Coast Starlight discussion

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chris319

Train Attendant
Joined
Oct 21, 2014
Messages
23
"I don't really think comparing sleeper prices to Southwest is really an apples to apples comparison - you're comparing an airline that still considers itself a low cost carrier to a premium first class service."

Granted, but the premium fare is hard to justify if one only wants to go from point A to point B, considering that WiFi is gone forever.
 

Cal

Engineer
Joined
Jan 23, 2021
Messages
4,045
Location
Socal
"we were still able to get take out delivered to us."

How did that work? What take-out franchise delivers to a train en route?
The dining car is (I believe, unless you are being unruly) obligated to serve you, and so they delivered our meals to our business class seat. And you can get basically any restaurant to deliver to the train via Uber Eats. I did so in ABQ and Tuscon.

"if the announcement never came that means it didn’t come for the sleeper passengers either "

On that particular evening the sleepers were able to eat their prepaid food and I was restricted to the snack bar fare of angus burgers, chips and candy bars..
Well you said you made a reservation but they never called you, are you now changing your story to they never let you make a reservation at all? Or am I misunderstanding?

And, as I said, I believe that the diner is obligated to serve you unless you are being unruly or they run out of food (which does happen with select items, but I have never heard of an instance of them to run out of everything). So I am very confused with your story/ies, do you think there was simply some miscommunication?
 

chris319

Train Attendant
Joined
Oct 21, 2014
Messages
23
"After five years and 3 LD Coach trips (and a slew of northeast trips) i ponied up and paid A LOT $$$ for a roomette CS Portland to LA. It will be worth it ! "

From Portland to L.A. it will be worth it. You will hopefully get all of your prepaid meals in the grown-up dining car and you can take a nap in your room when you tire of looking at the beautiful scenery or when the sun goes down and there is nothing to see out your window but darkness.

I see a fare of $718 for a roomette on May 29. Is that close to what you're paying?
 
Joined
Feb 2, 2005
Messages
880
A better comparison would be tomorrow 3/31 LAX to SEA Alaska airlines first class versus Amtrak sleepers. $559 Alaska Airlines, Amtrak $1626 (1 bedroom room left at that price so it might go higher) and 2 roomettes at $765 price.

4/30 Amtrak prices are exactly the same and Alaska FC is $319, some days that week as low as $279 first, which on Alaska includes full lounge access.

Keep in mind these are one way fares so it’s $3251 rt on Amtrak for what is a 1 night plus trip.
 

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Rambling Robert

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
May 30, 2021
Messages
291
Location
Boston
"After five years and 3 LD Coach trips (and a slew of northeast trips) i ponied up and paid A LOT $$$ for a roomette CS Portland to LA. It will be worth it ! "

From Portland to L.A. it will be worth it. You will hopefully get all of your prepaid meals in the grown-up dining car and you can take a nap in your room when you tire of looking at the beautiful scenery or when the sun goes down and there is nothing to see out your window but darkness.

I see a fare of $718 for a roomette on May 29. Is that close to what you're paying?
My CS trip is $100 less - $623 and getting lower! I have to commend Amtrak’s agents and I watch for pop up sales. My trip starts in Maine that offers free parking.

By “delivery to your seat” meant from Amtrak kitchen to your seat - honoring your over booked reservation NOT an Uber delivery - which BTW is a pretty good idea - I’ve promoted on other threads and YouTube.

This menu goes back pre-pandemic and pre-flexmeal. But today there’s talk of a flat rate for business/Coach class. I’d agree to fixed price $40–$50 for dinner for Coach in the see dining car. You are prolly familiar with this 2017 pre-flex meal prices paid by business/Coach:

 

Cal

Engineer
Joined
Jan 23, 2021
Messages
4,045
Location
Socal
I would rather bring take-out with me on the train than hope an Uber Eats driver can synchronize a delivery with a train which may or may not be on time.
You can do it fairly easily at longer stops. For the one at ABQ what we did was call a local pizza place about 50 minutes out, and explained our situation. A handful of us on AU have done it, and I think it's a good way to skip flex meals.
 

Rambling Robert

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
May 30, 2021
Messages
291
Location
Boston
Nice to know Cal.
On Google maps I located three Indian restaurants only minutes from the Albany stop but the SHORTENED layover was to close to call. ONE DAY on the LSL I’m going be enjoying onion naan and a lamb breyani!
 

