What Amtrak can learn from the Russians

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Chris I

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Jan 8, 2019
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Sounds like yet another downgrade in reservation service due to primitive computerized system. But I wonder how far into the future is your upcoming trip? Perhaps there's a problem with sleeper car configurations or number of such cars to be included on a particular date. But I do agree with you... no excuse for this. Call back and make sure you have specific preferences in the record. Then again... some of the res agents don't know and don't care; you may have to call back several times.
We're about 5 months out. Is it too early to attempt a room reservation request? We just want to ensure we have roomettes across the hall from each other.
 

20th Century Rider

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We're about 5 months out. Is it too early to attempt a room reservation request? We just want to ensure we have roomettes across the hall from each other.
This may be a res agent problem... keep calling back until you get a good agent that will agree to put that request in. I have found that agents with differing abilities can work magic... if you get a good agent!
 

Exvalley

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We're about 5 months out. Is it too early to attempt a room reservation request? We just want to ensure we have roomettes across the hall from each other.
If you are booked you have a room reservation and have been signed a specific room. But you can always call and ask to be moved so that you are across the hall from each other. Five months out is not too early to call.
 

zephyr17

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Washington State
I emailed Amtrak a week ago about Roomette assignments for an upcoming trip and still haven't received a response. The fact that I couldn't select the rooms we wanted when booking is incredibly frustrating.
Your roomette assignment will be on your eticket even if it no longer shows anywhere else.

If you are emailing to change it, that flat will not work. Forget about it. You will have to call and get an agent that knows how to do it without triggering a reprice. Not all agents do.

I am a bit picky about room location so I always call to make a sleeper reservation so I get the best available (by my criteria) room from the start. I won't use the website to book sleepers until they get room selection on it, if they ever do. I price it on the website, then call.
 
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Trollopian

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Yum! Too bad I can't order a la carte, 'cause a meal of "Porridge WITH COURAGES," "CHICKEN SCHNITZEL WITH BOILED RICE AND KETCHUP SAUCE" or maybe "PUPPYKASH WITH TOMATOES," and some "HORSE JUICE" to wash it down is just what I'm craving. Not sure about the "STEWED GOBLETS."
 

Exvalley

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I must be dense. I don't see anywhere on the website where it displays my car and room number for my existing sleeper reservation - including where it says "use this as your ticket."
 

zephyr17

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Washington State
I must be dense. I don't see anywhere on the website where it displays my car and room number for my existing sleeper reservation - including where it says "use this as your ticket."
You aren't dense. It isn't anywhere on the website or the app. It is only on the PDF eticket that was emailed to you.

You can use the app or website display as your ticket. The QR code (which I scribbled out in my sample) is perfectly valid and scannable. It just doesn't show your room assignment. That's only on the PDF (and Amtrak's manifest) now.
 

PaTrainFan

OBS Chief
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Pittsburgh, Pa.
Your roomette assignment will be on your eticket even if it no longer shows anywhere else.

If you are emailing to change it, that flat will not work. Forget about it. You will have to call and get an agent that knows how to do it without triggering a reprice. Not all agents do.

I am a bit picky about room location so I always call to make a sleeper reservation so I get the best available (by my criteria) room from the start. I won't use the website to book sleepers until they get room selection on it, if they ever do. I price it on the website, then call.
Yet another problem I have with Amtrak's current ways is that I do like the reservation QR code in the app for easy scanning, even if it no longer shows the room number. It is my understanding (unless things have changed) if you make a reservation through an agent it is not available in the app. Another Amtrak quirk.
 
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zephyr17

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Yet another problem I have with Amtrak's current ways is that I do like the reservation QR code in the app for easy scanning, even if it no longer shows the room number, and it my understanding (unless things have changed) if you make a reservation through an agent it is not available in the app. Another Amtrak quirk.
Reservations made through an agent are available in the app now. In the screen shot I posted a couple of responses ago it is a mix of agent and web reservations. The roomette on the Lake Shore was made with an agent and the Acela NYP-PHL was made online. I am holding 8 segments on 5 reservations right now, 5 segments made through an agent, 3 made online, and they all show in the app in chronological order.
 

Chris I

Service Attendant
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Jan 8, 2019
Messages
115
Location
Portland, OR
Your roomette assignment will be on your eticket even if it no longer shows anywhere else.

If you are emailing to change it, that flat will not work. Forget about it. You will have to call and get an agent that knows how to do it without triggering a reprice. Not all agents do.

