Cardinal (and other trains) Cafe Lounge - or Employee Lounge?

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I know this has been flagged before but it needs to stop.

Certain Cardinal crews are effectively forcing sleeper customers to eat in their rooms every meal.

Furthermore, they are occupying EVERY booth on the “Cafe” side of the Cafe/Lounge.

This is laziness and lousy customer service.

I’m not one of “those” customers. I am reasonable and treat Amtrak employees with respect as everyone should.

What’s the best email/phone #/contact to get it to management’s attention? Yes - I know they’ll likely do nothing about the issue. But if no one complains they definitely won’t.
 

pennyk

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I traveled in a sleeper on the Cardinal in October and was very disappointed. Although I ate my meals in the cafe/lounge, I felt like it was a tremendous imposition on the crew to allow me to do so. I was told by my SCA that dinner would be brought to me in my room. I informed the SCA that I did not wish to eat in my room. I believe that the SCA checked with the conductor and I was "permitted" to eat in the cafe/lounge. The entire portion of the cafe/lounge closest to the sleepers was occupied by crew or had "reserved for crew" signs on the tables. :(
 

Bob Dylan

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I traveled in a sleeper on the Cardinal in October and was very disappointed. Although I ate my meals in the cafe/lounge, I felt like it was a tremendous imposition on the crew to allow me to do so. I was told by my SCA that dinner would be brought to me in my room. I informed the SCA that I did not wish to eat in my room. I believe that the SCA checked with the conductor and I was "permitted" to eat in the cafe/lounge. The entire portion of the cafe/lounge closest to the sleepers was occupied by crew or had "reserved for crew" signs on the tables. :(
We're seeing more and more of this, but in all fairness,since the Transdorms have been removed from some Superliner LD Trains, the Crews really have no place to relax except their rooms.(I know the Cardinal only has a Dinette/Cafe Car)

The best example is on the Texas Eaglette, which has a consist of 4 Cars, 1 Sleeper on which the Crew occupies the Downstairs Rooms, 1 CCC that serves as both the Diner and the Cafe, 1 Bag Coach and 1 Regular Coach.
 

jis

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We're seeing more and more of this, but in all fairness,since the Transdorms have been removed from some Superliner LD Trains, the Crews really have no place to relax except their rooms.(I know the Cardinal only has a Dinette/Cafe Car)
But then the Cardinal does have a Bag-Dorm with plenty of space for the crew to relax. So much empty space there that they are contemplating selling four of the roomettes to regular customer in it.
 

daybeers

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I traveled in a sleeper on the Cardinal in October and was very disappointed. Although I ate my meals in the cafe/lounge, I felt like it was a tremendous imposition on the crew to allow me to do so. I was told by my SCA that dinner would be brought to me in my room. I informed the SCA that I did not wish to eat in my room. I believe that the SCA checked with the conductor and I was "permitted" to eat in the cafe/lounge. The entire portion of the cafe/lounge closest to the sleepers was occupied by crew or had "reserved for crew" signs on the tables. :(
This is just ridiculous to me. I can't even see why an employee would feel the need to do this.
 
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Entire cafe/lounge 'reserved for crew'? All five (5) of them? (eng, conductor, asst conductor?, cafe attendant, sleeper attendant). You gotta be kidding me! Oh....that's right! They have to 'spread out' and have separate 'reserved' tables for each of them!

I can assure you that if it's that way when I ride the Cardinal in July, fireworks will fly!
 
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The Cardinal must be quite an impressive operation in the negative sense. It seems that every comment I read about it, aside from comments on the scenery, is negative. It has very limited sleeper capacity and sleeping car prices appear to be excessive. The comments make it sound like a third world operation. Perhaps it is.
 
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I’m riding tomorrow CVS (Charlottesville) to CRF (Crawfordsville IN). I’m going to be completely respectful, but I’m going to insist on eating dinner in the Café diner. Unless it is late - that will likely be my one meal.

We’ll see what happens.
Hope you have a good trip and we will await your report.
 

Bob Dylan

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But then the Cardinal does have a Bag-Dorm with plenty of space for the crew to relax. So much empty space there that they are contemplating selling four of the roomettes to regular customer in it.
Penny was the victim of a Bad Crew on the Card, but all routes generally have these now Days !( the Siver Trains, the Empire Builder and the Starlight used to have great Crews as as did the Auto Train!)
 
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We're seeing more and more of this, but in all fairness,since the Transdorms have been removed from some Superliner LD Trains, the Crews really have no place to relax except their rooms.(I know the Cardinal only has a Dinette/Cafe Car)

The best example is on the Texas Eaglette, which has a consist of 4 Cars, 1 Sleeper on which the Crew occupies the Downstairs Rooms, 1 CCC that serves as both the Diner and the Cafe, 1 Bag Coach and 1 Regular Coach.
The exact same situation for me when traveling on the Cardinal a year ago... the crew was moody and grumpy perhaps because they had no where else to put themselves.

When going for some ice I began waiting on the sleeper side of the cafe car and got some very grizzly stares from other passengers and the attendant barked at me and told me to 'get on line like everyone else...' so I immediately went to the back of the cafe line and waited about 10 minutes for the ice.

Regardless of the specifics and rationale... it was a very frustrating and unhappy experience.
Penny was the victim of a Bad Crew on the Card, but all routes generally have these now Days !( the Siver Trains, the Empire Builder and the Starlight used to have great Crews as as did the Auto Train!)
It is unfortunate that service has become so minimal and so strained. A smile can go a long way but just isn't there from the crew... but they do respond positively when sympathetic words come from the pax.

