Monday, April 20, 2009

Monday, Day 3, MUCH later

WHAT A DAY! All day, the California Zephyr was between 3 & 4 hours behind schedule. We’d catch up, then something would happen and we’d lose the time we made. Originally the 6 was supposed to get into Chicago at 3:50. If we were 3 hours late, that gave me 15 minutes to catch the 30 train, the Capitol Limited, which was scheduled to leave at 7:05. As we approached Chicago, it LOOKED like we would arrive between 7 & 7:15. Amtrak would not tell us if they would hold the train or not. Come to find out, there were about 30 of us making a transfer from the 6 to the 30. STILL, they wouldn’t say one way or the other. I called the STATION MANAGER at Chicago’s Union Station and SHE wouldn’t tell me anything. The Zephyr rolled into the station at 7:01. Amtrak rules say (paraphrased) if there is a train IN THE STATION onto which passengers need to transfer, from a train ENTERING the station, they MUST wait for those passengers. So it looked like we were covered. Not only that but literally, from my 6 train, car 631 to my 30 train, car 3000 was 11 steps. Right across the platform, and next to the 631. I got on board, met my attendant, Brenda, offloaded my tuba & big suitcase and went right up into my room, 6. I walked to the dining car and made a 7:30 reservation with Lawrence in the diner. I ate dinner (flat iron steak, fixed PERFECTLY) with a man and his son from Dos Palos. He JUST retired from farming and his son JUST graduated from AMI, the mechanic school in Sacramento. He landed a job fixing diesel engines. They are taking a LONG train trip all over the US.

It’s 9:01 PM and I have had a long day. We are spending MOST of the night in Ohio & western Pennsylvania.

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