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CUS Metropolitan Lounge


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#21 John Bredin

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Posted 12 February 2018 - 10:01 PM

While the new lounge is VERY nice... it does seem odd to put the first class lounge further away from the boarding gates of the Amtrak trains. I'm not saying I have the perfect solution, but I do know Amtrak spent alot of money on re-designing the station for better passenger flow and I'm not sure if this design was the best use of the money.

The goals in redesigning Union Station also include making the Great Hall a more integral part of the station. Hence the Met Lounge, the Legacy Club, having most passengers wait and line up in the Great Hall, and moving the customer service counter next to the Met Lounge in the corridor leading to the Great Hall.

#22 Lonestar648

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Posted 12 February 2018 - 10:24 PM

The cut in Red Caps is very concerning, considering the number of people needing assistance.  I would suggest that anyone who can not get Red Cap assistance who needs it should contact Amtrak to complain. If no one complains, Amtrak will continue to eliminate Red Caps.



#23 Sauve850

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Posted 15 February 2018 - 08:15 PM

I find that leaving the ML easy if guided or unguided. There is always someone pointing to the door you go thru. You turn right go to the end and then turn left. Ive been stopped by detraining passengers and also moved straight on thru to the gate. Lots of people seem to need redcaps so a cutback is surprising to me.



#24 zephyr17

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Posted 15 February 2018 - 08:19 PM

 

While the new lounge is VERY nice... it does seem odd to put the first class lounge further away from the boarding gates of the Amtrak trains. I'm not saying I have the perfect solution, but I do know Amtrak spent alot of money on re-designing the station for better passenger flow and I'm not sure if this design was the best use of the money.

The goals in redesigning Union Station also include making the Great Hall a more integral part of the station. Hence the Met Lounge, the Legacy Club, having most passengers wait and line up in the Great Hall, and moving the customer service counter next to the Met Lounge in the corridor leading to the Great Hall.

 

Agree, although I might rephrase it as returning the Great Hall to its historic role as an integral part of the station.  Everything was not always stuffed into the concourse.


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#25 crescent-zephyr

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Posted 16 February 2018 - 12:02 AM


 

While the new lounge is VERY nice... it does seem odd to put the first class lounge further away from the boarding gates of the Amtrak trains. I'm not saying I have the perfect solution, but I do know Amtrak spent alot of money on re-designing the station for better passenger flow and I'm not sure if this design was the best use of the money.

The goals in redesigning Union Station also include making the Great Hall a more integral part of the station. Hence the Met Lounge, the Legacy Club, having most passengers wait and line up in the Great Hall, and moving the customer service counter next to the Met Lounge in the corridor leading to the Great Hall.
 
Agree, although I might rephrase it as returning the Great Hall to its historic role as an integral part of the station.  Everything was not always stuffed into the concourse.

Does moving first class passengers closer to the great hall help the first class passengers though? Doesn't really matter what the goal is... The end solution is a more difficult boarding process for some passengers.

I personally don't have any issue heading to my train from the new lounge. But I know the layout of Union Station, know the process of boarding Amtrak trains, and I am one able bodied adult with a easy to roll suitcase. It sure seems like the old lounge offered a better boarding experience to those who don't check all the boxes that I check.

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#26 wwchi

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Posted 16 February 2018 - 09:00 AM

 

 

 

While the new lounge is VERY nice... it does seem odd to put the first class lounge further away from the boarding gates of the Amtrak trains. I'm not saying I have the perfect solution, but I do know Amtrak spent alot of money on re-designing the station for better passenger flow and I'm not sure if this design was the best use of the money.

The goals in redesigning Union Station also include making the Great Hall a more integral part of the station. Hence the Met Lounge, the Legacy Club, having most passengers wait and line up in the Great Hall, and moving the customer service counter next to the Met Lounge in the corridor leading to the Great Hall.
 
Agree, although I might rephrase it as returning the Great Hall to its historic role as an integral part of the station.  Everything was not always stuffed into the concourse.

Does moving first class passengers closer to the great hall help the first class passengers though? Doesn't really matter what the goal is... The end solution is a more difficult boarding process for some passengers.

I personally don't have any issue heading to my train from the new lounge. But I know the layout of Union Station, know the process of boarding Amtrak trains, and I am one able bodied adult with a easy to roll suitcase. It sure seems like the old lounge offered a better boarding experience to those who don't check all the boxes that I check.

