Boarding Pere Marquette in Chicago -BC cancelled

Discussion in 'Amtrak Rail Discussion' started by Neeco, Apr 12, 2019.

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  1. Jun 9, 2019 #51

    tim49424

    tim49424

    tim49424

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    Dave is on the Empire Builder from Chicago to Winona. I ran in to him a couple of years ago. I’ve been trying to catch him there again but the last several times I’ve ridden that train have been on his days off. I’ve figured out his schedule and will be booking a trip with the main purpose of seeing him. He was very fond of my mom and I need to inform him she passed away last year. He’s the best and we lost a great one when the staffing point changed to GR. But the GR guys are great too, especially Jeff, Rich and Walt.

    When I see Dave (likely next month) I will say hi to him for you.
     
  2. Jun 9, 2019 #52

    wwchi

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    Please do say hello for me!!! And sorry about your mom.
     
  3. Jun 9, 2019 #53

    tim49424

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    Thanks. She and Dave has some real nice chats on the platform in Holland when I lived in Wisconsin and he’d ask me about her every time I boarded in Chicago. Awesomely enough, the time I ran into him in Minnesota, my mom and sister were on the Empire Builder with me coming back from the west coast. I caught him on the platform in Winona and told him mom was with me. After we got going, he came to her room and gave her a big hug and a kiss. I introduced my sister to him and he treated her like he’d known her for years. When we arrived in Chicago, he diligently looked for a redcap for her like his life depended on it. Typical Dave. She mentioned that trip about a month before she passed, one of our final conversations. This is why I’m trying so hard to get caught up with him. We’re Facebook friends but he’s almost never on. A great excuse for another trip, bittersweet as it may be.
     
  4. Jun 10, 2019 #54

    Pastor_Mac

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    Trying to book a one way for my wife from CHI-->GRR for 8/15. A) Amtrak's online reservation system refused to cooperate; b) BC was not an option. As soon as I clicked on Add to Cart the page went blank. Only fare choices was Saver & Flexible. Amsnag showed no BC on the Pere Marquette at all +/- 5 days.
     
  5. Jun 10, 2019 #55

    tim49424

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    I’m not convinced that Amtrak’s Facebook announcement was actually accurate. Up to June 30 you can book BC but past then you can’t and even in June there’s no guarantee that they will actually have a BC on the train. Typical Amtrak, say one thing, do another. I’d advise anyone who rides the Pere Marquette to just assume there is no BC available for the foreseeable future.
     
  6. Jun 10, 2019 #56

    wwchi

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    Agree with Tim - I have written to Amtrak as well as called the customer service number for Select status + and even they didn't know what was going on. That said, I am getting on the PM in a Business Class seat at 8:15 this morning - I have not received any email saying it was cancelled, which is what happened before, however as Tim posted earlier, one day it just was not there on the train when it was supposed to be. So who knows! Annoying for me as I work on the train and Business Class provides a little more quiet (generally) and space to work. These particular train cars in coach are very tight and in summer this train on Monday mornings is almost always sold out. I can't even buy 2 coach seats to give me space because we are the last stop before Chicago and who even knows if there would be 2 empty seats together at that point. We'll see what happens I guess but like Tim said, I would probably just assume there will NOT be Bus Class. ugh.
     
  7. Jun 10, 2019 #57

    wwchi

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    Just fyi BC is on 371 this morning
     
  8. Jun 10, 2019 #58

    tim49424

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    I think Jeff and Walt are happy about that. I know Jeff was quite perplexed about it not being on 371 on Wednesday. I hope Amtrak is issuing refunds or vouchers for BC purchasers when there aren’t BCs.
     
  9. Jun 10, 2019 #59

    wwchi

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    in the past when they canceled BC they did issue an immediate refund. Never had a problem with that. :)
     
  10. Jun 10, 2019 #60

    tim49424

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    That’s good and the right thing to do. I figured it may have happened to you in the past, knowing how often you ride. I just wish they’d let us know about July and beyond. I’d like to utilize it on the trip next month I mentioned previously plus day trips in the future. It’s not easy to plan ahead.
     
