Amtrak booking website/issues/timetables removed

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fdaley

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Someone claiming in this day and age that maintaining a database for the timetable to too time consuming to do it is merely expressing the high level of incompetence involved I am afraid. 🤷‍♂️

It is sort of like a Restaurant saying that it is too time consuming to keep track of food inventory.... Oh wait Amtrak does have that problem too I suppose :D
I think it's more like a restaurant not having a printed or displayed menu and instead telling you that, if you feel like chicken, just punch that into our app and we'll show you all the chicken entrees. It works fine if you have a pretty good idea in advance of what you want, but you don't have the ability to survey all the options and perhaps be inspired to try something unexpected.

So the point-to-point offering on the website is OK if I'm going from Albany to New York and back or between some other pair of stations that I do all the time. And no doubt for many customers that's all the information they need, because that's the only kind of train travel they do. But if I'm planning a three-week cross-country trip with several stopovers, I really want to see what's covered in daylight, the connections between LD and corridor services, whether the connecting schedule's different on Friday or Sunday, and all kinds of other details before I'd even know whether it works better for me to take the Zephyr eastbound or westbound, for example. I don't think I'd have the patience to try to dope that out by punching in an endless bunch of city pairs and days of the week. So in a very real way, it becomes a disincentive to attempting that kind of travel.
 
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zephyr17

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Does someone really have to hand-hold their IT department and teach them how to pull info from a database and reformat into table form? If they are currently overworked updating timetables as claimed in that FB thread then obviously they need to modernize their processes.
They don't need to get it from the DB. As I mentioned in an early post, the requisite data is already available as JSON objects, which could easily rendered as a PDF codelessly with commercial software.

BTW, a presentation layer directly accessing database is not current best practice. A data layer, with possibility a business service layer, is preferred. That there are JSON objects available indicates they have already implemented at least a data layer.
 

acelafan

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They don't need to get it from the DB. As I mentioned in an early post, the requisite data is already available as JSON objects, which could easily rendered as a PDF codelessly with commercial software.

BTW, a presentation layer directly accessing database is not current best practice. A data layer, with possibility a business service layer, is preferred. That there are JSON objects available indicates they have already implemented at least a data layer.
Thanks. Regardless of how the data is stored, retrieved and presented it can obviously be done. The hard part seems to convince them to do it or get RPA after them.
 

Brian Battuello

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I skimmed this thread, so apologize if this has been said...

You can still get a decent timetable from Dixieland Software's Amtrak Status maps.

Go to Amtrak Status Maps , navigate to the train you want, and voila!

dixie.jpg

They get the info from the Amtrak status page, so should be right up to date. Note the button labeled PDF schedule, which still links to the last version of the printed schedule.

Hit the "Details" and "Formatted Data" for even nicer formats.
 
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fdaley

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I skimmed this thread, so apologize if this has been said...

You can still get a decent timetable from Dixieland Software's Amtrak Status maps.

Go to Amtrak Status Maps , navigate to the train you want, and voila!

View attachment 22692

They get the info from the Amtrak status page, so should be right up to date. Note the button labeled PDF schedule, which still links to the last version of the printed schedule.
I don't think that has been mentioned in this thread, but I was thinking that site would be a good place to get all the current data if I wanted it for the LD trains. For the multi-frequency routes, though, you'd have to print out or copy the data for each individual run and then somehow compile them into a timetable. As others have suggested, perhaps some third party would do that work and make it available online somewhere, but it seems like it ought to be Amtrak's job -- and that it would be in their best interest to have this be available to potential customers.
 
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west point

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Multiple train routes need timetables for those persons who cannot know what time they will be free to travel until the last minute. The more you travel under those conditions the more you need a timetable. Virginia timetables to NEC certainly need timetables. Example a person living half way between NS and CSX might need to know where to go for the next train

25 open IT positions ? No wonder things are so screwed up. Will take another 5 -10 present IT to train new hires.
 

niemi24s

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It seems that the timetable link on the individual train pages (as an example, the Capitol Limited, click on "Schedule") has stopped working.
That may be because the Capitol Limited was scheduled to have returned to a daily schedule yesterday. The old daily timetable/schedule dated March, 2020 is still available here: Amtrak Tickets, Schedules and Train Routes and the one dated October, 2020 here: Amtrak Timetable Archives - Home

Looks like you'll have to do your own sleuthing (by making 15 separate test bookings on Arrow) to see if either of these reflects todays reality as using the Schedules button on the home page seems to be of no use now. Wunnerful - simply wunnerful!!
 
