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CZ late into Chicago--stay in sleeper

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Dan O

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I have a friend who was on the California Zephyr that arrived in Chicago about 9-10 hours late. He was scheduled to connect to the Lake Shore Limited but that left about 3 hours before he got to Chicago. He was on a sleeper on the CZ and going to be in coach on the LSL. Anyway, when he got to Chicago he was offered the option of staying in his sleeper until 6 AM. I thought he would be put up in a hotel where he could at least sleep in, since he'd be in Chicago all day. It doesn't seem like the best service to have someone sleep on a train for another night, well actually another 5 hours. Has anyone heard of this?

Dano
 

KnightRail

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It doesn't seem like the best service to have someone sleep on a train for another night, well actually another 5 hours.
Why? A person in this situation is already there, settled into the sleeper with a bed and access to showers. Arriving midnight, being forced outside into the Chicago winter and having to schelp all of one's belongings through the station and city to get to a hotel and settled in at 2AM likely at the earliest after arrangements were made, settled, and executed doesn't sound any more pleasent. Not to mention this is a smart thing to be doing to conserve limited financial resources.
 

Dan O

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It doesn't seem like the best service to have someone sleep on a train for another night, well actually another 5 hours.
Why? A person in this situation is already there, settled into the sleeper with a bed and access to showers. Arriving midnight, being forced outside into the Chicago winter and having to schelp all of one's belongings through the station and city to get to a hotel and settled in at 2AM likely at the earliest after arrangements were made, settled, and executed doesn't sound any more pleasent. Not to mention this is a smart thing to be doing to conserve limited financial resources.
Well, most hotels don't make you get out of bed at 6 AM after 5 hours of sleep. One can usually hang around until late morning. Sleeper beds aren't bad but I'd opt for a hotel bed over a sleeper bed if I was interested in comfort. Agree that it saves resources but I wouldn't consider it the best service vs staying in a bed for up to 4-5 more hours in a hotel.
 

Just-Thinking-51

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Yes, Chicago is now using sleepers for some of their late arrivals.
Do they leave the sleepers on the platform? Is there access to the streets for a late night snack?
Slight change is he can stay in his sleeper. So it not a go inside the station and get reassigned to a sleeper in station. It seem there leaving the train set intact in station, so he and the other don't have to get up before morning.

Late night snack, I would think not, but have no first hand experience. Not even read a report on someone who stayed in the station's sleepers.
 

KnightRail

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Well, most hotels don't make you get out of bed at 6 AM after 5 hours of sleep. One can usually hang around until late morning. Sleeper beds aren't bad but I'd opt for a hotel bed over a sleeper bed if I was interested in comfort. Agree that it saves resources but I wouldn't consider it the best service vs staying in a bed for up to 4-5 more hours in a hotel.
Sure hotel rooms are more spacious and comfortable, but when an alternative exists such as letting the passengers stay on the sleepers platformed in the station versus spending thousands of dollars on hotel rooms, that's a much wiser use of resources. Hotel is still an option, just not on the subsidized dime. The train could have just been outright cancelled with no alternative transportation, not getting anyone where they wanted to go.
 

Blackwolf

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I would not complain about getting to stay in my sleeper. To do so would quite certainly be "looking a gift horse in the mouth" and reeks of entitlement. Amtrak is not "entitled" to do anything except provide transportation on the next available train; it sounds like they are doing just that. Anything above and beyond satisfying their transportation requirement, even in a downgraded class of service should the connecting train be Business Class or above, is icing.

Just because past practice is to provide hotel rooms does not mean such will occur. Heck, even if it were a seat in one of the coaches, that would still be better than a displaced passenger getting directed to one of the benches inside the station and told to be on time for their rescheduled train. If you complain about still having a *now stationary* horizontal bed in a private compartment with AC/heat, lights, toilet and shower? Turn out on the platform and let one of your fellow passengers in; I'm sure they'll be more grateful than you know.

