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DesertRat

Trip to L.A. - Southwest Chief

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I'm taking the Chief to LAUS then Metro to my hotel. Given the Chief's astonishingly erratic arrival times - today it arrived in Barstow 11 hours-plus late - I wonder just how long my hotel would hold my room. I know they generally have a policy of holding the room if you let them know, but would they do so for so long? This room is part of a block for a conference.

 

Just planning ahead...is this a concern?

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Honestly, I would call your hotel and ask about their policies. Since the room is part of a block, the policy for holding rooms and wait-listing may be different from their normal policy.

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To build on Sarah's answer (which is the most correct one) calling the hotel will allow them to notate your reservation as needed with arrival information and take a credit card if needed to guarantee the reservation. Most hotels, as long as there's a credit card on the reservation, will hold your room through the night since they can charge you either way.

 

That said, many hotels do overbook these days, so a reservation, especially made direct through the hotel, that denotes the possibility of a late arrival and something to check that against (say, the status of the Southwest Chief) is the best chance of you not being the one relocated if they become overbooked or them opening your room in inventory to try and resell it to someone else.

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To build on Sarah's answer (which is the most correct one) calling the hotel will allow them to notate your reservation as needed with arrival information and take a credit card if needed to guarantee the reservation. Most hotels, as long as there's a credit card on the reservation, will hold your room through the night since they can charge you either way.

 

Jeb with the save! I was going to add this info but got distracted by a text message and hit "submit". :lol:

 

(My avatar is 100% indicative of my personality most days.)

 

Good luck with your hotel!

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I'm taking the Chief to LAUS then Metro to my hotel. Given the Chief's astonishingly erratic arrival times - today it arrived in Barstow 11 hours-plus late - I wonder just how long my hotel would hold my room. I know they generally have a policy of holding the room if you let them know, but would they do so for so long? This room is part of a block for a conference.

 

Just planning ahead...is this a concern?

I ran into a similar situation but with a flight. I called the Sheraton and they checked me in over the phone so my reservation doesn't become a no show. If I remember correctly, at the Sheraton I was staying at in ABQ, the reservation automatically becomes a no show if not checked before 2AM. Regardless of having a CC on file, its important that your res does not become a now show since at that point, they can bill you for one day and then sell the room to someone else if fully booked.

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I had thought that if you paid for the room with your credit card, it was yours, whether you showed up or not....

If that is not the case...for the OP...since you are part of a conference, perhaps you could arrange with someone else in your conference to 'check you in', and in that way secure your room from being sold out from under you? Not sure...just a suggestion... :unsure:

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Thanks for the feedback! In the past when I've had to come late it was typically like two or three hours late. Not this late as the SWC has been and the room wasn't part of a block. Ok. I'll check with the conference folks about their agreement with the hotel.

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I had thought that if you paid for the room with your credit card, it was yours, whether you showed up or not....

If that is not the case...for the OP...since you are part of a conference, perhaps you could arrange with someone else in your conference to 'check you in', and in that way secure your room from being sold out from under you? Not sure...just a suggestion... :unsure:

Double dipping from what I hear is quite common. All can be prevented by notifying the hotel ASAP. When my flight was delayed by 4 hours and we would be getting into ABQ around 3:30AM, pretty much everyone at the gate area had their phones to their face calling their rental car agencies, hotels, families etc.. Last thing you want after a long day is to be walked to another hotel because your room was given away.

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We are taking the SWC from Chicago to LA in early August. According to this site it has been late way more than on time including some really late arrivals. Is there a reason for all of these delays?

 

https://juckins.net/amtrak_status/archive/html/history.php?train_num=3&station=lax&date_start=06%2F17%2F2018&date_end=07%2F17%2F2018&df1=1&df2=1&df3=1&df4=1&df5=1&df6=1&df7=1&sort=schAr&sort_dir=DESC&co=gt&limit_mins=&dfon=1

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We are taking the SWC from Chicago to LA in early August. According to this site it has been late way more than on time including some really late arrivals. Is there a reason for all of these delays?

 

https://juckins.net/amtrak_status/archive/html/history.php?train_num=3&station=lax&date_start=06%2F17%2F2018&date_end=07%2F17%2F2018&df1=1&df2=1&df3=1&df4=1&df5=1&df6=1&df7=1&sort=schAr&sort_dir=DESC&co=gt&limit_mins=&dfon=1

Usually it's because they're getting stuck behind a freight train or a freight derailment.

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We are taking the SWC from Chicago to LA in early August. According to this site it has been late way more than on time including some really late arrivals. Is there a reason for all of these delays?

 

https://juckins.net/amtrak_status/archive/html/history.php?train_num=3&station=lax&date_start=06%2F17%2F2018&date_end=07%2F17%2F2018&df1=1&df2=1&df3=1&df4=1&df5=1&df6=1&df7=1&sort=schAr&sort_dir=DESC&co=gt&limit_mins=&dfon=1

SWC likes to breakdown a lot. I was on train 3 in 2016 when our lead engine broke down after leaving Barstow. We crawled along at barely 5 MPH until we got to a siding where they could ditch the broken down lead engine. We were 5+ hours late.

 

I feel like I see train 3 come into LAUS lead by freight loco more often then not.

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Its a hard route on 20 year old equipment. Lots of 79 and 90 mph running and brutal hot weather. As good as the GEs are, not surprised their age would start showing on the SWC. The prior F40s were breaking down too on the SWC near the end of their lives too.

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We are taking the SWC from Chicago to LA in early August. According to this site it has been late way more than on time including some really late arrivals. Is there a reason for all of these delays?

