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Passenger Trains > Trip report, California Zephyr, Glenwood Spgs-Osceola


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Date: 04/02/21 11:05
Trip report, California Zephyr, Glenwood Spgs-Osceola
Author: GenePoon

From another discussion groujp:

This trip was fraught with problems.  It was almost 2 hours late into Glenwood Springs.  It was the same consist and crew.  Again we were in Kathryn's car although in a different roomette.  Here is where the disappointment started.  I wear a very distinctive mask that everyone loves.  I tipped her well on the first trip and when we boarded this time she didn't even seem to remember us only three days later.  Not even a welcome back.  Our room had been occupied up to that point so we had to sit in the diner until she could turn the room.  No sign of Donald though.  She had to turn another room too.  There were at least 50 people boarding.  Many of them had been on our train out.  The train was so late we were there for the westbound 5(27) which also had good boarding numbers.  By the time our train arrived lunch was over.  Dinner is where the real problems started.  They were down to three available entrees.  The better ones were already sold out, they were already gone for the lunch we didn't get.  I wasn't happy.  Several others were very vocal and indignant.  We were told to write Johnny Kelly with complaints.  We were over 2 hours late getting to Denver.  We sat within sight of downtown for 35 minutes waiting for clearance.  We barely cleared that crossing when we stopped for another 15 minutes.  The next morning at breakfast Donald told us that that stop was to remove someone who had bumped the conductor and was held for arrest.  He said that it is a very rare trip when they don't have to have someone arrested and removed.  They hate having to be the mask police.  It is the worst part of the job.  He also dished on some of the staff which was very interesting and helped explain the poor stocking of the diner.  Turns out he was usually the cook, but there were so many complaints the lead service attendant retreated to the kitchen and sent Donald topside.  It was so bad that they had to place an advance order to the Subway in Mt Pleasant, IA to have enough to offer for lunch.  And since they were so late in Denver those 20 boarding 1st Class did not get dinner.  We were told that they should have had enough food for those 20 and the 80 already on board in the sleepers.  They obviously were very short.  We got off in Osceola as did several other people.  Both our room and another room had to be turned immediately as they had been sold to Chicago. All and all it was still a good trip and we're ready to travel again soon.  

The staff was told that despite the train being restored to daily service in mid May, full dinner service is not likely to be restored until after the 4th of July at the earliest.  And while they couldn't say for sure they suspected the other long distance trains would have similar delays after their restoration to daily service.


 



Date: 04/02/21 11:49
Re: Trip report, California Zephyr, Glenwood Spgs-Osceola
Author: co614

Sadly, as has been the case for many years, inconsistency is Amtrak's biggest downside. One never knows before starting a trip on one of the LDT's what caliber crew you'll get. It ranges from acceptable ( about 70% of the time) to exceptional ( about 5% of the time ) to downright lousy ( about 25% of the time).

   Until/unless Amtrak vastly improves its crew training and discipline this will not change. 

    Sad but true. Ross Rowland 



Date: 04/02/21 12:10
Re: Trip report, California Zephyr, Glenwood Spgs-Osceola
Author: IC_2024

You're right, Ross.   I refer to it as "coin toss, 50-50":   You take one leg of your trip, and it's fine, then, upon return you get the "50-50"  and have a bad trip.   It' can be vice-versa, but you get the idea.   Ultimately, it's a coin toss or throw of the dice every trip, and that's why no one who lives in the real world would  expect any consistency w/ what NRPC delivers.
50 years of "we're sorry" passenger service, and sadly it's usually just a "shrug of the shoulders" with no apologies given. 



Date: 04/02/21 12:32
Re: Trip report, California Zephyr, Glenwood Spgs-Osceola
Author: kurtarmbruster

Thanks for this sobering and saddening report. I love train travel and wish I could love Amtrak, but this is what 50 years of being a true "orphan road" will do. Until rail passenger service is given full funding and full, competent management, I'm afraid we're in for more of the same, only the same. And I'll be flying.



