Consumer Complaints and Reviews
My wife and I decided to take the Amtrak Empire Builder Train to Milwaukee from Saint Paul, MN, and what a mistake that was. I booked the train at approx. 7:00 p.m. on Saturday evening for an 8:00 a.m. departure and thought all was well. We made our plans for Milwaukee, had reservations with family, etc. and were looking forward to our first nice, relaxing trip on the train, enjoy the fall colors from the upper car, etc.
At 7:00 a.m. I received a text message that our train was delayed, by 6 hours and 59 minutes! Being that we were already on our way to the station I thought that I would just sort it out there. Upon arriving I was told that not only was the train really delayed by 7 hours but Amtrak had been aware of this delay for over 24 hours. In other words they knew of the delay prior to letting me book the trip and failed to mention it, nice! Then I'm told they are going to put me on a bus to Milwaukee (without a discount of course) to which I refused. After that they tell me there will be a 20% fee to cancel which I also wasn't going to accept. After 20 minutes or so at the station I finally left with my full refund and no trip to Milwaukee.
I then decided to call Amtrak to find out why they would sell me tickets for an 8:00 a.m. trip when they were already well aware that they had a 7 hour delay. The female agent who answered the phone was about the rudest customer service rep I have ever encountered. I'm still amazed by this agent and ended up talking to the manager afterwards. The manager was actually pretty decent about everything and gave me a corporate number to call for Customer Relations.
I was warned by a co-worker about taking Amtrak and ignored his advice so I'm here trying to give advice to others. If you hear horror stories about Amtrak believe them. I will never consider another trip on Amtrak and they have lost more customers with us. And to think we were talking about doing a cross-country trip with Amtrak if this short trip went well. Thank God we found out now prior to embarking on a trip from MN - Seattle!
Presently, I am on the Capitol Limited #29 (WAS to CHI). At 10:17 p.m., I was awakened and instructed to move seats on the same train car. Yes, startled awake. Instructed to move. No apparent reason. I was sitting/sleeping in seat 19 -- where I had been comfortably sitting since 4:30 p.m. -- and told to move to 58 of the same train car with no reason provided other than the service attendant stated to me that need to move from a sparsely occupied front end of same train car to a crammed pack back end of train car. Unbelievable!
Seat 19 is located in the front of the train car and 58 is in the back with a stairwell to divide the same train car. Why the service attendant startled me awake to ask my destination, which is Chicago at 8:30 a.m., and then tell me to move NOW to the back of the train where every seat is occupied, I will never understand. So, now I am sitting next to someone taking up part of my seat - I imagine to tell me she was here first; in front of two men engaged in a conversation with intermittent laughter; next to two women chatting and one possible ADHD (constantly kicking her foot in the aisle); and, near a man in the phone. Damn, I'm annoyed!
Was my peaceful slumber annoying the service attendant? Was the seat I had occupied held sentimental value, which I inadvertently breached? Who knows? All I do know is NOW I AM WIDE AWAKE and cannot get back to sleep in the back of a train car with people laughing and talking, while the lady next to me wiggled in the seat to nudge me with her hip. Absurd! Utterly absurd.
The front half of the train car is quiet, people are sleeping (just as I HAD been), and more vacant seats to sleep comfortably. The back half of the train is crammed pack, people are not sleeping, and full of lively and alert folks. I would ask to move back to my vacant seat; but, out of fear of being ejected, I am sitting in the freezing cold observation deck drinking hot water.
I would understand asking someone to move from one train car to another, in case they are uncoupled for alternate destinations. However, to disturb someone sleeping, instruct them to vacate a comfortable, quiet seat, and move to the back of the same train car is not only rude, but borders on discriminatory. Yes, discriminatory. The passengers that were sitting/sleeping around me embarked in WAS and will disembark in CHI. No one else on the front half of the train car was asked to move. And, yet, here I sit wide awake in the freezing observation car for or peace and quiet. What happens if I fall asleep? Will I be escorted by Security to seat 58? No telling.
I do feel my inconvenience and interrupted slumber should be compensated because I paid to ride on train and the service attendant singled me out (discrimination) and moved me (inconvenience) for no apparent reason, explanation, or apology. I would push the issue or move back to my vacant seat; but, I have read and seen (first-hand) service attendants eject passengers at an upcoming train stop for an innocuous you cross your eyes. Well, needless to say, I will go directly to Amtrak customer service when I arrive in Chicago for a refund or partial refund.
