Amtrak left passengers - how could you make this mistake?

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Cole737

Train Attendant
Joined
May 9, 2014
Messages
59
While Filming trains last weekend in Oregon city, Amtrak 507 made a quick evening stop to unload and pick up passengers. After only being there for about 30 seconds - there was 2 passengers standing right next to the train on the platform waiting to board. The only door that was open was for business class way up front. These passengers didn't know where to go and wanted to board their train. I heard over the scanner:

Engineer: Amtrak 507 clear block, oregon city?

Conductor: Clear - I think so.

And then they were on their way.

How often does this happen? I was a bit rediculous. I sat down with the passengers they left afterwards and they were very upset with amtrak.

You should never "Think" you're ready to go. You have to KNOW you're ready to go.

This angered me as well. Get it together Amtrak.
 

MikefromCrete

Conductor
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Mar 24, 2009
Messages
2,602
Seems that if you see people getting on the train and no other doors are open, you would walk toward the boarding spot. At least start yelling and waive your hands so that the crew knows you're there.
 

tim49424

Conductor
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Dec 20, 2010
Messages
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Seems that if you see people getting on the train and no other doors are open, you would walk toward the boarding spot.
This should be enough to make the conductor aware that you're there. I know if I were in that position, I would. If I were to miss a train, I'd be the one to blame, not Amtrak.
 

caravanman

Conductor
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Mar 22, 2004
Messages
3,581
If you are unfamiliar with the rules, maybe a first time rider, you may reasonably expect to find the doors would open, or that someone from the train staff would make sure that no one was left behind.

I seem to remember a similar post a few years back where a young man was left waiting 24 hours in the cold because he could not see where to board.

Ed. :cool:
 

KmH

Conductor
Joined
Dec 6, 2014
Messages
2,055
Were there other people on the platform that did board the train?

Sometimes it pays to have a herd mentality.

Oregon City is just a platform with a shelter, no staff.

But with only 1 door open and documentation showing how many pax to expect to board at that stop I would agree that the Conductor on that train failed to do their job.

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Crack that whip
Give the past a slip
Step on a crack
Break your momma's back

When a problem comes along
You must whip it
Before the cream sets out too long
You must whip it
When something's goin' wrong
You must whip it

Now whip it
Into shape
Shape it up
Get straight
Go forward
Move ahead
Try to detect it
It's not too late
To whip it
Into shape
Shape it up
Get straight
Go forward
Move ahead
Try to detect it
It's not too late
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Well, whip it good"
 
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Hal

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Jun 5, 2015
Messages
441
While Filming trains last weekend in Oregon city, Amtrak 507 made a quick evening stop to unload and pick up passengers. After only being there for about 30 seconds - there was 2 passengers standing right next to the train on the platform waiting to board. The only door that was open was for business class way up front. These passengers didn't know where to go and wanted to board their train. I heard over the scanner:

Engineer: Amtrak 507 clear block, oregon city?

Conductor: Clear - I think so.

And then they were on their way.

How often does this happen? I was a bit rediculous. I sat down with the passengers they left afterwards and they were very upset with amtrak.

You should never "Think" you're ready to go. You have to KNOW you're ready to go.

This angered me as well. Get it together Amtrak.
The crew should have been observing the platform. Did they leave on "I think so" ? It would be wrong of the engineer to leave on that. You say way up front. How many cars away? Are there any signs directing where to board? Do you know if the passengers had tickets?
 
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HP_Lovecraft

Service Attendant
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Jul 2, 2008
Messages
229
For about a year, I commuted from SAO to BON. At least once a week I'd see the train pull away with some idiot running out of the station waving arms. Very rarely would the conductor stop and reverse the train.

Usually at the WEM station. The building itself is set back 100" or so from the platform. Really too far away. What happens is that the train pulls in with no warning (no grade crossings nearby). So people wait in the station. When the train arrives, those unfamiliar with trains will then start getting there coats on, get all the bags organized, throw away any garbage, say goodbyes... then its too late. Train is already pulling away.

I know the conductors know exactly how many should be getting on. I'll typically hear it on the radio... but I think they get really irritated when a 1 minute stop turns into a 5 minute stop because passengers are unprepared.
 

the_traveler

Conductor
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25,780
I once boarded the Ethan Allen in FED. The train stopped and the passengers did not know which door to board. Then I saw the conductor standing outside the ONLY open door on the entire 6 car train! He was at the LAST car! (FED is also unstaffed.)

As said, if you see many passengers boarding at one door, a passenger who wants to board should go to that door. After all, at an airport with few flights, if you see passengers boarding a flight at gate 5 ("the only door open"), you would not wait for them to open the door at gate 7 so you can board - or would you? :huh:
 

neroden

Conductor
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Feb 23, 2014
Messages
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If the passengers are already on the platform, it is the conductor's responsibility to get the ticketed passengers on board. *Really* they ought to open all the doors, but if they don't due to understaffing, it's the conductor's job to step out, make himself visible, and yell "All Aboard", and then watch for the passengers walking towards him.

It's not acceptable to drive off when you've only opened one door at the far end of the train and not let anyone know about it. On the Empire Service at Utica, I've barely been able to see the far end of the train.

It's worth filing a complaint. The conductor who did this should get a reprimand on his record.
 
