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

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Ferroequinologist

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Jan 18, 2016
Messages
374
I don't know... I know several people who took Amtrak once, but said never again, on account of dirty bathrooms. I really like taking Amtrak, but I myself have thought twice about selecting Amtrak as the way to travel because of the bathrooms, particularly the smell. I don't worry so much about catching something because I have been engaging in proper handwashing technique for several decades, but sometimes the smell is just very hard on me my delicate princess-like senses.
It's not that easy to wash your hands in such tiny bathrooms with very small sinks. And the ease with which germs can spread in Amtrak's bathrooms which get very little en route cleaning is a cause for concern. Someone commented that in his job he has to use portable toilets. That's a job hazard he is willing to accept but most people wouldn't consider that acceptable, especially when they're paying $1,000 or more to travel one way in a roomette across the US.
 

Palmland

Conductor
Joined
May 25, 2006
Messages
1,035
Location
Central Florida
There is tons of cheap uncrowded land north of central Virginia. What part of the world are you trying to get close to?
Having lived in the Richmond area before and its easy access to beaches, mountains and DC attractions we prefer that area. And it certainly has better weather than Morristown, NJ and near Allentown, PA where our sons are. Our son in NJ can’t wait to move south when our granddaughter is older due to the very high taxes there.

But, as was suggested, the Shenandoah Valley would certainly be our second choice. It’s a gorgeous part of eastern U.S.
 

MARC Rider

Engineer
Joined
Apr 5, 2011
Messages
3,819
Location
Baltimore. MD
Guess it is all a matter of perspective ... In my line of work I often have to use port-a-lets - I have yet to use an Amtrak bathroom on the train or in a station that comes anywhere near the smell and condition of what I encounter on the job ... I have found the facilities on the train to be acceptable - so far.
I have to agree, with qualifications. I've never had a problem with disgusting bathrooms in the Superliner sleepers. (Those riding in roomettes have shared bathrooms.) Sometimes when I'm in the SSL I use the coach bathrooms, and I've never really been disgusted with them either. I once rode coach on the Silver Star Baltimore to Tampa, and the attendant must have been a fanatic, I've never seen such a clean restroom, the entire distance. On the other hand, I once rode the Meteor and had to use the coach facilities, and someone was goofing off on the job. I rarely have a problem with the more regional trains, but my absolute worst Amtrak restroom experience was on the last two hours of a Vermonter run. We were traveling from Essex Jct. to Baltimore, and the train was packed full 100% from Brattleboro to New York, and it actually started filling up even before White River Jct. When we left New York, you could smell the facilities from the middle of the coach car. I think that somebody needed to empty the holding tank and swab out the place, say, at New Haven.

But to be fair, I've has some bad experiences on airplanes, too. All it takes is one slob to mess things up, and the crew really can't do anything about it until they land.
 

MARC Rider

Engineer
Joined
Apr 5, 2011
Messages
3,819
Location
Baltimore. MD
Having lived in the Richmond area before and its easy access to beaches, mountains and DC attractions we prefer that area. And it certainly has better weather than Morristown, NJ and near Allentown, PA where our sons are. Our son in NJ can’t wait to move south when our granddaughter is older due to the very high taxes there.

But, as was suggested, the Shenandoah Valley would certainly be our second choice. It’s a gorgeous part of eastern U.S.
Have you thought of York/Adams County, Pennsylvania, or Carroll County, Maryland? Good connections to DC, and Allentown (via Harrisburg), decent connections to the beaches. You can even ride Amtrak to New York or Boston via either Baltimore or Harrisburg. If you want more rural than those, there's Perry County, Pennsylvania, slightly northwest of Harrisburg with good access to the city. If you have more money to spend on real estate, there's a lot of nice rural style living in Baltimore County (of all places) less than a 15 minute drive from the Beltway.
 

Skyline

OBS Chief
Joined
Feb 19, 2016
Messages
765
Hey, I resemble that. 😛
I’m noticing a lot of NY, NJ & MD tags in DE - and I don’t mean on I95
I know. For eight years I had a second home in Milton. Gradually, I realized I didn't really like the beach that much and moved back to the Blue Ridge Mountains full time. Part of it involved the annual seasonal traffic and parking woes. You know, "everyone wants to live at the beach ... until they live at the beach."