I, for one, would chalk it up to an Amtrak adventure and smile. After all, you ARE getting more train time!! :giggle:
 

Thirdrail7

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. Amtrak is not "entitled" to do anything except provide transportation on the next available train; it sounds like they are doing just that. Anything above and beyond satisfying their transportation requirement, even in a downgraded class of service should the connecting train be Business Class or above, is icing.
I'm kind of on the fence with this. I wonder if you could hang your hat on this nugget from the Amtrak website:

Disclaimer of Liability

Amtrak's fares, time schedules, equipment, routing, services and information (hereinafter "Amtrak services") are not guaranteed and are provided "as is" without any warranties of any kind, either express or implied, and Amtrak disclaims all warranties, express or implied. Applicable law may not allow the exclusion of implied warranties, so the above exclusions may not apply to you.

Amtrak reserves the right to change its policies without notice.

Amtrak further specifically disclaims liability for any inconvenience, expense, or damages, incidental, consequential, punitive, lost profits, loss business or otherwise, resulting from errors in its timetable, shortages of equipment, or due to delayed trains, except when such delay causes a passenger to miss an Amtrak train guaranteed connection. When a guaranteed Amtrak train connection is missed, Amtrak will provide passenger with alternate transportation on Amtrak, another carrier, or provide overnight hotel accommodations, at Amtrak's sole discretion, but only when such circumstances resulted from the actions of Amtrak and this shall constitute Amtrak's sole liability and passenger's sole and exclusive remedy. Some states may not allow the exclusion of incidental or consequential damages, so the above limitation or exclusion may not apply to you.

Amtrak also disclaims any liability for the products and/or services of Amtrak's advertisers, business partners, sponsors, suppliers, licensors and agents to the extent permissible under the law and Amtrak shall only be responsible for the rail transportation services that it provides.
As KnightRail stated, they could have canceled the train without repercussions or liability and issued a refund. However, Amtrak operated the train and since it involved a guaranteed connection, I would argue that if you're putting me up overnight, I should receive a hotel. A sleeper is not a hotel.
 
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Blackwolf

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. Amtrak is not "entitled" to do anything except provide transportation on the next available train; it sounds like they are doing just that. Anything above and beyond satisfying their transportation requirement, even in a downgraded class of service should the connecting train be Business Class or above, is icing.
I'm kind of on the fence with this. I wonder if you could hang your hat on this nugget from the Amtrak website:

Disclaimer of Liability

Amtrak's fares, time schedules, equipment, routing, services and information (hereinafter "Amtrak services") are not guaranteed and are provided "as is" without any warranties of any kind, either express or implied, and Amtrak disclaims all warranties, express or implied. Applicable law may not allow the exclusion of implied warranties, so the above exclusions may not apply to you.

Amtrak reserves the right to change its policies without notice.

Amtrak further specifically disclaims liability for any inconvenience, expense, or damages, incidental, consequential, punitive, lost profits, loss business or otherwise, resulting from errors in its timetable, shortages of equipment, or due to delayed trains, except when such delay causes a passenger to miss an Amtrak train guaranteed connection. When a guaranteed Amtrak train connection is missed, Amtrak will provide passenger with alternate transportation on Amtrak, another carrier, or provide overnight hotel accommodations, at Amtrak's sole discretion, but only when such circumstances resulted from the actions of Amtrak and this shall constitute Amtrak's sole liability and passenger's sole and exclusive remedy. Some states may not allow the exclusion of incidental or consequential damages, so the above limitation or exclusion may not apply to you.

Amtrak also disclaims any liability for the products and/or services of Amtrak's advertisers, business partners, sponsors, suppliers, licensors and agents to the extent permissible under the law and Amtrak shall only be responsible for the rail transportation services that it provides.
As KnightRail stated, they could have canceled the train without repercussions or liability and issued a refund. However, Amtrak operated the train and since it involved a guaranteed connection, I would argue that if you're putting me up overnight, I should receive a hotel. A sleeper is not a hotel.
There is no argument about that. I'd legitimately forgotten about that part of the policy, though there are a couple caveats. No, a sleeper is NOT a hotel room... But it is a furnished and comfortable place to sleep that, since you arrived into said terminus station residing inside one, you should be more than familiar with and likely already slept there. If the OBS were given enough time to tell displaced passengers of the plans before arrival into the station, letting one know of their staying in the accommodations would mean no additional stress of moving luggage and belongings to the headhouse only to then return to their former train.

And the additional caveat of potentially being put up in a Motel 6, which is a larger room but pretty much an Amtrak bed and shower with the added stress of moving belongings in the middle of the night only to return a couple hours later to the station.

