Tipping on Amtrak

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I think if we are asking for details of other folks income, we should first put up a declaration of our own income and wealth? Seems fair?
Keep in mind that some train crews are away from their homes and families for several days at a time, it's not the same as a regular job.
I wasn't insinuating that they make too much but was curious about their pay scale as Amtrak is quasi public in that they receive public funds.
 
I wish I could remember the name of the young man who ran the diner car like a gulag! He was put out when asked for rolls, threw butter cakes at us and scolded a young girl for putting her napkin on her plate! I was the only one who tipped him at all the meals!!! And only cuz I used to be a waitress!
 
I wish I could remember the name of the young man who ran the diner car like a gulag! He was put out when asked for rolls, threw butter cakes at us and scolded a young girl for putting her napkin on her plate! I was the only one who tipped him at all the meals!!! And only cuz I used to be a waitress!
Earlier posts to this thread have provided some indication as to how much Amtrak employees are paid compared to the bad old days when dining car waiters, porters, and other onboard staff people had to derive much of their income from tips. Although everyone should receive a decent salary based on the work they do, the old tipping system did provide an incentive for employees to provide good service and to be courteous to everyone they came in contact with (even those who tried their patience.) Service on the old extra fare trains like the Twentieth Century Limited and the Santa Fe Super Chief was outstanding. The fact that the passengers on those trains were also “well heeled” and able to offer generous tips undoubtedly helped to maintain this high level of service. People who rode those deluxe trains on a regular basis often became good friends with members of the onboard staff and would arrange their travel schedules to be on the same trains with them.
 
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Next week I'm taking a long trip on the CZ, CS and EB. 8 days on the train,all in roomettes.

I want to bring cash to tip the dining car staff, but can't find any menu prices on which to base the 15% - 20% tip?

I'll tip the SCA $10/night.

In case anyone is interested...

Cleveland - Chicago (LSL)
Chicago - Emeryville (CZ)
Emeryville - Oakland Jack London (CA. Service)
Hotel overnight
Oakland - Santa Barbara (CS)
2 nights hotel
Santa Barbara - Portland (CS)
Portland - Chicago (EB)
Chicago - Cleveland (LSL)

All using guest rewards points.
 
On both VIA and Amtrak, I tip the dining car waiter serving me a flat $5 for breakfast, $5 for lunch, $10 for dinner. If there is another adult in my party, usually he/she/they handle their own tip. No kids so not relevant to discussion. Cafe attendents $1 or $2 depending on my purchase, maybe more if they create a special cocktail (example: VIA, bloody mary made from scratch / to order). SCA $10 per night.
 
Amtrak on-board service employees also have a strong union. It is very hard to find actual union contract pay scales, but this announcement from their last negotiation shows that they have secured raises well above projected inflation each year through 2028, plus retirement and medical insurance coverage that is very generous when compared to the private sector:

https://www.tcunion.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/04/Clerical-Amtrak-2023-ratification-packet.pdf

I can personally testify that the OBS employees do NOT have a strong union. The OBS employees as stated earlier voted down their contract offer. Because the union officials didn't listen to their members in my opinion. The vote was an overwhelming "NO". I think it was something llike 80% of the votes being casted as a "NO" vote. I will refrain from making other comments about Section 6 contract talks.
 
Next week I'm taking a long trip on the CZ, CS and EB. 8 days on the train,all in roomettes.

I want to bring cash to tip the dining car staff, but can't find any menu prices on which to base the 15% - 20% tip?

I'll tip the SCA $10/night.

In case anyone is interested...

Cleveland - Chicago (LSL)
Chicago - Emeryville (CZ)
Emeryville - Oakland Jack London (CA. Service)
Hotel overnight
Oakland - Santa Barbara (CS)
2 nights hotel
Santa Barbara - Portland (CS)
Portland - Chicago (EB)
Chicago - Cleveland (LSL)

All using guest rewards points.
I am looking at the same trip, except for the Cleveland legs. I will be using the USA Railpass for budget reasons. Also for that reason, I will want to spend as many of the nights as possible. Could you have planned this trip with less hotel nights? Thanks

As many nights as possible on the train.
 
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There is no good connection from the California Zephyr to the Coast starlight heading south, so that overnight off the train is needed.

On the turnaround, unless I didn't go south very far on the CS and caught the northbound CS the same day, that overnight is needed. I'm staying over 2 nights so I can sightsee.

Lastly, there are other trains that may give you connections without having to stay over. Look at the Texas Eagle or Southwest Chief as alternatives.
 
There is no good connection from the California Zephyr to the Coast starlight heading south, so that overnight off the train is needed.

On the turnaround, unless I didn't go south very far on the CS and caught the northbound CS the same day, that overnight is needed. I'm staying over 2 nights so I can sightsee.

