No Observation Lounge on Capitol Limited?

Help Support Amtrak Unlimited Discussion Forum:

Joined
Jul 25, 2015
Messages
2,052
Location
Philadelphia Area
I rode on the Capitol Limited back on 8/14. There was no observation lounge car, just a regular lounge car for serving food and passengers were told seating was only for paying customers only. It made the ride seem more like a plane trip than a train trip. I thing one of the lounge people said it was because of COVID. Did observation lounge cars disappear entirely?
 

zephyr17

Engineer
Joined
Jul 22, 2009
Messages
5,359
Location
Washington State
No. Just the Capitol and the Eagle. Supposedly they are short on those cars.

How there were enough cars to support Sightseers on both trains in daily service pre-pandemic and they don't have enough now is beyond me. They've had months to do any deferred maintenance.

Maybe the cars caught COVID Delta variant.

What I do know is it is a demonstration of Amtrak management's incompetence and casual (at best) attitude towards long distance services.
 

OBS

Conductor
AU Supporter
Joined
Nov 9, 2011
Messages
1,953
Location
Long Island, NY
I rode on the Capitol Limited back on 8/14. There was no observation lounge car, just a regular lounge car for serving food and passengers were told seating was only for paying customers only. It made the ride seem more like a plane trip than a train trip. I thing one of the lounge people said it was because of COVID. Did observation lounge cars disappear entirely?
Be sure to file a complaint!
 

Sidney

OBS Chief
Joined
Jul 12, 2020
Messages
656
I always wondered where the shortage of SSL cars came from. Pre pandemic both the CL and TE had one. I could almost justify the lack of a SSL on the CL,because it is a 17 hour trip(if on time) The Eagle is almost twice that long. No excuse not to have a SSL and traditional dining on the Eagle,truly the weakest link in Amtrak's system
 

crescent-zephyr

Engineer
Joined
Oct 21, 2015
Messages
3,918
I always wondered where the shortage of SSL cars came from. Pre pandemic both the CL and TE had one. I could almost justify the lack of a SSL on the CL,because it is a 17 hour trip(if on time) The Eagle is almost twice that long. No excuse not to have a SSL and traditional dining on the Eagle,truly the weakest link in Amtrak's system
I think the Eagle, Cardinal and the City are considered “less” in the long distance train lineup. They go through less well-off states and very few people choose those trains as part of an “experience.”
 

Sidney

OBS Chief
Joined
Jul 12, 2020
Messages
656
I think the Eagle, Cardinal and the City are considered “less” in the long distance train lineup. They go through less well-off states and very few people choose those trains as part of an “experience.”
The Cardinal is a viewliner so there is no Sightseer car and the CONO has one. As mentioned,the TE had a sightseer car pre pandemic. It's a 31 hour trip from Chi-Sas. Why isn't it returning?
 

crescent-zephyr

Engineer
Joined
Oct 21, 2015
Messages
3,918
The Cardinal is a viewliner so there is no Sightseer car and the CONO has one. As mentioned,the TE had a sightseer car pre pandemic. It's a 31 hour trip from Chi-Sas. Why isn't it returning?
The Cardinal is the only single level overnight train operating with 1 food service car.

The city of New Orleans is not staffing the SSL, it is on the city because of axle count requirements.
 

MARC Rider

Engineer
AU Supporter
Joined
Apr 5, 2011
Messages
3,835
Location
Baltimore. MD
I believe I recall someone writing earlier that when they went to 3-times a week service, they also cut back maintenance and yard workers. A lot of the rolling stock sat in the yards and missed deadlines for mandatory periodic mechanical inspections and repairs. Thus, a significant percentage of the Amtrak fleet can't be legally operated. Because they let a lot of people go, they are now trying to rehire them or hire new people and get them up to speed. Thus, it may be some time before all the rolling stock is again available for use in service over the road. This would partly explain why all of the long distance consists that I've seen only have two coaches, even on very popular and crowded trains.

Has anyone at Amtrak stated whether the removal of the SSLs from the Capitol and the Eagle are temporary or permanent? I suspect they will eventually return, but who knows when.
 

joelkfla

Conductor
Joined
Oct 16, 2018
Messages
1,044
Location
12 miles from Walt Disney World
The Cardinal is the only single level overnight train operating with 1 food service car.

