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Sebring, FL (SBG) to be Unstaffed Effective June 1, 2017


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#1 AmtrakLKL

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Posted 09 May 2017 - 09:20 PM

May 31, 2017 will be the last day for ticketing, checked baggage and passenger assistance at Sebring, FL. No details on whether or not a caretaker will open and close the waiting room.



#2 Lonestar648

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Posted 09 May 2017 - 09:28 PM

Sad, one by one Amtrak eliminates manned stations across the county.  I guess the number of transactions the Agent completes on an average day is getting fewer and fewer with on line ticketing and APPs to display tickets. I wonder if the number of checked bags has also decreased?


Trains Traveled On:
Texas Eagle                                      Sunset Limited                            California Zephyr                                Southwest Chief                Empire Builder            Capitol Limited           Lake Shore limited (NYP & BOS)      Crescent
Kentucky Cardinal                             Cardinal                                       Pere Marquette                                  Wolverines                        Lincoln Service            Empire Service          Keystone Service                               Acelas
NE Regionals                                    Pioneer                                        Desert Wind                                       Broadway Limited             Three Rivers                Southwest Chief        Coast Starlight                                    Empire Service
 
Amtrak Miles Logged: over 206,000


#3 AmtrakLKL

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Posted 09 May 2017 - 09:39 PM

Sad, one by one Amtrak eliminates manned stations across the county.  I guess the number of transactions the Agent completes on an average day is getting fewer and fewer with on line ticketing and APPs to display tickets. I wonder if the number of checked bags has also decreased?

 

I wonder if Amtrak has a good way of tabulating actual numbers of checked bags beyond the number of station tags shipped out each year. Unlike airlines, nothing is put in the computer regarding baggage. Even charges for excess checked baggage are written up manually. Regardless, I don't think there has been a decline in usage except that attributed to fewer stations offering the service as they are unstaffed.

 

The services offered by today's Customer Service Representative (they are no longer titled Ticket Agents, btw), go far beyond just ticketing and checked bags. It's also special services, positioning the wheelchair lift to minimize dwell time, handling unaccompanied minors, etc. Sebring is a bit special in that three trains all call on the station within a very short period and the agent can announce who is up next to board. The platform is also super low. The agent lines up special, extra-tall step boxes every day for each train. I guarantee even if those boxes are chained to a pole, no crew will take the time to use them. They'll just go back to the regular boxes and give out a heartier "Watch Your Step". 



#4 Lonestar648

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Posted 09 May 2017 - 09:55 PM

With nothing tracked, the bean counters have nothing to justify the CSR existence except the number of passengers each day. I know that in many of these management meetings quantitative results is all they digest.  Subjective accomplishments don't compute.  


Trains Traveled On:
Texas Eagle                                      Sunset Limited                            California Zephyr                                Southwest Chief                Empire Builder            Capitol Limited           Lake Shore limited (NYP & BOS)      Crescent
Kentucky Cardinal                             Cardinal                                       Pere Marquette                                  Wolverines                        Lincoln Service            Empire Service          Keystone Service                               Acelas
NE Regionals                                    Pioneer                                        Desert Wind                                       Broadway Limited             Three Rivers                Southwest Chief        Coast Starlight                                    Empire Service
 
Amtrak Miles Logged: over 206,000


#5 Thirdrail7

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Posted 10 May 2017 - 08:35 AM

With nothing tracked, the bean counters have nothing to justify the CSR existence except the number of passengers each day. I know that in many of these management meetings quantitative results is all they digest.  Subjective accomplishments don't compute.  

 

Indeed and depending on the physical characteristics of the station, they can always use train side baggage check for luggage. A lot of this is probably driven by the express numbers since it represents revenue and unaccompanied minors.  These are things that are easily tracked.


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


#6 tricia

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Posted 11 May 2017 - 06:21 AM

 

With nothing tracked, the bean counters have nothing to justify the CSR existence except the number of passengers each day. I know that in many of these management meetings quantitative results is all they digest.  Subjective accomplishments don't compute.  