I travel Amtrak frequently using the Northeast Corridor. I also have made many long distance trips. I often take the Crescent to New Orleans from Philadelphia. It's far too uncomfortable in coach to ride nearly 30 hours and sleep sitting up so I'll take a roommate. Many times I have found very polite and helpful on board staff. Then again I have encountered some of the rudest and discourteous people that don't care that customer service reflects on the future of Amtrak funding. It is significant. If you dare point out you are entitled to decent and polite customer service they become belligerent and ignorant. Their greatest power is to toss you from the train even if they are clearly wrong. I've seen them tell people to shut up or move to another seat if they are in a sour mood.
Amtrak at this time is the only long distance passenger train service so they get away with this behavior and our tax dollars keep them rolling. However, I have read that Amtrak will have to give up some of its routes to other passenger rail companies. I can't wait! Iowa Pacific Holdings may take over some routes. They currently run the Hoosier State train from Chicago to Indiana and have gotten glowing reviews. I hope they get a few more and show Amtrak they cannot continue abusing paying customers.
I have been traveling on Amtrak for years and for those who are in coach know how expensive it can be just to get a bottle water. Every time I've traveled I've always brought snacks and something to drink because they have NEVER charged me for ice or hot water. But on this day from Chicago to NYC this same cafe attendant gave me a free cup of ice for my water then in the morning decided to charge me $2 for a cup of hot water. A cup of coffee is $2.25 so for $.25 less for hot water is ridiculous to me and then the Uncle Tom of a boss decides to say that for the past 6 yrs all of the employees should be fired for being kind. Never riding Amtrak again.
After being persistent and contacting a variety of people at Amtrak, I was finally able to get a refund. It should not have taken so much effort to get a refund for services we paid for and did not receive. While I have been refunded, I still want people to be aware of the difficulties that we faced. Amtrak has a new CEO and he is working to improve customer satisfaction.
My husband and I drove to California with our son to take him to his first military post. We could have flown back but opted to take Amtrak to try out as a possible means of future trips to see him, and for him to see us. We should have flown and would have if we had known the trip was going to be this big of a disaster. Our Amtrak train that was to leave from LAX departed 4 hours late due to a mechanical problem. We were ASSURED that we would still meet our connecting Amtrak buses and trains. I asked several people on our train repeatedly and they all kept assuring us we would be ok. I called the Amtrak Guest hotline and spoke to Anthony. He did not seem interested in helping me and offered no help. He took the attitude that I might just be out of luck and on my own to figure the problem out. I again spoke to our conductor and various staff members on the train who repeatedly said everything would be ok.
We were to get off the train in Newton, KS and catch a bus to our other station to ride the train to our final stop in Gainesville, TX. We were assured that the conductor would wake us at least 10-15 minutes before arriving in Newton. Nobody could tell me what time that would be so I took a guess and set several alarms to wake me every hour in the night to see where we were to make sure we were awake to get off the train. Both my husband and I have medical issues that require us to have time to wake up properly. Thank goodness I set the alarms! The conductor came to our sleeper and said we would need to be ready to get off the train in Newton in 5-6 minutes!!! Had I not set the alarms, we would not have been physically ready to leave. Thank goodness we slept in our travelling clothes! We could not even take advantage of the sleeper we paid for because of the unknowns of when we would arrive and what time.
Would we have time to shower and/or change clothes? So many questions so that is why we thought it best to sleep in our travelling clothes rather than be comfortable. Based on the room design, it takes a couple of minutes just to get down from the top bed so we both had to sleep in our seats which was not what I paid for. It is imperative that my husband get adequate rest or he will have epileptic seizures. Nobody offered us breakfast and I ended up having to buy a breakfast sandwich from May in the Cafe. She was the ONLY person on the train who even suggested that we might not make our connecting bus and train. After the conductor woke us, he stayed at the door because we were that close to the station. I asked him about our connecting bus and all he said was he was sorry but we probably missed it and hopefully someone in Newton could help us but he wasn't sure. Really? This is the best he could offer?
Amtrak knew this train was running extremely late and we were not given any options for travel to get home. Newton, KS is a very small town and I never even saw a hotel. When we arrived we were let out at the station as if the trash was being put out on the curb. The train took off quickly, leaving several of us behind to figure things out on our own. The only person who really helped us was Michelle in Newton, KS and Amtrak needs to make her the employee of the month and give her a big pay raise! She had the train dump their problem onto her shoulders and she handled it professionally and to the best of her ability in her little town. She arranged a taxi to take us to Wichita, KS to the Greyhound station. From there we were to take a Greyhound bus home. That bus did not leave for over four hours so we were stuck in a bad part of town, surround by homeless people and no viable options for a meal.
