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Devil's Advocate

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    Planes, Trains, & Automobiles

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  1. Devil's Advocate

    Car doors not closing

    In all the years I've ridden Amtrak and been a member of this forum I've never once seen any actual evidence that Customer Relations is anything other than an interchangeable term for Customer Service. So far as I can tell the claimed distinction is little more than a myth perpetuated by chain letter logic.
  2. Devil's Advocate

    Service Alerts for weekend storm (1/19-20)

    If Amtrak is afraid of legal liability it's probably because they're worried about some event or condition they wouldn't be able to explain to the satisfaction of a prospective jury. For instance, leaving a disabled train stranded for hours on end with limited services and little or no meaningful communication. Other major rail networks operate before, during, and after adverse weather conditions but Amtrak isn't your typical passenger railway.
  3. Devil's Advocate

    Lake Shore/Capitol Limited Sleeping Car Menu Refresh 1/16/19

    Sounds reasonable for a one-off day trip. I wouldn't want to see this on any of the major Western routes and I would get tired of it quickly if I rode the CL or LSL on a regular basis, but at least it's moderately workable in a pinch. Seems better than what happened to the Star, although at least in that case you get the benefit of substantially lower fares.
  4. Devil's Advocate

    Lake Shore/Capitol Limited Sleeping Car Menu Refresh 1/16/19

    Just out of curiosity, are those "or's" non-negotiable dividers or do they offer to mix and match between the three?
  5. Devil's Advocate

    Taking my first trip: A bunch of questions

    If the vast majority of customers are informed that changing rooms will cost them more money, which seems extremely likely based on what I've seen and heard here and elsewhere, then it stands to reason that paying additional money is the primary policy and that moving for free has become the exceptional anomaly.
  6. Devil's Advocate

    Rocky Mountaineer New Equipment

    I feel like we're both saying almost the same thing at this point but one of us doesn't realize it yet? By my way of thinking these are proper domes... ^ These examples happen to be separated with shorter cars in between, but even if they were connected directly to each other you'd still get a pretty good view all around.
  7. Devil's Advocate

    Long anti Anderson Article

    Being the best airline in the US is a bit like being the best smelling dog present.
  8. Devil's Advocate

    Rocky Mountaineer New Equipment

    The very concept of a "full dome" is bordering on oxymoron territory. The original dome design allowed for a full wraparound view precisely because the dome itself did not run the full length of the car. Newer full length domes only provide a full view if they're separated by shorter cars in between. Stretching the dome from end to end and then butting them up against other domes largely defeats the original purpose.
  9. Devil's Advocate

    Taking my first trip: A bunch of questions

    & I believe that in the case of the Tropicana train those cars are carrying processed and packaged juice pallets rather than fresh oranges.
  10. Devil's Advocate

    Rocky Mountaineer New Equipment

    Yes, if the car is sitting alone on a vacant track the view will be 360 degrees. If it's part of an actual train the view will be blocked in the front and/or back of the car.
  11. Devil's Advocate

    Rocky Mountaineer New Equipment

    That doesn't look anything like a traditional dome to me. A real dome gives you a 360-degree view of everything around you. I'm not aware of any rule or regulation that prevents building a true dome car today.
  12. Devil's Advocate

    AGR Taxable Income Question

    One addendum to my previous post. Certain types of taxes are collected when redeeming points for free purchases, but Amtrak sales are currently exempt from such taxes. I think the main issue is that points values can vary wildly depending on specific usage and there is no obvious method in place for tracking the value that is actually realized.
  13. Devil's Advocate

    AGR Taxable Income Question

    Frequent traveler points are not typically handled as a taxable event. Did you receive a 1099 or similar document? If not, don't worry about it. If yes, hand the document over to your accountant. It may be possible to contest or dismiss the reported valuation depending on the situation. Although the IRS has generally ignored points usage at the consumer level they may decide to change their mind at any time.
  14. Devil's Advocate

    Taking my first trip: A bunch of questions

    I'm not surprised to hear the Meteor's scenery looks pretty boring to East coasters, but seeing lush greenery was unusual for me, even if it's predominantly found in the form of kudzu invading large swaths of waterlogged swampland.
  15. Devil's Advocate

    Lake Shore/Capitol Limited Sleeping Car Menu Refresh 1/16/19

    Only listening to the people who rode the train sounds rational at first but it also comes with a rather glaring blind spot. The people who were turned off by the new menu and either canceled their plans or found other means of travel will end up being ignored and potentially lost forever. In addition, by only listening to the people who rode these specific trains you're missing out on the views of people who currently ride other trains but would be prone to abandoning them if contemporary boxed lunches are expanded to other routes as well. Nothing in this menu really appeals to me. I could probably make do on a day trip but over multiple days this menu would be unsuitable for my needs. I tend to fly at least one leg of every trip so the usual response of bringing all my food and drinks with me is often impractical.