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Bad Bad Service / He** Of A Bad Experience!!
Posted by on
Rating: 1/51
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS -- I would like to state that due 2 employees of amtrax railway service I was able to ride FREE. That's what I said FREE. I went on line to purchase a ticket to leave from Popular Bluff Missouri to Mivchigan-- mind you there is no station attendance to talk to nor receive a ticket from. The original train never made it on time mind u- 8 hrs late the train.

I board the train when it does finally arrive with luggage and a reservation number that I was given when I purchased my ticket on line. movin on down the tracks, long ride, conductor comes alone asking for tickets-tickets please he says. Never do they ask me, so I figure once I get to Chicago for a lay over and transfer to another train, everything would be taken care of then at the ststion. NOT!!!

I get there at 1 A.M. in the morning and it's time to close the station down and there's no record of me ever riding the train--so they say. I was basically was being called a lie. there's no way that just happened they told me. even with witnesses to confirm te train ride, they still say it never happened. To make a long story short I was ut out of the station after I finally got my luggage that was sat and left out by the train tracks. THANK GOD, my medicine was in my shoe bag with my name on my prescription bottle and that when my name was being announced over the loud speaker.

Here I am-- alone with heavy luggage down town Chicago, sitting in a 24 hour McDonald's, waiting for 5 A.M. so the station opens back up. THE so called women that worked that nght at the station were complete WITCHES. excuse my tongue. The one police officer on duty was more than nice- he was HUMAN. my my my//// if tat's the way business is being handled-- AMTRAX-- you people are losing an awful lot of money. I am just one person- what about all the others?? BAD BAD SRVICE--BAD BAD BUSINESS
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madconsumer on 07/13/2012:
I have always enjoyed my Amtrak rail service.
trmn8r on 07/13/2012:
I don't believe I understand your complaint. It sounds like maybe you didn't acually have a ticket, and it wasn't discovered until partway through the trip and they put you off the train at that point.

If that is what happened, you do need to have evidence of your ticket purchase.
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Cleanliness of passenger train
Posted by on
NEW YORK TO CINCINNATI TRAIN, KENTUCKY -- AmTrak passenger train Cardinal train 51 from New York to Cincinnati was dirty. Several sitings of roaches in Coach class, had to ride train for 18 hours worried about roaches. Bathrooms were also stinky and dirty, no toilet paper for a while and urine on the floor. When conductor told about sitings of roaches, she replied "just stomp on them." Food service, sub-par, freezer froze up, so only one choice in seated/waited on dining, on other side of Cafe car, only few choices of food due to running low on choices, everything from microwave, poor planning when train was completely full. Poor customer services. Unless these problem are rectified, I will never ride the AmTrak train again.
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MRM on 01/01/2012:
18 hours in a confined space is torture.
madconsumer on 01/02/2012:
I enjoy traveling by train, even long trips. sadly, the stocking is only done at certain stops. sometimes they do run out of things.

in all my trips, I have never seen roaches on any train.
jonthethird on 01/02/2012:
The only roaches I have ever seen on Amtrak were back in the coach and they were two legged kind. Yes, it is a shame that, due to limited budgets, the trains are not serviced more often. I travel frequently on Amtrak, always in a sleeper though.
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Recent letters to Amtrak
Posted by on
19 June 2007

Dear Amtrak Customer Service,

I am currently a graduate student at U. C. Berkeley and regularly use your Capitol Corridor service from Davis to Richmond. I generally depart on the 6:35 a.m. train and return on the 5:57 p.m. or 7:17 p.m. trains. The trains have always been clean and comfortable.

While I am aware that my commuting circumstances are extreme in terms of time and distance, I am appalled by the lack of punctuality of your train service. After 12 months of monthly $282.00 passes, I have found it a very rare circumstance for trains to arrive or depart at their scheduled times, especially in the evening. And, even after the train is en route, substantial delays are likely. In my opinion, this is dishonest business practice and an important safety issue. I understand that the track is shared and hence prone to some delay but little attempt is made to keep trains on schedule. In fact, the only thing that is timely on the Capitol Corridor is the collection of tickets and the obnoxious advertisements from the café car. No earnest attempt is made to compensate customers for the significant delays (my combined delay today was 1:45 minutes, and no, vouchers for the café car won’t do) nor are there any announced plans to improve the service.

