Daily Archives: April 11, 2017

Amtrak’s Coast Starlight

So far, Amtrak is living up to my expectations. The trains are late, not just the one I’m on but the ones we’ve met going in the other direction. The food in the dining car is both expensive and tasteless. And business turns out to be a first-class rip-off.

On Friday, a landslide north of Portland shut down rail service between Portland and Seattle. That meant the train I was taking would have arrived in Portland and be ready to go with no chance of delays on the Seattle-Portland leg. Sure enough, we left on time to the nearest three seconds.

Before going 50 miles, however, we got stuck on a siding waiting for a freight train. That’s routine, but this particular wait must have been at least 20 minutes. By the time we got to Eugene, 123 miles from Portland, we were 40 minutes late. I didn’t really care as I have a four-hour layover in Sacramento, but it could be annoying if I were planning to go to a meeting in San Francisco. (As it turned out, we were on time into Sacramento thanks to “pad” in the schedule.)

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