Breakfast times on AutoTrain arriving in Lorton

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AudenHoggart

Service Attendant
Joined
Nov 20, 2008
Messages
218
We'll be taking the Auto Train northbound in a roomette at the end of December. I notice, from the Amtrak status page, that the train can be anywhere from an hour early to several hours late.

How are breakfast times (and announcements about it) handled? Does service start earlier when an early arrival is anticipated? Do the sleeping car attendants make an announcement, knock on doors, etc.?

How do they handle the volume of people if there's only a short time window for breakfast?

If it's relevant, we have priority unloading of our car.

Thanks!
 

FormerOBS

Conductor
Joined
Feb 26, 2014
Messages
1,272
Location
Maryland, but a native of Ohio
Unless things have changed (unlikely), breakfast always starts at 6 a.m., with no P.A announcement being made, and arrival is scheduled for 9:00 a.m.

P.A. announcements are normally made beginning at 7:00 a.m., but they may be made earlier when the train is expected to arrive early.

If the train arrives early, it's sometimes difficult for the staff to get everybody served, but it's usually possible. Long experience has taught the Auto Train staff that it is not practical to offer a cooked breakfast with a lot of options. When a cooked breakfast is suggested, those suggestions usually come from people with no practical experience on that train. Since the meal is simple and straightforward, it can be served and eaten pretty quickly. In almost all cases, most passengers can be served by about 8:00 a.m. No matter what time the train arrives, the station personnel won't begin to arrive for work until 8 a.m., so detraining doesn't begin until about 8:15 a.m.

When I worked in sleepers, my introductory comments usually included information about the 6:00 a.m. opening time, and I suggested that they ring the call bell as they left the room so I could make up the room. I would tell them that I would give them a wakeup call whenever they wished; but if they wanted to have breakfast, that wakeup call should be by 7:00 a.m.

Tom
 
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Thirdrail7

Engineer
Joined
Jul 9, 2014
Messages
4,490
It seems that they want breakfast served from 6:00am until 30 minutes prior to arrival these days, Former OBS. So, if you're running early, does the conductor shut you down or does the OBS crew look out of the window and say "we're by FBG, it is time for last call?"
 
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FormerOBS

Conductor
Joined
Feb 26, 2014
Messages
1,272
Location
Maryland, but a native of Ohio
In my experience, which may be outdated by as much as 18 months, the decision on when to make a final call on an early train is made by the Chief of Onboard Services on a case-by-case basis. Factors may have to do with the actual time frame, the total numbers to be served, the number that has actually been served at a particular time, etc. The Chief generally consults with the LSAD's when making this decision.

Tom
 
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fixj

Service Attendant
Joined
Jul 18, 2014
Messages
194
Location
Panama City, FL
The last two times I took the Auto train,Once in 2014 and last June in 2015 , breakfast started at 6 AM and as Tom said no announcments were made until 7 AM. On my trips I got up and 6 and went directly to the diner and was seated without a wait. When I left the diner, the place was filling up, and by 7:15 they told folks not to come to the diner as it was full and they would announce when folks could come down. They did announce that there was coffee and muffins in the lounge car. On my trips the train was on time arriving around 9 AM. I'm not sure how they handle an early arrival, but I believe Tom's comments will be spot on.
 
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