Sleeper 9712...Wow!

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BLNT

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They have one on the Superliner Transdorms but still hang out in the Diner!🤬
Interesting... and apparently the powers that be don't mind how that appears. I'm only familiar with the Auto Train though, having not been on anything else.
 

Cal

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They hang out in the diner a lot, a lot. You can always find two-four employees lounging there
 

Charles785

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My wife and I took dozens of photos, and we’ll sort through them and get them posted soon. It is quite the task - sorry for the delay.

While our trip was terrific overall - and the VLII’s were truly a “wow” - the trip also pointed out what a mess Amtrak is right now with their onboard product. I’d like to blame it on the pandemic but I know better.

We ran into some terrific employees. The Dining car attendant MIA-WAS really stood out. Same for the Sleeper attendant RVR-MIA and MIA-WAS. I hate the whole Contemporary Dining product and process - but frankly that was the smoothest part of the trip.

The Cafe attendant from RVR-MIA was appalling. He intentionally denied service to a bunch of Coach travelers because there was a chance he’d have to stay open beyond his closing time. Instead, he closed 10 minutes early.

The best thing I can say about another Cafe attendant was that he was surly. He had a scowl on his face the entire time.

But even when the employees were otherwise great - the sloppiness in general was disheartening. The Cafe cars were a disheveled mess. The VLII shower room (amazing!) was designed with a towel rack, but it went unused and a big pile of towels was just stacked on the bench instead - rendering the bench useless. And two other shower rooms were used as walker storage - despite the presence of plenty of open rooms that could have been temporarily used for that purpose instead. The attendants know which/when rooms will/will not be occupied, but they choose to render the shower room useless.

Of course, the crews were spread out all over the lounge cars. I know customers aren’t allowed to sit there because of Covid - that’s OK. But it doesn’t excuse the disheveled mess that results from the crew occupation.

None of what I’m reporting is news - it’s been SOP for a long time. That doesn’t make it any less disheartening, or any less urgent to get addressed.
So, why are cafe attendants like Indy Lions describes above allowed to continue working in customer service? Do the labor unions hamstring Amtrak's hands in firing such surly performers?

I'm assuming the reason I never seem to run into waiters and waitresses with attitude problems in 99.99% of restaurants and bars I patronixze is that the owners and managers are free to terminate employees with negative attitudes at will- those folks who should never have been in customer service to begin with.

Will the labor unions that Amtrak deals with go to the mat defending even those who are totally miscast for their jobs?
 

crescent-zephyr

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So, why are cafe attendants like Indy Lions describes above allowed to continue working in customer service? Do the labor unions hamstring Amtrak's hands in firing such surly performers?

I'm assuming the reason I never seem to run into waiters and waitresses with attitude problems in 99.99% of restaurants and bars I patronixze is that the owners and managers are free to terminate employees with negative attitudes at will- those folks who should never have been in customer service to begin with.

Will the labor unions that Amtrak deals with go to the mat defending even those who are totally miscast for their jobs?
In short... yes. The sleeping car attendant who raped a passenger on the empire builder had been fired for selling pornography on the job and the union got him rehired.

So yeah... closing a cafe car early ain’t gonna get anybody fired.

Woman sues Amtrak after she was raped in sleeping cabin
 

Devil's Advocate

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Will the labor unions that Amtrak deals with go to the mat defending even those who are totally miscast for their jobs?
By law unions are required to defend every member regardless of the circumstances. If this were relaxed to exclude bad faith actions it might create a healthier environment that still protects workers from unfair labor practices.

I’m sorry, what?
Although the article is true and worth discussing the way it is brought up here is jarring and seems to be an appeal to raw emotion rather than logic and reason.
 
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crescent-zephyr

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Although the article is true and worth discussing the way it is brought up here is jarring and seems to be an appeal to raw emotion rather than logic and reason.
I didn’t mean it in that way. I just meant that if the union can get someone like that rehired, why would anyone be worried about getting fired for closing a cafe car 10 minutes early?

I mean isn’t that why Amtrak staff behaves the way they do?
 

PVD

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If you don't make a good faith to represent an employee, you are subject to an "unfair labor practice" charge by the employee. You are even required to represent the freeloaders who aren't members, but receive the benefits of their representation.
 

OBS

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I didn’t mean it in that way. I just meant that if the union can get someone like that rehired, why would anyone be worried about getting fired for closing a cafe car 10 minutes early?

I mean isn’t that why Amtrak staff behaves the way they do?
The reason some staff behave poorly is that they can get away with it without consequences. This means there is no accountability of the employee by management. There are many disciplinary steps before terminating an employee. If none of these steps are taken towards employees, the behavior continues...
 

PaTrainFan

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The reason some staff behave poorly is that they can get away with it without consequences. This means there is no accountability of the employee by management. There are many disciplinary steps before terminating an employee. If none of these steps are taken towards employees, the behavior continues...
Yet flight attendants are unionized and you rarely hear of poor behavior or bad service.
 

PVD

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The point is, you set expectations, create a process for training and staff development, and adequately supervise and monitor, and counsel or retrain early and quickly. You don't do nothing as management and then whine about it blaming someone or something else for the problem.
 

Barb Stout

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They hang out in the diner a lot, a lot. You can always find two-four employees lounging there
When there are employees lounging in the diner, does that mean they are on an official break or just need to put their bodies somewhere when they're not actively working on some issue? In other words, if a passenger needs something, maybe going to the dining car is a surefire way of finding someone to help with whatever you need? A clearinghouse, if you will?
 

