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COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Pandemic: Amtrak-related Discussion

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Suze10860

Train Attendant
Joined
Feb 2, 2020
Messages
40
Wow - that was probably one of the easiest, and at the same time, one of the hardest things (emotionally) I've done in a long time.

Just got off the phone with Amtrak, cancelling our April 4 NY-Chi roundtrip . The entire call took literally 2 minutes. The first time I called I got the dreaded "All circuits busy," which was a fear. But then my call was answered the next time, got right through to Bob, and he took care of everything without a moment of hesitation.

And after much discussion, my husband and I decided for a full refund to our credit card rather than an eVoucher. With the current state of life, we really can't be messing around with over $1,000 of our money.

And just for the record, I was a tiny bit teary while I was on the phone. Yes, I totally get that in the whole big picture, this situation is trivial compared to what many are facing. But that doesn't mean that it's not remarkably disappointing to me. I mean, besides the whole train aspect, we were going out to Chicago to see our son.

I'm sad about so many aspects of daily life right now, and cancelling this trip just added on. So here's to better things for everyone in the not-to-distant future.

The main point I wanted to make is that the cancellation/refund process (for me anyway) was super fast and easy. I'd say if the agent you speak with even hesitates, either call back or ask for a transfer.

Good luck everyone.
 

NS VIA Fan

Conductor
Joined
Sep 24, 2011
Messages
1,553
I don't know but every winter we have a Canadian snow-bird couple in our Tia-Chi class at the local senior center. They were scheduled to leave for home on April 1st but bugged out early this week to get home before the border is closed.
If they can get to the Border.....they can't be denied entry (same for Americans in the opposite direction) but they could be put in isolation for 14 days once back in the country.
 

Devil's Advocate

Conductor
Joined
May 24, 2010
Messages
11,544
Location
Texas
If they can get to the Border.....they can't be denied entry (same for Americans in the opposite direction) but they could be put in isolation for 14 days once back in the country.
That's how it's supposed to work (and almost always does) but if they declined to comply what could we do about it? Never seen any constitutional lawyers, bilateral signatories, or right-of-return advocates at the inspection booth. Entry candidates have few protections and no fundamental right to representation here.

 
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Joined
Jan 28, 2020
Messages
13
It's not immediately obvious but this temporarily ends ALL service to Parkesburg and Coatesville, since SEPTA doesn't stop at those two stations. (The other stations skipped by the Keystone are served by SEPTA.)

The only other US stations to lose all service so far are those unique to the Adirondack, which tend to have extremely low ridership in the first place. (Well, and Winter Park, but the season was almost over anyway.)

With what's going on in Canada, I'm not surprised that the Maple Leaf and Adirondack border crossings have been cancelled. Via has cut the Canadian, the Ocean, the Jasper-Prince Rupert line, their half of the Maple Leaf, and over half of their corridor frequencies. GO has also cut Niagara train service though they're still running buses.
For those of you who are members of the National Association of Railroad Passengers - and you should be - please contact your representatives to insist that they include Amtrak, commuter agencies and local transit in any relief they plan to extend for the airlines - fair is far.
 

Thirdrail7

Conductor
AU Supporter
Joined
Jul 9, 2014
Messages
4,490
Amtrak modifies schedules in WI, MI to and from Chicago


Amtrak Midwest Services changes and modifies schedules for trains in Wisconsin and Michigan that are traveling to Chicago.

The company announced that effective Thursday, March 19, some Amtrak Midwest network service modifications are in place due to reduced travel demand.

The following trains are affected:

Chicago-Milwaukee Hiawatha corridor service reduced to four daily roundtrips. Friday evening Hiawatha Train 343 also temporarily suspended.
Chicago-Detroit-Pontiac Wolverine corridor service reduced to two daily roundtrips.
Chicago-Holland-Grand Rapids Pere Marquette daily roundtrips suspended. Amtrak Thruway Bus connections to and from Grand Rapids are available daily via Kalamazoo.
No changes to Chicago-East Lansing-Port Huron Blue Water roundtrips or Kansas City-Jefferson City-St. Louis Missouri River Runner corridor services.
Some Amtrak Thruway Bus routes will have service modifications.
 

wwchi

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Apr 14, 2009
Messages
273
yup got a call on a Pere Marquette reservation I had but doesn't matter I wasn't going to need it!
 

tim49424

Conductor
Joined
Dec 20, 2010
Messages
2,963
Location
Holland, MI

Bob Dylan

Conductor
Joined
May 31, 2009
Messages
20,275
Location
Austin Texas
Just cant be much longer till Airlines,Amtrak and all Public Transportation gets Shutdown as the entire US goes into Shelter in Place and Martial Law if it gets bad enough!( there are scarey people with guns that'll be out there!!😣)
 