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lo2e

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Feb 18, 2012
Messages
361
I seem to remember a similar post a few years back where a young man was left waiting 24 hours in the cold because he could not see where to board.
Here - http://discuss.amtraktrains.com/index.php?/topic/57403-doors-didnt-open/

Usually at the WEM station. The building itself is set back 100" or so from the platform. Really too far away. What happens is that the train pulls in with no warning (no grade crossings nearby). So people wait in the station. When the train arrives, those unfamiliar with trains will then start getting there coats on, get all the bags organized, throw away any garbage, say goodbyes... then its too late. Train is already pulling away.
The last time I left from WEM (4-5 years ago), I think someone made an announcement that the train was due to arrive soon and folks should make their way to the platform. Maybe this doesn't happen any more? Regardless, they should also be watching the clock and unless there is some indication that the train is dramatically late, head out to the platform before it's due to arrive.
 

jebr

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Airports usually only have one gate per flight, whereas almost all rail lines have multiple, if not all, doors open.

If the conductor didn't make it well known that it was the only door opening, the fault lies almost exclusively on the conductor, with very little to none on the passengers.
 

City of Miami

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Jan 29, 2004
Messages
1,093
If the conductor didn't make it well known that it was the only door opening, the fault lies almost exclusively on the conductor, with very little to none on the passengers.
And how exactly would he make it known to the passengers waiting on the ground at an unstaffed station? Texting?
 

jebr

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Walking down the platform if people are on it (and haven't just gotten off the train) to ensure no one else is boarding seems like an option. Opening all doors is another option.
 

Phil S

OBS Chief
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Aug 20, 2011
Messages
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Not all doors need to be opened but maybe at least two? Not just one at one end?
 

OlympianHiawatha

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Feb 7, 2008
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The Conductor may have thought they were part of your video group or just folks watching the train since it seems they were not making effort to raise attention or scurry about.
 
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Seaboard92

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One thing I see a lot when I'm at stations is poor spotting by conductors. The worst is in Clemson. They only open one door sometimes a second when there is sleeper work that is all the way at the end of the dark platform that has lights that don't work 50 precent of the time. And the conductor gets annoyed the stop takes five minutes for five people but it's a three car walk from the gate at the building to the nearest trap. It happens very regularly. Now there is another crew that can spot it right on the gate and they can do it in under thirty seconds. It's possibly a conductor issue. And maybe a training issue
 

tim49424

Conductor
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Dec 20, 2010
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The Conductor may have thought they were part of your video group or just folks watching the train since it seems they were making effort to raise attention or scurry about.
Easy mistake to make.

One thing I see a lot when I'm at stations is poor spotting by conductors.
I've experienced that a lot too, especially at the station I used to board at. The engineer would overshoot by a car or two and the passengers would have to compensate. I've had to use a walker at times and when the spot was bad, I'd been forced to walk across stones in the ROW to get to the car I needed to board. Not a problem now, however, as where I board now, the platform is long enough to even accommodate a bad spot.
 

City of Miami

Conductor
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Walking down the platform if people are on it (and haven't just gotten off the train) to ensure no one else is boarding seems like an option. Opening all doors is another option.
Hahahahahahaha. You're lucky to get a "'Board!"
 

Thirdrail7

Conductor
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Jul 9, 2014
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The passengers may not have been on the manifest which means the crew wouldn't necessarily look for them. Additionally, if they are looking for a particular number of passengers, they would think they have who they are looking for regardless of where in the consist they are boarding.

So,it has happened. Trains have left stations without all of their passengers in the past and it would be foolish to say it can't happen in the future.
 

neroden

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With the current live, up-to-date manifests, which were implemented along with e-ticketing on the request of DHS, it is very unlikely that the passengers would not be on the manifest.
 

Triley

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With the current live, up-to-date manifests, which were implemented along with e-ticketing on the request of DHS, it is very unlikely that the passengers would not be on the manifest.
Plenty of passengers show up and pay cash for a ticket on-board. Especially at an unstaffed stop, with no QuikTrak machine. There's a reason why we still have to come to a complete stop at a station with 0 on 0 off, even if we're behind schedule. Then there's monthly passes, 10 rides, etc. There are also certain trains that cross-honor certain MARC or VRE tickets. This may be exclusive to the NEC for all I know. That's a bit outside of my scope I'm afraid.
 
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neroden

Conductor
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Well, OK, if they were cash-on-board passengers, I could see them being missed. I thought that wasn't even allowed on most ("all-reserved") trains though.
 

the_traveler

Conductor
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How about a 10-ticket rider as Triliy said? :huh: I believe you can get them ROC-SYR, PDX-ABY and EMY-BFD - all of which only have reserved trains but 10-ticket riders do not need reservations.
 

Devil's Advocate

Conductor
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May 24, 2010
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11,160
Sometimes it pays to have a herd mentality.
Herd mentality can also result in a bunch of useless blame-the-customer ranting as witnessed in this thread.

And how exactly would he make it known to the passengers waiting on the ground at an unstaffed station? Texting?
As already mentioned he could ask or motion for confirmation of intention or shout "All Aboard!" or have the engineer blow the horn and visually confirm the reaction.

Trains have left stations without all of their passengers in the past and it would be foolish to say it can't happen in the future.
Nobody is saying that. People are saying that Amtrak is shooting themselves in the foot by being sloppy about making sure people on the platform can board their train in a timely fashion. Which they are.
 
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OBS

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Nov 9, 2011
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You obviously have no idea how many people still show up in small towns with limited train service and no ticket agent, to travel w/o a reservation...
 
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