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Amtrak "Hot Turning" Bedrooms Again

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rtabern

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My wife and I just completed a trip on the Sunset Limited/Texas Eagle #422 that departed LAX at 10PM PT on 12/30/20... arriving in St. Louis at 7:30AM CT on 1/2/21. We had Bedroom C and Roomette 9. (Neither of us like sleeping on the top bunks) Had a great trip all the way... with attendants allowing cafe car food instead of the dining car meals, if we so choose. One thing that did concern me though. We arrived into St. Louis about 59 minutes early (6:25AM). Our room attendant said we could stay on until 7:45AM and even enjoy a breakfast before getting off the train. Then mid-breakfast, he comes and finds us and asks if it's okay if he moved all our bags to Roomette 9, as he just got word from the conductor Amtrak sold our Bedroom C from STL-CHI... and the "new people" would be aboard in about 5 minutes. We were fine with that and he did the best job he could to clean the room... but YIKES!!!! I thought Amtrak was NOT "hot turning" the sleeping car rooms during this time of COVID-19. I mean we had basically been in there for something like 54 hours from LAX-STL and he had 5 minutes to do a quick clean and to get the beds made back up. I don't think I would feel comfortable getting on in STL and going into a bedroom that someone else had spent 3 nights and 54 hours in and only got the most basic of cleaning. From now on... we will only get on a LD train at the origin station...
 
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I’m doing this trip Friday night. I know it’s going to be different with covid . Anything notable to remark on?
 

Bob Dylan

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Austin Texas
My wife and I just completed a trip on the Sunset Limited/Texas Eagle #422 that departed LAX at 10PM PT on 12/30/20... arriving in St. Louis at 7:30AM CT on 1/2/21. We had Bedroom C and Roomette 9. (Neither of us like sleeping on the top bunks) Had a great trip all the way... with attendants allowing cafe car food instead of the dining car meals, if we so choose. One thing that did concern me though. We arrived into St. Louis about 59 minutes early (6:25AM). Our room attendant said we could stay on until 7:45AM and even enjoy a breakfast before getting off the train. Then mid-breakfast, he comes and finds us and asks if it's okay if he moved all our bags to Roomette 9, as he just got word from the conductor Amtrak sold our Bedroom C from STL-CHI... and the "new people" would be aboard in about 5 minutes. We were fine with that and he did the best job he could to clean the room... but YIKES!!!! I thought Amtrak was NOT "hot turning" the sleeping car rooms during this time of COVID-19. I mean we had basically been in there for something like 54 hours from LAX-STL and he had 5 minutes to do a quick clean and to get the beds made back up. I don't think I would feel comfortable getting on in STL and going into a bedroom that someone else had spent 3 nights and 54 hours in and only got the most basic of cleaning. From now on... we will only get on a LD train at the origin station...
This is one you need to report to CR Rob! This is totally the opposite of what Amtrak is promising as to Cleanliness and Safety during the COVID Pandemic!
 

Trogdor

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I thought Amtrak was NOT "hot turning" the sleeping car rooms during this time of COVID-19.
Was this ever a policy? I haven't really paid close attention to all of the specifics, but I can find no mention of this on Amtrak's website. I suppose they could have changed the policy and updated the website in the meantime.
 
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Seaboard92

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They stopped hot turning rooms? I was just on the Silver Star a few weeks ago and one room was NYP-RGH and then CYN-ORL. With only fifteen minutes between the stops to turn it over.
 

AmtrakBlue

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Was this ever a policy? I haven't really paid close attention to all of the specifics, but I can find no mention of this on Amtrak's website. I suppose they could have changed the policy and updated the website in the meantime.
I know in Denver, at the end of Sept, they delayed boarding the sleepers to make sure the many vacated rooms were cleaned. Don’t know, didn’t ask, exactly how they were cleaned. My guess is they are doing some type of disinfecting and this took longer with the number of rooms that were turning over at Denver. Or maybe it was just the fact that people have to stand in the hallways while the bedding is changed??
 

Sidney

Service Attendant
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Jul 12, 2020
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I'm surprised,as well they are turning rooms around that quickly Usually Amtrak is pretty good enforcing Covid restrictions. I 'll be on the Sunset/Eagle in a couple of weeks from LA to Chicago. Saved $139 by switching to Coach in Bloomington Il. I hope i get that choice of cafe car food. A combination of both would be good. Eating that flex stuff for three days is tough.
 

rtabern

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Well... according to its website "Amtrak is only selling 50% of total occupancy for most trains".

