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About desertflyer

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    Lead Service Attendant

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    San Francisco
  1. desertflyer

    2019 CA Zephyr Snow/Weather Delays

    It's been a pretty big storm here in northern California. SFO last night was pushing 6hr average inbound delays due to heavy rain and wind. I'm sure I-80 was closed. Hopefully all those passengers can be accomodated, especially with this being a long weekend.
  2. I was able to add someone to my sleeper reservation in September 2017. I'm not sure if anything has changed since then. They did make me go to the train station to pay and receive a paper ticket for the added passenger. The station agent was very clear that if I lost the paper ticket, the added passenger would not be able to travel. It was a bit of a pain.
  3. desertflyer

    Amtrak Announcements

    I have a huge problem with the way announcements are handled by certain crew members. Most conductors I've encountered are quite good, but some are really intense with certain warnings. The "don't smoke or I'll throw you off at the next crossing. This is a family train, so watch your language or I'll throw you off at the next crossing" type of announcements make the train feel more like a lower class form of travel, and I think it's off putting to certain types of travelers. I'm also not sure it does much to stop the people who are likely to cause problems, either. Having said that, the most surly announcements seem to come from the dining car. We had one of the sweetest dining car crews on the SWC recently, but if all you heard was the LSA's announcements, you wouldn't have known it. She would lay down the law before coming around for reservations and there was a general tone and language choice that was condescending. God forbid someone entered the dining car before she called their timeslot. I guarantee her announcements wouldn't bother many of you seasoned Amtrak travelers, but from a customer experience standpoint, she needs to learn how to communicate without being so stern. It's about controlling the messaging. I also wouldn't be surprised if more people would comprehend her announcements better with the proper messaging adjustments. Part of why bad announcement etiquette and messaging bothers me so much is that my company develops customer experience programs for our clients. A little bit of training goes a long way. General awareness around messaging can be taught and have a big impact on how it makes the passenger feel. Just because these types of interactions with crews aren't "write a complaint" worthy, it doesn't mean they don't impact the perception of Amtrak and the likelihood of patrons choosing it as a mode of travel in the future. /endrant
  4. It's about to start pouring here right now and I wouldn't blame someone taking a cab in those conditions.
  5. There are tons of cabs hanging out in the taxi rank immediately adjacent to Pier 39, which is where the SFW stop is, should you want to hail one. Uber and Lyft are also quite plentiful throughout the Bay Area if you'd prefer. In this Google Streetview, the BigBus is stopped at the Amtrak Bus Stop SFW and you can see the taxis at the rank in front of it. Having said that, cruises leaving from Pier 35 are so close that it wouldn't be worth taking a cab even if you have a lot of luggage. Pier 27 is also very walkable, but if you have mobility issues or can't move all of your luggage in one go, it could be worth using a cab.
  6. The E and F both stop right in front of the Cruise Terminal. These lines are run by historic streetcars with the occasional bus substitution, but they're not really designed for people with large luggage. These streetcars have no extra space for luggage and there are at least a couple of good steps up into the streetcars (especially the Italian streetcars sometimes in use). They're also often packed to the gills. Here's an example of one:
  7. We've been to the Pizanos on State St, but never had their thin crust. We'll have to do that. One of my favorite Chicago memories is grabbing a pizza from there and heading to Grant Park to see the Grant Park Music Festival. The pizza was still hot when we got there and we had a great evening. I'll be sure to try their thin crust sometime. If I didn't grow up and live in a mild climate, I'd probably agree with you Re: Summer vs Winter. When I wasn't living in the bay area, I was living in the desert, so snow is always something I've only had to visit. I have to say Montana is beautiful any time of year. The bookstore is Quimby's on W North Ave. It's a great little store, but it is really small. The brewery we got pizza at was almost across the street, Piece. Chicago is always one of our favorite cities regardless of pizza and weather we get on each trip.
  8. I love deep dish pizza (sorry!) but not this time. Maybe next time.
  9. Almost a year ago now we took a spur of the moment trip on the Empire Builder to see the winter scenery between Seattle and Chicago. Being from San Francisco, any time I get to see snow is novel, so it was quite the trip. I wrote it up on my blog with some pictures and video clips. You can view the report here: https://parkerday.com/the-empire-builder-jan2018/ And before anyone says it - yes - we had thin crust pizza in Chicago. It was recommended to us by the people who live there!
  10. desertflyer

    Pin cards not accepted...

    Many (dare I say most) debit cards in the USA now have the Visa or Mastercard logo on them. This means that merchants, like Amtrak, can process them through the credit networks even though the card is a debit card. It simplifies things for the merchant and card processor. I'm not sure how common that is for debit cards outside of the USA.
  11. desertflyer

    SAC Station

    Like was said, there is a second floor with offices in the main station. A brewpub was going to open adjacent to the waiting room part of the station, but it sounds like that plan may have not made it very far.
  12. desertflyer

    New LD Locomotive Order Placed

    I'm really happy to hear about this order as I do think it shows that Amtrak has some interest in fulfilling their requirement to connect communities across the country with the long distance trains. Seeing the timeline of delivery, I am also a bit concerned since many of the P42s seem to barely be hanging on at this point, so I'm not sure how well they'll do between now and fall 2021 when the Chargers enter service.
  13. desertflyer

    SAC Station

    Does anyone know when the brewpub is expected to open at Sac? The people who worked on the renovation mentioned one is planned on the main level but on my very brief visit earlier this month it didn't look like much has happened.
  14. Does anyone know which San Joaquins are typically operated with the Comets? I had them on train 717 back in mid-September, but would be curious if anyone knew more.
  15. desertflyer

    Southwest Chief #3 CHI-LAX live trip report

    Yeah, I may have been using the term "station" liberally.