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

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Ferroequinologist

Service Attendant
Joined
Jan 18, 2016
Messages
144
To me, and this is my personal experience traveling on via and Amtrak, sitting in a room facing a blank wall is more claustrophobic feeling than facing a chair that’s facing me. The toilet and sink taking up extra space doesn’t help.

I really don’t like the traditional roomette by day, but thankfully on VIA I can spend most of my day In the dome or park car, so no real complaint.

The Amtrak roomette I find very cozy and a better use of the same amount of space. That’s my opinion of course. And as I said in night time mode I much prefer the traditional roomette with a real mattress.
Of course everyone has his / her own preferences. The beds in the Superliners are narrow. Sheets and blankets need to be wider.
 

Twinkletoes

Train Attendant
Joined
Aug 29, 2017
Messages
21
I think this is gender and personality-specific. As a person who loves to curl up with a good read (series of good reads) or binge watch a TV series loaded onto my Kindle Fire at home, I don't find the roomette to be overly confining, I can always change scenery and stretch my legs at long stops, walk the length of the train for exercise, or buy candy in the cafe car. I don't feel claustrophobic. It's like a little nest to me.

I HATE the public toilet. So far I've only had to experience that on the new Viewliners. Indeed I was dismayed to learn that this would be the norm on the newer sleepers. (1) Public toilets mean less control over ones environment--inconsiderate people; (2) Not to be indelicate--nasty seats are a problem to the gender that probably uses them more. It's time consuming to have to clean and sanitize a toilet before using it. It's especially annoying at night; (3) toilet in the room means toilet on demand; at prime time you can find yourself having to wait (4) you have to make yourself presentable to go there.

By the way, the pre-Viewliner sleepers had a a public toilet at the end of the car in the place of today's shower room. The old bed was extremely comfortable. The one-piece, thick mattress bed came down like a Murphy bed and was the entire length and width of the compartment. That meant that it covered your in-room toilet. While the bed was down you had to use the public toilet. It stayed pretty clean because people had other options during the day.
 

gwolfdog

Service Attendant
Joined
Mar 27, 2020
Messages
123
I have to use a WC when using Amtrak. The room, (Auto Train) had a small toilet in the corner. The chair took up a large area but it was only 17 hours mostly at night. Don't want to bounce around a public restroom. My 65 year old wife give me the nightmares watching her get up and down from the upper bunk. The cost of a bedroom suite both ways might make it easier to ship the car and fly each way, as we did coming home. Then again, the ways things are going, we might have Zombies marching in the streets with the Pandemic. 🧟‍♀️
 

Mark P

Train Attendant
Joined
Jan 9, 2012
Messages
44
Location
Washington, DC
Is Amtrak still running the sightseer lounges on the long distance trains? If so, are they enforcing any kind of seating restrictions for social distancing purposes? Have a trip on July 1, and if for some reason there are no lounges, will most likely cancel.
 

brianpmcdonnell17

Conductor
Joined
Mar 5, 2016
Messages
1,389
Location
Chicago, Illinois
Is Amtrak still running the sightseer lounges on the long distance trains? If so, are they enforcing any kind of seating restrictions for social distancing purposes? Have a trip on July 1, and if for some reason there are no lounges, will most likely cancel.
It depends on the route. The CL is not currently running with a SSL, but most other Superliner routes still are.
 

OlympianHiawatha

Conductor
Joined
Feb 7, 2008
Messages
4,286
Location
Norman, OK
Is Amtrak still running the sightseer lounges on the long distance trains? If so, are they enforcing any kind of seating restrictions for social distancing purposes? Have a trip on July 1, and if for some reason there are no lounges, will most likely cancel.
I don't balme you. Unless they let you lounge in the Diner (and I have rarely seen that) you might as well take the bus!
 

Rasputin

OBS Chief
Joined
Jan 17, 2019
Messages
744
Taking the SW Chief. Assuming the SSL is still there then?
A sightseer Lounge car shows up every day on the Southwest Chief on the Flagstaff webcam so it is certainly there.

In the travelogue section, Native Son has posted a report of his recent trip on the Sunset which might give you an idea of travel on Amtrak long distance trains in the virus days.
 

Mark P

Train Attendant
Joined
Jan 9, 2012
Messages
44
Location
Washington, DC
A sightseer Lounge car shows up every day on the Southwest Chief on the Flagstaff webcam so it is certainly there.

