Cafe Car Closure

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TVRM610

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Im writing this from on board the Carolinian. As someone who enjoys sitting in the lounge car, I've started noticing that lounge cars have started "closing" more and more lately. I'm not talking about the attendant just taking a break, but the Conductors actually announcing the car is closed and passengers must return to seats. Since we left at New York this morning this has happened twice now. Once in DC, and now in Rocky Mount NC. Just slightly annoyed and wondered if this is super common, I've noticed it on the Silver Trains and the Crescent lately too.
 

the_traveler

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Whatever siding I'm sitting on!
Ive only seen them close it at night and during stops where new stock is being loaded. Also 30 minute lunch breaks for the attendant.
So have I.

WAS I understand, since they switch locomotives - and without power (during the switch) the ovens or registers will not work, so they must close!
Are the other examples you cite near the end of the run?
Because once the train hits the bumper (or otherwise ends it's run), the employee's pay stops. So they close shortly before the end so they can finish their required work while "on the clock"!
 

RRrich

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If the power is off and the ovens, registers, etc aren't operable the service counter must close Why can't pax sit and read talk play cards daydream etc??
 

TVRM610

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Yes, RRrich is the only one who actually "got" my question. I'm not talking about the counter being closed. That's totally understandable, everyone needs a break etc. I'm talking about the car being physically closed, passengers asked to return to coach seats.

Rocky Mount is a change point for Cafe Attendants FYI.
 
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Yes, RRrich is the only one who actually "got" my question. I'm not talking about the counter being closed. That's totally understandable, everyone needs a break etc. I'm talking about the car being physically closed, passengers asked to return to coach seats.

Chapel Hill is a change point for Cafe Attendants FYI.
Really? Even though there's no stop in Chapel Hill?
 

NorthCoastHiawatha

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Yes, RRrich is the only one who actually "got" my question. I'm not talking about the counter being closed. That's totally understandable, everyone needs a break etc. I'm talking about the car being physically closed, passengers asked to return to coach seats.

Chapel Hill is a change point for Cafe Attendants FYI.
The only time I have ever seen the car physically closed is the Cascades, when you cross the border southbound (I don't recall them closing northbound) so US border patrol can get on and check everyone. They probably do this on the Maple Leaf and Adirondack as well.
 

had8ley

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If the power is off and the ovens, registers, etc aren't operable the service counter must close Why can't pax sit and read talk play cards daydream etc??
BINGO! Because managers rarely ride and most LSA's just ignore the pax needs (I think I read somewhere on this site where the LSA wouldn't have a job if it wasn't for the pax)...and if by chance a manager is on board the OBS crew will suck it up for the one trip out of dozens when nobody cares to ride and manage~pure bureauracy at its best! The post office doesn't hold a candle when it comes to mis-management and they only owe the Federal government 5.5 billion. I will make an exception for when inventory is being taken and the LSA can't see anything walking out the door unpaid for. :p
 
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TVRM610

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Haha... I have no idea where I pulled Chapel Hill from! I meant Rocky Mount.

[quote name=Gray' timestamp='1299189534'

I have no Idea where I got chapel

Hill from... It's rocky mount!!!! Ha

post='277916]

Yes, RRrich is the only one who actually "got" my question. I'm not talking about the counter being closed. That's totally understandable, everyone needs a break etc. I'm talking about the car being physically closed, passengers asked to return to coach seats.

Chapel Hill is a change point for Cafe Attendants FYI.
Really? Even though there's no stop in Chapel Hill?
 
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had8ley

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Yes, RRrich is the only one who actually "got" my question. I'm not talking about the counter being closed. That's totally understandable, everyone needs a break etc. I'm talking about the car being physically closed, passengers asked to return to coach seats.

Chapel Hill is a change point for Cafe Attendants FYI.
The only time I have ever seen the car physically closed is the Cascades, when you cross the border southbound (I don't recall them closing northbound) so US border patrol can get on and check everyone. They probably do this on the Maple Leaf and Adirondack as well.
I noticed all the mileage you have...could it be that you don't frequent the lounge cars often? I have pulled into both NYP and NOL on the Crescent and have had fellow pax from the sleeper exclaim, "Oh, look~ there's a lounge car on this train!" BTW, I think it was either Mr. Ed or Jim Hudson who were canned out of the Texas Eagle lounge northbound prematurely for "cleaning" and they rode the CONO that night with the same equipment and the car in the same sorry condition that it was in hours before arriving into Chicago...go figure.
 

me_little_me

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Im writing this from on board the Carolinian. As someone who enjoys sitting in the lounge car, I've started noticing that lounge cars have started "closing" more and more lately. I'm not talking about the attendant just taking a break, but the Conductors actually announcing the car is closed and passengers must return to seats. Since we left at New York this morning this has happened twice now. Once in DC, and now in Rocky Mount NC. Just slightly annoyed and wondered if this is super common, I've noticed it on the Silver Trains and the Crescent lately too.
I would call Customer Service and ask them if that is proper procedure for the conductor to do.
 

