I was ready to get into
it because of the low clearance. There would have been plenty of room, but
I assume Amtrak doesn't want the liability of me suddenly standing up
forgetting that the upper bed was down.
Overall, everyone I have met on the Crescent has been courteous. I can't
come right out and say they have all been friendly. It takes something
extra, some extra effort, to show friendliness. I definitely sensed that
from Cheryl. Most of the other staff have been very efficient and have
been providing their services with no attitude problems. It is just that
it all seems so perfunctory and business like, without a smile. There
are quite a few Amtrak staff people like that on trains west of Chicago
too, but so far, they have all seemed that way east of Chicago except for
Cheryl and a couple of other Car Attendants that left us in Birmingham.
Seems I have found something new about tipping in the Dining Car. If you
read my section on tipping, you know I seldom have seen people tip more
than $1 per person per meal. I have run into a totally different experience
on the Crescent, my first train trip east of Chicago other than the Sunset
Limited (which is also a west of Chicago train). So far, everyone who I have
seen leave a tip has left $2 per person. A couple at dinner last night left
$2 per person and the person I had lunch with left $2. This is too few
observations to say there is a trend, but it does bring up the possibility
that there are some differences between train travelers east of Chicago vs.
west of Chicago.
Sunday, 2:56 P.M. (Central Time), 03/23/97, 90 minutes south of Tuscaloosa
Most of this segment of the journey has been through dense forests and
swamps. Occasionally a town, a few houses or a road will show up. For
the most part, however, there has been nothing but forests and swamps on
both sides of the train.
Cheryl buzzed at my door with the part of the journey I don't like, when
the Car Attendant has to make up the bed and get the room ready for its
next trip. It still seems that this would be something appropriate to do
after all the passengers have left the train. It is something that should
be done while the train is in for vacuuming and washing. This seems to be
the equivalent of a hotel maid demanding that you leave the room and
stand out in the hall, or go sit in another room while your room is made
up. This isn't Cheryl's fault. This is standard operating procedure on
Amtrak Sleeping Cars. They will always come in and get your room ready
for the next set of passengers hours before the train arrives at its final
Looking up, I noticed that Cheryl did not push the bed up as high as I had
pushed it up into the ceiling. When I pushed it up, I didn't have the
pillows on top of the bed as she has now. If you would like more top
window space to provide even more light during the day, you could move
the pillows and mattress into the suitcase storage area (if your suitcase
isn't already in there) and then you can push the top bed much higher up
into the ceiling, exposing the upper windows completely.
Sunday, 3:05 P.M. (Central Time), 03/23/97, Meridian, Mississippi
We pulled into Meridian pretty early. We were scheduled to arrive at 3:32 P.M.
and to leave at 3:37 P.M., a 5 minute layover. Instead, we arrived at about
3:05 P.M and will remain here for over 30 minutes. Cheryl did not open the
doors to this sleeping car, but the Car Attendant of the sleeping car behind
us, Viewliner #1911, did open his stairs. About 4 other passengers stepped
out with me to just stand around on the outside of the platform. Even though
I knew we would be here for probably 30 minutes, I wasn't too tempted to
wander off. No other door was open on the entire train except for one way
up near the front where the conductor was standing. I don't like stepping
far enough from a train that I can't just hop right back on at the signal,
regardless how unlikely it is that the signal will be given in a short
I did take quite a few pictures from where I stood on the station platform.
There were several old passenger train cars parked on a siding across from
us. I took a picture of each one. It also appears they are building a brand
new train station in Meridian. I took a picture of the new station in its
current state of construction and a picture of the old station. I was also
able to take a few pictures of the buildings in Meridian along with the
engines of a freight train in the foreground.
I got back on the train early and wandered down to the Cafe Car. I found
the Cafe Car Attendant to be quite friendly. They had Crescent souveneir
ceramic and plastic mugs, baseball caps, a purple T-Shirt and a black
knit shirt. I really liked the knit shirt, but they only had it in XXL.
I like XL, but that is just about 1/2 size too big for me, so XXL was
definitely out of the question. I purchased a ceramic mug, a baseball cap
and a purple T-Shirt, all with the Amtrak Crescent logos.
As long as I was in the Cafe Car, I decided to order a Bloody Mary. No deal!