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pennyk

Conductor
Staff member
Administator
Moderator
Gathering Team Member
Joined
Jul 5, 2009
Messages
10,390
Location
Orlando, FL
MODERATOR NOTE: Please be reminded again that comments in this thread should be limited to coronavirus and traveling on Amtrak. Thank you for your cooperation. Off topic comments may be removed.
 

river

Train Attendant
Joined
Sep 20, 2010
Messages
85
Location
GRR
I had 2 sleeper car reservations for April 2020. I cancelled one yesterday via their automated process and was charged a 25% cancellation fee.
I came here to this forum and realized if I talked to an agent directly I could get a full refund. That option wasn't offered by "Julie".So today I cancelled my 2nd reservation for April with a full refund.

Is there any way I can get my 25% cancel fee (which was over $200) returned or am I out of luck? The agent I spoke to today said he couldn't do it and tried (unsuccessfully) to transfer me to Refunds.
Any suggestions? I did email Amtrak with my request, but not sure how responsive they will be.
Thanks.
 

Bex

Service Attendant
Joined
Dec 6, 2014
Messages
215
Location
NEC
Governor Hogan of Maryland just said no one should get on an Amtrak train (or MARC or Metro) unless they are emergency personnel, a frontline healthcare provider, or their job is essential to the supply chain.
 

Bob Dylan

Conductor
Joined
May 31, 2009
Messages
20,275
Location
Austin Texas
ALL Public Transportation needs to be Shutdown NOW before we become Italy!

Facts matter, believe CDC and CNN, dont believe the Internet or Faux Noise!

The Bay Area and NY/NJ/CONN have it right! Stay Home unless you are a First Responder!!!

Exceptions: Run it for First Responders and Emergency Workees only until the Crisis spikes and starts down! If China and Korea did it, we can too!!
 
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crescent-zephyr

Conductor
Joined
Oct 21, 2015
Messages
2,687
Facts matter, believe CDC and CNN, dont believe the Internet or Faux Noise!
There really aren’t that many facts... that’s the problem. I’ve thought about taking the empire builder out to Izaak Walton and spending my quarantine time there! But I don’t want to get totally stranded if the worse happens. :-/
 

tricia

Conductor
Joined
Aug 23, 2011
Messages
1,103
Location
Spring Creek, NC
ALL Public Transportation needs to be Shutdown NOW before we become Italy!

Facts matter, believe CDC and CNN, dont believe the Internet or Faux Noise!

The Bay Area and NY/NJ/CONN have it right! Stay Home unless you are a First Responder!!!
It's a little more complicated than that. In addition to first responders, folks whose work makes sure food, water, and other necessities remain available need to do that work--as safely as possible, and then go home.

For example: I manage a buyers' group for animal feed, and will go to the county extension center's loading dock today to make sure everyone who ordered feed this month gets it. Three longtime buyers will pick up their feed before I get there today, to minimize points of contact. And then we'll all go home. But if all of us stay home today, there'll be an awful lot of hungry livestock.... For us, today, this is not a super-stressful decision--western NC is far from any of the current viral hot spots. By the time our next order is scheduled, in May, who knows?

So, I guess the Amtrak-related question at this point is: Where and to meet which urgent needs should Amtrak be running trains right now? And as circumstances change, how might Amtrak's operations ought to change?
 

Bob Dylan

Conductor
Joined
May 31, 2009
Messages
20,275
Location
Austin Texas
It's a little more complicated than that. In addition to first responders, folks whose work makes sure food, water, and other necessities remain available need to do that work--as safely as possible, and then go home.

For example: I manage a buyers' group for animal feed, and will go to the county extension center's loading dock today to make sure everyone who ordered feed this month gets it. Three longtime buyers will pick up their feed before I get there today, to minimize points of contact. And then we'll all go home. But if all of us stay home today, there'll be an awful lot of hungry livestock.... For us, today, this is not a super-stressful decision--western NC is far from any of the current viral hot spots. By the time our next order is scheduled, in May, who knows?

So, I guess the Amtrak-related question at this point is: Where and to meet which urgent needs should Amtrak be running trains right now? And as circumstances change, how might Amtrak's operations ought to change?
I agree, I clarified my post with an edit, see sbove!
 

Eric S

Conductor
Joined
Dec 19, 2009
Messages
2,519
Location
Milwaukee
ALL Public Transportation needs to be Shutdown NOW before we become Italy!

Facts matter, believe CDC and CNN, dont believe the Internet or Faux Noise!

The Bay Area and NY/NJ/CONN have it right! Stay Home unless you are a First Responder!!!
I strongly disagree with this. There are a lot of things to consider here including people who rely on public transit to get to and from their vitally important jobs.
 

