Disobedience on Amtrak

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Oreius

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Jun 5, 2012
Messages
375
I’m sure you’ve read the news about the lady who assaulted a flight attendant on a Southwest Airlines flight. Apparently, the unruly lady popped the attendant in the mouth, breaking two of her teeth. The lady and her 3 kids refused to wear a mask on the flight and was (supposedly) being defiant. She was charged with felony assault.
Now, here’s my question. How does Amtrak deal with unruly passengers? I do know the Conductor is authorized to “throw someone off.” The Conductor is in charge of all onboard crew members. I also know Amtrak has a dedicated police force, primarily in the Northeast. Has anyone ever witnessed unruly behavior? Both Southwest Airlines and the FAA have reported an “explosion” of unruly passengers on flights.
 

zephyr17

Conductor
Joined
Jul 22, 2009
Messages
4,500
Location
Washington State
Amtrak conductors have the authority to remove unruly passengers from the train and do. I have been on several trains where passengers were removed at station stops not there destinations, and twice I have been on trains where passengers were removed at grade crossings into the arms of local law enforcement.

Amtrak has the advantage of not having to land before before removing troublesome passengers, although they do have to stop.

Corallary: Never mouth off to an Amtrak conductor. Some can be, shall we say, a bit assertive in exercising their power.
 
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VentureForth

Conductor
Joined
Jan 23, 2007
Messages
5,990
Location
West Melbourne, FL
I never witnessed an ejection, but my daughter has. A drunk passenger was trying over and over again to sit in business class on the Palmetto several years ago. Conductor stopped the train at a grade crossing where she was provided a transfer to a Crown Vic with blinky lights.
 

Mike G

Train Attendant
AU Supporter
Joined
Jan 20, 2019
Messages
30
Location
Southaven, MS
There are several YouTube’s with the virtual camera with compelling evidence of eviction 😵💫 ( and PAX left behind at station stops )
 

Qapla

Conductor
Joined
Jul 15, 2019
Messages
1,857
Location
Gator Country Florida
I was on a day trip to Tampa before Covid when the train picked up two guys headed from Orlando to Tampa. Those guys were a bit drunk and got into a shouting match with a lady in a wheelchair. The conductor broke-up the shouting match and told the two guys they would have to get off at the next stop. They were not to happy but agreed to get off. The lady in the wheelchair tried to get in "one last word" as the two guys headed to the door at the stop and the conductor told her if she said another word to them she would be getting off the train, too. Needless to say, the lady shut her mouth and hardly uttered another word all the way to Tampa.
 

MARC Rider

Conductor
Joined
Apr 5, 2011
Messages
3,177
Location
Baltimore. MD
I never witnessed an ejection, but my daughter has. A drunk passenger was trying over and over again to sit in business class on the Palmetto several years ago. Conductor stopped the train at a grade crossing where she was provided a transfer to a Crown Vic with blinky lights.
I presume you mean a "drunk passenger ***with only a coach ticket*** was trying over and over again to sit in business class." If they start kicking people off just because they had a bit too much to drink (even if they're quiet drunks), then I'm going on the wagon when I ride business class from now on! :)
 

VentureForth

Conductor
Joined
Jan 23, 2007
Messages
5,990
Location
West Melbourne, FL
I presume you mean a "drunk passenger ***with only a coach ticket*** was trying over and over again to sit in business class." If they start kicking people off just because they had a bit too much to drink (even if they're quiet drunks), then I'm going on the wagon when I ride business class from now on! :)
Yes yes yes yes yes.... ;)
 

Dakota 400

Conductor
Joined
Mar 5, 2014
Messages
2,845
On the SWC out of Los Angeles, during the early seating for dinner (we were not long out of LA), a well pickled man became loud and abusive in the dining car. His behavior persisted and the train crew moved him into the SSL where I was sitting. The train pulled into into its next station and the crew were attempting to remove him from the SSL (police were waiting on the platform) when he became combative. A passenger sitting next to me went to the assistance of the crew. The three of them managed to subdue the man enough to get him down the stairs and off the train.

I have never understood why the police did not board the train to assist the train crew in removing the drunk.
 

