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Smoking on the California Zephyr


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#1 Guest_RAIL DISCUSSER_*

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Posted 04 September 2010 - 08:58 AM

I recently travelled from Denver to Chicago on the California Zephyr. When we left Denver, the Conductor told us that we could not smoke on the train or we would get "put off". Once we got to Omaha, that Conductor got off the train and we got a new Conductor that was cool.

The new Conductor turned our coach into a smoking car and told all the non-smokers to move up to a different car. The Conductor even sat in the coach with us and smoked a pipe. Now that's what I'm talking about.

Maybe I will get a cool Conductor on my next trip. I think this guy said his name was Charles.

#2 WhoozOn1st

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Posted 04 September 2010 - 09:06 AM

Yeah, right.
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#3 PRR 60

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Posted 04 September 2010 - 09:12 AM

I recently travelled from Denver to Chicago on the California Zephyr. When we left Denver, the Conductor told us that we could not smoke on the train or we would get "put off". Once we got to Omaha, that Conductor got off the train and we got a new Conductor that was cool.

The new Conductor turned our coach into a smoking car and told all the non-smokers to move up to a different car. The Conductor even sat in the coach with us and smoked a pipe. Now that's what I'm talking about.

Maybe I will get a cool Conductor on my next trip. I think this guy said his name was Charles.


There is a better chance that "Charles" would be departing, as in fired by Amtrak. If what you described actually happened (and I truly doubt it), that would be a gross violation of Amtrak rules and could subject the conductor to termination. If anyone of the relocated non-smokers complained to Amtrak, Charles would be flipping burgers somewhere. That would be "cool."

I think this post is bogus.

#4 MrFSS

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Posted 04 September 2010 - 09:18 AM

I think we have had this discussed before in connection with the Iowa flooding. This may have been the train that went from Omaha to Chicago without any stops. And, indeed, it is possible, as others have reported, they made one car the smoking car since there would be no smoke breaks. That would have been announced in that car if indeed this is what happened.

I have edited the OP message to remove the name calling.

#5 rrdude

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Posted 04 September 2010 - 09:41 AM

I think we have had this discussed before in connection with the Iowa flooding. This may have been the train that went from Omaha to Chicago without any stops. And, indeed, it is possible, as others have reported, they made one car the smoking car since there would be no smoke breaks. That would have been announced in that car if indeed this is what happened.

I have edited the OP message to remove the name calling.


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#6 caravanman

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Posted 04 September 2010 - 09:59 AM

Hi,

I wonder whether it would even be legal to turn one car into a smoking car? I have seen a guy arrested by the local sherrif after being caught smoking aboard train, at an unscheduled road/rail stop. My point is this: If it is "a federal offence" to smoke, then can Amtrak employees "waive, or cancell" the federal offence, simply by "giving permission"?

Cheers,

Ed :cool:

#7 Long Train Runnin'

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Posted 04 September 2010 - 10:03 AM

Hi,

I wonder whether it would even be legal to turn one car into a smoking car? I have seen a guy arrested by the local sherrif after being caught smoking aboard train, at an unscheduled road/rail stop. My point is this: If it is "a federal offence" to smoke, then can Amtrak employees "waive, or cancell" the federal offence, simply by "giving permission"?

Cheers,

Ed :cool:


The conductor has authority over the train, so I suppose a decision like this would be at his discretion I guess if you really stretch it you could say he acted for the safety of the passengers by allowing them to feed their addictions. Amtrak's rule book does allow but "discourages" smoking in locomotives for operating crew.
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#8 Guest_Guest_*

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Posted 04 September 2010 - 10:18 AM

Im no lawyer (maybe the members that are will weigh in here??) :help: but since smoking is allowed on the AutoTrain in the designated "smoking lounge" perhaps it's a matter of Amtrak policy and not federal law? :unsure: I too have seen several people put off for smoking aboard trains and even arrested for smoking pot @ the next "stop"! ;) If Blue jean Girl or another of our Amtrak employees is reading this thread perhaps we can get a definitive answer??

