Business Class (full length car; I was here.)
Cafe (not sure if a full length lounge/cafe)
Note: The exact number of coaches may not be accurate, as well as the placement of the lounge/cafe. I didn't go back there this time. The conductor said it was three cars back.
The train pulled in and out of Alexandria, VA, right on time, a rarity! This time however they were much better about opening more doors for passengers to board, including the Business Class car. In the past, I've had to battle with surly conductors who tell me there's no boarding in the coaches when I have a sleeper or business class ticket. When I get to the said door, it's usually locked tight and the train is ready to leave. So on Amtrak's birthday, how nice to have things done right!
Slow orders plagued us all the way to Fredericksburg, Va. And after we left Fredericksburg, VA, we temporarily sped up, only to stop to meet #66 going to DC, NYP and Boston for an "exchange of ideas." It appeared that a crew member hopped on board the passing train. Guess we'll leave the reason up to the urban legend books. We finally got up to speed, and thanks to padding, we arrived only a few minutes late in Richmond, Va. Another nice surprise: there were several doors open to detrain, so we didn't have to wait 10 minutes to get off.
Another nice surprise. The driver was none other than Doug Riddell himself! I wanted to talk to him upon arrival, but he had to put the train to bed for the night and thus was busy. He's long overdue for more train writing!
The condition of the car was fair, seemed worn as usual, but in better shape than I've seen other cars. I keep hoping to sit in one of the old club cars, with two seats on side and one on the other. The restrooms were the usual just-a-step-above-an-outhouse clean. I know the train was coming from Boston, but gosh are trains EVER cleaned? Old magazines, newspapers and trash abounded.
The cafe used to be right behind (or in front of) the business car, but I guess people must have complained it was too far to walk if in one of the rear (or front) coaches.
I will be moving soon to the far western part of Virginia, so there will not be any easy train trips like here, so I hope to do some more and longer train riding before I move.