Jump to content

Rail tales. The good, the bad and everything else


Recommended Posts

Hello everyone

I am home again after six weeks and it is just so wonderfull to be in my own home again. It seems as if I were gone for a year. I have had quite an andventure and as I promised I will share it with you.

Traveling by train can be quite an experience. I have made that trip numerous times over the years and I always seem to find myself in an unexpected adventure. This time was certainly no exception. I did learn that the lesson in life that I need to learn the most is starting to have an affect on me. I really am learning patience!! When you see my story you will understand why.

My trip started off much like it ended, Late! I was supposed to catch the train at around 2am on May 20th for the short trip to San Jose. Well as they say the best laid plans often go astray.

I was at the station on time. When I called I was told that the train was nearly two hours late but trains can make up time (if you believe that I will sell you the golden gate bridge) so be there on time. As the morning progressed with no sleep it became obvious that I would be getting a very late start. Finally at 6am 4 and one half hours late I was on my way. We were making great progress until we had to stop and wait for a freight train to go by(the freight companies own the railroad). We lost about a half hour then were once more on our way. Just 5 minutes out of Sacramento a man through himself in front of the train. Lucky for him it only brushed him and broke his leg. Unlucky for us we had to set there for nearly an hour while a report was filed. Finally we were on our way. We left Oakland and I was really upset by all of the changes I was seeing. The next stop would be mine but it wasn't going to happen soon. There was a woman on the train who was popping Vicodin and drinking. You guessed it we had to stop at an intersection and wait for the paramedicts! Finally I arrived in San Jose 7 hours late on a trip that can be driven in 4 and a half hours :!: Still I do not drive those distances alone so I was relieved when I got there and just wrote it off as one of the prices of traveling by train.

I left San Jose on the first leg of my trip to Louisiana June 2nd. That train was only an hour late. We made great time and got to LA just in time to make the connection with the Sunset Limited. Problem was we arrived but the limited hadn't yet. As it turned out due to budget cuts by the Feds there was only one train. It had to make the trip from LA to Orlando and back again after being inspected, cleaned and resupplied. It was so late getting to LA that we spent the night in the station waiting for it. We left LA at 6am the next morning. Ten hours late!

The trip was not bad just slow but I expected that. The first night as always I didn't sleep. On the night I was due to arrive in Louisiana I was twelve hours late. I had to call my daughter in law from the last town we passed through so she could be there at that deserted station waiting for me. As it turned out that was 6am the next morning. Still I had not slept! I was afraid that the attendant would forget to wake me up and I wouldn't get my call made. Finally we left the last stop before mine and I made my call. I waited for the attendant to help me get my bag down and open the door. We were slowing down and he was still not there :!: Then we stopped and no attendant. I had no intention of staying on that train a minute more so I threw the door open, put my bags out and stepped off the train just in time to see the conducter coming from the front of the train to open the door. When he said that I was not supposed to open it myself I just looked at him and said "there was no one else to do it for me"

I stayed in Louisiana for three and a half weeks. I'll write more about my stay there later. This is all about trains. The day that I was supposed to leave I called only to find out (you guessed it) the train was late again. After many calls I was told that the train should be there between 5:45 and 6:15. Problem was my daughter lives 20 minutes from the station and it was 5:40 :!: I had been told earlier that it would be at least 6:30. We raced at near break neck speed and got to the station. Sense it is unmaned I had no idea if the train had passed. Calling Amtrak was futile. They had no idea where the train was. Finally I found out that it had left New Orleans and had not got to me yet. A freight train was moving some cars around and the engineer stopped and asked how long I had been waiting. He offered us bottled water and told me that I had another 20 minute wait. He was the only one who ever got it right the whole trip and he was not their employ.

Finally on my way I settled down to try to get a little rest. Again it was my first night on the train and I didn't sleep. The next day we got to San Antonio around 10am. About 7 hours late. We had a surprise waiting. The morning before two freight trains had collided head on and the tracks were blocked. So on to a bus for the 10 hour ride to El Paso. Once on the train in El Paso I slept for about 4 hours and woke up in Arizona. Sense we had only a two hour window to make the connection in LA they took those of us who would miss our connection off in Palm Springs and bused us to Bakersfield where we caught the San Jauquin for the trip to Sacramento where we should catch up with our train the Coast Starlight. As it turned out we got to Sacramento in plenty of time because the Starlight was delayed by 4 hours. After a 4 hour wait in Sacramento I was finally on the last leg of my trip. I arrived home at 7 am yesterday morning.

It is so wonderful to be home. It is hot around 100 or more but there is no humidity so it doesn't make me so worn out. I have unpacked and watered my flowers but have a lot more to do before I catch up. I will write more about some of the things I encountered on my trip and visits with family. I did get to read on here a few times but it will take me several days to catch up with everything. In the mean time know that my thoughts are with all of you. There are so many of you that I won't name anyone for fear of slighting someone. As soon as I can I will try to start responding to the posts again.

By the way I really did enjoy my train ride. Despite the delays it is a wonderful way to travel and meet such nice people. I just wish we could convence Uncle Sam to fund them more instead of cutting their budget. Rail travel is part of our hearatage I sure don't want to see it end.

Bless and keep all of you. Lillian

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.