 

yes same here - I am a "regular" so know the station well but I see people that are already way too confused just going to the actual gate...trying to send them through all of the station to go to the great hall is too much for some people.



#27 Sactobob

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Posted 16 February 2018 - 01:09 PM

I think the lounge was moved was because the old one was not large enough, and there was not room to enlarge it at that location.   In addition the space occupied by old lounge is planned to be used to enlarge the area for general boarding, which is also too small.



#28 Lonestar648

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Posted 16 February 2018 - 01:56 PM

Too bad they could not have a door/corridor that is on the south platform side so boarding passengers bypass the confusion with direct access like the rear door of the old lounge did.

#29 wwchi

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Posted 16 February 2018 - 02:47 PM

Too bad they could not have a door/corridor that is on the south platform side so boarding passengers bypass the confusion with direct access like the rear door of the old lounge did.

THAT would be a great idea!



#30 SarahZ

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Posted 16 February 2018 - 04:50 PM

The ramp to the right of the lounge door goes directly to the south concourses, and the tracks are labeled with track numbers and train numbers/names.

I don’t understand what’s confusing about that. If you aren’t comfortable, you can ask for help. There’s no need for (more) construction, and there’s no room for a dedicated hallway, considering one already exists.

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#31 zephyr17

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Posted 16 February 2018 - 05:03 PM

The ramp to the right of the lounge door goes directly to the south concourses, and the tracks are labeled with track numbers and train numbers/names.

I don’t understand what’s confusing about that. If you aren’t comfortable, you can ask for help. There’s no need for (more) construction, and there’s no room for a dedicated hallway, considering one already exists.

:D


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#32 bratkinson

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Posted 16 February 2018 - 09:38 PM

The ramp to the right of the lounge door goes directly to the south concourses, and the tracks are labeled with track numbers and train numbers/names.


It's not confusing if you've done it before. But for those without a red cap and with rolling luggage, remembering to 'stay left' (or was it 'right'?) to use the ramp and avoid the stairs before getting to the platforms can be an unpleasant surprise. Fighting the BNSF commuter-train 'mobs' adds to the challenges.  I get to test my memory in March when I'm there once more. 


Edited by bratkinson, 16 February 2018 - 09:39 PM.


#33 SarahZ

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Posted 16 February 2018 - 09:42 PM

 

The ramp to the right of the lounge door goes directly to the south concourses, and the tracks are labeled with track numbers and train numbers/names.


It's not confusing if you've done it before. But for those without a red cap and with rolling luggage, remembering to 'stay left' (or was it 'right'?) to use the ramp and avoid the stairs before getting to the platforms can be an unpleasant surprise. I get to test my memory in March when I'm there once more.

 

 

The ramp is to the left and is maybe ten paces away from the stairs. They are separated by a wall you can see over.

 

I don't see the point in building a dedicated human hamster tunnel because someone can't turn around and walk 15 feet to the ramp.

 

As I stated, if someone is confused and/or can't handle the walk, that's what the redcaps and Amtrak staff are for.


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#34 Sauve850

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Posted 19 February 2018 - 07:22 PM

I agree with Sarah. Even a first timer should be ok. If unsure ask someone.



#35 nferr

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Posted Yesterday, 04:13 PM

Agree with the last couple of posts. It's not rocket science to walk to a numbered platform. 



#36 Lonestar648

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Posted Yesterday, 10:06 PM

It is not a problem finding the platform, but navigating through the commuters certain times of the day, and/or if the Coach passengers for your train have already mobbed the platform.  Personally, I know CUS well, so I usually have other travelers from the ML following me, but they can easily get separated during the walk to the Sleeper.



#37 tim49424

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Posted Yesterday, 10:13 PM

I had no problem on Sunday.....just listened for the announcement and headed out the door to the concourse and to the track my train was on.  It was that easy.  Of course, I'd done it several times before.  


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#38 SarahZ

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Posted Yesterday, 10:18 PM

It is not a problem finding the platform, but navigating through the commuters certain times of the day, and/or if the Coach passengers for your train have already mobbed the platform.  Personally, I know CUS well, so I usually have other travelers from the ML following me, but they can easily get separated during the walk to the Sleeper.