 

Indeed and depending on the physical characteristics of the station, they can always use train side baggage check for luggage. A lot of this is probably driven by the express numbers since it represents revenue and unaccompanied minors.  These are things that are easily tracked.

 

 

Given the decreasing number of stations that have staff to accept checked baggage, does anyone here think it likely that Amtrak will figure out a way for the crews of LD trains to accept checked baggage train side? As the recent Slidell thread here indicates, not being able to check baggage is a major impediment for many travelers.



#7 Thirdrail7

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Posted 11 May 2017 - 08:54 AM

 

 

Given the decreasing number of stations that have staff to accept checked baggage, does anyone here think it likely that Amtrak will figure out a way for the crews of LD trains to accept checked baggage train side? As the recent Slidell thread here indicates, not being able to check baggage is a major impediment for many travelers.

 

 

 

It is already being done in multiple places across the system. The original test stations in 2014 were Williamsburg, VA and Route 128 (Dedham), Ma. It has since expanded and includes stations that have become unstaffed.


Edited by Thirdrail7, 11 May 2017 - 08:57 AM.

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


#8 daybeers

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Posted 11 May 2017 - 11:35 PM

Given the decreasing number of stations that have staff to accept checked baggage, does anyone here think it likely that Amtrak will figure out a way for the crews of LD trains to accept checked baggage train side? As the recent Slidell thread here indicates, not being able to check baggage is a major impediment for many travelers.

It is already being done in multiple places across the system. The original test stations in 2014 were Williamsburg, VA and Route 128 (Dedham), Ma. It has since expanded and includes stations that have become unstaffed.

How does this work, and do you know which stations this has expanded to?


Amtrak travel so far:

Springfield Shuttle: HFD-WND, HFD-NHV

Lake Shore Limited: SPG-CHI, CHI-SPG Roomette

Northeast Regional round-trip lots of times: NHV-NYP, NHV-WIL, NHV-WAS, HFD-WAS (some in Business)

Acela: PHL-NHV, Business Class

Pennsylvanian: NYP-PGH, PGH-NYP, Business Class

Capitol Limited: WAS-CHI Bedroom

 

Foreign travel:

Eurostar: London-Paris

EuroNight: Paris-Milano Centrale, 6 person couchette (by far the worst train I have ever been on.)

Frecciarossa: Milano Centrale-Roma Termini

 


#9 Thirdrail7

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Posted 12 May 2017 - 01:16 AM

Apparently, I was off in my years. The program started in late 2013. Basically, you check the your luggage train side. I've tried to think of the best way of handling the details using publicly available information.  We'll use the (outdated but publicly available) information in the Amtrak's SSM, version 8.1. Although this service standards manual has been modified, it gives the basis of the program.

 

Here are relevant points from the relevant chapter:

 

 

Limited Baggage Service – 5-Day Stations
Offered at select stations open 5-days per week.
• Station Open: Normal baggage service, with
option for Amtrak Express.
4-8 Baggage Handling
REV. No. 1 10-30-14

• Station Closed: Limited baggage service where
baggage must be dropped-off and picked-up at
the Baggage Car, as indicated on the “Limited
Baggage Service Tag” (old NRPC 300 U or new
NRPC 4000U), (Refer to Figure 4-3). The reservation
system is programmed to not accept firearms
when the station is closed.

 

<snip>

 

a) Boarding Passengers When Station is Closed
• Station and platform signage will indicate where
passengers with more than the two pieces carry on
limit can check their baggage when station is
closed (Refer to Figure 4-4). Baggage tags will be
available from kiosks at stations.
• At boarding, crews will direct any passengers
with excessive baggage to the Baggage Car.
• At the Baggage Car, crews will take possession
of the baggage.

