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a second offense. On one of my cross-country trips, a conductor
put it very succinctly: “If you're caught smoking on this train, the
very next stop will be yours.” Trust me, they really mean it!
Problem Passengers
The subject of smoking violations leads me to the issue of pas-
sengers who cause problems for train crews or their fellow travel-
ers. Here again, Amtrak has a no-nonsense attitude—passengers
causing trouble are put off the train. In some cases, especially if
it will be several hours before the train reaches the next stop, the
conductor will have the engineer radio ahead and arrange to meet
the police at a highway crossing. Either way, passengers causing
trouble are given a very short leash, then it's aloha . (In this case,
aloha definitely means good-bye !) For more on this subject, see
chapter 8, “When Things Go Wrong.”
Fido Has to Stay Home
Pets are a no-no. Not at your seat, neither in nor out of a carrier,
and not even in the baggage car. At first I thought this policy was
awfully severe, but after hearing a number of horror stories from
Amtrak crew members about pets running loose on trains, I've
come to agree that it's the only practical approach on a long train
trip. An exception is made for certified service dogs.
Things That Go Bump in the Night
Many a passenger has bedded down for the night in a cozy
sleeping-car room, only to become aware of a persistent rattle
or squeak coming from somewhere inside the compartment. If
you're the type to be bothered by such things, just get up and
track it down. Most of the time it's something easily located and
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