The city of New Orleans is not staffing the SSL, it is on the city because of axle count requirements.
Is the upper level seating open? Because from a passenger perspective, the sightseeing is more important than having an additional food service location.
 

crescent-zephyr

Engineer
Joined
Oct 21, 2015
Messages
3,918
Is the upper level seating open? Because from a passenger perspective, the sightseeing is more important than having an additional food service location.
Yes. The passenger benefit is there - but that’s not the reason Amtrak has it on the train. Operationally Amtrak is operating the city the same as the Capitol, Texas, and Cardinal with only 1 food service car.

It was just luck that Amtrak chose to keep ssl cars as the axle count cars, could just as easily be a brand new viewliner that Amtrak doesn’t want to actually use. Haha
 

20th Century Rider

Conductor
Joined
Jan 26, 2020
Messages
1,932
Location
Oregon Coast
The Cardinal is a viewliner so there is no Sightseer car and the CONO has one. As mentioned,the TE had a sightseer car pre pandemic. It's a 31 hour trip from Chi-Sas. Why isn't it returning?
In this now backdated article the Texas Rail Advocates say that it's being refurbished. Most can agree the Superliners are in desperate need of updating heating/cooling/plumbing/seating.

But whatever the actual reason, Amtrak management isn't disclosing the reason for its absence. Meh!

 

Bob Dylan

50+ Year Amtrak Rider
Joined
May 31, 2009
Messages
23,658
Location
Austin Texas
In this now backdated article the Texas Rail Advocates say that it's being refurbished. Most can agree the Superliners are in desperate need of updating heating/cooling/plumbing/seating.

But whatever the actual reason, Amtrak management isn't disclosing the reason for its absence. Meh!

That's one theory, but I go with the we don't want to have to Pay 2 LSAs on the Texas Eagle, so we're taking the Sightseer Lounge off the Eagles( along with the Transdorm/ only 1 Sleeper on the Eagles now!)and requiring the 1 LSA to operate both the Cafe and the Diner for Sleeping Car only Flex Meals in the CCC for the 32 Hour trip between Chicago and San Antonio.

This with the Train running FULL Most days, and Fares for Both Coach and Sleepers @ High Bucket!

"..Look what they've done to my Train Ma!.."
 

20th Century Rider

Conductor
Joined
Jan 26, 2020
Messages
1,932
Location
Oregon Coast
That's one theory, but I go with the we don't want to have to Pay 2 LSAs on the Texas Eagle, so we're taking the Sightseer Lounge off the Eagles( along with the Transdorm/ only 1 Sleeper on the Eagles now!)and requiring the 1 LSA to operate both the Cafe and the Diner for Sleeping Car only Flex Meals in the CCC for the 32 Hour trip between Chicago and San Antonio.

This with the Train running FULL Most days, and Fares for Both Coach and Sleepers @ High Bucket!

"..Look what they've done to my Train Ma!.."
Wow! What ever happened to our public institutions? Like the US Mail... Amtrak doesn't present as "By the people for the people!" Either that or management is having difficulties understanding what public service is all about.

Our friends in Texas deserve better... our friends in Texas deserve much much better! :(:mad:😫
 

me_little_me

Engineer
AU Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Jul 16, 2010
Messages
4,633
Wow! What ever happened to our public institutions? Like the US Mail... Amtrak doesn't present as "By the people for the people!" Either that or management is having difficulties understanding what public service is all about.

Our friends in Texas deserve better... our friends in Texas deserve much much better! :(:mad:😫
I've said it before. Make me czar like Ivan the Terrible and I'll make him look like Ivan the Wimp.

As to YOUR friends in Texas, we'd have to vote on what they deserve.
 

Ryan

Court Jester
Joined
Apr 14, 2008
Messages
17,567
Location
Off looking for his sense of humor
Either that or management is having difficulties understanding what public service is all about.
Management understands 49 CFR § 700.2 just fine.

Congress said:
The Act requires that Amtrak be operated and managed as a for-profit corporation, that it be incorporated under the District of Columbia Business Corporation Act, and subject to the provisions of that statute to the extent not inconsistent with the Act, and that it provide a balanced transportation system by developing, operating, and improving intercity rail passenger service. The Act also states that Amtrak will not be an agency or establishment of the United States Government.
 

