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QuestIons on Recent Auto Train Experiences?

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erinch13

Train Attendant
Joined
Aug 28, 2013
Messages
46
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
2,075
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
125
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
106
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
1,552
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
125
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
4,809
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)
 
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