Date: 04/02/21 12:39
Re: Trip report, California Zephyr, Glenwood Spgs-Osceola
Author: realistic

Amtrak's 50 years old this year and in 50 years from now, you will see that nothing will change.  I've worked for Amtrak for 15 years and the government has sunk in say $25 billion over that time frame.  It's the same equipment and operational problems to me today as it was when I started 15 years ago.

With service on the LDT's down to just 3-days a week, nobody in the general public really cares. There hasn't been a nationwide outcry about the reduced service. Nobody really misses it. The company is and will always be dysfunctional and a novelty. It will never truly catch on with the traveling public that prefers planes and autos. Only the die-hard rail fans will fully support it, and there's not enough of them as they die off.  Nobody's really worried about the dining car service where there's steaks or turkey meatballs, so long as it's free. 



Date: 04/02/21 12:52
Re: Trip report, California Zephyr, Glenwood Spgs-Osceola
Author: MSE

With service on the LDT's down to just 3-days a week, nobody in the general public really cares. There hasn't been a nationwide outcry about the reduced service. Nobody really misses it. =14pxThe company is and will always be dysfunctional and a novelty.

No one knows because Amtrak is a non-entity. There is no discernable national advertising. There is no nation branding as far as I can tell. I have been convinced for at least a decade that the company runs on momentum and is completely indifferent as to whether it succeeds or fails. 

The traffic on I-70 between between KC and STL is so bad my wife absolutely refuses to drive. So, we've take two trips via Amtrak. It would be a great alternative but the trains were dirty and the bathroom was extremely smelly. These things aren't hard. They don't cost more. The company doesn't care. If they provided a decent service, these trains would be full every day. 

 



Date: 04/02/21 13:44
Re: Trip report, California Zephyr, Glenwood Spgs-Osceola
Author: RRBaron

I hear your pain. Once we were first in universal medicine--not now. Once we were first in industry--not now. Once we were first in public education--not now. Once we were first in super highways--not now. And once we were first in modern rail travel--not now. The point I'm making is that Amtrak is only a reflection of the general malaise of our country. How many of you can recall the 1950s when everybody had a job and everything worked? The beat cop was your friend, kids walked to school without fear, Ma Bell ran all the phones and when you dialed "0" you got a very helpful and polite operator. The Post Office was 100% reliable then. Some cities even had twice a day delivery and not just for the Christmas Holidays--I think the UK still does! If you needed to travel a long way you could have your pick of the: 20th Century Limited, Daylight, Super Chief, the original CZ, and so on. Alas, Amtrak has met it's enemy and it is us. Oops, I forgot the good part, we are still first in Mars exploration, thanks to those overpaid "kids" at JPL! 



Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 04/02/21 14:57 by RRBaron.



Date: 04/02/21 14:13
Re: Trip report, California Zephyr, Glenwood Spgs-Osceola
Author: PHall

MSE Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> The traffic on I-70 between between KC and STL is
> so bad my wife absolutely refuses to drive. So,
> we've take two trips via Amtrak. It would be a
> great alternative but the trains were dirty and
> the bathroom was extremely smelly. These things
> aren't hard. They don't cost more. The company
> doesn't care. If they provided a decent service,
> these trains would be full every day. 
>
>

Isn't the train between KC and STL a state supported train?
Contact your state reps and complain. The state is paying for clean trains.  



Date: 04/02/21 14:46
Re: Trip report, California Zephyr, Glenwood Spgs-Osceola
Author: jp1822

I hate to say this, as it may be politically incorrect or perhaps insensitive of me, but riders of Amtrak often endure a lot - positive and negatives. And despite the negatives, they keep coming back to the service. It's like "the battered wife syndrome." Very sad. Even sadder is that this report says that there was a good amount of boardings at various stations (turnover of rooms etc.), and the trains are only operating 3x per week. The LD trains appear to be getting a pretty good amount of patronage and will likely bounce back well when going back to daily service.