 

<snip>

 

b) Detraining Passengers When Station is Closed
Passengers on the train who have checked their
baggage will be told to retrieve their baggage at
the Baggage Car.
• Upon detraining, crews will give passengers
directions to the Baggage Car where their baggage
can be claimed. Signage will also indicate where
to pick-up baggage.
• The crew will collect the claim checks, matching
the claim checks to the tags on the bag before
handing the baggage back to the passenger
trainside. (Refer to Figure 4-3 – Example of
“Limited Service Baggage Tag”)

 

Attached File  Limited baggage brochure.gif   26.28KB   23 downloads

 

 

 

 

The policy has been expanded and also includes select unstaffed stations. An example of this was mentioned in the Winona, MN to become unstaffed soon thread.  After the staff was eliminated, they brought in baggage light.

 

 

This is from Winona's city profile on the Amtrak website:

 

 

Winona, MN (WIN)

Station Building (with waiting room)
65 East Mark Street
Winona, MN 55987

Checked baggage service at this station is self-service. Passengers should follow directions on signage in the station, tag their own bags and take to conductor at train side.

 

Another example of the aforementioned 5 day station is found in Columbus, WI's city profile:

 

 

Columbus, WI (CBS)

Station Building (with waiting room)
359 North Ludington Street
Columbus, WI 53925

On weekends and other select days checked baggage service at this station is self-service. Passengers should follow directions on signage in the station, tag their own bags and take to conductor at train side.

 

In this case, walk up service only occurs on weekends and holidays. There are other variables but you have the basics.  I haven't track of all of the stations but I'd say they are in the low double digits. I also remembering a few of them pulling out due to excessive dwell, insufficient paths and host anxiety.


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


#10 tricia

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Posted 12 May 2017 - 06:58 AM

Apparently, I was off in my years. The program started in late 2013. Basically, you check the your luggage train side. I've tried to think of the best way of handling the details using publicly available information.  We'll use the (outdated but publicly available) information in the Amtrak's SSM, version 8.1. Although this service standards manual has been modified, it gives the basis of the program.

 

Here are relevant points from the relevant chapter:

 

 

Limited Baggage Service – 5-Day Stations
Offered at select stations open 5-days per week.
• Station Open: Normal baggage service, with
option for Amtrak Express.
4-8 Baggage Handling
REV. No. 1 10-30-14

• Station Closed: Limited baggage service where
baggage must be dropped-off and picked-up at
the Baggage Car, as indicated on the “Limited
Baggage Service Tag” (old NRPC 300 U or new
NRPC 4000U), (Refer to Figure 4-3). The reservation
system is programmed to not accept firearms
when the station is closed.

 

<snip>

 

a) Boarding Passengers When Station is Closed
• Station and platform signage will indicate where
passengers with more than the two pieces carry on
limit can check their baggage when station is
closed (Refer to Figure 4-4). Baggage tags will be
available from kiosks at stations.
• At boarding, crews will direct any passengers
with excessive baggage to the Baggage Car.
• At the Baggage Car, crews will take possession
of the baggage.

 

<snip>

 

b) Detraining Passengers When Station is Closed
Passengers on the train who have checked their
baggage will be told to retrieve their baggage at
the Baggage Car.
• Upon detraining, crews will give passengers
directions to the Baggage Car where their baggage
can be claimed. Signage will also indicate where
to pick-up baggage.
• The crew will collect the claim checks, matching
the claim checks to the tags on the bag before
handing the baggage back to the passenger
trainside. (Refer to Figure 4-3 – Example of
“Limited Service Baggage Tag”)

 

attachicon.gifLimited baggage brochure.gif

 

 

 

 

The policy has been expanded and also includes select unstaffed stations. An example of this was mentioned in the Winona, MN to become unstaffed soon thread.  After the staff was eliminated, they brought in baggage light.

