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Amtrak trips I'm not taking


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#21 Maglev

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Posted 02 June 2018 - 01:55 PM

Charlie, I am sorry for you that you are canceling these trips because I still think traveling by Amtrak is a great experience.  I also regret the revenue lost by Amtrak--depending on when you were traveling, Bedrooms are NOT always filled.

 

We will continue to travel by train even if it means bringing along our own food.  If we fly, we go first-class so cost is not as much of an issue.  It has to do with the experience of seeing this great land at ground level and meeting interesting people.

 

Our last trip on the Coast Starlight was as memorable as all the times we have ridden it, even without a Pacific Parlor Car and with mediocre food and  service in the dining car.   


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#22 jis

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Posted 02 June 2018 - 01:57 PM

Most of my trips other than the OTOL and AU trips are purely opportunistic, and those do not depend too much on food service, being relatively short and usually booked at the last moment trips. The OTOL and AU trips aren’t changing and well the rest will happen if and when they happen. Those of you that know me already know that I am not that much into cross country trips on Amtrak much of late, having traveled each route at least half a dozen times. For the long distance experience these days I prefer trying out new routes on other continents. Nothing particularly against Amtrak. It is just been there and done that way too many times already.

Edited by jis, 02 June 2018 - 01:57 PM.

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#23 Philly Amtrak Fan

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Posted 02 June 2018 - 02:02 PM

So let's assume these boycotts are actually successful and LD ridership goes down. What's Anderson's thoughts?

 

a) They don't like the meal changes, let's go back to the old menus/way things were.

 

b) LD ridership is tanking, let's get rid of the trains.

 

If you really believe a), then boycott the trains. But I'm more likely to believe b) so I'd suggest any plans of boycotting is going to have the opposite effect and ruin LD travel for the rest of us (unless you just don't care).

 

I don't really believe the boycotts are going to be successful (they weren't on the Silver Star) but I refuse to go along with them or support them. 


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#24 chrsjrcj

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Posted 02 June 2018 - 02:12 PM

Its not just a matter of boycotting. As others have mentioned, its cost and time.

I frequently travel to north Florida for family. Amtrak is almost twice the cost of driving, and almost 2 hours longer. Despite this, I still use Amtrak for most of those trips, as does my family when they visit me. Since my trip lasts through the lunch hour, I'll still use the dining car (Ive grown tired of the microwaved food in the cafe). I still think the Meteor has one of the better dining car meals on Amtrak. If they implement this new contemporary type of service on the Meteor, I'll likely just end up driving. Then to me, no boundaries becomes I can stop at a decent restaurant on the road and order whatever I want.

Also, if ridership is not impacted, Anderson & Co. will no doubt implement this elsewhere.

Edited by chrsjrcj, 02 June 2018 - 02:13 PM.

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#25 cpotisch

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Posted 02 June 2018 - 02:34 PM

So let's assume these boycotts are actually successful and LD ridership goes down. What's Anderson's thoughts?

 

a) They don't like the meal changes, let's go back to the old menus/way things were.

 

b) LD ridership is tanking, let's get rid of the trains.

 

If you really believe a), then boycott the trains. But I'm more likely to believe b) so I'd suggest any plans of boycotting is going to have the opposite effect and ruin LD travel for the rest of us (unless you just don't care).

 

I don't really believe the boycotts are going to be successful (they weren't on the Silver Star) but I refuse to go along with them or support them. 

As chrsjrcj said, it's not just a boycott. It's the fact that Amtrak's amenities and quality of service have seen a stark decline in recent years, and for many people it's just not worth it anymore. Most people aren't just doing it to teach Anderson a lesson, it really just comes down to the fact that flying or driving is just the better option for many people. And as I've said before, it's vastly more likely that Anderson and his goons see that following these changes, ridership on certain routes have taken a turn for the worse, and that it's worth considering reverting some changes. There would have to be a massive loss of ridership and revenue over a long period of time for management to decide that a train off is the best way forward. In theory, all it really takes to prove that "fresh choices" was a bad idea is to have the loss in revenue exceed the $3.4M savings. It's obviously not that simple, but it doesn't take millions of people to make a difference with this kind of stuff. To prove that an entire route isn't viable, on the other hand...


Edited by cpotisch, 02 June 2018 - 02:38 PM.

