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Amtrak #53 auto Train 9 hours late/Auto Train delays and cancellations Dec 2019

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MIRAILFAN

Service Attendant
Joined
Mar 2, 2014
Messages
112
H0w do they handle that when the train arrives so late? D0es the return trip get cancelled?
 

lordsigma

OBS Chief
AU Supporter
Joined
Sep 15, 2017
Messages
962
H0w do they handle that when the train arrives so late? D0es the return trip get cancelled?
Only if it gets to the point when they have to. Normally they just limp around for a few days until they catch up. Auto train is a pretty big train so when they have to cancel it means having to accommodate a lot of people and cars on an alternate date so I’m sure they only cancel the next day when they have no choice.
 

RichieRich

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Dec 2, 2016
Messages
319
But today it is on-time (50 minutes early in to LOR)!?!? So why did I just get this:
"We wanted to let you know that train #53, the Auto Train, from Lorton, Virginia on Tuesday, December 24th, has been cancelled due to a service disruption. Unfortunately, we don't have other transportation available."
It's 8 hrs late arriving SFA today.(???). As the most frequent AT user...I've seen a thing-or-two. I have left SFA at 10:00 at night before. So our Xmas in Disney is now cancelled this year. Maybe Amtrak can explain this to the kids for me! No, we're not driving. No, we can't postpone a week til there's an opening. P.S.- Does Amtrak offer any compensation for all the non-refundable deposits, or anything?
 
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railiner

Conductor
Joined
Mar 20, 2009
Messages
8,277
Location
Palm Beach County
But today it is on-time (50 minutes early in to LOR)!?!? So why did I just get this:
"We wanted to let you know that train #53, the Auto Train, from Lorton, Virginia on Tuesday, December 24th, has been cancelled due to a service disruption. Unfortunately, we don't have other transportation available."
It's 8 hrs late arriving SFA today.(???). As the most frequent AT user...I've seen a thing-or-two. I have left at 10:00 at night before. So our Xmas in Disney is now cancelled this year. Maybe Amtrak can explain this to the kids for me! No, we're not driving. No, we can't postpone a week til there's an opening.
So sorry for your situation. As the most frequent AT patron, I think Amtrak should do much better for you. At least get you on the next days's train somehow. And perhaps comp you for your inconvenience with a free trip.

While I know that everyone is different, I would not dream of ever using the AT for my 'commute' between my Queens and South Florida homes. On my last trip north, I left Okeechobee at 7:30 AM, and arrived in Queens at 2:30 AM...19 hours including fuel/rest stops. I was in my bed at home, while the nb AT was probably still somewhere in NC...and saved a bundle. I used to drive professionally, so long stretches behind the wheel come easy to me. YMMV...
 

Amtrakfflyer

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Feb 2, 2005
Messages
474
That’s not cool at all. So much for getting in Christmas morning. People do travel last minute for various reasons. Got off the SWC last Christmas Day in FUL at 6am had a great Christmas. Hopefully it works out for all involved. Total fail on Amtrak’s part and not likely to be forgotten by those affected.



But today it is on-time (50 minutes early in to LOR)!?!? So why did I just get this:
"We wanted to let you know that train #53, the Auto Train, from Lorton, Virginia on Tuesday, December 24th, has been cancelled due to a service disruption. Unfortunately, we don't have other transportation available."
It's 8 hrs late arriving SFA today.(???). As the most frequent AT user...I've seen a thing-or-two. I have left SFA at 10:00 at night before. So our Xmas in Disney is now cancelled this year. Maybe Amtrak can explain this to the kids for me! No, we're not driving. No, we can't postpone a week til there's an opening. P.S.- Does Amtrak offer any compensation for all the non-refundable deposits, or anything?
 

RichieRich

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Dec 2, 2016
Messages
319
I would not dream of ever using the AT for my 'commute'.... YMMV...
I live in Bethesda on the North end (30 minutes driveway-to-station) and Lake Buena Vista on the South end (45 minutes). I am baffled as the got in early today, left 10 minutes early too...and expected 3 hours late tomorrow...certainly not enough to force a total cancellation of both directions!?!? Perhaps shutting it down for the Amtrak Employee Xmas party???? My regular two connecting rooms have turned in to two single rooms (A) in two different cars (4-cars apart)@#%@#%@#% So besides missing Xmas we'll have to split the family up between many cars. What are they donna do next = steam locomotives!?!?!?
 
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F900ElCapitan

Lead Service Attendant
AU Supporter
Joined
Oct 7, 2018
Messages
382
All I can say is call and complain...then keep calling and emailing until you get a reasonable answer. Then let us know what you're resolution is so we can be better prepared. GOOD LUCK!!
 

BLNT

Service Attendant
Joined
Nov 5, 2019
Messages
109
We were on our FIRST Amtrak trip, and our first experience on the Auto Train - for its departure from Sanford on Friday, 12/20.

