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

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Ferroequinologist

Service Attendant
Joined
Jan 18, 2016
Messages
116
One significant difference between bacteria and virus is that outside a host viruses just keep dying (becoming non viable, dying may be a wrong terms sinc they are never really alive in the first place) exponentially, until they are gone. Bacteria on the other hand don't necessarly die for just being outside a host, but under certain circumstances like poorly maintained air ducts of an HVAC system, they can even form colonies and grow in the moist cool environment and then launch themselves into the air stream.

I don't remember the specifics of the Legionnaire's Disease, but just thought I'd mention this fundamental difference between bacteria and viruses.

Another aside regarding virus found on surfaces, what has been found is segments of virus RNA which is what the typical PCR test can detect. Whether said RNA is from a viable virus that can actually infect someone, or is just floating around from a non viable virus is not something that is tested for typically. There are a few publications that have done so and typically vaiable viruses are not around for the days and weeks that some oether papers talk about. Afterall it is important to get the damn paper published as fast as one can instead of doing the much much heavier footwork needed to try to infect something with the stuff from the surface and see what happens. ;)
At the time it was the Bellevue-Stratford Hotel.
 

Ferroequinologist

Service Attendant
Joined
Jan 18, 2016
Messages
116
A lot depends on the attendant... they range from amazing to offensively poor. I had an attendant on the Coast Starlight who sat in his room playing video games... refusing to bring dinner to my room. And the car was almost completely empty. Then I've had attendants who put out their own candy and magazines at the coffee area and came by frequently to see if they could get me anything. Of course, the last one was generously tipped... the lazy one? A complaint made to customer service. I don't wish bad on anyone but for price paid one should expect reasonable service. And NOW cleaning and sanitizing will be a big issue.
Amtrak has little control over their employees. The airlines will take sanitizing seriously but I don't think Amtrak will, especially when cleaning has to be done en route. Take Lysol or alcohol and some paper towels with you. My biggest concern is shared bathrooms. Not including in-room toilets in Superliner roomettes and the new Viewliners was a mistake.
 

20th Century Rider

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Jan 26, 2020
Messages
481
Amtrak has little control over their employees. The airlines will take sanitizing seriously but I don't think Amtrak will, especially when cleaning has to be done en route. Take Lysol or alcohol and some paper towels with you. My biggest concern is shared bathrooms. Not including in-room toilets in Superliner roomettes and the new Viewliners was a mistake.
In absolute agreement with everything you said. Some Amtrak attendants are good and care, but many are lazy as I found out so many times... and well before the pandemic I was concerned about sanitation on Amtrak... this is an area where Amtrak falls short; seats are dirty with lots of filth under the cushions; and shared bathrooms are many times disgusting. Don't want to sound overly negative but inconsistencies with customer service dedication and lack of motivation of employees has always been a concern. Amtrak management... take note! 😱😡🥵

Dirty-Bathroom-e1482361765200.jpg
 

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Michigan Mom

OBS Chief
Joined
Jan 28, 2012
Messages
628
I used to travel with a full canister of Lysol wipes BEFORE the pandemic. I will need to be able to buy one before being able to travel on Amtrak again :) My local grocery stores apparently sell out as soon as a shipment comes in. Using a shared restroom on Amtrak involves a cleaning routine I'm not crazy about, but the peace of mind is worth it.
 

20th Century Rider

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Jan 26, 2020
Messages
481
Your picture is either proof of what you say, or simply that a jerk used the bathroom before you. Or possibly that you threw a roll of toilet paper on the floor out of frustration at the lack of sanitary conditions.

actually aside from that tp the room looks pretty clean
So here's the backstory to the photo...if you search google images for 'Amtrak dirty restrooms' its the first photo that comes up... albeit there are a lot of photos! This actual photo was posted by 'Points with a crew.' A mom is the blogger who shares the family's travel adventures... see below and check it out. We need to all stay safe by following guidelines listed by the CDC. If you must travel bring plenty of wipes... or at least a small spray bottle with a solution of 20% bleach and 80% water. BTW... this is my 100th post on this forum and want to thank everyone for the opportunity to be a part of it! ;)

 

Bob Dylan

Conductor
Joined
May 31, 2009
Messages
20,014
I used to travel with a full canister of Lysol wipes BEFORE the pandemic. I will need to be able to buy one before being able to travel on Amtrak again :) My local grocery stores apparently sell out as soon as a shipment comes in. Using a shared restroom on Amtrak involves a cleaning routine I'm not crazy about, but the peace of mind is worth it.
Tip: Look in the "Baby Section" of the Store. Plenty of Wipes in our Stores here in Austin!
Just no Lysol or Clorox ones!
 

20th Century Rider

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Jan 26, 2020
Messages
481
Tip: Look in the "Baby Section" of the Store. Plenty of Wipes in our Stores here in Austin!
Just no Lysol or Clorox ones!
I hear that Austin's a great town with awesome food trucks. Are they up and running this weekend? I hear they got great Tex Mex and salsa music bands while you picnic?!?!😄
 

Bob Dylan

Conductor
Joined
May 31, 2009
Messages
20,014
I hear that Austin's a great town with awesome food trucks. Are they up and running this weekend? I hear they got great Tex Mex and salsa music bands while you picnic?!?!😄
Yep, the Food Trucks are Open, most stayed Open for Pick-up/To Go Only during the Stay @ Home Orders, but now that Texas is "Opening Up" and Eating Places are allowed 50% Occupancy Inside and No Limits on Patios and Outside Seating, most of them have opened up their outside tables.

