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Delayed train policy/passenger rights


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#1 jccpbc

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Posted 14 June 2012 - 08:23 PM

If a delayed train causes you to miss your connecting train, i.e. Empire Builder to Capitol Limited in Chicago, what is Amtrak's policy and/or passenger's rights for continuing the trip?

#2 RyanS

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Posted 14 June 2012 - 08:31 PM

You can be put up overnight and put on the train the next day.

Or they will hold the train for you.

Or they will pull you off the train early and bus/van you to catch up with the other train.

If the connection is guaranteed, you will be taken care of.
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#3 jccpbc

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Posted 14 June 2012 - 08:50 PM

You can be put up overnight and put on the train the next day.

Or they will hold the train for you.

Or they will pull you off the train early and bus/van you to catch up with the other train.

If the connection is guaranteed, you will be taken care of.


Thanks. I guess if you have to catch the next day you just have to hope your sleeping accommodations will be avaliable.

#4 RyanS

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Posted 14 June 2012 - 08:55 PM

The odds of that are probably not good.

Of course, the odds of you having to spend an unscheduled overnight are even lower.
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#5 Linda T

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Posted 14 June 2012 - 10:42 PM

It's been about a year now, but last August our Zephyr missed our connection by 8-10 hours into CHI. We were to connect to the Cardinal (three times a week train). When we got to CHI we were sent to Amtrak's customer service area and we took a chance and asked if we could be kept over two nights and put on the next Cardinal (in two days). They said yes. They paid two nights in a very nice hotel, gave us $30 each per day for food, and cab fare to and from the station/hotel. We also happened to be extremely lucky the Card had a roomette available. I wouldn't count on that though with that train. :rolleyes:
Honestly, last year the Zephyr had such a bad OTP record that we did our research in Seattle and saw that it would cost more for Amtrak to Greyhound us home, than keep us over two nights and send us home on the train.

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#6 Anderson

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Posted 15 June 2012 - 01:21 AM

I've been overnighted in CHI as well; it was actually on my first trip out to Iowa, and the LSL got held up in some snow. I got the same treatment: Cab fare, a $30 food allowance, and a night at the Hyatt McCormick Place. I took the occasion to go to dinner at the Hancock Center (which cost well over $30) on the grounds that...well, I was in Chicago and I didn't know if I'd be back anytime soon, so I might as well take advantage of it and have a good time. In a lot of ways, that experience sold me on Amtrak: I got delayed, I missed a connection, and unlike the folks stuck at O'Hare at the same time (flights were shut down all over the Midwest at the time), I was actually enjoying myself when my trip had gone wrong.
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#7 jccpbc

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Posted 15 June 2012 - 08:37 AM

Thanks for the replys. I've taken several long distance trains but never had to make a connection. I was checking some of the actual arrival times online and starting to get a little nervous. Hopefully I'll get lucky and not have any issues but looks like Amtrak does a pretty good job of taking care of these things. I'm already adjusting another trip based on the route's arrival history.

#8 dn4192

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Posted 15 June 2012 - 10:53 AM

Exactly what is "acceptable" for a delay? Right now the Cardinal going east is on average running up to 4 hours late...how can Amtrak call that acceptable and not compensate passangers to some degree?

#9 Railroad Bill

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Posted 15 June 2012 - 11:37 AM

You can be put up overnight and put on the train the next day.

Or they will hold the train for you.

Or they will pull you off the train early and bus/van you to catch up with the other train.

If the connection is guaranteed, you will be taken care of.



And depending on how far you are going on the Cap Ltd, they could put you on the Lake Shore Ltd as far as CLE. or use the Lake Shore to get you to NYP as well. Since we live near CLE, that is always an option for us--although there is no guarantee that a sleeper would be available on the LSL. a

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#10 RyanS

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Posted 15 June 2012 - 11:45 AM

Right now the Cardinal going east is on average running up to 4 hours late

You're off by about 2 hours:
Posted Image

If you throw out the 3 trains that got extraordinarily fouled up, the average is closer to an hour late at WAS.
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#11 dn4192

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Posted 15 June 2012 - 12:48 PM


Right now the Cardinal going east is on average running up to 4 hours late

You're off by about 2 hours:
Posted Image

If you throw out the 3 trains that got extraordinarily fouled up, the average is closer to an hour late at WAS.


You can add today's trip as it was 2+ hours late before it even go to Indianapolis, so with the normal added delays it gets in the WVA/VA area another trip I am betting close to 4 hours late by the time it reaches NYC, it's final destination.

#12 RyanS

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Posted 15 June 2012 - 12:55 PM

You can add today's trip as it was 2+ hours late before it even go to Indianapolis, so with the normal added delays it gets in the WVA/VA area another trip I am betting close to 4 hours late by the time it reaches NYC, it's final destination.

That's fine. The average is still nowhere near 4 hours.

I picked WAS instead of NYP because the train will routinely pick up time as it goes up the corridor (being receive only).

There are only 4 data points in the database for NYP:

6/13: 221 down at WAS, 208 down at NYP. The train made up 13 minutes.
6/3: 40 down at WAS, 86 down at NYP. The train lost 46 minutes. (anyone remember what was happening on the corridor that day?)
5/23: 92 down at WAS, 65 down at NYP. The train made up 27 minutes.
5/20: 112 down at WAS, 97 down at NYP. The train made up 15 minutes.

Edited by Ryan, 15 June 2012 - 01:17 PM.

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#13 Devil's Advocate

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Posted 15 June 2012 - 01:26 PM

You can add today's trip as it was 2+ hours late before it even go to Indianapolis, so with the normal added delays it gets in the WVA/VA area another trip I am betting close to 4 hours late by the time it reaches NYC, it's final destination.

