No Sightseer Lounge on California Zephyr #6 (9)

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bms

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On California Zephyr #6 (9), the Sightseer Lounge was replaced with a Cross Country Cafe. The LSA made an announcement about the Sightseer Lounge being missing from the consist due to a lack of equipment. By lunch heading into Chicago, the Cross Country Cafe was sold out of everything but veggie burgers and chips.

Hopefully this was only a one-time thing, but Amtrak has already "temporarily" cut the Sightseer Lounge from the Capitol Limited and Texas Eagle this year with no notice. I'm not sure what's going on with the Sightseer Lounges, but I don't believe the explanation that the virus caused a lack of equipment, as Amtrak claimed in May of this year.

Amtrak is providing a poor service to its coach passengers by increasing capacity to 100%, kicking them out of the diner, failing to stock the cafe, and arbitrarily removing lounges.
 

Sidney

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On California Zephyr #6 (9), the Sightseer Lounge was replaced with a Cross Country Cafe. The LSA made an announcement about the Sightseer Lounge being missing from the consist due to a lack of equipment. By lunch heading into Chicago, the Cross Country Cafe was sold out of everything but veggie burgers and chips.

Hopefully this was only a one-time thing, but Amtrak has already "temporarily" cut the Sightseer Lounge from the Capitol Limited and Texas Eagle this year with no notice. I'm not sure what's going on with the Sightseer Lounges, but I don't believe the explanation that the virus caused a lack of equipment, as Amtrak claimed in May of this year.

Amtrak is providing a poor service to its coach passengers by increasing capacity to 100%, kicking them out of the diner, failing to stock the cafe, and arbitrarily removing lounges.
I hope this isn't a trend. Not having a SSL car on one of Amtrak's most scenic trains is unacceptable. Many people can't afford sleepers and without a SSL there is no place for Coach passengers to go. Bad enough the Capitol Limited and Texas Eagle don't have that car.
 

chrsjrcj

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When I rode the California Zephyr a few years ago, the SSL was replaced by a 2nd dining car. It limited cafe food options and wasn’t ideal for sightseeing. Of course then, coach passengers could use the dining car.
 

IndyLions

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I’m guessing they had a car they had a pull at the last minute because of maintenance issues.

I have no doubt they’re short of cars, because I have no doubt that during the pandemic the cars just sat around not getting maintenance.

As the long distance trains are almost exclusively used for either critical travel between small towns or leisure travel - management with a little bit more vision would have requested a special appropriation to pay for catching up on maintenance while the pandemic raged on.
 

Trogdor

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I'll also never understand why Amtrak shoots itself in the foot by never stocking enough food.
There's a limit to how much storage space you have in the car for commissary items, and they generally don't have access to mid-route commissary supplies. However, I'm sure clever solutions could be found, such as installing a refrigerator in their large fleet of mostly empty baggage cars and loading extra supplies there for the LSA to restock mid-trip.
 

daybeers

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There's a limit to how much storage space you have in the car for commissary items, and they generally don't have access to mid-route commissary supplies. However, I'm sure clever solutions could be found, such as installing a refrigerator in their large fleet of mostly empty baggage cars and loading extra supplies there for the LSA to restock mid-trip.
I realize the constraints, but I was under the impression the café car not stocking enough food was a semi-recent thing over the past few years, or at least the frequency at which it runs out of food has increased.
 

crescent-zephyr

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There's a limit to how much storage space you have in the car for commissary items, and they generally don't have access to mid-route commissary supplies. However, I'm sure clever solutions could be found, such as installing a refrigerator in their large fleet of mostly empty baggage cars and loading extra supplies there for the LSA to restock mid-trip.
Storage is not the problem.
 

lordsigma

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I'm sure it's equipment related. the car not running on one train on one day does not mean it's permanently cut from the route completely. There's a cost motivation on the Eagle and CL for what they've done there because they are doing single car food service - they aren't saving any money by using a CCC car instead of the SSL on the CZ - so there's really no reason to suspect a conspiracy. It's really not the end of the world - they are still providing coach passengers a lounge - no not as good for sight seeing but its still a lounge - this is nowhere near the same thing as the Eagle. As for running out of stuff that's not likely related to switching from the SSL. This isn't really a cut at all in fact - its a car substitution.
 
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PaTrainFan

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Clearly it is because we know milennials do not like to sit in the lounge car to watch the beautiful countryside roll by as they prefer to pay attention to their personal devices. I am pretty sure they have already begun a groundswell of protests regarding the return of traditional dining. It's all over TikTok now! (whatever the hell that is) Wait, how about we blame this one on Gen X, ok?
 