One guy that was on our route had no way to get from the Greyhound station in Wichita to where he was staying because he planned his trip around Amtrak, not Greyhound! Thank God the taxi driver was kind enough to drop him off at his hotel which was on our route to the station. The other lady who rode in the taxi with us had a young child and neither spoke English. Their train translator was no longer with them and Michelle worked hard to accommodate this woman and child. Our Greyhound ticket said we would have one stop in Oklahoma City but that was definitely incorrect! I don't know how many stops we had to make but can tell you if you need me to. We had to stop in almost every town along the route to pick up passengers. In Oklahoma City, the driver told us we could stay on the bus or get off for 20 minutes. My husband is disabled and opted to stay on the bus so I left my carry-on baggage with him and ran inside to go the restroom.
When I returned, I found him off the bus because they FORCED all passengers to get off the bus, just to let them all back on the bus because the new driver wanted it that way. This caused a lot of stress for my husband which triggered a seizure on the bus. Thank goodness it was a small seizure but all of this could have been avoided had he had proper sleep and not been stressed with all the changes in the schedule and travel. A bus trip from Wichita to Gainesville, Texas that should have taken about 4 hours took us 8 hours!!! We were supposed to be home before noon that day but we did not arrive until almost 8:00 pm. Our vehicle was at the Amtrak train station in Gainesville, Texas where our friends left it that morning so we had to call them to come back to Gainesville from Denton, Texas to take us to our vehicle. This trip was the biggest mess I have ever been involved in my life and we have travelled quite a bit.
As tired as I was when we got to Newton, Kansas, I would have driven a rental car to get us home but we were not given the option to do so and all our money was tied up in this trip so I had no means to pay for anything on my own. There were NO options given to us. It was a take it or leave it situation. Now that you have most of the details of our story, you can see why I am requesting a FULL refund. We did not travel by the means we paid for in advance and the extreme additional hours added to the trip caused medical problems for my husband as well as me. I am having a fibromyalgia flare up with extreme pain due to the unexpected hellacious Greyhound bus ride, so now I have to pay for a doctor's appointment today to see my pain doctor for injections to ease my pain. I missed a day of work due to all of this and feel that it is only right for Amtrak to refund us for the cost of this trip.
The decent half of the trip in no way covers the horrible second half of the trip that we endured. I look forward to hearing from someone immediately with compensation in the full amount of the trip. On that note, when I was pricing our trip, the prices were the same for Monday-Thursday. We opted to travel on Tuesday instead of Monday. When I called in to move the trip by one day, the agent refused to honor the price and made me pay an addition $101. I explained the pricing structure and how I knew it was the same for those days since I did quite a bit of planning to decide when it was best to travel. She refused to listen and could only do what the computer said to do.
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My boyfriend and I took the Zephyr train from California to Denver, CO. We noticed most of the staff on this train were sick so we tried our best to stay away from the staff as much as possible. Well in our 12 day vacation trip, due to spending one night on this train... we managed to both get sick (6 days of my trip I was very, very sick and had to go to urgent care in other state). I know for a fact I got sick from the lady who took care of our car, she was sick and kept trying to speak to me close to my face.
Ever since I told the lady who took care of our car that I had a gluten allergy, she became rude and passive aggressive towards us. Everything I said to her became an issue, she even gave me attitude as I was walking back to my sleeper trying to mind my own business. Out of nowhere she says "What did you say?" And I said, "Nothing." She kept saying, "No, you said something.." trying to start a confrontation with me. I don't know why she was behaving this way, I guess my gluten allergy became an issue for her to find foods for me to eat, I'm not sure.
Either way, I would never ever take Amtrak again, especially for any overnight trips. It is extremely uncomfortable on those sleepers, and just sitting in the chairs. They have done no updates on these trains and it shows. By the time we got off of the train both of our bodies hurt, especially our necks because the seats face towards each other instead of out the window. Some people want privacy and want to be able to have a chair that is able to look out the window and still turn back around and into a bed. I know that technology exists, it's 2016. Get with the time Amtrak and update your trains because trains are not "in" anymore, and the least you can do to succeed is update these trains and hire better staff that doesn't get passive aggressive with you because they feel like they're "the help."
My son Billy, who is 14 years old and just started high school frequently takes the Southwest Chief as an unaccompanied minor from La Junta to Albuquerque or Lamy to visit relatives. I've always feel safe with that and he has done it at least 9 times. On Labor Day Weekend however, my son took the train to Albuquerque to visit his grandparents (on my husband's side) as an unaccompanied minor. He left on Saturday 9/3/16 and was to return on Monday which was Labor Day. The trip was just fine going to ABQ, but it requires going over the Rocky Mountains and Raton Pass and during his visit with his grandparents, there was a fire in one of the tunnels in the Rockies, therefore rerouting the Southwest Chief through Northern Texas and other parts of NM and skipping La Junta. Because of this, Amtrak provided bus service between Albuquerque and Dodge City, KS to connect passengers with the missed stops.
