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Bad Experience on Amtrak


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#1 Guest_NColling_*

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Posted 29 July 2012 - 10:59 AM

My husband and I took the Amtrak train to Chicago on July 17th, returning 12:30pm Friday, July 20th. Going to Chicago took us 5 hours, which was fine. The return trip was over 10 hours, which was just horrible. The train was to arrive in Royal Oak at 7:05 pm, but it did not arrive until 10:45pm.It was stopped three times, in which we had to wait over 45 minutes each time.

The conductors kept saying this was very unusual, but after we returned we heard stories from friends that their train was held up 12 hours, 8 hours, etc. Amtrak customer service is horrible and we will never ride Amtrak again. We will tell our 1000 friends on Facebook not to ride Amtrak, and I am sure they will tell their friends. If Amtrak can’t do something about these delays you should do your customers a big favor and go out of business. You government should hire different staff who actually care about people. To be cooped up on a train for ten hours is inhumane to us and all the passengers who rode with us. We were all very upset.

We would like to ask for a refund of our $70 return trip. We were told Amtrak never gives refunds.We don’t want a voucher because we will never ride our train again. If you don’t refund our money, your company should be ashamed of themselves. You should try being stuck on a train and see how it makes you feel.

#2 AlanB

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Posted 29 July 2012 - 12:54 PM

NColling,

First, please let me point out that this site is not owned & operated by Amtrak, as noted in the disclaimer at the bottom of the page. At best, all we can do is provide advice and explanation. But we have no power to change anything or to help you obtain a refund.

Next, I am sorry that your trip didn't go quite as planned.

However, please understand that most of your trip occurs on tracks owned by the freight RR's. They control the signals; not Amtrak. There is little that Amtrak can do when the engineer is staring at a red light controlled by a freight company. That said, the state of Michigan did just sign a deal to buy most of the track that the train uses through Michigan. One ownership is transferred and some improvements are made, that will help considerably to cut down on this type of delay.

That said, Amtrak would love to do something about the delays. But until & unless the Federal government decides to either take over the tracks from freight companies or at least allow the Federal Railroad Administration to place heavy fines on the RR's that don't follow the terms of the contract, there is little that Amtrak can do.

As for being "cooped up on a train for 10 hours being inhumane" there are people who ride Amtrak from Chicago to the west coast and spend 2 days on the train. I'm quite sure that they don't find it "inhumane" or they wouldn't be doing it.

Moving on, I agree with what you've already learned/been told, that it is highly unlikely that Amtrak will provide you with a refund of your money. After all, they still did get you from Chicago back to Royal Oaks, even if you were hours late. The best is likely going to be credit towards a future trip. You can still try, you'll have to call the 800 number and then ask for customer service, as that is the only department that can do anything for you.

Finally, I note that you've just registered for our forum, so hopefully you'll come back and keep us updated on things and maybe provide a few more details on just what happened.
Alan,

Take care and take trains!

#3 amamba

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Posted 29 July 2012 - 12:59 PM

You should try being stuck on a train and see how it makes you feel.

NColling - I am sorry you did not have a good trip on Amtrak. However, many of us have been on long delays - we know it is not fun for the passenger as we have all been there, done that.

I encourage you to call amtrak directly at 1800-USA-RAIL and ask for customer relations. They can give you a voucher for future travel. Unfortunately, you are unlikely to receive a full refund. Would you get a refund if your flight got delayed for 5 hours because of thunder storms or snow? Amtrak is the same way. They fulfilled their contract to get you to where you needed to go, albeit with a long delay and not in a manner that was to your liking.

I hope you consider taking amtrak again in the future. You might be surprised!

#4 the_traveler

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Posted 29 July 2012 - 01:18 PM

I agree. One bad trip does not represent Amtrak on all trips. Please try Amtrak again!Posted Image

FYI - I once was delayed on a airline for 5 hours! And it was only a 3 hour flight!Posted Image But I still fly when necessary - but I'd much rather take Amtrak!
Take it easy .......

Take the train instead!

#5 benjibear

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Posted 29 July 2012 - 01:26 PM

1000 friends on facebook! :giggle:


They must ask everyone they meet to be their friends.



