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QuestIons on Recent Auto Train Experiences?

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erinch13

Train Attendant
Joined
Aug 28, 2013
Messages
48
We are auto train veterans, but not COVid ones. Heading from LOR to SFA on Sept 15th and back again Oct. 5.
For anyone who has ridden recently—
What is checkin like?
Usually we arrive around noon. Check in. Go get lunch. Arrive back at 1:30 to drop off car. Point of early arrival is to snag preferred dinner slot and less crazy.

Now? Is the dining car still closed for sleeper?
Do you check in inside or outside?
is the waiting room open?
Do you pre-reserve dinner or is that with the SCA?
is the lounge car open for sleeper?
is there a coffee pot in the car?
what else is different?
Thanks!
 
Joined
Aug 29, 2019
Messages
3
Rode the Autotrain in August.

Is the dining car still closed for sleeper? Dining car closed, meals are served to your room.
Do you check in inside or outside? Checkin process is same as normal. Unload your car and go inside.
is the waiting room open? Yes, masks required.
Do you pre-reserve dinner or is that with the SCA? SCA takes your order and brings dinner to your room. Time is variable.
is the lounge car open for sleeper? Open to buy a drink and take to your room but you can’t lounge in the lounge car.
is there a coffee pot in the car? Yes (coffee machine)
what else is different? People wear masks and are tense. SCAs seem stressed out.
 

Dakota 400

Conductor
Joined
Mar 5, 2014
Messages
2,173
Rode the Autotrain in August.

Is the dining car still closed for sleeper? Dining car closed, meals are served to your room.
Do you check in inside or outside? Checkin process is same as normal. Unload your car and go inside.
is the waiting room open? Yes, masks required.
Do you pre-reserve dinner or is that with the SCA? SCA takes your order and brings dinner to your room. Time is variable.
is the lounge car open for sleeper? Open to buy a drink and take to your room but you can’t lounge in the lounge car.
is there a coffee pot in the car? Yes (coffee machine)
what else is different? People wear masks and are tense. SCAs seem stressed out.
Other than the check-in process that you described, nothing is the same as it was in January. Such a report would discourage me from using Auto Train in the near future.
 

gwolfdog

Service Attendant
Joined
Mar 27, 2020
Messages
138
I’ll write a report!
Would appreciate it. Would like to take it back down, again, in December. Worst part was getting there early and the crowded waiting room. Like your drop off plans. Didn't look like the "mask crowd". I Question there safety during Pandemic (as if Airports are any better) Flew back in April, and used car transport. Would do a Bedroom this time, use their WC service. Wonder if the "Snow birds will be as active this year? 😷
 

BLNT

Service Attendant
Joined
Nov 5, 2019
Messages
109
I'm not a coffee fan, but did notice that the machine was only operational in the sleeper car when we headed south in August. It was not working the prior week (northbound). Could just be luck of the draw. Either way, the ice bin is no longer filled.

We'll be on for another round trip in October.
 

jiml

Conductor
Joined
Feb 27, 2019
Messages
1,730
Location
Toronto area
Wonder if the "Snow birds will be as active this year? 😷
That's a really good question as I ponder our options for this year. We're part of a really great group of older folks - Canadian and American - who get together annually in NW Florida. Although the border remains technically closed we can fly down anytime, but would not have the cost saving of our own vehicle, coupled with the uncertainty of what things will be like in January and February. Obviously US residents don't have to deal with the border problem, but I would think everything else - flying, uncertainty, potential lack of services, health concerns, etc., would be the same for all.
 

gwolfdog

Service Attendant
Joined
Mar 27, 2020
Messages
138
I couldn't agree with you more. Our first Grandchild was born a few days ago in Fort Lauderdale, so we're excited. We're older, high risk group, and will come up with some plan, if we are not at war with Canada before the Election. I'm already feeling cold and depressed here in NY (and the snow hasn't started), might as well be warm and depressed in Sunny Florida. And of course we'll have a "Safe Vaccine" as we've been promised. 🤣 😷
 

PVD

Conductor
Joined
Jul 8, 2015
Messages
4,891
Location
NYC/Queens
The normal coffee service in the sleepers for trains other than AT is fresh pot early in the morning, some SCA keep it going, but that's not the current standard. That would make no sense on AT since it runs afternoon to morning. Last I saw, they were using the Douwe-Egbert type machines. Those can be anywhere from poor to very good depending on the concentrate they buy. (and water and cleanliness)
 

erinch13

Train Attendant
Joined
Aug 28, 2013
Messages
48
We had a fabulous trip down from LOR to SFA on Sept 15-16. Checkin was easy, and the dining car had limited reservations available. We snagged one. We had been assigned a different car with our bedroom from our daughter and her fiancé. Th LOR crew had noticed and fixed it for us before we arrived. We got there around noon, checked in, went back out for lunch at iHop, ten boarded. The awesome Priscilla was our SCA. THe coffee machine was working, of you can call that stuff coffee, and there was ice. Lounge service was pleasant. We brought wine, cheese, crackers, apples and grapes for our own happy hour, including some auto party mix like the good old times.

the flat iron steaks were passable, as was the lava cake. The chicken was dry. Rooms were made up at 10 at our quest. Smooth ride in and arrived an hour early. Actually one of tHe smoothest trips we’ve had.
 

gwolfdog

Service Attendant
Joined
Mar 27, 2020
Messages
138
Thanks for Info. Was there any Social Distancing in the waiting areas prior to be Boarded? Were most people wearing Masks? Wife and I older and High Risk. 😷
 

gwolfdog

Service Attendant
Joined
Mar 27, 2020
Messages
138
At this point, we'll still opt for dining in our room over going to the dining car. Can't believe (well, yes I can!) that Florida has opened up bars and restaurants to 100% capacity now. Crazy times, stupid people !!
It's Election Time, Florida is BIG, and a return to Normalcy will garner more GOP votes, as the Insanity spreads. Live in NY, and we've been warned, "we could be the last on the Vaccine List" by the Puppet Master. Was going down anyways (auto train) and will get Florida Plates and License to protect Family. 🤪 😷🍺
 
Joined
Sep 26, 2020
Messages
2
Location
New Jersey
Hi was wondering if anyone has taken the auto train from Lorton to Sanford lately? we are scheduled to take the train on Oct 18th. Was wondering what it is like in coach as far as people wearing masks. Are they mandatory the entire time you are sitting down except when you are eating? are they filling every other seat? how about meals? can you buy dinner, and do you get a bagged breakfast? how clean are the bathrooms? any help will be greatly appreciated. Debbie
 

anumberone

Conductor
AU Supporter
Joined
Aug 8, 2015
Messages
1,852
Location
Los Angeles
I noticed this on google today. It was dated yesterday. Maybe it's been posted, I couldn't find it.
AUTO TRAIN Deal alert: Book a private room on Amtrak Auto Train, bring a friend for free
 

BLNT

Service Attendant
Joined
Nov 5, 2019
Messages
109
I used that a couple of days ago for my son, but it was limited to Roomettes.
 

erinch13

Train Attendant
Joined
Aug 28, 2013
Messages
48
We head back tomorrow SFA to LOR. We are in bedrooms, but I will ask the questions about coach.
 
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