20th Century Rider

Conductor
Joined
Jan 26, 2020
Messages
1,932
Location
Oregon Coast
Management understands 49 CFR § 700.2 just fine.
Ok... got it!
§ 700.2 Organization and functioning of Amtrak.
The creation of the National Railroad Passenger Corporation (“Amtrak”) was authorized by the Rail Passenger Service Act, as amended, 84 Stat. 1327, 45 U.S.C. 541 et seq. (“the Act”). The Act requires that Amtrak be operated and managed as a for-profit corporation, that it be incorporated under the District of Columbia Business Corporation Act, and subject to the provisions of that statute to the extent not inconsistent with the Act, and that it provide a balanced transportation system by developing, operating, and improving intercity rail passenger service. The Act also states that Amtrak will not be an agency or establishment of the United States Government. Amtrak thus is a corporation created by Congress to compete for the transportation business of the intercity traveller, to the end that the travelling public will have a choice of travel modes. The address of its headquarters is 400 North Capitol Street, NW., Washington, DC 20001. Telephone: (202) 383-3000.

(a) Board of Directors. Amtrak's major policies are established by its board of directors. The nine members of the board are selected as follows: The Secretary of Transportation serves as an ex-officio member and Amtrak's President, ex-officio, is Chairman of the Board; three members are appointed by the President of the United States and confirmed by the Senate (representing labor, State Governors, and business); two represent commuter authorities and are selected by the President from lists drawn up by those authorities; and two are selected by the Corporation's preferred stockholder, the Department of Transportation.

(b) Officers and central management. Amtrak is managed by a President and a Management Committee consisting of four Executive Vice Presidents. Reporting to the Executive Vice Presidents are eleven vice presidents representing sales, transportation marketing, planning and development, computer services, labor relations, finance and treasurer, personnel, passenger and operating services, government affairs, operations and maintenance, engineering, and the General Counsel. Areas handled as special matters with the authority of vice presidents, such as corporate communications, safety, real estate, procurement, materials management, police and security, contract administration, and internal audit are supervised by assistant vice presidents and directors.

(c) Regional and field structure. The need for decentralization of functions in the areas of passenger services and transportation operations has led to the creation of Amtrak's regional and field structure. Field offices are located in major cities such as Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York, Albany, Boston, Chicago, Seattle and Los Angeles. Pursuant to overall policies established at headquarters in Washington, DC, these offices handle matters like the assignment and scheduling of employees who work on board moving trains; purchase, stowage and preparation of food for dining service; maintenance and rehabilitation of rolling stock; and daily operating arrangements such as the make-up of trains or the cleaning and repairing of cars on trains.

(d) Route system. Amtrak's basic route system has been established pursuant to statutory guidelines, and in some cases by specific statutory directive. Out of a route system covering about 23,000 route-miles, Amtrak owns a right-of-way of about 2,600 track miles in the Northeast Corridor (Washington-New York-Boston; New Haven-

Springfield; and Philadelphia-Harrisburg) and small segments of track near Albany, New York, and Kalamazoo, Michigan. In the Northeast Corridor Amtrak trains are run by operating crews consisting of Amtrak employees. On other routes, Amtrak operates trains on the tracks of about twenty different privately owned railroads and compensates the railroad for the use of their facilities and for the services of their employees, including engineers, conductors, and maintenance personnel. Those private railroads are responsible for the conditions of the roadbed and for coordinating the flow of traffic over their lines.
(e) Operations. Amtrak provides about 250 trains daily, serving about 500 stations in over forty states. Amtrak owns most of its cars and locomotives, some of its stations, and most of its repair facilities. Its capital improvements and almost half of its operating losses are supported principally through Federal financing, with some State, regional and local financial support for some trains and stations. Congress requires Amtrak to earn revenues equivalent to at least fifty percent of its operating costs, and it currently does so.

(f) Revenue production. The sale of tickets for transportation and accommodations, Amtrak's principal source of revenue, is accomplished through Amtrak ticket agents at stations, travel agencies, and five central reservation offices which service a nationwide telephone network. National Timetables contain basic information about routes, stations, and services.

Now that I fully understand the law of the land... please explain why doesn't the Texas Eagle have 'reimagined food service' and a SSL car?
 

Sidney

OBS Chief
Joined
Jul 12, 2020
Messages
656
Ok... got it!
§ 700.2 Organization and functioning of Amtrak.
The creation of the National Railroad Passenger Corporation (“Amtrak”) was authorized by the Rail Passenger Service Act, as amended, 84 Stat. 1327, 45 U.S.C. 541 et seq. (“the Act”). The Act requires that Amtrak be operated and managed as a for-profit corporation, that it be incorporated under the District of Columbia Business Corporation Act, and subject to the provisions of that statute to the extent not inconsistent with the Act, and that it provide a balanced transportation system by developing, operating, and improving intercity rail passenger service. The Act also states that Amtrak will not be an agency or establishment of the United States Government. Amtrak thus is a corporation created by Congress to compete for the transportation business of the intercity traveller, to the end that the travelling public will have a choice of travel modes. The address of its headquarters is 400 North Capitol Street, NW., Washington, DC 20001. Telephone: (202) 383-3000.

