• Amtrak Auto Train Discussion

  • Discussion related to Amtrak also known as the National Railroad Passenger Corp.
Discussion related to Amtrak also known as the National Railroad Passenger Corp.

Moderators: GirlOnTheTrain, mtuandrew, Tadman

  by rhallock
 
It depended on the individual case as to whether passengers were satisfied or not. Someone was supposed to come through the train to inform each customer of the status of their car, and in most cases this was done. However at Lorton when all the surviving cars were announced, it turned out that about 18 customers were still in limbo, my sister among them. There hadn't been enough rental cars provided either. The agent at Lorton was very apologetic and ordered some more rental cars, which eventually showed up. The $100 was for incidental expenses like gas, not the car rental which Amtrak covers. Tuesday she was informed by Amtrak that her car was considered totaled. Belongings in the car are supposed to be shipped by Fedex, but I don't know they will arrive. She will have to go out and buy another car. Hers was 10 years old and depreciated quite a bit. Amtrak will probably only pay the book value. She did say that the Amtrak people she spoke with were all very nice and helpful, so she harbors no bad feelings. It was just an unfortunate thing that happened.
  by zuluwarrior
 
Northbound today is only 242 passengers and 179 cars, so about half full. Meal service is takeout delivered in two waves, 5 to 7 and 7 to 9.

They are rolling 9 sleeper cars because the deluxe bedrooms (en suite) are sold. The sleeperettes are about half taken.

Much more track work done in Deland than I expected. Seemed to be track work for a a mile, maybe half a mile, south of the derailment, judging from the discarded ties.
Last edited by zuluwarrior on Sat Apr 04, 2020 6:41 am, edited 2 times in total.
  by lordsigma12345
 
zuluwarrior wrote: Fri Apr 03, 2020 2:40 pm Northbound today is only 242 passengers and 179 cars, so about half full. Meal service is airline style from carts in two waves, 5 to 7 and 7 to 9.
242/179 is pretty decent given the circumstances.
  by STrRedWolf
 
zuluwarrior wrote: Fri Apr 03, 2020 2:40 pm Northbound today is only 242 passengers and 179 cars, so about half full. Meal service is airline style from carts in two waves, 5 to 7 and 7 to 9.
Any southbound? I kinda wonder how that's working out. Nothing's open down in Florida, and I really doubt there's stuff up near DC that's really that interesting to Floridians...
  by Tadman
 
How many cars is auto train usually? Is it the longest quasi-passenger train in the world?
  by zuluwarrior
 
STrRedWolf wrote: Fri Apr 03, 2020 4:14 pm
zuluwarrior wrote: Fri Apr 03, 2020 2:40 pm Northbound today is only 242 passengers and 179 cars, so about half full. Meal service is airline style from carts in two waves, 5 to 7 and 7 to 9.
Any southbound? I kinda wonder how that's working out. Nothing's open down in Florida, and I really doubt there's stuff up near DC that's really that interesting to Floridians...
It's not exactly about visiting stuff. This is full of old folks who don't want to deal with 850 miles of I95, and while normally the rush would be later there is a fair amount of concern about shutting the borders. CT just closed motels, etc to transients limiting it to health care and emergency services, so this is more about getting home.
  by lordsigma12345
 
zuluwarrior wrote: Sat Apr 04, 2020 6:48 am
STrRedWolf wrote: Fri Apr 03, 2020 4:14 pm
zuluwarrior wrote: Fri Apr 03, 2020 2:40 pm Northbound today is only 242 passengers and 179 cars, so about half full. Meal service is airline style from carts in two waves, 5 to 7 and 7 to 9.
Any southbound? I kinda wonder how that's working out. Nothing's open down in Florida, and I really doubt there's stuff up near DC that's really that interesting to Floridians...
It's not exactly about visiting stuff. This is full of old folks who don't want to deal with 850 miles of I95, and while normally the rush would be later there is a fair amount of concern about shutting the borders. CT just closed motels, etc to transients limiting it to health care and emergency services, so this is more about getting home.
Exactly. Some people are likely extending their leases or staying put if they own, but some will have no choice but to head home if they cannot extend their lease/rental (either for availability or financial reasons, or fear they may not be able to get home if you don’t leave now.) The train comes with infection risk, but The I-95 option is of course not without risk as you must make gas, food, and for some overnight stops any of which come with infection risk so for some the train is probably still the best option.