#9 AlanB

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Posted 04 September 2010 - 12:32 PM

It's a combination of law and policy I believe. AFAIK, there is a law that requires separated sections between smokers and non-smokers. Hence the smoker's lounges on the Auto Train, and for that matter the lounges that used to exist on all long distance trains. Amtrak policy did away with those other lounges in large part because the smoker's abused their privileges. So now only the Auto Train, which makes no passenger stops along the way, has lounges left.
Alan,

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#10 Guest_RailSmoker_*

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Posted 28 September 2010 - 05:37 PM

I've done some checking into this and I have found it to be true. Lots of conductors allow smoking on the trains. They tell you to sneak down to the window and pretend that they do now know you are doing it. Other's like Charles, do convert the cars into smoking cars. Only a few ****s try to enforce the policies but we smokers usually win that game. Smoke away on the CZ!

#11 Shawn Ryu

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Posted 28 September 2010 - 06:09 PM

Its too bad you cant do this on an Amfleet or any one level cars.

#12 Trogdor

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Posted 28 September 2010 - 08:04 PM

Pretty much every train I have been on, the conductors emphasize in no uncertain terms that smoking is not allowed. To say the smokers "usually win" is probably stretching it. A conductor is playing Russian roulette with his job if he thinks he's going to turn a car into an unofficial "smoking" car.
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#13 Devil's Advocate

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Posted 28 September 2010 - 08:26 PM

Hmm. I've yet to encounter any smokers on the train. If I ever see this being allowed I'll be more than happy to report it to Amtrak HR, the press, and to every regulatory authority that has a say in the matter. That should ensure it doesn't just get swept under the rug. Happy smoking! ^_^

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#14 ALC Rail Writer

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Posted 28 September 2010 - 10:17 PM

Never been on a train where this has happened under any circumstances.

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#15 Guest_LA Resident_*

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Posted 28 September 2010 - 10:38 PM

Never been on a train where this has happened under any circumstances.

This one sounds suspiciously similar to the recent posting by the woman who allegedly had her computer tower stolen by someone who just happened to rifle through her stowed luggage...yada yada yada

The number of trips by those on this forum who've ridden Amtrak trains must total in the thousands, perhaps tens of thousands, and yet there is not a single instance, except for this supposed CZ case, where a coach has been found converted into a smoking coach.

The odds are pretty high that many of those on this forum would have encountered this conductor and his tendency to encourage smokers to have at it in a special coach.

But no one has any tale to recount.

And further, given the no-smoking mantra among so many Americans today, I'd bet that at least one passenger would have screamed holy hell if told to butt out ( :lol: ) of a car so nicotine addicts could have at it illegally.

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Posted 28 September 2010 - 10:47 PM

Totaly agree that this is a phony post, I dont think a Conductor would risk blowing a high paying job to let a few addicts smoke up a coach that would immediately be discovered upon rrival in the CHI yards if not reported before by a NIMBY anti-smoker! Good analogy comparing this to the Legendary Computer Tower theft fable! ;)

#17 DET63

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Posted 28 September 2010 - 11:27 PM

Supposing a conductor, for whatever reason, unilaterally turned a car into a "smoking car," how much would it take to clean up the car (i.e., get rid of cigarette butts—and what would be used for ash trays?—as well as the smell of tobacco smoke that can linger long after the last ciggie is gone)? I can't imagine there wouldn't be at least a few hundred smackers involved.

#18 Railroad Bill

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Posted 29 September 2010 - 09:15 AM

You can bet I would be the first one on the phone to Amtrak if that ever happened. :angry2:
Much progress has been made to rid the country of smoking. As an acceptable part of life in the 50s and early 60s, everyone was forced to tolerate second hand smoke among family and friends. Many family members have died of cancer and heart disease, which I am sure smoking was a contributing factor.

Perhaps someday we can recognize smoking for what it is- a drug habit that needs to be treated :(
And now off the soapbox and back to trains :D

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#19 zephyr17

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Posted 29 September 2010 - 12:55 PM

I've been on a lot trains where people were removed because they were smoking onboard. Never been on one where the conductor allowed smoking since they generally banned it.

I can almost believe the OP if the train was one of the detours and there were no station stops, which is an unusual situation. However, the other ones claiming the conductors routinely looked the other way, or allowed smoking in the vestibules just flat goes against my experience. Which is smoking is not tolerated, and neither is opening the window if a crew member becomes aware of it.

Edited by zephyr17, 29 September 2010 - 12:56 PM.

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#20 darien-l

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Posted 29 September 2010 - 01:07 PM

I was just on the CZ going from DEN to CHI, departing Monday night, and have indeed met a pipe-smoking conductor named Charles, so at least that part of the story is true. He was smoking his pipe outside at one of the smoke stops (Ottumwa, I think).



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