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While I wouldn't call it famous, I did ride on the Erie Lackawanna Presidents Special back in 1975 when I first started working for them.
 
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Discussion Starter #62
During the two years I had my unlimited pass on the Santa Fe System, The system ran from Chicago to Los Angeles, up to San Francisco and a train also ran the entire system to San Diego. There were two sets of Luxury trains with the taller coach cars, fine dining rooms, clyb car with observation decks above and luxury sleepers. These two were the Super Chief and the San Franciscan.

The lesser two trains were the San Diegan and the Navaho (I think) with the lower coach cars, a diner car complete with swival stools, where the top of the line meals were hamburgers and sandwiches, soft drinks and coffee....no steamed veggies and white linen tablecloth. I have no idea what the sleepers were like, and never wanted to know. I definitely brown bagged my Seagrams V.O.

Both of these lesser trains also carried families of the Construction Work gangs of the company. In New Mexico, AZ and California, our construction gangs were mainly Navajo. The work gangs lived on sidings in bunk cars. I guess when family would visit from the various reservations, they would have small guest accomodations somewhere. Anyhow, I only made a couple of day trips on these lesser trains, and all my overnight trips were on the Super Chief or the San Franciscan.

I got to see a lot of cities on my 3 1/2 day week ends at very low cost to do so and mafe a lot of trips. Many of them were social also, as most of the trips were at least a day and a half each way. Going to the closest point to visit for my parents to pick me up was leave Flaggstaff at 1:30 in the afternoon and my parents pick me up in Clovis, N.M. the next morning. I enjoyed the club car for meeting folks, it and the observation area above it. I was 21 and 22 during those two years, and there were always young ladies traveling and I met a few.

I still have on my bucket list to ride something again like the Super Chief.

A really great part of the Santa Fe was a luxury hotel chain called the Harvey Houses, named after Fred Harvey (a previous CEO of the Santa Fe. These came on board during the time Teddy Rosevelt began forming the National Park System, and the Grand Canyon south Overlook has one of the oldest Harvey Houses, the El Tovar, you should see it if you go to the Sourh Rim, very historic.

The rides on the really grand trains from the 20's to the sixties, were possibly the high lights of some folks lives. I could name the canyons we went through in the Southwest, even embellish stories of what happened there and otherwise, make a good tour guide.
 

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That was a bygone era. Most of my experience is with commuter trains, but some were quite old. I remember MU cars that ran on the Morris and Essex line in New Jersey. They were still in service going into the 70s. They had a rather unique early form of air conditioning in which blocks of ice were placed in special containers under some of the seats and air forced through those compartments would cool the cars. There were pictures of Edison on those same trains in Hoboken Terminal. There was a power plant in Hoboken's Terminal that supplied compressed air to operate the switches and steam that was run back and forth through pipes under the switches to melt snow in the winter. The system worked very well. The steam made it hard to see trains coming at you, but made for great pictures in the winter. The tower had a moveable model board so that the switch line ups would move to indicate the actual position of the switches. Many times when they would have a new operator working nights or weekends I would operate the machine for them. Normally during rush hours there would be three operators and a director working the tower switch and signal controls. I spent a lot of time in that tower during the 70s.




This was Hoboken Terminals waiting room. It was originally Delaware, Lackawanna and Western RR. The whole exterior of that building was copper. Trains out front and ferry slips out back to cross the Hudson to NYC.




I also remember some of the Towers, Suffern, NY in particular, that had Armstrong Interlocking machines for the switches. These would link 4' levers in the tower by pipeline to the switches and used to throw the points of the switches. You had to have a strong arm and back to operate them. This is an example of that type of machine.



Most of my time working was spent in the signal construction project gangs, installing switches, signals and RR xings.
 
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Family used to ride MKT (Missouri, Kansas, Texas - they avoided Oklahoma - LOL) from SATX to Ft. Worth in the '40's to visit family - this when 3-7 years old. Was better than driving up 281 in the old '37 Chevy sedan (long before todays IH-35). The other rail out of SATX was M&P (Missouri Pacific). My Dad worked as a machinist for one of the railroads, not sure which, before starting his own machine shop business which specialized in spudders. As a kid I got to climb around on the old steam engines and one memorable time a visit to the roundhouse at rail yard - made quite the impression. About the only thing I recall about the train ride is how uncomfortable the seats were and Mother not letting me run around the train - a real joy kill. I haven't been on a train since. Spent a lot of time (months) in the Pagosa Springs, Durango, Purgatory, Silverton, Ouray, Telluride area, but never rode the narrow gauge, although saw it many times. Closest I ever got was the old Six Flags open puffer in the '70s. Not sure if they still run that beast or not.
 

