For $3,500, a Most Putrid Stench

Discussion in 'Amtrak Rail Discussion' started by TimidRailFan, Nov 27, 2019.

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  1. Dec 3, 2019 #26

    rickycourtney

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    That, and saving a considerable amount of money on your accommodation. :p

    The other factor at play is that *Superliner* roomettes do not have a toilet inside the room, which removes the easiest way for the smell to enter.
     
  2. Dec 3, 2019 #27

    me_little_me

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    I remember those days. But I guess my comment went over your head. Reread what the sign said then think about what else it could mean.

    "Do Not Flush Toilets While Standing In Station." does not say anything about the train.
     
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  3. Dec 3, 2019 #28

    ChuckL

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    You couldn’t prove that by my experience. I was well down the hall from the bedrooms and upstairs rest room in roomette 8 when I had my “sensesurround experience.”
     
  4. Dec 3, 2019 #29

    Maglev

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    The time(s) I have smelled this, I can't remember if it was the whole car or just near the bedrooms. It was just one car that smelled (and it wasn't mine!) But the OP's experience of a whole train's being afflicted seems extreme.
     
  5. Dec 4, 2019 #30

    ChuckL

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    I have no idea what rooms were affected by this; I was in Roomete #8. As I mentioned in an earlier post, the car’s ventilation system was not working when this first started (on rough trackage), There was a power failure in the car a couple hours later, and when the power was restored the ventilation fans ran at a high speed. This helped the situation, but didn’t alleviate it completely.
     
  6. Dec 4, 2019 #31

    JRR

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    This happened to us on the CL last year. We were given several theories of the cause by the SCA and Conductor but nothing for which there was a possible solution.

    I guess we should have sought a voucher.
     
  7. Dec 4, 2019 #32

    Barb Stout

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    I have (well, had) a buddy who had worked for Amtrak years ago. When I mentioned the smell I encountered on occasion, he said that he smelled like that all the time while working for Amtrak, smelled like that not only on the train, but off the train, in spite of showering. He said it just never came off or went away. So you would think that Amtrak employees would be pretty motivated to find a solution, but if it's an engineering thing, then I suppose they can't do much. However, he could have been exaggerating or been beaten down psychologically by the smell such that he smelled it everywhere. Back in the days of free cigarette smoking everywhere, I was kind of like that. One molecule would send me into torment beyond rationality.

    The 2 times I experienced the stench was in the H room with the curtain separating the beds from the toilet (SWC) and on a full LSL coach.
     
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  8. Dec 4, 2019 #33

    RSG

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    The other issue which comes into play and which no one seems to have specifically mentioned is the matter of full or nearly full holding tanks in sleeper cars (or coach cars also, but I have no personal experience with that).

    On a couple of LD trains, I've been in a sleeper car where the tanks were approaching capacity and the sensors triggered the control panel circuit breaker so that power was cut to the toilets. People weren't aware or wouldn't pay attention to the lights on the commodes and would use them anyway and then find they couldn't flush them. The SCA would reset the breaker, but it would quickly trip again after a few more flushes. Eventually, the entire car plumbing would have to be shut down with signage directing pax in the car to walk to another car for restroom usage. In this case, the odor was definitely noticeable and while not wafting into the roomettes (at least from my experience), was still noticeable on the upper level.

    Anecdotal observations aside, it would seem to me that this condition is more prevalent, simply due to the lack of evenly-spaced service stops on most of the LD routes.
     
  9. Dec 4, 2019 #34

    drdumont

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    I have from time to time encountered a noticeable aroma in both chair and sleeper cars. As a consequence, I always pack a can of Lysol as well as Febreeze. ISTR one trip where the odor was pretty bad, and the SCA moved me to another car. I was on the SL from NOL to LAX, so I guess it was a combination of being an end to end pax as well as the first squeaky wheel. After San Antonio, I passed through that car and the aroma had gone away.
     
  10. Dec 4, 2019 #35

    drdumont

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    Anecdotally, I remember being on the Crescent from NOL to NYP. About Hattiesburg we were told that the toilets in our sleeper were "Out of Service", but would be attended to in Atlanta. Oh Joy. In Atlanta, some kind of car tink showed up, but said he could not do anything as he had no tools (!). So I got down my trusty well traveled Jensen JTK-88SP tool kit and offered him the courtesy of the tool kit, as it were.
    So he borrowed the Leatherman tool from my belt, and opened a valve somewherehe Roomettes. Problem solved, and off we went.
    I should have sent AMTRAK a bill.
    I can hear it now:
    "Hey Ed! The Crescent's coming in with a toilet problem in a sleeper - Send Frank out, but don't send any tools with him..."
    John 11:35.
    Copiously.
     
  11. Dec 5, 2019 #36

    Wolverine72

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    Guess I’ve been fortunate not to have run into this issue on the couple Zephyr trips I’ve taken. Both have been roomettes with one return trip home as the only passenger in the transdorm. This thread really has me hesitant to make future LD runs.
     
