We can’t blame Amtrak for this one. The storm damage in Little Rock would almost certainly have caused the Union Pacific Railroad, which owns the tracks that the Texas Eagle uses between Joliet, IL and Dallas, TX, to tell Amtrak not to send the train. (Superliner rolling stock has a pretty high profile and can be blown over in extremely high winds more easily than single-level equipment can.)
I had actually shown up at the Amtrak station way early to beat the rains that were headed my way. I had a sleeper ticket on the train, so I had access to the first-class lounge; and I wrote what would have been my day-zero trip report while I was there:
Now begins my trip to Hurst, TX for the Southwestern Rail Conference 2023. Although the venue is called the Hilton Garden Inn Dallas, it’s actually closer to Fort Worth.
I’m way early for 21’s departure, but the storm that hit California the other day is now bearing down on me, and I wanted to beat the rain. There’s still over six hours until we start boarding; but since I’m in the sleeper, I get to use the first-class lounge.
I’m leaving a day early, and returning a day late, because I couldn’t get sleeper space on the Texas Eagle on the days that I wanted to travel, probably because other conference attendees were quicker making reservations than I was. Fortunately, the folks at the meeting hotel gave me the conference rate for both extra days.
I finally got my BU-353N GPS receiver that plugs into a USB port on my laptop, and I’ve verified that I can see my current location using mapping software called Maptitude, but I haven’t tried it out while moving yet…we’ll see how well it works. Like on my recent trip to Seattle, I also have my Oticon TV Adapter 3.0 which will plug into the earphone jack on my scanner and generate a bluetooth signal that feeds my hearing aids, so this train geek will be able to listen to the conversations between the conductors, engineers and dispatchers without disturbing any other passengers.
I have room D in both directions, so the electrical outlet will be near the window, and I’ll need only the power strip with the surge protector and four-foot cord on the train; but I’m bringing along the power strip with a longer cord just in case there’s no place to plug in the laptop near the desk in the hotel room where I’ll be using it. (That was the case with the the first place I stayed in Seattle which seemed like it was designed by marketeers instead of hospitality folks.)
Even though we should depart with about four hours left in day zero, I’ll use the day-one report for the whole train trip. I expect to be in my hotel room by late afternoon tomorrow, or maybe early evening, depending on how late the train is.
According to juckins.net, so far this year train 21’s arrival into Fort Worth has averaged a bit less than half an hour early. Here’s my own analysis with some abecedarian statistics. Three no-data days are probably due to Amtrak’s server failure.
It turns out that the train actually made it as far as St. Louis, but terminated there.
I suppose that there are other ways that I could have gotten to Forth Worth, but taking an overnight bus trip (St. Louis’ Amtrak and Greyhound stations are in the same building) didn’t seem like something I’d want to do, and lots of flights would probably have been cancelled as well. The very nice woman at the Amtrak ticket counter offered me a family room on today’s (Saturday’s) train; and since I was a day early anyway, I still would have made it to Texas in time for the meeting; but I declined because I worried that that train would be cancelled as well, although it appears that it’s running. (21 is sitting in St. Louis as I write this, and Amtrak’s status page shows an estimated arrival in Forth Worth for tomorrow…no service disruption yet.)
Oh, well. There’s a chance that the conference might be just feel-good speeches with not a lot of data anyway. Attending it was mostly an excuse to ride the train.
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