#6 Rail Freak

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Posted 29 July 2012 - 01:56 PM

Like was posted previously, we are not AMTRAK!!! I personally feel your pain, as my 1st trip was a Bummer because of a Tremendously Rude Sleeping Car Attendant! I came very close to never riding Amtrak again but, with a little cooling off I did. Since then I've traveled almost all Long Distant Routes available & have thousands of photos to reflect back to! Do yourself a favor & reconsider! Please!!!

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#7 Swadian Hardcore

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Posted 29 July 2012 - 02:13 PM

My husband and I took the Amtrak train to Chicago on July 17th, returning 12:30pm Friday, July 20th. Going to Chicago took us 5 hours, which was fine. The return trip was over 10 hours, which was just horrible. The train was to arrive in Royal Oak at 7:05 pm, but it did not arrive until 10:45pm.It was stopped three times, in which we had to wait over 45 minutes each time.

The conductors kept saying this was very unusual, but after we returned we heard stories from friends that their train was held up 12 hours, 8 hours, etc. Amtrak customer service is horrible and we will never ride Amtrak again. We will tell our 1000 friends on Facebook not to ride Amtrak, and I am sure they will tell their friends. If Amtrak can't do something about these delays you should do your customers a big favor and go out of business. You government should hire different staff who actually care about people. To be cooped up on a train for ten hours is inhumane to us and all the passengers who rode with us. We were all very upset.

We would like to ask for a refund of our $70 return trip. We were told Amtrak never gives refunds.We don't want a voucher because we will never ride our train again. If you don't refund our money, your company should be ashamed of themselves. You should try being stuck on a train and see how it makes you feel.


IMHO, I've been stuck on a trains not moving for many hours and it's not that bad. I realize this is not the case for you, but for me, the longer the ride, the better. I love to ride Amtrak trains for over 40 hours straight, and I never complain that it's too long, I say it's too short.

Amtrak will not give a full refund for you trip simply because your ticket is to get you there and they got you there. did you ask your conductor about the delays? Do you think the engineer will just stop the train for no reason? Do you even know it's Amtrak's fault?

If the delays were not just one big delay, but three little ones added together, then they were probably caused by the track owner (host railroad) blocking the Amtrak with their own freight trains. The reason they give you a voucher is to mean that they still care about you and they want you to take them again. If you're never going to take them again, why should they bother to give you a refund? You say you'll hate them enoguh that even if they give you a refund you won't take them again. I hope you will come back to read this, and understand what I mean.

If the host railroad caused the delay, they should compensate you, not Amtrak. But the host railroads will never compensate Amtrak passengers, ever!

BTW, Amtrak still has full trains, increasing ridership, too much demand, and railcar shortages despite heavy delays. Amtrak still loses money anyway, so they are only surviving to government subsides. Yes, these delays are very unusual for the train to Royal Oak, the Wolverine. The delays that are really long are on long-distance trains, like the 40-50 hour ones I was talking about. A 10 hour delay on a 45 hour ride is quite insignificant IMO.

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#8 wkaemena

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Posted 29 July 2012 - 03:01 PM

It is for sure not the best experience when you get stuck on your first Rail Trip. As already explained there are many reasons beyond the power of Amtrak.

Well you can get also stuck on the highways, where are you going to complain and ask for "refund".???? In any case I prefer to get stuck on a train than being held hostage on a highway.
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#9 Guest_Guest 21_*

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Posted 29 July 2012 - 03:02 PM

Amtraks going to get you from point A to B. They got you to point B. The train was late yes, but you got to your destination. No refunds for delays few and far between.

