Texas Eagle Sightseer lounge discontinued

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lordsigma

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In fairness, they are not the target demographic. They are incidental beneficiaries of improvements primarily aimed at NEC, particularly Acela, passengers.

If they brought services in Chicago's Metropolitan Lounge to the same standards, then I would say that long distance travelers were the intended target group.
That's kind of a cynical take - Chicago station is also used by many corridor services. Also Washington's lounge is mostly NEC and nothing special (and is actually quite neglected.) They benefitted from New York State's project - why not try to make this lounge really nice? A lounge is a lounge and all are open to all Amtrak first class and select plus passengers - I can get points to get select plus status no matter what kind of train I take and can use any of the lounges. Not really seeing where long distance passengers are discriminated against. New York is simply the newest lounge and they basically got to lay it out from scratch - no surprise that it's the fanciest.
 

20th Century Rider

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The Cafe is operated in the small end of the Diner ( CCC) that runs on the CONO and the Texas Eagle, but Coach passengers have to eat and drink in their Seats, they're not allowed to sit in the Crews " Lounge", which is where they hang out now that the Transdorms are also not operating on the Eagles.

The other bad feature of this "hybrid" car is that the LSA and SCA gets to make up their own rules as to whether or not SLEEPER Passengers can eat in the " Diner ",or have to pick up their " Meals" in a "To Go " Bag or have it delivered by the 1 SCA on the Train and eat in their rooms.

On my last 2 trips on the Eagle (Round trips)to Dallas and San Antonio, it was 50/50 as to whether we had a choice, and also the Cafe would be Closed for Hours as the Overworked LSA would be busy heating and packing up the Sleeping Car Passengers meals, sometimes assisted by the also Overworked SCA and the 1 Coach Attendant!(🤬).
Disturbing lack of consistency... lack of service... lack of customer care... as the financial strangulation of the Amtrak mechanism has the red flags waving!

If Amtrak is to be a passenger railroad... then management should run it as such!!!
 

jis

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That's kind of a cynical take - Chicago station is also used by many corridor services. Also Washington's lounge is mostly NEC and nothing special (and is actually quite neglected.) They benefitted from New York State's project - why not try to make this lounge really nice? A lounge is a lounge and all are open to all Amtrak first class and select plus passengers - I can get points to get select plus status no matter what kind of train I take and can use any of the lounges. Not really seeing where long distance passengers are discriminated against. New York is simply the newest lounge and they basically got to lay it out from scratch - no surprise that it's the fanciest.
Exactly!

I bet the Washington DC Lounge will become the finest when the head house is reconfigured as part of the terminal reconstruction project too.

If Illinois/Chicago throws a billion or two at Union Station it will get the finest lounge among other fine things too.

Those of you who traced the ebs and flows of the development of the Moynihan Train Hall will recall that at one time Boardman's Amtrak was opposed to moving to the new concourse. Instead they got the deluded Warrington, the then NJT boss, to agree to move NJ Transit to it, never mind that half the platforms used by NJT were not going to be directly accessible from it. Fortunately that idiocy went away with the departure of both Boardman and Warrington, both past Amtrak warriors. It would be quite a comedy if it were not such a continuing tragedy overall.
 
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zephyr17

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That's kind of a cynical take - Chicago station is also used by many corridor services. Also Washington's lounge is mostly NEC and nothing special (and is actually quite neglected.) They benefitted from New York State's project - why not try to make this lounge really nice? A lounge is a lounge and all are open to all Amtrak first class and select plus passengers - I can get points to get select plus status no matter what kind of train I take and can use any of the lounges. Not really seeing where long distance passengers are discriminated against. New York is simply the newest lounge and they basically got to lay it out from scratch - no surprise that it's the fanciest.
A very cynical take and I do not deny it. They aren't discriminating against long distance travelers at New York and I never said that. They are not supporting the customer experience in long distance services in general, as the gist of this thread makes very clear. The disparity of the service at the NY Metropolitan Lounge versus Chicago is just an fairly glaring illustration of that. Plus I seriously doubt New York State has very much to do with the quality of catering in NYP's Metropolitan Lounge.

Further, Chicago does have a lot of corridor service, but the ratio of corridor users to long distance distance users of lounge services is a lot different at Chicago. Just witness the mobs in there just before the departure of the western long distance trains in the afternoon.