Among the goals of Amtrak should be to make public transportation a viable option for commuters in an effort to reduce the environmental and social impacts of daily driving yet, how can one choose a service that has such a poor reputation for reliability? Even with my very flexible work schedule, the Capitol Corridor has become an untenable option.

It is easy to criticize without making suggestions, so here are three that I was able to think of during my wait on the 6:35 train this morning (1:15 delay) and at Richmond Station this evening (:30 delay).

1) Airlines make publicly available their on- time statistics. You should make these available monthly and annually to riders so they can make an informed purchase. I seriously doubt this will improve your ridership, but it will at least be honest.

2) Safety should be a primary goal, and in urban areas with high crime rates (Richmond, for example) punctuality is a safety issue and not a courtesy. If the train is going to be significantly delayed, security should be provided. During one of my more memorable delays, several passengers were left in Richmond at night for more than 2 hours while we were harassed by beggars and potential criminals. One individual told me to “be cool and not get shot.”

3) Compensate passengers for their time. This could work on a sliding scale where refunds are provided depending on the duration of the delay, and after a specified amount of time the ride should be free. For monthly passes, a reduction in the following month’s fare should be provided.

My most memorable delay occurred a few years ago when after a 5 hour delay well past midnight, the train blew through Davis station without stopping. When I finally reached the conductor, he was busy tucking his shirt in as if waking from a nap. Customers then had to wait more than 30 minutes for cab rides back to Davis. When I complained about the service at Davis station, I was offered a $5 voucher for the café car, as if a cold soda and a bag of chips would make everything better.

I presume that this is not the first letter to cross your desk regarding the tardiness issue, and it certainly will not be the last. I feel it is my duty, however, to try to make suggestions and raise awareness to ease the life of several of my fellow commuters whom I see stressed by this issue daily. You should consider that every minute of delay caused by the poor train service is time that these individuals could be spending at home with their families. You should, at the very least, make a concerted effort to help them get home safely and on time.


Joel Ledford

14 November 2007

Dear Amtrak Customer Service,

I have attached a copy of my previous letter for your review as I have not yet received a response.

After 5 months of commuting via alternative methods, today I decided to give your train service another try in the hopes that it had improved. The morning commute (6:35a) went well, and your train was only a few minutes late. The evening train (5:57) surprised me as it left perfectly on time! In fact, I was a few minutes late and had to watch the train roll off back towards Davis and wait until 7:17.

In my previous letter, I mentioned that I felt that Richmond station was unsafe, and I have to report that it has not improved. Some improvements to the BART area have been made, however, and I hope to see this trend continue.

As I was awaiting the 7:17p train, a Bakersfield bound train made a brief stop. In the past, I have used this train in order to get to Martinez station as a waypoint in order to use its indoor space to get ahead on work. This has never been a problem with your staff in the past, and indeed when I asked if I could use the train to get to Martinez on my route home, the ticket checker gave me his approval. However, he then punched my 10- ride ticket and informed me that another punch would be deducted once en route to Davis.

When I responded in disbelief, the checker told me that I was wrong and this is the normal procedure. He then told me that other trains had been giving me “free rides” and that I was a non- paying rider. To be clear, I have always paid for your services, usually with a monthly ride pass or a 10- ride ticket. He then demanded an alternative form of payment for the ride to Martinez. When I responded “no”, the disagreement escalated to an argument and I then asked to see the boss or conductor. I must honestly confess that I was frustrated and angry at this point and was not as cordial as I should have been. The ticket checker then told me that I would not see the boss, and I would just have to accept the situation. At this point I decided to let the argument go, and, if necessary, contact customer service.


The ticket checker soon returned and proceeded to tell me that he had talked to his conductor and the situation was decided; I was clearly wrong, and never had a chance to win the argument anyway. Essentially, he wanted to let me know that I had lost, and he had won. I told him fine, and that I would handle the problem through normal service channels. I thought that the situation was surely resolved.


Instead of letting it go, he continued to argue telling me repeatedly that I was “in the wrong” ,“didn’t understand”, and he needed to point that out for me. He continued to make snide remarks, spelling out his name for my “little letter” (I was working on my laptop at the time, but not on this letter) and made several disrespectful smirks until finally walking away. His parting comment was “its tough to get a little dose of reality, isn’t it?