 

I didn't realize walking through a crowd of people on a concourse was so hard. They're people, not cars. Just say, "Excuse me," and walk past them.

 

We seriously don't need dedicated hallways simply to avoid walking past people on their way to other trains. It's a major train station located in the third-largest city in the United States. There are going to be other people and other trains there. If people get separated from the herd, they can follow the signs/numbers or ask for help. As I and others have mentioned, if someone is uncomfortable being in crowds and/or walking to the train, they can ask for assistance. There is no reason to punish those of us who don't have trouble walking ourselves to our train. 

 

If someone is worried they will be stuck behind the coach passengers, they can ask for a redcap. This happened even when there was a dedicated walk from the old lounge, as they would often walk us to the concourse instead of directly to the train. Everybody lived, even if they had to wait an extra 30 seconds to get to their car.


Edited by SarahZ, Yesterday, 10:20 PM.

Amtrak Miles: 43,318

 

Amtrak Routes: Blue Water, California Zephyr, Capitol Limited, Carl Sandburg, City of New Orleans, Coast Starlight, Crescent, Empire Builder, Hiawatha, Illinois Zephyr, Lincoln Service, Southwest Chief, Texas Eagle, Wolverine

 

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#39 Ryan

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Posted Today, 05:15 AM

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#40 kbmiflyer

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Posted Today, 12:16 PM

Thought about starting a new thread on this, but I think it fits on this thread.

 

I usually agree with most of what Sarah says here and I find her to be one of the most helpful people on this forum, but I am going to disagree with her on this one.  The new CUS lounge is great, but the new boarding process truly sucks and would not be easy for a first time passenger.

 

My story - was on 305 yesterday in business.   305 is the Lincoln Service that runs CHI-STL with a 5:15 rush hour departure. Went the lounge early in the day to drop luggage, and then came back about 3:00.   The lounge and the lounge staff could not have been better.  I caught the end of the fresh vegetables and cheese spread, and then shortly after the snack mixes came out.  The Pennsylvania room next to the windows on a rainy Chicago day could not have been better.

 

I was surprised when they called us at 4:35 for boarding our train (almost 40 minutes early), but nonetheless we headed down to track 26 based on the instructions from the front desk (this is the furthest track for boarding). 

 

Navigating Chicago Union Station this time of day is NOT easy.  There is a rush of Metra commuters heading down the triple escalators and on to the low numbered platforms, you have to navigate through them which is not an easy task, then you have to go past the Amtrak "security rope "that may or may not be actually manned and have a helpful employee.  There was also a Amtrak train unloading passengers and we had to navigate through them (this was a pretty small deal compared to the Metra rush)

 

We finally reach track 26 and an Amtrak employee is there wondering what we were doing.  I told him we were there to board train 305, and he tried to send me back to the coach waiting area.  I then explained we were business class and he took down a barricade shuffled us into the waiting area in front of the coach waiting area (where they board seniors and children ) and said we would board in a few minutes.   He asked us to sit down, but since we all assumed we would be boarding very shortly we all stood near the door.

 

After about 5 minutes, an Amtrak police officer came in and not so politely said the train wasn't boarding yet and we all needed to sit down.  I told him as I went to sit down that we were informed the train was boarding in the lounge, at which point he went off and talked to an Amtrak employee.

 

About 5 minutes later (around the normal boarding time of 4:45), we were informed that business class was now boarding.  However, we were not given any instructions on what to do other then go to track 26.  My son had noticed earlier that the business class /cafe cars was in the front (it is normally in the rear), do we headed down to there where a conductor was waiting.  Nowhere else from the gate to the front of the train were any employees to be seen.

 

I am a pretty seasoned Amtrak rider, and I found this whole process pretty frustrating.  Imagine how a first time rider would have felt?    Keep in mind that many sleeper and business class passengers are connecting through Chicago because they have to, and are not used to being in a busy large commuter train station.

 

That said, I DON'T think the solution is a dedicated hallway.  I think the solution is a dedicated employee that walks you from the lounge directly to the train.  I am not sure this is feasible for all of the local service trains with business class, but it is certainly feasible for the 7-8 trains a day that have sleeper passengers.

 

A side note, about 40 minutes after departure and person was brought up to business class and took the last available seat.  She apparently had purchased but had boarded and sat in coach.






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