The California Zephyr usually gets 3 sleepers in peak season, and I think they should be getting at least three sleepers when going back to daily service. Amtrak says it is considering adding a second sleeper to the Texas Eagle, but the can get better yields with the CA Zephyr. It is often VERY hard to book a sleeper all the way way through from Chicago to the Sacramento-Bay Area. I've even suggested that in peak season the Superliner Deluxe Sleepers that operate on the Auto Train should be transferred to the CA Zephyr (3 Regular Sleepers and the Deluxe Sleeper) and a Sightseer Lounge be added for sleeper passengers as the Lounge is typically very over-crowded and full going through the Rocky and Sierra Nevada Mountains..............

Hopefully the Empire Builder can get a second sleeper added on the Portland section if the single Portland Sleeper gets sold out. I think there's going to be a lot of domestic travel this year, as people can't travel internationally. 



Date: 04/02/21 14:55
Re: Trip report, California Zephyr, Glenwood Spgs-Osceola
Author: TomG

"With service on the LDT's down to just 3-days a week, nobody in the general public really cares. There hasn't been a nationwide outcry about the reduced service. Nobody really misses it."

You forget one BIG issue. Covid. Accept for going to work and straight home, my wife and I dont go anywhere. We will not until things get back to normal. Had I not been on this site I would never know Amtrak was on a reduced schedule.



Date: 04/02/21 16:42
Re: Trip report, California Zephyr, Glenwood Spgs-Osceola
Author: Chicodepot

Based on my nearly 40 years of riding, hundreds of trips long and short, I have come to the conclusion that the bad apple crew is matched and generally exceeded by disgusting and repulsive passengers. Toss into the mix management that cannot or will not perform and the result is the mess we have.  It does look like this might be the bottom.  A better future? Maybe.

 



Date: 04/02/21 17:18
Re: Trip report, California Zephyr, Glenwood Spgs-Osceola
Author: IC_2024

Chicodepot Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Based on my nearly 40 years of riding, hundreds of
> trips long and short, I have come to the
> conclusion that the bad apple crew is matched and
> generally exceeded by disgusting and repulsive
> passengers. Toss into the mix management that
> cannot or will not perform and the result is the
> mess we have.  It does look like this might be
> the bottom.  A better future? Maybe.
>
>  
Maybe, Chicodepot?!?    "Hope springs eternal", but the PCTCO of passenger service, "AKA NRPC", will never deliver.   Just will not happen.  And, you're 100% correct:  Many of our riders are freshly-released felons and other N'eer do'er wells..  I strongly caution all who would travel coach on LDT's,  sadly...  These people are miscreants at best, and downright scary, hostile folks...  Sad to see what has happened to our country in general, and specifically our once "somewhat" civilized passenger trains.



Date: 04/02/21 17:36
Re: Trip report, California Zephyr, Glenwood Spgs-Osceola
Author: IC_2024

TomG Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> "With service on the LDT's down to just 3-days a
> week, nobody in the general public really cares.
> There hasn't been a nationwide outcry about the
> reduced service. Nobody really misses it."
>
> You forget one BIG issue. Covid. Accept for going
> to work and straight home, my wife and I dont go
> anywhere. We will not until things get back to
> normal. Had I not been on this site I would never
> know Amtrak was on a reduced schedule.

Well, you make a point, but the original poster is correct in his assessment.  Amtrak is wayyy down on the totem pole for any recognition from the majority of the populace, and the larger looming "Covid" has wreaked havoc for sure so will indeed say that it was a "death blow" that perhaps will be unrecoverable over time-- we shall see.
  I have to credit them for an ad campaign aimed at young hipster techies, though...   I'm seeing a lot of these folks in our sleepers these days!



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/02/21 17:39 by IC_2024.