#10 Shanghai

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Posted 29 July 2012 - 04:18 PM

I'm sorry your trip home was unpleasant. Earlier this year, the train in which I was riding
hit a trespasser and we were held by the police for about 4 hours. I was sitting with a college
girl who was going to the airport for a trip to Europe. She was meeting a friend and her parent's
were driving both girls to the airport. With the delay, all she could do was get off the train
in New York and take a cab to the airport. I stayed with her until she got the cab (her first &
only time in the Big Apple) and gave her some money for the cab fare. She sent me a text when
she got to the airport saying she had only minutes to spare but made her flight. Luckily, I think
you were returning to your home.
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#11 amamba

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Posted 29 July 2012 - 04:24 PM

Shanghai, that was so nice of you to help that girl. :)

#12 AmtrakBlue

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Posted 29 July 2012 - 04:27 PM

Shanghai, that was so nice of you to help that girl. :)

Ditto

006b86872e.png

 

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2012: Apr: WIL=>WAS=>WIL (NER) // May(NTD): WIL=>PHL=>WIL (NER) / PHL=>PAO=>PHL (Keystone) // Aug: WIL=>WAS (NER) / BWI=>WIL (NER) // Oct(Gathering): PHL=>WIL (NER) / PHL=>HAR=>PHL (Keystone) / SEPTA, NJT, PATCO, River Line, Princeton Dinky
2013: May(NTD): WIL=>WAS=>WIL (NER)  // Oct (Gathering): WIL=>CHI (Card) / CHI=>MKE=>GLN=>CHI() / CHI=>JOL=>CHI () / CHI=>WIL(CL=>NER) / CTA, Metra. SEPTA (WIL=>NRK) // Nov:  PHL=>PHL (Autumn Express) 
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#13 none

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Posted 29 July 2012 - 04:35 PM

I'm still worrying about those 1000 Facebook friends... none of whom will ever ride Amtrak when they hear of this outrage... and then they each tell their 1000 friends, and none of them will ever etc etc etc... doing the math, how long can it be before no one ever rides Amtrak again? Only a matter of hours or days before total shutdown, I would say. Well, it's been good while it lasted.

#14 AmtrakBlue

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Posted 29 July 2012 - 04:51 PM

I'm still worrying about those 1000 Facebook friends... none of whom will ever ride Amtrak when they hear of this outrage... and then they each tell their 1000 friends, and none of them will ever etc etc etc... doing the math, how long can it be before no one ever rides Amtrak again? Only a matter of hours or days before total shutdown, I would say. Well, it's been good while it lasted.

Then we AUers better get the word out to our thousands of friends that Amtrak is a great way to travel and that they better hurry up & try it before it disappears. ;)
But maybe wait till after my hope for trip in the next two weeks...maybe the mass exodus will bring the roomette prices down for me :o

006b86872e.png

 

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2012: Apr: WIL=>WAS=>WIL (NER) // May(NTD): WIL=>PHL=>WIL (NER) / PHL=>PAO=>PHL (Keystone) // Aug: WIL=>WAS (NER) / BWI=>WIL (NER) // Oct(Gathering): PHL=>WIL (NER) / PHL=>HAR=>PHL (Keystone) / SEPTA, NJT, PATCO, River Line, Princeton Dinky
2013: May(NTD): WIL=>WAS=>WIL (NER)  // Oct (Gathering): WIL=>CHI (Card) / CHI=>MKE=>GLN=>CHI() / CHI=>JOL=>CHI () / CHI=>WIL(CL=>NER) / CTA, Metra. SEPTA (WIL=>NRK) // Nov:  PHL=>PHL (Autumn Express) 
2014: May(NTD):  WIL=>PHL=>WIL(NER) // May:  WIL=>BOS=>WIL(NER) day trip

2014: Booked:  Oct(Gathering): WIL=>NYP=>TOL(pd-NER=>LSL) / TOL=>CHI=>LAX=>EMY(pts-LSL=>SWC=>CS) / EMY=>CHI=>TOL (pts-CZ-CL) / TOL=>WAS=>WIL(pd-CL=>NER)


#15 FunNut

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Posted 29 July 2012 - 04:55 PM

Sorry your trip didn't go as planned. Have you ever had mechanical problems or a flat tire while driving? When traveling things happen that cause delays.

Among many things that can cause a train delay are the following: a fatality on the track ahead (must be investigated and train traffic is stopped for that), the freight companies that own the track can hold passenger trains while they expedite their own trains, mechanical difficulties with your or another train ahead of you, weather (not so much a factor this time of year, but in the winter you can have frozen switches, avalanches, etc.).

