I'm glad overall your trip was nice but that's ridiculous there weren't any snacks or drinks in the CHI lounge. I too am also interested in mask compliance.Our last trip was Cardinal PHL to CHI - EB CHI to WFH 8/9-8/11 then return same routes on 9/17-9/19. PHL lounge did have snacks and drinks. The CHI lounge was maybe 25% full and there were no snacks or drinks, not even water. We went for lunch during our layover at the Greek Island in Greektown and enjoyed indoor seating. Trains were about half full. No cafe car seating on the Card. On the EB they seated you in the dining car. On the EB it seemed that 50% of the passengers both ways were Amish or Hutterite who were unconcerned about Covid 19. We moved about the train freely just as usual. . The contemporary dining may be tolerable for one meal but for six it was sickening. All in all it was nice going to a part of the country where we enjoyed indoor dining and limited infringements on our movements. Glacier National Park was outstanding.
When I rode #22/#21 on my Day Trip ( first Train trip since March)between Austin and Temple last week(9/23) the Amish folks in the Lounge were the only ones I saw not wearing Masks.Why wouldn’t they? I don’t think it’s against a religion to want to protect yourself and your fellow man
On a recent trip on the Empire Builder to Glacier National Park, this was my experience as well.When I rode #22/#21 on my Day Trip ( first Train trip since March)between Austin and Temple last week(9/23) the Amish folks in the Lounge were the only ones I saw not wearing Masks.
Interesting. This seems surpising to me that Amtrak would permit this, and that the Amish people wouldn’t want to protect themselves and others. Masks are certainly not new technology.On a recent trip on the Empire Builder to Glacier National Park, this was my experience as well.
How was your stay at Izaak Walton during Covid times?I had a 10-day trip just three weeks ago that included Coast Starlight and Empire Builder, with stays in Portland, Seattle, and the Izaak Walton Inn near Glacier National Park. The trip started and ended in Los Angeles. Normally, I book roomettes for hubby and me, but to minimize our contact, I splurged for bedrooms for the entire trip. I did spend some time in the observation car on the EB, and we did eat a few of our meals in the dining car on the EB, but we pretty much just stayed in our bedroom on the CS.
I was surprised that the EB seemed fairly full. Everyone I saw wore masks outside sleepers, other than a group of Amish folks who were in observation car without masks.
Overall, I felt safe on the trains and we had a great trip. I didn't like the flex meals, other than the brownie, but such is life. I've already booked my next trip for May 2021, going to Denver, so we'll get to experience the CA Zephyr. Can't wait .
It was great, we loved it there. They had diners spaced out in the restaurant, but we never had to wait long. We sat out on the lawn in front and watched freight trains pass by, we hiked a bit in the trails behind the hotel, we drove into Glacier NP and did a 2.5-hour rafting float on the Flathead River, we discovered a whiskey distillery that does tastings and boy was hubby thrilled about that.How was your stay at Izaak Walton during Covid times?
Curious - presuming you didn't book a sleeper for such a short trip, how were you allowed to access the diner/sleeper lounge?I just got back from a day trip from Orlando to Tampa and back on the Silver Star. The diner/sleeper lounge on 91 had some booths blocked off whereas all booths were available on 92. I was the only passenger eating an early lunch in the diner on 91 whereas, there were 3 passengers eating dinner in the diner on 92. I opted to wait for both trains outdoors so I cannot report on mask usage in the stations. However, I did see a couple of unmasked passengers walk into the Orlando station. The crew on both trains appeared to be mask compliant. I was quite anxious prior to my trip, but I feel OK now, and may either do another day trip in the near future or possibly an overnight trip to DC and back in the next couple of months. This was my first trip since February. In "normal" times, I travel almost once a month.
They work for the government (Amtrak). They have a union. They don't like their jobs. They have to do it. They have a chip on their shoulder.But those sleeping car attendents are not children. They're supposed to be adult professionals. Why the heck don't they have the basic presence of mind to extend themselves, as flitcrat said, just welcome customers aboard.
Do they really need management to remind they that they are there to serve the customer? And even if they don't care about the customer has it occurred to them that their tips might be higher if their customers leave feeling grateful for the service and friendliness provided?
If they're not willing to do that, why on earth do they work in the customer service business? Is it possible they feel their labor union will protect them even if they're surly to customers?
I travel often for work mostly. I have a car I have to prepare in Beech Grove Indiana. So I have quite a few trips I have to take to do brake overhauls, and other things. The trip to Cleveland was because of Joe Biden's Campaign Train. I chased it for CBS Evening News. I'll be headed back out on the road probably in two or three weeks back to Indiana. To put some valves back on and supervise some people stripping the interior.When did you take all those trips since you mention the masks? Why do you travel so often?