Date: 04/02/21 18:51
Re: Trip report, California Zephyr, Glenwood Spgs-Osceola
Author: Chicodepot

How about a guy with a duct tape coat, gloves and a taped cardboard box which was his ticket off the train in Denver.....he said he might might blow up the train.  Police and medics escorted him out of station...    Drunks too numerous to mention on too many trains.  Weed smoke.  Disgusting cigarette smokers who can’t shut up about the next stop. And slobs leaving garbage everywhere. 😠



Date: 04/02/21 23:37
Re: Trip report, California Zephyr, Glenwood Spgs-Osceola
Author: pdt

IMHO...like most govt operations, the real objective from the begining has been to provider jobs for ppl.   Which resulted in Amtk being burdened with a a lot of employees who were not at all suited to working in a service business.  Amtrak had a chance..lots of ppl tried it...and became members of the "never again" club.  

Seems amtk has made little progress in being a service company, nor, it seems, do they want to.  Treating passengers as customers, the life blood of the operation,  still seems to be optional.



Date: 04/03/21 02:00
Re: Trip report, California Zephyr, Glenwood Spgs-Osceola
Author: Drknow

pdt Wrote:
-----------------------------------------------------





> Seems amtk has made little progress in being a
> service company, nor, it seems, do they want to. 
> Treating passengers as customers, the life blood
> of the operation,  still seems to be optional.

Are you kidding?! That describes the PSR playbook to a “T”
Giving “service” to who you want, when it’s convenient for the Carrier is the mantra of the Cult of Harrison. Only the Shortline’s and regionals seem to understand that the boxcar is not the Devil’s wagon and a Wayfreight is not “boutique” service.

Customer service has become a foreign concept in the USA, be it Class One railroads or fast food, or retail sales etc. and Amtrak is sadly no exception to the phenomenon.

Posted from iPhone



Date: 04/03/21 05:23
Re: Trip report, California Zephyr, Glenwood Spgs-Osceola
Author: SANSR

"Customer service has become a foreign concept in the USA, be it Class One railroads or fast food, or retail sales etc."
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
This.



Date: 04/03/21 07:36
Re: Trip report, California Zephyr, Glenwood Spgs-Osceola
Author: joemvcnj

$80 Billion stimulus, even if it all passes, wil do nothing to solve these issues and probably make them worse. 



Date: 04/03/21 08:29
Re: Trip report, California Zephyr, Glenwood Spgs-Osceola
Author: Train29

I had great customer service on AutoTrain. Friendly, helpful, and efficient. A crew of two cleaned and made up my room before arrival. Everything was spotless throughout the train. Lounge car attendant very friendly unlike so many others. Dinner with actual food excellent and served by a competent and friendly staff in the diner. So it can be done. Why can't this standard of service be provided on all trains?  They work for the same company. Belong to the same union. Have the same basic job responsibilities. My understanding is they are based out of DC area? From experience I find in general with some exceptions the LA and Seattle crews to be good to great. Chicago crews not so much. Again with exceptions. 



Date: 04/03/21 09:31
Re: Trip report, California Zephyr, Glenwood Spgs-Osceola
Author: WP-M2051

IC_2024 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> You're right, Ross.   I refer to it as "coin
> toss, 50-50":   You take one leg of your trip,
> and it's fine, then, upon return you get the
> "50-50"  and have a bad trip.   It' can be
> vice-versa, but you get the idea.   Ultimately,
> it's a coin toss or throw of the dice every trip,
> and that's why no one who lives in the real world
> would  expect any consistency w/ what NRPC
> delivers.
> 50 years of "we're sorry" passenger service, and
> sadly it's usually just a "shrug of the shoulders"
> with no apologies given. 

"Tracks are back" and "We're making the trains worth traveling again":  Madison Ave. idiocies of the 1970s.  What needed to be done was to turn Amtrak's operations one of the progressive passenger department that still existed at   the AT&SF, UP and at least parts of BN and have it run properly, not foolishly/flashily.  Instead Penn Central and New Haven got the nod and it's been all downhill ever since, starting with the vomit interiors, plastic windows and every other abomination. At least Superliners are better than those vile steam heated abortions.



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