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

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Skyline

OBS Chief
Joined
Feb 19, 2016
Messages
685
For those optimists who think Amtrak or anything else is on the verge of getting back to "normal," dream on.

Because we got such a late start dealing with C-19 in this country, we should not expect this to magically end on Easter, end of April, or anytime really until late summer at earliest. And by next winter it may start all over again with a new strain.

We have some fantastic medical personnel from the very top (Fauci) to the rank-and-file who are working 24/7 now playing whack-a-mole. But their political boss(es) wouldn't even acknowledge a real problem until this month, for all the wrong (political) reasons. We are paying the price for that. We are almost on the same level as a third world country now.
 

Bob Dylan

Conductor
Joined
May 31, 2009
Messages
19,395
For those optimists who think Amtrak or anything else is on the verge of getting back to "normal," dream on.

Because we got such a late start dealing with C-19 in this country, we should not expect this to magically end on Easter, end of April, or anytime really until late summer at earliest. And by next winter it may start all over again with a new strain.

We have some fantastic medical personnel from the very top (Fauci) to the rank-and-file who are working 24/7 now playing whack-a-mole. But their political boss(es) wouldn't even acknowledge a real problem until this month, for all the wrong (political) reasons. We are paying the price for that. We are almost on the same level as a third world country now.
Except Third World Countries are doing Better! We Lead the WORLD in Cases and the Rate of Spread!@!!😣
 

Chey

Lead Service Attendant
AU Supporter
Joined
Sep 27, 2014
Messages
455
So does anyone know how long it takes to get points back after cancelling?
 

niemi24s

Conductor
Joined
Feb 11, 2015
Messages
2,206
As I'd suspected and according to this. . . CZ Cut To Denver, CO . . .this service reduction notice for the CZ was posted yesterday at 12:30pm. Had been making checks for missing CZ fares every day and all seemed normal until the day before yesterday. Then yesterday, no CZ service from CHI to West of Denver until 12 April 2020.

FWIW, was mildly interesting to see the progression of curtailments creep Eastward from RNO, then WNN and WIP and finally DEN. Must have been watching a work in progress all taking place yesterday afternoon!
 
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anumberone

Conductor
AU Supporter
Joined
Aug 8, 2015
Messages
1,265
From what we know about how easily the coronavirus spreads, how can long distance rail travel be justified at this critical time??? People are in close proximity for long periods in the dining car, observation lounge, passenger cars, etc; and to what extent do passengers or
attendants sanitize restrooms after each
use?

Hard for me to figure why someone would want to travel by rail right now. If one must, then good luck.

I’m surprised this hasn’t been discussed more… and am interested in what discussion members think…!
 

AmtrakBlue

Conductor
Gathering Team Member
Joined
May 6, 2011
Messages
11,603
As I'd suspected and according to this. . . CZ Cut To Denver, CO . . .this service reduction for the CZ went into effect yesterday. Had been making checks for missing CZ fares every day and all seemed normal until the day before yesterday. Then yesterday, no CZ service from CHI to West of Denver until 12 April 2020.
If somebody didn’t have me on ignore he would have known this yesterday. SMH
 

lordsigma

OBS Chief
AU Supporter
Joined
Sep 15, 2017
Messages
863
For those optimists who think Amtrak or anything else is on the verge of getting back to "normal," dream on.

Because we got such a late start dealing with C-19 in this country, we should not expect this to magically end on Easter, end of April, or anytime really until late summer at earliest. And by next winter it may start all over again with a new strain.

