Train 79 The Carolinian, Take Two
July 22 2009
Consist: P42 engine Baggage Car Business Class Car (I was here) Business Class/Cafe/Lounge Car (overflow business section, very unusual) Coaches (4)
You're not seeing double, I just took and reported on this trip before. I had a rare chance to return to Richmond, ride up (car) to Northern Va. and ride Amtrak back to Richmond before driving home. As a lengthy footnote, Virginia is closing about half of it's interstate rest stops, and because they're on toll free roads, federal law prohibits any commercial enterprise from taking them over, so the state is broke along with most others and had to cut costs. So beware auto travelers, go before you come into our state!
The train left Alexandria on time and followed an empty "fruit juice express" train (Tropicana) on it's way back to Florida, so we blasted along and arrived in Richmond one minute early, but don't tell anybody please. We don't want word to get around! The last time I had some unpleasant experiences on board, but this time we had a lovely attendant who used a trolley to serve non-alcoholic drinks of your choice. There was also a copy of the NY Times if you wanted it. The Amfleet I blue interior was somewhat worn and a little dirty, but much more comfortable than what I had before.
There was even overflow in the Cafe car behind, either by accident (perhaps mechanical issues with the normal lounge car) or due to the popularity of the business class service (more seat pitch). The Cafe car had the old-style Amclub seats in one half of the car (two seats on one side, one seat on the other side). There were lounge tables in the other half of the Cafe car. My car had the full business class seats. The attendant kept the two restrooms wiped down, but a urine odor persisted which is beyond her control. The entire train was sold out and very crowded, but railfans know better to complain about that. Amtrak also sent me a voucher to compensate for the last trip, but I haven't used it yet. Thankfully I will not need one this time.