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Michigan Trains During Pandemic

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wwchi

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Apr 14, 2009
Messages
273
Anyone been on the Pere Marquette #371 or Wolverine #352 since they started booking 1/2 the trains? I see the app now shows what % full the train is, which is great. I am a regular rider who has not been on since end of February and am thinking of getting on 371 and 352 for round trip end of September/beginning of October. At 1/2 full and in a Business Class seat I would expect it to be fairly safe but just curious if anyone has been on and how clean the trains were? Thanks! Oh and how was Chicago Union Station??
 

Michigan Mom

OBS Chief
Joined
Jan 28, 2012
Messages
668
Location
MI
You have all the same questions I do :) Half full makes Coach a win, dreaming of that window now...

Have not checked the schedules in recent days, but this morning's Amtrak Alerts indicate that the westbound Wolverine cancelled at origin (PNT) due to mechanical issues. If there is still only one train daily in each direction, that is a bit problematic.

Still waiting on the cases/deaths to recede before doing any trip planning. The next time I board a train and see CUS, I might weep openly.
 

wwchi

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Apr 14, 2009
Messages
273
we have been driving when we've needed to go back and forth but sometimes the train is just easier. I did see that same alert this morning but never take 351 myself. I think there will be more Wolverine/Blue Water trains scheduled after 10/1 or maybe 11/1. Pere Marquette has always only had one each way daily (with the exception of some holidays and special events).
 

bms

Service Attendant
Joined
Jan 29, 2018
Messages
118
Location
Cleveland
I took #352 in business class on Saturday. The Wolverine is doing one round trip a day, leaving Pontiac at 5:12 a.m. and arriving in Chicago at 10:32 a.m. Then leaving Chicago at 12:55 p.m. and arriving back in Pontiac at 8:39 p.m. The train makes all the Michigan stops but bypasses the Indiana stops.

It did seem like the car had been cleaned in Chicago. There are only 18 seats in the car; it might have been half full from Chicago to Ann Arbor. Everyone complied with the mask policy. By the time I got out in Troy, I was the only one left in the car. Walking through the coaches for the fresh air stop in Battle Creek, I didn't see many empty pairs of seats. Seats were comfortable and the cafe attendant provided good service. There are some really nice-looking stations along the route, especially in Niles.

Generally I've been happy with the social distancing in coach on the Capitol Limited and Lake Shore Limited, but I think business class is better on these regional trains that have less seat pitch in the coaches. Since I was traveling during Labor Day weekend, I think either coach or business class would be a lot emptier in a few weeks than what I experienced.
 

wwchi

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Apr 14, 2009
Messages
273
Thanks for the update...I am seeing for my expected travel dates a full business class (that is sold out, meaning probably 8-9 seats at 1/2 capacity) and my Pere Marquette (seeming to be using the single decker trains right now only having one other person than me in the car - as of NOW)...it will be a Thursday on 352 so I know that particular day is usually even sold out at 100% capacity, and year round, not just in summer.

Glad to hear people were complying with the masks and agree with you on the business class vs coach - I think on the other types of trains like the double decker train it wouldn't make a difference.

Did they preboard business class on 352 in Chicago or just everyone all at once?

I took #352 in business class on Saturday. The Wolverine is doing one round trip a day, leaving Pontiac at 5:12 a.m. and arriving in Chicago at 10:32 a.m. Then leaving Chicago at 12:55 p.m. and arriving back in Pontiac at 8:39 p.m. The train makes all the Michigan stops but bypasses the Indiana stops.

It did seem like the car had been cleaned in Chicago. There are only 18 seats in the car; it might have been half full from Chicago to Ann Arbor. Everyone complied with the mask policy. By the time I got out in Troy, I was the only one left in the car. Walking through the coaches for the fresh air stop in Battle Creek, I didn't see many empty pairs of seats. Seats were comfortable and the cafe attendant provided good service. There are some really nice-looking stations along the route, especially in Niles.

Generally I've been happy with the social distancing in coach on the Capitol Limited and Lake Shore Limited, but I think business class is better on these regional trains that have less seat pitch in the coaches. Since I was traveling during Labor Day weekend, I think either coach or business class would be a lot emptier in a few weeks than what I experienced.
 

bms

Service Attendant
Joined
Jan 29, 2018
Messages
118
Location
Cleveland
Thanks for the update...I am seeing for my expected travel dates a full business class (that is sold out, meaning probably 8-9 seats at 1/2 capacity) and my Pere Marquette (seeming to be using the single decker trains right now only having one other person than me in the car - as of NOW)...it will be a Thursday on 352 so I know that particular day is usually even sold out at 100% capacity, and year round, not just in summer.

Glad to hear people were complying with the masks and agree with you on the business class vs coach - I think on the other types of trains like the double decker train it wouldn't make a difference.

Did they preboard business class on 352 in Chicago or just everyone all at once?
Yes, they pre-boarded in Chicago.
 
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