Bob Dylan

Conductor
Joined
May 31, 2009
Messages
22,683
Location
Austin Texas
On the SWC out of Los Angeles, during the early seating for dinner (we were not long out of LA), a well pickled man became loud and abusive in the dining car. His behavior persisted and the train crew moved him into the SSL where I was sitting. The train pulled into into its next station and the crew were attempting to remove him from the SSL (police were waiting on the platform) when he became combative. A passenger sitting next to me went to the assistance of the crew. The three of them managed to subdue the man enough to get him down the stairs and off the train.

I have never understood why the police did not board the train to assist the train crew in removing the drunk.
If I'm not mistaken Local LE have no jurisdiction on Federal Property.

Every time I've seen someone put off a Train ,which is many times in 50 years of riding, the only LE Officers I've seen board a Train are Amtrak Police, or Federal Agents.

All the times Ive observed de-trained passengers being turned over to Local LE Officers occurred off the Train.
 

Dakota 400

Conductor
Joined
Mar 5, 2014
Messages
2,845
If I'm not mistaken Local LE have no jurisdiction on Federal Property.

Every time I've seen someone put off a Train ,which is many times in 50 years of riding, the only LE Officers I've seen board a Train are Amtrak Police, or Federal Agents.

All the times Ive observed de-trained passengers being turned over to Local LE Officers occurred off the Train.
Thanks for the information.

I was very appreciative of what my fellow passenger did to help the train crew. As he left his seat to help, he told another passenger and me to move to the end of the SSL closest to the dining car to get us out of the "action zone". There are good people in this world!
 

LookingGlassTie

OBS Chief
Joined
Nov 9, 2016
Messages
561
Location
Portsmouth, VA
Speaking of disorderly conduct, does the Engineer have the latitude to stop the train in any "safe" location or does he/she have to bring it to a stop at a specific location according to Amtrak's SOP and/or that of the host railroad (if applicable)?
 

Bob Dylan

Conductor
Joined
May 31, 2009
Messages
22,683
Location
Austin Texas
Speaking of disorderly conduct, does the Engineer have the latitude to stop the train in any "safe" location or does he/she have to bring it to a stop at a specific location according to Amtrak's SOP and/or that of the host railroad (if applicable)?
The Conductor usually directs the Engineer where to Spot the Train @ Station Stops, and the Dispatcher also is in direct contact with the Engineer.

Of course, in an Emergency, the Engineer is the one who can Slow or Stop the Train since they have a direct view ahead of the Train.
 

jloewen

Service Attendant
Joined
Mar 10, 2009
Messages
110
I never witnessed an ejection, but my daughter has. A drunk passenger was trying over and over again to sit in business class on the Palmetto several years ago. Conductor stopped the train at a grade crossing where she was provided a transfer to a Crown Vic with blinky lights.
When I was a kid growing up in Decatur, the NY Yankees stars were ejected from the Wabash Cannonball for being drunk and disorderly. They had to rent a taxi to drive the last 120 miles to STL to play the Browns. This made the Decatur newspaper, and I wrote a verse about it for the famous song, "Wabash Cannonball." Do read my article; it contains everything I know about the song and I'd like any feedback. Wabash Cannonball | History News Network
The Yankees -- Mickey Mantle, Whitey Ford, and all the boys,
Were drinking in the club car in Decatur, Illinois.
They all got thrown off the train; they could not play baseball,
'Cause they were drunk and disorderly on the Wabash Cannonball.
-- Jim Loewen
 

zephyr17

Conductor
Joined
Jul 22, 2009
Messages
4,500
Location
Washington State
The Conductor usually directs the Engineer where to Spot the Train @ Station Stops, and the Dispatcher also is in direct contact with the Engineer.

Of course, in an Emergency, the Engineer is the one who can Slow or Stop the Train since they have a direct view ahead of the Train.
Apparently the current Amtrak policies are the passenger being ejected must be left at a regular station stop, or must be met by law enforcement at a location other than a station (typically a grade crossing in that case). Usually these days they want law enforcement even at a station in an ejection situation.