 

 

This is from Winona's city profile on the Amtrak website:

 

 

Winona, MN (WIN)

Station Building (with waiting room)
65 East Mark Street
Winona, MN 55987

Checked baggage service at this station is self-service. Passengers should follow directions on signage in the station, tag their own bags and take to conductor at train side.

 

Another example of the aforementioned 5 day station is found in Columbus, WI's city profile:

 

 

Columbus, WI (CBS)

Station Building (with waiting room)
359 North Ludington Street
Columbus, WI 53925

On weekends and other select days checked baggage service at this station is self-service. Passengers should follow directions on signage in the station, tag their own bags and take to conductor at train side.

 

In this case, walk up service only occurs on weekends and holidays. There are other variables but you have the basics.  I haven't track of all of the stations but I'd say they are in the low double digits. I also remembering a few of them pulling out due to excessive dwell, insufficient paths and host anxiety.

 

Thanks for the details. I suppose it's too much to hope that "baggage lite" will be extended to all unstaffed/unopen stations anytime soon? For any long-distance transportation service NOT to offer checked baggage seems a gross deficiency, and a bit bizarre given that the trains in question all have baggage cars. Surely it shouldn't be impossible to arrange to actually load baggage into those cars at every station?



#11 bretton88

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Posted 12 May 2017 - 02:27 PM

I noticed Ft. Madison (a sometimes staffed station) was doing the trainside checked baggage. It all ran quick and smoothly.

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#12 Lonestar648

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Posted 12 May 2017 - 02:40 PM

This will work other than potential delays until some idiot realizes the ease of checking a big bag without a ticket that results in multiple agencies including the TSA becoming involved.


Trains Traveled On:
Texas Eagle                                      Sunset Limited                            California Zephyr                                Southwest Chief                Empire Builder            Capitol Limited           Lake Shore limited (NYP & BOS)      Crescent
Kentucky Cardinal                             Cardinal                                       Pere Marquette                                  Wolverines                        Lincoln Service            Empire Service          Keystone Service                               Acelas
NE Regionals                                    Pioneer                                        Desert Wind                                       Broadway Limited             Three Rivers                Southwest Chief        Coast Starlight                                    Empire Service
 
Amtrak Miles Logged: over 206,000


#13 Thirdrail7

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Posted 13 May 2017 - 10:46 AM

 

Thanks for the details. I suppose it's too much to hope that "baggage lite" will be extended to all unstaffed/unopen stations anytime soon? For any long-distance transportation service NOT to offer checked baggage seems a gross deficiency, and a bit bizarre given that the trains in question all have baggage cars. Surely it shouldn't be impossible to arrange to actually load baggage into those cars at every station?

 

 

I do not foresee the program being extended to all unstaffed/closed stations soon.  If you commit the time and resources to something, there aren't many things that are impossible. 

 

However, is it probable? As I'm fond of observing there are different operating parameters to consider. The vast majority of these trains traverse railroads that belong to other companies. As such, train side baggage check will depend on the platform length and surroundings (is there a safe way to get passengers train side to get your baggage). If the train is long (think about the 13 car Lake Shore Limited), you may need to increase the dwell to allow  for a double or (possibly) triple stop. There are some stations where this is feasible but not optimal and in some cases, the host railroads wouldn't even allow it because of dwell. Even the location of the baggage car must come into play.

 

That is why I don't foresee a wide spread implementation of this plan in the immediate future. Everything from dwell, recovery time, platform length, loading plans and train length (particularly if the train station is near a signal or interlocking) has to be considered. 


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


#14 Lonestar648

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Posted 13 May 2017 - 03:44 PM

To do this Amtrak would have to add an additional person to handle the bags on and off which defeats the cost savings of closing the ticket windows at these stations.  You would almost have to board everyone with their bags quickly into say the Coach/Baggage Car where a Baggage handler tags the bags and stores them.  At a service stop then the bags are moved to the baggage car.  That is getting the bags on which is full of issues, but then how do you get the bags off quickly?  I thought of baggage bins, but you need a lift and someone to move the empty bin to and from the tracks.  Again, the problem is how to get in and out of the station in 5 minutes or less.