AFriendly

Train Attendant
Joined
Jun 3, 2021
Messages
30
Location
PNW
I'm sorry to see some people striking an apologetic or explanatory tone on behalf of Amtrak despite their inconsistent, lousy, and downright bizarre treatment of a customer in this thread. Amtrak doesn't have a bigger booster than me but I refuse to be gaslighted into accepting the ridiculous practices their management is trying to push down on customers in the name of making intercity train travel the least attractive option. They are literally trying to beat passengers away, and as long as you accept that it will continue and get worse too.
 
Joined
Sep 15, 2017
Messages
2,105
"I don't really think comparing sleeper prices to Southwest is really an apples to apples comparison - you're comparing an airline that still considers itself a low cost carrier to a premium first class service."

Granted, but the premium fare is hard to justify if one only wants to go from point A to point B, considering that WiFi is gone forever.

May not be. Larry Chestler from Amtrak did a presentation at the RPA event on Monday. They are actually looking into a WiFi deployment on the Superliner equipment out west. No word on timeline but was listed as something that’s coming soon.
 

chris319

Train Attendant
Joined
Oct 21, 2014
Messages
23
Larry Chestler from Amtrak did a presentation at the RPA event on Monday. They are actually looking into a WiFi deployment on the Superliner equipment out west. No word on timeline but was listed as something that’s coming soon.

What's to look into? They had WiFi that worked Jim-dandy on the CS until Dick Anderson came along and shut it off. Can there be much more to it than turning it back on? The rail cars I used to ride on were equipped for it.

Yeah, "coming soon".

Well you said you made a reservation but they never called you, are you now changing your story to they never let you make a reservation at all? Or am I misunderstanding?

You are misunderstanding.

AFAIK they don't take meal orders in business class for delivery to your seat. This would require the distribution of menus which they do not do. Also the dining car has place settings: tablecloths, silverware and napkins. What happens is an attendant goes through business class and offers you reservation times from which to choose. Then they call "dinner is served" for the various reservation times. It has always worked this way on northbound Train 14: both lunch and dinner are served between LAX and SJC. You can sit for an hour and have nice conversations with your fellow passengers to help pass the time. You pay for your meal at your table, just like a restaurant.

On Train 11 the first time I had a problem they took my reservation but never called our reservation group to the dining car, which confused me. On the second incident they did not even take a reservation. In the past the meals worked just like they do on Train 14 and I was allowed to dine in the dining car for two meals and everything was ducky. We also had WiFi at the time. I believe this was before the Anderson era.

Clear now? You can see why, the last time I was in SJC, I opted to fly back to LAX. It was much quicker and more pleasant.

Now I understand there is a (relatively) new guy in charge of long-distance trains including the CS. He's been on the job for over 2 years and they still don't have WiFi hooked back up and I'm not hearing any good news about meals on Train 11.
 

travelplus

Train Attendant
Joined
Oct 3, 2022
Messages
26
Location
Silicon Valley CA
Any news about CS for January 26th? I am a Rail geek and saw it zeroed out online up to EMY and I have a Sleeper Car from LA to SJ I would much prefer an overnight in LA at a hotel rather than a downgrade.

I understand that "Due to a service disruption along this route I'm going to need to transfer you to an agent"😁
 

AmtrakBlue

Engineer
Gathering Team Member
Joined
May 6, 2011
Messages
14,585
Location
Delaware
Any news about CS for January 26th? I am a Rail geek and saw it zeroed out online up to EMY and I have a Sleeper Car from LA to SJ I would much prefer an overnight in LA at a hotel rather than a downgrade.

I understand that "Due to a service disruption along this route I'm going to need to transfer you to an agent"😁
I saw something on FB - take it with a grain of salt - that the LAX-EMY section is cancelled till 1/28/23.
I think there is a bridge that is unstable or washed out.
 

allanorn

Train Attendant
Joined
Jul 30, 2018
Messages
65
Location
SAN
Any news about CS for January 26th? I am a Rail geek and saw it zeroed out online up to EMY and I have a Sleeper Car from LA to SJ I would much prefer an overnight in LA at a hotel rather than a downgrade.

