I’ve seen a lot of train stations over the last few years, but although the Indian stations are easily the worst, Penn Station is near the bottom. First, there’s the difficulty of getting from the subway into the main part of the station, especially with a case. The case won’t easily fit through the barriers, and the elevators are hard to find. Then there’s the route march past a lot of places you don’t want, to find the Amtrak section. Then the whole place is gloomy and cavernous and the opposite of welcoming.
Finally, I advise against arriving at the First Class lounge right before a Washington bound Acela is due to leave – it was mobbed. Even boarding the train, underground, is less than inspiring. So my roomette was a welcome surprise. I was riding the Lake Shore Limited out of New York, rather than the Capitol Limited out of Washington, because I wanted to try a Viewliner roomette, newer than the Superliner roomettes, and with a toilet and sink.
The roomette is supposed to be for two people, but while it’s cosy for one, I think it would be tough fitting in two people. I had room for my case, but you couldn’t fit two. I wasn’t much impressed with the small sink, but the toilet worked fine. I slept in the upper bunk, which had it’s own window, so I could leave stuff on the seats below, and found it comfortable enough, although I did worry about getting thrown out, despite the restraining straps.
I enjoyed dinner, sharing a table with a father and daughter going to New Orleans. The salad and veggies were undistinguished, but my chicken was good, and more than I could eat, and the wine drinkable. I woke several times during the night, but quickly went back to sleep. When darkness had fallen we had been rolling through New England woodland, but I woke to see flat Indiana cornfields, decorated with immaculate red barns.
Breakfast was edible, but not up to the standard of dinner,although again I enjoyed talking with the couple sharing my table. More to the point the train, which had left on time, also arrived on time.