What Does Amtrak Think of Us?

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AmtrakBlue

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Dakota 400

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I'm glad, means I don't have to worry about getting Facebook!
For quite some time, I refused signing up for Facebook. However, if I wanted to attend my virtual live Church services, I had to get a Facebook account. Still don't use it except for that purpose, but, if there is an Amtrak group on Facebook, I would be interested in checking that out. Being a Facebook "dummy" as to how to use the site, how would I find such a group?
 
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lordsigma

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Not all railfans are the same either. Even on this and other boards there’s a diversity of opinions. There are some railfans that are more fans of railroads in general but who are not necessarily huge Amtrak fans or even huge passenger rail fans - some in fact being anti Amtrak or at least against certain aspects. Also some railfans are also aviation buffs others are not (I personally despise flying.) some of us are 100% captive Amtrak passengers (like me - again afraid/hate flying) while others like it but also like flying too and will go with whatever they feel is the best value. For some of us the food is an immensely important part of the trip - for others not necessarily so. So I can’t say it’s fair to say that there’s a consensus opinion of railfans. I’d suspect there’s many issues where the majority of people on here and other groups feel one way or another - but it’s by no means universal.
 

Tlcooper93

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Finally got rid of instagram back in October; hadn't used fb in months but that was deleted too. Time & privacy were my main concerns. I do miss the advocacy side and wish there were good platforms to replace that aspect, but overall very happy with the decision. Highly recommend The Social Dilemma documentary if you haven't seen it.
Recommend that doc too. Pretty much confirms any fears and suspicions we had over social media.
I stayed off of Instagram for the longest time, but had to join for work in 2019, and subsequently saw my mental health and productivity decline, and had to take action.


Not all railfans are the same either. Even on this and other boards there’s a diversity of opinions. There are some railfans that are more fans of railroads in general but who are not necessarily huge Amtrak fans or even huge passenger rail fans - some in fact being anti Amtrak or at least against certain aspects. Also some railfans are also aviation buffs others are not (I personally despise flying.) some of us are 100% captive Amtrak passengers (like me - again afraid/hate flying) while others like it but also like flying too and will go with whatever they feel is the best value. For some of us the food is an immensely important part of the trip - for others not necessarily so. So I can’t say it’s fair to say that there’s a consensus opinion of railfans. I’d suspect there’s many issues where the majority of people on here and other groups feel one way or another - but it’s by no means universal.
Good point! I am an aviation buff who only recently became fascinated with trains and their usefulness to society, which was in part due to COVID allowing me to fulfill my childhood dream of building an HO scale model railroad.

Is AU the community that packs the biggest punch? I was listening to a YouTube “podcast” by American Rail Club and that guy who runs it (who’s name escapes me) and it seems some commenters had less than favorable things to say about AU. Also called us obsessed with dying LD trains.
 

AmtrakBlue

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For quite some time, I refused signing up for Facebook. However, if I wanted to attend my virtual live Church services, I had to get a Facebook account. Still don't use it except for that purpose, but, if there is an Amtrak group on Facebook, I would be interested in checking that out. Being a Facebook "dummy" as to how to use the site, how would I find such a group?
A quick answer, for now. Use the search box (top left) on FB and type Amtrak and you’ll get a bunch of Amtrak related FB groups listed. Some you will need to request to join.
If you’re interested in a group for a specific train, search the train name.
 

Cal

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Finally got rid of instagram back in October; hadn't used fb in months but that was deleted too. Time & privacy were my main concerns. I do miss the advocacy side and wish there were good platforms to replace that aspect, but overall very happy with the decision. Highly recommend The Social Dilemma documentary if you haven't seen it.
I still use Instagram. Mostly to look at great photography and speak with friends.
 

Cal

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but, if there is an Amtrak group on Facebook, I would be interested in checking that out
I believe our pal @Ryan owns "Fans of Amtrak" (is that the right name?). But with AU around, I don't see a point in joining Facebook.
Not all railfans are the same either. Even on this and other boards there’s a diversity of opinions. There are some railfans that are more fans of railroads in general but who are not necessarily huge Amtrak fans or even huge passenger rail fans - some in fact being anti Amtrak or at least against certain aspects. Also some railfans are also aviation buffs others are not (I personally despise flying.) some of us are 100% captive Amtrak passengers (like me - again afraid/hate flying) while others like it but also like flying too and will go with whatever they feel is the best value. For some of us the food is an immensely important part of the trip - for others not necessarily so. So I can’t say it’s fair to say that there’s a consensus opinion of railfans. I’d suspect there’s many issues where the majority of people on here and other groups feel one way or another - but it’s by no means universal.
Yep. I'm a life-long railfan (I'd say more on the passenger side) and I also consider myself an avgeek and love flying.
 

me_little_me

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Finally got rid of instagram back in October; hadn't used fb in months but that was deleted too. Time & privacy were my main concerns. I do miss the advocacy side and wish there were good platforms to replace that aspect, but overall very happy with the decision. Highly recommend The Social Dilemma documentary if you haven't seen it.
The really sad things is that more and more governments, non-profits and private companies have sold their souls to the private networks who just want to steal users' personal information for profit instead of using the public one.

And the core belief of The Social Dilemma
The documentary provides a deep dive into on how social media's design is meant to nurture an addiction, manipulate people and governments, and spread conspiracy theories and disinformation. The film also examines the issue of social media's effect on mental health (including the mental health of adolescents and rising teen suicide rates).
is so true and so sad.
 

