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late train/missed connection senario


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#1 Rail Freak

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Posted 13 May 2018 - 01:06 PM

Let's say  I have used points for a Roomette trip PDX-STP (EB -CL- SM) the #8 is late into CHI, I miss my CL connection. Amtrak says that I can't get a ROOMETTE on the CL & SM for the next two days! I can't do overnite coach, I've tried! What would Amtrak offer me as a solution?


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#2 Ryan

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Posted 13 May 2018 - 03:23 PM

You may be able to get a room on your own dime until the next train with a roomette departs.
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#3 Lonestar648

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Posted 13 May 2018 - 03:36 PM

Amtrak should be able to book you on the next available Roomette train, but since you will not go coach, the hotel would be on you.  I am sure you would not be the first to say no overnight coach.  



#4 snvboy

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Posted 13 May 2018 - 03:50 PM

This is why I'm usually loath to book a same-day eastbound connection in Chicago for trains originating three days prior. There's just too much that can go wrong, and for me the stress isn't worth it. And Chicago is one of my favorite cities, so taking a day there on my terms isn't all that bad. That being said, I usually train westbound, fly coming back east.



#5 cpotisch

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Posted 13 May 2018 - 04:19 PM

This is why I'm usually loath to book a same-day eastbound connection in Chicago for trains originating three days prior. There's just too much that can go wrong, and for me the stress isn't worth it. And Chicago is one of my favorite cities, so taking a day there on my terms isn't all that bad. That being said, I usually train westbound, fly coming back east.

I've always found that while it is a risk, a several hour connection is safe enough that adding a day to the trip just isn't worth it. Especially since Eastbound connections are always on the return for me, I'm usually worn out at the end, and spending an extra day in Chicago, before finally heading home is a bit too much.

Edited by cpotisch, 13 May 2018 - 04:24 PM.

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#6 Lonestar648

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Posted 13 May 2018 - 07:44 PM

I generally just go with the connection, except the CS southbound connection to the SL/TE that is one hour and if you miss, there isn't a train for a couple days. so I lay over a day in LA.  A lot less stressful.  This past summer, the CS arrived over 90 minutes late, the SL/TE was not in the station.  I was told that connections were made by taking passengers off in Oxnard IIRC.  



#7 spinnaker

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Posted 13 May 2018 - 08:16 PM

So what happens if Amtrak misses the connection  in Chicago and it is Amtrak's fault?   There is space the next day be it coach or roomette.   What will Amtrak do for you?   Or is an overnight in Chicago on your dime?



#8 PVD

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Posted 13 May 2018 - 08:47 PM

Roomette SWC to Roomette CL, my last blown connection in Chicago I was put up in the Swissotel. Others have reported getting space in a sleeper in CUS, others in hotels further out...



#9 SarahZ

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Posted 13 May 2018 - 09:09 PM

I've always found that while it is a risk, a several hour connection is safe enough that adding a day to the trip just isn't worth it. Especially since Eastbound connections are always on the return for me, I'm usually worn out at the end, and spending an extra day in Chicago, before finally heading home is a bit too much.

 

People could say the same of riding in coach overnight, though. :) Barring obligations the next day, I would rather have a nice, comfy hotel bed in Chicago and enjoy a great dinner than be stuck in coach overnight. 


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#10 FrensicPic

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Posted 13 May 2018 - 09:26 PM

I generally just go with the connection, except the CS southbound connection to the SL/TE that is one hour and if you miss, there isn't a train for a couple days. so I lay over a day in LA.  A lot less stressful.  This past summer, the CS arrived over 90 minutes late, the SL/TE was not in the station.  I was told that connections were made by taking passengers off in Oxnard IIRC.  

Last July on a southbound Coast Starlight, SL/TE passengers were bused from Santa Barbara to Palm Springs to connect. We were more than 2 hours late.


Edited by FrensicPic, 13 May 2018 - 09:28 PM.

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#11 bratkinson

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Posted 13 May 2018 - 10:16 PM

In the past 40 years or so I've been riding Amtrak fairly regularly, I've only missed (or going to miss) connecting trains 5-6 times. 

 

In one case 30+ years ago, the Broadway Ltd was cancelled due to blizzard conditions and they booked me on  the Lakeshore Ltd to NYP to connect to a different train to Florida the following day. They also paid for a hotel in NY as the Lakeshore arrived about 12 hrs late due to the blizzard, but that was figured in so I made the rebooked train with roomette to Florida that trip.

