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    There are indeed three separate unions that represent Amtrak's On-Board Services employees, depending on work location. They are the Transportation-Communications Union (now part of the International Association of Machinists), the Transport Workers' Union of America, and UNITE-HERE (formerly...
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    How can personnel problems be resolved?

    For those interested in reading more about the crew fatigue issue, check out the NTSB chairman's opening remarks at a congressional hearing in February- http://www.ntsb.gov/speeches/rosenker/mvr070213.htm Note that railroads are the only form of transportation wherein the operating employees'...
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    How can personnel problems be resolved?

    There is no federal regulation to prevent an engineer or conductor (or other railroad employee covered by the Hours of Service Act) from working the kind of extreme hours Had8ley talked about. The only restrictions are (1) a maximum of 12 hours on duty at one time, (2) 8 hours rest required...
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    Amtrak's OBS Employees.....a view from the "other side"

    Thanks for the memory jog, AlanB, it was probably in 2000 that we did the "Guest Services/Service Recovery" training. The "we'll guarantee you have a good trip, or" thing started first only on the Coast Starlight, then after a time went systemwide. And I now recall why the San Antonio-based...
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    Amtrak's OBS Employees.....a view from the "other side"

    Relying on wikipedia for the dates, here's a list of Amtrak's presidents/CEO's starting with Mr. Claytor and their circumstances of departure- 1982-1993 W. Graham Claytor, Jr. (Retired) 1993-1998 Thomas Downs (Fired) 1998-2002 George Warrington (Resigned) 2002-11/2005 David Gunn...
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    Amtrak's OBS Employees.....a view from the "other side"

    The following is adapted from a post I did last year on trainorders.com- Having retired from Amtrak after 19 years as a frontline employee, I think that the most basic problem in all areas is the total lack of a consistent management message/philosophy since the Graham Claytor era. Things have...
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    How can personnel problems be resolved?

    Assuming you're referencing my comments, how did you reach that conclusion? From the time disciplinary charges are initiated until a formal investigation takes place are usually a matter of a few weeks, during which time the charged employee is generally held out of service without pay. The...
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    How can personnel problems be resolved?

    The job title was Chief, On-Board Services and was indeed a unionized position. They were represented by the American Railway & Airline Supervisors Association, part of the Transportation-Communications Union. I'd equate them somewhat to a foreman in a factory, in that they were supposed to...
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    Amtrak treatment

    The Federal Railroad Administration does not regulate Amtrak's food preparation/service, sanitation, or related matters. That is the purview of the U. S. Food & Drug Administration, the FDA.
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    Amtrak Employment

    Limiting my response to the situation at Amtrak, when employees are furloughed they receive no compensation from Amtrak during the furlough period. Unemployment benefits are paid to the furloughed employee by the U. S. Railroad Retirement Board providing the employee has qualified for said...
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    Amtrak Employment

    The OBS employees who have 5-6 (or more) days off between trips are those who hold regular assignments on long-distance trains. New hires go to the extra board for several years until they accumulate enough seniority to hold a regular job. As I explained above, the maximum guaranteed time off...
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    Amtrak Employment

    Unless your friend is willing to move to the Chicago area where he could get to work in about two hours or less, I doubt very much that Amtrak would consider hiring him for a Chicago-based On-Board Services position. Depending on the attrition by retirement, he'd likely spend at least a couple...
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    Diner-Lite on the Cardinal

    I believe what he said was that in riding the California Zephyr and the Cardinal, he has now ridden all the long-distance trains, not every Amtrak route.
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    what is your favorite train book?

    Altho Linda Niemann's books are mainly about freight railroading (she was a brakeman/conductor for the Southern Pacific), she is an excellent writer. Her first book, "Boomer: Railroad Memories" was published in the late '80s and is out of print, tho it can be found at amazon, abebooks, alibris...
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    Advice/tips on month long trip

    Altho it certainly isn't publicized, Amtrak still offers the one-, two-, and three-zone "Explore America" fares. In the peak season May 25th thru Sept. 4th, the three-zone fare is $579. After that, it drops to $498 until Dec. 13th when peak kicks in again. Restrictions include a limit of...
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    Amtrak Store and the NARP

    Going to amtrak.com and clicking on "Privacy and Security" at the bottom of the page gives one all the details of what Amtrak may do with the personal information one provides, including by way of on-line merchandise purchases and requests for travel/promotional info. A couple of the relevant...
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    Booking 8 or more people

    R.R., Amtrak has a Group Sales line at 1-800-USA-1GRP (872-1477) or you can email them at groupsales@amtrak.com.
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    First Class Passengers?

    You're correct on that reference. However, all other references to sleeping car service that I found - timetables, the sleeper info page, and usage of Metropolitan Lounges and other special waiting rooms - uses the terms "Sleeping Car Service" or "Sleeper Service", replacing the previously-used...
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    First Class Passengers?

    Actually, in Amtrak's current terminology, "First Class" designates the premium coach seating on the Acela Express services. The term has been dropped for sleepers, now called "Sleeping Car Service".
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    TSA baggage inspections starting at NY State Amtrak stations

    The men and women of our military are losing lives, limbs, and sanity in Iraq and Afghanistan. Other than their families, no one in this country has been asked to make any sort of meaningful sacrifice since that whole mess began. How about letting the TSA (and other agents of our national...