Slow boarding: But Amtrak runs two days in a row
Dozens of folks were wheeling luggage along snowy Main Street Monday morning and then falling or climbing down the large staircase to the Amtrak station, so a reporter went by to see what was up. The train inaugurated on October 1, the Northeast Regional, had been canceled the previous day due to some sort of problem confronting its origination, Lynchburg, said a person familiar with the situation, so there were travelers particularly eager to get moving.
"I'm a regular," said Russ Perry, who strolled up to the counter just 10 minutes before the 8:49am departure time to buy a ticket. He prefers Train #20, the Crescent, which heads north an hour and a half earlier, to commute to his job running a 200-person architecture and engineering firm in Washington; but the Crescent was all booked up.
Across the crowded waiting room, Christy Strick was glad the train was on time, as she'd just spent two nights in a hotel when she couldn't get back home to Crozet, and she didn't want to do that again. She was eagerly awaiting the opportunity to stop in Washington and then catch the next morning's Vermonter, a train that would connect her to her 9-months-pregnant-and-three-days-overdue daughter in New Hampshire, using the station in White River Junction, Vermont.
"I just thought it would be pretty and nice; and I thought if the weather was bad, the planes would be worse," said Strick. "And the station's a five-minute walk from her house."
Since a mid-1990s renovation, Charlottesville travelers have been confined to what was the original train station's baggage room. So about half of the 220 or so passengers had to wait outside.
The Northeast Regional arrived on time from Lynchburg, but boarding so long that it departed 19 minutes behind schedule. (On Tuesday, boarding was slow again, turning a 40-minute late arrival into a 59-minute late departure.)
–an earlier version of this online article placed the White River Junction station in the wrong state