First NEC Sleeper Journey - A Huge Letdown

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daybeers

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Thanks so much for the detailed review! I'm really sad to hear about the food court in WAS. I was at the station in February and saw most stores were closed.
 

jis

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The Palmetto essentially does this on the main North-South core line and does just fine. Yes the end point times are a bit rough and can easily be made worse by delays but it isn't a bad run. I would argue you could get a Palmetto style day train on quite a few routes that make sense.

New York-Detroit via Cleveland
New York-Cincinnati via Cleveland
Atlanta-New York
Atlanta-Chicago via Nashville, Louisville
Charlotte-Miami via Columbia
Atlanta to New York block time is somewhere between 17 and 19 hours. It is hard to do a reasonable daytime train with non-unfriendly end times. However, it is possible to do an Atlanta to Washington DC daytime train, and historically I believe that is what was done, when such existed. Or you could take something like 65/66/67 and extend it all the way to Atlanta. That would be fesible too, and possibly quite lucrative too.

Similarly Miami to Charlotte may be difficult, but Orlando to Charlotte may be possible, depending on how slow or fast Columbia to Charlotte is.

I am also dubious about the time tabling of a Palmetto style train between Atlanta and Chicago. Can Atlanta to Chicago be done in about 15 hours, like the Palmetto?

OTOH Chicago to Memphis would be eminently doable, even with plenty of daylight to spare in the summer.

Speaking of daytime trains, why do I seldom see mention of Chicago - Denver, which is actually doable?
 
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MainerTrainer

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Apr 13, 2016
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Getting back to the overnight sleepers on the NEC...

Here is what I sent to Amtrak after riding Boston to DC and then back two days later. I wouldn’t do it again.

My wife and I took the 67 train from Boston to Washington DC on Wednesday, April 14th, in a roomette. The roomette was still in day mode, which was fine. Our car attendant was quite pleasant and offered us an alcoholic beverage. He said he’d return with them shortly. Then, he made an announcement that the café car attendant was new and couldn’t get our drinks. Our room was made up and we went to bed. There were station stop announcements along the way that made it hard to sleep. After New London, there was an announcement that no more station stops calls would be made, but they continued anyway. We could not turn them off. This is a sleeper car and announcements prevent sleeping! In the morning, we never got our breakfast box. Our car attendant said we could go to the café car, but then there was an announcement that the café was closed. We never got any breakfast on the trip; we got coffee anyway at least. We arrived in Washington DC on time. This was a very disappointing trip.

We took the 66 train back on Friday, April 16th, in a bedroom. There was initial confusion before boarding when an Amtrak employee (not a red cap) guided us from the lounge to board, but then the on-board staff said the rooms weren’t ready and we couldn’t go to our room yet. There was some back and forth among the Amtrak staff that clearly demonstrated miscommunication. The room was in day mode, which was fine. Our car attendant was very pleasant again, but said this was his first time doing this run and he had his instructions in his hand. He offered us an alcoholic beverage but it was late so we declined. After we left the station, we called him and he made up our room. He also brought us our breakfast boxes then. Unfortunately, we discovered the next morning that some of the items should be refrigerated, so they should not be brought up the night before. We heard no announcements on this trip, which was an improvement. We arrived in Boston on time. This was a slightly better trip than the trip down, but still disappointing.

For both trips, the ride was quite rough, which made sleeping difficult. I’m glad we tried these trains, but given the service lapses and difficulty sleeping on rough tracks, we will take the Acela instead. I hope you find ways to improve training of staff on these trains regarding food and beverage service. There probably isn’t much you can do about the tracks.
 

PaTrainFan

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May 1, 2017
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Pittsburgh, Pa.
Getting back to the overnight sleepers on the NEC...

Here is what I sent to Amtrak after riding Boston to DC and then back two days later. I wouldn’t do it again.

My wife and I took the 67 train from Boston to Washington DC on Wednesday, April 14th, in a roomette. The roomette was still in day mode, which was fine. Our car attendant was quite pleasant and offered us an alcoholic beverage. He said he’d return with them shortly. Then, he made an announcement that the café car attendant was new and couldn’t get our drinks. Our room was made up and we went to bed. There were station stop announcements along the way that made it hard to sleep. After New London, there was an announcement that no more station stops calls would be made, but they continued anyway. We could not turn them off. This is a sleeper car and announcements prevent sleeping! In the morning, we never got our breakfast box. Our car attendant said we could go to the café car, but then there was an announcement that the café was closed. We never got any breakfast on the trip; we got coffee anyway at least. We arrived in Washington DC on time. This was a very disappointing trip.

We took the 66 train back on Friday, April 16th, in a bedroom. There was initial confusion before boarding when an Amtrak employee (not a red cap) guided us from the lounge to board, but then the on-board staff said the rooms weren’t ready and we couldn’t go to our room yet. There was some back and forth among the Amtrak staff that clearly demonstrated miscommunication. The room was in day mode, which was fine. Our car attendant was very pleasant again, but said this was his first time doing this run and he had his instructions in his hand. He offered us an alcoholic beverage but it was late so we declined. After we left the station, we called him and he made up our room. He also brought us our breakfast boxes then. Unfortunately, we discovered the next morning that some of the items should be refrigerated, so they should not be brought up the night before. We heard no announcements on this trip, which was an improvement. We arrived in Boston on time. This was a slightly better trip than the trip down, but still disappointing.