But I think state troopers pulling over vehicles (near borders) with out of state plates and expecting them (by edict from Dover) to self-quarantine for 14 days is big government out of control. As is a statement issued earlier this year by Rehoboth Beach's mayor telling those with second homes in his city to stay away. I bet both state and local governments still want their tax dollars from part time residents and even casual visitors!
 

AmtrakBlue

Engineer
Gathering Team Member
Joined
May 6, 2011
Messages
13,167
Location
Delaware
I know. For eight years I had a second home in Milton. Gradually, I realized I didn't really like the beach that much and moved back to the Blue Ridge Mountains full time. Part of it involved the annual seasonal traffic and parking woes. You know, "everyone wants to live at the beach ... until they live at the beach."

But I think state troopers pulling over vehicles (near borders) with out of state plates and expecting them (by edict from Dover) to self-quarantine for 14 days is big government out of control. As is a statement issued earlier this year by Rehoboth Beach's mayor telling those with second homes in his city to stay away. I bet both state and local governments still want their tax dollars from part time residents and even casual visitors!
I'm ok with the 14 day quarantine for out-of-staters. Why should we let others potentially pass the virus onto our residents and then our health system has to deal with those new cases. I think we should have gone further and say that any Delawarean who leaves the state and then comes back should also self-quarantine.
 

Palmland

Conductor
Joined
May 25, 2006
Messages
1,035
Location
Central Florida
Have you thought of York/Adams County, Pennsylvania, or Carroll County, Maryland? Good connections to DC, and Allentown (via Harrisburg), decent connections to the beaches. You can even ride Amtrak to New York or Boston via either Baltimore or Harrisburg. If you want more rural than those, there's Perry County, Pennsylvania, slightly northwest of Harrisburg with good access to the city. If you have more money to spend on real estate, there's a lot of nice rural style living in Baltimore County (of all places) less than a 15 minute drive from the Beltway.
While those are nice areas, having lived many years in Baltimore and, earlier, in Chester County PA we have no interest in returning. Guess we just enjoy a somewhat more laid back vibe (and better weather) in the south. Although Richmond is admittedly becoming more like the northeast, partly due to Amtrak, our current thought is the small town of Ashland where I went to college. It’s close enough to the big city for cultural, entertainment, and medical purposes but not overwhelmed by the city, yet.
 

Chey

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Sep 27, 2014
Messages
475
Location
NW TX
Having lived in the Richmond area before and its easy access to beaches, mountains and DC attractions we prefer that area. And it certainly has better weather than Morristown, NJ and near Allentown, PA where our sons are. Our son in NJ can’t wait to move south when our granddaughter is older due to the very high taxes there.

But, as was suggested, the Shenandoah Valley would certainly be our second choice. It’s a gorgeous part of eastern U.S.
I agree - one of my brothers lives in Elkton and it's beautiful; he used to go to Charlottesville to shop but now Harrisonburg has everything he needs. If Ryan's talking about northwest Virginia, then yes, he's right. The other direction, northeast Virginia, is a mess. IMHO.
 

BoulderCO

Service Attendant
Joined
Jan 26, 2015
Messages
168
Location
Boulder Colorado
Yes, the bathrooms are certainly a problem. I like riding trains, so I hold my nose, squint my eyes and put up with them. But I have to admit that the bathrooms prevent me from recommending Amtrak to many of my friends and relatives. Apparently the resulting lack of business hasn't motivated Amtrak to address the issue ;>)
 

Palmland

Conductor
Joined
May 25, 2006
Messages
1,035
Location
Central Florida
While Amtrak coach bathrooms can sometimes be nasty, I have a hard time being grossed out about it. Certainly beats a porta potty at a campground or tailgate event. But for the fastidious, Amtrak should be more consistent about cleaning.
 

Mark P

Train Attendant
Joined
Jan 9, 2012
Messages
46
Location
Seattle
Here is the official language:

Face Mask Policy: To protect customers and employees, all customers in stations and on trains and thruway buses are required to wear a facial covering, beginning May 11. Facial coverings can be removed when customers are eating in designated areas, in their private rooms, or seated alone or with a travel companion in their own pair of seats. Small children who are not able to maintain a facial covering are exempt from this requirement. Customers must supply their own facial covering. Customers can go to CDC.gov for detailed instructions on how to make their own mask. Service will be denied to customers not wearing facial coverings.
 