The conductor and engineer coordinate with the dispatcher, who coordinates with law enforcement, to figure out where law enforcement will meet the train.
 

desertflyer

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Jul 29, 2013
Messages
284
Location
San Francisco
In Feb 2020 on the Coast Starlight we made a stop at a grade crossing outside of Paso Robles. I noticed someone got off with luggage and started walking away from the train. We continued on. I asked the car attendant and she claimed the person was kicked off the train for striking another passenger. No police involved and most people probably didn't even think anything of the stop, but getting kicked off at a grade crossing in the middle of nowhere seems like a pretty bad punishment on its own.
 

me_little_me

Conductor
AU Lifetime Supporter
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Jul 16, 2010
Messages
4,107
In Feb 2020 on the Coast Starlight we made a stop at a grade crossing outside of Paso Robles. I noticed someone got off with luggage and started walking away from the train. We continued on. I asked the car attendant and she claimed the person was kicked off the train for striking another passenger. No police involved and most people probably didn't even think anything of the stop, but getting kicked off at a grade crossing in the middle of nowhere seems like a pretty bad punishment on its own.
They might have been asked if they would leave quietly or if they would prefer to have charges filed against them, in which case the police would be called to meet them. They also might have called someone to meet them nearby while still on the train and agreed with the conductor to walk directly away from the drain and not stop until the train departed. And it depends on whether the person struck wanted to file charges or file a complaint against Amtrak which would require that the conductor protect himself by having the police make a report and possibly arrest the perp.
 

railiner

Conductor
Joined
Mar 20, 2009
Messages
9,593
Location
Palm Beach County
Ejecting someone in the middle of nowhere, with no shelter or other accommodation available, is prohibited by Company regulation's, as it could subject the Company to high liability. If the perpetrator's behavior was so egregious to warrant this extreme measure, the train would have to wait at the scene until law enforcement arrived, at least.
 

cirdan

Conductor
Joined
Mar 30, 2011
Messages
2,495
Not unruly, but strange.

I was on the Texas Eagle once and there was a passenger in the SSL or in the Cafe car, who might have been slightly confused mentally, or might have used some substances. But was otherwise reasonably well behaved.

This passenger told me, and several other people besides, that he was travelling to Memphis. I said the train wasn't going to Memphis and was concerned he might have boarded the wrong train in Chicago.

But the Amtrak staff didn't seem to have any trouble with him so I assume they were satisfied with his reason for being there.

At every stop he would be asking if we thought the next stop was Memphis.

I don't know where he got off eventually. Later during the trip I didn't see him any more.
 

desertflyer

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Jul 29, 2013
Messages
284
Location
San Francisco
Ejecting someone in the middle of nowhere, with no shelter or other accommodation available, is prohibited by Company regulation's, as it could subject the Company to high liability.
It could have been a tall tale from the SCA. Perhaps it was a freight worker who was being dropped off. This is the crossing where it happened in San Miguel, CA, so there is a small town there.
1622226404332.png
 

Steve4031

Conductor
AU Supporter
Joined
Aug 27, 2002
Messages
6,065
Location
Chicago
I personally witnessed a drunk passenger get kicked off of the Lincoln Service at Dwight in 2014. He got on in Chicago and sat in BC. He used profanity and was lamenting the Cubs loss that day. He was right behind me. I ignored him until he reached between the seats and poked me and asked for a pen. I firmly told him no. I did not want to engage him in any conversation because my GF does not like profanity. It’s not possible for me to judge someone for profanity because I use it too sometimes.

After I told him no, he called me a four letter word. I got up and notified the LSA. I explained what happened and that I was willing to ignore him until he directly called me a name. The LSA called the conductor and both the conductor and AC arrived. Both were African American women. They checked tickets. And asked the guy to go with them. As he was he was leaving he called me a 4 letter word starting with B that is a real no no around women. The conductor said to me, What did he just call you?” I told her enough without using it, and off they went. After Dwight she came back and profusely apologized for my experience and stated that she had seen me on numerous trips and that I was never a problem. She explained that he had been put off in Dwight because he also called her the 4 letter word. That was a quick stop. I didn’t even know he was put off.
 
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