  12. Dec 5, 2019 #37

    Barb Stout

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    I looked it up: Jesus wept. John 11:35
     
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  13. Dec 5, 2019 #38

    drdumont

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    Nice catch! <wink>
     
  14. Dec 5, 2019 #39

    drdumont

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    PLEASE, PLEASE don't let this thread stop you from enjoying Amtrak rides. Sure, there are occasional hiccups, but a little Lysol or Febreeze if you really need it and all is well.
    I've encountered the same issues on airplanes many times. At least on a train you can request a move to another car...

    A couple of notes:
    1) Why the Wizards at Beech Grove never designed the cars to EXHAUST the cars through the toilets? Or back in the day, the smoking areas. You have fresh air inlets, so exhaust through the problem areas.

    2) I previously groused about being assigned to the Transdorm. But you know what? On those trips, I really enjoyed it. Less traffic passing through the hallways, the toilets were less used and cleaner, and I got a little more exercise going to the Diner and the Lounge.
    I will actually see if I can request the Transition car for my next trip.
    Hope to see you on AMTRAK one day.
     
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  15. Dec 6, 2019 #40

    Rasputin

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    I recall an odor problem only one time. This was in a roomette on the Lake Shore when on several occasions a definite urine odor would seem to come up through the side vents by the window. Fortunately it did not persist and went away so I didn't call customer service to request the standard $125 compensation.

    I remember a few years ago on the Southwest Chief, the toilets in our car were out of service for most of the day across New Mexico. I was in a roomette and since I have no mobility issues it was not a problem for me as I just used the restroom in another car. I felt sorry for those passengers who had booked a bedroom in anticipation of having their own private toilet facilities and I hope they got their $125.

    I expect to be booking an eventual trip on the Texas Eagle from Chicago to Tucson if the Eagle lasts that long. I think we will book a roomette because it is less expensive but there is more assurance that you will receive the service that you pay for. I would hate to book a bedroom, find there is an odor problem for two days, and then have to call for my $125.
     
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  16. Dec 6, 2019 #41

    zephyr17

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    I travel in roomettes exclusively and while they don't get it as badly as the accommodations in the "wet" end in a stinky car, they are not wholly exempt from the stink. The HVAC system ensures they get a share of the aroma.

    Unfortunately, because of the somewhat fragile nature of a Superliners's vacuum based plumbing, plus people's disregard for following instructions, inoperable toilets and stinky cars are somewhat inevitable on occasion. What makes it worse is Amtrak really does not have the maintenance forces outside of terminals to fix them enroute.

    Second the need for Febreze in addition to gaffers tape and a swiss army knife/leatherman tool in one's Amtrak kit.
     
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  17. Dec 7, 2019 #42

    drdumont

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    As I have suggested - carry along a can of Lysol or Febreeze. Ask if you can be put in the Transition Sleeper/Dorm car (ISTR the roomette numbers are above 18 or so).
     
  18. Dec 7, 2019 #43

    pennyk

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    Please note that many people are allergic to Febreze (especially people who suffer from asthma). Please do not expose others to chemical sprays (that could be toxic) and let the crew handle any odor issues. Thank you for being considerate of your fellow passengers who may have allergies.
     
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  19. Dec 7, 2019 #44

    RSG

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    Also, pressurized containers (ie, aerosols) are one of the forbidden items for travel on Amtrak passenger service. So the use of same could create contract-of-carriage issues for the passenger who does so.
     
  20. Dec 7, 2019 #45

    drdumont

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    Now I hadn't heard of that. I'm pretty sure that was intended to cover propane torches, gas cylinders, welding gear, spray paint,and some of the rest of the things people are likely to have in their luggage...
    So I can't bring along my spray deodorant? My wife's hair spray? Bad breath spray? Jock itch spray?
    I have ridden many times when the car attendants have left cans of air freshener, or "sanitizing" products such as Lysol in the heads. I guess they are all felons.
     
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  21. Dec 7, 2019 #46

    Chey

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    I liked your earlier suggestion about the Vicks Vapo-Rub, I'm going to pack some next trip and see if it really works.
     
  22. Dec 7, 2019 #47

    RSG

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    Nope, none of those things---nor bear or pepper spray (something I would guess is violated not infrequently on trains such as the Empire Builder). And yes, I've seen plenty of car attendants use Febreeze, and Lysol in commercial packaging (often labeled "Property of Amtrak", lest anyone think rogue attendants are doing their own thing). While I'm sure that the rule was written for the first items you suggest, there is a bit of the "the only thing consistent with Amtrak is inconsistency" maxim in play.

    Also prohibited are firearms, even if disassembled---something the airlines don't universally ban. As suggested a few times around here, I would imagine the "There isn't a rule for that? Let's make one!" line of thinking was used when creating The List.
     
  23. Dec 7, 2019 #48

    RSG

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    A friend who used to be a mortuary assistant liked an herbal balm with lemongrass instead, as it was less obnoxious than Vapo-Rub, but basically anything with a strong fragrance which you can tolerate will do.
     
  24. Dec 7, 2019 #49

    zephyr17

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    And to think I have been bringing contraband shaving cream on board all these years...
     
  25. Dec 7, 2019 #50

    Qapla

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    It should be noted Lysol, Pine Sol and Febreze all come in a "pump spray" that is not pressurized - however, that does not help those who have allergies.
     

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