We left about 15 minutes late, but otherwise all seemed to go smoothly (just like you folks had indicated it would). We were given #12 and #13 tickets for our cars, which would later prove most helpful.

I awoke at 6 am on Saturday, ready to "enjoy" the continental breakfast - only to find that we were dead on the tracks near Savannah... I then learned that we had lost an engine, and were in the process of borrowing one from CSX.

We made it into Florence where apparently we had to swap out for a replacement Amtrak engine. That took from 10:30 to 12:30, and off we were...

They served us a lackluster lunch consisting on the same dry rice blend from the night before, veggies (actually got two pieces of broccoli this time!), a couple tablespoons of some beef stew, and a roll. Since I know we were not going to be getting into Lorton until ~ 9 pm, I asked what plans they had for dinner (for the passengers). The server said they'd have food for us in the terminal after we detrained. By 3-4 in the afternoon, we decided to head to the lounge car and pay for some overpriced snack food. Guess what - they were out of everything edible - only alcohol remained. I know from our experience with cruising that ships have several days of additional stores. I get that trains don't have that kind of extra space, but you'd think that during our two hours in Florence that they could have brought something on the train so that they could at least hand out some snacks or such throughout the day.

Well, all that was waiting for us in Lorton was a very crowed standing room only terminal, no food (I was picturing perhaps several dozen boxes of pizza). They were handing out strips of paper with the customer service number on it as their response to some people asking about compensation. I have yet to call.

Well our cars made it out after a bit of time, and we were driving off at 9:30... basically a TWELVE HOUR DELAY. I will say that the McDonalds near the station was rather busy!

The part which irritated me the most was the woman making periodic announcements - I'll refrain from calling her names, though I was thinking it. Very few updates, which would have helped with the wait we were enduring. Nevermind that, even up to the very end - when she went into what must be a standard detraining protocol spiel, that NOT ONCE was an apology offered. I was actually waiting to here one, but was not surprised that it never came... sad.

BTW - while waiting to get our cars, someone in the crowd (a real talker) mentioned that they had heard the 12/24 train would be cancelled.

WOW
 

Tom Booth

Service Attendant
Joined
Jul 5, 2019
Messages
161
Location
Jersey City
We were on our FIRST Amtrak trip, and our first experience on the Auto Train - for its departure from Sanford on Friday, 12/20.

We left about 15 minutes late, but otherwise all seemed to go smoothly (just like you folks had indicated it would). We were given #12 and #13 tickets for our cars, which would later prove most helpful.

I awoke at 6 am on Saturday, ready to "enjoy" the continental breakfast - only to find that we were dead on the tracks near Savannah... I then learned that we had lost an engine, and were in the process of borrowing one from CSX.

We made it into Florence where apparently we had to swap out for a replacement Amtrak engine. That took from 10:30 to 12:30, and off we were...

They served us a lackluster lunch consisting on the same dry rice blend from the night before, veggies (actually got two pieces of broccoli this time!), a couple tablespoons of some beef stew, and a roll. Since I know we were not going to be getting into Lorton until ~ 9 pm, I asked what plans they had for dinner (for the passengers). The server said they'd have food for us in the terminal after we detrained. By 3-4 in the afternoon, we decided to head to the lounge car and pay for some overpriced snack food. Guess what - they were out of everything edible - only alcohol remained. I know from our experience with cruising that ships have several days of additional stores. I get that trains don't have that kind of extra space, but you'd think that during our two hours in Florence that they could have brought something on the train so that they could at least hand out some snacks or such throughout the day.

Well, all that was waiting for us in Lorton was a very crowed standing room only terminal, no food (I was picturing perhaps several dozen boxes of pizza). They were handing out strips of paper with the customer service number on it as their response to some people asking about compensation. I have yet to call.

Well our cars made it out after a bit of time, and we were driving off at 9:30... basically a TWELVE HOUR DELAY. I will say that the McDonalds near the station was rather busy!

The part which irritated me the most was the woman making periodic announcements - I'll refrain from calling her names, though I was thinking it. Very few updates, which would have helped with the wait we were enduring. Nevermind that, even up to the very end - when she went into what must be a standard detraining protocol spiel, that NOT ONCE was an apology offered. I was actually waiting to here one, but was not surprised that it never came... sad.

BTW - while waiting to get our cars, someone in the crowd (a real talker) mentioned that they had heard the 12/24 train would be cancelled.

WOW
Call Customer Service and say just what you just posted. They should comp you another trip.
 

BLNT

Service Attendant
Joined
Nov 5, 2019
Messages
109
Their phones (for that dept) now have an "over 30 minute hold time". No doubt, on this Monday morning, there are more than a couple folks calling to chat with them, lol. I'll call back in a few days, or next week !!

Reading back through my last post - I cringe at a couple of typos, but life goes on!