When my son went to ABQ Station with my mother and father-in-law to board the bus. The staff managing this at Albuquerque Station were extremely rude and were yelling at dozens of passengers. Then, when my son tried to board the bus, the staff denied him access onto the Amtrak bus with a dirty attitude. The told him and his grandparents that unattended minors, can only ride the train and no buses. I don't understand though, because they should be able to make that exception if they had to reroute the train. Before he tried to board, they went into the ticket office and the ticket agent assured it was okay, but when they returned, she said there was nothing she could do about it. I was told this over the phone and was very upset that Amtrak is not allowing my son to come home.
I called Amtrak to address this issue, but the woman on the phone was rude to me and refused to help me get my son home. She said that my son would have to wait until the train service was restored through the Rockies, or I would have to drive to Albuquerque and get him. My husband and I couldn't drive to Albuquerque to get my son because we both are very busy with work, we have two other daughters to take care of at home, and Albuquerque is a five hour drive from La Junta. My husband's parents didn't mind keeping my son for a couple extra days because they are retired. My son and I also knew the ticket agent at La Junta Station (Darcy) from buying tickets from her so many times and when I talked to her about this problem, she promised to help me get my son back before the tracks were fixed from the fire, and that she would call me when she had a solution. But I never received a call back from her.
On Tuesday, my son and his grandparents went back to ABQ station and again, the Amtrak employees were yelling at them and did not allow him to get on the bus. Finally, on Wednesday, the Southwest Chief returned to La Junta and my son returned by train on Wednesday evening, when he should have come on Monday evening. He ended up missing two days of school because of this and thanks to Amtrak, his teachers at school are making him make up all the work he missed while stuck in Albuquerque. My son loves trains and doesn't want to stop riding them no matter what, but I have a hard time thinking about whether I want him to do this again.
I would to thank Amtrak for providing a great journey across the United States on the Lake Shore Limited and the California. Personally we could not fault it for it was a wonderful journey. The food on the train we thought was very good under the circumstances of providing food on the train and far better the plane food. The staff were very helpful and we loved the latest back announcements. We realize the trains are very old and are bit creaky and the track leaves a lot to be desired. Under these limitations the staff do a brilliant job. It is for the American public to persuade the government to invest in their railways. They could also be a huge tourist attraction as it is the best way to see America.
I took a train from South Station, Boston to Penn Station, NYC. It was a late train, not due to get in until 2:30 AM. I'm a nurse, and had to be at work in the morning, so I was trying to get some rest, on top of feeling like I was coming down with a cold. About an hour or so into the trip, a man not wearing any proper ID hit my seat to waken me and tell me I could not sleep on the seat and that I needed to move my bag off the of it. No one was waiting for the seat - we were between stations. There had been someone sitting next me earlier, so I told him that my friend was sitting there and would be coming back.
I'm not sure how much time passed, but I again was jolted awake by this man, who accused me of lying about my friend and that I needed to move my umbrella. I then told him I wasn't feeling well and to please stop. He shouted, "Well, then you shouldn't have gotten on the train!!!" I asked him his name. He yelled, "I'm the conductor!!!" I replied, "Ok, but what is your name?" Still jolted from being awakened so aggressively. He started yelling about me lying to him and said he was going to throw me off the train. He continued down the aisle and so I took a photo, wanting to report this extremely aggressive behavior, that quite frankly, made me nervous. He came storming back and shouted, "If you're going to get my picture, at least get my good side!!!"
I looked around and saw several empty seats, including the one across the aisle from me. I was really confused and felt it was best to go sit next to someone; if I fell asleep, he would not be able to come yell again, right? We got to the New London station. The conductor found me and was accompanied by an Amtrak police officer. He stated that I needed to get off the train. I was shell shocked. I got off, and the officer had to call to see if I had any criminal record. I was so terrified, I was visibly shaking, so the officer said we could go inside the station, however, it was closing soon. He then stated that no other trains were going to the city, and I could either pay $300 for a cab or walk to a nearby hotel. Neither seemed like possible options to me - I'm also in graduate school and don't have that kind of budget. I spoke to an agent around 12:55 AM. She was very nice and said I should take the cab and call tomorrow to get reimbursed.
I tried an Uber instead to see if it was cheaper. It was, but the man said he wouldn't go to the city. I tried another, and 25 minutes later, waiting in the cold rain, I was on my back in a $180 Uber. I have since spoken to several customer relations personnel, who state that it is up to the conductor and that they do not have to reimburse me for any of my trip. I am stunned that a conductor can throw someone off the train, leave them in a potentially dangerous situation, and have no liability. I have been incredibly disturbed, haven't been able to sleep and quite anxious since this happened to me. I will continue to pursue other avenues for reach any justice and hopefully prevent this from happening again to someone else, and am receptive to any advice someone might have for me. Thank you very much.
