Fire stops Coast Starlight. Bridge burned (6/29/21)

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zephyr17

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Service from Seattle to Los Angeles will be open AUG 24th, 2021 according to AMTRAK this morning. YEAH!!!
It is still screwed up in the reservation system, though.

It now shows up from 8/23 - 8/26 in the website booking page, but with coach and business class "sold out" and only rooms available.

From 8/26 to 9/7 the website booking engine shows no service.

From 9/8 on it appears normally.

Got to hand it to Amtrak IT. UP could fix a huge burned out and twisted bridge a month ahead of schedule, but Amtrak cannot get a train to show in its reservation system correctly after they publically announced resumption of service. You would think that would be the easy part.
 

jis

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Interestingly the only thing I seem to get for 8/28 is "unknown error"!

Clearly years of neglect and underfunding of the IT system has made Amtrak now the proud owner of the most dysfunctional IT system of all the major passenger railroad systems of the world. Hopefully there is at least a few loose pennies around i the billions of dollars to buy shiny other stuff in the works. The entire system needs to be torn out and replaced from the ground up.
 
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zephyr17

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Interestingly the only thing I seem to get for 8/28 is "unknown error"!

Clearly years of neglect and underfunding of the IT system has made Amtrak now the proud owner of the ost dysfunctional IT system of all the major passenger railroad systems of the world. Hopefully there is at least a few loose pennies around i the billions of dollars to buy shiny other stuff in the works. The entire system needs to be torn out and replaced from the ground up.
They appear to be actively working it. 8/28 is now in the system and 8/23-8/26 now shows normal availability in all classes of service (and a $300 drop in room prices).
 

Triley

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That's exactly what Amtrak would make you believe
If you were out working in the area, you would know how believable this is.... Between the backlog of freight traffic, and the heat restrictions this week, trains have been getting dogged left and right between Portland and Eugene all week. On one day in particular I was ~2 hours late just between Eugene and Portland, with probably 1.5 hours of it being caused by traffic. Out of 4 trains south of Portland this week, the closest I came to being on-time was ~45 minutes late, at a time of day when there's not as much other rail traffic around. The Starlight runs during prime time when in the effected areas.
 

Anthony V

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The good news is that this is not going to be another Sunset East situation. (Using a major disaster as an excuse to truncate an underperforming route).
 
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Ryan

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Off looking for his sense of humor
If you were out working in the area, you would know how believable this is.... Between the backlog of freight traffic, and the heat restrictions this week, trains have been getting dogged left and right between Portland and Eugene all week. On one day in particular I was ~2 hours late just between Eugene and Portland, with probably 1.5 hours of it being caused by traffic. Out of 4 trains south of Portland this week, the closest I came to being on-time was ~45 minutes late, at a time of day when there's not as much other rail traffic around. The Starlight runs during prime time when in the effected areas.
Don't be confusing the issue with all your fancy logic and facts. Everyone Knows that Amtrak is evil and incompetent and trying to do everything they can to fail. They're so bad at that they've even managed to fail at failing, Producers-style for 50 years.
 

JayPea

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Don't be confusing the issue with all your fancy logic and facts. Everyone Knows that Amtrak is evil and incompetent and trying to do everything they can to fail. They're so bad at that they've even managed to fail at failing, Producers-style for 50 years.
The upgrades on the long distance routes are an example of how bad Amtrak is at failing. Return to daily service, upgrade the food on the Western routes that was a step above pre-Covid levels, eventually returning upgraded dining to the Eastern routes, and completely refurbishing cars. We all know Amtrak is trying to discourage long distance service. What an incompetent and backwards way of doing it!😉
 

zephyr17

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The upgrades on the long distance routes are an example of how bad Amtrak is at failing. Return to daily service, upgrade the food on the Western routes that was a step above pre-Covid levels, eventually returning upgraded dining to the Eastern routes, and completely refurbishing cars. We all know Amtrak is trying to discourage long distance service. What an incompetent and backwards way of doing it!😉
Well, I am not sure how much credit I give them for partly undoing the damage they did all by themselves in the case of dining.

If they weren't incompetent and backwards they might have kept up with maintenance so they could run full consists in this busy period. For example, where is the second Seattle coach on Builder? Why isn't there a Sightseer on the Eagle?

