We went to bed last night in Texas and when we woke up this morning, our train the Sunset Limited was still traveling through Texas. This was our final day traveling onboard the Sunset Limited and we would be arriving into New Orleans after 9:00 PM tonight. My parents and I got dressed for our final breakfast onboard and headed out to the dining car. Both my mom and I decided to eat light for breakfast after eating so much yesterday so we ordered the continental breakfast. Amtrak’s Continental Breakfast comes with a choice of oatmeal or cold cereal, fresh fruit, yogurt and a choice of breakfast bread. I went with the oatmeal and my mom went with Special K cold cereal with milk. My dad had Railroad French Toast with a side of sausage again. My parents and I again lucked out and did not have a stranger seated at our table for breakfast.
We lounged around in the dining car eating and chatting it up with Alice for couple of hours. Neither Jason or Alice seemed to mind use hanging around in the dining car. Eventually, we headed back to our room to shower, get dressed and just relax on our vacation. We still had lots of snacks that we brought along for the train ride. My mom wrapped them all up in a plastic bag to give to Jason when he comes by again for lunch reservations. Eventually, Jason did come by for lunch reservations and my mom handed him the bag of snacks to share with the dining car staff. At this point in the trip, we still had beer and wine leftover which we needed to finish.
Around 11:00 AM, our train, the Sunset Limited arrived into Houston Station. Houston is another long stop with about an hour scheduled between arrival and departure. I was expecting Houston Station to be a big station but it turned out to be a little “Amshack” under the freeway. All three of us got off of the train to walk around and get some fresh air. I also took this opportunity to take detailed pictures of the exterior of the Sunset Limited along with the two GE Genesis Engines.
After spending a good portion of the one hour stop outside, I headed back inside the train to join my parents up in our deluxe bedroom. In Houston, new passengers boarded and occupied deluxe bedroom D, which is the one right next to ours. Darlene came over to explain the features of the bedroom to the new passengers and give them their lunch reservation ticket.
Shortly after we began moving again, it was time for lunch. Our reservation time was called so we headed back to the dining car. We were seated at a table that already had an elderly gentleman seated for lunch. The gentleman did not talk at all and kept to himself during lunch. Alice came by with the meal tickets and also explained what was available and what was not. I went with the hamburger with bacon and cheese, and my mom ordered the grilled cheese from the children’s menu
My dad went with the burger prepared exactly as I ordered mine.. Since there are no deep fat friers onboard the train, burgers and sandwiches are served with kettle cooked potato chips. I totally forgot to take pictures of lunch and the only thing remembered to take a picture of was dessert. Alice came by frequently to make sure that we were ok and also to make sure that the elderly gentleman was eating his lunch. The gentleman excused himself when he was finished with his lunch, but the three of us hung out in the dining car after we were finished with our food. Passengers who boarded in Houston traveling in coach were having lunch in the adjacent table and boy were the ladies loud. Two of the ladies were traveling together while the other two men were traveling separately. The two men seemed to be good dealing with the yapping and answered the two ladies questions which some of the questions asked seemed quite nosy and really non of their business.
After lunch I decided to spend the last day on the Sunset Limited taking detailed pictures of Amtrak Deluxe Bedrooms. I asked Darlene if it was ok to take pictures of an empty room and she said deluxe bedroom C was empty. I thanked Darlene and went inside room C snapping away with my camera. While I thought about asking Darlene if there was a roomette available for me to take pictures of, I decided not to bother her and passed on it. Before, our trip on Amtrak Sunset Limited, one of the biggest issues I had was trying to find information regarding the deluxe bedroom, specifically pictures that show size proportionally.
Jason came around to take one final dinner reservation for this trip. Since we were running on time, we were told that dinner service would be abbreviated so that there would be enough time for the dining car staff to cleanup and prepare for arrival into New Orleans. We took the first available time slot for dinner that Jason had available. We killed time sitting in our deluxe bedroom reading, playing on the computer, and also just looking out the window. In Beaumont Texas a large group of new coach passengers boarded the train. The group, who were heading to New Orleans for a school reunion, if I remember correctly, were welcomed aboard by staff over the intercom. Beaumont Texas is the last stop in Texas before we finally crossed into Louisiana.
The landscape changed quite rapidly once we crossed into Louisiana. The scenery changed to swamps and trees from the urban areas and farms that we were passing through in Texas. Also, once we were in Louisiana, we passed by lots of refineries and tanker railcars along the route we were traveling.
Time arrived for our final meal aboard the Sunset Limited for this trip. Earlier in the day, Alice said it would be alright to bring our second bottle of wine to the dining car for dinner. Once we arrived in the dining car, we were seated at a empty table. I was hoping no one else would be sitting with us and we lucked out. Alice came by with the meal tickets and while I was filling them out, she brought brought over plastic wine glasses and corkscrew and served us our last bottle of Robert Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon. Alice let us know what items were available for dinner and what was sold out. The three of us went with the braised turkey shank.
Salads and dinner rolls were delivered to our table and shortly after we were finished with the salad, the main braised turkey shank arrived. I totally forgot to take pictures of the main course but the dish was really good. For dessert, I went with the cheesecake and my dad ordered the chocolate mousse cup all washed down with coffee. Once we were finished eating, we left $20.00 dollars on the table for Alice and when she saw it, she said we did not have to do that and also that we had already been very generous during the trip. My mom told Alice she deserved the money for her great service and we all thanked her again for her wonderful service and humor before heading back to our deluxe bedroom.
Since we still had couple of hours before we arrived into New Orleans, we spent the rest of our time on the Sunset Limited looking out of the window. About a hour before arrival time into New Orleans, we got dressed, packed our bags and looked around our deluxe bedroom to make sure that were were not leaving anything behind. It was too dark outside to see much and when we crossed the Huey P Long Bridge, I could not see anything except parts of the bridge structure passing by.
When we got close to our final destination, the conductor made an announcement that our train would be backing into the station. She explained that this was the normal procedure and told everyone to stay seated until an announcement was made that everyone could disembark the train. We slowly backed into New Orleans Union Station and once we were given the all clear, we grabbed our stuff and headed downstairs to disembark the Sunset Limited. Darlene was at the door making sure everyone got off safely by holding their hands as they stepped off of the train. We thanked her for all her help over the last 3 days before walking down the platform into the terminal building.
We headed outside of the station to the taxi line to take a taxi to our hotel, Prince Conti Hotel New Orleans. This concludes our 3 day 2 night journey from Los Angeles to New Orleans onboard Amtrak Sunset Limited Train. We boarded the Sunset Limited in Los Angeles with low expectations but we disembarked with our low exceptions completely blown out of the water. I believe Alice Wong was mostly responsible for completely changing our impressions of Amtrak for the better. Jason and Darlene were all great as well, but no crew aboard the train came close to Alice’s personality.