Empire Builder with no Sightseer Lounge

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jimontheriver

Train Attendant
Joined
Feb 10, 2016
Messages
24
Just back from a Seattle trip and very disappointed with Amtrak. Upon boarding my sleeper car Oct 30th in Chicago I found out that there is no Sightseer Car on the train, just a Superliner coach with a snack bar downstairs. The crew did no know about this until boarding the train. My reason for riding this train was to see the country, not to travel to Seattle. I used points for this trip I I feel I should be compensated for this especially since the trip also cost me a Seattle hotel and a flight back to Chicago. Just asking others what they think.
 

railiner

Engineer
Joined
Mar 20, 2009
Messages
10,130
Location
X
Just back from a Seattle trip and very disappointed with Amtrak. Upon boarding my sleeper car Oct 30th in Chicago I found out that there is no Sightseer Car on the train, just a Superliner coach with a snack bar downstairs. The crew did no know about this until boarding the train. My reason for riding this train was to see the country, not to travel to Seattle. I used points for this trip I I feel I should be compensated for this especially since the trip also cost me a Seattle hotel and a flight back to Chicago. Just asking others what they think.
I totally understand your disappointment, but if everything else about your Amtrak ride was satisfactory, I kind of doubt they would give you much, if any, compensation.
However it certainly doesn’t hurt to ask…you never know. At least it would make them more aware of the value some place in having those cars on the train. I wish you luck. Please report back what your results are.
 
Joined
Sep 15, 2017
Messages
2,111
Just back from a Seattle trip and very disappointed with Amtrak. Upon boarding my sleeper car Oct 30th in Chicago I found out that there is no Sightseer Car on the train, just a Superliner coach with a snack bar downstairs. The crew did no know about this until boarding the train. My reason for riding this train was to see the country, not to travel to Seattle. I used points for this trip I I feel I should be compensated for this especially since the trip also cost me a Seattle hotel and a flight back to Chicago. Just asking others what they think.
It’s certainly worth a try - they probably wouldn’t refund you entirely over something like this but you might get a voucher of some value. Certainly no guarantees but it’s always worth trying.
 

AmtrakBlue

Engineer
Gathering Team Member
Joined
May 6, 2011
Messages
14,591
Location
Delaware
Amtrak is a transportation company, not a tourist train. They got you from Chicago to Seattle, which is what they supposed to do. Remember, taxpayers help fund Amtrak. I certainly do not want my taxes funding a tourist train.

I suspect the sightseer lounge car was "bad ordered" at the last minute - the car was not road worthy and they did not have another one available.
As others said, you could ask for some compensation, but they will not, and should not be expected to, refund your fare. They will probably offer you a small voucher for future use.
 

Northwestern

Lead Service Attendant
AU Supporting Member
Joined
Jan 3, 2022
Messages
251
Location
Santa Rosa
I would like to see a significant upgrade in Amtrak's Superliner and Viewliner lounge cars. Not only should they be available on most all Amtrak trains, but it could get the ball rolling for an actual Amtrak concern for passenger amenity upgrades and resulting revenue increases. Expand lounge car seating. How about a hosted bar with a bartender always present? Have both alcoholic and soft drinks available. Extensive trays of hors d' oeuvres. Add TV monitors for train position along a route. Is it too much to ask? With the absence of real parlor cars, the lounge cars would be appreciated, I think. Have beverages and food require payment even for sleeping car passengers. With six figure bonuses for Amtrak executives, you would think it would be possible for such exec's to sit down and consider such things.
 

alpha3

Service Attendant
Joined
Aug 29, 2018
Messages
111
Amtrak is a transportation company, not a tourist train. They got you from Chicago to Seattle, which is what they supposed to do. Remember, taxpayers help fund Amtrak. I certainly do not want my taxes funding a tourist train.

I suspect the sightseer lounge car was "bad ordered" at the last minute - the car was not road worthy and they did not have another one available.
As others said, you could ask for some compensation, but they will not, and should not be expected to, refund your fare. They will probably offer you a small voucher for future use.
Well, you know, that's like saying the airlines are a transportation company, and they fly you from point A to point B in uncomfortable tiny seats with a 28 inch pitch (but you shouldn't complain) because they get you there. At least you're off that plane in just a few hours. A part of the LD train's attraction is the food and the scenery, the former of which Amtrak has been falling far short on. And an LD train takes a day or more, not just a few hours. I don't think it has anything to do with your taxes, as Amtrak itself promotes the scenic views on the LD trains as a selling point. I do understand cars can be bad ordered. Fine. Bad order this one, but have another one you call pull out. Fixing cars and putting them back on the line seems a problem for Amtrak as well. They have much to answer for, and fix; I'm a train lover but I'm not booking one for the foreseeable future until they get their act together.
 

