• KiwiRail , better service than Amtrak ???

  • Tell us where you were and what you saw!
Tell us where you were and what you saw!

Moderator: David Benton

  by David Benton
The following article , from the kiwirails employee newsletter express , may be somewhat biased .

KiwiRail’s long distance passenger services
are light years ahead of most services in the
United States says seasoned New Zealand
rail traveller Dave Johnston after a five-week,
8,000 mile rail odyssey in North America.
Dave Johnston returned to New Zealand
early this month after a tour that started
in Los Angeles and took him and 29 other
New Zealanders first to San Francisco, then
on the California Zephyr to Denver.
From Denver they went to Chicago and then
to Buffalo. From there they travelled to New
York and on to Washington by high speed
train. From Washington they limped to New
Orleans and then back to Los Angeles.
“It was the trip of a lifetime – a wonderful
experience,” he says.
But he says the standard of service on
KiwiRail trains is significantly better than he
encountered on Amtrack.
“You’d ask a question about the area you
were passing through and most of them
didn’t know,” he says. “Contrast that with
the very good commentary you get on
KiwiRail trains.”
Dave Johnston says KiwiRail also does better
on the tidiness of train interiors and the way
bookings are handled.
“KiwiRail’s rolling stock might be older, but
it still does very well. The Amtrack rolling
stock still dates back to the 60s and 70s.
They operate on a bigger scale but they still
suffer from the same problems KiwiRail has
to deal with.”
He says the trip to Chicago ended
prematurely at Denver because of flooding
in Omaha but the Amtrack staff provided no
advance notice of the shortened trip.
He said the descent into Denver on a series of
spirals that dwarfed the Raurimu Spiral was
spectacular as was the snow-covered landscape.
At Buffalo they encountered the biggest
abandoned railway station Dave Johnston
had ever seen.
“It was 14 stories high and had 20 plus
platforms,” he says.
The high-speed train from New York to
Washington was a great experience but
the onward trip from Washington to New
Orleans was plagued by delays and broken
down freight services that blocked their path.
Back in New Zealand, he’s planning more
rail trips around the Rugby World Cup.

link to complete newsletter . http://xa.yimg.com/kq/groups/6643079/14 ... sue103.pdf