Also, your rather casual statement that you can get to Select Plus, and therefore lounge access, easily by taking enough trains at any service level says quite a bit. Many of us on this board, like most of the country, do not have the level of rail service that would allow us to get to any AGR elite level by Amtrak travel alone.
 
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jis

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Also, your rather casual statement that you can get to Select Plus, and therefore lounge access, easily by taking enough trains at any service level says quite a bit. Many of us on this board, like most of the country, do not have the level of rail service that would allow us to get to any AGR elite level by Amtrak travel alone.
Didn't you realize that is why they are raising the fares so that you can get to the level quicker! 🤪 Looks like even I will make Select+ again this year after a hiatus of a couple years.
 

me_little_me

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Do anyone think RPA cares about this issue? I have found little vaue to being a member in recent years. Well, maybe the 10% discount is a bit of an incentive.
Makes one wonder if the 10% discount would disappear if the RPA dared to be critical of Amtrak management's decisions instead of just pushing for more money for it.

Just saying. No accusation here. I NEVER attribute anything but the best from Amtrak management. ;)
 

me_little_me

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I'm not ridiculing - I apologize if anyone took offense - admittedly my post was a little sarcastic.. I'm simply stating - why not just wait and see what happens in the next couple months? There's still a lot of unknowns about a lot of these issues - we have no idea what food is going to look like. It's also possible these lounges will eventually come back on the eagle. Remember that they are beginning a refresh program on the superliner equipment and that we are soon going back to daily. To do the refresh all the equipment will at one point have to be taken out of service. They may need all the lounges available to have enough cars to get the zephyr, chief, builder, and coast starlight back to daily.
Well, how long did people hold their breath for the promised new room amenities?

How long did people hold their breath for the promised points and cash choice for AGR?

How long did people hold their breath for the promised VL2 sleepers as they sat in storage?

How long did people hold their breath for any of Amtrak's promises.

How long did people hold their breath for the new baggage cars only to find out that Amtrak eliminated the baggage service at a bunch of stations.

May we have a moment of silence for those that did so? They are just a memory now.

As to the Superliners, Amtrak does NOT have the money to do any refurbishment. The money MIGHT get approved by congress as part of the infrastructure stimulus. The money MIGHT not be taken away by the next congress if the parties change hands. I'm going to kick everyone out of my hotel now because we are in the planning process to do upgrades IF we get the money. THat would be pretty idiotic.

As to WHY Lounges were taken off the TE, does anyone know that? Has Amtrak management come out and said "Here is why we are taking them off. We only have x amount of serviceable ones because or recent issues and we have to move the TE ones TEMPORARILY to the other trains until the issues are fixed"?
 

lordsigma

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Also, your rather casual statement that you can get to Select Plus, and therefore lounge access, easily by taking enough trains at any service level says quite a bit. Many of us on this board, like most of the country, do not have the level of rail service that would allow us to get to any AGR elite level by Amtrak travel alone.
I would never make select plus were it not for my LD travel in sleepers. Sleepers are actually the quickest and easiest way to make select plus (for me at least). I do get some points from corridor trips, but as I’m not a business traveler I would never get enough points from just my occasional trips to New York and dc and other corridor type trips without at least a couple sleeper trips. I have to imagine the only people that can make those kind of tiers on Acela or NER alone are business travelers/commuters and others than have to travel up and down the corridor regularly or if you do FC on Acela all the time. Remember also NO NER or empire corridor or other trains business class gets automatic lounge access - it’s only Acela FC and sleepers. So would could argue the lounge at NYP is more for LD passengers than it is for NER.
 
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Mailliw

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I would never make select plus were it not for my LD travel in sleepers. Sleepers are actually the quickest and easiest way to make select plus (for me at least). I do get some points from corridor trips, but as I’m not a business traveler I would never get enough points from just my occasional trips to New York and dc and other corridor type trips without at least a couple sleeper trips. I have to imagine the only people that can make those kind of tiers on Acela or NER alone are business travelers/commuters and others than have to travel up and down the corridor regularly or if you do FC on Acela all the time. Remember also NO NER or empire corridor or other trains business class gets automatic lounge access - it’s only Acela FC and sleepers. So would could argue the lounge at NYP is more for LD passengers than it is for NER.
Ironic since there's a 25% bonus for Business Class, 50% for Acela First, and no bonus at all for Sleeper fares.
 