Even if the standard practice is to punch the fare card twice in these situations, I hope that you will agree that I should have never been treated so disrespectfully. I was accused of being a freeloader and then harassed by a person who just needed to feel good about winning a petty argument with a paying customer. He intentionally sought to escalate the argument to achieve some sense of personal satisfaction. I am amazed by this persons attitude towards me, and shocked by his confrontational demeanor.

I wonder if he feels that the argument was worth $10.80? He says that “it’s tough to get a little dose of reality”, well, how about never getting the business of an honest, reliable customer again? And, as you can probably tell from my letter, I will not remain quiet about my experiences on Amtrak.

Most importantly, I am disappointed that Amtrak still cannot fulfill my needs as a Bay Area commuter. I will be returning my 10- ride pass for a refund this evening.

Joel Ledford

P.S. Copies of both letters have been forwarded to the Davis Enterprise.

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User Replies:
Ponie on 11/15/2007:
Can't quite understand how a train leaving/arriving late is a safety issue. Look--we sometimes have to wait for the cows to cross the tracks. If we didn't, well, *that* would be a safety issue!
Anonymous on 11/15/2007:
The major problem behind the delays is that Amtrak does not own the tracks on the Capitol Corridor. It's Union Pacific. For years Amtrak has had problems with UP and BNSF delaying passenger service in favor of freight. I also looked up the performance reports for your trains and found that the delays are mostly a few minutes.
Principissa on 11/15/2007:
I don't believe that Amtrak is at fault for the delays. As Passing said they don't own the tracks. If the company who owns the tracks has trains that need to go out at the same time as yours, unfortunately their trains will get cleared first.

I do however agree with you about the beggars. Nobody should have to be harassed for money while waiting for the train. I don't believe that Amtrak should have security but I do believe that you and other passengers may want to be more proactive and start calling the police to alert them to the problems. Somebody threatening to shoot you is not something you should take lightly. Might I suggest for the future that if someone is begging and/or threating you with violence that you call the police immediately.
killerklown on 11/15/2007:
So, where is this "important safety issue"?
Boocho on 06/29/2012:
To ask "where is this important safety issue" means you have never been to Richmond CA. If you are worrying about cows crossing the road, I envy you. My advice, don't go to Richmond. I drive through it and I understood exactly what he meant.
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Amtrack, the worst customer service
Posted by on
On May 29, 2010 I boarded an Amtrak train leaving from Detroit @ 6:48am. After boarding this train appox 3 hours into our train ride the conductor indicates to the passengers, “There is a trespasser". After sitting there scared because of the word used, the conductor returns appox 30 minutes later to state “Did you hear what happened? We stared waiting for him to continue. So, he states “there has been a suicide, someone jumped in front of the train right outside of Battle Creek MI". After waiting for several hours, the train runs out of cold water. And this was horrible because the air conditioning was not working either and to top this off the train smelled like urine.

About 4 hours after this " suicide" we start moving, then appox within the hour the engine stops because the train ran out of gas; which delayed the train appox another hour.

After all this we finally made it to Chicago, entering in on the 351 Wolverine train @ 5pm when we were supposed to be there @ 11:30am. Customer Service changes our tickets to leave the next day @ the same time. No compensation for our time or accommodations. We left upset and angry.

On, May 30, 2010 we returned to try to speak to someone again about this huge interruption. It was very hard as a (Manager in Chicago Union train station @ 5pm on May 30, 2010) told us it was not Amtrak fault someone committed suicide and delayed the train. Well, with this information I was really upset as [snip] is wrong. Amtrak should be and will be taking responsibility for this unexpected event which changed the lives of there over 300 passengers. But, I guess the uneducated manager, Amtrak decided to hire does not understanding, business 101. This event altered me and over 300 other passengers’ lives and Amtrak should be held responsible.

Amtrak is a company who relies on people to making there business a success. I have learned the old philosophy, meaning successful businesses still count on customer’s word of mouth to bring in business. Well, with this being my first experience with Amtrak, I will say this will be my last. I will continue to use the old philosophy at all cost to indicate to people and Amtrak’s future customers to "not" use this company for there transportation needs.

