Wednesday, September 10, 2008


My friend and avid Lentil Bowl reader, Dennis, today bemoaned the fact that there is a waiting room at Penn Station in NY for riders of Amtrak's Acela train. It is easy to see that the waiting area is always empty. And there is no waiting room for anyone (read: commoners) riding the regular regional Amtrak trains. It's as if the Acela waiting room is there merely to taunt other riders and not actually to be used.

I suggested that if someone is taking the regional train they'll be sitting for quite a long ride and since the Acela folks have less time to sit on the train (it's a much faster train) Amtrak is merely offering them more total butt time by giving them a waiting room!

As a result of this suggestion, I was accused of being a shill for Amtrak. Of all people, me? A shill? For Amtrak? Dennis, surely you jest!

I will be taking the Acela next week to a conference (paid for by the sponsors of the conference, not my employer!) and I promised Dennis that I would get into that waiting room and test out as many seats as possible before my train. That seems fair, right?


Anonymous said...

Now I'm not usually one to break the rules, but I'm usually exhausted when I'm in Penn Station and the train is almost invariably late.

I just walk into that lounge with an authoritative air.

Works every time.

Anonymous said...

But there IS a waiting area for the plebes. I've used it a bunch of times. Where is the Acela area?

Andrea said...

The only places I've ever waited are in the general area in the middle under the boards with the train and track numbers, or at the table and chairs by the Dunkin' Donuts and Hardee's (or some other fast food type place).

I've never seen the plebian waiting room, so whoever you are - dish!

And Toby - I'm impressed that you can still carry and authoritative air when you are that exhausted!

Raina said...

remind me to tell you about the acela policy.

also, I've waited in a waiting area for a regular train. there's a tv monitor with the train times, i seem to remember, and I believe the chairs are blue.

Andrea said...

Raina, I'm going to guess that you're talking about Union Station in DC, right? Dennis was trying to sit at Penn Station in NY.

jill said...

If my memory serves me, the waiting area is just off to the side where the huge announcement boards are. If the ticket counters are north of the boards, this waiting area is south of the boards in the center. It's been a few years since I've done that run.

as raina says - chairs, monitors, the whole 9 yards.

Andrea said...

Wednesday night I'll get to the train early and search out the plebian waiting room at Penn Station. Stay posted....