20th Century Rider

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One of Amtraks stupider decisions when they " inproved" AGR several years ago!
Those who are most faithful to Amtrak and who pay the most are the ones most disregarded.

Am I saying this right???

Millennials are held in the highest regard! They even created their culinary focus based upon their every wish and whim.

In the end they never connected with those Millennials... and threw away the most loyal patrons.

Amtrak Guest Rewards is a study of 'failure in motion.'
 

Sidney

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Flexible dining has to go down as one of Amtrak's biggest failures. Lets hope for a July 1 return to what we had before the pandemic. Sadly Eastern passengers are getting the worst situation..sky high sleeper prices and the continuation of the dreck they call food.
 

20th Century Rider

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One exact thing you can say about Amtrak... it's united all its patrons... in anguish and disgust against those small synthetic food rations... and of course the removal of the SSL's - the center point of scenery and socializing on those three day trans continental journeys.
 

jis

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How soon people forget...

AGR was primarily created for competing with airlines on the NEC with Acela. That is why the additional bells and whistles are all corridor focused, things like bonus TQP for BC and First etc. The primary driver was getting airline passengers on the corridor to move to Amtrak. The rest was just incidental.

It has always been incidental that all other Amtrak travel also gets to take some advantage of AGR. Historically AGR has never given any special dispensation for LD services, which would further indicate that historically, but for some individual initiatives like the Pacific Parlour Cars and the Culinary Institute of American collaboration on Diner menus, LD service has been mostly in maintenance mode, after the last tranche of Superliners were delivered. It is actually astonishing that it is only now that people are waking upto this reality.
 
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20th Century Rider

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How soon people forget...

AGR was primarily created for competing with airlines on the NEC with Acela. That is why the additional bells and whistles are all corridor focused, things like bonus TQP for BC and First etc. The primary driver was getting airline passengers on the corridor to move to Amtrak. The rest was just incidental.

It has always been incidental that all other Amtrak travel also gets to take some advantage of AGR. Historically AGR has never given any special dispensation for LD services, which would further indicate that historically even, for some individual initiatives like the Pacific Parlour Cars and the Culinary Institute of American collaboration on Diner menus, LD service has been mostly in maintenance mode, after the last tranche of Superliners were delivered. It is actually astonishing that it is only now that people are waking upto this reality.
So... who 'owns' Amtrak? Do not the taxpayers have a right to demand an equitable transit service from the US government? I guess if the government is running Amtrak like it runs the US Postal System, we shouldn't expect reasonable service... and can only hope for private enterprise to take over.

Many times posts have shown how Space X and other private institutions step in and do a better job and at greater cost efficiency.

Amtrak is certainly a lot more than the NEC. Tax payers live everywhere.
 
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tomfuller

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My last experience with food service on the Texas Eagle was early morning Friday 5/7 (possibly THE last). We were caught in a traffic jam of freight trains that were coming out of Los Angeles while we were coming in nearly 3 hours late from the "padded" arrival time into LAX.
I was in coach. Breakfast was only being served to sleeping car passengers in the crew lounge (formerly known as the dining car). Downstairs in the lounge car the cafe attendant was serving free coffee, orange juice and cranberry juice. I did manage to get 2 free cups of cranberry juice (with ice). There were no items available for sale (breakfast or otherwise).
I proceeded directly from Track 10 LAUS where the Sunset Limited/Texas Eagle arrived to the bus bay without a chance at getting any breakfast. I did manage to get a Snickers bar ($1.75) from a vending machine at the Bakersfield station.
On the San Joaquin they were handing out small snack packs and 6 oz. water bottles. I did get a hot meal in Old Sac after 7PM.
 

jis

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So... who 'owns' Amtrak? Do not the taxpayers have a right to demand an equitable transit service from the US government? I guess if the government is running Amtrak like it runs the US Postal System, we shouldn't expect reasonable service... and can only hope for private enterprise to take over.

Many times posts have shown how Space X and other private institutions step in and do a better job and at greater cost efficiency.

Amtrak is certainly a lot more than the NEC. Tax payers live everywhere.
I would just point out that for the last fifty years several attempts (admittedly some would say not serious, but as required by legislation) have been made to hand over select long distance trains to private enterprise and there have been no takers. Private enterprise is mostly about moving money making stuff to the private enterprise while socializing loss makers. All indications are that Amtrak falls mostly in the latter category notwithstanding the delusions of many rail aficionados, including apparently some here too.