I believe with this being said Amtrak should have reimbursed at the least half of our train ticket and/or paid for our hotel. Amtrak did nothing; because Ms. Nessinger stated it's not Amtrak’s fault for altering our whole trip.

With this being said, most people will stop here at commenting on review pages, contacting customer service, telling friends and family or even continuing to write letters. Well, not me I am an advocate of customer service and every customer should be treated with respect. The way [snip] spoke to me and my family was downgrading and disrespectful and I guess because Amtrak is not to blame, myself and my family should take the blame for not only our travel plans being altered but the disrespectfulness of [snip] as well.

I would hope to think, Amtrak takes this very seriously as I am going to continue to use my voice and contact channel 2 in Michigan; reporting this incident. I also, would hope Amtrak does not take lightly to there "Managers" being disrespectful to c
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Inat on 05/31/2010:
so you believe it was Amtrak's fault that someone jumped in front of the train? Going along that same thread of thought, perhaps you should go to the family of the person who committed suicide and tell them how much of an inconvenience it was for you - perhaps they give you something in return?
raven2010 on 05/31/2010:
You have to be kidding me. How could Amtrak have prevented this incident??

Sure, a discount would have been a nice gesture. But not a requirement. Sheesh!
PepperElf on 05/31/2010:

you're not upset that someone committed suicide
you're upset that it inconvenienced everyone by making the train late?
clutzycook on 05/31/2010:
Hey, M3C took the button away again. Anyway, NWIWLF
Anonymous on 05/31/2010:
Yeah, I think the train should have just kept going...ya know, the customer is always to get the passengers to their destination on time.

DebtorBasher on 05/31/2010:
Of course there would be a delay. The police had to be called, they had to remove the body, investigate to make sure it wasn't foul play, reports had to be made. They can't just take the body off the tracks and back to business as usual in ten minutes. It was an unforeseen occurrence and there would have been no way for Amtrak to know ahead of time that this was going to happen. It inconvenienced you, but that's all it was to you, an inconvenience. Chalk it up as being in the wrong place at the wrong time because this isn't going to be the last time that you are inconvenienced by something in your life. What did you lose other than some time? Trust me, Amtrak lost more money than your lost time.
raven2010 on 05/31/2010:
Found an article about it:
DebtorBasher on 05/31/2010:
You also need to remove the manager's name from your review.
PepperElf on 05/31/2010:
ooo I missed that one DB.

punxnotdead80 on 05/31/2010:
Somebody winds up splattered all over the train tracks (either by accident or suicide; the news story doesn't make it clear and I don't think the conductor could come to the conclusion that it was suicide at that stage), and all you can think about is your being late and your inconvenience.

Humanity: I'm really disappointed in it.
DebtorBasher on 05/31/2010:
Agreed Punx!
Anonymous on 06/01/2010:
I don't see why hitting a pedestrian should require the train to be stopped for four hours. Hose the train and tracks off and lets go. There are schedules to meet, people to see and third base Cub tickets to use.

If this had been a private freight train 45 minutes tops.

I completely agree with the OP. VALID COMPLAINT.
skelly39 on 06/01/2010:
I love the smell of sarcasm so early in the morning.
I deal with a lot of deaths in my job (my spirit being one of them), and I can tell you, most people have the same reaction as the OP. It's disheartening to say the least.
goduke on 06/01/2010:
I do agree that it was incumbent upon Amtrak in this situation to speak to all customers with courtesy and respect. That's just good service, which should take place even in the worst situations (and this one was pretty bad), and irrespective of the behaviors the customer is displaying.

Still, it's a pretty callous way to look at the incident.
Starlord on 06/01/2010:
A death of a pedestrian on train tracks requires the same amount of investigation as a traffic fatality on a street or highway. A death should always be investigated as a homicide until it is proven otherwise. That is why interstates are closed and traffic diverted while the investigation is carried out. My wife had a longtime friend who walked nude into the front of a locomotive on a fast freight train, and we are both former cops, so we understand the need for the delay. The OP blaming Amtrak and the being more upset about the delay and lack of concern about the death of a human being just bothers me.
Nohandle on 06/01/2010:
Anyone ever experienced a complete halt to traffic on a highway or interstate, for that matter, only to learn there had been a wreck ahead? Helicopters flying in to transport the survivors, emergency personnel on the ground attempting to extract people from the vehicles and doing everything possible. What are they to do? Drag the vehicles into a ditch somewhere, let the motorists meet their schedules, and take care of whatever later?

