March 15th, 2012

Conrunner Kevin

Left Early, Got Lucky

I was so wiped out yesterday from the long night at the HSR hearing (and the subsequent very short night) that I left the office at 3 PM yesterday after working only eight hours, rather than leaving at 4 or 5 as I have typically been doing. (Recap: when taking the train, I can leave at 3, 4, or 5 only due to connecting bus-to-train schedules, and after 5 I could find myself stuck in the office all night or else face a $100 taxi ride home.) I managed to get to bed relatively early and got around nine hours sleep, which makes me feel a bit more human today.

On the shuttle bus ride in from Great America station this morning, I hear that I was pretty lucky in taking that early bus. Apparently there was a police action in the area yesterday afternoon (sometime after I left, obviously), and the traffic was so snarled that the shuttle missed its connection to the train. Now that wouldn't have stranded me, as the shuttles are guaranteed: they had to fire up their longer-haul bus and haul all of the missed-connection patrons home, some as far away as Stockton. Or maybe it's the other shuttle riders who were lucky in a different way: none of the people who missed connections were going to Fremont, so the alternative transportation was able to go straight to Pleasanton from Great America, skipping the detour to Centerville.
Pointless Arrow

Sunset Limited Schedule Change

In my daily railroad news digest this morning, I read that Amtrak is changing the schedule of the Sunset Limited, shortening travel times. The direct effect on me is that I'm coming back from Chicon 7 on the Texas Eagle, which travels Chicago-San Antonio and then transfers a sleeping car to the Sunset Limited for onward conveyance to Los Angeles. The news story says that the layover at San Antonio for westbound passengers (previously about seven hours overnight, which isn't so bad since we'll just be asleep) will be reduced by three hours.

Lisa tells me that other people who have taken this trip suggest that the thing to do when the Eagle arrives at San Antonio and our sleeping car is spotted at the layover platform (so we know where it will be) is to get off and walk to a nearby Denny's for a late dinner. That will give the Amtrak station crew time to get the layover cars hooked up to groundside power, which is critical because the ventilation system won't work without it and you can't open the windows. You don't want to be inside a sleeping car with no air conditioning in San Antonio in the summer, even at night.