Doors didn't open

Discussion in 'Amtrak Rail Discussion' started by John, Nov 6, 2013.

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  1. Nov 6, 2013 #1

    John

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    John

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    Hi,

    My 18 year old son was waiting at the West Glacier station for the train last night, train pulls up, stops for a few seconds and off it goes. It was running about 40 min. late. He was there, made eye contact with the conductor when he looked out, saw 'green lights come on like doors were gonna open' and then it pulled away. When he phoned me I could hear the train, within a couple minutes or so a freight train came by he said it was on the same tracks. He had tickets for his segment with that time, date, and train. Like 25 degrees out, nothing open for 15 miles, had to sleep under a picnic table.

    Haven't called Amtrak yet. Biggest concern is that he can get on the next train thru, since they can't print tickets at this station which is only open for a couple hours. And now all his segment tickets are 24 hours later. He's going to the coast then all the way down to Yuma, AZ

    Other than that you would think they'd be a bit more concerned when they know there's a passenger to pick up in an isolated area. Resorts, gas station, cafe, all closed for the season. Nothing open to get in out of the cold.
     
  2. Nov 6, 2013 #2

    NW cannonball

    NW cannonball

    NW cannonball

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    Seems from what you posted, that Amtrak blew it bad.

    Apologists?

    Please call Amtrak and ask to speak to Customer Relations. The conductor has a list of passengers boarding at each stop. No way the train should not pick up a passenger with a paid ticket. Ever. If the passenger is on the platform when the train stops.
     
  3. Nov 6, 2013 #3

    Bob Dylan

    Bob Dylan

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    Ditto! Call Customer Relations (not "Service") ASAP! No Excuse for This! :angry:

    (Hopefully he was @ West Glacier as you Stated and not East Glacier, which Closes after Oct. 5 and the Stop becomes Browning until Spring!)
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 6, 2013
  4. Nov 6, 2013 #4

    FrensicPic

    FrensicPic

    FrensicPic

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    If had a reservation/ticket, the conductor should have been aware of a passenger at the station. BTW...the lights by the doors indicate brake status, not door function. Green indicates brakes released.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 6, 2013
  5. Nov 6, 2013 #5

    AlanB

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    AlanB

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    Did he wave at the conductor and start walking towards him? Or did he just stand where he was and not move?

    I ask because all doors will generally not open at that stop. While the conductor should have been expecting him, and frankly should have said something, if your son just stood there doing nothing more after making eye contact it is possible that the conductor didn't think that he was the passenger that was expected and perhaps just a railfan there to observe the train passing by.

    And those green lights do not indicate anything related to the doors. This train does not have automatic doors, they are opened manually only. So please tell your son to not pay any attention to those lights as they won't help him.
     
  6. Nov 6, 2013 #6

    Greg

    G

    Greg

    Guest

    Yes, it was obviously the passenger's fault. He should have been jumping up and down and waving his arms wildly. Riding Amtrak is just that shade of awesome.

    /sarc
     
  7. Nov 6, 2013 #7

    Guest

    G

    Guest

    Guest

    He did not wave at the conductor, or walk toward the doors as he didn't know which ones would open. He remained under a light where he could be seen. It was cold & dark, he was standing on the platform, in a pretty remote area, nothing's open, can't imagine someone would think he's just a train buff watching trains go by! It is West Glacier that's he's at. I was digging for an hour trying to find a place for him to stay or something to do...nothing up there this time of year, 15 miles to a motel that MAY be open, that's a 5 hour walk. Told him to hunker down and stay warm for the night.

    He had gotten off there the previous day, planning on hiking some, camp for the night, and catch that train. So he had a sleeping bag, MRE"s, etc. Wound up sleeping under a picnic table at the station. He'll have a good story to tell about two nights under a picnic table!

    Gonna call customer relations and see what we can do.

    Thanks.
     
