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Railroaders' Nostalgia > SP Automats


Date: 04/17/20 10:10
SP Automats
Author: Cabhop

On one of the Facebook sites a shot of the interior of an SP Automant.  I thought I would relate a story I had in one. 
Working as Head Brakeman on 51 on one trip I had brought a sandwich from home wrapped in foil. I didn't know anything about Microwave ovens and popped my sandwich in and man things got real sparkly. The attendant went nuts. Thought I had fried it. It turned out OK, you could still nuke your Dinty Moore stew!

J.P.



Date: 04/17/20 10:41
Re: SP Automats
Author: tehachcond

   Back when I was a teenager, my grandmother lived in Modesto, California.  She was very old-school in many things. There was a right way, and a way that things simply weren't done!  Lucius Beebe would have loved her.
   Anyway, at the time, we lived in Alhambra, in the Los Angeles area, and she would come down to visit us during the Holidays.  To her, the only proper way to travel was by train.  I would go down to Glendale, hop on #51, ride it to Modesto, and walk up to her house, which was only a few blocks from the depot.  I would spend the night at her place and we'd catch #52 back to Glendale the next day.  When she was ready to go home, we'd repeat the process in reverse.
   On the way up, I saw that whatever pre-automat dining service had been on the "San Jouquins" had been replaced by the Automat's.  "Oh oh," I thought, "Grandma's going to have a conniption fit when she see's this!"
   Sure enough, come lunchtime the next day, she was not amuzed to say the least!  The very idea that one should have to serve themselves on a train!  This just wasn't done!
   Anyway, as our Brit friends would say, we "made do."  The attendant was more than helpful.  For many years, she and Grandpa traveled back and forth on the "Daylights."  She got so she knew most of the regular crews on the train.  It was after Grandpa passed away, she wasn't comfortable traveling by herself.

Brian Black
Castle Rock, CO
 



Date: 04/18/20 01:31
Re: SP Automats
Author: wpamtk

I was a passenger on SP trains with an automat car two or three times. There was a single attendant whose job it was to make change (for the vending machines) and dispense beer. Heaven help you if you thought you were going to insert the coins or push the button to make your selection! The attendant was adament that he do these things for you, doubtless in hopes of a tip.



Date: 04/18/20 09:37
Re: SP Automats
Author: BobB

wpamtk Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I was a passenger on SP trains with an automat car
> two or three times. There was a single attendant
> whose job it was to make change (for the vending
> machines) and dispense beer. Heaven help you if
> you thought you were going to insert the coins or
> push the button to make your selection! The
> attendant was adament that he do these things for
> you, doubtless in hopes of a tip.

I had the same experience with the automat attendant.  His insistance on doing the work seemed to contradict the purpose of an automat.  I was a poor college student and didn't even think about a tip--I just thought that the attendant needed to prove that he was still needed despite the downgrade from his presumed former position in a real dining car.



Date: 04/18/20 10:50
Re: SP Automats
Author: WAF

Most were helpful, some sury. It was hard for them to see this is were their experience in them dining car ended up. Counting the days to retirement or Amtrak



Date: 04/18/20 12:07
Re: SP Automats
Author: CPCoyote

wpamtk Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I was a passenger on SP trains with an automat car
> two or three times. There was a single attendant
> whose job it was to make change (for the vending
> machines) and dispense beer. Heaven help you if
> you thought you were going to insert the coins or
> push the button to make your selection! The
> attendant was adament that he do these things for
> you, doubtless in hopes of a tip.

Sounds like the same guy I encountered one trip.  I want to say it was on the Cascade, but that train usually carried a full diner.  Anyway, all the coin slots were stuffed with paper.  When I removed some paper to insert my coins, the guy came unglued and insisted he do it.  



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