My daughter and I took Amtrak from Chicago to and from Temple, Texas. The staff coming and going were very rude, especially the man who takes orders for food "Michael." I asked him for a roll and he had the audacity to tell me I was "flexing" at him. Whatever that means. Also, whenever you ask any of them a question you get back a sarcastic comment which is always inappropriate for customer service. This was my first and last time on Amtrak.
The train at Union station in Washington was temporarily without AC while changing engines. The temperature was over 100 degrees on that day. I am elderly with a heart condition and complained. The car was full and my seat was an aisle seat next to a large woman who needed two seats. She was on her cell constantly even during the wee hours. I requested another seat and was told this could not be done even though I saw some empty seats.
The trip was miserable unlike the days of train travel and very inferior to trips in Europe and even Asia, which I have taken. The road is rough and apparently poorly maintained, terrible compared to German and French trains. There is no diner and the cafe only serves microwave junk food. Add to this that train arrives nearly an hour late in Tampa. It is amazing and shameful that a wealthy country like the US should have such inferior train service. This trip cured my romance with train travel which I remember from my youth.
When taking an Amtrak train they do not have any respect for their customer even though they are charging 3 times the amount for a ticket that the on time bus would have charged. August 23, 2016 @ 3:45 am. I took an Amtrak train from Newark, NJ heading south, without prior knowledge they tell you the train is coming in one track #3. Everyone was waiting 5 minutes before the train is to arrive they switched the track to a completely different platform. So now the seniors & moms with children all scuffle over without any assistance, since neither the elevators nor escalators work at this time of the morning as they continue to announce the new track for any later comers over the outdated loud speaker.
How about that wasn't enough confusion that very train pulled in 2 tracks over on platform #4 without warning. If it had not been for the NJ Transit police officers holding up the train all of us would have missed it! What a horrible thing to do to people. I called to customer service dept at Amtrak to let them know what a lousy thing this was to happen to everyone that was taking this train. What happened was inexcusable. The sad part is this is not the 1st time this has happened to me with them!!!
The staff today is incredible! Very helpful, very courteous and friendly. From the 1st person at Union Station, who appears to love her job, to the very kind waiter in the diner, and the conductor who went to great pains in helping me find my bag. I hate hearing the complaints online, Amtrak is extremely roomy and comfortable!.. and the price is good, food decent, especially the breakfast. Thank you Amtrak! P.s. reimbursements have been great also!!
My husband and I just experienced a very disappointing, dangerous, trip on Amtrak's Texas Eagle. Our trip to Dallas couldn't have been more unpleasant. We were in coach and about half of the passengers made and received phone calls all night long! Loud rings and conversations made sleep impossible. These sounds were matched by loud conversations by other passengers, and passengers who 'forgot' to use ear buds when listening to their music. In spite of an attendant's request to silence or lower the volume on the devices, and for people who wanted to chat to take their conversations to the lounge, this did not happen. And, not one attendant came by to see if these requests were being honored. Sleep was impossible.
Other unpleasant things included very poorly maintained restrooms! Very, very bad! Extremely cold a/c! Everyone was wrapped in whatever they had! It was freezing! Hot food was barely warm. We were two hours late getting into Dallas. We decided to get a roomette for our return to Los Angeles thinking it would be quieter and the restrooms a little better since there would be fewer people using them, and Amtrak advertises room control for heat/cool. We knew it wouldn't improve the food or the arrival times, but it sounded more comfortable. It wasn't.
The restrooms were not clean, our room control for temperature did not work, our 120 volt connector didn't always work making our phones useless, and it was not quieter! This time, though, the noise came from the train! The ride was extremely rough! We were constantly being tossed around in our roomette and when we tried to go from car to car. I spilled wine on my lap because of a strong jerk. The wine was very expensive, but I ordered it because I wanted to drink it, not to wear it!
The discomfort was constant throughout the entire ride. We asked the attendants if this bumping and jerking was normal, and everyone we asked said no, that a certain amount of movement was normal, but the roughness seemed to be getting worse. One of them said that the tracks were not owned by Amtrak, but leased from freight lines and that there was a different requirement for freight line maintenance! I have no idea if that's true; what is true is that the rails we used were in need of a lot attention! My husband and I, and other passengers, were constantly being thrown around. I hit the door frame in our roomette and have bruise on my left arm from hitting the door lock; I have a giant black and blue mark on my right leg from who knows what (?) and both bruises are still sore!