I don't expect Amtrak was too pleased with what happened that day. A really sad situation that was not of their making.
Anonymous on 06/01/2010:
Last summer in Norman Oklahoma a pedestrian was hit by Burlington Northern Sante Fe train and the train never stopped. They radioed the Norman police department about the issue. That's how we roll in Oklahoma.

I'm SO glad I don't live up North.
Anonymous on 06/01/2010:
S*** happens in life. Our lives do not function perfectly. Trains get derailed, people committ suicide, etc...Sure, sometimes we are inconvenienced, but on the grander scale of life, we need to deal with it and accept it on certain occasions.
MRM on 06/01/2010:
For the OP, its every man for himself.
Anonymous on 06/01/2010:
Unfrickin' believable.
Anonymous on 06/01/2010:
I was inconvenienced for having to spend my precious time reading this post, and was wondering if M3C would see it in their hearts to compensate me for my time. (O:
goduke on 06/01/2010:
Well, yeah, Stew, but in Oklahoma you also get caught up in buffalo stampedes and range wars.
Anonymous on 06/01/2010:
I still see no reason why the train even had to stop for this accident. One thing we know for sure it wasn't the train's fault. Either this guy voluntarily/accidentally walked in front of the train or there was malfeasance. I have no clue what's to be gained by holding the train for four hours. It's s bummer when people die but it's not like a rare occurrence. People are born and people die everyday. Circle of life.

I still maintain this is a VALID COMPLAINT.
MRM on 06/01/2010:
Its called leaving the scene of an accident which is a criminal offense.
Anonymous on 06/09/2010:
Wow, whatever happened to compassion for your fellow man. Did you ever stop for a moment to consider the well being, and safety for the locomotive engineer of your train who had to witness another human being being torn to pieces in front of his eyes? Do you really want that person to continue operating that train after seeing that. There were 300 other lives they were responsible for and believe me, that engineer is in no condition to work.

I wouldn't care how long it took to get a replacement engineer to replace the one who just saw another human being torn to pieces. I don't see how anyone could complain, or want compensation because they were delayed for their own safety.
A and J on 06/10/2010:
I am going to start off stating, this issue has been resolved by Amtrak and all of our funds has been reimbursed. It goes to say, your voice does count. Moving forward, first my complaint has nothing to do with this person committing suicide. This is the issue making a post, everyone follows the leader and the leader did not even read the post correctly, and if he did then people continuing to comment on suicide would not exist. This post was a complaint about customer service, and the disrespectful words in which were used toward myself and my husband. And, I hate to go here but other passengers were accommodated for with hotel stays but of course there skin color was different. With this being said, I am no racist, I just observed the truth as an African American women and a kind white man wrote us a letter and let us copy the accommodations given to him by this company. A company/ business is and should be run in a professional way and this did not happen in this situation. Yes, the suicide was a horrible and unexpected event; but still all the 300 passengers on this train paid for a trip which indicates in Amtrak policies if for any reason your train is over 2 hours delayed you will be accommodated. Again, if you do not remember we were supposed to arrive @ 11:30 am and did not arrive till 5pm. This is over 5 hour delay. The reasons for us even needing accommodations was because this trip ate up our day. But, our hotel Comfort Inn, Navy Pier, and other pre-paid attractions accommodated us for Amtrak's ingorance. And to end this, I would just like to say, please don't take the one negative word out of the post and run with it, successful leaders actually take into consideration both sides of the story, meaning from the consumer and the company end.
PepperElf on 06/10/2010:
it's a sad day for humanity
goduke on 06/10/2010:
I'm glad you got the response you wanted from Amtrak, A and J. You are right, the voice of the customer does count. Still, when you go back and read the original post, it does come across as a bit callous. I'm sure you didn't mean it that way (as we now read the different take on it), but it really did come across that way.
Anonymous on 06/10/2010:
"And, I hate to go here but other passengers were accommodated for with hotel stays but of course there skin color was different." ....yet, you did go there. Are we to assume then, based on this comment, and that a white man gave you a copy of his accommodations, that Amtrak only assisted white passengers....ALL other skin colors were told too bad so sad?

