Unstaffed stations

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seajay

Service Attendant
Joined
Aug 23, 2002
Messages
216
This coming Friday evening, I will be boarding the westbound California Zephyr in Mount Pleasant, Iowa. I was at the station this past Friday to see the CZ come through. I discovered that the Mount Pleasant station is now unstaffed (yet still open) on Fridays and Saturdays.

On this day, there were only a small number of coach passengers boarding. These passengers didn't know which coach they should be getting on or where to be on the platform. After the train stopped, a coach attendent about two cars down opened his door and asked to walk down to that coach.

Since there were no sleeper passengers boarding that night, there was no one at the door of either of the two sleeper cars on than train. My question, then, is can I assume that this coming Friday there will be a sleeper attendent waiting for me to board at the door of one of the sleeper cars? Obviously, my reservation will be on an on-board manifest or something. But, without a station attendent in contact with the arriving train saying that I (a sleeper car passenger) am on the platform, should I expect an attendent waiting to assist me? Or, will I be expected to board the train with coach passengers and then make my way through the coach(es), the Sightseer Lounger, the diner, and then into the sleeper section?

This wouldn't be a big deal as I will be traveling light and will have only one small bag. I just don't want to have to hustle down the platform to a coach car if I find there is no one wating to let me directly on a sleeper car. I'm guess this process can vary by train but I'm curious if anyone else has had any similar experiences.

Thanks!

seajay
 

gswager

Engineer
Joined
Aug 22, 2002
Messages
2,924
Location
southern Idaho
Amtrak attendants probably have the list (numbers of passengers at station and sleeper/coach) from the reservation system, just like airlines.

Walking from the coach to sleeper car is a long way to walk with heavy load of suitcase(s).
 

AlanB

Engineer
Honored Member
Joined
Aug 22, 2002
Messages
28,402
Location
Queens, New York
Seajay,

Yes, each sleeping car attendant has a passenger manifest list. In theory this should mean that he/she will open the door in the sleeper for you. If it's exceptionally late at night when the train arrives, you might find yourself boarding through one of the other sleepers, as opposed to you're own. This can happen because the attendant usually take turns sleeping, so one covers both cars while the other sleeps.

Of course it is always possible that your attendant overlooks the fact that you are boarding at that stop, or forgets due to being overwhelmed with other passenger requests. So be prepared to run, just in case.

I had that happen to me once on a the Silver Palm at the Hollywood station. Although in that case it was actually the fault of the conductor who forgot to double spot the train. So I was forced to walk through the coaches, the lounge, and the diner to reach the sleeper.

The Chief of On-board services actually came to my room to appoligize for the mistake, which I thought was a nice touch.
 

radsmom

Train Attendant
Joined
Aug 23, 2002
Messages
95
Our attendant on our return trip from FL to LA was lagging several times and did not open the door for passengers getting on and OFF! Finally they started announcing it on the PA for the upcoming stop and they would specifically mention him by name and say "you have passengers getting on at this stop - make sure you open the door"

A few other passengers and us were laughing about it, but then one guy who was waiting with his family to get off the train freaked out and started yelling. The train had started to leave and they were all downstairs waiting to get off the train. The train had to stop and then back up to the station!

Geez you'd think he would have only let that happen once - but it happend a couple times!!

He was pretty lame.
 

AlanB

Engineer
Honored Member
Joined
Aug 22, 2002
Messages
28,402
Location
Queens, New York
Radsmom,

Wow, I kinda shocked to hear that. I can't imagine he's going to last too long in that job. Car attendant's catch h**l for a single carry-by, like when they fail to wake a passenger up to get off the train in the middle of the night. But to allow it to happen more than once, I wouldn't be shocked if every conductor wrote him up.
 

radsmom

Train Attendant
Joined
Aug 23, 2002
Messages
95
Oh he was really pathetic as far as that was concerned - in fact one time when we couldn't find him he was in an empty standard room with the curtains closed watching a personal DVD player with headphones on!

But I think most of the time he was busy talking to a couple of young girls who were taking the train to LA to go to Disneyland. My husband and I overheard him talking to them a couple of times and he was asking then questions like, "are you a cheerleader?" "Do you like to be thrown up in the air?"

I have no doubt he got a talking to after this trip because it was obvious the other staff were annoyed with him!
 
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