There is one possible way to fix this and that is to monetize the effect of the service provided and plow that back into the service provider. But that is not how things are done. RPA has documented the economic effect of Amtrak service in each county and state, but as of now none of that is accounted for in the financials of Amtrak or the state. Some of the accounting and justification for suburban and urban transit actually takes such into account. Operations like Amtrak California, Cascades and NEC and its extensions fall under that category as do the large suburban operations. Things like Brightline Texas Central and Brightline West also fall under that category, but none of their business plans and structures would support a train or two a day LD service, and certainly not for fares that people here seem to think they are entitled to.

As things stand, the reality is that most taxpayers, specially in the space served by LDs, actually couldn't give two hoots if there was Amtrak around, and would not miss it if it was gone. Only a small proportion of people are actually served by Amtrak and an even smaller proportion care enough to stand up actively in support. Actually there is more active support for and desire to fund the suburban passenger rail operations than for Amtrak, and the relative budgetary allocations are indicative of that. Of course Amtrak is the beneficiary of that phenomenon when it happens to be associated with such operations in some form or the other, like on the NEC. No one would dream of funding new tunnels under the Hudson if it was just for Amtrak service, nor the few billion that is being spent on New York Penn Station. The new Portal South Bridge is funded primarily through New Jersey Transit by FTA and not via Amtrak by FRA even though of course, Amtrak would be a significant beneficiary of it.
 
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20th Century Rider

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I would just point out that for the last fifty years several attempts (admittedly some would say not serious, but as required by legislation) have been made to hand over select long distance trains to private enterprise and there have been no takers. Private enterprise is mostly about moving money making stuff to the private enterprise while socializing loss makers. All indications are that Amtrak falls mostly in the latter category notwithstanding the delusions of many rail aficionados, including apparently some here too.

There is one possible way to fix this and that is to monetize the effect of the service provided and plow that back into the service provider. But that is not how things are done. RPA has documented the economic effect of Amtrak service in each county and state, but as of now none of that is accounted for in the financials of Amtrak or the state. Some of the accounting and justification for suburban and urban transit actually takes such into account. Operations like Amtrak California, Cascades and NEC and its extensions fall under that category as do the large suburban operations. Things like Brightline Texas Central and Brightline West also fall under that category, but none of their business plans and structures would support a train or two a day LD service, and certainly not for fares that people here seem to think they are entitled to.

As things stand, the reality is that most taxpayers, specially in the space served by LDs, actually couldn't give two hoots if there was Amtrak around, and would not miss it if it was gone. Only a small proportion of people are actually served by Amtrak and an even smaller proportion care enough to stand up actively in support. Actually there is more active support for and desire to fund the suburban passenger rail operations than for Amtrak. Of course Amtrak is the beneficiary of that phenomenon when it happens to be associated with such operations in some form or the other.
The two biggest issues with LD is that it goes through sparsely populated areas... and rail is dependent upon freight lines who already own the beds... who decided to get rid of passenger service 50 years ago. Yet in countries where government is more pro rail and aggressive, modern rail transit exists. So it will be interesting to see what happens to LD.
 
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Larry H.

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I will have to disagree with the comment that those who live on the routes of LD trains couldn't care a hoot for Amtrak. I wonder if the writer has been in Union Station where many of the Long Distance trains originate? I see hundreds of people boarding the trains, and if statistics I read here are right most of them are not going the whole way. So those in between towns most certainly do carry considerable passengers who would for the most part not have other easy to reach transit options. Not being one who is willing to fly any longer the rail offers the only other real choice out where I am near a small town which Amtrak stops at. I still say the biggest reason long distance doesn't show big gains is the fact that Amtrak removed two thirds of the system after a year or so which nearly killed choices for rail to reach a destination easily or cheaply. And like most here the fact the equipment is far to few available you see sold out on many parts of the trips often. If it were run correctly any time a car was sold out another would be added. Thats how the rail roads did it, but somehow Amtrak has refused to acknowledge that while sometimes complaining of not enough riders!
 
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Oreius

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Here’s the southbound Eagle in Dallas today. Only 5 cars plus one engine. Two sleepers, one diner/lounge, one baggage/Coach, and one Coach.
 

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