So, if my math is correct... that would mean ONLY 2 or 3 bedrooms should be occupied at a given time in a sleeper.

However, all 5 were occupied upon leaving St. Louis, including ours which was hot-turned in a manner of 5 minutes.

Selling 100% of the bedrooms does not follow the policy of only selling 50% of total occupancy. But maybe they mean the whole train vs. just a car's occupancy? I dunno...
 

20th Century Rider

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This is one you need to report to CR Rob! This is totally the opposite of what Amtrak is promising as to Cleanliness and Safety during the COVID Pandemic!
Those quick turns seem to happen quite often... which makes me uneasy. Also find that on the EB some of the less caring SLA's will start going into the rooms and making up the beds an hour before arrival... so that they can have it done and not have to do anything during their continued paid time after the train arrives.

No, there doesn't seem to be a consistent high standard of service... and one should tip accordingly.
 

20th Century Rider

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Well... according to its website "Amtrak is only selling 50% of total occupancy for most trains".

So, if my math is correct... that would mean ONLY 2 or 3 bedrooms should be occupied at a given time in a sleeper.

However, all 5 were occupied upon leaving St. Louis, including ours which was hot-turned in a manner of 5 minutes.

Selling 100% of the bedrooms does not follow the policy of only selling 50% of total occupancy. But maybe they mean the whole train vs. just a car's occupancy? I dunno...
Woah there... gotta question... all the bedrooms were fully booked between STL and CHI which is a relatively short daytime stretch? I sometimes see folks getting a roomette to enjoy a full breakfast and full lunch before Chicago... but now they are only serving those teeny tastless flex meals?

Why would anyone want to pay such big bucks for a 7 hour ride?:oops:
 

AmtrakBlue

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Well... according to its website "Amtrak is only selling 50% of total occupancy for most trains".

So, if my math is correct... that would mean ONLY 2 or 3 bedrooms should be occupied at a given time in a sleeper.

However, all 5 were occupied upon leaving St. Louis, including ours which was hot-turned in a manner of 5 minutes.

Selling 100% of the bedrooms does not follow the policy of only selling 50% of total occupancy. But maybe they mean the whole train vs. just a car's occupancy? I dunno...
I think they're only selling 50% of coach seats since the rooms offer "social distancing".
 

OBS

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Those quick turns seem to happen quite often... which makes me uneasy. Also find that on the EB some of the less caring SLA's will start going into the rooms and making up the beds an hour before arrival... so that they can have it done and not have to do anything during their continued paid time after the train arrives.

No, there doesn't seem to be a consistent high standard of service... and one should tip accordingly.
Your facts are not correct. There is no "continuous paid time" after the train arrives. All OBS employees time (except LSA) stops the moment the train arrives. To receive any extra time, the employee has to find a supervisor to authorize and document what and why for the extra time.
 

me_little_me

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Well... according to its website "Amtrak is only selling 50% of total occupancy for most trains".

So, if my math is correct... that would mean ONLY 2 or 3 bedrooms should be occupied at a given time in a sleeper.

However, all 5 were occupied upon leaving St. Louis, including ours which was hot-turned in a manner of 5 minutes.

Selling 100% of the bedrooms does not follow the policy of only selling 50% of total occupancy. But maybe they mean the whole train vs. just a car's occupancy? I dunno...
C'mon! "50% of total occupancy". Not 50% of each class of service.

Besides, they say "most trains". Sleeper trains are only a small part of the total number of Amtrak trains.
 

PVD

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In addition, a pretty large number of rooms are sold to singles, which if strictly interpreted would be 50% by itself (assuming 2 persons as the "normal" capacity, but again, sleepers represent a small part of Amtrak.
 

Barb Stout

OBS Chief
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Even before Covid19, there were a number of times when we were asked upon boarding to wait in the lounge or whatever for the roomette to be made ready, so my bet that is what happened to the folks who booked the bedroom after the Taberns.
 

jis

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So is each Coach seat that is vacated and then possibly reused kept forced vacant for the rest of the journey, or is it put through the full cleanup rigmarole before reuse? If not, then what is the difference between a Coach seat and a Sleeper seat? Admittedly there are things like the toilet and sink to clean and bedding to be removed and replaced. But you've got to do that anyway COVID or not, and the disinfectant spray would be the additional COVID thing. Realistically, perhaps a 5 minute UV-C treatment, easily administered with proper equipment handy, would probably be more effective, but that has not been viewed as necessary.