We have some fantastic medical personnel from the very top (Fauci) to the rank-and-file who are working 24/7 now playing whack-a-mole. But their political boss(es) wouldn't even acknowledge a real problem until this month, for all the wrong (political) reasons. We are paying the price for that. We are almost on the same level as a third world country now.
It won’t ever “end” this virus will continue to be a threat for a long time and will return seasonally most likely - as we know the flu kills many people yearly. The key is taking this lock down time to improve testing, and the ability to identify and isolate cases rapidly like is being done In South Korea and improve our understanding of the disease and find more effective ways to treat serious cases. We are going to have a period of lock down and self isolation, but the idea that such a period must continue until this “ends” and the virus is no longer a threat would mean self isolating for the rest of our lives. It’s more a matter of getting the situation under control, getting the tools and learning how to effectively fight it and getting beyond the deadliest first wave of this virus. Once those are accomplished it will be necessary to relax restrictions - a prolonged unending stay at home as long as this virus exists that could last many months or maybe even a year or more is of course unsustainable and would likely result in deaths from other causes such as suicides - so we need to make best use of the time to work hard on improving our ability to fight and mitigate it to an acceptable level of risk once we allow society to resume. We aren’t there and we have a lot of work to do, but we should all hope that we will get there in a reasonable amount of time. I think end of May to early June is a reasonable amount of time to shoot for at least a beginning of a return to some normalcy. We will likely be in a worlds different position as far as our capabilities by then and hopefully have a better ability to mitigate the virus down to an acceptable level of risk.
 
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Chey

Lead Service Attendant
AU Supporter
Joined
Sep 27, 2014
Messages
455
So does anyone know how long it takes to get points back after cancelling?
Never mind. The agent I originally spoke to got somehow disconnected. When I saw on my phone app that my trip was still listed I called back. This time I was rerouted to an AGR agent (I should have called them to begin with) who *immediately* cancelled the trip and refunded the points. No penalty.
 

lordsigma

OBS Chief
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Joined
Sep 15, 2017
Messages
863
The reason we don’t want LD train suspensions is that if they are suspended there is an odds on chance they will never run again.
I think the Zephyr will be ok and will be back. Now if the chief or Sunset Limited got suspended I'd be a little more concerned.
 

Green Maned Lion

Conductor
Joined
Dec 27, 2007
Messages
8,104
I think the Zephyr will be ok and will be back. Now if the chief or Sunset Limited got suspended I'd be a little more concerned.
“In politics every crisis is an opportunity.” I put quotes because I am sure it is one although I don’t recall who.

Although I am not one who believes something like “an entire party and all of business is out to kill the Amtrak network if it is the last thing they do,” I do believe there is a cadre of people, mostly some lunatic anti-spenders and people in the freight rail industry, who would like Amtrak to go away, or at the very least, all subsidy to it- or have it fully privatized. I tend to think that the party I’m alluding to above is mostly indifferent, as Amtrak is a tiny fish in an overworked kitchen.

As long as the trains run, and they have some current supporters and riders, they will be somewhat difficult to kill. But once they are shut down, you need affirmative action to get them running again. There will be excuses by the rail industry about how they need to use all of their capacity to ‘recover’ from the Coronavirus (with some ring of truth to it, to be fair). There will be arguments about how public transportation is a massive disease vector (which is entirely true- but it remains essential because sick and mobile is normally better than well and under house arrest- I’m happy to risk a normal flu- I’ve gotten quite sick on Amtrak before- and yes I understand covid19 is different). There will be arguments - also true- that the effect of Covid-19 on ridership will last years- if not decades. And more.

What’s more, that Deluge of very plausible anti-Amtrak arguments will be present in an environment where the government will endlessly bust trying to clean up a social and economic mess that is not only certainly larger than most people can imagine or comprehend now, but likely far larger than even the comprehension I have that makes me make this statement. Amtrak will be vulnerable, require affirmative action to restart, and be fundamentally bupkes in the chaos, even to many on this website- the only exception being the truly transit dependent.

This pandemic is not only one of the worst (if not the worst) peacetime challenges our country has ever faced- it is also the worst challenge Amtrak has ever had to face. Doubt that at your peril.
 

Maglev

OBS Chief
Joined
Sep 4, 2016
Messages
869
Green Maned Lion, I agree wholeheartedly with your comments.

One particular point I would like to bring up is that social distancing has resulted in many meetings going online, and this trend may continue causing an overall reduction in demand for travel. I am not sure if there is more of an impact on corridor or long-distance travel.
 

brianpmcdonnell17

Conductor
Joined
Mar 5, 2016
Messages
1,290
Does anyone have information that the CZ cancellations will extend for the length of our current travel restrictions? If it is strictly because of an employee shortage, service should only be canceled for two weeks, which is what is currently indicated by the cancellation period for new bookings.
 

IndyLions

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Nov 6, 2016
Messages
316
“In politics every crisis is an opportunity.” I put quotes because I am sure it is one although I don’t recall who.

