Posts Tagged ‘Amtrak boarding lounge’

Historic Day for the City of New Orleans

January 14, 2017

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For several decades, Illinois Central passenger trains were part of the daily ritual of life in the Mississippi towns of Batesville, Grenada, Winona, Durant and Canton.

That continued unabated when Amtrak took over in 1971, although the number of passenger trains was fewer in number.

The IC decided during the 1990s to shift most of its freight to another route in Mississippi between Memphis and Jackson.  That route had less steep grades.

Amtrak was told it could move its City of New Orleans to that route or pay to maintain the other route to passenger train speeds. That route wasn’t being abandoned, but it would not be maintained for 79 mph speeds.

So Amtrak moved and two other Mississippi cities, Greenville and Yazoo City were added to the Amtrak map.

It is a Saturday evening at Chicago Union Station, Sept. 9, 1995. For the final time, the City of New Orleans will depart for its namesake city and stop at Batesville, Grenada, Winona, Durant and Canton.

The occasion passed without fanfare or ceremony, but I made it a point to record the last station sign to note service to the cities soon to drop off the Amtrak map after 24 years.

Amtrak Institutes New Chicago Boarding Procedure

November 18, 2016

Amtrak institute new boarding procedures for coach passengers at Chicago Union Station last month.

Amtrak logoPassengers boarding trains that require reservations are now required to check in on the day of travel and obtain a boarding pass.

Once passengers have checked in and received a boarding pass, they will be directed to the appropriate boarding area to wait for their train.

In a service advisory, Amtrak said “the earlier you check in, the earlier you’ll be in the boarding process. If you don’t check in, you’ll be among the last to board.”

The check-in procedure will not apply to Chicago-Milwaukee Hiawatha Service trains because they are unreserved.

Boarding will begin about a half-hour before departure and passengers will board with their assigned group much in the same way that Southwest Airlines handles boarding of its planes.

According to the service advisory, general boarding for passengers traveling in coach class will take place in the Great Hall where there will be signs directing passengers to the location of their assigned group.

Passengers may purchase a $20 priority boarding pass for the Legacy Club, making them the first coach class group to board. Uniformed military personnel can enjoy the Legacy Club free of charge.

Seniors age 62 and over, customers with disabilities, families with children 12 and under, and non-uniformed active duty military personnel can board with assistance from the south boarding lounge, ahead of general boarding.

Passengers in sleeping car or business Class, or are a Select Plus or a Select Executive Amtrak Guest Rewards member will not need a boarding pass. They will board from the Metropolitan Lounge and continue to receive advance boarding.

Amtrak advised that passengers should be at Chicago Union Station no later than 45 minutes before departure and 60 minutes if assistance is needed with ticketing, baggage, pets, bikes or other services. Boarding gates will close five minutes before train departure time.

Where a Journey From Chicago Begins

October 3, 2016

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If you’ve ridden an Amtrak train from Chicago and were traveling in coach, your trip began in this room, the boarding lounge of Chicago Union Station.

It can be quite crowded and noisy, particularly during the afternoon hours when Amtrak’s fleet of long-distance and corridor trains are scheduled to depart.

The chairs are not all that comfortable, but they do the job of providing a place to sit while waiting for a train to board.

Many people wind up standing in line anyway in hopes of getting a good seat once aboard their train.