I was on the CZ the other day from Sacramento to Chicago.
It was a big mess from beginning to end. That train seemed doomed to be late. First we were delayed in the Rockies due to a freight train. I didn't have much of a complaint there as the area was simply beautiful.
Then a woman needed to be taken off of the train due to a "seizure". Our SCA seemed to think it was drugs.
The final nail in the coffin was when we had "signaling problems" just outside of Chicago. We were moving along at 20 MPH for well over an hour.
I missed my connection for the CL. I was thinking that this was a good thing as Amtrak would put me up at a nice hotel and I would get to spend a day in Chicago.
Turns out it was a bad thing. Chicago was super crowded down on the lakefront. It was super stressful. The good news, I had my bicycle and I was quickly able to get away from the crowds out on the lake front. It was beautiful and relaxing out there but sadly I still needed to deal with the overwhelming crowds and traffic to grab a bite to eat and get to an from the lake.
The really bad news is the CL train the next day was packed. I was supposed to have a sleeper on my train. There were no sleepers at all. I got suck in coach were I got zero sleep.
My question is, did I make a mistake waiting till I got into Union Station to make other arrangements? Could I have called customer service while sitting in that corn field outside of Chicago? Or did I really need to wait till I got to the station? Or does Amtrak (hopefully) automatically book you on the next train with best available match. FYI if the answer is yes on the last one I will be greatly surprised.