California Zephyr discussion

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I've been told that you can use the lounge if you have a sleeper or first class ticket for any train on that day, even if the train doesn't go to that station. For example, I got into the Moynihan lounge in NYC with a same-day roomette ticket from Albany to Boston. I was headed up the Hudson on a leaf-peeping trip.
 
If we are talking about the Chicago lounge, I had trouble getting in when I was there last year. The lounge dragon as they are called wanted to see a departure sleeper ticket not an arrival sleeper ticket. I had both but the first one I showed she said was not good enough. In case the Amtrak employee is working that likes to make up their own rules, one could plan to have the page Amtrak Station Lounges pulled up on their device to read "Amtrak passengers with a same-day travel ticket (departure or arrival) in First Class or sleeping car accommodations." word for word from the offical Amtrak website page.
 
If we are talking about the Chicago lounge, I had trouble getting in when I was there last year. The lounge dragon as they are called wanted to see a departure sleeper ticket not an arrival sleeper ticket. I had both but the first one I showed she said was not good enough. In case the Amtrak employee is working that likes to make up their own rules, one could plan to have the page Amtrak Station Lounges pulled up on their device to read "Amtrak passengers with a same-day travel ticket (departure or arrival) in First Class or sleeping car accommodations." word for word from the offical Amtrak website page.
I had no issues with this today. Got in without a problem and even ended up being one of the first to board and got the seat of my choice. Unfortunately, our departure is delayed due to "mechanical issues." Don't understand how engines can be road ready when leaving the yard then suddenly fail, especially the new ones. Though I don't know if that's what we have.
 
I had no issues with this today. Got in without a problem and even ended up being one of the first to board and got the seat of my choice. Unfortunately, our departure is delayed due to "mechanical issues." Don't understand how engines can be road ready when leaving the yard then suddenly fail, especially the new ones. Though I don't know if that's what we have.
Now they have decided, after an hour and 15 minutes of piddling around, they are going to swap engines. Goodness know how long that will take. That should have happened an hour ago.
 
Now they have decided, after an hour and 15 minutes of piddling around, they are going to swap engines. Goodness know how long that will take. That should have happened an hour ago.
Chronic equipment shortages. They would rather delay a while futzing with the current engine, hoping they can fix it, than swap the engine (which does take some time, it's not instant) and then eventually discover in the yard that there was an easy fix for the "broken" engine, but meanwhile they are now down one spare engine. This is compounded by the fact that the old engines are OLD and break down a lot more than they used to, and they've been skimping on maintenance because the old engines will be retiring soon, and the fact that the NEW engines are new and are having teething problems and deliveries are slower than planned. That and they are probably scheduling maintenance by the seats of their pants rather than having good models of adequate preventive maintenance of both the old and new engines and a high likelihood of pulling engines out of service BEFORE they break down.

And add all the breakdowns due to PTC issues, which are still evolving as systems are installed, replaced and upgraded and which they still don't have a good handle on and still don't understand things like why they have to reboot or reinitialize the electronics when certain problems occur. They sometimes discover that all they had to do was power-cycle the magic box or restart things in a particular sequence, and the trouble resolution procedures in the manual don't work but someone remembers someone else once doing it that way and it worked and it becomes folk-wisdom. These are all problems due to having insufficient or insufficiently trained or insufficiently competent support staff for the maintenance departments, i.e. people that train the maintenance and operations staff, and people who develop and write problem resolution procedures for the trainers and the doers.

I've seen these sorts of issue many many times in my own field, and they are mostly due to penny wise and pound foolish management.
 
Chronic equipment shortages. They would rather delay a while futzing with the current engine, hoping they can fix it, than swap the engine (which does take some time, it's not instant) and then eventually discover in the yard that there was an easy fix for the "broken" engine, but meanwhile they are now down one spare engine. This is compounded by the fact that the old engines are OLD and break down a lot more than they used to, and they've been skimping on maintenance because the old engines will be retiring soon, and the fact that the NEW engines are new and are having teething problems and deliveries are slower than planned. That and they are probably scheduling maintenance by the seats of their pants rather than having good models of adequate preventive maintenance of both the old and new engines and a high likelihood of pulling engines out of service BEFORE they break down.

And add all the breakdowns due to PTC issues, which are still evolving as systems are installed, replaced and upgraded and which they still don't have a good handle on and still don't understand things like why they have to reboot or reinitialize the electronics when certain problems occur. They sometimes discover that all they had to do was power-cycle the magic box or restart things in a particular sequence, and the trouble resolution procedures in the manual don't work but someone remembers someone else once doing it that way and it worked and it becomes folk-wisdom. These are all problems due to having insufficient or insufficiently trained or insufficiently competent support staff for the maintenance departments, i.e. people that train the maintenance and operations staff, and people who develop and write problem resolution procedures for the trainers and the doers.