You will not receive a refund because Amtrak fulfilled their contract and got you to your destination. I'm sorry you were so late, but you did arrive on the same day. Being late, by air, land or sea, is frustrating. If you don't want to ride Amtrak in the future, then don't. And have a nice day.Posted Image

#16 pennyk

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Posted 29 July 2012 - 05:06 PM


Shanghai, that was so nice of you to help that girl. :)

Ditto


Ditto :)
Shanghai is always going out of his way to be kind to friends and strangers (and especially to Archie the dog :lol: )

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#17 Guest_Guest_*

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Posted 29 July 2012 - 06:34 PM

Amtrak may not give refunds, but if you paid with a credit card you can try for a chargeback. Some of these AmApologizers say the ticket is for the transportation only and, but I am like the OP in that a reasonable ammount of time should be expected. Going from 5 to 10 hours is unacceptable. Sure it is the host railroad that screwed it up, but it is Amtrak's responsibility to ensure they host railroad cooperates.

#18 AlanB

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Posted 29 July 2012 - 06:58 PM

Amtrak may not give refunds, but if you paid with a credit card you can try for a chargeback.


That's why Amtrak requires that you sign your ticket, so that they can prove you were on the train.

Some of these AmApologizers say the ticket is for the transportation only and, but I am like the OP in that a reasonable ammount of time should be expected. Going from 5 to 10 hours is unacceptable. Sure it is the host railroad that screwed it up, but it is Amtrak's responsibility to ensure they host railroad cooperates.


Amtrak would love to ensure that the host RR's cooperate, or that they could take them to court. Congress has to allow that. And up until 2008, Congress didn't allow for anything. In 2008 some rules were changed and now the FRA is just starting to test those rules.
Alan,

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#19 Guest_Pam_*

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Posted 29 July 2012 - 09:09 PM

I'm sorry that you had such a bad experience!
But it definitely isn't inhumane to be cooped up on the train for 10 hours. We just completed the trip from Seattle, WA to Dearborn, MI with our family, including 3 children, and had a wonderful time! This was our second trip across the country and would definitely do it again, even with the delays we experienced!

Consider giving it another try.

#20 me_little_me

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Posted 29 July 2012 - 10:04 PM

Amtrak may not give refunds, but if you paid with a credit card you can try for a chargeback. Some of these AmApologizers say the ticket is for the transportation only and, but I am like the OP in that a reasonable ammount of time should be expected. Going from 5 to 10 hours is unacceptable. Sure it is the host railroad that screwed it up, but it is Amtrak's responsibility to ensure they host railroad cooperates.

At what point is it reasonable? 4 hours? 2? 30 minutes? If a bus is caught stuck on the freeway for a few hours because of an accident then has to be detoured adding 2 more hours because the freeway bridge was damaged, whose fault is it? Who should the bus company blame and are you entitled to your money back from the bus company? If you are a passenger in your parents' car and that happens, can you demand compensation from them?

If Amtrak knows there will be a problem before a passenger boards and fails to tell the passenger, then refund is in order. If you had something really special planned and had allowed a few hours extra time and Amtrak ruined your special occasion then Amtrak should (even if not legally required to) mitigate your loss to some extent just as a courtesy for good customer relations. If the car or room or seat is unusable, that is Amtrak's fault and refund or rerouting (at your option) is in order even if you got to your destination.

Unfortunately, like any other mode of transportation, guaranteed arrival time is not offered.

I'm sorry that you had such a bad experience!
But it definitely isn't inhumane to be cooped up on the train for 10 hours. We just completed the trip from Seattle, WA to Dearborn, MI with our family, including 3 children, and had a wonderful time! This was our second trip across the country and would definitely do it again, even with the delays we experienced!

Consider giving it another try.

Cooped up? Sitting in a plane for hours on the tarmac with no way to get out of your seat or get food and with stopped up toilets is cooped up. Not being able to get off or say "I think I want to take another plane or just take a plane back home" is cooped up. Being able to walk to the lounge car or move around on a train is not "cooped up". Being able to just get off at the next stop even if it means it will cost you money is not cooped up.



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