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Segment 4: Schenectady To Buffalo on Amtrak's Lake Shore Limited

Summer Railfanning Trip 2003:
Segment 4: Schenectady To Buffalo
On Amtrak's Lake Shore Limited
Saturday, August 9th, 2003

Amtrak's Lake Shore Limited in Amsterdam, NY - August 7th, 2003

   Rich and I headed to a hobby shop in Schenectady and checked out their rather extensive multi-scale model train layout in the store. I picked up the latest issue of Trains Magazine to have with me for later on when I’d be riding Train #49 back home. Rich decided to ride with me but would ride to Erie, Pennsylvania, then pick up #48 and head back home to Schenectady the following morning. We also picked up some snacks for the ride at a local Hannaford Grocery Store before heading back to his place. I packed up my stuff and we drove to the station, just making it there with about 3 minutes to spare! Train #49 arrived into Schenectady on time at 6:40pm and we left at 6:45pm. We were seated in Amfleet II Coach #25037, an unrefurbished coach. Rich brought his video camera and decided to spend the first part of the trip, still in daylight, shooting some video of the Mohawk Valley. The consist for tonight's train appears at the bottom of this page.
   About 20 minutes after we left Schenectady, I decided to head back to the Dining Car. Rich was still shooting video as we still had some daylight. Here is where I experienced some of the absolute worst planning on the part of Amtrak. I get to the Dining Car and am told by one of the servers to come back in about a half hour due to the fact that they were serving First Class Passengers who get their meal as part of the price of their ticket. Fair enough so I head back to my seat. A half hour passes, Rich decides to come with me back to the car, where we’re told by the same server to come back again in yet, another half hour, citing the same reason I stated before. And so, we wait the half hour at our seats, then walk back AGAIN to the car, there is now about 10 people ahead of us, all coach passengers waiting in line. We wait in line another 10 minutes and are all told that the car has run out of food and thus we all were turned away. This is a really big problem that must be addressed. Amtrak knew there was going to be close to 400 people on this train, so why couldn’t they have made sure to have enough food on hand? There were several people who were very upset that the car was out of food, it makes no sense, something like this just doesn’t have to happen! Disgusted, Rich and I headed back to the Café Car, and picked up some food there. I had a Chicken Sandwich and a Hebrew National Hot Dog with a Heinekin Beer. Not exactly what I wanted but it would have to do since the diner was out of food. About an hour or so after I ate dinner, we hit a nasty thunderstorm and water started leaking into our coach and on my lap! I’m so glad I wasn’t using my computer at that point or else I would have really had a mess on my hands! That is something else that is uncalled for, what if someone had an expensive device on the tray table and water came in and ruined it? Let me explain here, this was probably the only part of the entire trip that went bad on me, the other trains I rode here were otherwise excellent. I’ve always been the type to not sweat the small stuff when things go wrong but little things like this will definitely turn some passengers away for good and its those little things that Amtrak needs to focus it’s attention on. The rest of this ride was rather uneventful, there were no significant slow orders that caused us to lose much time. Most of the trackwork is done during the day so only little things here and there caused some slow time. We arrived into Buffalo at 11:50pm, only about 10 minutes late, not bad. I said goodbye to Rich who would continue riding to Erie. I walked down to the East end of the platform to get the car numbers I didn’t get earlier and this would bring to a close my 5th Amtrak trip this year.
Amtrak's Lake Shore Limited - Saturday, August 9th, 2003 - 68 Axles
Car/Engine Type:
Power (From Boston)
Power (From Boston)
Heritage Baggage
Baggage (From Boston)
Viewliner Sleeper
"Evening View"
Sleeping Car (From Boston)
Amfleet II Coach
Coach (From Boston)
Amfleet II Coach
Coach (From Boston)
Amfleet II Cafe Car
"New York Club"
Cafe Car (From Boston)
Amfleet II Coach
Coach (From New York) (My Car)
Amfleet II Coach
Coach (From New York)
Amfleet II Coach
Coach (From New York)
Heritage Diner
Dining Car (From New York)
Viewliner Sleeper
"Majestic View"
Sleeping Car (From New York)
Viewliner Sleeper
"Scenic View"
Sleeping Car (From New York)
Heritage 10/6 Sleeper
"Pacific Bend"
Crew Dorm/Lounge Car (From New York)
Heritage Baggage
Baggage Car (From New York)
Road Railers (3)

   And so, Amtrak Trip #27 for me comes to a close. Overall, my impressions of the Acela Express are very positive. The On-board service is excellent, and riding in First Class is great. Probably the only negative experience on this entire trip (outside of the BUSTITUTION!) is being turned away from the Dining Car due to it running out of food. This situation doesn't happen on every train and was likely an isolated incident. The On-board service on every other train I rode was excellent. Until next time when I make my Annual Trip to the Best Amusement Park In The World, Happy Railfanning...