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#41 PVD

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Posted 18 April 2017 - 01:10 PM

Way more likely to be one of the 2 segments of CBP  The former Customs or Border Patrol. ICE is the old INS



#42 jis

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Posted 18 April 2017 - 01:43 PM

Way more likely to be one of the 2 segments of CBP  The former Customs or Border Patrol. ICE is the old INS

There is a current Customs and Border Protection. That is the patch that all the staff at the airport checkpoint wears as far as I can tell. Just passed by one a few days back at IAD. Incidentally, it was one of the smoothest C&I experience I had in a while. The Global Entry machine worked perfectly and the CBP guy who collected the printout didn't even look at it while waving me through.

 

AFAICT INS function was split among three DHS agencies -  USCIS (US Citizenship and Immigration Service), CBP (Customs and Border Protection), and ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) of which CBP is the largest. OTOH ICE carries out most of the handling of deportation of illegal aliens that are already in the US, the so called ERO (Enforcement and Removal Operations) function..



#43 PVD

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Posted 18 April 2017 - 02:07 PM

Yes, old Customs and old Border Patrol are all under the DHS umbrella now. Any border crossing train will see the Customs "group" the BP group has popped up on trains, sometimes in places that triggered long threads on this site. Most of INS is now the ICE component. At the airport or border its usually the blue uniformed officers, the BP was usually in green.



#44 s10mk

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Posted 18 April 2017 - 02:09 PM

I have an ice question. Is there a good place in or around Chicago union station where I can load my cooler up with ice before departing?

#45 dlagrua

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Posted 18 April 2017 - 02:42 PM

I have an ice question. Is there a good place in or around Chicago union station where I can load my cooler up with ice before departing?

Easy if you don't mind walking a few short blocks to Greektown. The walk takes about 10 minutes.  Leave Union station and exit at the North side corner which is Jackson Street. . Look to your right (down Jackson street) and you will see a building in the distance with a clock tower.  Walk in that direction 5 blocks down to So. Halstead Street. As soon as you walk over the expressway the next corner is So. Halstead Street. Make a right and walk two blocks up to Mariano's market. They sell bags of ice, drinks, cooked foods, Gelato, groceries, fruits, pastries and whatever you want for your trip.  The food court has everything from pizza to grilled fish, while the bakery makes some superb Itaian pastries. There is also a CVS pharmacy across the street a Starbucks, numerous restaurants and a whole foods market there.  A great place to stop and recharge between trains.



#46 FormerOBS

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Posted 18 April 2017 - 03:13 PM

I have no idea what anyone at Amtrak has to gain by keeping ice out of the sleeping cars. Years ago ice was freely available and we didn't have any problems. On Viewliners the attendants kept a box in their room or near the coffee machine. On many Superliners there was an ice compartment below the coffee machine. No one died from using that ice.  Today we just take our own cooler full of ice aboard.

 

Right. Nobody has anything at all to gain except maintenance of public health standards, and protection for Amtrak against lawsuits and citations for FDA violations. 

 

The Auto Train converted to the enclosed Doue-Egbert machines many years ago after some unsupervised kids were caught putting some very objectionable substances into a 36 cup percolator. Amtrak personnel are there to provide service, but they can''t do that if they have to play the role of prison guard and ride herd over people with uncivilized behavior.

 

I remembered those Doue-Egbert as being capable of dispensing coffee, decaf, or hot water for tea. I texted my friend, who is working a sleeper on the Auto Train today, to ask him whether this is still true. He responded, "Some of the machines are and some are not". I believe most of the machines in the sleepers will dispense hot water.

 

To understand why Amtrak doesn't allow free access to ice in open, accessible ice wells anymore, please refer to my comments about the kids and the 36 cup percolator. We always kept an ice scoop available by the machine, clearly marked. In fact, when I worked the sleepers, I always kept one or two extra ice scoops in my grip in case the scoop magically disappeared enroute.  Nevertheless, I caught passengers more than once reaching into the well to get ice with their bare hands. It's hard to be diplomatic and patient with somebody who is being that idiotic, but I usually tried. I got great, imaginative excuses like "But I only took one" or "I didn't think anybody would care".  Once I was so mad that I just emptied the well in front of the offending person. He asked why and I calmly said. "It's been contaminated, so it's condemned until I get a chance to disinfect it. But I won't have time to do that for a while. Too many beds to make right now."  It stayed empty for the rest of that trip. Call it passive aggressive if you like, but it p***ed me off. By the way, I never hesitated to go to the lounge or diner to get ice for a passenger on that trip or any other. so nobody can discipline me for not handling the situation right. Anyway, I'm retired now, so it's water under the bridge. 

 

I have often said way over 95% of passengers in my experience were great people who just wanted to have a nice trip and get along.  The cretins have always been a tiny minority, but they do exist. 