In the travelogue section, Native Son has posted a report of his recent trip on the Sunset which might give you an idea of travel on Amtrak long distance trains in the virus days.
Good to hear, thank you! I'll read his travelogue now.
 

Michigan Mom

OBS Chief
Joined
Jan 28, 2012
Messages
662
Location
MI
So for anyone who thinks that COVID is a hoax.
Friend got diagnosed, she works as a front line nurse although not on a COVID floor at her hospital. She is ten years younger than me and was so sick and weak it was scary. I was worried about her making it through. She is also the caretaker for her parents and was unable to visit them or even drop off groceries. I was able to help with that, and recently she turned the corner and recovered.

The lockdowns prevented this from being worse. The precautions that Amtrak is putting in place will make it possible for more travel, not less. Wear a mask as a sign of respect for your health and for the health of other people around you. Consider what is sanitary and what is not, and let that guide your experiences on shared public transport. It is not about any one of us. It's about all of us.
 

lordsigma

OBS Chief
AU Supporter
Joined
Sep 15, 2017
Messages
919
Amtrak employee memo circulating around some circles today seems to confirm what's been talked about. In FY21 it appears Amtrak plans to reduce Northeast Corridor frequencies by 32%, 24% on state corridors, and reduction of all long distance trains to thrice weekly except for the Florida service (Cardinal and Sunset Limited would remain thrice weekly). For Florida: the Auto Train would remain daily, and the Star and Meteor would be staggered to maintain daily service to common stations with the Meteor operating four days and the Star operating on the days the Meteor doesn't.
 

brianpmcdonnell17

Conductor
Joined
Mar 5, 2016
Messages
1,389
Location
Chicago, Illinois
Assuming this is accurate, I'm curious if the plans include daily or near daily service for any other segments where multiple LD trains share a route. For example, the LSL and CL could alternate, providing service 6/7 days a week west of Cleveland as well as to NEC points via connections. Another possibility is to intentionally schedule all LDs to serve Chicago on the same days to retain connections.
 

neroden

Conductor
Joined
Feb 23, 2014
Messages
7,821
Location
Ithaca, NY
This appears to be the usual self-sabotage attempt by Amtrak. Write your Congresspeople. Demand daily service. Because less than daily service loses revenue faster than it cuts costs, *every single time, no exceptions*. It's dumbass.
 

desertflyer

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Jul 29, 2013
Messages
251
Location
San Francisco
I found this PDF of questions the Amtrak employees and contractors posed to management back in March. It's a little out of date, but may be of interest to some of you here: Coronavirus – Frequently Asked Questions, Part 2

This one question interested me:
Q37. The air filters on our trains -- can they be changed at the origin, turn around points and the endpoints?
A37. Charlie King, VP, Chief Mechanical Officer: Amtrak’s HVAC equipment is not designed with filtration systems that can use HEPA filters to trap virus size molecules.
 

vinceg723

Train Attendant
Joined
Jun 12, 2009
Messages
16
I've read a ton here about bathroom cleanliness and the relative safety air circulating through roomettes -- but what are your thoughts on the safety of coaches? I plan to take the CL and CZ next month, and as excited as I am, every time I read the news, I feel I should cancel.

If one keeps to oneself, uses sanitizer, etc, do you think it's still possible to catch COVID if another passenger in the coach is infected? I can't find much info about air circulation in train coaches and how it would compare to, say, an airplane, which seems to have healthy circulation.

I've posted about my plans on another thread, I've very excited about taking this trip -- but at the same time, wondering if I should cancel. Thoughts?
 

Bob Dylan

Conductor
Joined
May 31, 2009
Messages
20,273
Location
Austin Texas
I've read a ton here about bathroom cleanliness and the relative safety air circulating through roomettes -- but what are your thoughts on the safety of coaches? I plan to take the CL and CZ next month, and as excited as I am, every time I read the news, I feel I should cancel.

If one keeps to oneself, uses sanitizer, etc, do you think it's still possible to catch COVID if another passenger in the coach is infected? I can't find much info about air circulation in train coaches and how it would compare to, say, an airplane, which seems to have healthy circulation.

I've posted about my plans on another thread, I've very excited about taking this trip -- but at the same time, wondering if I should cancel. Thoughts?
Honestly, with the Acceleration of the Pandemic, I would cancel this trip.

The longer you are around other people, the better your chance to become infected.

And now the CDC is saying that there may be 10 times as many cases as those officially announced!