A and J on 06/10/2010:
To anwser your question, " just cause". I said I hate to go here. I did not say I wasn't going to go here. And your right, I did go there and that's excatly what I am saying. As I noticed it with the 30 something people infront of us complaining about the same thing. So, again negative. It had to be someone to run with the negative aspect of the comment " just cause ". @ goduke, maybe my orginial post did sound harsh but at the same time when someone writes a post, there writting because there upset; so to sound harsh was not my intent at all, and I am mature enough to say I apologize. I am not a blogger so this is new for me, but at this time the situation is resolved. Thanks so much.
Anonymous on 06/10/2010:
+10 AJ, too often people are fueled by their emotions and just need to vent their frustrations through forums such as these. I'm glad to see you admit that to yourself. I often find it amusing to look back on old comments/posts and "listen" to the way I sounded at the time.
A and J on 06/10/2010:
Also @ goduke I have to say out of all the comments, I have the most respect for you because again you stated not only the companies flaw but mine as well. Again, Thanks. And I am done with the blogging but I have to give credit where credit is do.
Anonymous on 06/10/2010:
Just to clarify A and J, what you're saying is that 30 something non-white people in front of you were complaining about the exact same thing...discrimination? Wow..that IS some compelling information and I'd say this is not resolved at should seriously consider contacting an attorney and see about a lawsuit against Amtrak. Think about it..your trip was delayed due to the unfortunate circumstance of a human being being ripped to shreds and to make matters worse, Amtrak purposely added to your suffering by only accommodating white people. That sucks!
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Broken Laptop
Posted by on
I paid for a trip for my parents to come visit me in California. Although, the actual trip was good, it was not the trip that they had problems with. When I went to the LA Station to see them off, I immediately went to the Conciere to find out about getting my parents wheel chairs and they said they did not have any but for them to sit in the assisted waiting area. We were the first ones there, we sat down and waited, as we waited I had spoken to several Red Caps trying to find out when their train was going to be there considering it was so loud we could barely here the announcer. Everyone that I spoke to said not to worry we will come get your parents when it is time for them to board. Every time I saw them come over on the Tram I stopped them and asked them if it were time for them to board. Every time I asked they replied not yet but we will come and get them when it was time. When the time finally came no one came to get them I just kept asking until the redcap told me it was their train. Everyone started loading on the trams people that were not ever in assisted waiting were loading on. These trams were for people whom could not walk all the way down on their own. I watched many people get on that were not even waiting they just walked up and got on. When I finally started walking up to the tram to help my parents get on they shewed us back in a line. At that point I was really upset. My parents carry on luggage was in the line where they were standing my mom stepped back away from her briefcase and one of the assisted helpers bent over picked up the bag and tossed it approx 5ft to the tram. It had a (brand new laptop in it that I gave them for Christmas in it) I placed a claim against the gentleman that threw it on the tram and that was 01/04/09 it is now 06/26/09 and I am still batteling with the Customer Relations. (C. G) she has been adamint about me sending my original claim and repair estimate to her.. The orignal was sent to the LA Station as I was instructed. I keep telling her I do not have the original. Then they told they needed me to have the laptop repaired and send them the receipt. Once again I did this and yet they are still telling the doucments are not sufficient for the claim. I can't believe that I am having so much trouble over $350.00 dollars. That was the total amount to have the laptop repaired. Not only that they are trying to tell me that it was our fault because this should have not been carry on. I'm curious why they advertise they have internet connection if you can't bring your laptop on the train. Please give me any suggestions of whom I can contact at Amtrak. 562-889-6225
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madconsumer on 06/27/2009:
last time I took the train, I was told no fragile items in checked bags, only in carry on. items like cameras, computers and such.
Soaring Consumer on 06/27/2009:
It sounds like to me that somebody took the carry on without consent and threw it in with the checked baggage. I believe AmTrak should pay the repair cost in this situation.
sadie345 on 12/14/2009:
Amtrak does not advertise that they have wifi. They don't. And if such an important item was in the bags, why didn't you take hold of it to carry on. Most luggage handlers work as expeditiously as possible to get all of the bags on to help guests. Good luck with your claim but I bet you won't see a dime of your repair money. There's no real proof, unless you have a video of this handler tossing your bag.
myavaz on 02/19/2010:
Dear Sadie345-