 

We can transport the passengers, but we can't give them a sense of civic responsibility if they didn't get it at home. 

 

Tom


Edited by FormerOBS, 18 April 2017 - 03:52 PM.


#47 AmtrakBlue

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Posted 18 April 2017 - 03:15 PM

Doesn't the CVS caddy corner from Union Station have ice. I doubt s/he wants to walk 10 mins back with a cooler full of ice.

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#48 Devil's Advocate

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Posted 18 April 2017 - 03:51 PM

Nobody has anything to gain except protection from lawsuits and citations for FDA violations.


If that's the primary issue then why does Amtrak allow/ignore when their staff dump ice bags on the floor of a trash hauling four-wheeler, on the pavement beside the train, and on the floors of the cars themselves? If they're going to be sticklers about protocol you'd think they'd know those ice bags aren't designed for that kind of use. They're meant to go from freezer to freezer while avoiding contact with rough soiled surfaces.

 

I never hesitated to go to the lounge or diner to get ice for a passenger on that trip or any other. so nobody can discipline me for not handling the situation right.


If that's true then you're the first SCA I've met that was casually handing out ice during the eight or so hours between 10PM and 6AM.  Not saying you or any other SCA should have to do that, just pointing out that this more restrictive ice protocol is still impacting folks even if the SCA happens to be great at their job.


We've got provisions and lots of beer. The key word is survival on the new frontier. 


#49 FormerOBS

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Posted 18 April 2017 - 04:13 PM

DA: 

 

I get tired of your trolling, which is one reason I don't visit the site daily, as I used to.

 

1. If a container of ice is sealed, there are many ways to handle it safely, just so it is kept sealed until use. I have not seen how these things are done in all locations, but I have never seen potable ice being hauled on a trash truck in my Amtrak experience. 
 

2. When I was an SCA, I was not on duty 24/7. During my actual shift, I provided the best service I could. I was not "casually handing out ice" in the middle of the night, partly because that would be idiotic and while I may not be a genius, I'm not an idiot. On those occasions when I was working an all night shift, I was ready and willing to provide ice if it was needed. That was rare, but it did happen and I did it because it was my job. 

 

SHEESH!

 

Tom

 

PS: There are some real problems in the world. Do you get some perverse delight in conjuring up new ones? 


Edited by FormerOBS, 18 April 2017 - 04:19 PM.


#50 RSG

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Posted 18 April 2017 - 05:53 PM

If that's the primary issue then why does Amtrak allow/ignore when their staff dump ice bags on the floor of a trash hauling four-wheeler, on the pavement beside the train, and on the floors of the cars themselves? If they're going to be sticklers about protocol you'd think they'd know those ice bags aren't designed for that kind of use. They're meant to go from freezer to freezer while avoiding contact with rough soiled surfaces.

Though I can’t recall seeing that particular example, I have seen instances where the delivery of onboard items is less than ideal. I’m pretty sure the reason for that is that not everyone working for Amtrak (or even their vendors) has been trained in food safety or provisioning. If you have someone who has never worked in a foodservice environment and who normally carts around luggage and trash, then they probably see bags of ice as not much more than ‘frozen luggage’. Someone who is aware would see the need to find a clean box and put the ice in there and then transport it on an ATV or cart. Sadly, I’ve seen similar things go on in foodservice environments where people have presumably been trained. (Like restaurant staff who drop a wiping cloth on the floor and then pick it up and wipe a table.)



#51 RSG

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Posted 18 April 2017 - 05:56 PM

We can transport the passengers, but we can't give them a sense of civic responsibility if they didn't get it at home.

That’s a great line, and so very true. Thank you for doing your part to make travel a decent experience for the 95% of us for so many years!



#52 s10mk

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Posted 18 April 2017 - 06:12 PM


I have an ice question. Is there a good place in or around Chicago union station where I can load my cooler up with ice before departing?

Easy if you don't mind walking a few short blocks to Greektown. The walk takes about 10 minutes.  Leave Union station and exit at the North side corner which is Jackson Street. . Look to your right (down Jackson street) and you will see a building in the distance with a clock tower.  Walk in that direction 5 blocks down to So. Halstead Street. As soon as you walk over the expressway the next corner is So. Halstead Street. Make a right and walk two blocks up to Mariano's market. They sell bags of ice, drinks, cooked foods, Gelato, groceries, fruits, pastries and whatever you want for your trip.  The food court has everything from pizza to grilled fish, while the bakery makes some superb Itaian pastries. There is also a CVS pharmacy across the street a Starbucks, numerous restaurants and a whole foods market there.  A great place to stop and recharge between trains.

Thank you! That will work out well. I was already planning to make a trip to marianos to stock up on beer/wine/ lunch meet for my trip

#53 Devil's Advocate

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Posted 18 April 2017 - 06:20 PM

1. If a container of ice is sealed, there are many ways to handle it safely, just so it is kept sealed until use. I have not seen how these things are done in all locations, but I have never seen potable ice being hauled on a trash truck in my Amtrak experience.