BTW, is there any statistics available on how many people came down with COVID after taking an Amtrak trip within say 5-7 days of the trip? Just curious. I have not seen anything of the sort yet.
 

crescent-zephyr

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BTW, is there any statistics available on how many people came down with COVID after taking an Amtrak trip within say 5-7 days of the trip? Just curious. I have not seen anything of the sort yet.
There seems to be very little tracing going on and the travel businesses like that I’m sure. If there is no way to prove you got sick when taking a vacation, then it must be safe to take a vacation right?
 

Chris I

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Portland, OR
There seems to be very little tracing going on and the travel businesses like that I’m sure. If there is no way to prove you got sick when taking a vacation, then it must be safe to take a vacation right?
People are drawing all kinds of bad conclusions because of our poor contact tracing. Airlines, restaurants, gyms etc are all boasting about how "safe" it is because there is no definitive data about spread. The reality is that these places are nearly impossible to contact trace, especially in the US, where our tracing system is basically non-existant. From what we know about this virus, all shared indoor air should be considered risky, especially if people are eating/drink and/or breathing heavily.

My primary concern about quick turn on a private bedroom would be contaminated air and surfaces from the previous occupant. Probably a good idea to wipe down all of the surfaces yourself when boarding, and wear a mask with the door open for a bit, until you know that the air has exchanged sufficiently.
 

Bob Dylan

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People are drawing all kinds of bad conclusions because of our poor contact tracing. Airlines, restaurants, gyms etc are all boasting about how "safe" it is because there is no definitive data about spread. The reality is that these places are nearly impossible to contact trace, especially in the US, where our tracing system is basically non-existant. From what we know about this virus, all shared indoor air should be considered risky, especially if people are eating/drink and/or breathing heavily.

My primary concern about quick turn on a private bedroom would be contaminated air and surfaces from the previous occupant. Probably a good idea to wipe down all of the surfaces yourself when boarding, and wear a mask with the door open for a bit, until you know that the air has exchanged sufficiently.
I still feel the Majority of us will not travel on an Amtrak LD Train, whether in Coach or Sleeper until things have improved 1000%.

This has more to do with what's going on outside of the Train while traveling, but honestly I cant see any destination being "fun" right now, and staying in your room is not most people's idea of a good time.( most Trains either have the Lounge/ Observation Car Closed or Off the consist😣)
 

Seaboard92

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Honestly if you don't have a real need to travel right now one shouldn't be doing it.

Right now I have the need to travel to and from Indianapolis once a month and I'm honestly not a fan of it. I worry greatly about picking up the virus while I'm out and about. I also take the maximum amount of precautions as well.

We rent out a full house AirBNB, only use take out, drive thru, and delivery, we don't go to the store other than Lowe's because we have to for work, and we are always wearing masks outside of people from our little group. We don't see people other than that when we are in Indy. The most interaction we have with someone outside of our circle is with the Amtrak police at the gate to and from the Grove.
 

Lonestar648

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Several of my friends who used to travel all over, are mostly working from home using Zoom and FedX. Though this has worked in some cases, many times it has not. Their companies and their customers look to be continuing this practice at least mid 2021 if not the end of 2021. Getting contracts approved has been very difficult

the capacity issues was confirms quite a while ago as 50% of Coach since Bedrooms are enclosed and free from passing the virus to others through the walls they are sold 100% if possible. What isn’t taken into consideration is the time required for the SCA to clean the room properly. In other words, a room can not be resold unless there is an hour for the room to be cleaned and sanitized.

even if Amtrak is cleaning seats after each use, I would bring my own HD anti bacterial wipes so I could do my own wipe down of most surfaces. I. Know that the virus is only considered passable Airborne, but better to be safe.
 

Shortline

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Because of Covid, I had a record travel year on Amtrak last year. A lot of trips I would have flown, I took the train instead. I had well over 30 nights on board, plus multiple hops on day trains, like Acela and the Pennsylvanian. On every one, I believe, they were turning rooms. Never thought that would be any different. I'm sure they probably vacuum, spray some lysol, and call it a day.

After all that train travel, with all the absurdity that goes with it (lounge car use, bad food, etc) I swore I was done, but giving it another go, just booked BHM-DEN and return in a few weeks, which means starting off 2021 with 6 nights on board rather than flying. Now that Southwest has opened up the middle seats again, I would rather train it, even if I do need to bring my own food, than fly right now. This vaccine can't come soon enough....
 
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