Chicago Legacy Club Possible Closure - June 2019 or sooner

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rtabern

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I got wind that the Legacy Club at Chicago Union Station is likely slated to close by June 2019... if not sooner. Amtrak was planning to use this as a "model" --- and if successful --- would be emulated at other larger stations around the country. Apparently it was NOT a success. My guess is --- sleeping car passengers and business class passengers already have a free lounge (Metropolitan Lounge) no more than 200 feet away... that is pretty much the same.... and is free, so they're not going to pay $20 a head to use another lounge. Coach passengers are generally economic minded and the $20 a head was too steep for them. If I'm scraping up $30 to go to Carbondale or wherever, I probably wouldn't pay $20 for some cookies and soda... I'd use that $20 to upgrade to business class and get a nicer seat and get in the Metropolitan Lounge. Apparently, daily Metra commuters and office workers who work around the station are killing Amtrak's bottom line... buying $50 monthly passes and then coming every day between 12:30p-1:30p for the happy hour and getting 2 free alcoholic drinks every day. Hey, that's upto 40 drinks for $50 in a month. This hasn't been announced anywhere I have seen, but Amtrak is preparing to close the lounge and quietly stopped selling the yearly pass. Rumor has it, that retail will be moving in there --- quite possibly a wine shop is the buzz going around now. Won't happen for several more months though as there are other priorities and construction going on that retail might worry about hurting business. Hope they keep the room and old barber shop the same.
 

the_traveler

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I agree.

Many sleeper passengers and (in the case in Chicago) Business Class passengers would not want to pay $20 extra for something that can get for free. Maybe (just maybe) it could work in cities like BOS, NYP, PHL or WAS - where BC does not admit you to Club Acela.
 
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In my opinion, this is the first of Amtrak's "cost-cutting" moves that makes a lot of sense and won't annoy their passengers. Also better to do it now before Amtrak passengers realize the locals have been chugging down all the free alchohol
.

At one time, I believe you could pay $20 in Philly to use the lounge, even if you weren't traveling. Haven't heard that for a while, so maybe it was a pilot program?

I'm not sure it would work in Philly anyway, because the station itself is so lovely, with inexpensive good food and relaxing places to sit--there's no need to pay $20 to escape it and go to a lounge. Definitely might work in NYP so people could escape the main station. Also to a lesser extent in WAS. Never been to BOS, so don't know about that.
 

jis

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The Metropolitan Lounge will be closed soon thereafter to cut costs further. Amtrak, it was nice knowin' ya for a lil' while, but fare thee well.
That one needs a smiley, since it is fake news


At one time, I believe you could pay $20 in Philly to use the lounge, even if you weren't traveling. Haven't heard that for a while, so maybe it was a pilot program?
Wasn't that only for LD train Business Class passengers or something like that? Or were they allowed to use the Club as a special case?
 
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Does the Metropolitan Lounge make a profit or break even compared to expenses? I'm not saying it will definitely be closed but if it doesn't at least break even it's unlikely to last forever. Sooner or later it will reach low hanging fruit status in the view of someone's push to make Amtrak profitable.
 
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PVD

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Do you mean Legacy, or Metro, since almost everyone entering Metro doesn't pay separately, almost all revenue is book entry and of course would be subject to the pencil pushers whims. Legacy is a different case, customers pay directly. it is geared towards a different audience and could go away without a major impact to Amtrak passengers. It is space that could probably be leased out and bring in money. I miss Metro Deli more than I would ever miss the Legacy Lounge.
 
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jis, I think you may be right about the Philly $20 pass being for business class travelers, not everyone. I did not pay attention to the details at the time because I had my guest passes, so didn't need to.
 

tricia

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I miss Metro Deli more than I would ever miss the Legacy Lounge.
Me too. Especially when catching a delayed evening train--it was excellent for comfort food and good beer when you find you're going to board later than dinner time.
 