We were in a town in Mississippi that had Blue Laws and did not allow the
sale of liquor on Sundays! I really find that strange and wish Congress
would pass a law that exempted Amtrak trains from local county and state
regulations. It is so weird to find the laws that an Amtrak train has to
conform to change county by county as it travels across the country. I can't
help but look at a train as something independent of the places that it
travels through and not subject to local ordinances, much like an airplane
while it is in flight. Imagine if an airplane had to observe the local
ordinances of each county that it flew over. The Navigator would have to
keep the Flight Attendants abreast of any changes to the flight plan in
case it affected when liquor could be served!
I found out that I was right about the buzzing noise that was being made
by the P.A. system. They had to shut off the P.A. system in this car to
stop the buzzing. Hence, I have no idea about any announcements being
made by the Conductor or the Dining or Cafe Cars. This trip was unusually
quite pleasant without all those announcements. However, I do think that
may be why I did not know about the time change this morning nor have
any clue as to when the Dining Car is open for service. The Cafe Car
Attendant probably even warned people, as they usually do, about buying
any drinks they might want before we arrived into the "dry counties".
But, as I said before, missing those announcements was certainly preferable
to listening to a loud buzzing noise for most of the trip!
I also found out that something must have splashed mud pretty hard on this
side of the train. I was over on the other side of the train and the windows
on that side are relatively clean. There was just the usually light film
of dirt that builds up on train car windows after a long trip. There were
no big specks of dirt on the windows on that side as there are on my side.
Thus, something splashed on just this side of the car since it was last
Sunday, 4:40 P.M. (Central Time), 03/23/97, Laurel, Mississippi
This is a flag stop for the Crescent, which means the train only stops if
someone wants to get on or off. I guess someone did since we did stop here.
We are just leaving now at 4:41 P.M., just 5 minutes behind schedule. I
suspect that we will get into New Orleans early. The distance between the
last two stops is only 37 miles and the schedule allows 83 minutes to
cover that distance! Even if the train only traveled 30 miles per hour,
we would make that distance in just 74 minutes.
Sunday, 6:35 P.M. (Central Time), 03/23/97, Slidell, Louisiana
The Dining Car Attendant came through our car at about 5:00 P.M. loudly
proclaiming "first and last call for dinner". Knowing I wouldn't have
much time to eat in New Orleans, I decided to heed this call. Might as
well since dinner was included in the price of my trip anyway. The Dining
Car was pretty empty. I'm not sure that was because people were planning
to have dinner in New Orleans or if there just weren't that many passengers
left on the train. I sat down with another gal that had also just started
looking at the menu. Since it was the same menu from the previous night,
I was pretty sure I was going to order the vegetarian dish. Steak last
night and meatloaf for lunch was enough red meat for a while for me!
My table partner ordered the vegetarian dish and a glass of white wine.
That is exactly what I had in mind and ordered the exact same thing! I
think she was a strict vegetarian, however, and ordered a salad with the
meal. I ordered the vegetable beef soup, just so I'd have something
filling if the vegetarian dish didn't turn out that well. After I finished
my soup, the vegetarian plate was delivered and it actually turned out to
be pretty good! They even brought some soy sauce with it. Give me some
vegetables and rice and some soy sauce and I'm all set! The dish itself
didn't come close to comparing with some of the fabulous vegetarian meals
that are prepared on the Coast Starlight, but they seem to always forget
to provide any Soy Sauce for passengers. I've been tempted to bring my
own bottle of Soy Sauce along the next time I travel on the Coast
We talked about quite a few things over dinner, but being a train person,
the items that stuck in my mind was that her father was a train engineer
for many years, that she used to ride trains a long time ago, and this
was her first train ride in many years. Also, she recommended that I eat
at "Jack Sprat's" while I'm in New Orleans because of the wonderful
vegetarian dishes they make. I'm always up for a restaurant that can
make great vegetarian dishes since there aren't any near my home at all.
However, considering this restaurant is not open for breakfast and I have
to be on my train by 2 P.M., I don't think I'm going to get to try
"Jack Sprat's" this trip. It will have to wait until my next journey
through New Orleans. Unfortunately, I did not write down the dinner
recommendation from the previous couple before I forgot what it was.
Doesn't really matter as I have their e-mail address and I won't have time
to try that restaurant this trip anyway.