SarahZ

Engineer
Joined
May 8, 2011
Messages
8,325
Location
KAL
Here is the official language:

Face Mask Policy: To protect customers and employees, all customers in stations and on trains and thruway buses are required to wear a facial covering, beginning May 11. Facial coverings can be removed when customers are eating in designated areas, in their private rooms, or seated alone or with a travel companion in their own pair of seats. Small children who are not able to maintain a facial covering are exempt from this requirement. Customers must supply their own facial covering. Customers can go to CDC.gov for detailed instructions on how to make their own mask. Service will be denied to customers not wearing facial coverings.
You don't have to wear it for 50 hours. Per the policy you just posted, you can take it off while eating and while in your room/at your seat.
 

Mark P

Train Attendant
Joined
Jan 9, 2012
Messages
46
Location
Seattle
You don't have to wear it for 50 hours. Per the policy you just posted, you can take it off while eating and while in your room/at your seat.
Understood, and I have a bedroom reserved so I will be fine there. But I spend the majority of my days in the lounge, and I'm assuming the mask will have to stay on there. I was already hesitant to do my trip with the dining car being shut down, this might be the final push to postpone.
 

Bob Dylan

50+ Year Amtrak Rider
Joined
May 31, 2009
Messages
23,641
Location
Austin Texas
Understood, and I have a bedroom reserved so I will be fine there. But I spend the majority of my days in the lounge, and I'm assuming the mask will have to stay on there. I was already hesitant to do my trip with the dining car being shut down, this might be the final push to postpone.
If you can you probably should Reschedule your trip for Fall.

,And then be Flexible, because of the predicted Second Wave that no-one really knows when it will happen???
 

v v

Conductor
AU Supporter
Joined
Dec 4, 2012
Messages
1,700
Location
UK / France
Understood, and I have a bedroom reserved so I will be fine there. But I spend the majority of my days in the lounge, and I'm assuming the mask will have to stay on there. I was already hesitant to do my trip with the dining car being shut down, this might be the final push to postpone.
Hello Mark

I think it's time we should all start thinking of others too. Your mask isn't to protect you, it's to protect everybody else you come in close proximity to. In reverse if you were to pass close to a Covid-19 carrier who wasn't wearing a mask and you suffered because of their non compliance you may not be a very happy person.

I know people who have to wear masks all day at work, also had a short spell of having to use one regularly for work too. Providing the mask you use is comfortable (it's important to get the right one for your face) it's something you just do when needs must, not a big deal.

This stuff isn't forever, if we want what at the moment is the privilege of travel we all have to do our bit is my opinion. Also my opinion is what a shame to miss such a great train ride over such a minor issue.
 

MccfamschoolMom

Service Attendant
Joined
Feb 28, 2020
Messages
225
Why anyone would feel that wearing a mask in a Public Area is not appropriate Human Behavior in this new time and environment is beyond my thinking level. But I do accept Reality, at times.
I think it helps if one can find a mask that fits properly and breathe through easily. I crocheted face masks for the entire staff at work, but soon discovered that the design of mine made it difficult to breathe, even though it was made from a lighter-weight yarn than those made for my co-workers. I subsequently crocheted myself a large bandanna-style triangular scarf. Since it's open at the bottom (while still covering the lower half of my face), I can keep it on for the duration of a supermarket trip without feeling a need to push it down from my nose whenever I'm in an empty aisle to ease breathing (which kind of defeats the purpose of being masked inside the supermarket). And it's attractive enough that I can wear it around my neck during the day, so I never have to fumble in my purse for my mask.
 

gwolfdog

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Mar 27, 2020
Messages
252
Good points. The Mask should fit well and it's nice to not feel self conscious in them. Now you can find them in your favorite sports team, scary clown face or Kardashian.:cool:
 

MccfamschoolMom

Service Attendant
Joined
Feb 28, 2020
Messages
225
Good points. The Mask should fit well and it's nice to not feel self conscious in them. Now you can find them in your favorite sports team, scary clown face or Kardashian.:cool:
Of the pre-made ones, I rather like the ones made like a cowl with an ear-looped extension on top; it looks like those could be worn about the neck when not in use over the face, too. I'm not so worried about using a non-filtered non-medical grade DIY mask alternative, since for the general public, the main purpose seems to be to prevent one's own sneezes & coughs from spreading germs to others, rather than keeping others' germs away from one's own face.
 
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