Amtrakfflyer

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I see AU as very similar to Flyertalk or more specifically the Network threads of airlines on airliners.net. This example of Alaska airlines shows a lot of similarities with AU. Any good company should have someone who at least occasionally browses social media and reports back strong trends.

I do agree Amtrak management panders more to politicians than actual customers, even though we as taxpayers are in effect owners of the company.

We can all agree current management while better than Amtrak’s worse CEO Anderson still leaves a lot to be desired.

 
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Bembidion

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The general tenor of responses may be predictable but I am curious enough to start a discussion here. What do you think Amtrak thinks of: 1) railfans in general and those who are dedicated to supporting the enterprise and the idea of quality train travel, 2) the RPA as an organization which while at times holds differing viewpoints, very much values Amtrak's existence and goes to bat for it daily in Washington and in many states, and 3) forums like this where the good, the bad and the very ugly are in full display. All three general groups have the means to influence their friends, family to travel and to some degree elected officials.

I am tempted to think the following: Amtrak management has little regard for true railfans and think of us as foamers, in the deragatory manner. I believe they find RPA to be a royal PITA (I guess most lobbying groups are to a degree) and give lip service if anything to the group. In regard to this forum, just a question: do they every actually monitor us to get a pulse on what the grassroots are thinking, and then walk away thinking we are weirdos? If we qualify as grassroots. I was once told directly by a very knowledgeable and respected rail journalist that if one ever applies for a job at Amtrak, do not admit to being a railfan as it would be a sure path to being dinged. But for context, that was many years ago and there may be exceptions to that among members here.

I work for a very large Fortune 200 company that operates in a very different realm, and I am certain that much of the public believes we don't give a rat's patoot (as Col. Potter used to say) about what they think. I am privy enough to know the reality: My company cares very deeply what customers think, especially in this age of social media. The execs may or may not act because the company performance is still the bottom line, but it does matter to them that customers are deftly communicated with and in very many instances their issues are resolved satisfactorily. I have a sinking feeling that Amtrak does not think that way, though Guest Relations act on occasion with credits. And to be fair, perhaps the return of traditional dining in the west and the potential of a modified version in the east may be an example of Amtrak actually listening. I guess they listened to somebody on that but there's so much else left on the table and I seriously question that the details matter to them.

Enough rambling from one who disdains long posts. Thoughts?
This may be a bit peripheral to your subject, but I talked to a couple of Amtrak employees about what I could do to influence Amtrak for their benefit and for better service. They said to write to your congressional delegation. They felt that such action would have the most influence. They did not feel that contacting Amtrak directly would do anything. I'm guessing that Amtrak gets so overwhelmed by preoples' comments that it becomes more like white noise than anything.
 

zephyr17

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While we complain mightily about service downgrades like flex dining and the current, the apparently somewhat artificial equipment shortage, and the ever popular cost of sleepers, I think as a whole we are a lot less whiny and entitled than over at Flyertalk. A whole lot of discussion over there is pretty much "how dare the airline sell a First Class seat that I should be entitled to upgrade to for free as a Super Platinum Global Wonderboy elite member." The sense of entitlement of a lot posts over there are a wonder to behold. Although in fairness a lot of posts about connection viability, and other practical matters. The thread about US Passport application processing time has a lot of useful information in it.

No one here has ever complained that they weren't given a bedroom for free because they are an Executive Select member to my knowledge.

Full disclaimer, I do post over there using the same handle I do here, but am a lot less active on it.
 
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Tlcooper93

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Full disclaimer, I do post over there using the same handle I do here, but am a lot less active on it.
Doesn’t your handle make more sense over here?

Agreed on the white noise theory.
Unfortunately, most people (probably including some Amtrak management) view many of us as foamers over an antiquated form of travel.

anything we say isn’t “with the times,” and will probably be tossed aside without due consideration.
 

zephyr17

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Doesn’t your handle make more sense over here?
I think more people over here the knowledge to successfully parse the meaning of my handle (hint, the 17 part isn't a randomly chosen differentiating number), but at the end of the day it is just a label.

I agree that criticism too foamerish is ignored. But I also think that anything resembling support for decent long distance service, like decent meals available for all passengers or availability of congenial non-revenue lounge space, is also dismissed as just nostalgia for the days of white glove Santa Fe standards when it is just a call for something pretty ordinary.

I don't think upper Amtrak management actually understands the business it is in outside corridors.
 

MARC Rider

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I agree that criticism too foamerish is ignored. But I also think that anything resembling support for decent long distance service, like decent meals available for all passengers or availability of congenial non-revenue lounge space, is also dismissed as just nostalgia for the days of white glove Santa Fe standards when it is just a call for something pretty ordinary.
You know, they did return "traditional" dining to the western trains, and apparently they're planning to make it available to coach passengers again and to upgrade food on the Eastern trains. Of course, it was more than "foamers" who were complaining about the food.

I don't think upper Amtrak management actually understands the business it is in outside corridors.
They still haven't returned to the full menu in the Northeast Regional cafe cars, and the trains are now close to being full again. Maybe they don't understand corridors, either. :) (Or maybe the main thing that people go for in the Northeast corridor cafe cars is beer/wine and snacks, and I'm the only foamer who cares about being able to get a bagel and fresh fruit cup for breakfast.)
 

BCL

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What is AGR?
It was noted what AGR stands for, but Anthony Rizos was the "Director, Member Experience Solutions" for Amtrak Guest Rewards. Which meant he didn't necessarily get to make the rules, but he certainly heard it when people were angry about how the terms changed. Especially when they switched from the fixed points using three regions to a dollar based point system. And the loss of 100 point minimum segments.
 
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