Although I am not one who believes something like “an entire party and all of business is out to kill the Amtrak network if it is the last thing they do,” I do believe there is a cadre of people, mostly some lunatic anti-spenders and people in the freight rail industry, who would like Amtrak to go away, or at the very least, all subsidy to it- or have it fully privatized. I tend to think that the party I’m alluding to above is mostly indifferent, as Amtrak is a tiny fish in an overworked kitchen.

As long as the trains run, and they have some current supporters and riders, they will be somewhat difficult to kill. But once they are shut down, you need affirmative action to get them running again. There will be excuses by the rail industry about how they need to use all of their capacity to ‘recover’ from the Coronavirus (with some ring of truth to it, to be fair). There will be arguments about how public transportation is a massive disease vector (which is entirely true- but it remains essential because sick and mobile is normally better than well and under house arrest- I’m happy to risk a normal flu- I’ve gotten quite sick on Amtrak before- and yes I understand covid19 is different). There will be arguments - also true- that the effect of Covid-19 on ridership will last years- if not decades. And more.

What’s more, that Deluge of very plausible anti-Amtrak arguments will be present in an environment where the government will endlessly bust trying to clean up a social and economic mess that is not only certainly larger than most people can imagine or comprehend now, but likely far larger than even the comprehension I have that makes me make this statement. Amtrak will be vulnerable, require affirmative action to restart, and be fundamentally bupkes in the chaos, even to many on this website- the only exception being the truly transit dependent.

This pandemic is not only one of the worst (if not the worst) peacetime challenges our country has ever faced- it is also the worst challenge Amtrak has ever had to face. Doubt that at your peril.
Without getting too political, a big concern I have is that some will lump Amtrak in with the Green New Deal. Love it or hate it, the Green New Deal is extremely controversial and considered extreme by many. There will be a significant population shouting from the top of the mountaintop that anything associated with the Green New Deal must be shot down.
 

lordsigma

OBS Chief
AU Supporter
Joined
Sep 15, 2017
Messages
863
“In politics every crisis is an opportunity.” I put quotes because I am sure it is one although I don’t recall who.

Although I am not one who believes something like “an entire party and all of business is out to kill the Amtrak network if it is the last thing they do,” I do believe there is a cadre of people, mostly some lunatic anti-spenders and people in the freight rail industry, who would like Amtrak to go away, or at the very least, all subsidy to it- or have it fully privatized. I tend to think that the party I’m alluding to above is mostly indifferent, as Amtrak is a tiny fish in an overworked kitchen.

As long as the trains run, and they have some current supporters and riders, they will be somewhat difficult to kill. But once they are shut down, you need affirmative action to get them running again. There will be excuses by the rail industry about how they need to use all of their capacity to ‘recover’ from the Coronavirus (with some ring of truth to it, to be fair). There will be arguments about how public transportation is a massive disease vector (which is entirely true- but it remains essential because sick and mobile is normally better than well and under house arrest- I’m happy to risk a normal flu- I’ve gotten quite sick on Amtrak before- and yes I understand covid19 is different). There will be arguments - also true- that the effect of Covid-19 on ridership will last years- if not decades. And more.

What’s more, that Deluge of very plausible anti-Amtrak arguments will be present in an environment where the government will endlessly bust trying to clean up a social and economic mess that is not only certainly larger than most people can imagine or comprehend now, but likely far larger than even the comprehension I have that makes me make this statement. Amtrak will be vulnerable, require affirmative action to restart, and be fundamentally bupkes in the chaos, even to many on this website- the only exception being the truly transit dependent.

This pandemic is not only one of the worst (if not the worst) peacetime challenges our country has ever faced- it is also the worst challenge Amtrak has ever had to face. Doubt that at your peril.
I don't doubt it in the least. I agree with you in principle, I'd very much not be surprised if the crisis was used to try to justify some of the network changes they may want to push and try to ram them through, but I just don't see the Zephyr as the train that's going to get axed - I think it's one of the few that they actually want to run (a personal opinion of course.) As I said, I think there are other non-suspended ones that would still be more vulnerable than the Zephyr. Amtrak has a lot of support, and I would suspect the Zephyr has a lot of support from its congressional representation and I don't think that would change as the result of this suspension. I do not see a successful push to eliminate this particular train. Do I think some of the LD routes could be in peril when this is all done? Absolutely. But I think the current regime has a list of a few "favorites" they don't want to kill and I think the Zephyr is on that list.
 