As challenging as our experience was, it was more so for the sleeper car between ours and the dining car. Total power failure - early on they had to move all the people in those rooms to "somewhere else" on the train for the rest of the trip. I have no idea what kind of accommodations they were able to come up with. So, for those people, that was just adding insult to injury!!
 

BLNT

Service Attendant
Joined
Nov 5, 2019
Messages
109
Our return trip is 12/28... hopefully it will be uneventful. No bedrooms for that one, the best I could find were roomettes.
 

RichieRich

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Dec 2, 2016
Messages
319
Yes "WOW"...welcome to the AutoTrain. While out of anyone's control, yes frustrating. I am "on" the cancelled train (the 24th)...so Amtrak cancelled Disney Xmas. Yes, the dinner becomes lunch the next day. Over the years I've had 3 cancelled trains, only 4 hours dead-on-the-tracks, and the "catered" chicken dinner in the station at 10:00pm. I think the "woman making periodic announcements" is a recording! LOL While you experienced one of the worst situations...many trips are UNeventful. I want to hear back about any, if any, compensations.
P.S. - that's why I take no chance and pack per the attached! LOL
 

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BLNT

Service Attendant
Joined
Nov 5, 2019
Messages
109
On the phone with them now... for the two of us in 1 bedroom, $400 credit voucher, for three others (in two bedrooms), $700. So, I'll have $1,100 to use in the next year.

More than they "had" to do for me, though a "free" trip would have been nice. :)
 

Amtrak57

Train Attendant
Joined
Nov 24, 2019
Messages
19
Why would 53 be cancelled on the 24th? 52 (leaving 12/23) left Sanford 16 minutes early and is expected to arrive over an hour early. They still have the same amount of time to turn around. (I would get if 52 was cancelled though)

Edit: According to the Amtrak Twitter page, both trains 52 and 53 are cancelled. Expect alot of traffic on I-95 tommorow.
Also, would Amtrak accommodate passengers on the Silver Star/Meteor that would of originally used the Auto Train?
 
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BLNT

Service Attendant
Joined
Nov 5, 2019
Messages
109
Why would 53 be cancelled on the 24th? 52 (leaving 12/23) left Sanford 16 minutes early and is expected to arrive over an hour early. They still have the same amount of time to turn around. (I would get if 52 was cancelled though)
No doubt there must be some logic to it. Perhaps they utilize scientific methods such as an Ouija board...
 

BLNT

Service Attendant
Joined
Nov 5, 2019
Messages
109
OK... just a quick fly by update/report:

So, at least our return journey was not like our 12 hour delayed trip up last weekend.

Nope - this time, the train coming from Sanford that we were going to ride back was only five and a half hours late getting into Lorton.

They told us right off that, due to the late arrival, there would be no dinner served onboard - but instead that they were going to treat us to.... cheese pizza in the terminal... woo hoo. Nothing makes me feel more welcome that ditching our dining car hot meal for pizza where 500+ people line up for it like it's their last meal. No thanks -- I'm not falling for that - we thought way ahead and brought our soft sided YETI cooler filled with snacks and sandwiches. Once we boarded, a little after 6 pm, we went to our room and broke out the wine and cheese, and had our own party. To hell with them!!

Yep - it was a crowded train. I think that they said that there were something like 550 people and 300+ cars. Unfortunately, given the late date that we booked, getting our car off via the priority route was not possible. So, sometime around 2:30, with less than five cars left on the carriers, off ours rolled.

Amtrak --- you rock !
 

Just-Thinking-51

Conductor
AU Lifetime Supporter
AU Supporter
Joined
Sep 17, 2009
Messages
1,987
Location
USA
Thanks for the update.

What up with the delays on this train. Just canceled a complete trip to reset the schedule, and a few days later back up to 5 hours off schedule?

Ouch
 

BLNT

Service Attendant
Joined
Nov 5, 2019
Messages
109
Thanks for the update.

What up with the delays on this train. Just canceled a complete trip to reset the schedule, and a few days later back up to 5 hours off schedule?

Ouch
I was told the delay was due to a bad axle on one of the (empty) car carriers on the way up.

Somewhat frustrated (waiting around on Saturday in Lorton) after the pizza was picked over, and they got on to announce to people in the terminal that it was last call on the pizza, I went up to say (something along the lines of) "I'm not as concerned in getting updates on the pizza as I am in getting an update/estimate as to when you think we'll be able to start boarding". She looked surprised that I would ask and then quietly admitted that it should be in about 15 minutes, though that they didn't want to announce that to get peoples hopes up. Whaaaaat??!! I replied that I felt that people would find that kind of announcement helpful and encouraging. She was like "don't spread that info around... shhhh".

Does Amtrak have some type of unwritten rule to keep their customers in the dark as long as possible. It's like they're afraid that their estimate will be wrong, and that they'll have to update again and again. Really, all that I ask for is that they try to keep people in the loop. It's strange sitting there for HOURS AND HOURS with no type of carrot at the end of the stick. Throw me a bone here !!
 
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