For both trips, the ride was quite rough, which made sleeping difficult. I’m glad we tried these trains, but given the service lapses and difficulty sleeping on rough tracks, we will take the Acela instead. I hope you find ways to improve training of staff on these trains regarding food and beverage service. There probably isn’t much you can do about the tracks.
What a fiasco. Can you imagine a major airline having so many snafus and miscommunications early in a new run or upgrade in service? Please report this to Amtrak's "Customer Service." For what it's worth these incidents need to be on the record.
 

bratkinson

OBS Chief
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Aug 7, 2004
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QB 101
MainerTrainer - What a difference of experiences from what I had on Tuesday the 13th and you had on the 14th & 16th. It's obvious that Amtrak is literally grabbing any SCAs available and tossing them the BOS-WAS run without adequate (if any) Viewliner training beforehand. I lucked out and the SCA I rode with turned off the trainline announcements before we left BOS!

Hopefully, Amtrak will send you a survey about your trip like I got on the Acela NHV-BOS segment I rode on Tuesday to take #67. Hopefully, they will get enough negative feedback about the passenger problems happening on #66/67 and actually DO something about it.
 

me_little_me

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What a fiasco. Can you imagine a major airline having so many snafus and miscommunications early in a new run or upgrade in service? Please report this to Amtrak's "Customer Service." For what it's worth these incidents need to be on the record.
Yeah. It is hard to believe (NOT!) how incompetent Amtrak management could be. It's their home territory. It's their first new positive venture in a long while. It's such a short run. It's on their own tracks. Anything that goes wrong is entirely their fault because there is nobody else to blame.

But they still screw it up!

Congress should appoint door nails to the Amtrak Board because they obviously do nothing useful and at least door nails hold doors together. And Amtrak executives should be paid as much as, but no more than, the price of a door nail at Lowes or Home Depot and get the same benefits - being hammered over and over. Soon, they will rust away.
 

pennyk

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MODERATOR NOTE: there were many posts in this thread regarding daytime corridor routes. Those posts have been split to a new thread:
 

Seaboard92

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South Carolina
At least he isn't like the guy I met once who rigged a coat hanger to his head with a rubber band and live streamed an entire train ride to his friends on Facebook. And then tried to interview the train crew for his "fans". I can respect just about any youtuber as long as they are respectful and let me do my job.
 

TheVig

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Charlotte NC
At least he isn't like the guy I met once who rigged a coat hanger to his head with a rubber band and live streamed an entire train ride to his friends on Facebook. And then tried to interview the train crew for his "fans". I can respect just about any youtuber as long as they are respectful and let me do my job.
Wow. Honestly, with 25 years under my belt in HR roles, nothing the human race does, really surprises me anymore.
 

Michigan Mom

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MI
I mean... there's no point in getting mad at the person, if the system allows someone to book a room for a 5 minute ride that is the fault of the system, not the person. I can't criticize someone for purchasing a ticket the system allows one to purchase. There's another consideration, too, from the Amtrak marketing perspective, this is good (and free) advertising for the new NEC sleeper service. Having said that, I wouldn't do it, partly because for my personal finances it would be money wasted, and partly because I've been raised to feel extremely guilty for causing the employees to have to clean a room that was used for 5 minutes.
 

Cal

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Jan 23, 2021
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Socal
It would be even better to have:

A) Clean equipment.
B) Prepare and trained crew.
C) Clear service levels.
D) Properly prepared food service.
E) Prepare and trained station staff.

This train is too much of a rolling “work in progress” to be a “named train.”
We shouldn't even have to be asking for A, B, and E. Truly any of it..
 

BoulderCO

Service Attendant
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Jan 26, 2015
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Longmont Colorado
Getting back to the overnight sleepers on the NEC...

Here is what I sent to Amtrak after riding Boston to DC and then back two days later. I wouldn’t do it again.
Thank You, MainerTrainer, for the excellent review. And thanks also for taking one for the team ;>)

It would appear that they are not yet ready for prime time.
 
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I mean... there's no point in getting mad at the person, if the system allows someone to book a room for a 5 minute ride that is the fault of the system, not the person. I can't criticize someone for purchasing a ticket the system allows one to purchase. There's another consideration, too, from the Amtrak marketing perspective, this is good (and free) advertising for the new NEC sleeper service. Having said that, I wouldn't do it, partly because for my personal finances it would be money wasted, and partly because I've been raised to feel extremely guilty for causing the employees to have to clean a room that was used for 5 minutes.
Got me thinking...how much could Amtrak theoretically earn from a single roomette or bedroom, if it were resold between every station on its route? Should be a fortune....and no...I am not going to 'do the math' to find out...😁
 

bms

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Jan 29, 2018
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Cleveland
I mean... there's no point in getting mad at the person, if the system allows someone to book a room for a 5 minute ride that is the fault of the system, not the person. I can't criticize someone for purchasing a ticket the system allows one to purchase. There's another consideration, too, from the Amtrak marketing perspective, this is good (and free) advertising for the new NEC sleeper service. Having said that, I wouldn't do it, partly because for my personal finances it would be money wasted, and partly because I've been raised to feel extremely guilty for causing the employees to have to clean a room that was used for 5 minutes.
I'm surprised the system allowed that, the most recent timetable says that both Back Bay and Route 128 are receive-only going south and discharge-only going north.
 
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