Amtrak Complaint - Isn't reliability the point?
I took Amtrak from Orlando to Pensacola in November 2003. At first, I was very impressed with the service. The seats were enormous and very comfortable, there was plenty of room for luggage, and the cars were neither crowded nor noisy. However, I took a train because I wanted a reliable, on-time method of transportation, and that was exactly the problem with Amtrak. We were repeatedly stopped to allow freight trains to go by, which may be counted as unavoidable delay, but that was not factored into the arrival time. I arrived an hour an a half late, which wasn't TOO bad considering it was a 12 hour ride, but my return trip was ridiculous- in fact, it never took place. When I left Orlando, I had been advised to call the automatic Amtrak number for updated arrival estimates in case the train was late, and the night before I was supposed to leave, I called and was informed that the train was running 4 hours late. The next morning I called, and the train was running 6 hours late. And so on and so forth. At my last check, it was running about 12 hours late and then they just cancelled it. To Amtrak's credit, they DID provide me with a bus (the day after I had been supposed to leave) back to Orlando and when I opted for Greyhound instead, they refunded my return ticket. However, I very strongly recommend against Amtrak if you're looking to arrive on at a specific date and time. Greyhound is more reliable and costs less.