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Barb Stout

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Found it. Alan's reply to John Humphrey ("Here is an idea, that just came to me.....") . Facebook Groups
It sounds ok, but it didn't work for me at all. Here is what I posted to Alan Burnstines post about timetables/schedules:
"It didn't work for me at all except for the initial input. I entered a city pair and a date in December and the longest range (Sunday to Sunday in my case) and then "schedule". The only thing that happened is that the word "Schedule" greyed out, but no schedules revealed themselves. I am using Chrome on a Macintosh computer. Are there particular computer/browser combinations that this doesn't work with? Oh, I tried it a 4th time and got this message which I hadn't gotten the first 3 times I tried:
"We've experienced an unknown error. Try again later or call us at 1-800-USA-RAIL." So I guess I'll try another time. Maybe the site is taking a day off as it is Memorial Day." Did anyone one else on here try it out and was your success better than mine? I had tried various city pairs just in case it didn't like some pairs, but nothing worked.

Edit: I also tried it in Safari on my Macintosh, but same with only it didn't give any error messages.
 

AmtrakBlue

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It sounds ok, but it didn't work for me at all. Here is what I posted to Alan Burnstines post about timetables/schedules:
"It didn't work for me at all except for the initial input. I entered a city pair and a date in December and the longest range (Sunday to Sunday in my case) and then "schedule". The only thing that happened is that the word "Schedule" greyed out, but no schedules revealed themselves. I am using Chrome on a Macintosh computer. Are there particular computer/browser combinations that this doesn't work with? Oh, I tried it a 4th time and got this message which I hadn't gotten the first 3 times I tried:
"We've experienced an unknown error. Try again later or call us at 1-800-USA-RAIL." So I guess I'll try another time. Maybe the site is taking a day off as it is Memorial Day." Did anyone one else on here try it out and was your success better than mine? I had tried various city pairs just in case it didn't like some pairs, but nothing worked.
I was getting that error yesterday with using just one date.

I would not be surprised if they’re doing updates to the system since it is a holiday weekend. That’s a popular time for updates to be made at many companies.
 

zephyr17

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It's gone in and out for me over the last few days. It is also pretty slow even just retrieving one day on one route even when it does work.
 

acelafan

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It sounds ok, but it didn't work for me at all. Here is what I posted to Alan Burnstines post about timetables/schedules:
"It didn't work for me at all except for the initial input. I entered a city pair and a date in December and the longest range (Sunday to Sunday in my case) and then "schedule". The only thing that happened is that the word "Schedule" greyed out, but no schedules revealed themselves. I am using Chrome on a Macintosh computer. Are there particular computer/browser combinations that this doesn't work with? Oh, I tried it a 4th time and got this message which I hadn't gotten the first 3 times I tried:
"We've experienced an unknown error. Try again later or call us at 1-800-USA-RAIL." So I guess I'll try another time. Maybe the site is taking a day off as it is Memorial Day." Did anyone one else on here try it out and was your success better than mine? I had tried various city pairs just in case it didn't like some pairs, but nothing worked.

Edit: I also tried it in Safari on my Macintosh, but same with only it didn't give any error messages.
I tried it yesterday and forgot to mention it failed miserably. Attached is a screenshot - the same error as you. screenshot_tt.png
 

acelafan

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A friend of mine works for Amtrak in ops and he's quite senior. He asked the group in charge about the timetables and he said "It's not looking good - they cut that job." He thinks RPA is the best hope to change things.

I called RPA and the representative (Harvey?) said they would raise this issue with Amtrak at their weekly meeting tomorrow. He said it can take a long time for them to respond to queries, though.
 
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"They cut that job"? Incredible! Since they don't publish and distribute printed National and route timetables anymore, how much time can it take for one person to simply use existing templates and make the occasional changes for the PDF accessed by the website? I'm not an "IT guy", by any stretch of the imagination, but I wouldn't think it would take more than a few minutes, whenever a change in schedules is made, if they keep it up on an ongoing basis....🤷‍♂️
 

Devil's Advocate

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There is no reason why anyone should need to manually update published data from a dynamic source. This is a task made for computers. The job of many IT guys is to make tedious tasks faster and more dependable, until at some point they can simply run on their own without intervention. The difference with Amtrak is that they fail to build the replacement process before ridding themselves of the staff.
 