For those who must make the trip, use your head. Maintain social distancing in stations and on the train. If you are in coach cough or sneeze into your elbow and away from other passengers, and keep as much distance as you can and leave your seat only for the rest room. Be extremely cautious in the restroom and wipe before touching anything if possible. If you have some type of face covering you can wear in Public areas and in coach, consider doing so. For those in rooms, stay in your room as much as possible. Bring your own food if possible or accept the meal at your seat/room (this may not even be a choice right now though.) Some reports are that all sleeper meals are being delivered and coach meals are being served in airline style carts. Wipe down surfaces before touching. And when you arrive at Lorton and get your vehicle wipe down the door latch, steering wheel, and shifting column.
  by bostontrainguy
 
Tadman wrote: Fri Apr 03, 2020 8:09 pm How many cars is auto train usually? Is it the longest quasi-passenger train in the world?
Here is some info for you. This was from my last trip before the recent changes and accident so I am not sure exactly what they are running now for a consist:
autotrain_train.jpg Sign at entrance: IMAG1906.jpg
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  by phillyrube
 
I'm not versed on the different rail owners or divisions? What towns did the auto train go through when the detour was in place? Day 10 of house arrest, want to track it using Google earth.
  by zuluwarrior
 
Northbound most passengers were wearing masks of some sort, and some gloves. The staff weren't wearing masks, mostly, and few were wearing gloves. But I think they are concerned about job security. Certainly everyone was extremely helpful.

Most people were doing distancing, except around the coffee machines, which are a real bottleneck with the stairs right there. The lounge was open with many tables blocked off for distancing, and the dining car was closed with dinner delivered individually. In Sanford they had a canopy pitched outside in a parking lot and a lot of folding chairs, and a lot of people were outside in the parking lot or on the platform, so given that the train was at half capacity there was a fair amount of distancing. People were clearly being careful.

Florida at the moment is still in a state of denial; plenty of people out and about and more traffic around Tampa and Orlando than around NYC. But the bomb is about to hit and I fear it will be worse than NY given the age of the population and government inaction up to now. When it does I expect it will not be possible to book a room or extend a lease, ala the CT model.

Northbound from Lorton on I95 many rest areas are closed, and those that are open are somewhat unpredictable. Some sell no gas, some have no food or limited vending machine/takeout. I don't have a sense of what lodging might have been available along the route, so all in all while it is running the Auto Train is the best alternative and the most controlled situation.

One surprise is that the pricing is good; in all the rebooking our fare went down $200. All the Canadians around us got a text message to boogie home or shelter in place even though their government insurance would expire. They were long gone before the derailment.

The detour was described as a bit of a nightmare, backing for two hours before they could turn northbound again.
  by zuluwarrior
 
Looking at the typical consist posted above, I think it is now different. We were 9 sleepers, not 6, and since January they I think deleted one coach car and the dining cars for the coaches.
  by Tadman
 
bostontrainguy wrote: Sat Apr 04, 2020 10:00 am
Tadman wrote: Fri Apr 03, 2020 8:09 pm How many cars is auto train usually? Is it the longest quasi-passenger train in the world?
Here is some info for you. This was from my last trip before the recent changes and accident so I am not sure exactly what they are running now for a consist:

autotrain_train.jpg
Interesting, thanks. I've been keeping a list of the longest trains I've been on. In sheer cars, this wins, although I've not been aboard. My record is 27 + 3 on Via and 16+1 on Scotrail.
  by Gilbert B Norman
 
Bob Johnston has a review of the "new" Auto-Train appearing in May TRAINS based on a Northbound trip taken during February.

It seems as if he walked away with the same impression as did I from my January sojourn; "nothing to be excited about, nothing to go out of your way for".
  by lordsigma12345
 
Gilbert B Norman wrote: Sat Apr 04, 2020 3:55 pm Bob Johnston has a review of the "new" Auto-Train appearing in May TRAINS based on a Northbound trip taken during February.

It seems as if he walked away with the same impression as did I from my January sojourn; "nothing to be excited about, nothing to go out of your way for".
Their whole thing is a little bit of false advertising in my opinion to try to make it sound great that they removed the coach dining. My last ride in October wasn’t any different from any of my previous rides in the last few years. It seems like basically it’s new comforters in the sleepers. The one benefit may be is that they are have added more capacity so the pricing may be generally lower. Food quality wasn’t any better (or worse) than any of my previous trips. It sounds like they just rotated the menu again in the last few weeks, but the auto train seemingly has always rotated more often than the other long distance trains. I like the auto train and use it frequently Because I think it serves it’s purpose when your Florida drive would involve the same stretch of I-95 , but given that the views on the route aren’t anything special I think it’s really more about the utility ( it works well for me coming from New England) but I would agree certainly nothing special to go out of your way for. The Boston section of the lake shore right in my backyard has more scenery than the Florida trains if seeking experiential riding.
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