Devil's Advocate

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Do you mean Legacy, or Metro, since almost everyone entering Metro doesn't pay separately, almost all revenue is book entry and of course would be subject to the pencil pushers whims.
Even though there's zero evidence that the Metropolitan Lounge is ever going away the logic and talking points already espoused by those in charge would seem to put it's original purpose at risk. The days of acceptable loss leaders appears to be over. If a given amenity or service is not earning a profit or breaking even then it either needs to find a way to increase income or decrease expenditures. Unfortunately this probably means the long distance network itself will remain at risk of potential modification or dissolution in the foreseeable future.

I miss Metro Deli more than I would ever miss the Legacy Lounge.
Me too. Especially when catching a delayed evening train--it was excellent for comfort food and good beer when you find you're going to board later than dinner time.
I thought it was the moving of the Metropolitan Lounge that supposedly "required" closing the Metro Deli, not the Legacy Club?
 
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tricia

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Do you mean Legacy, or Metro, since almost everyone entering Metro doesn't pay separately, almost all revenue is book entry and of course would be subject to the pencil pushers whims.
Even though there's zero evidence that the Metropolitan Lounge is ever going away the logic and talking points already espoused by those in charge would seem to put it's original purpose at risk. The days of acceptable loss leaders appears to be over. If a given amenity or service is not earning a profit or breaking even then it either needs to find a way to increase income or decrease expenditures. Unfortunately this probably means the long distance network itself will remain at risk of potential modification or dissolution in the foreseeable future.

I miss Metro Deli more than I would ever miss the Legacy Lounge.
Me too. Especially when catching a delayed evening train--it was excellent for comfort food and good beer when you find you're going to board later than dinner time.
I thought it was the moving of the Metropolitan Lounge that supposedly "required" closing the Metro Deli, not the Legacy Club?
Either moving the Metro Lounge or renovating the great hall--I don't remember which.

In any case, I still miss the Metro Deli.
 

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I believe you are correct, in that the Legacy Lounge was not what caused the demise of the Metro Deli... I was just saying that in terms of things going away at CUS, the Metro Deli is something I miss, and the LL has no value for me.
 

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Does the Metropolitan Lounge make a profit or break even compared to expenses? I'm not saying it will definitely be closed but if it doesn't at least break even it's unlikely to last forever. Sooner or later it will reach low hanging fruit status in the view of someone's push to make Amtrak profitable.
If that were the case, the Club Acela in NYP, BOS and WAS should also be closed. There is NO seperate way (to buy admission) unless you are an Acela First passenger, a sleeping car passenger or have AGR status of Select or above. All those have no monetary expense. Even if you have a coupon from an AGR redemption, there is no cash outlay.
So either way, cash in is $-0-, while expenses out are $xxx!
 

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Since Anderson is a airline man, he will most likely sell annual membership to the lounge along with some sort of co branded CC that allows entrance. And also probably not include lounge access for domestic travel in sleeper. Only international.
 

cpotisch

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Does the Metropolitan Lounge make a profit or break even compared to expenses? I'm not saying it will definitely be closed but if it doesn't at least break even it's unlikely to last forever. Sooner or later it will reach low hanging fruit status in the view of someone's push to make Amtrak profitable.
If that were the case, the Club Acela in NYP, BOS and WAS should also be closed. There is NO seperate way (to buy admission) unless you are an Acela First passenger, a sleeping car passenger or have AGR status of Select or above. All those have no monetary expense. Even if you have a coupon from an AGR redemption, there is no cash outlay.So either way, cash in is $-0-, while expenses out are $xxx!
I would note that all business class passengers can get a day pass at any ClubAcela for $20. So while of course the vast majority of people won’t do that, revenue isn’t quite zero.
 

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From Amtrak Website:

All Business Class passengers can purchase daily access passes for the ClubAcela locations at Philadelphia - 30th Street Station and Boston - South Station* for $20.00 per day. Speak with a uniformed employee at the station for more information.