Look @ taking the trip in September if things improve,( before the LD cutbacks on Oct 1) if possible, or look @2021.
 

MARC Rider

Conductor
Joined
Apr 5, 2011
Messages
2,135
Location
Baltimore. MD
After the first wave of Covid-19 hit the sense population centers of the northeast, a conventional wisdom arose that suggested dense, walkable cities that rely on public transportation are more vulnerable to these epidemics. Of course, that could be countered by the fact that the epidemic was pretty well controlled (or at least better controlled than in the US) in places like South Korea, Singapore, and Hong Kong, which are full of dense urban centers that rely on public transportation.

The current news in the USA further puts a nail in the coffin of the mistaken idea that America needs to rely entirely on automobiles and live in suburban sprawl in order to control epidemics. New cases of covid-19 are now spiking in the Sun Belt, both in the sprawling cities and in rural areas, too, whereas the cases are dropping in the Northeast. New York City is set to go into Phase 3 on July 6, even allowing indoor dining. Transmission rates in the Northeast have dropped below 1.0, which means they actually have some control on the epidemic there.

Thus, if I wear a mask and try not to get to up-close and personal with other people, I have no real worries about riding transit or Amtrak.
 

gwolfdog

Service Attendant
Joined
Mar 27, 2020
Messages
123
I've read a ton here about bathroom cleanliness and the relative safety air circulating through roomettes -- but what are your thoughts on the safety of coaches? I plan to take the CL and CZ next month, and as excited as I am, every time I read the news, I feel I should cancel.

If one keeps to oneself, uses sanitizer, etc, do you think it's still possible to catch COVID if another passenger in the coach is infected? I can't find much info about air circulation in train coaches and how it would compare to, say, an airplane, which seems to have healthy circulation.

I've posted about my plans on another thread, I've very excited about taking this trip -- but at the same time, wondering if I should cancel. Thoughts?
I faced this decision in April when I had to get out of Florida. I flew because my wife made me and saved 20 hours skipping the Auto Train. Was paralyzed by analysis and uncertainty. Want to go back to Florida in December and will face same concerns with Covid-19 then. To many variables here. Go with your gut. How important is the trip? What are your risk factors? I read every article and received multiple opinions and was even more confused. Good Luck. 😷
 

vinceg723

Train Attendant
Joined
Jun 12, 2009
Messages
16
Go with your gut. How important is the trip? What are your risk factors? I read every article and received multiple opinions and was even more confused. Good Luck. 😷
Thank you and others for the input. This is a 100% pleasure trip. Selfish. But my fear is that the stars won't align in the future. Amtrak may further gut service. At some point, the classes I'm taking will shift from online to in person (giving me less flexibility with timing). And I may not have this much vacation time from my job in the future. So yeah, I may be being selfish here -- but people on this forum would understand (better than friends and colleagues) the lure of making this trip :)

I hear you regarding the multiple opinions. One minute, I read the news and I see the cases spiking and everyone being scolded to stay home (as we in NYC have done for 3+ months). Another minute, I chat with people on Instagram whom I see are riding in the coaches, and they feel everything is safe and would do it again.

I'm going to chat with a friend who is a nurse in Seattle on the front lines of everything (and he'll probably say don't do it ... but we'll see).
 

Bob Dylan

Conductor
Joined
May 31, 2009
Messages
20,273
Location
Austin Texas
Thank you and others for the input. This is a 100% pleasure trip. Selfish. But my fear is that the stars won't align in the future. Amtrak may further gut service. At some point, the classes I'm taking will shift from online to in person (giving me less flexibility with timing). And I may not have this much vacation time from my job in the future. So yeah, I may be being selfish here -- but people on this forum would understand (better than friends and colleagues) the lure of making this trip :)

I hear you regarding the multiple opinions. One minute, I read the news and I see the cases spiking and everyone being scolded to stay home (as we in NYC have done for 3+ months). Another minute, I chat with people on Instagram whom I see are riding in the coaches, and they feel everything is safe and would do it again.

I'm going to chat with a friend who is a nurse in Seattle on the front lines of everything (and he'll probably say don't do it ... but we'll see).
Sounds like you're doing the right thing, getting info and making a good plan.

We'd all like to be on a LD Train right now as you know, but in my case I'm old and have COPD plus I live in a Hotspot ( the Next New York!) and will have to wait until its Safer to travel anywhere, hopefully 2021!

Keep us posted, if you go we'll all follow your Adventures and be envious!
 
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