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

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pennyk

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I was out walking and saw Silver Star 92 at a distance. The consist was much longer than it has been for a while. I know I saw 2 sleepers and 2 engines. It was too far away to count the number of coaches, but it appeared to be more than the typical 2. There was also a car at the rear that was deadheading.
It appears that Silver Meteor 98 is not running today, which may explain the longer 92 consist. @Thirdrail7 do you know?
 

Thirdrail7

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You're slipping TR7, Amtrak announced it on FB yesterday. ;)
I'm not known for hanging out on FB and it doesn't do any good if the information isn't brought here. BTW, isn't FB the same place where they said they were taking that new o_Ohigh-speed train for a joyride?

I was out walking and saw Silver Star 92 at a distance. The consist was much longer than it has been for a while. I know I saw 2 sleepers and 2 engines. It was too far away to count the number of coaches, but it appeared to be more than the typical 2. There was also a car at the rear that was deadheading.
It appears that Silver Meteor 98 is not running today, which may explain the longer 92 consist. @Thirdrail7 do you know?
It has 9 cars including the deadhead diner on the rear. This is bigger than the typical 5 car train that has been in service for the last month or so.
 

Barb Stout

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Mar 13, 2019
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The valves can be in a variety of places, so a specific picture would be pointless; the valves are made out of hard plastic, whereas the rest of the mask is made of fiber; if it had a substantial area, usually square or round, of the mask made of plastic it is likely valved; under its more Normal uses, a valve is a positive feature, so it’s usually advertised.

Cartridge-style masks all have valves; that’s how they work: all outside air is drawn in through a filter while the valve is closed by the negative internal air pressure (suction), thus filtering all air. When you exhale, there is positive air pressure in the mask, which opens the valve for you to exhale through. It will protect you from what it is supposed to that is outside of you, but will not filter it’s exhaust.

These masks are primarily designed to protect you from things in the air; they are not designed to protect the air from you. Non-vented N95s do this as a factor of their cheapness in not including a valve.

The virus is too small to be directly blocked from being drawn in by any type of mask that filters air. What masks do when you wear them for covid-19 is capture the moisture in your breath, which is the primary and most dangerous transmission of the virus. Any dense cellulose (cotton/paper) face covering will generally accomplish that task. If someone infected were to spit on your mask and you were to breathe in, it wouldn’t really protect you; that includes N95s.
Thank you for your very valuable information. It explains some of what my sister was saying about her old out-of-use N100 mask.
 

SarahZ

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However, as someone who tends to trip over her own feet in the best of circumstances, I am having trouble because I cannot see the ground when wearing one. I have tripped several times on my morning walks, and I am concerned about not being able to see the train steps, especially when detraining. Usually, I can see where I’m going, and the conductor helps me down.

Anyone else have similar concerns or ideas on how to handle this?
I noticed this the first time I wore one while grocery shopping. Every time I tried to look down toward my cart while unloading, I couldn't see.

You have to train yourself to actually move your head to look down rather than simply looking down with your eyes. Basically, pretend it's the middle of winter and you're walking on snow and ice.

Also, the mask may be too high on your nose and/or improperly fitted. I hemmed mine about a half-inch lower at the top. If you can sew, you can put a bit of wire** in the nose section to act as a clamp. (This also helps secure it.) That will assist even further when it comes to downward vision, and if you wear glasses, it can help prevent them from fogging up.

**Some people use pipe cleaners. I use floral wire in mine.
 

me_little_me

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And, unless anyone has evidence that this doesn't work, may I suggest the following. I have used my CPAP desanitizer on my masks. I have an inexpensive $35 unit bought on Amazon that one puts in a plastic bag along with the mask (or connects to the tube which is connected to the machine). Now the problem with using these on a CPAP machine is that the ozone smell lingers and breathing ozone can cause respiratory issues so one has to (with difficulty) get rid of the smell in the tube and the tubes of the mask. However, for homemade masks for Covid, I sanitize them then leave them out in the sun (if available) or breeze and since there are no enclosed area, they smell fresh in an hour or two.
The one issue I noted is that the ozone can deteriorate the stretch material used to hold the mask on. My wife made some with rubber bands and they deteriorated after the first cleaning so now she takes them off before sanitizing. I used sanding masks with additional filtering material inside them. To make the stretch strap last longer, I supplement the existing staples that hold it to the mask with additional staples. By the time these have deteriorated, so has the mask physically from being knocked around so I throw them out at that point.
 

niemi24s

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Feb 11, 2015
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I keep a small spray bottle of denatured alcohol diluted with about 25% tap water and souse my paper or cloth masks with it. Hung over the rear view mirror to dry, the mask is ready for use again within about 20 minutes or so after it all evaporates. Have read the water helps the alcohol penetrate the cell wall of the virus. 70% "rubbing alcohol" right from the bottle works OK too (it's already 30% water), but the methyl and ethyl alcohols in denatured alcohol evaporate a bit quicker than does isopropyl alcohol.

