A Problem with my Varna Trip

It often happens in the summertime that trackwork on the railroad that runs across Massachusetts affects the Boston section of the Lake Shore Limited; and when that happens, the Boston cars deadhead to New York and get turned in Sunnyside.

It turns out that that affects the penultimate leg of my return trip from Varna, Bulgaria.  I’ll now be on a bus from Boston to the Albany-Rensselaer station where I’ll board the 449 sleeper.  That’ll be minimally acceptable, and not Amtrak’s fault.

But I’d rather ride on a train.  I stopped by the St. Louis Amtrak station this morning and asked the ticket agent to change my reservation to a business class seat on Regional train 171 to New York, then a coach seat on 49, the New York section of the Lake Shore, to Rensselaer.  He said that Amtrak’s reservation system wouldn’t give him 49 as an option, which made no sense to me because I can see it when I do my own query on Amtrak’s website.

I just thought of another option that I’ll try to get tomorrow morning:  171 as above, then a business class seat on train 291, the Ethan Allan Express.  If he can’t find that either, then train 235, one of the Empire Service corridor trains, will also work.  We’ll see…

We once had a ticket agent named Jeannine (sp?) who had worked for Amtrak for quite a while and really knew what was going on.  I’d bet a dollar to a doughnut that she’d have understood immediately what I wanted and given it to me lickety-split.  Unfortunately, all of the folks currently behind the ticket counter seem to be newbies who know less about the railroad than this passenger does.


  1. says

    The railroad system is hella weird. Those employees have a separate retirement system from all other americans that predates social security. Like a lot of gov officials, i’m pretty sure it’s illegal for them to strike, but they can have a union. Lately their issues are getting more press than they used to. Hope them newbies can get the experience they need to suck less and have a better tomorrow. Also hope you get to ride all the trains u want where u want 4 as long as u want.

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