Difficulty using Amtrak's website to make connections

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merkelman06

Train Attendant
Joined
May 27, 2014
Messages
45
If 3x trains are not bad enough for planning a trip, Amtrak’s website makes it even more difficult.

I use the City of New Orleans to connect with other long distance trains in Chicago. Have done it for years. The City leaves New Orleans on Wednesday Friday and Sunday on the 3x schedule. Yet if you type in New Orleans to any other city on a long distance train west it says “no Amtrak service between stations selected.”

So New Orleans to Minneapolis or Denver or Albuquerque all come up with the no service message.

If the trip is reversed to New Orleans it shows the connection in Chicago but not from New Orleans. I guess it’s a classic case of you can’t get there from here.

Im sure most folks will see that message and simply move on and fly or drive even though service was actually available.
 

Qapla

Engineer
Joined
Jul 15, 2019
Messages
2,206
Location
Gator Country Florida
I was told the reason the connection shows as "no service" is because the connection is not "guaranteed" - evidently, they do not consider a connection that requires an overnight stay as "guaranteed" or a layover time so short it is too easy for a slightly late train to cause you to miss the other train and therefore will not post it for booking.

You may be able to book two separate tickets, one for each leg, that will make the trip "possible" - but, if the layover times are too short or too long Amtrak will not make that reservation on the app since they won't accept responsibility for a missed connection and have to pay for your room or ticket.
 

merkelman06

Train Attendant
Joined
May 27, 2014
Messages
45
The connection time is 5 hours. I’ve booked this connection at least 3 times a year for the last 10 years. Most recently in June. It works in reverse. I don’t know what they did to the website. It was showing up as of last week when I checked a trip.
 

daybeers

Conductor
Joined
Jan 6, 2016
Messages
1,177
Location
NHV
I have seen similar silly things. It seems the reservation system was modified to result in these errors. I sadly agree that most travelers would think travel between those two points wouldn't be possible and would give up and either fly or drive.
 

bratkinson

OBS Chief
AU Supporter
Joined
Aug 7, 2004
Messages
964
Location
QB 101
It's simple...Amtrak honchos do NOT want anyone to make connections to/from LD trains. ie, ride 'em while you can!

I just tried a NYP->MKE booking on Sunday Nov 8 that #49 runs, but NEITHER of the two possible routings presented, NYP-WAS-CHI-MKE and NYP-PGH-CHI-MKE shows the obvious, the Lakeshore Ltd. I checked the following Sunday as well.
 

WWW

No real RR Job
AU Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Nov 18, 2018
Messages
326
Location
MSP
Airlines won't let you book an illegal connection and if that connection is too long of time then the reservation goes point to point
resulting in not getting the benefit of a through fare if one was there at all.
 

niemi24s

Engineer
Joined
Feb 11, 2015
Messages
2,773
Now that Arrow has been fixed, is it safe for our Chicken Littles to leave their coops?
 

Barb Stout

OBS Chief
Joined
Mar 13, 2019
Messages
967
Location
Albuquerque, NM
I started taking Amtrak in 2015 and always had that "problem" with showing no service between ABQ and Cleveland, for example. So I just assumed right from the start that one has to book everything in segments. Then I found out from this forum about guaranteed connections and not guaranteed connections with the way I was doing it. But apparently if you made the reservations in segments, you can call Amtrak up to request a guaranteed connection. There is some magical phrase you can use, but I have forgotten what it is.
 

Bob Dylan

50+ Year Amtrak Rider
Joined
May 31, 2009
Messages
23,672
Location
Austin Texas
I started taking Amtrak in 2015 and always had that "problem" with showing no service between ABQ and Cleveland, for example. So I just assumed right from the start that one has to book everything in segments. Then I found out from this forum about guaranteed connections and not guaranteed connections with the way I was doing it. But apparently if you made the reservations in segments, you can call Amtrak up to request a guaranteed connection. There is some magical phrase you can use, but I have forgotten what it is.
Link the Reservations!
 

niemi24s

Engineer
Joined
Feb 11, 2015
Messages
2,773
I have a fuzzy recollection that the magic word is link. If you can start a multi-city booking with something like a 2 to 23 hour connection time between trains, an agent can put them on the same ticket which forms the link and also the guaranteed connection.

I think. But somebody here who travels a lot more can give you the real process.
 

me_little_me

Engineer
AU Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Jul 16, 2010
Messages
4,641
I started taking Amtrak in 2015 and always had that "problem" with showing no service between ABQ and Cleveland, for example. So I just assumed right from the start that one has to book everything in segments. Then I found out from this forum about guaranteed connections and not guaranteed connections with the way I was doing it. But apparently if you made the reservations in segments, you can call Amtrak up to request a guaranteed connection. There is some magical phrase you can use, but I have forgotten what it is.
I always use the following phrase: "Do it or my cousin Guido is going to see you swim with the fishes". Works every time. One agent even offered to pay for my ticket himself but I told him it was not necessary because if he didn't make the connection guaranteed, his family would have to pay for the concrete. :)
 
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