I have had the experience of being put up in a hotel by the train company, once. It was with VIA RailCanada in Winnipeg, where I got a nice room at the Raddison Hotel. They also flew me and the entire 300+ passengers on The Canadian from Toronto (in a blizzard, with Pearson Airport closed requiring the use of a regional field some 100 km outside of the city) to Winnipeg. VIA does not like cancelling their trains, and apparently will spend 5x the value of a passengers paid ticket to get one through to their destination! Once back in the ol' USofA on the same trip, Amtrak quickly reminded me of their service standards and left me marooned in Seattle with a completely cancelled #11. I took Alaska Air home on that trip.
 

Ryan

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Sounds like a heck of a deal to me, especially if they let me know in advance that's what's going to happen. Go to bed at a normal hour, sleep through the arrival to wake at a reasonable hour for the next day?

Way better than getting a few hours of interrupted sleep and having to transfer to/from a hotel.
 

hermit

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Sounds like a heck of a deal to me, especially if they let me know in advance that's what's going to happen. Go to bed at a normal hour, sleep through the arrival to wake at a reasonable hour for the next day?

Way better than getting a few hours of interrupted sleep and having to transfer to/from a hotel.
I agree 100%
 

Lonestar648

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There is also the possibility that there is a convention in the city locking up the majority of the room. Option could be no room, sleep in a chair, or the roomette. Me, I would do just fine getting to sleep at a normal hour, then having an early breakfast. The SCA must be held over to make up the rooms after you leave. Getting out onto the COLD, WINDY, SNOWY streets in the middle of the night and with all the violence the city is currently having, I again would opt for the Roomette.
 

jphjaxfl

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I wish Amtrak had offered a stay in Sleeping Car option years back. I remember arriving in Union Station on the Floridian at 2AM when it was supposed to arrive at 7PM Back in the early 1970s and having to leave the station at that hour and find a hotel room. Just finding an unlocked door at Union Station at 2AM was a challenge.
 

PVD

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keep in mind that this particular passenger was not booked into a sleeper for their connection
 

neroden

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This is actually quite a wonderful option. I do wonder how Amtrak has enough sleepers to do it, though.
 

AmtrakBlue

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. Amtrak is not "entitled" to do anything except provide transportation on the next available train; it sounds like they are doing just that. Anything above and beyond satisfying their transportation requirement, even in a downgraded class of service should the connecting train be Business Class or above, is icing.
I'm kind of on the fence with this. I wonder if you could hang your hat on this nugget from the Amtrak website:

Disclaimer of Liability

Amtrak's fares, time schedules, equipment, routing, services and information (hereinafter "Amtrak services") are not guaranteed and are provided "as is" without any warranties of any kind, either express or implied, and Amtrak disclaims all warranties, express or implied. Applicable law may not allow the exclusion of implied warranties, so the above exclusions may not apply to you.

Amtrak reserves the right to change its policies without notice.

Amtrak further specifically disclaims liability for any inconvenience, expense, or damages, incidental, consequential, punitive, lost profits, loss business or otherwise, resulting from errors in its timetable, shortages of equipment, or due to delayed trains, except when such delay causes a passenger to miss an Amtrak train guaranteed connection. When a guaranteed Amtrak train connection is missed, Amtrak will provide passenger with alternate transportation on Amtrak, another carrier, or provide overnight hotel accommodations, at Amtrak's sole discretion, but only when such circumstances resulted from the actions of Amtrak and this shall constitute Amtrak's sole liability and passenger's sole and exclusive remedy. Some states may not allow the exclusion of incidental or consequential damages, so the above limitation or exclusion may not apply to you.

Amtrak also disclaims any liability for the products and/or services of Amtrak's advertisers, business partners, sponsors, suppliers, licensors and agents to the extent permissible under the law and Amtrak shall only be responsible for the rail transportation services that it provides.
As KnightRail stated, they could have canceled the train without repercussions or liability and issued a refund. However, Amtrak operated the train and since it involved a guaranteed connection, I would argue that if you're putting me up overnight, I should receive a hotel. A sleeper is not a hotel.
i suspect that since the sleeper option is relatively new is that it is/was a test and they just haven't gotten around to updating the terms & conditions.
 

anumberone

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Its a great solution, if you are missing the LSL departure by a couple or more HRS. its already midnight. I'm sure they have already advised you of the situation ahead of time so unless you are a night owl, being able to sleep without disturbances sounds good to me.