1) Amtrak employees aren't government employees.They work for the government (Amtrak). They have a union. They don't like their jobs. They have to do it. They have a chip on their shoulder.
Once this Covid thing is over and things stabilize, this really needs to be taken care of. I gather that the OBS staff is no longer on the clock when the train arrives, thus, they have to do stuff that should really wait until after the passengers all get off the train. If I want to hold on to my pillow all the way until arrival into Chicago, I should be able to and not have attendants bothering me trying to clean up my room while I'm still using it. There's probably some extra cost for paying the OBS staff to hang around or having a station-based crew clean up the cars, but I would say that it's worth it in terms of the passenger experience.The attendant had us move to an empty room for a few minutes to make our room up before arriving in Chicago. I'm not sure if other passengers were moved into that room ahead or before us. Not really impressive.
It's fantasy to think that Amtrak is not a government run enterprise and that Amtrak employees are not in reality government employees.1) Amtrak employees aren't government employees.
2) Whether they have a union or not is immaterial. It's a fantasy to think that non-union employees just fire at will a front line worker who is occasionally surly to a customer. The boss doesn't want to do the job, that's why they hire attendants in the first place. If they summarily fired employees every time they did something wrong, they'd always be having to hire and train replacements, which can be a pain in the neck for the employer. I've had my share of bad service from non-unionized businesses, and I've had great service from Amtrak amployees.
3) They may like the job perfectly well, but there are times when things get stressful, and people get cranky. In the hospitality biz, it's usually because of unreasonable demanding customers. That's what my daughter, who works in the restaurant industry, tells me.
As I've said before, I've never personally had really surly service from Amtrak OBS. I once saw a conductor who was a bit arrogant and necessarily bossy to a passenger. I once had a conductor who threw me off a train. (That was back when they were switching Northeast Regionals from being unreserved to reserved, I had an unreserved ticket, got confused and boarded a reserved train. He was within his rights to throw me off the train, but he was a bit rude about it.) None of this had anything to do with these guys being unionized. Back in the golden days of the streamliners, all of the OBS was unionized, and the service was excellent.
When did you take these trips?I think one thing to remember about Amtrak is it is very inconsistent. Different crew bases tend to be better, and different employees.
Here is a brief rundown of my national network trips.
The attendant was chipper and friendly but not really remarkable. He didn't offer to bring breakfast to my room in the morning prior to getting off. Not that I wanted that food but I remember that. In the unstaffed station no one was wearing masks when I ducked in and out to use the restroom.
2. Capitol Limited
The attendant wasn't really that friendly. Masks were worn at all times however on board by the Coach passengers, or in the public areas. The diner seating was closed and you had to walk to the car to get your food items. The attendant had us move to an empty room for a few minutes to make our room up before arriving in Chicago. I'm not sure if other passengers were moved into that room ahead or before us. Not really impressive.
The attendant was decent. He introduced himself and he brought all our meals from the cafe to the room. A total of three meal services. I would say he was the most average of the bunch because I don't remember much about him which is usually a good thing.
This attendant was amazing. He made sure that I had dinner when I got on. He was talkative, and took an interest in all his passengers. In public spaces it seamed like mask wearing was 100 percent.
5. Silver Meteor
This is one of the best attendants in the system. Boarded around midnight and he brought me two drinks upon boarding, as well as multiple brownies and blondies for a snack. Very talkative, bilingual (German, English), and very customer focused. A former UAL Flight Attendant and he understood customer service. He took great care of all his passengers. It is a shame Mr. Gardner's Tri weekly cuts forced him to lose his job, shame on you Mr. Gardner.
6. Capitol Limited
I think I saw the attendant once on the whole journey. And that was to preorder the diner order upon boarding in DC. Other than that I never saw him again. The diner was open to where you could sit. In the beginning it wasn't that full but towards the end all tables were filled in it. No social distancing observed.
7: Lake Shore Limited (Boston Section)
She was a very good attendant and was always accessible if you needed her. On this train you ordered your food from the LSA in the Viewliner Diner in the New York Section. Our attendant took our dinner order around 11 AM to make sure they loaded it onto the Boston train. Walking thru the coaches the train was fairly full especially in New York State, and everyone had masks on the entire time.
This attendant was absent for the entire trip except when it was time to get off the train. I don't know where she spent the ride but I'm assuming the cafe which I never made it to. On the platform in Richmond she seamed to be more interested in flirting with the engineer who took us from WAS-RVR than anything else. Masks were enforced in coach however.
No, it's fantasy to think they are. They do not get gov't benefits, etc. Also, are gov't agencies expected to run w/o losses (aka, make a profit), like Amtrak?It's fantasy to think that Amtrak is not a government run enterprise and that Amtrak employees are not in reality government employees.