Josh M

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Regarding Sightseer Lounges more generally, for those who have social media accounts (specifically Facebook) Amtrak just made a post touting the Capitol Limited. I made sure to chime in about my upcoming trip (this fall) on the CL and my hope that the SSL will be restored to the train by then so I can enjoy the scenery more easily. I know from past experience that whoever is running their social media does sometimes respond to comments, plus a lot of people advocating for restoration of the SSLs on the TE and CL may get noticed and passed up the chain.
 

Danib62

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Clearly it is because we know milennials do not like to sit in the lounge car to watch the beautiful countryside roll by as they prefer to pay attention to their personal devices. I am pretty sure they have already begun a groundswell of protests regarding the return of traditional dining. It's all over TikTok now! (whatever the hell that is) Wait, how about we blame this one on Gen X, ok?
Let's be clear, tiktok is the domain of the zoomers, not millennials.
 
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I am on the 5 which has been delayed more than an hour and counting before even reaching Naperville. No sightseeer lounge. And the power just cut off. I can tell this trip is going to be grreeeaaaattt....
 

AmtrakBlue

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I am on the 5 which has been delayed more than an hour and counting before even reaching Naperville. No sightseeer lounge. And the power just cut off. I can tell this trip is going to be grreeeaaaattt....
Are they changing engine (reason for power to be off)? I know you hit an excavator that turned towards the track as the train was going by.
 
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That makes sense, ive been trying to stay out of the way of the conductors, but the bits of convo ive been hearing seem to match with your explanation pretty well.
 

AmtrakBlue

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Ah, JC7648, you should get yourself a scanner. They are a great source of information in situations like the one you're in.
Or be in the right FB groups. :D That's where I heard about the excavator incident.
 
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heh, good suggestion if i ever get the itch to travel long distance on amtrak again, which might be a while given the financial and service landscape amtrak is presenting in the near future.
 

zephyr17

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Do it, you also get to know about the little white lies that sometimes get told, like the explanation for delay to an already hours late Builder from an unexpected emergency braking application in rural Minnesota. The explanation was "we hit a deer" (we didn't). The real reason was a duct tape patch fell off the brake line between the baggage and the transdorm.

Gold, pure gold.
 

Just-Thinking-51

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Do it, you also get to know about the little white lies that sometimes get told, like the explanation for delay to an already hours late Builder from an unexpected emergency braking application in rural Minnesota. The explanation was "we hit a deer" (we didn't). The real reason was a duct tape patch fell off the brake line between the baggage and the transdorm.

Gold, pure gold.
But the duct tape was place on the airline after the train hit the deer, it just did not work into the train arrived at the terminal. So technically the deer was hit earlier and the patch failed, so the short story was half true.

Ok this is totally made up, but your not leaving a terminal with a patch air line. A patch is there because something happened enroute that required a fix. Just because it failed again does not mean the original issue was not a deer parts damage a airline.
 
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lordsigma

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6(9) turned as 5(12) which is why no SSL. I read elsewhere that the SSL on this consist indeed had to be shopped due to a maintenance issue.
 

zephyr17

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Just to clarify, there was no deer. I was on the train from almost the second station (Everett, WA) and there were no strikes of anything requiring the train to be inspected prior to the emergency brake application. There was no other emergency brake application prior to that one.

I heard the whole thing.

The entire sequence of events.

1. Train goes into emergency for no discernable reason.
2. Conductor says over the radio he suspects someone smoking weed in one of the restroom pulled the emergency brake and left the train. Conductor had just made an announcement a few before the emergency brake application about smoking ("...and especially not that.")
3. Conductor tells engineer (longer range radio) to tell the CP dispatcher there might be someone on the tracks (this area was double track).
4. Conductor checks all emergency brake cords. None were pulled.
5. Conductor tells engineer he is going to inspect the train.
6. Conductor radios crew to go to the "home" channel. I guessed correctly that this was the Amtrak channel used around CUS. I switched to that channel. Conductor told engineer that a duct tape patch to the air line between the bag and transdorm had come loose. Asked if anyone had duct tape. AC said he some in his grip. Apparently did not want to advertise on the CP road channel that the railroad was being tied up because of a duct tape failure.
7. Returned to road channel. Conductor asked for three point protection to step between cars to repair. HEP goes out.
8. Conductor radios engineer to pump up the air. Successful, new duct tape holds. Three point protection released. Conductor finishes inspecting the train.
9. Conductor radios he is back onboard and that we are good. Engineer radios dispatcher we were on the move (CP dispatcher was getting increasingly antsy and called the train a few times for status during all this).
10. Conductor announces over the PA that we were delayed due to hitting a deer.

No deer.

I have no idea where duct tape had initially been applied or why. Neither did the crew ("I wonder how long that was on there?"). The incident occurred between Winona and La Crosse, so that crew had just gotten on in Winona. No more braking incidents on through to Chicago, so the new duct tape held.
 
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