An Amtrak train is never late, dn4192. Nor is it ever early. An Amtrak train arrives precisely when it means to.

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#14 dn4192

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Posted 15 June 2012 - 03:49 PM

You can add today's trip as it was 2+ hours late before it even go to Indianapolis, so with the normal added delays it gets in the WVA/VA area another trip I am betting close to 4 hours late by the time it reaches NYC, it's final destination.

An Amtrak train is never late, dn4192. Nor is it ever early. An Amtrak train arrives precisely when it means to.

Posted Image


All I know is that in today's world, how a company can accept repeated lateness is beyond me. Either correct the problem update and correct the arrival times or eliminate the route..

#15 AlanB

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Posted 15 June 2012 - 09:09 PM

All I know is that in today's world, how a company can accept repeated lateness is beyond me. Either correct the problem update and correct the arrival times or eliminate the route..


Well if Amtrak eliminated routes for being late, that would pretty much eliminate everything except the Northeast Corridor. And depending on the standard of lateness, it could even eliminate the NEC.

As for correcting the arrival times, back around 2001/2002 Amtrak saw the Sunset was having real problems with lateness. So they worked with UP & CSX to add 10 & 1/2 hours of padding to the schedule. The host RR's just gobbled up that time and still delayed Amtrak to the point at times where it ran 24 hours or more late.

Thankfully, in 2008 part of the legislation that arose out of the Metrolink crash finally gave Amtrak and the FRA some real teeth towards enforcing the host RR's to actually run Amtrak on time. Amtrak & the FRA are still sort of testing out the waters as it were, but they have started to take action in cases where the hosts continuously delay Amtrak in favor of their freight trains.
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#16 RampWidget

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Posted 16 June 2012 - 02:44 AM


All I know is that in today's world, how a company can accept repeated lateness is beyond me. Either correct the problem update and correct the arrival times or eliminate the route..


Well if Amtrak eliminated routes for being late, that would pretty much eliminate everything except the Northeast Corridor. And depending on the standard of lateness, it could even eliminate the NEC.

As for correcting the arrival times, back around 2001/2002 Amtrak saw the Sunset was having real problems with lateness. So they worked with UP & CSX to add 10 & 1/2 hours of padding to the schedule. The host RR's just gobbled up that time and still delayed Amtrak to the point at times where it ran 24 hours or more late.

Thankfully, in 2008 part of the legislation that arose out of the Metrolink crash finally gave Amtrak and the FRA some real teeth towards enforcing the host RR's to actually run Amtrak on time. Amtrak & the FRA are still sort of testing out the waters as it were, but they have started to take action in cases where the hosts continuously delay Amtrak in favor of their freight trains.


I disagree that there is any sort of FRA (or Amtrak) "enforcement" power regarding train delays. Amtrak operating agreements with the contracting RRs are outside FRA's scope and jurisdiction. The STB (and its predecessor ICC) is the only entity granted any formal "enforcement" as far as Amtrak performance on contracting RRs is concerned.

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#17 benjibear

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Posted 16 June 2012 - 09:10 AM

Those delays are unacceptable in my book. If an Amtrak train has to sit longer than 10 minutes to wait for a freight train, the freight railroad should become responsible. Of course unforseen circumstances like an accident or weather should be forgiven. If it is simply poor planning on freight railroads part, they are the responsible party. It is not like they don't know the Amtrak time table and when the train should be there.

#18 Guest_Johanna_*

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Posted 16 June 2012 - 11:49 AM

If you miss a guaranteed connection for which you've paid for sleeping accommodation, and they have to put you on the next day's train in coach, I assume they'll refund what you paid for the sleeping accommodation? Or not? How does that work if you've paid for the trip with AGR points?

For example, I'm going from WAS to SEA, CL connecting to EB, in a roomette. I booked the whole thing as a 3-zone trip for 35K points. If the CL is late and I miss the connection and get "downgraded" to coach on the next day's EB, my 3-zone roomette trip becomes 2 zones in a roomette plus 2 zones in coach, which would be 28K points if I booked them separately. Would they refund me the 7K points? That seems like small compensation for two nights in coach versus a roomette.

I realize that it's unlikely for the CL to be that late, but I still want to know what to expect if it is.

#19 rrdude

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Posted 16 June 2012 - 12:04 PM

Gotta nominate John McCargo, Train Chief on the AT. He's done it all at Amtrak, and knows how to handle a crappy crew, or employee. Just down-to-earth-get-the-job-done-the-passenger-always-comes-first kind of attitude.

#20 AlanB

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Posted 16 June 2012 - 01:52 PM

If you miss a guaranteed connection for which you've paid for sleeping accommodation, and they have to put you on the next day's train in coach, I assume they'll refund what you paid for the sleeping accommodation? Or not? How does that work if you've paid for the trip with AGR points?

For example, I'm going from WAS to SEA, CL connecting to EB, in a roomette. I booked the whole thing as a 3-zone trip for 35K points. If the CL is late and I miss the connection and get "downgraded" to coach on the next day's EB, my 3-zone roomette trip becomes 2 zones in a roomette plus 2 zones in coach, which would be 28K points if I booked them separately. Would they refund me the 7K points? That seems like small compensation for two nights in coach versus a roomette.

I realize that it's unlikely for the CL to be that late, but I still want to know what to expect if it is.


Johanna,

On rare occasions I've heard of people getting a partial points refund. However it is far more typical that one is given a credit voucher good towards a future trip.
Alan,

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