And, yes, I'm well aware of the hazards of the various alcohols and ketones.
 

pennyk

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I just canceled my roundtrip to San Diego in October (for the Gathering). I was told I would receive a credit to my credit card for the amount I charged to my credit card and would receive a voucher for the small amount (which expires a year from today) of the voucher that I used for payment. I hope I will feel comfortable to travel within a year. I am not sure I will.
 

MARC Rider

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but instead to have the employees clean them on a regular basis and, if a customer tells the manager that a restroom needs attention, have an employee do it ASAP.
That means they need to have enough redundancy in staffing that there's always a spare employee available to be able to do so, ASAP. That doesn't seem to be the way that retail businesses are run nowadays.

If Amtrak doesn't think their employees are nobodies and feels it is below their position on the train, then Amtrak needs to hire someone to do it - either by having someone periodically come aboard at one stop and clean until the next stop (then return by Amtrak-paid taxi) or have a fulltime cleaning person onboard whose only job is to keep bathrooms and cars clean. They would continuously go from end to end, periodically cleaning restrooms and around seats where people have departed, cleaning tables in the cafe, diner and lounge, and completely cleaning any rooms that have become unoccupied. At night, they would be on a reduced schedule (once a night with no vacuuming?), of course, so they can get some sleep.
Well, after my experience on a crowded Vermonter, I thought that it would be possible to have a cleaner at New Haven who could swab out the restrooms. The train makes a pretty long stop there to change engines. Many of the long distance trains also have long station stops for crew changes, refueling, etc. Certainly they could also include a cleaning crew. The other alternative is to add a few more coach attendants per train and have random surprise inspections. It can be done, as I saw during my trip on the Silver Star, where the coach restroom was spotless the whole trip.
 

Samsbigtrip

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[...]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.
I'm glad to hear you have a mask but, from what I have heard and read, once you take the mask off your face you should either seal it in a plastic bag until such time as you can wash it, or wash it straight away.
This is because if you have touched the outside of the mask to take it off you may have contaminated your hands, or if your hands have already been contaminated you might pass the virus onto your face whilst lowering or removing the mask.
Just something to consider - stay safe, and stay well :)
 
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gwolfdog

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Mar 27, 2020
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I just canceled my roundtrip to San Diego in October (for the Gathering). I was told I would receive a credit to my credit card for the amount I charged to my credit card and would receive a voucher for the small amount (which expires a year from today) of the voucher that I used for payment. I hope I will feel comfortable to travel within a year. I am not sure I will.
I don't know if you've read my exploits on my recent escape from Florida? Do I, understand your Anxiety! Wanted to go back for 6 months in December. How do you book another Place ahead of time in these times of Uncertainty? A lot of Owner's want it all upfront. I just want to stay out of a Veteran's Nursing Home.
 

anumberone

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Sanitizing my mask with UV rays. These rays from a TIG WELDING MACHINE have been fading my clothing for years. Thanks to a previous poster I’m using this method. 0313FC9A-D0F3-4A54-A5B9-B11E52BE5A14.jpeg
 

wwchi

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Apr 14, 2009
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Wow I am a regular rider on the Pere Marquette since 2006 (though not lately) and that line has been suspended during this virus until June 1. Just saw it is now suspended until OCTOBER 1!!! Wow! That has a large summertime usage (typically) so this is not good...(Chicago to Grand Rapids line).
 

Michigan Mom

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Being silly, I know, still experiencing heartbreak from the cancellation of our LSL trip to New York. It is for the best, not much is going to change in the next couple of weeks and it does help to know I'm being more responsible to my family and to everyone else including Amtrak employees.
Maybe that's why I found the SNL ode to New York so touching.
Recommended viewing of just that skit if you're not a fan although being familiar with cast helps.
It may take a little longer than we would like, but we will get back to life as we thought we knew it.
In the meantime, if we can apply some lessons learned, it will be even better!
 

wwchi

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Apr 14, 2009
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agree- I think people are starting to realize that. This isn't impacting me that much as I don't "need" the train while working at home in one place and not going back and forth but I do know a lot of other regulars who this might have a greater impact on...
 