Trogdor

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I'm not familiar with the cafe operation on the Carolinian. However, if the attendants do, in fact, swap in Rocky Mount, then it would make sense for the car to be closed by the conductor to protect the inventory in the car until the new attendant can get set up. Since it's a station stop, the conductor won't be able to guard the stock.

I've had the same thing happen to me in the past during an overnight ride, when I was sitting in the cafe in the middle of the night (couldn't sleep). The conductor "kicked me out" during a station stop because he had to close off the car (the LSA, of course, was sleeping). Made sense.

Or we can just believe that Amtrak employees are a bunch of lazy useless jerks that just hate people and there's never ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever a valid reason why things are done a certain way.
 
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Im writing this from on board the Carolinian. As someone who enjoys sitting in the lounge car, I've started noticing that lounge cars have started "closing" more and more lately. I'm not talking about the attendant just taking a break, but the Conductors actually announcing the car is closed and passengers must return to seats. Since we left at New York this morning this has happened twice now. Once in DC, and now in Rocky Mount NC. Just slightly annoyed and wondered if this is super common, I've noticed it on the Silver Trains and the Crescent lately too.
I would call Customer Service and ask them if that is proper procedure for the conductor to do.
Excellent idea! Or even write a letter :D If management does not know there is a problem it certainly won't get fixed. :lol: And who knows, there is always that slim chance your efforts will make a difference. :eek:hboy: :unsure: :blush:
 

Tracktwentynine

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I took the Carolinian from Washington to Charlotte and back last month. Southbound the cafe car closed at Selma-Smithfield and reopened upon departure from Raleigh. Northbound, the cafe closed just prior to arrival at Cary and reopened after departure from Raleigh.

In both cases, it was announced that the crew was changing at Raleigh. The cafe counter closed to allow the attendant to take inventory, as has been stated above. Additionally, since new crew came on board, all tickets had to be rechecked and I assume that's why they wanted people back in their seats.

My biggest peeve was that on the northbound run, they did not announce ahead of time that the car was going to close. I was in the last car of the train, and was steps away from the cafe car when the conductor came on and said something about the cafe and closing. Anyway, when I got there, 30 seconds later, the cafe car attendant was not around, and the business class attendant, who was sitting in one of the booths, informed the collected masses (5 or 6 passengers) that the counter wouldn't reopen until after Raleigh. It's fine to close. But it would be better to give people 15 minutes' notice, so they don't walk through 4 cars just to essentially have the door slammed in their face.

Now, I don't know if this has anything to do with it, but the midday Piedmont service has not been running due to trackwork. That may have affected the crew change point. Or maybe not. I have no idea. It was my first trip on the Carolinian.
 

TVRM610

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I don't believe all crews are lazy. But i do question why "rules" seem to change from one crew to another.

For the record, I'm not writing a letter about this issue, it's not that big of a deal to me. I was just wondering what others have seen in regards to this.

I'm not familiar with the cafe operation on the Carolinian. However, if the attendants do, in fact, swap in Rocky Mount, then it would make sense for the car to be closed by the conductor to protect the inventory in the car until the new attendant can get set up. Since it's a station stop, the conductor won't be able to guard the stock.

I've had the same thing happen to me in the past during an overnight ride, when I was sitting in the cafe in the middle of the night (couldn't sleep). The conductor "kicked me out" during a station stop because he had to close off the car (the LSA, of course, was sleeping). Made sense.

Or we can just believe that Amtrak employees are a bunch of lazy useless jerks that just hate people and there's never ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever a valid reason why things are done a certain way.
 

Green Maned Lion

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Why do rules change? Because each crew group is often a sort of small family... and like many families, they develop their own way of doing things that works for them. As a result, they do things differently. So the "rules" change to accommodate their mechanism for doing things. I'm not implying or suggesting laziness is any part of those differences- it often isn't.

I have an uncommon ability to make friends with train crews, and as a result I have sat in many a "closed and locked" cafe car. What happens is generally a basic cleaning of the car, followed by a quick inventory of what is in the car, a radioed order to the commissary, if applicable, for items the car needs, and a delivery of said order. Generally speaking, I have never seen the LSA work harder than the time periods when the cars are "closed".