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I didn't take any rides here, but did visit this nice museum. If you find yourself by Charlotte, NC and are a train and transportation buff (they have vintage autos also) this is well worth your time to stop and view the equipment.

https://www.nctrans.org/
 
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As an after thought - I've always wanted to take the Mexico Copper Canyon rail ride. I did a lot of travel in Mexico back in the late 60's and early 70's (including tent camping), but not sure I'll even cross the border these days since I'm no longer invincible...................and as stupid as back then. LOL
 

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As an after thought - I've always wanted to take the Mexico Copper Canyon rail ride. I did a lot of travel in Mexico back in the late 60's and early 70's (including tent camping), but not sure I'll even cross the border these days since I'm no longer invincible...................and as stupid as back then. LOL
back when we were young, dumb, and knew we would live forever...

yeah, I remember those days...vaguely.
 
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Discussion Starter #68
As an after thought - I've always wanted to take the Mexico Copper Canyon rail ride. I did a lot of travel in Mexico back in the late 60's and early 70's (including tent camping), but not sure I'll even cross the border these days since I'm no longer invincible...................and as stupid as back then. LOL
I also heard a lot about that trip from fellow rail roaders and intended to make it. Some very beautiful track to be on. As a construction engineer, I was somewhat cautious.

In those days, Mexico was a much friendlier country for Gringos, and even for Mexicans. I wouldn't think of even going across the river to a border town anymore. Las few times I did before 9-11 and had too have a passport after then, the people in the border towns were no longer smiling, and that started in the early 90's, they just looked at me like what in the ---- are you doing here.

I have no desire to be anywhere in Mexico, not even Cozymel. In fact, I have a lot of cities in the USA I don't want to tavel to, and a few states.
 

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I love trains, always have. I was born in Scotland after WW11 when trains were the mode of transport once you progressed beyond walking distance. Loved the old steam trains.

I've traveled on the Orient Express three times, twice from Paris to London and once from Venice to London. Now that was an experience. Traveled on trains all over Europe. They used to sell a EuroRail pass that allowed you to get on and off trains anywhere in Europe wherever and whenever you wanted. It was a great way to "bum" around Europe back when it was a pleasure to do so. I used to take the sleeper train from London to Aberdeen, and vice versa, all the time. I liked it much better than flying.

I've done the Durango-Silverton run three or four times. I love that area of Colorado. I've ridden the train from East Texas to Dallas quite a few times but have generally been disappointed in Amtrack, especially after one nightmare journey from East Texas to San Antonio. My wife and I still want to do some of the scenic runs in the States and Canada. It's on our "bucket list".
 

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We have friends in Jackson, MS that we visit regularly. We make a three week trip by flying to the US and sailing back the GB on the Queen Mary 2. A few years back we decided that, instead of flying up to NYC for the flight back to GB, we would get the train. We weren't disapointed.. we travelled from Meridian, MS on the Crescent, it's about a 25 hour journey, but it was spectacular. We booked a 'roomette' so we had beds and very basic washing facitilites but the trip it self was amazing. There were a bunch of school kids on the train under the charge of two lovely ladies from the US Park Ranger Service ( or something like that). Anyway I'd grabbed a quiz sheet that the kids were doing (they were mid-teens) and began to answer the questions. I duly completed it and pushed it away across the table we were sat at only to have it collected by one of the ladies - she'd been watching me fill it in..!!. Upshot was that I'd got all the questions right, something which both ladies thought was good, me being a 'foreigner'.. then they began to 'shame' the kids who had failed to get 100%..!! The cost of the train journey for myself and my wife was around $120 each. ALL food and drink included, the only thing you had to pay for was alcohol. A great trip. AND I was awarded this prestigeous badge..
 

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I've ridden on the Herman Park rail road! It was a long time ago, don't really remember much other than it was fun for a six year old. :D

Oh, yeah, and there was the overlook train at Royal Gorge. That was pretty. :D
 
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I did "take the A train" it is not as tranquil and scenic as some others mentioned but it is colorful and interesting.

