Amtrak Fall 2018 Vacation

Discussion in 'Travelogues / Trip Reports' started by Tennessee Traveler, Dec 1, 2018.

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  1. Dec 1, 2018 #1

    Tennessee Traveler

    Tennessee Traveler

    Tennessee Traveler

    Conductor

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    In late October to early November, I rode both the Southwest Chief and California Zephyr full route both directions.  I flew early morning Nashville, TN to Chicago, IL and then began my Amtrak journey boarding the Southwest Chief and rode to Los Angeles. In Los Angeles, I then rode the Pacific Surfliner to Fullerton, CA, to visit the station area and to eat in a favorite The Old Spaghetti Factory and then return back to Union Station to board that night's Southwest Chief back to Chicago. Yes, I did not spend a night in Los Angeles since I've visited Los Angeles many time since the 1970's. 

    One interesting incident off the the train earns a high recommendation for The Old Spaghetti Factory in Fullerton.  Since is was Fall Cool or Cold most everywhere except Los Angeles where it reached 80 degrees, I wore a lightweight jacket with hood when outside. I wore that jacket on my visit to Fullerton and took it off and hung on a chair opposite side of my table at The Old Spaghetti Factory.  That night when I was settling in on the train back to Chicago, I realize I had left my jacket still hanging on that chair in The Old Spaghetti Factory. Was not much I could do about it while on the train. I had a second jacket that I wore so was not defenseless against the cold.  When I got to and checked into my hotel in Chicago, I looked up the phone number for the Fullerton The Old Spaghetti Factory and called them. Since the jacket was had name Owen Engineering The Old Spaghetti Factory confirmed they did have it and agreed to send it to my home in Nashville. When I returned home in Nashville I found my jacket at home in a FedEx Package. I am thankful to The Old Spaghetti Factory in Fullerton and highly recommend to patronize this restaurant in Fullerton whenever you have an opportunity. It is right off the platform at the Fullerton Station and is in what was a Union Pacific building possibly the old station.

     Arriving in Chicago, I checked into my hotel Hampton Inn West Loop just a few blocks north of Chicago's Union Station for one night. The next day I visited the sleeping car Metropolitan Lounge at the station and then boarded Amtrak's California Zephyr to travel to Emeryville, CA. In Emeryville, CA, I stayed three nights at the Hyatt House Hotel across the tracks from the Emeryville Station. I did take the EmeryvilleGoRound free but to Oakland's McArthur BART Station and took BART over to San Francisco using a Streetcar to get to the Fisherman's Wharf area. I took a cruise on the Red and White Cruses boat to and under the Golden Gate bridge and around Alcatraz Island.  Back on land, I walked to Ghiradelli Square and ate their famous Hot Fudge Sundae before returning by BART to Oakland and then Emeryville.

    After three nights in Emeryville I boarded the eastbound California Zephyr back to Chicago and after staying two nights again in the Hampton Inn, I flew home to Nashville.

    Every train I took operated basically on time, the conductors, sleeping car attendants, and dining car workers were all pleasant and happy to be of service and all but one provided me a third pillow when requested. Only one incident made my last train ride back to Chicago from Emeryville less than ideal. When I boarded the sleeping car attendant for my 631 car said she had broken the upper bed in my roomette 3 that morning while getting set up for the trip and I could not occupy that roomette since she was afraid the upper bed would fall on me. Also, she had no available roomettes so she took me to the 632 car explaining to that sleeping car attendant what happened. He said only the roomette 10 next to the end doors and right over the "trucks" was available. While not rude, he really did not want to deal with me in his car. I got not introductory welcome.  I make all my reservations several months in advance and request a room near the center of the car to avoid the end door and to not ride right over the trucks. I do acknowledge that the day time right was okay but at night the room slung me from side to side and car and room would bounce over the track and actually bang my head pretty hard. The attendant did make my room to night time and then back to daytime but only after I had to look and find him. I just did not feel as a welcome guest. Also, by the end of the trip I was aware that roomette 4 in that 632 car was never occupied.

    I did report this to Amtrak Customer Service and got a letter of apology but no offer of e-voucher or other compensation.

    I did take five galleries of photos including a couple mini movies which you can view here:  AMTRAK FALL 2018 VACATION
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 1, 2018
  2. Dec 1, 2018 #2

    cpotisch

    cpotisch

    cpotisch

    Conductor

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    Thanks so much for sharing! Sorry to hear about your experience on the CZ. I recommend calling Customer Relations (not Customer Service) and explicitly asking for compensation. They may have been hesitant to straight up offer it, but it’s worth asking. I’ve always found CR to be super obligatory if we have a bad experience on Amtrak. :)
     
  3. Dec 4, 2018 #3

    Tennessee Traveler

    Tennessee Traveler

    Tennessee Traveler

    Conductor

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    cpotisch, specifically how do you call Customer RELATIONS as opposed to Customer SERVICE. So far I have seen no way to call anything but Customer Service.  Is there a phone number for CUSTOMER RELATIONS?
     
  4. Dec 4, 2018 #4

    Bob Dylan

    Bob Dylan

    Bob Dylan

    Conductor

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    You call the Regular Amtrak #, tell "Julie" you want an "Agent", once they answer ask them to transfer you to "Customer Relations". It sometimes takes awhile but is usually worth it to correct mistakes by Amtrak!
     
  5. Dec 4, 2018 #5

    cpotisch

    cpotisch

    cpotisch

    Conductor

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    Pretty much as Jim said, just call USA-RAIL, hit 0 to be put straight through to an agent, and then ask to be forwarded to CR. They are the ones that are in charge of  compensating passengers.
     

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