PeeweeTM

Train Attendant
Joined
May 9, 2011
Messages
94
Skype says, it took me and an Amtrak agent 5 minutes and 5 seconds to cancel three trips in April/May.
No options for the reimbursement, money comes back to my credit card.

Tomorrow I'll contact United Airlines, because they cancelled some flights and are now offering a 0030 arrival via SFO in CHI (was 1410 the afternoon before, coming from Germany).
I'm curious if they'll handle the (EU261) reimbursement as client-friendly as Amtrak just did.
 

Bob Dylan

Conductor
Joined
May 31, 2009
Messages
20,275
Location
Austin Texas
Skype says, it took me and an Amtrak agent 5 minutes and 5 seconds to cancel three trips in April/May.
No options for the reimbursement, money comes back to my credit card.

Tomorrow I'll contact United Airlines, because they cancelled some flights and are now offering a 0030 arrival via SFO in CHI (was 1410 the afternoon before, coming from Germany).
I'm curious if they'll handle the (EU261) reimbursement as client-friendly as Amtrak just did.
I wouldn't count on coming into the US in the next few weeks/ The State Dept has raised the Travel Advisory to Level 4 and we expect the President to close the US borders to all except US Citizens returning from abroad.

There are already Americans stranded in various Countries and the Govt is discussing using Military Transport to get them home!
 

pennyk

Conductor
Staff member
Administator
Moderator
Gathering Team Member
Joined
Jul 5, 2009
Messages
10,390
Location
Orlando, FL
MODERATOR NOTE (again): Many posts that were not on the specific topic of Amtrak and coronavirus (but were related to the coronavirus) were moved to the general coronavirus thread in the AU Lounge. Staff is reviewing some of the posts that may be considered political and those posts may be removed. Completely off topic posts were removed.

Thank you for your cooperation.
 

City of Miami

Conductor
Joined
Jan 29, 2004
Messages
1,102
Location
Charlottesville VA
The Met canceled the rest of their season this morning which put the kabash on my trip to NYC planned for mid-April. So I called Amtrak and got an agent after a short wait. He cancelled my 2 reservations without question. Because they were Saver Fares I was restricted to 1 year vouchers instead of a credit card refund but there was no penalty, full value in the vouchers. I have no complaint with that as I'll certainly use it before a year is done.
 

City of Miami

Conductor
Joined
Jan 29, 2004
Messages
1,102
Location
Charlottesville VA
I had 2 sleeper car reservations for April 2020. I cancelled one yesterday via their automated process and was charged a 25% cancellation fee.
I came here to this forum and realized if I talked to an agent directly I could get a full refund. That option wasn't offered by "Julie".So today I cancelled my 2nd reservation for April with a full refund.

Is there any way I can get my 25% cancel fee (which was over $200) returned or am I out of luck? The agent I spoke to today said he couldn't do it and tried (unsuccessfully) to transfer me to Refunds.
Any suggestions? I did email Amtrak with my request, but not sure how responsive they will be.
Thanks.
I'm sure you'll get your $200 back. Just be patient AND keep trying.
 

Devil's Advocate

Conductor
Joined
May 24, 2010
Messages
11,544
Location
Texas
Is there any way I can get my 25% cancel fee (which was over $200) returned or am I out of luck? The agent I spoke to today said he couldn't do it and tried (unsuccessfully) to transfer me to Refunds. Any suggestions? I did email Amtrak with my request, but not sure how responsive they will be.
I'm sure you'll get your $200 back. Just be patient AND keep trying.
It may be easier and more practical to push for a $200 travel voucher instead of refunding a fully processed penalty charge. I would call and ask for Customer Relations with no further effort spent on resolution via email. Do be aware that compensatory vouchers will need to be spent in a single use.
 

river

Train Attendant
Joined
Sep 20, 2010
Messages
85
Location
GRR
Thanks for the idea of asking for a compensatory voucher! Great idea!
 

Trollopian

Service Attendant
Joined
Sep 19, 2014
Messages
103
Location
Washington, DC and Pittsburgh, PA
"Yes, I totally get that in the whole big picture, this situation is trivial compared to what many are facing. But that doesn't mean that it's not remarkably disappointing to me. "

Same here, Suze. My beautiful cat died four weeks ago and I miss him so much. My plan was to take my long-dreamt loop around the country by train, Capitol Limited to California Zephyr to Coast Starlight to Empire Builder, stop in Chicago to visit an old friend, come home and adopt another cat. That plan is kaput.

Yes, it's trivial in the scheme of things, but all 315 million Americans (and billions more around the world) are facing disappointments and hardships at best, death at worst.

In the category of small blessings: I was with my cat when he was euthanized. Now, local vets won't allow owners to accompany their pets. Owners wait curbside and "consult" by phone while their pet is treated inside the clinic.

 
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