Routes Traveled: Silver Meteor, Silver Star, CrescentLake Shore LimitedCalifornia Zephyr, Sunset Limited, Texas EagleEthan Allen Express, Empire Service, Maple Leaf, AdirondackAcela Express, Northeast RegionalKeystone Service

 

Wish List: Cardinal, CONO, Empire Builder, Southwest Chief, Crescent (overnight), Adirondack w/ Great Dome, Downeaster

 


#26 Dakota 400

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Posted 02 June 2018 - 02:46 PM

I'm looking forward to my WAS-FLL trip on the Silver Meteor and am pleased with the price I am paying, particularly since my departure date is the day after Christmas.  (My Roomette is priced higher on that date than on my return date in late January.)  I am paying only $263.80 more than the cheapest airfare and that difference is almost the same as the difference in the cost of the Roomette due to the dates of departure and return.  Flying First Class on my preferred airline, the price ranged from $674.60-$1528.60, depending upon the flight chosen and I would get to change planes in ATL (goody, goody:  always a wonderful experience!)

 

I feel I am getting more value for my money on Amtrak than if I would fly.  It'll be more scenic, more and better food, more comfortable as to seating accommodation, hope to meet fellow travelers who enjoy the train experience (and exchange stories?), and certainly expect fewer hassles, i.e. no TSA (even with Pre-Check, if the Pre-Check line isn't open, it's a hassle).


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#27 Thirdrail7

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Posted 02 June 2018 - 03:53 PM

So let's assume these boycotts are actually successful and LD ridership goes down. What's Anderson's thoughts?

 

a) They don't like the meal changes, let's go back to the old menus/way things were.

 

b) LD ridership is tanking, let's get rid of the trains.

 

If you really believe a), then boycott the trains. But I'm more likely to believe b) so I'd suggest any plans of boycotting is going to have the opposite effect and ruin LD travel for the rest of us (unless you just don't care).

 

I don't really believe the boycotts are going to be successful (they weren't on the Silver Star) but I refuse to go along with them or support them. 

 

 

You forgot c)

 

Richanrd Anderson can  take the findings and figures to Congress and back up what every other CEO has mentioned:

 

Passengers want this service. Ridership and revenue climbed when we provided passengers with supportable services and food services. When we got rid of these services, ridership and revenue dropped.  Additionally, people flooded your inbox.  While there is room for financial controls, getting rid of these items has hindered our performance....not helped it. If you're serious about Amtrak, I urge you to fund these services as they are one of the reasons that our passengers seek Amtrak as their means of transportation.  I urge you to fund the new equipment that will allow me to bring in additional rider and fund the amenities that keep them riding. After all, we haven't moved a muscle on eliminating delays, which racks up a large number of our avoidable costs. Work with us to keep our ridership at record levels while still working to keep our avoidable costs down.


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


#28 Seaboard92

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Posted 02 June 2018 - 04:20 PM

For me I will still travel by train because I won't let Dick and Gardner keep me from riding the national network. As that to me is just letting them win. Now however my deadheads have been cut down because my job has effectively been cancelled by Gardner and Dick's policies.

But I'll still ride all service especially this year as I attempt for 50 states by rail. However I am boycotting the North East Corridor and Acela trains where possible. Note I don't count the Long distance trains that travel on the corridor as a NEC train. So I consider them exempt.
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Amtrak Routes I've riden: Silver Star(NYP-ORL), Silver Meteor(KIS-NYP),Carolinian(CLT-NWK), Palmetto (FLO-NYP), Acela(WAS-NYP), NE Regional(WBG-RVR), Pacific Surfliner(SAN-OSD), Piedmont(CLT-SAL), Crescent(NYP-CLT), Cardinal (WAS-CHI), Capitol Limited (CHI-WAS), Cascade (PDX-SEA)
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#29 KmH

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Posted 02 June 2018 - 04:42 PM

I'm looking forward to a long distance trip.

Probably in early October: Princeton, IL (PCT) - LAX - PDX - CHI - PCT.

While I don't plan on having a sleeper berth for any of that trip, I am planning on riding Business Class LAX to PDX. 

I'll spend a night in LA @ the Metro Plaza and in Portland @ the HI Portland NW.

 

Most of what I eat on the train I'll bring with me.

Foods I often eat at home that don't need to be refrigerated.

 

Mornings I'll get coffee, sugar, half & half, a bagel w/cream cheese, and some hot water from the café (for oatmeal).

I'll have mixed nuts, crackers, peanut butter (JIF To Go), Snickers bars, raisins, instant noodles, dry salami, a couple of Spam individuals, cookies, powdered drink mix.


Edited by KmH, 02 June 2018 - 04:49 PM.

California Zephyr • Coast Starlight  • Southwest Chief • Sunset Limited • Texas Eagle • Illinois Zephyr • Capitol Corridor

. . . . Amtrak miles - 23,703, so far.