  8. Nov 6, 2013 #8

    PRR 60

    PRR 60

    PRR 60

    Conductor Staff Member Administator Moderator

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    There is no excuse for the crew to not open doors at a stop where a passenger or passengers are expected to board. None. In fact, even if the manifest shows no boardings, the crew should still open the doors and check the station just in case a last minute reservation was made.

    Didn't we have a similar story here just a few weeks ago?
     
  9. Nov 6, 2013 #9

    Guest

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    Guest

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    Yes, there was a similar story a bit ago, that's how I stumbled on this site!
     
  10. Nov 6, 2013 #10

    SarahZ

    SarahZ

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    Yup. They ended up taking a flashlight the next day so they could get the conductor's attention. They also walked toward the train and waved their arms. It was the same situation (dark, but the station had lighting).
     
  11. Nov 6, 2013 #11

    Trogdor

    Trogdor

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    I'm a little curious why, in a situation like this, your first move is to post on an Internet message board with no affiliation to Amtrak rather than calling Amtrak right away.
     
  12. Nov 6, 2013 #12

    Guest

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    Guest

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    Ditto. +1

    Yes, and apparently Amtrak hasn't learned its lesson... yet. Maybe we should take its new Viewliner II's away, until Amtrak starts to show some responsibility.
     
  13. Nov 6, 2013 #13

    Guest

    G

    Guest

    Guest

    They did a search, and found an on-topic thread here. Sounds innocent enough.

    I guess Amtrak's own website doesn't have an official FAQ for "What do I do when Amtrak doesn't stop and just leaves me standing on the platform".

     
  14. Nov 6, 2013 #14

    hytec

    h

    hytec

    Guest

    Is it possible that your son meant "Engineer" when he told you "Conductor"? The conductor rides inside the cars and is the only authority to tell the engineer when to stop or leave stations based on the conductor's passenger list. The conductor cannot see who is on the platform unless he/she opens a door and looks out. If the engineer waves at a person on the platform, it doesn't mean that he/she will radio the conductor saying that someone is standing on the platform. However, I'll agree that this was a major foul-up on Amtrak's part if your son had a confirmed reservation/ticket for that night at that station.
     
  15. Nov 6, 2013 #15

    choochoodood

    choochoodood

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    After submitting your complaint to Amtrak, be sure to post their response/ resolution on this same thread. I'm very curious about this whole situation.
     
  16. Nov 6, 2013 #16

    Guest

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    Guest

    Guest

    Conductor, Engineer, I have no idea who it was, my kid is 18, never been on a train prior to this trip from Washington DC, to Portland, to Yuma. Guess it could have been a passenger he saw stick his head out and he made eye contact with...?? He had a valid ticket I have the itinerary. He was prepared for one night, so two wasn't that big of a deal!

    I posted here just to get some ideas, suggestions, etc....because I did see info in the other thread I found thru google. No ill intent at all. Thought I'd try and get some feedback prior to calling.

    Spoke to a Customer Relations (thanks for the suggestion), she questioned my story then verified the train was stopped for under a minute, could not explain why someone didn't get off and look around for a ticketed passenger, apologized. Her concern was whether the conductor would allow him to board tonight with a ticket from yesterday. He needs to get to the next town, White Fish, that can issue tickets, and ensure that the train wont just drop him off and leave while he's waiting to reprint new tickets, leaving him stranded for another 24 hours. She told me what to have him say to the conductor, but with further thought decided to open a 'case file' to have a little more clout with the conductor. Either they'll wait for him at White Fish or allow him to go on to Portland on his day old tickets. Once there he has a delay that will allow reprinting for the rest of the adventure!! Skipping one of his planned stops further down the line, he'll end up home at the original planned time.

    Thanks for the feedback!
     
  17. Nov 6, 2013 #17

    SarahZ

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    Hopefully, they can alter the manifest so there's a notation that he'll have a day-old ticket. I'm sorry he had to spend the night in that cold weather, and I'm glad he's okay.
     