Maglev

Conductor
Joined
Sep 4, 2016
Messages
1,369
Location
Orcas Island, Washington
When I was in this situation, I did not request compensation. I bought a Roomette ticket from Eugene to Seattle on the Coast Starlight mainly to ride in the "Pacific Parlour Car" during its final days of operation. But due to floods in southern California, my train was turned in Sacramento and was not only lacking a "Pacific Parlour Car" but also had no "Sightseer Lounge." I still enjoyed the privacy and comfort of my room, as well as dinner in the dining car (oh yes, the train was late and I missed lunch).

IMG_7105.jpeg
 

jebr

Enthusiastic Transit Rider
AU Supporting Member
Gathering Team Member
Joined
Jan 23, 2012
Messages
4,879
Location
"The Last Great City of the East," St. Paul, MN
Did the Superliner coach fully function as a lounge car - as in could people from the sleepers go there to sit, see the sights on the other side of the train, etc.? Or was it sold as general coach inventory and off limits to sleeper passengers?

If it's the former, I personally would only expect a small voucher for future travel. If the latter, I would expect a bit more, but honestly at most I'd only expect a couple hundred bucks. After all, you're still able to see the scenery from your sleeper car at least in one direction, so not all the scenery is lost.

In the future, if something like this happens and the SSL is a make or break deal, I'd see if Amtrak or the crew could cut your trip short and get a refund of the part of the trip not taken. Given the issue, they might've been willing to give a refund (or a large portion of the fare refunded) if you got off in Milwaukee or St. Paul. You also might've been able to get refunds for the hotel and/or flight (or at least flight credit) and getting back to Chicago from either city would be pretty easy and likely relatively inexpensive.
 

MontanaJim

Service Attendant
Joined
Nov 14, 2011
Messages
199
Just back from a Seattle trip and very disappointed with Amtrak. Upon boarding my sleeper car Oct 30th in Chicago I found out that there is no Sightseer Car on the train, just a Superliner coach with a snack bar downstairs. The crew did no know about this until boarding the train. My reason for riding this train was to see the country, not to travel to Seattle. I used points for this trip I I feel I should be compensated for this especially since the trip also cost me a Seattle hotel and a flight back to Chicago. Just asking others what they think.
theres never any guarantee any particular car will be on a train. I sympathize with you and understand its a real bummer no sightseer but in my opinion, Amtrak doesnt owe you a refund. Now if you had been downgraded to coach or something that would be different. But you got your room and i presume the meals in the diner. Amtrak also cant be held more liable than otherwise simply because you flew one way and had to stay in a hotel, its job is to get you from point a to point b.
 

Skyline

OBS Chief
Joined
Feb 19, 2016
Messages
807
Fine print in your ticket is right to substitute equipment. But I think half the diner should have been set aside as a coach lounge. 2 sleeper cars on the train do not justify all that space
All true. Plenty of space for sleeper pax plus some coach pax. But then where would the crew hang out if they had to give up the seating they monopolize?
 

Rambling Robert

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
May 30, 2021
Messages
292
Location
Boston
Good luck with customer relations and a small token of compensation might be offered If Amtrak’s ad slogan was “We’ll get you from A to B” they’d loose a lot of money.

I had a window seat in a superliner Coach (no cafe) and there is much more wider view, with presence, in Coach than in a Sleeper car. Earlier this year while seated in Coach at the window on the EB I Dloved the experience of big sky and cloud topped mountains.

I’d rather have clean windows than an observation car. For sure!
9C48A277-2145-4EEE-A25D-52FBFC31C59C.jpeg
Albuquerque last week
 

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Amtrak25

Lead Service Attendant
AU Supporting Member
Joined
Dec 7, 2021
Messages
499
Location
New Jersey
All true. Plenty of space for sleeper pax plus some coach pax. But then where would the crew hang out if they had to give up the seating they monopolize?

There you have Amtrak's so-called managment and their inability to manage or even give a damn. Their mindset is running an internet bus company on steel wheels.
 

crescent-zephyr

Engineer
Joined
Oct 21, 2015
Messages
4,351
Amtrak is a transportation company, not a tourist train. They got you from Chicago to Seattle, which is what they supposed to do. Remember, taxpayers help fund Amtrak. I certainly do not want my taxes funding a tourist train.
Amtrak advertises amenities including dining cars and lounges. I’m not sure how a lounge makes a train a tourist train. All the classic long distance trains offered multiple types of lounge cars. They were definitely not tourist trains.
 