 

https://juckins.net/amtrak_status/archive/html/history.php?train_num=3&station=lax&date_start=06%2F17%2F2018&date_end=07%2F17%2F2018&df1=1&df2=1&df3=1&df4=1&df5=1&df6=1&df7=1&sort=schAr&sort_dir=DESC&co=gt&limit_mins=&dfon=1

Usually it's because they're getting stuck behind a freight train or a freight derailment.

 

 

In the case of the recent delays, weather has been an issue. Heavy rain with flash flooding in New Mexico required hi-rails to check the track and washouts to be repaired before the train could pass through.

 

By and large, the SW Chief has not performed too badly. If you consider 4 pm to the the point when you might worry about an LA hotel reservation, the SWC has only missed that arrival three times in 2018, and two of those were recently due to the weather issues. This year, 66% have arrived within 30 minutes of schedule, 77% within 60 minutes, and 88% within two hours (10:15 AM).

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Its a hard route on 20 year old equipment. Lots of 79 and 90 mph running and brutal hot weather. As good as the GEs are, not surprised their age would start showing on the SWC. The prior F40s were breaking down too on the SWC near the end of their lives too.

Is the SWC route the roughest on equipment out of all the LD routes?

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Raton Pass has the steepest grades - up to 3.6% briefly in a couple of spots as I understand it?

But it a much sorter pull than from Denver to the Moffat Tunnel east entrance.

The next CZ climb is from the Colorado River in Ruby Canyon to Soldier Summit at the top of Spanish Fork Canyon (6400 ft) in the Wasatch Mountains

In the morning hours the SWC has to go over Silver Zone pass, about 6000 ft elevation.

The climb up to Flagstaff is about the same as the CZ pull from Reno to Donner Pass.

 

Most train grades aren't more than 2%.

Edited by KmH

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We are taking the SWC from Chicago to LA in early August. According to this site it has been late way more than on time including some really late arrivals. Is there a reason for all of these delays?

 

https://juckins.net/amtrak_status/archive/html/history.php?train_num=3&station=lax&date_start=06%2F17%2F2018&date_end=07%2F17%2F2018&df1=1&df2=1&df3=1&df4=1&df5=1&df6=1&df7=1&sort=schAr&sort_dir=DESC&co=gt&limit_mins=&dfon=1

SWC likes to breakdown a lot. I was on train 3 in 2016 when our lead engine broke down after leaving Barstow. We crawled along at barely 5 MPH until we got to a siding where they could ditch the broken down lead engine. We were 5+ hours late.

 

I feel like I see train 3 come into LAUS lead by freight loco more often then not.

I remember some months ago the Cheif sat in Barstow for hours (I think six, not sure). I didn't find out why but very possibly waiting for the rescue engine.

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I would imagine the Auto Train, being the longest and heaviest has its challenges, although its terrain is relatively flat.

It also has to contend with a fairly wide change of climate on its route, not sure if that affects it....

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Many years ago, when I was en route to San Antonio, our Sunset Ltd. was running late enough that I could see it would be the wee hours before we arrived. I called our hotel in the evening, and let them know we expected to be in around 4am, and would REALLY appreciate the room when we got there (it was the last time we rode coach on anything other than a day trip). They said the desk was open all night, and assured me our room would be waiting for us. I don't believe they even checked us in till we got there. They said they understood late trains, LOL.

 

There is probably no reason at this point to do anything other than make sure your hotel has a night desk, and double-check their no-show policies. If you are late, a phone call the evening you are due to check in should be enough to assure your room is charged to your name, and waiting for you!

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I had thought that if you paid for the room with your credit card, it was yours, whether you showed up or not....

As I understand it, the issue is that some hotel clerks, using some accounting software packages, may cause reservations to be automatically canceled when they run the night audit procedure (circa 2:00-3:00 A.M.), if the reservation hasn't been checked in.

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I was on the SWC that came in this Saturday, and though we were slightly late, we were still in hours before our earliest check in time at our hotel. It looks like only once or twice this past month would have caused an arrival after earliest checkin, and even the latest arrival, the eleven hour late SWC, would have gotten into LAUS by seven pm. So, unless you have an extreme outlier beyond what has happened recently, you should be fine.

 

The advice given to call your hotel to warn them about a possible late arrival should set your mind at rest, but be aware that for considerable portions of the route, there may be no cell coverage, so if you decide to contact the hotel, I would do it before boarding just to be on the safe side.

 

One final note: Since it is possible, even likely, that you will arrive at LAUS well before your check in time, keep in mind that sleeper car arriving passengers are able to hang out at the Metropolitan Lounge, a much calmer and more pleasant place to stay than the rest of Union Station, or even possibly the lobby of your hotel waiting to get your room.

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I would imagine the Auto Train, being the longest and heaviest has its challenges, although its terrain is relatively flat.

It also has to contend with a fairly wide change of climate on its route, not sure if that affects it....

If memory serves, the Auto Train takes some time to get up to speed, but I don't think it has much issue once it is up to speed. The engines have to do a pretty consistent amount of work throughout the trip. I could be wrong, but I don't think I've heard of an engine breaking down on the AT.

Edited by cpotisch

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Its a hard route on 20 year old equipment. Lots of 79 and 90 mph running and brutal hot weather. As good as the GEs are, not surprised their age would start showing on the SWC. The prior F40s were breaking down too on the SWC near the end of their lives too.

Is the SWC route the roughest on equipment out of all the LD routes?

 

 

I don't know that answer. But I bet the Genies on the SWC are in Run 8 more than any other route. While the constant running may actually be good for the motor, it wears on the traction motors. Again, these locomotives are 20 years old and older. While major systems have been renovated or replaced, its still 20 years wear on many parts.

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