  18. Nov 6, 2013 #18

    NW cannonball

    NW cannonball

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    Shouldn't the Conductor have the flashlight? And be looking for the paid passenger on the platform? The passenger that the manifest shows WILL be on the platform? And IS there?

    If as described - Amtrak totally blew it. Or -- the ticketing should include - like --

    "and carry a 200 candlepower lantern of specified red illuminance and wave it at the train. When or if the train stops at the scheduled station - wave your other green (550 nanometer 300 candlepower) lantern at the the point on the train where you think the Conductor might be -- and if (s(he)) sees your signal, they might open the door and let you on"

    No, no, no.
     
  19. Nov 6, 2013 #19

    Ryan

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    Amtrak conductors are human.

    Humans make mistakes.

    It sounds like in this case and the other one, Amtrak handled the aftermath properly and did what it could to make things right.

    Hopefully extra reminders will go out and they'll do better in the future.
     
  20. Nov 6, 2013 #20

    SarahZ

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    I'm not excusing or defending the conductor. I'm simply explaining what that other passenger did to ensure they wouldn't be missed a second time. I feel bad for the OP's son and was simply offering a suggestion that worked for another passenger in a similar situation.

    Edit: That was directed at NW cannonball. Ryan jumped in ahead of me.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 6, 2013
  21. Nov 6, 2013 #21

    stan

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    I would call again to double check. At a minimum they should issue a new reservation so that the train is expecting someone and stops. With the existing ticket number thay should be able to make the changes centrally.

    If he gets off at White Pass to talk to the ticket agent it is possible that it will not be done in time so again checking with Customer Support to arrange everything in advance is critical.

    If the agent does not do anything to communicate with the train crew, and no one else is getting on or off, it is possible the train will not even stop or be looking for someone to pick up

    Note also that likely only one door will open on a coach mid train after the diner and not all the doors will open. Its a quick stop so he needs to get next to the train and be real sure they see him. It is up to him to look for the open door and go quickly in that direction so that they see him.

    They should also offer a voucher to compensate for the problems.

    May need to talk to a supervisor to ensure it all is arranged properly.

    Hope that helps.

    Stan
     
  22. Nov 6, 2013 #22

    Ryan

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    I the age of e-tickets, a new printed ticket shouldn't be required. The agent on the phone should be able to modify the reservation on the fly and have it "just work".

    I had this happen in the other direction while at the Gathering. I bought my ticket returning from Joliet one day later than the day we were there. Conductor couldn't life the ticket since the day was wrong, he asked me to call the 800 number and straighten it out. Called up, explained I was on the train Right Now, switched the ticket from Sunday to Saturday. By the time I got back to the conductor, the device had been updated and they lifted the ticket. No fuss, no muss.
     
  23. Nov 6, 2013 #23

    Guest

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    Guest

    Guest

    There is nothing open where he's at. West Glacier is totally boarded up right now, he has no flashlight, and cant get one. If need be I'll have him build a campfire in the tracks, lol.
     
  24. Nov 6, 2013 #24

    NW cannonball

    NW cannonball

    NW cannonball

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    I did mention "apologists" in my earlier response.

    A mistake that leaves a passenger waiting 24 hours on the HI-Line (not yet as cold as it will be this year) for the next train -- yes a mistake -- but also a blunder.

    "Amtrak handled the aftermath properly and did what it could to make things right." -- citation needed -- :unsure:

    Doh -- where did you get that "Amtrak handled the aftermath properly and did what it could to make things right." -- citation needed -- ?? ??
     
  25. Nov 6, 2013 #25

    Hytec

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    Hytec

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    The missed pickup has been answered by the OP in his Post #16. He said that his son's ticket was for the night before the night his son was standing on the platform. So, if interpret his post correctly, his son's name and reservation would not have been on the conductor's passenger list for that night. So this would not have been Amtrak's fault. I'm sorry that his son was not picked up, but being one night off from his reservation is a "big deal" with Amtrak, as it is with airlines, and other reserved seat modes of transportation.
     
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