Thursday, October 28, 2010

Train ride to Boston

OCT 17 - 20, 2010
Sunday Oct 17, 2010

As I don’t fly my means of getting to cruise ports is to take the bus and/or train. This year was no exception - a short bus trip across the border and into Seattle - the border went smoothly and one thing that was different this year and appears to speed up the process is that all those that aren’t carrying either US or Canadian ID go first as in most cases they take longer to process i.e. visa requirements etc.

Into Seattle with time to spare so I walked around the station area and got some good photos of the skyline and Qwest field. Onto to train for the three day trip across the northern tier States into Chicago and then onto Boston.

Shortly after boarding it’s time to book dinner time - as the number of spaces in the dining car are limited you are given a list of times that you can eat - preference is given to sleeper car riders - meals and non-alcoholic beverages are included.

You are also offered a welcome aboard small bottle of champagne which I gladly accepted. For dinner I chose a meat loaf in buffalo sauce - that was spicy and not too
hot along with a salad and trimmings - won’t tell you what decadent dessert I had.
Then it was off to bed as I was tired but I did read a little.

Monday Oct 18, 2010

I woke up around 7AM after a good nights sleep - had breakfast and then enjoyed the ride through Glacier National Park and the climb through Marias Pass - lots of fall colors and I took lots of photos albeit through the windows so you don’t get the full impact of the beauty.

Have lunch before we arrive in Havre Montana where I walk across the street from the station to a tavern to pick up a 6 pack of cold ones for the rest of the journey - you are allowed to drink in your sleeper cars but not in the coach cars..

Then it’s dinner, read the book, drink some beer, enjoy the scenery and then it was off to bed - up until this time we are running on schedule but that would change.

Tuesday Oct 19, 2010

Slept well once again but we are now running ninety minutes late and won’t be able to make up the time.

It seems that a couple of BNSF freight trains got a little to close while passing each other and cause a minor derailment which resulted in the westbound train being sixteen hours late into Spokane and then being bused to Seattle.

It works like this - BNSF owns the track and even though Amtrak is on schedule they decide to let a backlog of freight trains go first even though we are on time.

As a result I don’t have a lot of time in Chicago but a another little glitch occurred - I had checked my big suitcase through to Boston but while getting my ticket out in Chicago noticed that they were sending it through to Boston South Station and not Boston Back Bay as I requested - it seems that there is no baggage handling at Back Bay as it is only a commuter stop which is fine with me but why didn’t the porter who checked it in Seattle tell me that - well after a little asking I was able to retrieve my bag and it remained with me for the trip to Boston.

I grabbed a bite to eat at the Station - checked my email at the Metropolitan Lounge in the station and then boarded the Lakeshore Limited for the 24 hour trip to Boston.
Wednesday Oct 20, 2010

I had another good night sleep and are taking lot’s of photos - part of today’s journey - Albany to Boston is new as I have traveled that route yet.

This is also what they call a split train - at Albany - the train is split - the main part with the dining car goes onto to New York while the remainder with the lounge/café car heads for Boston - we are running on time - should be into Boston before our scheduled arrival time of 9:00 PM - we arrive about 30 minutes early - we get a different dinner - we can either choose from the lounge car menu or they have a beef Wellington dinner that they will heat up for you. I choose the latter and it tasted okay.

I am off the train and then walk the six or so blocks to the hotel in Back Bay - across from the Christian Science Monitor center and attached to the Prudential Center and other shopping places.

The first phase of the trip has be completed - now it’s a couple of days in Boston and then onto the cruise ship for fifteen days.

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