There were several people that had seen it. Unfortunately, my parents are in their 70's and they had to sit down after waiting for over a half hour for the courtesy train to come. But if they had left the line they would have lost there place. As I stated we were only a couple of feet away from the bags when one of the assisted helpers came and grabbed the bag and threw if from three feet away onto the tram. This is not the actual train we are talking about this is the Tram to get to the train. And they told me if I gave them all of the proof of the computer they would reimburse me.
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Amtrak Stinks - Literally
Posted by on
I recently emailed Amtrak Customer Service the following complaint regarding my train travel experience:

"I'd like to share with you my recent experience traveling from NY to LA on Amtrak. When traveling coach, I do expect a certain amount of discomfort and I plan accordingly. However, there are a number of things Amtrak might consider to create a more pleasant trip for coach passengers.

1) Smoking: Smokers are addicts and will continue, despite threats to put them off the train, to smoke in the bathrooms and changing rooms. The smell from this permeates the entire train car and does not go away. Please make a real effort to create a solution that meets the needs of your smoking and non-smoking passengers. Smokers are not going away and they don't care about kids, people with allergies, or the general health of anyone else.

2) Air Quality: We had the unfortunate experience of several drunken passengers who had both stomach and bowel problems. For the last 30 hours of our trip, the train car smelled like a port-a-potty. Several passengers had to leave the car as the smell was overwhelming. I'm not sure how to solve this, but ventilation changes or a different cleaning and/or toilet solution might help.

3) Employee Morale: In general I found the train personnel to be on the discourteous side. Perhaps it was a bad journey for everyone, but passengers look to the staff to help make it better. I observed staff giving curt responses, speaking in disrespectful tone of voice, and flat-out ignoring passengers.

I do enjoy riding the train, much more than flying. But after this last trip I am not likely to choose Amtrak. All my friends have now heard about my experience and that kind of word-of-mouth is not the marketing that will bring you new passengers. Thank you for your time."

I received a reply which in itself barely addressed my experience or gave any hint of the company's desire or intention to create better travel experiences. In addition, when I replied with the information requested in their email to me, the Amtrak email server did not process my reply and returned my email as 'undeliverable.' Here is Amtrak's reply to my complaint:

"Thank you for your email.

In order for us to document your concerns and suggestions correctly, and to provide the right train manager the information we are asking you to attach your reservation number or travel dates to this email.

Once we have that information we will file a report on your behalf to the responsible managers.

We do apologize for your trip being less than satisfactory and we appreciate your comments.


Amtrak Customer Relations"
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User Replies:
Anonymous on 01/12/2009:
Using email only generates the generic response you got. You really need to speak with someone at AMTRAK.
Ben There on 01/12/2009:
"But after this last trip I am not likely to choose Amtrak"... Not really any other train options out there in the USA...
Analilia on 01/15/2009:
As to other choices, I'll just go back to driving or flying.
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An Amtrak Trip You Should Know About
Posted by on
In October of 2007, my wife and I (65 years old) began a two thousand dollar Amtrak trip in a standard roomette. We were soon subjected to stultifying high temperatures and a lack of ventilation in our 6 and-a-half by 3 and-a-half foot compartment. The unsmiling, condescending and insolent conductors professed helplessness in the face of the oppressive conditions, and when I asked one of the conductors what his name was, he immediately covered his identity badge with his hand!

We continued to object to these conditions, and finally the conductor had the train stopped, called in local marshals, and ejected my wife and I from the train in the middle of the night.

We were forced to quickly pack all of our luggage and drag our bags off the train without any assistance. We had our tickets confiscated, and were left standing in the dark around midnight, after being told that we were forever banned from Amtrak trains. However, we were not the only couple who was profoundly distressed by our Amtrak experience. When the conductor overheard me speaking to one of the marshals about this, he immediately returned our tickets to us and offered my wife and I the option of getting back on the train the following day! What was it that I told the Marshall? That approximately 12 hours before, another couple had been kicked off the train with the accompaniment of the police for complaining about the suffocating conditions!

It's one thing that Amtrak charges high prices for the honor of occupying a tiny bedroom in one of their obsolete railcars. It's another thing if in addition, the service personnel are generally rude, insulting and sadistic. The only exception to this would be in the dining car where a gratuity is expected.