Trains Traveled On:
Texas Eagle                                      Sunset Limited                            California Zephyr                                Southwest Chief                Empire Builder            Capitol Limited           Lake Shore limited (NYP & BOS)      Crescent
Kentucky Cardinal                             Cardinal                                       Pere Marquette                                  Wolverines                        Lincoln Service            Empire Service          Keystone Service                               Acelas
NE Regionals                                    Pioneer                                        Desert Wind                                       Broadway Limited             Three Rivers                Southwest Chief        Coast Starlight                                    Empire Service
 
Amtrak Miles Logged: over 206,000


#15 BCL

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Posted 13 May 2017 - 04:55 PM

Is there a procedure for unclaimed baggage? I suppose Amtrak deals with forgotten carry-on at the end of the route, so baggage uncollected trainside would probably be left at the next station with a baggage room or at the end station.

#16 Lonestar648

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Posted 13 May 2017 - 05:07 PM

I doubt the train has enough dwell time to wait for all bags to be claimed.  Maybe the caretaker puts unclaimed bags inside the building.


Trains Traveled On:
Texas Eagle                                      Sunset Limited                            California Zephyr                                Southwest Chief                Empire Builder            Capitol Limited           Lake Shore limited (NYP & BOS)      Crescent
Kentucky Cardinal                             Cardinal                                       Pere Marquette                                  Wolverines                        Lincoln Service            Empire Service          Keystone Service                               Acelas
NE Regionals                                    Pioneer                                        Desert Wind                                       Broadway Limited             Three Rivers                Southwest Chief        Coast Starlight                                    Empire Service
 
Amtrak Miles Logged: over 206,000


#17 dogbert617

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Posted 25 May 2017 - 05:04 AM

Apparently, I was off in my years. The program started in late 2013. Basically, you check the your luggage train side. I've tried to think of the best way of handling the details using publicly available information.  We'll use the (outdated but publicly available) information in the Amtrak's SSM, version 8.1. Although this service standards manual has been modified, it gives the basis of the program.

 

Here are relevant points from the relevant chapter:

 

 

Limited Baggage Service – 5-Day Stations
Offered at select stations open 5-days per week.
• Station Open: Normal baggage service, with
option for Amtrak Express.
4-8 Baggage Handling
REV. No. 1 10-30-14

• Station Closed: Limited baggage service where
baggage must be dropped-off and picked-up at
the Baggage Car, as indicated on the “Limited
Baggage Service Tag” (old NRPC 300 U or new
NRPC 4000U), (Refer to Figure 4-3). The reservation
system is programmed to not accept firearms
when the station is closed.

 

<snip>

 

a) Boarding Passengers When Station is Closed
• Station and platform signage will indicate where
passengers with more than the two pieces carry on
limit can check their baggage when station is
closed (Refer to Figure 4-4). Baggage tags will be
available from kiosks at stations.
• At boarding, crews will direct any passengers
with excessive baggage to the Baggage Car.
• At the Baggage Car, crews will take possession
of the baggage.

 

<snip>

 

b) Detraining Passengers When Station is Closed
Passengers on the train who have checked their
baggage will be told to retrieve their baggage at
the Baggage Car.
• Upon detraining, crews will give passengers
directions to the Baggage Car where their baggage
can be claimed. Signage will also indicate where
to pick-up baggage.
• The crew will collect the claim checks, matching
the claim checks to the tags on the bag before
handing the baggage back to the passenger
trainside. (Refer to Figure 4-3 – Example of
“Limited Service Baggage Tag”)

 

attachicon.gifLimited baggage brochure.gif

 

 

 

 

The policy has been expanded and also includes select unstaffed stations. An example of this was mentioned in the Winona, MN to become unstaffed soon thread.  After the staff was eliminated, they brought in baggage light.