I've missed a CZ/CAPITAL connection and not knowing what's in store for you is not the best feeling. Fortunately we were rerouted on the LSL and all was good.
 

dlagrua

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Missing a connection and having to stay over in the sleeper? I have mixed feelings about this and feel that staying in the sleeper is not a terrible option. On one trip several years back, ( during the height of the Bakken oil boom) the EB arrived at CHI at 3 AM and lodging was offered. Everyone had to get their luggage, board a bus and head out to the suburbs to find a hotel that had vacancies. By the time everyone had checked in it was after 5 AM. The bus would leave for Union Station the next day at 10 AM. We go to sleep at 6 AM only to rise at 9AM grab a quick breakfast and get back on the bus. Much as we prefer a hotel bed, staying in the sleeper would have given us more rest and less shuffling. Knowing that the train would be 12 hours late, the SCA put the beds down around 9 PM so we got a few hours of sleep before we arrived at CUS. We didn't get continuous sleep but we did sleep some. If a train is very late and if we are to stay another night in the sleeper; several hours before arriving at CUS, the beds should be again put down but we hope not to experience a four day train ride again.
 

Thirdrail7

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Allow me to play devil's advocate and expand on my observations.

What would happen if you weren't already in a sleeper? What would happen if you were coach passenger that wasn't already nestled in a room? You're still schlepping them into the station and then back into a sleeper. Your rest is already broken. While it may beat traveling the streets of cold Chicago, it is still broken sleep. Additionally, if I'm using the 2am hotel check-in as baseline, I'm typically allowed to sleep in the hotel until 10am. That is critical to me since nothing leaves CHI for eastern points prior to 545pm. I have a whole day to kill.

I would also think the shower facilities would work out better in a hotel, than a train that may have already been on the road for 48 hours.

From an equipment stand point, I am in the minority when it comes to utilization. My views are (reportedly and admittedly) financially irresponsible. Left to me, I'd have a bigger pool with less utilization between runs so they can be serviced. While I realize a sleeper sitting in the yard is not producing revenue, you could make use of it while it in the yard. If you have six hours to put a sleeper in the middle of a station to play hotel, that is six hours that you could strip the mattresses, take the bunks apart and clean behind the beds, really hit the toilets, vacuum the curtains, walls You could REALLY get in there. I realize the mechanical forces never recovered from the Gunn cuts, but if you're leaving the equipment around, hit it!!

I remember the mantra of an old, retired General Manager who came from mechanical: We don't lean...we clean!!
 

hessjm

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I think there is a bit of miscommunication about remaining in the sleeper on the arriving train. Passengers on late arriving trains are being put up in the 2 sleeper cars that are pretty much permanent on the platform.
 

Palmetto

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I think there is a bit of miscommunication about remaining in the sleeper on the arriving train. Passengers on late arriving trains are being put up in the 2 sleeper cars that are pretty much permanent on the platform.
That would surprise me. Isn't space at a premium at CUS?
 

Just-Thinking-51

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The problem is second handed information.

The OP state he could stay in sleep, but he also stated he had to go inside the station.

Did they use the station sleepers, or did they use the train set to let people sleep in.

This changes the story line.
 

Tennessee Traveler

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In regard to this happening with the CZ, I suspect the recent weather event in the Sierras resulting in trains as late as 14 hours late with the train arriving in Chicago at 3AM or later. the passengers were probably allowed(permitted) to stay in their sleeper and possibly coach until 6AM. The OBS crew on the arriving CZ are completing there 6 day on board duty so this works out good for the OBS crew who will have 6-7 days off before the next tour of duty. The train needs to be pulled from the station about 6AM to allow equipment to be cleaned and restocked for its next trip beginning at 2 PM. Seems this works perfectly for the CZ and not necessarily for other trains who's crew is not based in Chicago such as the Empire Builder and Southwest Chief which most of the OBS crews are based in Seattle and Los Angeles respectfully. In that situation I would not expect to change to another sleeper for just three of four hours. Besides, I travel through Chicago regularly and never noticed any two sleepers permanently parked at the station.
 
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