 

I've been bused to make connections 3 times that I can recall.  Not a terrible experience, other than forgetting my hat on the bus at Indianapolis to 'meet' my roomette at midnight a few years ago.

 

It was 3 or 4 years ago that I was on a 4-5 hours late #8 to Chicago and was booked out on #30.  They boarded an Amtrak 'agent' at La Crosse (or was it Wisconsin Dells?) and everyone with connections in Chicago were instructed to meet with him in the lounge car.  Mostly a waste of time, in my opinion.  But he freely wrote out vouchers for hotel stays in Chicago and for transportation to/from the hotels for those who were willing to do that and take their chances on the next days' trains to <wherever> upon arriving Chicago.  I've been through CUS too many times to count, and when we finally arrived about 20 minutes prior to the Lakeshore Ltd 9:30 departure, I literally RAN the length of the platform to the ticket counter (I NEVER check any baggage!), swapped my ticket for coach (it was an AGR redemption trip) and 'made due' riding coach to Springfield MA.  I was 66 or 67 years old at the time, and riding coach for the night wasn't bad.  I didn't get a seat-mate until Cleveland or Erie, so I enjoyed the seat all to myself that night.

 

I've learned from my own and others' experiences not to book same day connections in a handful of situations.  Because of the sort-of-early departures of #50 and #30 from CHI, I won't book that connection coming from #8.  BNSF does a LOT of trackwork every summer on their route STP-SEA/PDX so a 3-5 hours late arrival in Chicago happens too often during trackwork season (APR-NOV) in my opinion.   Although 3 weeks ago, I was on #28 from PDX and came in only an hour late, which was expected per an email from Amtrak indicating trackwork in Wisconsin.  Another 'don't do it' is #14 to #28 at PDX.  30 years ago when I was traveling 1-2 times per month on business, I made that connection many times.  But in the past few years that Transitdocs.com and other sites show train performance, that connection fails too often.  When I arrived PDX on 4/21 aboard #14, I would have made the connection to 28 without a problem.  When I left PDX the next day on #28, #14 would miss making the connection by 2 hours.   Another connection that I made a good number of times 30 years ago was #11 to #2 at LAX.   I wouldn't try that one these days unless I really WANTED to be bused from <wherever> to connect.  Going the opposite way, #1 to #14, I've done that maybe 6-7 times in the past 10 years or so and never missed the connection.  

 

Perhaps the biggest difference between a missed connection on an airline vs Amtrak is the few accomodation types on a plane (a seat is a seat) vs seats/roomettes/bedrooms/handicap/family rooms on Amtrak.  Airlines have multiple departures from A to B whereas Amtrak has only 1 per day, or 3 per week.  So matching up accomodations is near impossible when a connection is missed, unless riding coach.  A year ago, after a UP derailment damaged a bridge north of Sacramento caused the Coast Starlight to be cancelled, I had to change my plans in a hurry as I was booked on #14 less than a week later.  I figured out a number of 'shorts' to stay in a sleeper LAX to CHI, but had to change rooms twice enroute to do it.  It totally blew the Amtrak phone agent's mind when I had to explain the situation and that I already figured out the right combination of 'shorts', etc.  She'd never had to deal with a crazy railfan before.

 

Through the years, how Amtrak handles missed connections has been tweaked and adjusted to do the best they can to get matching accomodations on the next train to your destination.  But given that during the summer and holidays most sleeping cars are sold out, trying to get a sleeper for the next day is near impossible.  HOWEVER...with the advent of cell phones, if you're on the train and know you're not going to make the connection, you'll be far ahead if you 'play with' the Amtrak web site to figure out the best solution for you HOURS before reaching Chicago.  Maybe you can get a roomette or even a bedroom for half the trip, etc.  Calling to change your reservations while you're still on the late train tends to baffle the agents.  I did just that when CSX dumped a coal train on the B&O route out of WAS and I knew that #29 would not be running from WAS that evening.  So I first had to convince her I knew that #30 was terminated at PGH and would originate there, and my connection in WAS would be blown, so I'll get off train #141 at NYP and take the Pennsylvanian to PGH to catch #29.  She made the change and then I had to convince her to undo the AGR points penalty for changing my reservation!  Fortunately,  I succeeded.  