Green Maned Lion

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I don't think there is that much evidence of people directly contracting the virus as a result of the virus. [EDIT: WT*... I mean as a result of Amtrak. sheesh.] The thing is, its all a matter of spectrum. If I have MREs delivered to my porch, let them sit outside for 48 hours, and eat only that, risk the unpotable tap water in my sink, and stay inside my house, and treat my mail to its own 2-day quarantine with gloves and masks, I can nearly guarantee you I won't get the virus. I will, however, go loopy with boredom, fat with lack of exercise, and probably plot to murder various people at the DOD for how cruel and unusual military rations are to our troops.

If I go around like there is no Coronavirus, bump into people like a New Yorker on Broadway, never cover my face, and travel all over the country just to ensure I experience every possible regional variation of the darn thing, I will absolutely maximize my chance of catching the thing.

What makes sense is reaching a reasonable point somewhere in-between both options, which, at least to me, are both insanity. We go to the local grocery store, bakery, pharmacy, hardware and liquor store. We shop on eBay for what is not available at those places (I abhor Amazon). We go for two walks a day around our neighborhood, practicing social distancing, and making sure we are shielding ourselves from the people who we do encounter. We do take out once in a while, trying to balance monetary conservation in this uncertain time with avoiding boredom.

I would certainly choose to avoid, whenever possible, being in a space with a considerable number of people and a less-than-fully-ventilated air supply, such as a train, bus, or plane. It seems like an unreasonable risk to a limited purpose, since I can for the moment drive a car. Where would I take it to, anyway? Everything is closed and reduced almost everywhere. What would I sightsee? The boarded up windows of the St. Francis Hotel? Where would I stay?

This whole situation sucks completely. It is going to continue to suck until this virus is somehow defeated. You can't, however, get away from the reality that this virus sometimes kills, and even more frequently, and even worse in my opinion, injures. You can't get away from the fact that the world is going to be, to various degrees, shut down, possibly for a long time. You can't legislate the population into not being scared, you can't force people to eat in restaurants, or go to amusement parks, or visit sports arenas. The best thing to do is hunker down, stay safe, do your best to remain reasonably amused while doing so, and keep in mind that one day, by the grace of God, this, too, shall pass.
 

jis

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Is there any reliable evidence to suggest that people are contracting COVID-19 as a result of riding on AMTRAK trains?
There are significant anecdotes of entire Amtrak crew being put under quarantine. I don;t know if that is because one of them came down with COVID or a passenger was found to be COVID positive.

But it is unlikely that Amtrak travel would have a significantly different probability of getting infected than being with other people in any enclosed environment with air circulated by HVAC systems. It all depends on how many people are traveling in a car and how many of them happen to be carrying significant viral load that they are shedding at the time that they are traveling.. R-zero I am certain is no different on Amtrak trains than anywhere else.
 

Lacunacoil

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Feb 28, 2020
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I read a article it was helpful, most of it consumed. Basically explained, you need many droplets of viral. One wont make u get this disease. Now, that may change but it's likely true or on long island ny we would all be sick by now. So, easiest way to get sick, someone talking sneezing coughing while facing you, especially without them having a mask. People spit out saliva when talking. I saw it other day! Friend was talking tona friend in a car, no mask, the angle sunlight I could see spit flying. I opened the car window.
Also of concern is toilet bowl. When u flush it goes flying. I became a germaphobe 4 months before coronavirus after researching disease due to getting colds once every 6 weeks. I read it was from surfing but needed to try never touching anything others touch. And it's worked I haven't gotten a cold in 7 months. I should of had 4 by now. I also, now, never put my finger in my mouth until I wash hands and floss. For amtrak, it's best, to not get coronavirus, if you dont have a private room, to keep moving go outside every smoke break. Try go to bathroom is infrequently as possible. Monitor who used toilet, wait till one is empty 5 minutes keep door open a minute before u close it. Dont sit in your seat more than hour at a time. Always move around. If anyines coughs get the heck away. Wash face off outside at smoke breaks 2 times a day. I dont use sink on train other than hand washing. When u get to destination wash all clothes even those not dirty.
 

Barb Stout

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Mar 13, 2019
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There are significant anecdotes of entire Amtrak crew being put under quarantine. I don;t know if that is because one of them came down with COVID or a passenger was found to be COVID positive.
Is it possible that is why the Pere Marquette was cancelled or is it simply low numbers of travelers?
 

wwchi

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Apr 14, 2009
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Pere Marquette was initially suspended until May 31, restarting June 1...my guess is it was just a financial decision, though being a very full train all summer does make me question why canceling through September...who knows.
 

SarahZ

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Pere Marquette was initially suspended until May 31, restarting June 1...my guess is it was just a financial decision, though being a very full train all summer does make me question why canceling through September...who knows.
It’s likely full in the summer because of the various festivals and summer travel. Since most, if not all, festivals have been canceled and people aren’t traveling, that would explain why they canceled it through the summer.
 
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