Auto Train and medical emergencies

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LookingGlassTie

OBS Chief
Joined
Nov 9, 2016
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519
Got a question, but here's the background first:

I was watching a video on YouTube where a railfan was recording an emergency stop by the Auto Train in Fayetteville, NC. The video was published on Dec 21, 2015, and I don't know when this incident actually occurred.

Here's my question: When the Auto Train has to make a medical emergency stop like that, what happens to the affected person(s)' vehicle(s)? Once those passengers have received all necessary medical treatment and are released, will they be allowed to take another Amtrak train to a regular station that is close to either Lorton, VA or Sanford, FL so that they can retrieve their vehicles? How does Amtrak typically handle such situations?
 

KnightRail

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Apr 24, 2015
Messages
473
The affected vehicle(s) would be held at the arriving terminal pending further arrangements. Essentially they would be off loaded, parked, and secured.
 

SarahZ

Conductor
Joined
May 8, 2011
Messages
8,057
And what if a VEHICLE breaks down while on the Auto Train?
How would this happen? The vehicles are turned off, and passengers are encouraged to disable their alarms so they don't go off and run the battery down.
 

trainman74

Conductor
Joined
Apr 7, 2011
Messages
1,606
Presumably, if there is a battery issue (which is pretty much the only thing it could be), the unloading personnel can jump-start and/or push the vehicle.
 

rms492

Service Attendant
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Mar 22, 2009
Messages
188
Remind me once again, there was a topic that said you should not take rental cars aboard the Auto Train....why is that?
 

Devil's Advocate

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May 24, 2010
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Remind me once again, there was a topic that said you should not take rental cars aboard the Auto Train....why is that?
Probably a liability issue. Amtrak's insurance isn't expecting to deal with rental cars and the rental agency isn't expecting to deal with Amtrak. If you read a rental car agreement all the way through you'll find all sorts of authorization restrictions and liability exclusions, one or more of which probably applies to the Auto Train in one way or another. Even though severe damage is extremely unlikely, even if something minor happened the renter would probably be liable to fix or replace it, probably at substantial personal expense with additional loss of use fees and other punitive surcharges. More expensive vehicles may have asset tracking devices that could alert the owners to mismatched mileage relative to past locations even with no damage suffered.
 
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PVD

Conductor
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Jul 8, 2015
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Different companies, different potential issues. Some rentals restrict the states a car can be used in, as an example I had one a few months ago while my car was in the shop and it was NY,NJ, CT only. There are some that prohibit vehicle being driven by anyone not on contract, with a valet exception becoming common, but loading drivers might not be in that category, also, some might consider it being taken off of a paved road or parking area....And some are ok with it...remember also, that companies have different contract agreements for different customers...I worked for a company that had 150 trucks leased from a company, when we got a car from them on business trips, there weren't very many "exclusions"
 

chakk

Conductor
Joined
May 26, 2011
Messages
2,553
I remember seeing a story some years ago about rental car companies offering super-low rates for renters to drive cars one way from Florida to points in the Northeast cities to help move their inventory that had accumulated in Florida and were needed elsewhere.

I recall some enterprising drivers were trying to use it as an opportunity to ride the Auto Train when they might never get the opportunity otherwise.
 

Shanghai

Conductor
Joined
Feb 4, 2008
Messages
3,880
When we lived overseas, I would rent a car in NJ that was normally restricted to NJ & NY.

I had to request that the car could travel to PA where my daughter was in college. No

problem, but PA was added to the contract.
 

PVD

Conductor
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I had to do the same, since I was going towards Binghamton, I80-380-81 I would be crossing through PA.....
 

Thirdrail7

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Jul 9, 2014
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Years ago, a different policy was enforced. What happened to your car depended on how long of a delay was incurred. If the Auto Train lost time solely because of the delay, penalties were assessed. Low ranging penalties included taking the air freshener from your mirror. T

However, if the Auto train lost its slot and turned late due to assistance, the penalties increased. If vouchers were given out to late passengers, your car was seized and sold to make up for the difference. To retrieve your belongings from vehicle, you were required to board another Amtrak train and work the cafe/lounge car. It is a well known fact that a lot of the "employees" are actually passengers that left the train before the completion of their trip for various reasons (e.g., insufficient fares, medical emergencies, not being quiet enough in the quiet car, etc) and are working towards their destination. That aspect of the program was halted when some of the indentured passengers turned out to be much nicer than some of the actual employees. I could be mistaken but I believe that is how we ended up with Triley. They removed him from a train Mystic, CT and he had to work from there to Boston to retrieve something that was left on the train since they delay caused the regional to follow an MBTA local.

Getting back to the Auto train, the local rescue teams were getting tired of meeting trains at miscellaneous grade crossings. Even though you'll receive a bill from them, they wanted more of a cut. This is particularly true in Georgia, where they are lobbying for your car to be impounded until they have received restitution. As such, a new policy is in the works. Details are murky but if vouchers are given out and you fail to satisfy your debt to Georgia, your car AND its belongings will be sold with any surplus being donated to Kars4Kids. If your car isn't valuable enough to cover the expenses, well, your address is easy to find!

Ante UP!!!
 
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LookingGlassTie

OBS Chief
Joined
Nov 9, 2016
Messages
519
Years ago, a different policy was enforced. What happened to your car depended on how long of a delay was incurred. If the Auto Train lost time solely because of the delay, penalties were assessed. Low ranging penalties included taking the air freshener from your mirror. T

However, if the Auto train lost its slot and turned late due to assistance, the penalties increased. If vouchers were given out to late passengers, your car was seized and sold to make up for the difference. To retrieve your belongings from vehicle, you were required to board another Amtrak train and work the cafe/lounge car. It is a well known fact that a lot of the "employees" are actually passengers that left the train before the completion of their trip for various reasons (e.g., insufficient fares, medical emergencies, not being quiet enough in the quiet car, etc) and are working towards their destination. That aspect of the program was halted when some of the indentured passengers turned out to be much nicer than some of the actual employees. I could be mistaken but I believe that is how we ended up with Triley. They removed him from a train Mystic, CT and he had to work from their to Boston to retrieve something that was left on the train since they delay caused the regional to follow an MBTA local.

Getting back to the Auto train, the local rescue teams were getting tired of meeting trains at miscellaneous grade crossings. Even though you'll receive a bill from them, they wanted more of a cut. This is particularly true in Georgia, where they are lobbying for your car to be impounded until they have received restitution. As such, a new policy is in the works. Details are murky but if vouchers are given out and you fail to satisfy your debt to Georgia, your car AND its belongings will be sold with any surplus being donated to Kars4Kids. If your car isn't valuable enough to cover the expenses, well, your address is easy to find!

Ante UP!!!
I don't care who you are; that's funny right there!!! :p
 
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