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Devil's Advocate

Conductor
Joined
May 24, 2010
Messages
11,234
Green Maned Lion, I agree wholeheartedly with your comments. One particular point I would like to bring up is that social distancing has resulted in many meetings going online, and this trend may continue causing an overall reduction in demand for travel. I am not sure if there is more of an impact on corridor or long-distance travel.
Even though I can do 99% of my duties anywhere in the world my employer has been extremely hesitant to allow people to telecommute. For weeks they resisted sending anyone home and it took a joint directive from city and county authorities to convince them telecommuting was the right move. For a few days employees were stressed and confused but then things started to calm down and a sense of normalcy resumed. Now when someone coughs or sneezes you can laugh over the phone instead of recoiling in person. Guess how the people in charge feel about telecommuting now?

Without getting too political, a big concern I have is that some will lump Amtrak in with the Green New Deal. Love it or hate it, the Green New Deal is extremely controversial and considered extreme by many. There will be a significant population shouting from the top of the mountaintop that anything associated with the Green New Deal must be shot down.
Will there ever come a time when we can stop catering to people who find science and math incompatible with their core beliefs but have no difficulty believing in vast worldwide conspiracies involving millions of participants?
 
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Skyline

OBS Chief
Joined
Feb 19, 2016
Messages
685
Without getting too political, a big concern I have is that some will lump Amtrak in with the Green New Deal. Love it or hate it, the Green New Deal is extremely controversial and considered extreme by many. There will be a significant population shouting from the top of the mountaintop that anything associated with the Green New Deal must be shot down.

The Green New Deal doesn't mesh with reinstating Amtrak trains at its level pre-C19. It's also never going to pass in present form. But it does provide a convenient talking point for people so inclined.
 
Joined
Feb 7, 2017
Messages
6
You need to call Amtrak Customer Service, not a Regular Agent. This is Serious Money and the danger of Losing it is Real without proper handling by the Right people @ Amtrak.
well now there is a new fold...I was told I had 90 days out to cancel...that would be April 3. I canceled on Monday March 30 and was told they had already sent out my tickets...earlier than my cut off date..no explanation, but now, when I call, they said they couldn't cancel without those tickets returned...they are in fed ex and are supposed to be returned on Thursday...and Friday the deadline...never before have they ticketed my group this early. It is usually about 3 weeks before we depart....and now they say they won't cancel me until they get their tickets back. If that is past the April 3 deadline, I will be penalized the 25%!
 

Bob Dylan

Conductor
Joined
May 31, 2009
Messages
19,395
well now there is a new fold...I was told I had 90 days out to cancel...that would be April 3. I canceled on Monday March 30 and was told they had already sent out my tickets...earlier than my cut off date..no explanation, but now, when I call, they said they couldn't cancel without those tickets returned...they are in fed ex and are supposed to be returned on Thursday...and Friday the deadline...never before have they ticketed my group this early. It is usually about 3 weeks before we depart....and now they say they won't cancel me until they get their tickets back. If that is past the April 3 deadline, I will be penalized the 25%!
Call Customer Relations right now ( Patience!) and ask for a Supervisor to get this fixed, it should be doable!
 

Eric in East County

Train Attendant
AU Supporter
Joined
Jan 20, 2016
Messages
96
Have there been any documented cases of conductors, sleeping car attendants, dining car personnel, etc. on Amtrak LD trains testing positive for COVID-19 (aka Coronavirus)?
 

AmtrakBlue

Conductor
Gathering Team Member
Joined
May 6, 2011
Messages
11,603
Have there been any documented cases of conductors, sleeping car attendants, dining car personnel, etc. on Amtrak LD trains testing positive for COVID-19 (aka Coronavirus)?
Yes, which is why the CZ is only running between CHI and DEN. At least one crew base west of DEN is in quarantine.
 

Qapla

OBS Chief
Joined
Jul 15, 2019
Messages
837
Why not go the other way and cancel the Silvers north of Virginia and only run them south of there
 
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