#30 CHamilton

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Posted 02 June 2018 - 04:53 PM

I would be interested to know which aspects of the Amtrak service have led to your decisions not to take those trains, Charlie?

 

Ed

Ed,

I'm feeling like a boiled frog. It's not just one aspect getting slowly worse, it's one after another (all of which have been discussed here). While the prices keep going up and trip times get longer.


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#31 daybeers

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Posted 02 June 2018 - 06:43 PM

...However I am boycotting the North East Corridor and Acela trains where possible. Note I don't count the Long distance trains that travel on the corridor as a NEC train. So I consider them exempt.

How come?


Amtrak travel so far: only 11,218 miles: Springfield Shuttle (13), Northeast Regional (28), Acela (1), Lake Shore Limited (2), Pennsylvanian (2), Capitol Limited (1)

Ambus mileage (3 trips): 108

Other rail transit: WMATA (~900 miles), Metro-North, MTA, MBTA (Subway and Commuter Rail), Metra, CTA, RTA


#32 Seaboard92

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Posted 02 June 2018 - 06:46 PM

...However I am boycotting the North East Corridor and Acela trains where possible. Note I don't count the Long distance trains that travel on the corridor as a NEC train. So I consider them exempt.

How come?
It's Gardner's and Dick's baby. So hence I'm not going to help inflate its numbers. Now will I ride one behind a PV most definitely. Will I this year. Yes.
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Amtrak Routes I've riden: Silver Star(NYP-ORL), Silver Meteor(KIS-NYP),Carolinian(CLT-NWK), Palmetto (FLO-NYP), Acela(WAS-NYP), NE Regional(WBG-RVR), Pacific Surfliner(SAN-OSD), Piedmont(CLT-SAL), Crescent(NYP-CLT), Cardinal (WAS-CHI), Capitol Limited (CHI-WAS), Cascade (PDX-SEA)
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#33 PaTrainFan

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Posted 02 June 2018 - 07:22 PM

I did write to Amtrak Customer Service several days ago and aside from the standard auto-generated acknowledgement I have not received a reply. It remains to be seen what the response is, if any. 

I have ridden the Capitol between Pittsburgh and Chicago a few times a year for the last several years. The change in meal service may impact my future riding habits. While I am not going to boycott Amtrak entirely, in my note to Amtrak I said that in the future I may fly to Chicago because it is significantly cheaper than sleeper fare, and if I use my AGR points I stretch them further. I don't like saying that because I do not wish any ill will on the future of the Capitol, but the experience will be significantly diminished. I could accept it a little better if the fare was reduced, a la Silver Meteor, but that, we know, isn't the case. I could be very wrong on this, and perhaps it has been discussed elsewhere here (I don't visit every day) but I doubt this can be completely put on the head of Mr. Anderson. Planning for this had to have been going on long before he took the reins. But, we know his airline mentality is likely eager to see how this plays out so he can consider it for other long distance trains.

That said, I am betting there will be modifications made to the meal service down the road as they measure the impact. However let's not kid ourselves, a return to full service dining is unlikely, and that is disappointing.

 

 

Amtrak has been successful in its efforts to turn away its best customers. It no longer makes sense for me to take the train for these planned 2018 trips.

 

SEA-SJC Bedroom round-trip

SEA-PDX-CHI-WAS-NWK Bedroom round-trip

SEA-CHI-WAS-MIA Bedroom round-trip

 

Total revenue lost by Amtrak: $14,172.

 

What trips will you not be taking this year?

 

 

This is really nice to see...but largely irrelevant if people take your spot and most importantly, this is the only place you post it. Did you send this nugget to Customer Relations or the VP of Marketing or any other official at Amtrak?

 

What did they say?

 


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#34 brianpmcdonnell17

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Posted 02 June 2018 - 07:34 PM

I could accept it a little better if the fare was reduced, a la Silver Meteor, but that, we know, isn't the case.

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#35 OlympianHiawatha

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Posted 02 June 2018 - 07:43 PM

 

I would be interested to know which aspects of the Amtrak service have led to your decisions not to take those trains, Charlie?

 

Ed

Ed,

I'm feeling like a boiled frog. It's not just one aspect getting slowly worse, it's one after another (all of which have been discussed here). While the prices keep going up and trip times get longer.

 

 

Well said CHamilton!  Just over the past few years all the seemingly small service cuts have added up BIG TIME!  The loss of newspapers, the loss of cranberry juice, the loss of table flowers in the diner, the loss of wine tasting, the loss of the Silver Star diner, the loss of the PPCs on the Starlight and now pasture food on the Cap and Lake Shore.  I fear what may be next......