I am a bit picky about room location so I always call to make a sleeper reservation so I get the best available (by my criteria) room from the start. I won't use the website to book sleepers until they get room selection on it, if they ever do. I price it on the website, then call.
Thanks for this info. I took a look at the e-ticket, and it is on there. Rooms 005 and 006, so I think are good to go.
 

MARC Rider

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Our highways are lavished with almost unlimited government funding but many of them are inadequate and congested.
A few weeks ago, they were running the Tour de France and then a bit later a Spanish bicycle race. They were being broadcast on one of the big-screen TVs we have at my gym to keep us from being totally bored while working out. I couldn't believe those French and Spanish rural back roads! They were small and narrow and twisty over the mountains and such, but they looked like they were perfectly paved, smooth as billiard tables and well marked, pavement lines clear, junctions well marked and signed.

Contrast that with a backroad drive in the rural part of most US states. Oh, the roads are OK and perfectly passable at speed, but potholes and pavement cracks are common, the center and side lines can range from crystal clear to faded to nothing, and signs can be mystifying or obscured by trees and bushes. And that's the state highways, on the real back roads you're at mercy of thousands of county highway departments, most of which seem to prioritize saving money and keeping taxes low over keeping the roads in good shape. And the less I think about the city streets in my neighborhood, the better, except for some reason, the repaved my street a few years ago. Then the gas company decided they needed to replace the gas mains, so they dug up half the street, and the repave job was only the half they dug up. But our street is still way better than the other streets in our neighborhood.
 

mcropod

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Jan 29, 2018
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Oz
A few weeks ago, they were running the Tour de France and then a bit later a Spanish bicycle race. They were being broadcast on one of the big-screen TVs we have at my gym to keep us from being totally bored while working out. I couldn't believe those French and Spanish rural back roads! They were small and narrow and twisty over the mountains and such, but they looked like they were perfectly paved, smooth as billiard tables and well marked, pavement lines clear, junctions well marked and signed.

Contrast that with a backroad drive in the rural part of most US states. Oh, the roads are OK and perfectly passable at speed, but potholes and pavement cracks are common, the center and side lines can range from crystal clear to faded to nothing, and signs can be mystifying or obscured by trees and bushes. And that's the state highways, on the real back roads you're at mercy of thousands of county highway departments, most of which seem to prioritize saving money and keeping taxes low over keeping the roads in good shape. And the less I think about the city streets in my neighborhood, the better, except for some reason, the repaved my street a few years ago. Then the gas company decided they needed to replace the gas mains, so they dug up half the street, and the repave job was only the half they dug up. But our street is still way better than the other streets in our neighborhood.
I'm an avid TdF watcher and I agree with you about the fab state of most of the roads on the Tour. To be fair, though, the route is decided well in advance (you can probably find the full schedule of next year's Tour already) and the road surfaces get a lot of attention in the lead-up. There are many stages on completely new roads as a result.

Sometimes there's a difference on the Spanish roads when they're in the Pyrenees stages on the climbs, but even there the descents are better - going down a steep and twisty potholed road on skinny tyres at 90kph would be deadly.

My bit of Oz hosts the annual Oz National Road-Race Cycling Championships, and if we ever forget when it's due, the road gangs out on the circuit attending to the asphalt in the month before is always a reminder.
 
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v v

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I'm an avid TdF watcher and I agree with you about the fab state of most of the roads on the Tour. To be fair, though, the route is decided well in advance (you can probably find the full schedule of next year's Tour already) and the road surfaces get a lot of attention in the lead-up. There are many stages on completely new roads as a result.
You are mostly correct re TdF and route road surfaces, but the level of maintenance for French roads in general is quite amazing, TdF or not. There is a social element to employment here, ie find work for people who haven't any. The condition of the roads and general state infrastruture tends to be superb, possibly the best in Europe in particular the roads.

We live on a minor but departmental road, every year the road is repaired whether it is in good or bad condition. I used to think it was a tad over the top but these men work as hard as any road workers and appear to take pride in what they do and their area. The added bonus is they are doing something constructive which is good for them, it pleases the tourists to drive here too, and they earn a wage which is then taxed putting some money back into the economy.

To add a rail element to this about a month ago we were headed north to Paris, but there had been torrential rain to the south creating a mudslide across the rail track, enough to close it. I don't know the extent of the slide but our train was only 1 hour and 40 minutes late, they have the manpower to react quickly.

But all this comes at a cost, high taxes allows the road surfaces you see in the TdF.
 

20th Century Rider

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Russia, Europe, Northern Africa, India, Asia, Japan, Middle East... all places that have superior train services and technologies to what we have here with Amtrak.
 
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