And then there's the state of their IT, a beacon of competence.

Sorry, it still seems like grand tradition of incompetent Amtrak upper management is alive and well.
 

lordsigma

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actually the “glitches” are by design and are not a glitch at all. They are blocking out certain dates in certain classes on arrow to give them a chance to re-accommodate and re-book affected passengers. They will open it up to general bookings when that process of reaching out to people is complete so for a while it will be screwy.
 

TheTuck

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If you were out working in the area, you would know how believable this is.... Between the backlog of freight traffic, and the heat restrictions this week, trains have been getting dogged left and right between Portland and Eugene all week. On one day in particular I was ~2 hours late just between Eugene and Portland, with probably 1.5 hours of it being caused by traffic. Out of 4 trains south of Portland this week, the closest I came to being on-time was ~45 minutes late, at a time of day when there's not as much other rail traffic around. The Starlight runs during prime time when in the effected areas.
Despite these current conditions, the route between KFS and SAC has been available to Amtrak for 5 days now, yet still no passenger trains.
The upgrades on the long distance routes are an example of how bad Amtrak is at failing. Return to daily service, upgrade the food on the Western routes that was a step above pre-Covid levels, eventually returning upgraded dining to the Eastern routes, and completely refurbishing cars. We all know Amtrak is trying to discourage long distance service. What an incompetent and backwards way of doing it!😉
Despite your sarcasm, I still don't see things as rosy as you do. Daily service has returned but at reduced consists and capacity. The food on western trains has been upgraded yes, but is still only available to first class sleeping car passengers. Promises of future improvements and refurbished equipment make for nice marketing, but don't help with day to day operations.
 

Cal

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Despite these current conditions, the route between KFS and SAC has been available to Amtrak for 5 days now, yet still no passenger trains.
Again, UP has a large backlog of freight, I doubt they want Amtrak on their tracks. And second, Amtrak already negotiated and announced service to be stopped until September. They had to re-negotiate with possibly stubborn UP for the date on the 23rd. When the original deal was negotiated, Amtrak wasn't going to be allowed on till September 7th when the bridge completion date was set for (correct me if I am wrong) the first. It is possible that some of it is due to Amtrak, but I personally believe it's mostly, if not all UP's fault.

Despite your sarcasm, I still don't see things as rosy as you do. Daily service has returned but at reduced consists and capacity. The food on western trains has been upgraded yes, but is still only available to first class sleeping car passengers. Promises of future improvements and refurbished equipment make for nice marketing, but don't help with day to day operations.
Reduced consists are to catch up on maintenance (totally their fault as far as I'm concerned, could've done it last year) and refresh superliner interiors (which will result in hopefully better comfort). And isn't them actually refreshing superliners showing that they *somewhat* care about long distance and have some competency in them?
 

F900ElCapitan

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So is there any way to know if rooms are blocked or if they are actually occupied? My wife and I are currently booked in the 1140 car on Sept 11 and they have officially cancelled that car. Amtrak is saying ALL other rooms are booked and my choice is to move to business and get a refund. Personally, I’m not interested in having to wear a mask all night AND not have access to the diner. I am really curious if some of the rooms are blocked due to this trains previous issues. I’ve asked 3 agents so far that claim the rooms occupied, but the last one admitted they may be blocked, but he couldn’t say for sure. So I’m debating making a drastic routing change due to part of this is connecting to the Texas Eagle in LAX and we can‘t be flexible with our schedule, but would rather stick with our original plan.

Thoughts?
 

chakk

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I had a VT-132 compatible dumb terminal for my Internet connections at work before my department received the FIRST IBM PC-XT purchased by the division. Included a monochrome AND a color monitor, a dot matrix AND a typewriter-like printer, an internal 10 megabyte hard drive AND an external 10 megabyte Davong hard drive (the size of a bread box) AND 512 megabytes of RAM. We used a sign-up sheet to share the PC with the other 30 folks in our division. Life was good!
 

Willbridge

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As I posted in the August travel plans forum, I was booked on Train 14 for OKJ to PDX on August 5th. I never got that far because Train 5 from DEN on August 1st was canceled and so I went by bus from DEN to PDX instead.

My return from PDX on Train 11 of August 12th to DAV was altered by the bridge fire into PDX>KFS, KFS-SAC, SAC-DAV. That made sense and then that was canceled with no substitute.