There are plenty of lazy Amtrak employees. Don't, however, assume laziness when you have nothing other than self-supposed theories about them doing something out of laziness. The truth is usually different.
 

TVRM610

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Totally agree GML. I actually thought the Conductors on that leg of the trip were quite nice, and not looking for an opportunity to "be lazy."

I do question the idea of completely closing the car, but it's not a huge deal.
 

TVRM610

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Thanks Tracktwentynine!

This tells me it's "normal" practice anyways.

I took the Carolinian from Washington to Charlotte and back last month. Southbound the cafe car closed at Selma-Smithfield and reopened upon departure from Raleigh. Northbound, the cafe closed just prior to arrival at Cary and reopened after departure from Raleigh.

In both cases, it was announced that the crew was changing at Raleigh. The cafe counter closed to allow the attendant to take inventory, as has been stated above. Additionally, since new crew came on board, all tickets had to be rechecked and I assume that's why they wanted people back in their seats.

My biggest peeve was that on the northbound run, they did not announce ahead of time that the car was going to close. I was in the last car of the train, and was steps away from the cafe car when the conductor came on and said something about the cafe and closing. Anyway, when I got there, 30 seconds later, the cafe car attendant was not around, and the business class attendant, who was sitting in one of the booths, informed the collected masses (5 or 6 passengers) that the counter wouldn't reopen until after Raleigh. It's fine to close. But it would be better to give people 15 minutes' notice, so they don't walk through 4 cars just to essentially have the door slammed in their face.

Now, I don't know if this has anything to do with it, but the midday Piedmont service has not been running due to trackwork. That may have affected the crew change point. Or maybe not. I have no idea. It was my first trip on the Carolinian.
 

battalion51

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Tracktwentynine, one of the unfortunate things we ran into years ago (I don't know how often it happens still) is that sometimes the jumper cables between the cars can come loose causing the signal for the PA to not go through in between all the cars. So if the Conductor is making announcements from the first coach for stations it may get through, but if they make it from the lounge and there's a bad cable between the two the signal won't make it back to you. Many times the crew didn't even know it wasn't going through. So it is possible an announcement was made and it just didn't make it to you.
 
G

Guest

Guest
Why do rules change? Because each crew group is often a sort of small family... and like many families, they develop their own way of doing things that works for them. As a result, they do things differently. So the "rules" change to accommodate their mechanism for doing things. I'm not implying or suggesting laziness is any part of those differences- it often isn't.
It is fine if each crew family has their own mechanisms for accomplishing their tasks, but as a passenger I desire the end result to be consistent across the fleet. I shouldn't have to guess each time I step on the train how things are going to operate.
 

TVRM610

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Why do rules change? Because each crew group is often a sort of small family... and like many families, they develop their own way of doing things that works for them. As a result, they do things differently. So the "rules" change to accommodate their mechanism for doing things. I'm not implying or suggesting laziness is any part of those differences- it often isn't.
It is fine if each crew family has their own mechanisms for accomplishing their tasks, but as a passenger I desire the end result to be consistent across the fleet. I shouldn't have to guess each time I step on the train how things are going to operate.
that is my feeling too. But certainly Amtrak operates the way GML describes weather they should or shouldn't. EVERY SLA seems to have a unique way of handling reservations, ordering, and even what you can order in some cases (the whole "ala mode" deal as an example). Why should the cafe' car system be any different? ha.

After I wrote my original post btw, Conductors and Car Hosts kept giving conflicting demands to passengers. Conductors would tell passengers since there was limited seating (the train was indeed packed) they could just sit in the lounge car so the group could stay together. A Car Host however, demanded that since there were seats in the coaches, they must sit in the coaches even though it meant they were spread out. He said that luggage was NOT permitted in the cafe car under any circumstances (meanwhile the other Car Hosts had personal luggage piled up in one of the booths.)

Even with these minor annoyances I was quite impressed with Carolinian, it was a nice trip and seems to be quite popular.
 

Green Maned Lion

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Why do rules change? Because each crew group is often a sort of small family... and like many families, they develop their own way of doing things that works for them. As a result, they do things differently. So the "rules" change to accommodate their mechanism for doing things. I'm not implying or suggesting laziness is any part of those differences- it often isn't.
It is fine if each crew family has their own mechanisms for accomplishing their tasks, but as a passenger I desire the end result to be consistent across the fleet. I shouldn't have to guess each time I step on the train how things are going to operate.
That sounds really nice on paper. Like taking advantage of synergies or things similar. I don't think you'd like it in practice.
 
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