 

 

This is from Winona's city profile on the Amtrak website:

 

 

Winona, MN (WIN)

Station Building (with waiting room)
65 East Mark Street
Winona, MN 55987

Checked baggage service at this station is self-service. Passengers should follow directions on signage in the station, tag their own bags and take to conductor at train side.

 

Another example of the aforementioned 5 day station is found in Columbus, WI's city profile:

 

 

Columbus, WI (CBS)

Station Building (with waiting room)
359 North Ludington Street
Columbus, WI 53925

On weekends and other select days checked baggage service at this station is self-service. Passengers should follow directions on signage in the station, tag their own bags and take to conductor at train side.

 

In this case, walk up service only occurs on weekends and holidays. There are other variables but you have the basics.  I haven't track of all of the stations but I'd say they are in the low double digits. I also remembering a few of them pulling out due to excessive dwell, insufficient paths and host anxiety.

Weird, I had no idea Amtrak had done this at a few stops,  where staffing was totally eliminated for checked baggage! Wish they'd roll this out at some of the stations that never had ticket agents/staffing even like 5-10 years ago, myself. Though I wouldn't expect them to roll this out at flag stops that almost never get any use(i.e. Sanderson, TX).



#18 me_little_me

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Posted 28 May 2017 - 08:04 PM

Amtrak has a new program that they are testing at Wilmington, DE. You check your bag going northbound on the Silver Star to Wilmington but they unload it in Philadelphia and put it on another train so it arrives an hour and a half later in Wilmington. At least that's what happened to me last week.

 

Between that and the other testing they were doing on us, we did get a voucher!



#19 dogbert617

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Posted 01 June 2017 - 01:24 AM

Amtrak has a new program that they are testing at Wilmington, DE. You check your bag going northbound on the Silver Star to Wilmington but they unload it in Philadelphia and put it on another train so it arrives an hour and a half later in Wilmington. At least that's what happened to me last week.

 

Between that and the other testing they were doing on us, we did get a voucher!

I thought Wilmington, DE was a staffed station? Interesting to hear this news. So you were getting off in Wilmington from a station south of there, and someone on a southbound train traveling on the NEC will drop off your bag in Wilmington who's assigned to one of the southbound trains stopping at Wilmington on the NEC? Interesting, if that's the case. Just explain a little more what you mean, since I was trying  to understand how this new test program works.



#20 AmtrakBlue

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Posted 01 June 2017 - 05:04 AM

Amtrak has a new program that they are testing at Wilmington, DE. You check your bag going northbound on the Silver Star to Wilmington but they unload it in Philadelphia and put it on another train so it arrives an hour and a half later in Wilmington. At least that's what happened to me last week.
 
Between that and the other testing they were doing on us, we did get a voucher!

I thought Wilmington, DE was a staffed station? Interesting to hear this news. So you were getting off in Wilmington from a station south of there, and someone on a southbound train traveling on the NEC will drop off your bag in Wilmington who's assigned to one of the southbound trains stopping at Wilmington on the NEC? Interesting, if that's the case. Just explain a little more what you mean, since I was trying  to understand how this new test program works.
Wilmington is a staffed station.
I believe what happened is that they did not unload his luggage - by mistake - and it went to Philly. WIL probably contacted PHL so they would unload there and send back to WIL.

2011: Jun: WIL=>WAS=>WIL (NER) // Nov: WIL=>WAS=>CHI=>PRO (NER=>CL=>CZ)
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: 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)
2015: May: CHI=>CIN(pd-Card) / CIN=>WIL(pts Card)
2015;  Oct(Gathering):  WIL=>WAS(Acela) / ALX=>WAS(NER) / WAS=>BAL(Acela) / WAS=>WIL(NER)

2016: Mar: WIL=>WAS=>WIL (NER)  // Oct:  WIL=>NYP=>NYP=>WIL (Autumn Express) 





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