With last-minute fares on other routes/modes at overheated summer prices I turned to the carrier of last resort and booked PDX>RDR on Greyhound (which had recently added a second trip on that route). RDR>SAC was on Amtrak Thruway and SAC>DAV was on the Capitol Corridor. Here are some notes on the trip:

2021 GLI bag  tag  001.jpg

Thursday, August 12 – Greyhound agent in their Portland storefront office confirmed that they would be running the entire Seattle<>Los Angeles route. She hadn’t heard yet whether it would arrive from Seattle on time. My brother drove me over to the boarding point north of the Union Station and the bus had arrived. It was a recycled BOLT bus still painted in that color scheme.

We departed about on time at 6:45 p.m. with a close to full load. At Salem the passengers boarding offset those alighting; at Corvallis the load began to lighten and from Eugene-Springfield I had a seat to myself. That was aided by the tv monitor that hung over the adjacent seat; boarding passengers scouting for seats avoided it. At Roseburg we made a double-stop – downtown first and then the truck/food stop – and a guy in the back of the bus who had ignored the driver’s announcement started shouting obscenities about his impression that the driver had missed the truck/food stop.

Friday, August 13 – From Medford to Redding across Siskiyou Summit and the state line in the middle of the night there was a single seat for anyone who wanted it.

At Weed there was an uproar that woke about everyone. A man who had just been released from the hospital lost feeling in his legs and had to have help reaching and using the bathroom. He had trouble speaking. The driver was about to put him off but two young men offered to help him down the aisle and into the bathroom. I didn’t get a complete picture of most of this because I was on the other end of the bus but we lost over 40 minutes. He felt embarrassed and apologized to other passengers but the only comments were supportive. I was reminded of my observations that Greyhound passengers are often helpful to each other, more so than airline passengers.

It sounds terrible to say it, but this actually helped me by reducing the time for my connection in Redding’s intermodal center to less than an hour. The Amtrak Thruway gate was only about 150 feet from the Greyhound bus. Not much was happening there but I dragged my suitcase to the bench and watched the arriving Greyhound passengers disperse and early birds for the Thruway bus arrive. The air was warm and smoky. During the Greyhound rest stop and driver change a drug courier, nervously eyeing me, met a local purchaser at the next further gate for the “last mile” distribution. Then the courier returned to the Los Angeles-bound bus.

At 6:05 a.m. the Thruway bus to Sacramento and Stockton via the former Southern Pacific East Side line’s Sacramento Valley points departed on time. There were about half a dozen passengers starting out but by the time we arrived in Sacramento the bus was contributing about two dozen passengers to train connections. Amtrak ran some of us to the waiting Capitol Corridor in an electric cart and the train was on its way.

In Davis I rolled my suitcase the short distance to the renovated Hilton Garden Inn, expecting to drop off my baggage and to their credit they volunteered that they had a room available for an early check-in. That pleasant surprise characterized much of my visit to the college town. It was also more comfortable than expected. A cool breeze in evenings took the edge off of afternoon high temperatures and pushed out the smoke.

I checked with the Amtrak agent and their computer showed that Train 6 was expected to be operated on the 17th. For a few days it had been flagged on the reservation web page as canceled without an alternative. Given my experience with the revisions to westbound cancellations I would not have been surprised.

The eastbound California Zephyr turned out to be a further string of experiences, to be reported in some other thread.
 

Danib62

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At Weed there was an uproar that woke about everyone. A man who had just been released from the hospital lost feeling in his legs and had to have help reaching and using the bathroom. He had trouble speaking. The driver was about to put him off but two young men offered to help him down the aisle and into the bathroom. I didn’t get a complete picture of most of this because I was on the other end of the bus but we lost over 40 minutes. He felt embarrassed and apologized to other passengers but the only comments were supportive. I was reminded of my observations that Greyhound passengers are often helpful to each other, more so than airline passengers.
That sounds like it should merit a call to 9-1-1...
 

Danib62

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Great news: my Allianz travel insurance policy is going to cover my trip interruption due to the CS cancellation. They're reimbursing me the cost of my flight from PDX-SFO as well as the cost of the hotel room I had to get. Now I kind of wish I had stayed at a nicer hotel...
 
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