Worse, though, are the two wounds I have my left leg from being tossed in to the levers that allow the seats to be converted into beds. Both wounds bled! We managed to clean them with the 'emergency kit' items we had, but we had to reopen one of them the next day because it became very inflamed. We cleaned it again, and hopefully, that's all we'll have to do. We were looking forward to a nice relaxing ride to and from Dallas. Instead, we got tossed around and WOUNDED, on a train! An Amtrak train! That's not what we intended to buy! Isn't there an agency that protects people from things like this? Give travel by train another thought!
I wish I had read previous reviews from this site before making my plans. My disabled husband and I also had a miserable experience on the Empire Builder from Chicago to Glacier Park. Handicapped roomette was impossible to get around in. Toilet did not have safety bars that all toilets for the disabled have. Seating for our in-room meals was impossible as the seats faced each other so only one of us had any legroom & the tray was much too small with no raised edges to prevent dishes from falling off.
To add insult to injury, my husband's wheelchair was damaged by an employee of Amtrak. It has been over a month since I filled out a claim form, sent three emails, and still haven't heard back from them. There also were no red caps when we arrived at the station, and I had to push my husband and a suitcase into an elevator which kept closing on us. Once on the correct floor I had to search out someone to ask where the lounge was. You would think at least one sign could be posted.
I also contacted Amtrak Vacations because I was told since they booked the trip they were who I had to speak to about any problem. Twice they hung up on me while I was in middle of a sentence, and I was not sounding angry or abusive. Why does Amtrak have a death wish? I would love to travel by train again now that we are retired and have a lot of time, but it is not something I would ever attempt again. If you are young & able-bodied and have a lot of time and money, go for it, Otherwise drive yourself or fly.
The difference in the service and food of a little over a year is very disturbing. I love train travel and I would hate to see it go by the wayside. It's one of the most relaxing ways to travel, yet my last trip was far from relaxing. My very first trip on Amtrak was exceptional - I took the Texas Eagle in April of 2015 and was extremely happy with the experience. The only problem I had at that time were people from coach sleeping up in the lounge car and playing loud rap music.
I took an America by Rail trip July 29-August 7, 2016. On 7/29 we arrived from Grand Rapids to catch the Zephyr. When we arrived at Union Station in Chicago we were told that we could place our luggage in a room, but it did not have an attendant (On my previous trip there was a person who checked your bag.). This is a wonderful service, and one that should not be discontinued by Amtrak since most of the time the wait is quite a while before catching a connecting train.
Our bedroom was taped up with silver tape around the bathroom seams. The ceiling vent. had what looked like a white trash bag with blue painter's tape holding it in place. I have no idea why because the thermostat in the room didn't seem to work. The fabric on the chair and couch in our room was stained and dirty (My picture of those did not turn out.). The ice water tap never had water, iced or otherwise. We were given 2 room temperature bottles of water in our room per day. If you're paying top dollar for a room, you shouldn't have to pay $2.25 for additional water. I had no problem paying top dollar for any of the snacks or juices in the cafe... except for the water.
We could never get a seat in the Lounge Car for the entire trip! There were Boy Scouts and families pretty much camping out in the Lounge Car. They had bags of food and were working arts and crafts at the tables. At one point a family of 4 were sitting at a table and their son was on the floor in the middle of the aisle with his paper, crayons, and toys. If people are going to pay maximum dollar for the bedrooms and roomettes, then they should have access to a lounge car and another lounge car can be provided for coach passengers.
I noticed a difference in the food service from April 2015. The meals seemed more "processed"... I don't know how to explain it. The mashed potatoes were from a box, the steaks were always medium no matter how you ordered them, the riblets were not hot and tasted like they came out of a plastic bag/container, the salisbury steak again had mashed potatoes from a box and I was sick that evening from the salisbury steak - it didn't taste like hamburger, it tasted more like breading mixed with something chewy. The breakfast sausage patties and French toast had no taste.
Not everything was bad in the dining car - the hamburgers and hot dogs were very good and the continental breakfast was very good. The fruit tasted very fresh and the croissants were heaven. We had a bedroom and were in Room A in that car. We could not hear any announcements that were made by the conductor or room steward unless we went out in the aisle and walked toward the center of the car.
I booked 4 Sleeping Car tickets for me and my family to go all the way to Philadelphia from Emeryville, CA for a family reunion there instead of flying. Our plan was to take the California Zephyr to Chicago in a Family Room, leaving Sunday, arriving Chicago Tuesday, then we were going to board the Cardinal train to Philadelphia in 2 roomettes, leaving there almost 3 hours after the Zephyr arrives into Chicago which would take three nights, then we would fly home a couple weeks later. My son loves trains, so he advised this to us, and not wanting to sleep three straight nights in Coach seats, we traveled first class, which he had never done once before.