I've seen these sorts of issue many many times in my own field, and they are mostly due to penny wise and pound foolish management.
Believe it or not, it is an issue with the horn! Conductor confirmed it to me. Even he says there is no excuse that it was released from the yard.
 
Don't understand how engines can be road ready when leaving the yard then suddenly fail, especially the new ones. Though I don't know if that's what we have.

You ended up with a very unusual engine-combo for the Zephyr. A standard P42 leader followed by an Amtrak California F59HI. I've seen F59s get towed dead a few times. This one is particular is coming back from its second trip for shunt testing. But I've never seen one in service on the Zephyr before. Also, the dome car Northern Sky was on the end. Of course, being so late means it's hard to get decent pictures at night.
 

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You ended up with a very unusual engine-combo for the Zephyr. A standard P42 leader followed by an Amtrak California F59HI. I've seen F59s get towed dead a few times. This one is particular is coming back from its second trip for shunt testing. But I've never seen one in service on the Zephyr before. Also, the dome car Northern Sky was on the end. Of course, being so late means it's hard to get decent pictures at night.
I wasn't able to see this until I arrived at my destination, almost 4 hours late. As the conductor described it and if I understood it correctly, the F59HI's horn malfunctioned as it was initially the lead and it was swapped out with the P42. I still do not understand why it took 3 hours to decide that was the solution and to pull off the swap.
 
Well maybe the F59 wasn't running. I caught Amtrak #6(20) running out of Ottumwa, Iowa this morning with only one engine. Based on its times, it looks like it dropped off its other unit at Denver. That's been done before when there's a #5 with one working unit to ensure the train has two engines working through the Rockies.

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Hey all! I’m going to be travelling on the Zephyr, Chicago all the way westbound, in mid November. Just wondering if anyone had tips / little pieces of advice regarding scenery or just in general making the most of the journey. Not my first time on Amtrak but my first long distance route and very different rail experience to back home in Ireland! Thanks
 
Hey all! I’m going to be travelling on the Zephyr, Chicago all the way westbound, in mid November. Just wondering if anyone had tips / little pieces of advice regarding scenery or just in general making the most of the journey. Not my first time on Amtrak but my first long distance route and very different rail experience to back home in Ireland! Thanks
In my opinion, it is the most scenic long distance route.
 
I've always gone as far as Denver, although I'm looking at a trip that takes me to Emeryville next summer for a family event in Piedmont. Most comments focus on finding a place in the lounge car before leaving Denver, as the next stretch is supposed to be the best.
 
Hey all! I’m going to be travelling on the Zephyr, Chicago all the way westbound, in mid November. Just wondering if anyone had tips / little pieces of advice regarding scenery or just in general making the most of the journey. Not my first time on Amtrak but my first long distance route and very different rail experience to back home in Ireland! Thanks
If you are interested, and if the train is on time, there may be a snowball fight at Fraser-Winter Park station.
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Watch for icy rivers.
2013 November-December 002.jpg
 
Well maybe the F59 wasn't running. I caught Amtrak #6(20) running out of Ottumwa, Iowa this morning with only one engine. Based on its times, it looks like it dropped off its other unit at Denver. That's been done before when there's a #5 with one working unit to ensure the train has two engines working through the Rockies.

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i was told by a rider last nights #5 was turned at Denver and bustitution to Grand Junction. Don’t know if that was happening two days ago for this #6 too? Tunnels closed?
 
Have any actual passengers on the involved trains weighed in yet as to when they found out?
My source found out on board. I don’t know how far before Denver on board though?

EDIT Source said everyone else knew before boarding. I would have to assume that everyone else found out from emails.
 
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I wasn't able to see this until I arrived at my destination, almost 4 hours late. As the conductor described it and if I understood it correctly, the F59HI's horn malfunctioned as it was initially the lead and it was swapped out with the P42. I still do not understand why it took 3 hours to decide that was the solution and to pull off the swap.
Engineer must have really wanted the F59phi to work over sitting in a P42. Horn failing also doesn't surprise me, the F59phi are due for a rebuild and set to get one soon.
We will never know but be interesting if it was providing HEP given they can make 600kw+ of HEP (that was the early rating they've gotten new HEP motors over the years) as that should be plenty while letting the P42 then actually make power.
 
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