Devil's Advocate

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How do you make a case for discipline or retraining when you don't have any credible form of line supervision?
Yet flight attendants are unionized and you rarely hear of poor behavior or bad service.
Absolutely. Because they are held accountable by Airline management.
I think the biggest difference between long haul flying and riding Amtrak is how the role of a purser differs from that of an LSA. On long haul flights the purser is there to coordinate tasks, maintain service standards, and record/resolve customer issues, whereas on Amtrak the LSA seems to be little more than a glorified cashier and stock tracker. If Amtrak had a fully supported purser position it might be completely different experience for their customers. It would still take months or even years to slowly weed out the bad apples but in theory each trip would be a little better than the last.
 
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PVD

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Didn't they have a "chief" on LD at one time? OBS will not be supervising T&E, that is not changing, and AMTRAK keeps trying to eliminate positions not add them on LD/non corridor day trains. As worthwhile as it seems to us, it runs counter to the current pattern.
 

Bob Dylan

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Didn't they have a "chief" on LD at one time? OBS will not be supervising T&E, that is not changing, and AMTRAK keeps trying to eliminate positions not add them on LD/non corridor day trains. As worthwhile as it seems to us, it runs counter to the current pattern.
I was Surprised to see a Chef in the CCC on #422 today since there is still only the 1 LSA working the Diner/ Cafe Car for the Heat and Eat Meals.

The SCA is delivering the Meals to the Passengers in the #422 Sleeper ( rear of the Train)that dont want to walk to the CCC for Meals. There are only 4 tables open in the Diner part of the Car with the rest roped off.There is No Cafe seating available( and Sleeper Passengers cant sit in the Full Coaches!!!)
 

crescent-zephyr

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I was Surprised to see a Chef in the CCC on #422 today since there is still only the 1 LSA working the Diner/ Cafe Car for the Heat and Eat Meals.

The SCA is delivering the Meals to the Passengers in the #422 Sleeper ( rear of the Train)that dont want to walk to the CCC for Meals. There are only 4 tables open in the Diner part of the Car with the rest roped off.There is No Cafe seating available( and Sleeper Passengers cant sit in the Full Coaches!!!)
I believe all of the superliner trains have both an upstairs LSA and a downstairs “chef” - which means there is no reason that the flex meals make sense since you could still do traditional dining car food.

if the LSA is responsible for both sides, it's still 2 jobs as opposed to 2 LSA. There is still no one free to walk the train.
With flex dining the lsa does not walk the train. The SCA takes your order and delivers your food. (That was my personal experience and my understanding of how it’s supposed to work on paper)
 
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PVD

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That's exactly my point. Elevating the LSA in some fashion doesn't have any effect on seeing what's going on, because they are tethered to a location.
 

railiner

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Yet flight attendants are unionized and you rarely hear of poor behavior or bad service.
It goes deeper than whatever oversight occurs or doesn't. It goes back to the corporate culture, which is ingrained from generation to generation. Some Amtrak employees have a sense of 'entitlement', as in the government owes them a living, and will pay them, regardless of how customer's are treated...
And they will drag down other's tired of carrying their load for them. Of course there are always the 'outliers', who will strive to rise above, and deliver superior service, even if it means being ostrasized by the slacker's... JMHO
 

Bob Dylan

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It goes deeper than whatever oversight occurs or doesn't. It goes back to the corporate culture, which is ingrained from generation to generation. Some Amtrak employees have a sense of 'entitlement', as in the government owes them a living, and will pay them, regardless of how customer's are treated...
And they will drag down other's tired of carrying their load for them. Of course there are always the 'outliers', who will strive to rise above, and deliver superior service, even if it means being ostrasized by the slacker's... JMHO
Unfortunately the young "eager beavers" New Hires are on Furlough and lots of the Old Guard set in their ways are working the LD Routes right now!

I'm fortunate to have really good OBS on today's #22/422 to Dallas!🤩

Hope tomorrow's #21/421 is the same!
 

IndyLions

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Since my trip - some really terrific YouTube videos have been released which show the full features of the VLII sleeper in all its glory. But I'll follow through with some photos I took on the VLII.

Let's start with a huge positive - the VLII Public Shower Room. Unquestionably, the nicest, most spacious shower room Amtrak has ever designed.

Let me state up front - I did a poor job of coming up with a photo that truly demonstrates how spacious the room actually is. So instead, I'll focus on some individual features which are really great.

Let's start with its open air feel - it's not cramped and claustrophobic
Shower_Open.jpg

The room is very bright, with large frosted windows. The tall ceilings also help with the feeling of openness. This first picture was obviously taken from inside the shower itself, and this next one was taken from the dressing area immediately outside the shower illustrating those high ceilings...

Shower Open 2.jpg

Inside the shower, there is a small bench - very practical for the act of showering on a moving train...

Shower Bench.jpg

There is also a very nice bench for dressing/undressing in the outer area - unfortunately on this trip it was covered with a bag of towels...

Shower Outer Bench.jpg

That didn't need to be the case - since the shower room has been designed with a towel rack (below). Will the crew ever use it?

Shower Counter.jpg

As you can also see from the above, there is a counter space and large mirror featured as well. When you are done and cleaning up - there is a large built-in trash depository and a linen chute.

Shower Used Towels.jpg

Overall - this is an absolute A+ !!!!!
 
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