Hoping things get better!
 
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It is unfortunate that service has become so minimal and so strained. A smile can go a long way but just isn't there from the crew... but they do respond positively when sympathetic words come from the pax.

This seems to be a remarkable turn of events. Now passengers who sometimes pay hundreds and thousands of dollars for service, are expected to be submissive and to fawn on the crew.
 
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This seems to be a remarkable turn of events. Now passengers who sometimes pay hundreds and thousands of dollars for service, are expected to be submissive and to fawn on the crew.
I so agree with you... that rail enthusiasts must make sacrifices to pursue their joy of traveling by rail. Funding and management are indeed big issues. I must admit my desire to shell out top dollar for this kind of service ain't much... and I have no plans to travel after my upcoming trip... which was booked almost a year ago. Looks my Executive Plus status will be short lived.

And while they give bonus AGR points for business class and first class... no extra points for uber expensive sleeper accommodations. None of it is rational. Am I off point by suggesting that Amtrak needs real leadership???
 
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I’m riding tomorrow CVS (Charlottesville) to CRF (Crawfordsville IN). I’m going to be completely respectful, but I’m going to insist on eating dinner in the Café diner. Unless it is late - that will likely be my one meal.

We’ll see what happens.
Well… I’m not falling on my sword this week. I’ll work the issue through channels and see if it gets anywhere.

I put a lengthy post elsewhere in one of the bicycle threads - but the bottom line is the conductor and I got into it a little bit over my bicycle.

He claimed I should never have been sold the ticket, and because we’re talking the Amtrak online ticketing system - he could be right.

He wasn’t an unreasonable guy when we sat down later to talk - and it’s very likely I’ll end up getting off with my bike at the desired stop.

But I’m not going to bring up the lack of sleeping car passenger access in the café on this trip.
 

Willbridge

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Well… I’m not falling on my sword this week. I’ll work the issue through channels and see if it gets anywhere.

I put a lengthy post elsewhere in one of the bicycle threads...

But I’m not going to bring up the lack of sleeping car passenger access in the café on this trip.

Good idea to focus on one issue. If a letter into a bureaucracy has to be routed to more than one person, it may never get answered or it may take a long time. Back when I was drafting letters at Oregon DOT my favorite reply was to a letter writer who made suggestions for rail passenger service AND nuclear power plant siting.
 
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Just a button up my experience on this trip with this crew. From an onboard service standpoint, I had the same group both directions.

I have to say that while the food was still very much “Cardinal like”, and the crew takeover of the sleeper side of the Cafe remained complete, the onboard experience was better.

My SCA – who I had thought was just a little bit grumpy on the way out, did an excellent job on the way back. It may have been that she wasn’t feeling great outbound, and had recovered somewhat. She may also have witnessed the Conductor giving me a hard time over my bike - and took compassion on me.

She offered me a late lunch when I got on in Charlottesville after 2pm - which I didn’t expect. Even though I wasn’t hungry at the time, I was very appreciative of the cold soft drink she delivered.

For dinner, we were able to eat in the café, even though they temporarily closed it to coach passengers and sat us on their side while the crew occupied the sleeper side.

I hate that for the coach passengers. Luckily, it was only closed for 30 minutes or so.

When she came to make up my bed, she remembered that I prefer to sleep in the top bunk, and she had that made up for me without me asking.

The next morning, I woke to the smell of fresh coffee in the sleeper car at 6 AM sharp. While I was cleaning up at 6:15 AM (my stop was at 7) she brought me breakfast in the room, which she insisted on. Breakfast does not officially start on that train until 6:30 AM. I didn’t really realize I was hungry, but I enjoyed it a lot.

Some of the best SCA service I’ve had anywhere on Amtrak. And I’ve had some very good SCAs before.
 

Cal

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What was her name? Just curious, as I had a grumpy but fairly nice SCA once on the Cardinal. I'm just curious if that is her.
 

joelkfla

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Just a button up my experience on this trip with this crew. From an onboard service standpoint, I had the same group both directions.

I have to say that while the food was still very much “Cardinal like”, and the crew takeover of the sleeper side of the Cafe remained complete, the onboard experience was better.

My SCA – who I had thought was just a little bit grumpy on the way out, did an excellent job on the way back. It may have been that she wasn’t feeling great outbound, and had recovered somewhat. She may also have witnessed the Conductor giving me a hard time over my bike - and took compassion on me.

She offered me a late lunch when I got on in Charlottesville after 2pm - which I didn’t expect. Even though I wasn’t hungry at the time, I was very appreciative of the cold soft drink she delivered.

For dinner, we were able to eat in the café, even though they temporarily closed it to coach passengers and sat us on their side while the crew occupied the sleeper side.

I hate that for the coach passengers. Luckily, it was only closed for 30 minutes or so.

When she came to make up my bed, she remembered that I prefer to sleep in the top bunk, and she had that made up for me without me asking.

The next morning, I woke to the smell of fresh coffee in the sleeper car at 6 AM sharp. While I was cleaning up at 6:15 AM (my stop was at 7) she brought me breakfast in the room, which she insisted on. Breakfast does not officially start on that train until 6:30 AM. I didn’t really realize I was hungry, but I enjoyed it a lot.

Some of the best SCA service I’ve had anywhere on Amtrak. And I’ve had some very good SCAs before.
Had you given the SCA a nice tip on the 1st trip? That might have had an effect.
 
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