I understand that "Due to a service disruption along this route I'm going to need to transfer you to an agent"😁

UP needs to do track repairs at least between Goleta and San Luis Obispo. Have not heard if the CS will have alternative routes south of EMY or if they're going to straight cancel and throw you on Thruway buses between SBA-EMY.
 

travelplus

Train Attendant
Joined
Oct 3, 2022
Messages
26
Location
Silicon Valley CA
UP needs to do track repairs at least between Goleta and San Luis Obispo. Have not heard if the CS will have alternative routes south of EMY or if they're going to straight cancel and throw you on Thruway buses between SBA-EMY.
I am going to SJC. I would much rather have them put me on another LD train with Rommette! What about meal vouchers for those in a Roomette? They could very well take the Tehachapi route and overnight me in Emeryville and take the Capitol Corridor train the next day.
 

zephyr17

Engineer
Joined
Jul 23, 2009
Messages
7,122
Location
Washington State
Have not heard if the CS will have alternative routes south of EMY or if they're going to straight cancel
The only detour would be down the San Joaquin Valley and over Tehachapi. When they've done it in the past, they've gone UP (ex WP) over Altamont, UP (ex-SP) down the Valley, over Tehachapi, down the Antelope Valley to Lancaster, and SCRRA (Metrolink) to Burbank Jct. I don't know why they don't take the primarily BNSF route to Bakersfield that the San Joaquins do, for which they have qualified crews, but they don't.

If they were going to detour, they would have announced it. UP doesn't like detouring the Starlight over Tehachapi, plus they have crew shortages so pilot engineers may be unavailable.

They're going to straight cancel.
 

allanorn

Train Attendant
Joined
Jul 30, 2018
Messages
65
Location
SAN
If they were going to detour, they would have announced it. UP doesn't like detouring the Starlight over Tehachapi, plus they have crew shortages so pilot engineers may be unavailable.

They're going to straight cancel.
That's what I figured with only a 2-ish week closure, assuming no further rain delays or track issues, but I haven't seen anything official on Amtrak sites.

@travelplus - I would recommend the San Joaquins route but double-check with someone who's recently taken that route to see if the cafe car is on the train. Those were cut due to the malaise but I haven't heard if they were ever restored. If there's no cafe car, strongly consider non-train travel as there will practically be no food/drink on any of the segments.
 

allanorn

Train Attendant
Joined
Jul 30, 2018
Messages
65
Location
SAN
I am going to SJC. I would much rather have them put me on another LD train with Rommette! What about meal vouchers for those in a Roomette? They could very well take the Tehachapi route and overnight me in Emeryville and take the Capitol Corridor train the next day.
There are no other LD trains that go between Southern and Northern California. I would not expect the CS to run via Tehachapi either. My guess is that they'll either cancel the entire ticket and refund your travel entirely, or put you on the San Joaquins or coastal Thruway buses and refund the fare difference.
 

travelplus

Train Attendant
Joined
Oct 3, 2022
Messages
26
Location
Silicon Valley CA
That's what I figured with only a 2-ish week closure, assuming no further rain delays or track issues, but I haven't seen anything official on Amtrak sites.

@travelplus - I would recommend the San Joaquins route but double-check with someone who's recently taken that route to see if the cafe car is on the train. Those were cut due to the malaise but I haven't heard if they were ever restored. If there's no cafe car, strongly consider non-train travel as there will practically be no food/drink on any of the segments.
I will ask Amtrak to reroute me Lamy-Chicago-Emeryville San Jose via Southwest Chief, California Zeypher or SW Chief-Empire Builder-CS in Sleeper. There are other LD options and the only reason I am taking the San Joaqins is to connect to the LD portion on a guaranteed connection.

Lets make this a mileage run!
 

Yumacool

Train Attendant
AU Supporting Member
Joined
Oct 3, 2014
Messages
84
Location
California
I live in Paso Robles, Calif., in a house about one mile from the tracks. I heard what I thought was the horn of the Coast Starlight around 8 a.m. Is that the Starlight that was due here yesterday afternoon and is now some 18 hours late? If so, does anyone know what happened?
 

AmtrakBlue

Engineer
Gathering Team Member
Joined
May 6, 2011
Messages
14,585
Location
Delaware
I live in Paso Robles, Calif., in a house about one mile from the tracks. I heard what I thought was the horn of the Coast Starlight around 8 a.m. Is that the Starlight that was due here yesterday afternoon and is now some 18 hours late? If so, does anyone know what happened?
As far as I know the CS is still not running between EMY and LAX.
 
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