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About MSP_Train_Hopper

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    Service Attendant

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  1. Looks like the new menus are posted. 4 choices for lunch/supper. 2-3 of them are hot (cant tell if the Asian noodle dish is served hot or cold). Breakfast has been completely reworked to include choice of cereals (hot & cold) as well as hard boiled eggs, a breakfast sandwich and 2 kinds of muffins. I am confused what is included for breakfast. All you can eat / all you can fit on one plate / one from each category / etc? https://www.amtrak.com/content/dam/projects/dotcom/english/public/documents/menus/routes/Capitol-Limited-Sleeping-Car-Menu-0119.pdf
  2. MSP_Train_Hopper

    New Menus on #8

    Looks like the route specific branding on the cover is gone. Probably cheaper to do a generic national printing than different covers for each route - especially since the insides were the same. The new menu’s presentation seems more attractive in my opinion.
  3. MSP_Train_Hopper

    Fall Back

    Here’s how it works according to Amtrak’s System Timetable.
  4. MSP_Train_Hopper

    Car Attendants

    I'm not sure what the most recent Service Standards Manual is, but the latest I am able to find is #10 (Oct. 2017). In a nutshell, it says that staffing levels depend on a combo of number of coach cars and number of coach passengers, but 1 attendant can cover up to 4 cars.
  5. MSP_Train_Hopper

    Conductor's Punchers

    As of this past April, Open Sleeper tickets were still paper value and had to be manually punched. When boarding the Empire Builder, the first conductor repeatedly tried to scan it before I told her that it was 'the old fashioned punch type'. She took the whole ticket and said she would figure it out later. When boarding the Cascades later on, the conductor had to borrow the AC's punch since he didn't have his with. Punch tickets are definitely few and far between!
  6. MSP_Train_Hopper

    Empire Builder Timekeeping Struggles

    I was able to catch a video of the 10+ hour late #8 this afternoon as it entered the BNSF Union yard in Minneapolis. 10+ hour late Empire Builder
  7. It does indeed look like a new schedule for The Canadian may be in the works. According to their President & CEO: “At VIA Rail, nothing is more important than the safety and security of our passengers and employees. That is why we are currently working with our infrastructure partner on a new schedule, to start during the peak summer period, that will provide a longer but more predictable travel time,” added Mr. Desjardins-Siciliano. I am personally wondering how much they will lengthen the schedule by. Last April I rode westbound and we were more or less on time until a broken rail delayed us 6 hrs just east of Vancouver. When I rode eastbound this past April we consistently lost time and arrived in Toronto 12 hours late.
  8. MSP_Train_Hopper

    Vancouver Baggage Storage

    I am hoping they do. We are staying downtown so worse case scenario is we go check out downtown sights, checkout at 11 and then head to the station to ditch the bags before going sightseeing again.
  9. MSP_Train_Hopper

    Vancouver Baggage Storage

    My father & I will be arriving in Vancouver on a Monday night in early April on the Amtrak Cascades and leaving the next evening on the VIA Canadian. We would like to check out of our hotel Tuesday morn, ditch our bags (both carryon and to be checked) at the station and spend the day sightseeing around Vancouver. What is the baggage storage situation at the station? VIA says that checked baggage opens at noon on Tuesday, but Amtrak lists it as 6:00am. Both list the ticket counter opening at 6:00am. Will we be able to check our VIA bags and leave our carryons at the station before noon? Would we have to pay the Amtrak day storage charges before noon, and then that evening collect them and send the bags we don't need off as checked on VIA? Thanks in advance!
  10. MSP_Train_Hopper

    Bike stuff

    I just noticed that the new Empire Builder schedule (8/1) has a new footnote saying that there are now bike racks available. It says a reservation and fee are needed and the passenger mush handle their own bike to and from the baggage car. Doesn't say how much the fee is, if it is only available at checked baggage stations or anything else. Beyond this, I didn't see anything on the Empire Builder webpage or the Bikes on Board page. Has anyone else heard anything further?
  11. MSP_Train_Hopper

    Empire Builder #8 (06/27/16)

    We detrained in St. Paul around 4:00 this afternoon - 8hrs 15 mins late. The dining car crew was getting ready to break out the Dinty Moore stew for dinner service. We had a service attendant trainee who said that the more seasoned crew wouldn't tell her much on how the dinner service would go but to be prepared... The conductor made an announcement after Staples that they couldn't say much about how things would be handled in Chicago as far as connections, but people should wait until 2 crew changes down the line at Winona before things would start to be figured out, and that there wouldn't be answers until after Columbus at the earliest. Connections in Chicago were already well sunk by that point so I am surprised that they were going to wait. I was surprised that the dining crew seemed to be tight lipped with the trainee on how dinner service would go and that Chicago was tight lipped with the conductors on how missed connections would go. Thinking of how late the Empire Builder was running a year or two ago, it would seem like the process to deal with these issues would be well rehearsed. While waiting for our checked luggage, the ticket agent said that tomorrow's train (8 & 28) should be pretty much back on schedule. Not going to lie though, I thoroughly enjoyed the extra hours on the train.
  12. MSP_Train_Hopper

    Empire Builder #8 (06/27/16)

    I'm on the #28 train that left from Portland on the 26th. Got a call yesterday that the train would be late and was told that the arriving #27 was delayed in eastern Montana due to flooding and a possible washout. We departed Portland a little after 11:30 last night and was held in Spokane for about an hour and a half this morning for the #8 from Seattle. It was neat to be able to watch the sections hook up as I have always slept through it before. However we didn't get breakfast served since the 8 was late and the power was out while they hooked up the cars. We are now just arriving Whitefish at 4:05pm. Seem to be holding running time ok, and haven't had to stop for freight traffic yet.
  13. MSP_Train_Hopper

    Sleeping car meals on 27/28

    My wife and I are going to be traveling MSP to PDX in the next couple days. I've done the route quite a few times in coach but this will be my first time in a sleeper car. She has only taken coach too, but just to her family's place in North Dakota. What is the food like for the SPK - PDX legs? I've heard that boxed meals are loaded on from restaurants in Spokane or Portland. Are there a couple choices for the meals?
  14. MSP_Train_Hopper

    Staffed stations with early morning hours

    Rugby is only staffed by one person - I believe his name is Duane. He works all the shifts that the ticket office is open, but the office is closed each week from the end of his AM shift on Friday to the start of the PM shift on Sunday. Friday PM, all day Saturday and Sunday AM the station is opened and closed by a caretaker. There is no relief agent brought in when he takes vacation or other time off. When I was visiting my in-laws out there last year he was on vacation and the ticket office was closed - just had the depot maintained by a caretaker during that time.
  15. MSP_Train_Hopper

    Is the drinking water on Amtrak potable?

    I asked about the color of the water once to a lounge car attendant who said the 'milky' color is tiny air bubbles. The water tanks are under the car and air pressure is used to pump it up to the spigots. It made sense to me and the water did clear up after a few moments.