Lastly, there are other trains that may give you connections without having to stay over. Look at the Texas Eagle or Southwest Chief as alternatives.
Thank you. I am new to the forum and now realized that I should not have posted my question here. Thanks for the information.
 
I was a newspaper carrier, the tips I received were more than half of what I earned on my route.

Tips make the recipient feel good. If someone is having a bad day and receives a 5% tip they are going to feel bad if they are used to 15 to 20%. So good or bad I try to leave 20% or better.

On Amtrak giving a tip first thing helps out on future service. On my first purchase at the café I left the LSA a $10 tip and I could tell he was happier, especially as he told me it was midway on an 8 day trip.

On another trip the SCA may have been at fault for not turning down my roomette (day and a half trip) and as I departed the train, he looked sad and I gave him $20 anyway and he lit up. On another leg of a later trip my SCA was so courteous and polished. He received a $30 tip - just for overnight. It was a great start for the SCA on theTexas Eagle.

For someone that used to walk from North Station and South Station and back every workday it’s not fun 40 years later to be somewhat disabled. But it is sure nice to have a Red Cap handy to get you as close to the train car as possible. Two five dollar bills worked out.

In the diner about 20% of estimate of the meal value.

While traveling in coach, there is someone who tends to the restrooms, sanitizes, sweeps the floor, and takes care of the trash bins. I think they are assigned two cars and are kept pretty busy. I am wondering whether they get tips. On a trip this one gal works so hard on the EB when I got off in Spokane and I just mentioned to her that I appreciated her work. Should I tip?
 
There is no good connection from the California Zephyr to the Coast starlight heading south, so that overnight off the train is needed.

On the turnaround, unless I didn't go south very far on the CS and caught the northbound CS the same day, that overnight is needed. I'm staying over 2 nights so I can sightsee.

Lastly, there are other trains that may give you connections without having to stay over. Look at the Texas Eagle or Southwest Chief as alternatives.
Two years ago, but I don't think the schedule had changed, I took a round trip BOS-SNS for my nephew's wedding in Pacific Grove/Monterey. Originally Amtrak booked me on the SWC connecting (short connection) to the CS north to Salinas (SNS), but then switched me to the EB (27) to Portland, with a longer connection time to the CS (11) to Salinas. Taking the CZ to Emeryville would have required an overnight stay there.

For the return trip, they had me on a Thruway bus from Salinas at 3:25AM arriving at EMY at 6:05 AM to wait there for the CZ at 9:10. I realized that a 3:25AM departure would require leaving my hotel in Pacific Grove about 1:30-2 AM (i.e. no sleep at all), and would be totally miserable! I called Amtrak and switched my May 28 3:25 AM Thruway bus to May 27 6:19 CS (14) to EMY, spent the night in the Hyatt House across the tracks from the station, got a decent night's sleep and left at 9:10 AM on my original CZ (6) the next morning.

I realized later it might have been better to take the CS to a station farther north (Sacramento?) and connected to the CZ there. Could have had dinner on the train at a normal time, then a probably cheaper hotel and slept an extra hour or two before catching the CZ. Plus I've never been to Sacramento. Probably would have been too late to visit the train museum there, though.
 
Next week I'm taking a long trip on the CZ, CS and EB. 8 days on the train,all in roomettes.

I want to bring cash to tip the dining car staff, but can't find any menu prices on which to base the 15% - 20% tip?

I'll tip the SCA $10/night.

In case anyone is interested...

Cleveland - Chicago (LSL)
Chicago - Emeryville (CZ)
Emeryville - Oakland Jack London (CA. Service)
Hotel overnight
Oakland - Santa Barbara (CS)
2 nights hotel
Santa Barbara - Portland (CS)
Portland - Chicago (EB)
Chicago - Cleveland (LSL)

All using guest rewards points.
Wow, sounds like a great trip.
Doing the math, AAARGH went through my mind when totaling up the tips.
 
Have times changed?

I took the Acela in First today from Boston to New York. I noticed that the five people who got off the train ahead of me didn't tip at all. I tipped the first class service attendant $10 as I thought was customary, and he seemed grateful for it.
 
Have times changed?

I took the Acela in First today from Boston to New York. I noticed that the five people who got off the train ahead of me didn't tip at all. I tipped the first class service attendant $10 as I thought was customary, and he seemed grateful for it.
Well.. Acela is mostly competing with Air Travel - I don't think I've ever seen a 1st Class FA get tipped. So I don't think that role would usually get tipped.
 
Have times changed?

I took the Acela in First today from Boston to New York. I noticed that the five people who got off the train ahead of me didn't tip at all. I tipped the first class service attendant $10 as I thought was customary, and he seemed grateful for it.
Yes they have. The pandemic has taken a toll on tipping the LSA’s in FC. And no one really has an idea why.
 
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