 

So, in a jam, is riding coach for a night so awfully terrible for a usually in a roomette traveler?  If it's not during peak travel times, it's OK.  These days, I travel with a couple of inflatable pillows as I have to sleep slightly elevated.  Using the same pillows to jam between the wall and the armrest works well in coach, too.  Being prepared carrying some gaffers tape and piece of paper to block out a ceiling light in your eyes is always a good idea, too.  Take some earplugs along too, as conductor(s), dining and lounge car crews use the PA way too often and after 10PM, usually stop, but at 6:30 or 7, your ears will be assulted!      

   

 

 

 

    

 

 


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#12 Skyline

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Posted 14 May 2018 - 12:23 AM

 

bratkinson, I like your self-sufficient attitude. I compare Amtraking to long-distance backpacking (like on the Appalachian Trail). Hope for the best, but be prepared to deal with the worst. No snivelling allowed. It'll still be a memory you'll enjoy telling war stories about years from now. 


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#13 cpotisch

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Posted 14 May 2018 - 10:30 AM

I would rather have a nice, comfy hotel bed in Chicago and enjoy a great dinner than be stuck in coach overnight. 

I would as well. And if it seemed particularly likely that I would miss the connection, I would schedule a night in Chicago. But when there's 6+ hour buffer between trains, I feel comfortable connecting the same-day.


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#14 Lonestar648

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Posted 14 May 2018 - 11:42 AM

Thinking back, I remember a couple times when the EB arrived MSP already down five hours or more, Amtrak bused all the connecting passengers direct to Chicago.



#15 Shanghai

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Posted 14 May 2018 - 01:05 PM

I have been riding Amtrak for 17 years and only once did I miss a connection.

Amtrak put me up in a nice hotel (in Chicago) gave me taxi money, dinner money

and booked me on the next day train.  Other than being one day late, I was pleased

with the arrangements by Amtrak.


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#16 Walt

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Posted 14 May 2018 - 04:07 PM

There's just too much that can go wrong, and for me the stress isn't worth it.


I take the train to simply have low stress travel. True, Amtrak sometimes runs late, but I always plan for that.

#17 Walt

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Posted 14 May 2018 - 04:09 PM

I have been riding Amtrak for 17 years and only once did I miss a connection.
Amtrak put me up in a nice hotel (in Chicago) gave me taxi money, dinner money
and booked me on the next day train.  Other than being one day late, I was pleased
with the arrangements by Amtrak.


I think the issue here, is that the OP refused to take the next day train. And refused to take the train the day after that. The OP has their reasons, but those are their reasons, not Amtrak's.

#18 jis

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Posted 14 May 2018 - 04:23 PM

I have misconnected in Chicago at least half a dozen times in my 40 years of riding Amtrak LD. In general if I had the extra day available and Amtrak offered me accommodation equivalent to my originally booked on, I have gone with their arrangements, and have never been dissatisfied with the hotel arrangements etc.

 

OTOH, if the alternative arrangements included overnight Coach when I was originally in Sleeper I have very graciously declined and asked for a refund of the balance, and flown the balance of the trip.

 

Of course similarly when I don't really have an additional day without missing some important appointment or an extra vacation day, I have also asked for a refund and flown.

 

I think it is reasonable to expect to get to the destination within some reasonable number of hours of the original plan, failing which it should be appropriate to release the customer from the contract and let them go their own merry way. Airlines are required to do so for delays defined in a statute. As far as I know Amtrak just does it out of the niceness of their heart. They are not required to. but I could be wrong of course. So far they have never refused me.



#19 railiner

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Posted 14 May 2018 - 04:46 PM

Many years ago, I was booked on Train 6 to Train 40, and we misconnected.  They gave us taxi voucher's, a night at a nearby Holiday Inn, and even some meal money.

In my case it worked out great, because I was actually hoping for that to happen, to see Chicago on Amtrak's 'dime'....I was traveling coach Denver-Chicago, and Single Slumber, Chicago to New York.   That is the only time that happened to me...the rest of the time, I made the connection, or in one case, was reaccommodated from Train 48 to 40,  which departed later...


metroblue?

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#20 SarahZ

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Posted 14 May 2018 - 05:25 PM

 

I would rather have a nice, comfy hotel bed in Chicago and enjoy a great dinner than be stuck in coach overnight. 

I would as well. And if it seemed particularly likely that I would miss the connection, I would schedule a night in Chicago. But when there's 6+ hour buffer between trains, I feel comfortable connecting the same-day.

 

 

Oh, I get what you mean now. :) That makes sense.


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