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#36 keelhauled

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Posted 02 June 2018 - 08:09 PM

It's Gardner's and Dick's baby. So hence I'm not going to help inflate its numbers. Now will I ride one behind a PV most definitely. Will I this year. Yes.

By that standard it's been the baby of Amtrak CEOs dating back more than two decades. You can see a pretty much continuous stream of investment from the introduction of the Acelas and north end electrification through the Thames and Niantic River bridges to the ACS-64 and Avelia trainset purchases up to the current Amfleet and Acela refurbishments.

If Anderson presides over the (hopefully) Gateway and Moynihan projects and (seems likely) Amfleet replacement he will only be taking his place in a long line of CEOs who have overseen a flow of money to the corridor.

We are stuck with technology when what we really want is just stuff that works.


#37 Blackwolf

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Posted 02 June 2018 - 08:09 PM

The future of our travels on Amtrak is not very clear.  While taking the train itself is still mostly enjoyable, the constant reductions and cuts in service/amenities as well as the lack of preventative maintenance on the equipment itself all make the regular increase in cost all the more disruptive.

 

A new RV purchased a month ago is our new land-based vacation choice.  The bed is Queen sized, the bathroom large and immaculate, the food freshly prepared with a knowledge of all ingredients and served on real china, and there are no routes at risk of discontinuance.

 

Not saying the train is out, but its definitely been moved to the rear of the travel choice pantry.


Edited by Blackwolf, 02 June 2018 - 08:10 PM.

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#38 Chey

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Posted 02 June 2018 - 09:44 PM

As long as Amtrak exists I'm going to keep riding. I have the time, but not the money so my trips aren't nearly as often as I'd like. I detest flying (it's called a phobia, I'm not sure why I have it; as a military brat I've flown since infancy but sometime in my late teens it became an unpleasant experience and gradually evolved into terror). When I was younger I enjoyed driving - I can still do it but I no longer enjoy it.

Since I was a little kid I have loved trains. I was always the kid who got out of the car when we were stopped at a crossing gate so I could wave to the engine and the caboose. I didn't get to ride an American passenger train until I was an adult and the first time I did I was hooked. I love the rhythm, the swaying, watching the country go by my window in a more encompassing way than driving can ever provide. All my grandchildren live less than 10 minutes from an Amtrak station. I guess I should count my blessings that I'm about 300 miles from one or I'd be more broke than I am now.

There are some changes Amtrak has made that make it harder for me - staff deletions from stations, the penalty for cancelling a trip even when I'm taking an e-voucher; but the new CL and LSL menus are NOT a problem for me, I never thought the diner meals were that great and the new menu promises to work much better with my diabetes.

I'm not exactly a foamer, I know jack about consists and car types and all that. I just love the experience of riding on the train. As much as I love my children and grandchildren, I approach my destinations with regret that my ride's about to end.

Bottom line is I'm going to take the train as often as I can afford to. I get one, at most two LD trips a year. I feel the anticipation many months before I ever board.

Edit: my diabetes does NOT keep me from understanding the objection non-diabetics have to the menu changes. I'm just trying to explain why they don't stop me. But neither do the things I do object to stop me. Nothing Anderson does can alter how I feel about passenger trains. All I can do is pray for an Amtrak CEO to come along who feels the way I do about Amtrak.

Edited by Chey, 02 June 2018 - 10:01 PM.

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#39 JoeBas

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Posted 02 June 2018 - 10:12 PM

 
This is really nice to see...but largely irrelevant if people take your spot and most importantly, this is the only place you post it. Did you send this nugget to Customer Relations or the VP of Marketing or any other official at Amtrak?
 
What did they say?


One should ask NASCAR how this philosophy worked out for them...

#40 Johanna

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Posted 02 June 2018 - 10:20 PM

I don't anticipate my train-riding patterns changing much - but I'm not sure how valuable a customer I am to Amtrak, since almost all of my trips are paid for with AGR points earned (mostly) through the credit card.  For my particular spending patterns and preferences, the AGR card is the best-value rewards credit card that I'm aware of, and that's continued to be the case despite the AGR program restructuring and onboard amenity changes.  (I hesitate to classify all the recent changes as "cuts," since the dining options available to me (vegetarian) have actually improved greatly over the past five years or so, so that's one area where I'm pleased with the direction things are going.  I'm reserving judgement on the Fresh Choices business for now.)

 

My AGR points get me one 2-3 night trip in a sleeper every 12-18 months or so, and that's been more or less constant under the old and new versions of the program.  I'll probably keep taking those trips as long as the trains keep running.


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