Quantcast

Anyone been on LD trains recently?

Help Support Amtrak Unlimited Discussion Forum:

railiner

Conductor
Joined
Mar 20, 2009
Messages
8,277
Location
Palm Beach County
Is Amtrak a government service or not? That is a good question. My old Amtrak ID stated on its reverse side:
National Railroad Passenger Corporation (Amtrak), is a "Mixed Ownership Government Corporation", and it went on to state that under public law, we were entitled to GSA hotel rates...(it came in handy).

What about the US Postal Service? Aren't they supposed to try to make a profit, if possible?

And what about Conrail? Weren't they a government railroad, that actually did turn around and make a profit, enabling a very good IPO that resulted in its return to the private sector?

The Amtrak employees are hired under Railroad Retirement and labor relations rules, not civil service, so that separates them...
The whole thing is rather ambiguous....
 

Exvalley

Service Attendant
AU Supporter
Joined
Jul 7, 2020
Messages
177
I think it's fair to say that Amtrak employees, while not technically government employees, share some characteristics of government employees. This is generally speaking, mind you.

You just can't ignore the reality that Amtrak has always been the beneficiary of government support which has ensured its survival. And unlike some other government grant beneficiaries, Amtrak doesn't really have competition in its sector.

Having worked in both the public and private sector, I can assure you that there is a VERY large difference when the organization you work for has to sink or swim on its own.
 

MARC Rider

Conductor
Joined
Apr 5, 2011
Messages
2,235
Location
Baltimore. MD
Amtrak ran trains during the various government shutdowns. I know, because I rode on them. If they were a true government agency, nearly all of their revenue would be coming from direct government appropriations, and thus if an appropriation bill or continuing resolution weren't passed, they would have to immediately shut down. As it was, they have independent revenue, so they can keep running. (Of course if there's no appropriation, there eventually won't be enough money, but then they could just cut back, not totally shut down.)

The fact that Amtrak employees can get government rates for hotel rooms is irrelevant. That's strictly a decision of the hotels to grant those discounts. Many hotels don't have special government rates even for actual government employees, so maybe they can't afford to stay there. If Amtrak wants to reimburse their employees according to the government travel regulations, that's a decision of Amtrak management. Our contractors at EPA were also reimbursed according to government travel regulations and received government rates at hotels, and they certainly weren't government employees.
 

Seaboard92

Conductor
Joined
Dec 31, 2014
Messages
3,705
Location
South Carolina
8. Palmetto
Route: WAS-FLO
Miles: 408
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.
They have attendants on the Palmetto? It's all coach and business class. I've ridden it a number of times from Savannah to Baltimore and never noticed any attendants in business class. On the other hand, I've never really cared, because I never felt to need for their services.
[/QUOTE]

They do have one I believe on most trips I've been on. It was in coach so I don't know what they do in business class. I used to use business class back when it was a split car like the Empire Service which came off in 2009 I believe. But I do know most of my trips I've been on the Palmetto it has had at least one coach attendant.

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.
Exactly; part of it is the fact they same day flip the consist in Chicago so todays inbound 29 or 49/449 becomes todays 30 or 48/448. So 29/30 has 10 hours from arrival to departure, while 48/49 has 12 hours from arrival to departure. They probably have coach cleaners in the yard but I have no idea why they aren't being used to do that. I always try and make it easier on my attendant I remove the sheets from the beds for them. Mostly because I prefer making my own bed, and being left alone.

It has been a long time since I've taken the western trains into Chicago which all have a twenty hour layover at minimum in the yard before they take off and go. So I don't know if they also try to strip sheets, and ready the rooms while you are still arriving.

Honestly I also think that with Covid moving people to a vacant room for a few minutes to clean/prep the room they are returning to for the next passengers makes no sense to me. It can hardly be considered best clean practices.

When did you take these trips?
The two segments on the Crescent, The Capitol Limited (PGH-CHI), and the Cardinal were in early August 2020, and the rest were literally last week.
 

crescent-zephyr

Conductor
Joined
Oct 21, 2015
Messages
2,816
They do have one I believe on most trips I've been on. It was in coach so I don't know what they do in business class. I used to use business class back when it was a split car like the Empire Service which came off in 2009 I believe. But I do know most of my trips I've been on the Palmetto it has had at least one coach attendant.
Carolinian as well. At least one dedicated coach attendant and 1 dedicated BC attendant.
 