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drdumont

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The difference with Amtrak is that they fail to build the replacement process before ridding themselves of the staff.
In a related subject, here's a "No S___ter". My company last year issued a nationwide decree: "Every department will lay off one employee. No exceptions. Questions and request for variance will not be entertained. Period."
So I lost the last assistant I had. Been averaging 20-25 hours a week overtime since to cover the shifts and work. Cool.

Now here's the payoff: We had a department which oversaw a computer operation - home grown home built software and hardware, administered the entire 44 station network commercial acquisition combination database and file transfer automation. Three people, the guy who wrote the system and two assistants. One left two years ago. Another quit two months before the bastinado. To go to work for the first guy who quit. And of course, no replacements. So Chuck, this one man department whose operation is the key to corporate income, gets the pronunciamento. Chuck duly submits his name and corporate ID number. On D-Day he receives a Fedex addressed to him. In it was the standard "See Yuh" package directing him to terminate forthwith the person named on the form, complete with forms, severance checks, and receipts to sign when he took possession of the password list, corporate cellphone, computer, keys, building and parking pass.
So he wrote an email to himself directing that he report to his office forthwith. Signed all the papers, called Security, was perpwalked out the door, and security used his override to open the parking lot gate. See Yuh!
Wait for it...

Within a week days he was getting calls at home. Answered none, but his attorney notified the company that Chuck could not speak to them, as he was under an NDA with his new employer. You guessed it, the hated competition. The corporation offered the competition a large amount of money to hire him as a contractor for a week to sort things out. Competitor refused, on Chuck's advice.

So as of last week the company is still Fedexing commercial material to each station on disk drives, and has contracted a firm to rebuild the system all new. From? Yup. The company started by the first guy who quit.

And it's not a password thing, Chuck sent certified letters with all passwords to several corporate officers before D-Day.

I am retiring (after 57 years in the business, and 10 years here) on 31 December 30 - days after I am entitled to the pension. I will still be laughing.

Bottom Line:
So I am thinking of applying to AMTRAK to be the Timetable Data Base Coordinator. Sounds like they need one. Indoor work and no heavy lifting, I bet.
 
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neroden

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A friend of mine works for Amtrak in ops and he's quite senior. He asked the group in charge about the timetables and he said "It's not looking good - they cut that job." He thinks RPA is the best hope to change things.

I called RPA and the representative (Harvey?) said they would raise this issue with Amtrak at their weekly meeting tomorrow. He said it can take a long time for them to respond to queries, though.
The timetables are going to come back. The big question for me is, will they come back under current Amtrak management, or will we have to get Flynn and his entire top staff fired? We can; this is egregious enough.

Keep on complaining to Amtrak. I've got an awful lot going on personally in the next two weeks, but I'm not going to let up on this either. I know some approaches through Congress, and jishnu has found a legal approach; I want a DOT approach, however, which I haven't found yet (due to, honestly, working on other things most of the time). I think DOT will have the greatest ability to apply pressure this year, so if anyone has a connection at DOT, start using it.
 

dcipjr

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The aforementioned "Schedule" link on the individual train route pages has now disappeared.
 
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Cal

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The aforementioned "Schedule" link on the individual train route pages has now disappeared.
This happened days ago, only on some routes, I believe LD trains that have gone back to daily service.
 

acelafan

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This happened days ago, only on some routes, I believe LD trains that have gone back to daily service.
They are slowly disappearing, yesterday only 4 routes were missing but now all these schedules are gone:

California Zephyr
Capitol Limited
City of New Orleans
Coast Starlight
Empire Builder
Lake Shore Limited
Southwest Chief
Texas Eagle

I am calling Customer Relations today and making a complaint.
 
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There is some evidence that the only way one gets any activity funded within Amtrak is to first try to discontinue it and then watch hell break loose. What a way to run a company!
That's how Claytor manipulated Congress, right? By threatening to cut a train that happened to go though the district of reluctant members of finance committees?;)
 
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