Joined
Feb 2, 2005
Messages
881
I would like to see a significant upgrade in Amtrak's Superliner and Viewliner lounge cars. Not only should they be available on most all Amtrak trains, but it could get the ball rolling for an actual Amtrak concern for passenger amenity upgrades and resulting revenue increases. Expand lounge car seating. How about a hosted bar with a bartender always present? Have both alcoholic and soft drinks available. Extensive trays of hors d' oeuvres. Add TV monitors for train position along a route. Is it too much to ask? With the absence of real parlor cars, the lounge cars would be appreciated, I think. Have beverages and food require payment even for sleeping car passengers. With six figure bonuses for Amtrak executives, you would think it would be possible for such exec's to sit down and consider such things.
As twisted as things are it’s just as likely these bonuses will be the catalyst for reducing services. We could very well see more trains like the Texas Eagle or worse. Nothing has happened yet but I don’t think we can afford a wait and see attitude. We, RPA, local leaders and all stakeholders need to start making a strong case for the national network (again) and factually calling out managements misdeeds.

Your ideas are exactly what a successful long distance train needs to thrive both financially and ridership wise unfortunately not everyone has the same goals.
 

Bob Dylan

50+ Year Amtrak Rider
AU Supporting Member
Joined
May 31, 2009
Messages
25,414
Location
Austin Texas
All true. Plenty of space for sleeper pax plus some coach pax. But then where would the crew hang out if they had to give up the seating they monopolize?
Maybe they could actually do their jobs of taking car of the Consist and the Passengers??

And since they all have Rooms, that should be their " Lounge"!
 

JWM

Service Attendant
Joined
Oct 3, 2021
Messages
109
Location
Sarasota, Florida
Possibly the most successful long distance Amtrak train is the Coast Starlight. I realize those "Parlour Cars", and they were never spelled that way pre-Amtrak, were very difficult to maintain, but I really enjoyed them. When your sleeping car ticket includes meals, it should also include a lounge car for your fellow passengers in those cars only.
 

John Webb

Train Attendant
Joined
Aug 21, 2013
Messages
70
Location
Trinidad, Humboldt County, California
Just back from a Seattle trip and very disappointed with Amtrak. Upon boarding my sleeper car Oct 30th in Chicago I found out that there is no Sightseer Car on the train, just a Superliner coach with a snack bar downstairs. The crew did no know about this until boarding the train. My reason for riding this train was to see the country, not to travel to Seattle. I used points for this trip I I feel I should be compensated for this especially since the trip also cost me a Seattle hotel and a flight back to Chicago. Just asking others what they think.
As a way to put pressure on Amanagement to do the right thing, by all means apply for compensation for Amtrak's failure to provide advertised services. You probably won't get it but they need to hear from p----d of passengers. They need to know they are being watched.
 
Joined
Sep 20, 2022
Messages
26
Location
Eaton, OH
Fine print in your ticket is right to substitute equipment. But I think half the diner should have been set aside as a coach lounge. 2 sleeper cars on the train do not justify all that space
My idea of "substitute equipment" would mean with similar types as a train is configured with coach, sleeper, dining etc. Not removal of equipment. My plan to ride Chicago on the DZ to Seattle via coastal light and return to Chicago via EB is strictly a sight seeing trip that their advertising has influenced me to want t take and my $4500 to $6500 Room and extra passenger would help supply costs in a losing Corporation. Of course, their interpretation is probably much different. If the SSL car were deleted I would change my mind about buying my tickets.
 

Maverickstation

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Mar 2, 2017
Messages
347
Location
Boston, MA (Eastie)
Amtrak is a transportation company, not a tourist train. They got you from Chicago to Seattle, which is what they supposed to do. Remember, taxpayers help fund Amtrak. I certainly do not want my taxes funding a tourist train.

I suspect the sightseer lounge car was "bad ordered" at the last minute - the car was not road worthy and they did not have another one available.
As others said, you could ask for some compensation, but they will not, and should not be expected to, refund your fare. They will probably offer you a small voucher for future use.
Excuse me, but Tourists make up a good part of LD train patronage. To use the term Tourist Train is ignorant and sad.

We have enough trouble with Amtraks consistent level of inconsistency than to have rabid rail fans and foamers defend Amtrak no matter what they do.

Ken
 
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