No mention of C/A at NYP or WAS......
 
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jebr

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There's only three Metropolitan Lounges in the country: Chicago, Los Angeles, and Portland. With just three of them, there probably isn't a huge cost savings to be found, especially since there is a soft benefit of people having a nicer waiting area that may encourage them to upgrade to business or sleeper when they otherwise wouldn't. I wouldn't be surprised if there's some clause in the state-supported contract that requires some sort of lounge access, especially in Chicago and Los Angeles.

The Chicago lounge seems the safest; with the amount of transfer traffic, mixed with originating sleeper and business class traffic, having some premium area to wait during a transfer likely sells quite a few sleeper/business class tickets. It also likely helps to stem some of the crowding in coach waiting areas (sleeper passengers still need to wait somewhere) and may wind up needing similar labor requirements (would the agent or two simply need to be at the ticket counter to answer question/hold bags anyways?) I've never been to the Los Angeles one, so I'm not sure how well it's used, but it may also be contractually required.

Portland seems like the odd one out. There's some transfer traffic (Coast Starlight to Empire Builder) but it's not a major transfer point, and I'm not sure how many people use it on a regular basis. If one gets cut, I'd imagine it'd be that one that goes to an unstaffed lounge like MSP or NOL.
 

jis

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Besides it is quite possible that Amtrak milks Illinois DOT and California DOT for all it is worth to provide access to the BC passengers of State Supported Trains. Actually we have no way of knowing how the accounting for anything related to the Lounges work.

BTW, there are plenty of Sleeper (and BC) Lounges that are not called Metropolitan Lounges in the country. St. Louis, Raleigh (assuming the new stations continues to have one), Miami and New Orleans come to mind immediately.
 
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cpotisch

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The Metropolitan Lounge will be closed soon thereafter to cut costs further. Amtrak, it was nice knowin' ya for a lil' while, but fare thee well.
That one needs a smiley, since it is fake news

At one time, I believe you could pay $20 in Philly to use the lounge, even if you weren't traveling. Haven't heard that for a while, so maybe it was a pilot program?
Wasn't that only for LD train Business Class passengers or something like that? Or were they allowed to use the Club as a special case?
Business class passengers on all trains (including business on Acela) can (still) pay $20 for all-day access to any of the ClubAcelas.
 
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jis

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The Metropolitan Lounge will be closed soon thereafter to cut costs further. Amtrak, it was nice knowin' ya for a lil' while, but fare thee well.
That one needs a smiley, since it is fake news

At one time, I believe you could pay $20 in Philly to use the lounge, even if you weren't traveling. Haven't heard that for a while, so maybe it was a pilot program?
Wasn't that only for LD train Business Class passengers or something like that? Or were they allowed to use the Club as a special case?
Business class passengers on all trains (including business on Acela) can (still) pay $20 for all-day access to any of the ClubAcelas.
Are you sure it includes New York? Can you provide a pointer to the documentation of the access to New York CA?
 

cpotisch

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The Metropolitan Lounge will be closed soon thereafter to cut costs further. Amtrak, it was nice knowin' ya for a lil' while, but fare thee well.
That one needs a smiley, since it is fake news

At one time, I believe you could pay $20 in Philly to use the lounge, even if you weren't traveling. Haven't heard that for a while, so maybe it was a pilot program?
Wasn't that only for LD train Business Class passengers or something like that? Or were they allowed to use the Club as a special case?
Business class passengers on all trains (including business on Acela) can (still) pay $20 for all-day access to any of the ClubAcelas.
Are you sure it includes New York? Can you provide a pointer to the documentation of the access to New York CA?
Whoops. Looks like that’s not an option at WAS and NYP (only PHL and BOS). I was mainly thinking about Philadelphia when I said it, but my bad.
 

PVD

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I posted a web section that excludes NY and Washington a little while ago....
 
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