My wife and I sued Amtrak for this abusive service and our abandonment in an unknown town in the middle of the night. We won with little difficulty.

It seems Amtrak has a stable of attorneys on call to take care of litigations of this type. Make sure you are prepared with adequate legal support the next time you travel Amtrak.
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User Replies:
ejack053824 on 09/22/2008:
No way I would ever take one of those cattle cars. Take a cruise next time...I'm sure you will enjoy that much better! :)
Anonymous on 09/22/2008:
I real life "Throw Mama From The Train"!
I'd start sending them text messages. They're quite scared of those these days.
madconsumer on 09/22/2008:
there has to be more to this than being told. people are not removed form trains for complaining about no ac.

I would like to read the court docets if this rally went to court.
oldisgood on 09/23/2008:
it seems a whole bunch of information is missing from this post.
grandma005 on 09/23/2008:
Next time ride coach seats. You will have A/C and save a lot of money.
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StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty Star
Amtrak Used to Be Flexible
Posted by on
Rating: 1/51
NYC, NEW YORK -- Amtrak used to be a great option for getting round trip from upstate to NYC. It is now easier to drive car and park at any of the Metro parking lots that have express into city. Way cheaper option if you consider new pricing schemes for new reservation policies and constant increases in fares. With their new reserved seats policy the ability to have meetings run late or planes not leave on time meant one could just jump on next train to get back. It is cheaper and more convenient to drive to LIRR station or into to NYC now and have to deal with old, rattling, dirty, coaches with the most unhappy reps ever. They now think themselves airlines which includes bad customer service, pretend penalty fees, and constant policy reminders. Trains are meant to be flexible, as they are in every other country I have travelled, which allows you to over look the problems. Amtrak we have options, $160+ flexible round trip tickets to Albany!

Today my international flight was delayed and Amtrak charged $82 to book the next half empty train going north. Why would anyone prepay for train ticket? Just buy lowest fare before you leave.
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Unnecessary Whistle Blowing Between Farmington River and Hayden Station Road
Posted by on
WINDSOR, CONNECTICUT -- At any time of day or night some train engineers continually blow their whistle in short blasts anywhere between the Farmington River and Hayden Station Road in Windsor Connecticut. It appears that they know someone along that area of the track and they are saying Hello but it is annoying to most (all) of the people in the area. I know they must blow at the Pierson Lane crossing and again at Hayden Statioin with two long, a short and a long but not all along the track in between like playing a symphony with the trains whistle. This happens on either the northbound or southbound trains at any time of day or night with one of the engineers. Please help stop the unnecessary noise.
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User Replies:
Slimjim on 11/06/2013:
I would call them and see what they say. Either you will make them aware of it so they can address it, or they may come back with information that it is a requirement and why. Are you sure no crossings are in the vicinity? The must blow an alert before coming to one, no matter what time it is.
jonthethird on 11/08/2013:
There may be track work going on, which requires the engineer blow the horn in short bursts while in the area outlined in the train orders as being a work zone.
yoke on 11/08/2013:
You are not the only ones in CT to have to deal with the whistle blowing all hours of the day and night. It is happening in my area also.
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StarStarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty Star
Never again...
Posted by on
Rating: 2/51
POUGHKEEPSIE, NEW YORK -- My first Amtrak experience, I was really excited! Looking forward to the scenic views, lounge car, being able to relax instead of taking a "white knuckle" driver to my destination. It would have taken me 4 hours if I drove myself. This ride ended up taking 8 hours. I was unable to find a seat right away, not because it was full of people but every row had 1 person that used up 2 seats. Finally I found the lounge car and was able to relax, window view, free internet that didn't work at all. So lounge car shut down, had to find another seat. Finally after many stops I was able to find a window seat. Bathrooms were disgusting, pee all over floor possible sink. pissed soaked towels in overflowing garbage, toilets that didn't flush! Remember I was stuck here for 8 hours. I did mention to the employees in the cafe and they said that they would lock the door, never happened. I was truly excited about my trip and was looking forward to taking more, not now, never again!
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JoeKay on 08/15/2013:
Just imagine your government run healthcare run just the way you described your Amtrak experience. I predict that the imagery you presented is a pretty accurate picture of what to expect. Pathetic.
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