When we went to Emeryville on Sunday morning, the parking lot there was full, so the ticket agent there advised us to park in a parking garage right next to a movie theater in Emeryville. We were given an Amtrak parking voucher and we were assured by the ticket agent that we would not get a fine for parking there for a couple of weeks, as that was done commonly when the parking lot is full. So my husband drove there, we checked our luggage and boarded in our Sleeping Car.
The train ride was excellent the first day. Awesome scenery, good service and great food in the Dining Car (with no charge). It was lovely until we were in the Rockies when the train was delayed two hours while waiting for a freight train there. I wasn't worried about that though, because I have friends who ride the train and they say it happens frequently and it's no big deal, unless it's like 10 hours late.
Then while we were sleeping through Nebraska, there was another delay due to engine failure and then the train was running 5 hours late. I couldn't believe this. It was 7:24 pm when we arrived into Chicago and the Cardinal already departed, so we missed it. I was aggravated at that point, but the conductor however told us that Amtrak would manage this problem by paying for us to stay in a hotel until the next Cardinal left Chicago, but we wouldn't leave until Thursday instead of Tuesday because the Cardinal is a train that runs 3 days a week instead of 7. So we had to stay in Chicago for two nights which was a pain in the neck. My son didn't mind because he always wanted to see Chicago.
I went to the ticket office at Union Station to explain our problem, the ticket agent (Jeanne) was very rude to us. She yelled "YOU THINK WE'RE MADE OF MONEY!?, GET A LIFE BOZO!". She also said I had to buy another ticket for the Cardinal train because the ticket we already had was ticketed for Tuesday, and now we had to leave on Thursday instead. I was outraged by this! I already spent over $2800 for my family to ride the train to Philadelphia, and now, Amtrak is costing me more.
Plus there was going to be a family birthday party in Philadelphia the day after we arrived there and we were going to have to miss it. I bought a new ticket for the Cardinal and there were no more roomettes left, so we were in Business Class instead. I then had to pay $800 for a Chicago hotel room and food there. Not only that, but the next morning, I received a phone call from Emeryville Police saying my car was towed from the parking garage we parked in the day we left.
Apparently, on Sunday, the car was ticketed in the afternoon around 5 pm, then after 5 parking tickets were issued, the car was towed away the next morning around 6 am, and that the Amtrak parking voucher would not work in a non-Amtrak parking lot. I told the police the situation and that the Amtrak employee at Emeryville said it was ok, but the Police did not lift the fine, so apparently, the Emeryville ticket agent lied to us!
I was then extremely angry, because in addition to all these extra expenses Amtrak was causing us in Chicago, I now had to buy my husband a plane ticket back to Oakland to pick up the car from the impound lot, then to Philadelphia to meet us, and we also had to pay a $900 fine for all the parking tickets and the impound fine. He got to Philadelphia before us, and we finally left the next day on the Cardinal after a couple of Chicago adventures. It was hard to sleep that night because Business Class seats do not fold into beds, so it was not uncomfortable to sit up and sleep (My son and daughter were fine because they were small and could fit between the footrest and the seat). And also, one of the doors to the next car was broken so you could hear the screeching and the rattling of the train as well as the noises outside such as the railroad crossing bells all night long.
Also, since meals were not included in the Business Class ticket, we still had to pay for the food, which was another unexpected expense. I was relieved when this train ride ended, because I swear to god I would never ever take Amtrak again. Overall, we planned to spend $3726.92 for this whole trip (The train ride there and the flight home), but thanks to Amtrak, we ended up spending $6203.21 in traveling instead! (Around $7000 if you add the East Coast activities). That meant I had to spend $2476.29 extra bucks because of Amtrak.
I am so pissed off I could sue Amtrak by now! But, it's expensive to hire a lawyer for this and I already lost a lot of money. I hope all these employees understand one day that they don't lure more passengers to Amtrak by costing them more money and being rude, otherwise, it would seem like Amtrak was trying to scam you and suck up your money. I have told all my friends about this and they have already committed to never ride Amtrak. So good luck with finding more passengers now Amtrak!
Unfortunately, I've got a lot of experience riding Amtrak trains. They've gotten worse and worse over the years. The crumbling infrastructure. The filth. The run-down trains - inside and out. The very stupid and sadistic staff. The late trains - never on time, always breaking down. The horrible food. The bad service. The outdated... uh... everything. I would say it's like going back in time... but that would be an insult to a time when trains were great. I hate Amtrak more than I can say at this moment, having just completed 4 trips that totally ruined my week.