Unarmed? Jeez, you're brave. :D
 
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We have friends in Jackson, MS that we visit regularly. We make a three week trip by flying to the US and sailing back the GB on the Queen Mary 2. A few years back we decided that, instead of flying up to NYC for the flight back to GB, we would get the train. We weren't disapointed.. we travelled from Meridian, MS on the Crescent, it's about a 25 hour journey, but it was spectacular. We booked a 'roomette' so we had beds and very basic washing facitilites but the trip it self was amazing. There were a bunch of school kids on the train under the charge of two lovely ladies from the US Park Ranger Service ( or something like that). Anyway I'd grabbed a quiz sheet that the kids were doing (they were mid-teens) and began to answer the questions. I duly completed it and pushed it away across the table we were sat at only to have it collected by one of the ladies - she'd been watching me fill it in..!!. Upshot was that I'd got all the questions right, something which both ladies thought was good, me being a 'foreigner'.. then they began to 'shame' the kids who had failed to get 100%..!! The cost of the train journey for myself and my wife was around $120 each. ALL food and drink included, the only thing you had to pay for was alcohol. A great trip. AND I was awarded this prestigeous badge..

Hmmm. What's the security like getting on the QM2? Could you take some firearm accessories back with you or are you xray'd and searched coming/going?
 

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Hmmm. What's the security like getting on the QM2? Could you take some firearm accessories back with you or are you xray'd and searched coming/going?
Speaking from experience it's not been a problem for me. We were visiting 'other' friends who live in NY State and I had an opportunity to go and shop at Gander Mountain. I bought: 5 boxes of Sierra Match King 168g .308 bullets, 2 x 100 bags of un-primed .308 Winchester brass, 1 bag of 100 .243 Winchester brass, 5 boxes of 168g .308 Hornady A-Max, two large packs of patches, a Leupold mk4 6.5-20x50 riflescope, a couple of Bore Snakes and some clothing. No I have a system that's served me well, in fact I have actually been approached by a TSA guy who said thanks for my efforts. I travel with a photocopy of the front page my firearms certificate (my licence), I write out an inventory of everything shooting related I have bought on my trip. Given the weight involved I make sure everything is packed at the 'wheel end' of my case and I put the inventory and licence copy on top in plain sight. I've never had a problem yet. The rule on the ship is simple, there is NO baggage allowance, you just have to be able to move your case / luggage without assistance from the crew, unless of course you're disabled. On arriving home from one trip we did I got the bathroom scales and put my case on it... it weighed in at 78 pounds...!! LOL The excess baggage at the airport would have equalled the cost of a single trans-Atlantic flight..!!

I follow an old military philosophy. The Rule of The 'P's'


Edit:
forgot to mention that in all of the eight Trans-Atlantic crossings we have made on the QM2 and apart from one they have all been East bound, ie US to GB, we have never yet been subject to Custom's inspection..!! My wife says this is because a 'certain class' of people sail on the QM2 and they wouldn't dream of getting involved with nefarious practices. I think it's because we get in the Southampton at 05.00 and no-one is awake enough to care..!!

Planning and Preparation Prevent a Poor Performance.
 

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Discussion Starter #77
I rode it from Los Angeles to Lake Charles, LA.

it was interesting.
If that train followed the Southern Route, it was on the Southern Pacific RRY Co. and probably prior to 1970 or so.
 

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I've done several train rides in my life and they were more than one continent. When the wife and I were engaged I accompanied her and her family on a trip to Washington DC. That was 1978 and we rode the Amtrak from Greenville, SC to DC. Spent most of my time in the "bar car" as the sleeper cars were down for maintenance; trip only 18-20 hours so not too bad. In 1991, during beginnings of Gulf War I, travel was being heavily discounted to move bodies. The wife and I flew ATL -> ORD -> Frankfort for $300/each. Then we got 14 day first class, unlimited travel passes on Eurail. We got "couché berths" for a couple of trips. The couché is the fold down cots that sleep six people per room. That was my first introduction to the làissez faire attitudes of European women - they undress completely when they go to bed regardless of privacy concerns and . . . well, I shan't go any further with that tale.

Sorry, back to the trains; we did the Anchorage -> Denali glass top train with the family back ~ 1998 and it was fun.
 

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I rode the California Zephyr back in 1973 from Chicago to Denver. The ride was great, spent most of it in the Observation Car. The Bar car ran out of beer just outside of Omaha.. We had an incident where some drunken idiot started a fire in a restroom trash can and then ran naked through the train shouting "We're Alll Going To Die"... Gasbag??????????????
 
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