(a) Board of Directors. Amtrak's major policies are established by its board of directors. The nine members of the board are selected as follows: The Secretary of Transportation serves as an ex-officio member and Amtrak's President, ex-officio, is Chairman of the Board; three members are appointed by the President of the United States and confirmed by the Senate (representing labor, State Governors, and business); two represent commuter authorities and are selected by the President from lists drawn up by those authorities; and two are selected by the Corporation's preferred stockholder, the Department of Transportation.

(b) Officers and central management. Amtrak is managed by a President and a Management Committee consisting of four Executive Vice Presidents. Reporting to the Executive Vice Presidents are eleven vice presidents representing sales, transportation marketing, planning and development, computer services, labor relations, finance and treasurer, personnel, passenger and operating services, government affairs, operations and maintenance, engineering, and the General Counsel. Areas handled as special matters with the authority of vice presidents, such as corporate communications, safety, real estate, procurement, materials management, police and security, contract administration, and internal audit are supervised by assistant vice presidents and directors.

(c) Regional and field structure. The need for decentralization of functions in the areas of passenger services and transportation operations has led to the creation of Amtrak's regional and field structure. Field offices are located in major cities such as Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York, Albany, Boston, Chicago, Seattle and Los Angeles. Pursuant to overall policies established at headquarters in Washington, DC, these offices handle matters like the assignment and scheduling of employees who work on board moving trains; purchase, stowage and preparation of food for dining service; maintenance and rehabilitation of rolling stock; and daily operating arrangements such as the make-up of trains or the cleaning and repairing of cars on trains.

(d) Route system. Amtrak's basic route system has been established pursuant to statutory guidelines, and in some cases by specific statutory directive. Out of a route system covering about 23,000 route-miles, Amtrak owns a right-of-way of about 2,600 track miles in the Northeast Corridor (Washington-New York-Boston; New Haven-

Springfield; and Philadelphia-Harrisburg) and small segments of track near Albany, New York, and Kalamazoo, Michigan. In the Northeast Corridor Amtrak trains are run by operating crews consisting of Amtrak employees. On other routes, Amtrak operates trains on the tracks of about twenty different privately owned railroads and compensates the railroad for the use of their facilities and for the services of their employees, including engineers, conductors, and maintenance personnel. Those private railroads are responsible for the conditions of the roadbed and for coordinating the flow of traffic over their lines.
(e) Operations. Amtrak provides about 250 trains daily, serving about 500 stations in over forty states. Amtrak owns most of its cars and locomotives, some of its stations, and most of its repair facilities. Its capital improvements and almost half of its operating losses are supported principally through Federal financing, with some State, regional and local financial support for some trains and stations. Congress requires Amtrak to earn revenues equivalent to at least fifty percent of its operating costs, and it currently does so.

(f) Revenue production. The sale of tickets for transportation and accommodations, Amtrak's principal source of revenue, is accomplished through Amtrak ticket agents at stations, travel agencies, and five central reservation offices which service a nationwide telephone network. National Timetables contain basic information about routes, stations, and services.

Now that I fully understand the law of the land... please explain why doesn't the Texas Eagle have 'reimagined food service' and a SSL car?
[/QUOTE No logical reason why a 32 hour trip is lacking a sightseer car. Idiotic. ..and I heard all the excuses,retired,being refurbished,etc.
 

NSC1109

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Aug 14, 2016
Messages
490
Location
MI
Yep. Unbelievably stupid move, but then Amtrak management is not known for being the sharpest.
I’m not sure I would call it dumb. When you cut back on service you need to cut back on workforce to stay alive, or you’re going to be losing a lot more money. A lot of Delta outstations cut back on staff to just a bare-bones crew during the height of the pandemic because there just wasn’t enough work for everyone.

A lot of these people may not have come back because they found something with more job security. Some of them may have been infected and tragically died. Some may be in the process of returning but with how the supply chain and mail system is right now, it’s taking far longer than it normally does to get things figured out. There’s no magic wand…it takes time.

At my company there is a return to work checklist that we must follow post-furlough for returning an employee to service. It can take up to a few weeks for everything to clear depending on length of time furloughed, if the employee had any sort of health issue or procedure done, etc. It all has to be reviewed by the company medical officer and receive approval. Not at all a quick process and I imagine for a passenger carrier it’s probably a little more stringent too. Freight can be replaced. People can’t.
 
Top