  11. Jun 12, 2019 #61

    wwchi

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    UPDATE - just called them again and the woman was very helpful but basically said it may or may not become available again...it may come back for a week or more or not and even if it comes back on line to reserve it could STILL change once you've booked it...they just don't know about having that equipment commitment. frustrating!
     
  12. Jun 12, 2019 #62

    tim49424

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    Clear as mud, typical Amtrak.
     
  13. Jun 12, 2019 #63

    wwchi

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    indeed but the woman was very helpful, I'll give her that...she put me on hold while she was trying to track down a useful answer and apologized for not having one, so I know she was hoping to help more. But yes, Amtrak is Amtrak.
     
  14. Jun 12, 2019 #64

    Pere Flyer

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    I haven’t used BC on the PM in over a year. Is it still one-half of a Superliner coach upper level, with BC placards above the seats, which are in standard coach layout?
    If so, I’m not sure what an equipment commitment would have to do with anything. The train would require the same equipment, with or without those overhead placards.
     
  15. Jun 12, 2019 #65

    wwchi

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    no it's not the same superliner. They changed that out for the summer for the single decker trains with BC in the cafe car. And having just spoken to them I know it's an issue of what they have available since the agent just told me that.
     
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  16. Jun 12, 2019 #66

    tim49424

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    Hopefully I’ll be on board tonight. My connection from #8 is iffy at best. ETA 6:15 if we don’t get stuck behind Metra. Keeping my fingers crossed. If we make it on time, I’ll see if BC is on tonight.

    UPDATE: We missed by five minutes and are awaiting further instructions, likely a bus to Holland
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2019
  17. Jun 13, 2019 #67

    wwchi

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    Great news guys...BC is now available to book, at least on the app...I was able to book my weekly trips through August though it may continue after that I just don't know. I would grab them quickly though as they are limited and it's summer! :)
     
  18. Jun 13, 2019 #68

    tim49424

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    I just bought a round trip ticket from Holland to Chicago to Tomah, WI and included BC on both #371 and #370, July 13-14, thanks to your information. If schedules work out, I'll be seeing Dave this time both ways on the Empire Builder, also Jeff works on #371 (so I can make up for the missed connection from last night). Hopefully it works out alright all around.
     
  19. Jun 13, 2019 #69

    wwchi

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    Awesome! Let's hope it doesn't flake on us!
     
  20. Jun 14, 2019 #70

    tim49424

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    Amen to that! I’m not ready to use my ML passes just yet. I want to save them for later this year. Also, I’m sure that BC also will be more consistent when we get our bi-levels back. But for now it’s hold our breath and cross our fingers time, for sure. I’m not really sure why they can’t make it work with the single level trains, the Wolverine has offered BC for years and it works just fine.
     
  21. Jun 24, 2019 #71

    tim49424

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    Try it again. It appears BC is now bookable up until 9/4, so your wife should be able to do a reservation.
     
  22. Jul 4, 2019 #72

    PaTrainFan

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    What is the latest on Business Class on the Pere Marquette? I am planning a trip for the late summer or early fall that will include the PM. I have been looking on Amtrak's website and every date I look at says "none left" for Business Class. In the grand scheme, is there really an advantage to riding BC on this train? I do like it when I ride the Pennsylvanian but it's a full car and I often get two seats to myself. And how does Amtrak handle Superliner equipment on this train? Don't they swap out with single level equipment during the summer?
     
  23. Jul 5, 2019 #73

    tim49424

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    As I said in the post previous to yours, BC is bookable through September 4. I posted that a week and a half ago and things have not changed.

    Regarding to advantages....the only one I can think of is the access to the Metropolitan Lounge and it's perks. The free beverage and newspaper are negligible.
     
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2019
  24. Jul 5, 2019 #74

    PaTrainFan

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    I'm sorry, Tim, I did not pay close enough attention to the date of your last post. But thank you for the information.
     
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  25. Jul 5, 2019 #75

    tim49424

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    I forgot to answer your question about equipment. Yes, the Superliners have been swapped out for single level. That happened back around Easter. It’s hard to say or know when the Superliners will return but it’s a well known fact that they’re used during the winter because snow actually is an issue in the vestibules of the single level and we get plenty of lake effect on our side of the lake, making boarding and exiting the train dangerous. As to be consistent with inconsistencies of Amtrak, the switch doesn’t happen every spring.
     

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