Cho Cho Charlie

Conductor
Joined
Apr 9, 2009
Messages
2,226
Location
Near an Amtrak station
Is Amtrak a government service or not?
It is the blending of the worse possible parts of a private company and of a government service.

Its suppose to be run like a private company, but is subject to all of the politically driven whims of the government (Congress).

For example, both the USPS and Amtrak have to pay pensions for time people never even worked for them, thanks to Congress. Nice way to buy votes.
 

OBS

Conductor
AU Supporter
Joined
Nov 9, 2011
Messages
1,592
Location
Long Island, NY
8. Palmetto
Route: WAS-FLO
Miles: 408
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.
They have attendants on the Palmetto? It's all coach and business class. I've ridden it a number of times from Savannah to Baltimore and never noticed any attendants in business class. On the other hand, I've never really cared, because I never felt to need for their services.
[/QUOTE]
There is one coach attendant assigned for the entire train.
 

caravanman

Conductor
Joined
Mar 22, 2004
Messages
3,791
Location
Nottingham, England.
I get very confused by the talk about Amtrak sinking or swimming on it's own, without Govt. assistance?
The private, profit driven railroads could not make their own long distance passenger services profitable, so how can Amtrak? Do we want a long distance train service, does it have any value to society? Sadly the wealthier folk who by and large call the shots are not the same folk who, again by and large, are long distance train users...
Paying a few $ in our tax towards a rail networks social benefit continued existence seems a good use of money, it is after all a greener way to travel too...
 
Joined
Jul 2, 2020
Messages
8
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.
I guess my question is as no one has said. We’re they eating or drinking in the lounge car? Passengers are allowed to remove masks if they are doing either. Thinking that if they were in the lounge car they may have been. When I travel on the CZ the Amish always appear to be in compliance with Amtrak’s rule.
 

bms

Service Attendant
Joined
Jan 29, 2018
Messages
174
Location
Cleveland
Sadly the wealthier folk who by and large call the shots are not the same folk who, again by and large, are long distance train users...
Paying a few $ in our tax towards a rail networks social benefit continued existence seems a good use of money, it is after all a greener way to travel too...
Great points! Far too many politicians oppose train service because they wouldn't personally use the service. For example, Governor Kasich was completely convinced that no one would use a Cleveland to Cincinnati train, because he personally could drive that route in less time. Never mind that 25% of Cleveland households and 21% of Cincinnati households don't own a car at all.

Of course this can help Amtrak in cases where service would benefit the politicians. I doubt Harrisburg, a city of 50,000 people, would have 14 daily trains if it weren't the workplace of all the PA state legislators.
 
Last edited:

NW cannonball

Conductor
Joined
Jun 28, 2012
Messages
1,555
Location
Minnesota
Great points! Far too many politicians oppose train service because they wouldn't personally use the service. For example, Governor Kasich was completely convinced that no one would use a Cleveland to Cincinnati train, because he personally could drive that route in less time. Never mind that 25% of Cleveland households and 21% of Cincinnati households don't own a car at all.

Of course this can help Amtrak in cases where service would benefit the politicians. I doubt Harrisburg, a city of 50,000 people, would have 14 daily trains if it weren't the workplace of all the PA state legislators.
Similarly for Albany NY, Springfield IL. And others like Sacramento, Olympia, even Santa Fe (not Amtrak, but same logic)
Not just the legislators either. The one time I took the train from CHI to STL, business class emptied out at Springfield. Lobbyists by the dozens.
What's good for the fat goose can also be good for the starving sparrow.
 

pennyk

Conductor
Staff member
Administator
Moderator
Gathering Team Member
Joined
Jul 5, 2009
Messages
10,468
Location
Orlando, FL
I am sitting in the diner on 91 right now. So far I am the only one in here most people seem to be doing room service. Good trip so far my roomette was clean and I feel safe.
I was on 91 last week during lunch between Orlando and Tampa and I was the only passenger eating in the diner. Is Eric your LSA? If so, please tell him that Penny and Richard say hello!
 
Top