There are Taco Trucks everywhere ( the Best ones are on the East and South Sides), and almost every kind of food you'd want, and even without live Music,most play Music @ their Trucks for the Diners and the Staff!

My favorites, besides the Taco Joints are the BBQ Ones,Hot Dogs and a Vietnamese one on E. 7th.Id guess there are probably over 1,000 Food Trucks operating now.

Austin had over 4,000 Eating Joints (and Live Music Everywhere) , but with the dearth of Tourists, Cancellation of Live Music and a 30% Unemployment Rate, they say half of the Eating and Music Clubs will Fail/Not Reopen. 😢
 

Green Maned Lion

Conductor
Joined
Dec 27, 2007
Messages
8,209
Cheaper and equally effective for disinfecting is paper towels and a bottle of the cheapest 80 proof vodka you can find. It is barely more drinkable than rubbing alcohol, but the fumes are less toxic for you to breathe and it won’t kill someone if they accidentally drink it.

The denaturing compounds in rubbing alcohol are (intentionally) highly toxic, and you really don’t want to be involved with them.
 

niemi24s

Conductor
Joined
Feb 11, 2015
Messages
2,243
The denaturing compounds in rubbing alcohol are (intentionally) highly toxic, and you really don’t want to be involved with them.
You may be confusing these two common alcohols:
• Rubbing alcohol is already denatured (meaning unfit for human consumption) as it is isopropyl alcolol and the almost unavoidable amount of water as all alcohols are hygroscopic. It, like any alcohol, is a disinfectant.
• Denaturing substances make ethyl alcohol (the drinkable booze kind) unfit for consumption and are intended to be toxic so as to avoid the steep tax on drinkable (ethyl) alcohol. Some common substances used to denature ethyl alcohol are methyl alcohol and various ketones. Denatured alcohol is used as a solvent for flake shellac and to clean shellac brushes.
 

20th Century Rider

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Jan 26, 2020
Messages
481
Booz in the west is really pricey... You can find it you can find clorax bleach at the dollar store but it's been hard to find recently. No no no... don't drink it!
 

caravanman

Conductor
Joined
Mar 22, 2004
Messages
3,670
Most Amtrak customers will have a nasty restroom story to tell, so cleaning is not as good as it should or could be. I have often observed quite young children using the restrooms, often with a young playmate, I think they might sometimes be responsible for the items dropped on the floor?
 

Bob Dylan

Conductor
Joined
May 31, 2009
Messages
20,014
Most Amtrak customers will have a nasty restroom story to tell, so cleaning is not as good as it should or could be. I have often observed quite young children using the restrooms, often with a young playmate, I think they might sometimes be responsible for the items dropped on the floor?
Partly true Eddie, but sadly lots of so called Adults in the Colonies are Pigs when it comes to using Public Facilities!( the old " Its not my Job!" excuse!)
 

neroden

Conductor
Joined
Feb 23, 2014
Messages
7,778
To destroy coronavirus reliably, alcohol has to be at least 60% alcohol (120 proof), unfortunately for the vodka idea.

Soap is *extremely* good at destroying coronavirus, so soap is the top recommendation.
 

BLNT

Service Attendant
Joined
Nov 5, 2019
Messages
103
Partly true Eddie, but sadly lots of so called Adults in the Colonies are Pigs when it comes to using Public Facilities!( the old " Its not my Job!" excuse!)
At least to hear my wife talk about it, women's (public) restrooms are even worse -- with nobody wanting to undertake cleaning duties, so some will hover over the seat.... that's all the detail I needed to hear.
 

Green Maned Lion

Conductor
Joined
Dec 27, 2007
Messages
8,209
Most Amtrak customers will have a nasty restroom story to tell, so cleaning is not as good as it should or could be. I have often observed quite young children using the restrooms, often with a young playmate, I think they might sometimes be responsible for the items dropped on the floor?
I know you’re from Blighty, so let me tell you something; I use American public restrooms on a regular basis. Amtrak’s are not an example of particularly bad ones. I have seen much much much worse elsewhere, believe me.
 

Michigan Mom

OBS Chief
Joined
Jan 28, 2012
Messages
628
You may be confusing these two common alcohols:
• Rubbing alcohol is already denatured (meaning unfit for human consumption) as it is isopropyl alcolol and the almost unavoidable amount of water as all alcohols are hygroscopic. It, like any alcohol, is a disinfectant.
• Denaturing substances make ethyl alcohol (the drinkable booze kind) unfit for consumption and are intended to be toxic so as to avoid the steep tax on drinkable (ethyl) alcohol. Some common substances used to denature ethyl alcohol are methyl alcohol and various ketones. Denatured alcohol is used as a solvent for flake shellac and to clean shellac brushes.
Here's something interesting I read (and don't understand). Background, I was at the store yesterday and they HAD RUBBING ALCOHOL back on the shelves! (Talk about not having a life, to be thrilled over that?) Well a few anyway. A sign was posted that said limit 2 per customer so I picked up 2. These are 70%, previously I would always get the 90% figuring that was better for killing viruses and bacteria. The interesting thing is that the 70% actually has a more effective kill rate, for reasons I again don't understand - something to do with a certain amount of water being required for the alcohol to destroy the virus particle coating. So if you have the 90% solution around you need to dilute with water for optimal disinfection, I guess?
 
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