Sunday, 11:53 P.M. (Central Time), 03/23/97, New Orleans, Louisiana
After returning to my room after dinner, I packed everything up, including
my computer. That is why I'm writing this conclusion from the hotel room
instead of from the train. I was very happy with the service from Cheryl
and just followed my policy, and that recommended by every source I have
consulted, to tip $5 per person per day. Since I was alone on this two day
trip, I tipped her $10. For a full commentary on tipping, take a look at
"http://trainweb.com/travel/tipping.htm". Just so that you don't try to
incorrectly follow my own rule of thumb, I never exceed tipping $20 to any
one person no matter how many people are in my party or how many days the
trip, unless there are very unusual circumstances.
After leaving the train and the train station, I looked for a taxi and
found a very unusual situation. Unlike the Chicago airport, there didn't
seem to be any rhyme or reason to the loading of taxis. There definitely
was no line. Some taxis would only take people going uptown, others only
people going downtown and still others only going to the French Quarter.
However, no taxi driver seemed to make his intentions very clear. As a
taxi pulled up, several people would approach every open window of the
taxi asking the driver if he would take them here or there. Eventually,
some people would get into the taxi and some people would walk away
disappointed. I found this a bit frustrating, but humorous. This
situation continued for quite some time. Some taxis would be loaded to
the brim trying to take as many people as they could sharing a taxi,
while others would leave with just a single passenger.
Some people got smart and called on the phone for a taxi. However, some
people that called were told by some taxi companies that a taxi could
not be sent specifically for them, but to just wait outside and several
will soon be there. Some taxis did arrive looking for specific parties by
name and would only accept the party that called them. However, I'm pretty
sure I saw some taxis come and start to look for specific parties, but then
just grab first-come-first-serve when they saw the confusion.
I pretty much waited until much of this died down. For one, I wasn't really
interested in diving into this pandemonium, and second, an extra
half hour wouldn't matter and would allow me to tell you about this taxi
situation at the New Orleans Amtrak station. Next time I might stay at the
Quality Inn in New Orleans. At least they sent a private van to pick up
their guests! Finally a cab stopped in the middle of the roadway and
remotely popped open his trunk and told me to put my luggage in the back
and hop in. This guy definitely reminded me of one of those "hit and run"
taxis that aren't allowed to serve airports, but often sneak in and grab
passengers before being caught by the dispatcher. I hopped in and was a
bit suspicious when he didn't run the meter. I don't know if they do
things different in New Orleans, but I've known people that used to drive
taxis. When they don't run the meter it usally means they are going to
pocket the whole fare without telling the company about the pickup.
I finally ended up at the Comfort Inn Downtown. The size of this room was
like a palace compared to the Hotel Pennsylvania! My entire room in the
Hotel Pennsylvania could fit inside the bathroom of this hotel room!
There are two huge king size beds in my room with plenty of room around
both of them. I'm working at a fairly large table and there is a full
dresser in here with a good size television and a room safe. The is a
closet by the door and the bathroom is the size of another hotel room.
There is another desk and closet in the bathroom! I guess that is the
"vanity". I've often stayed at Embassy Suites hotels, but I think this
is even bigger than any suite I've ever stayed at there. However, I
would say the decor at the Embassy Suites is a cut above what is here,
but the decor here isn't bad. It is definitely better than what I found
at the Hotel Pennsylvania!
This room was part of my overall travel package through "Amtrak
Vacations". I would imagine they get a very special rate with their
bulk reservations. I don't remember the rate they quoted me, but they
probably pay a lot less to the hotel than what I was charge. The
check-in slip was marked "Amtrak Confidential Wholesale Rate".
The only thing I did find wrong with the room were there was at least
3 men and 1 woman in the room next door when I arrived who were all
talking very loudly. One was cursing at the absolute top of his
voice. If I was still in Los Angeles, I think I would have taken cover
expecting the bullets to start coming through the plasterboard any
moment. Not that I live in Los Angeles, but that is the impression that
many of us that live even 40 miles out have of Los Angeles. I was even
surprised to find there was no bullet-proof glass separating the
passengers from the drivers in the taxis in New Orleans as there are
in both New York and Los Angeles taxis.
Fortunately, everyone eventually left the hotel room next door and it
became much quieter. So, that brings me right up the the present. I
caught up to date with my e-mail, but I still have quite a few web
pages that I'd like to update before I leave here tomorrow. First will
be my attempt to upload this travelogue. If you are reading this before
my journey has ended, then you will know that I got at least that far!
for the next segment of this Spring 1997 journey.
- Train Route: Crescent
- Train Number: 19
- Direction: Southwest
- My Route: New York City to New Orleans
- Accommodation: Viewliner Standard Bedroom
- Sleeping Car Attendant: Cheryl Hainey
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