The trash truck experience was on the Sunset Limited in El Paso, TX. I didn't take any photos but they didn't seem to be hiding it in any way. Just to be clear, I'm not making a fuss about how the ice is transported so much as pointing out the hypocrisy of only worrying about the very end of the line when other links in the chain are almost as weak as the last one. Could be an issue with Amtrak or the FDA but either way it seems silly to me.  I'm not especially young or old or weak so even tainted ice is unlikely to kill me.  If it were up to me sleeper car ice wouldn't be announced to all and sundry but after the second request the SCA would be allowed to let those who need it know where the ice was when they were asleep or otherwise unavailable.  Seems like a compromise worth trying anyway.

 

2. When I was an SCA, I was not on duty 24/7. During my actual shift, I provided the best service I could. I was not "casually handing out ice" in the middle of the night, partly because that would be idiotic and while I may not be a genius, I'm not an idiot. On those occasions when I was working an all night shift, I was ready and willing to provide ice if it was needed. That was rare, but it did happen and I did it because it was my job.

 
Did you see this part...
 

(I'm) Not saying you or any other SCA should have to do that, (I'm) just pointing out that this more restrictive ice protocol is still impacting folks even if the SCA happens to be great at their job.

 

I do not want or expect you to hand out ice in the middle of the night during your sleep break. I'm simply pointing out that even with a great SCA ice is no longer available for several hours each day and that this is net negative for me. By itself it's not that big of a deal but combined with all the other little nit picky policy changes over the years the customer experience on Amtrak has become less appealing and even more dependent on the attitude and motivation of the frontline staff.

 

Honestly, this seems like a pretty mild post to call trolling.  Is it really that hard to admit that sometimes the folks at NRPC/FDA overreact to one problem while casually ignoring another similar problem?  Yes, the world has many problems that are far worse than some silly first world dispute over ice.  If you want to start a debate about the biggest issues of our time I'll be happy to read and contribute.  On the other hand if you're really allowing my posts to dictate your visitation schedule maybe you should simply put me on your ignore list instead?


Edited by Devil's Advocate, 18 April 2017 - 06:22 PM.

We've got provisions and lots of beer. The key word is survival on the new frontier. 


#54 RSG

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Posted 18 April 2017 - 06:24 PM

Thank you! That will work out well. I was already planning to make a trip to marianos to stock up on beer/wine/ lunch meet for my trip

Just make sure you bring a backpack or reusable bag with you so as not to be surprised by the City of Chicago's often-changing bag ordinance. It's no fun purchasing stuff and finding out you have to shove it in pockets in order to get it to your next destination.

[Which is why I particularly like the Mariano's in Park Ridge, near O'Hare---all the plastic grocery bags you need.]



#55 MARC Rider

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Posted 18 April 2017 - 08:43 PM

I'm on 97 tonight. Both my sleeper and the one I passed through on the way to the diner have ice put out for passengers. Ice is in a plastic bag lined box in the sink with a sanitary scoop nearby.

#56 RSG

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Posted 19 April 2017 - 04:35 AM

I'm on 97 tonight. Both my sleeper and the one I passed through on the way to the diner have ice put out for passengers. Ice is in a plastic bag lined box in the sink with a sanitary scoop nearby.

#97 of course being a Viewliner, with an onboard galley setup.



#57 dlagrua

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Posted 19 April 2017 - 09:32 AM

When one has to worry so much about sanitary conditions of providing ice on the train, I would say that position is hypocritical.  We have all used ice at a hotel, fast food place or restaurant and AFAIK we haven't lost any forum members that I can recall.



#58 jis

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Posted 19 April 2017 - 10:54 AM

 

I'm on 97 tonight. Both my sleeper and the one I passed through on the way to the diner have ice put out for passengers. Ice is in a plastic bag lined box in the sink with a sanitary scoop nearby.

#97 of course being a Viewliner, with an onboard galley setup.

 

Huh? Could you expand a bit on that?



#59 Thirdrail7

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Posted 19 April 2017 - 09:31 PM

 How is the ICE situation these days???

 

 

I guess I'm showing my age but one of the things that came to mind was:

 

 

 

R-1720697-1239111605.jpeg.jpg

 

I was wondering what happened to him as well! :giggle:


They say laughter is the best medicine. Obviously they never posted on AU.


#60 railiner

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Posted 20 April 2017 - 06:24 AM

Every time an "ice" thread pops up, I am reminded of the early years of Amtrak, when they posted on the bulkheads of each end of the Heritage coaches and sleeper's, a sign with passenger information...
These were headlined: NOTICE TO PASSENGERS, but most of them had the first "T" rubbed out by some wags, so they read: NO ICE TO PASSENGERS... :)
metroblue?

okay on the blue!




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