One of the employees who takes tickets on a train in Cleveland actually ran off with my suitcase and was rude, arrogant and mean to me the entire trip. One of these losers on a train from D.C. to SC was so clueless about how to treat passengers, I couldn't believe it. He was insulting, condescending and sexist. I told him I didn't appreciate paying extra for business class only to have many from their overbooked coach cars shoved into business class - including (apparently there are now babies who are business travelers) babies and children. His reply was, "So, you don't like being around children, huh?" If I would have been a man, he would never have treated me as badly as he did. He got in my face and screamed, "ALL ABOARD!" as though I was cattle. I will not - I REPEAT - will not EVER ride on Amtrak again. These are just a couple of examples of some of the awful experiences I've had over the years.
My husband and I travel the States for our jobs and this time taking a train would give us time to enjoy the scenery (beautiful) and give us the time to enjoy each other's company. I don't think I will ever ride the train again due to the fact that the food is doubled in price plus the portion size isn't always the best nor is the taste. I am a smoker. So once every 7-8 hours to stop for 5 minutes and try to enjoy a cigarette wasn't happening and also some of the crew members weren't so friendly. So I think I will stick to flying... Sorry but true.
I am a disabled woman. I walk with a cane and am only able to stand for about 90 seconds. I took with me, on this Amtrak trip, my 83-year-old mother who also uses a cane. Although I had reviewed the Amtrak website and seen the opportunity to indicate that we were handicapped (and senior citizen), when I actually booked the reservation, from Toledo OH to Albuquerque NM, I did not see this opportunity. It's possible that I simply missed it. I was worried about it so I called Amtrak and spoke to a live person who said, "Oh, don't worry about it. There's lots of help for handicapped folks. You can always ask for a Red Cap." I had also read great things about Red Cap and how they were "all over the place" and willing to help at all times. I DO ACKNOWLEDGE THE LEARNING CURVE. If you have never traveled by train, there are some things you do not know. The same for flying, or driving across the desert.
On the first leg of our journey (3+ hours), train 49 was a mess. Toledo is a small station with no red caps. Although it was not far, schlepping our carry-ons to the train was not easy for us. The restroom door was very difficult to close, the "occupied" light only worked part of the time, the windows were quite dirty, neither of our footrests would extend, we could not hear any of the announcements being made (faulty PA system?), and the staff (with a slight exception of the conductor) were not helpful. Midway through the journey we were approached by the conductor and told we were on the train on the wrong day: We should be on tomorrow. We were charged an additional $250 on the spot because "seats were at a premium" that day (crowded). All this, even though I had a paper copy of an email from Amtrak showing our itinerary --- leaving on THAT day.
I'm still trying to work out that little snafu. We arrived at Union Station in Chicago where we would have a 5 hour layover. No one offered to help us or call a red cap for us. Not knowing any better, we started out with our canes and our carry-ons toward the gate. We huffed and puffed ourselves along (I had to stop 3 times) before we were even 1/3 of the way to the terminal. A red cap came flying along and asked us if we needed a ride. Kudos to him! By this time we were experiencing the delightful aroma of the train toilets being drained. Back to the train car we went to pick up other senior citizens who knew to just sit still until the red cap arrived. Now we knew! The red cap delivered us to the restrooms after which we limped around trying to find breakfast and then limped around more trying to determine what gate we would be leaving from. We waited for a red cap to take us to the train this time.
On this leg of the trip (24+ hours) we had an excellent car attendant who saw to it that we were fed and had ice and drinks. We were accompanied by the nicest bunch of Boy Scouts; a tribute to their leaders and their efforts. We arrived in Albuquerque where the temp was 108 degrees, there were NO red caps. There was NO seating on the platform and NO shade. After standing (leaning) in the sun for 20 minutes, a luggage cart driver felt sorry for us and gave us a ride up to the terminal where we carted our own luggage. We took turns staying with the bags and going after more. We flagged down a cab and made it to our hotel, completely exhausted and definitely in pain. On our journey back, the AC went out in our car. I spent the better part of the night rubbing my face, neck and arms with a wet cloth and by morning I was so sick I vomited. I had asked our car attendant about the air twice.
Once she acted like she was going to do something about it, the second time she said "unfortunately, I can't change it without affecting those on the upper level". This time at Union Station we were told there were only 2 red caps working the entire station. I just think that the great bragging about the red cap program needs to back off a lot. The train was packed on our return. There were some difficulties with passengers as well. However, I do not find this an excuse to ignore customers nor to leave disabled passengers without food or water for 18 hours. In summary, I believe that Amtrak is in the same condition as many, many other businesses and institutions in the USA: There is no money being spent on infrastructure or upgrades. Only the most basic maintenance is being done. They are running at all times on a skeleton crew so they don't have to pay more people.
If you are young, healthy, and energetic, by all means take the train. I do not recommend it for anyone who is even slightly disabled, handicapped, over 70 or significantly arthritic (the rhythm of the train kind of beats you to death). And as for that old phrase "see America by train" don't believe it. What you see is the seedy back street of every town in America. Yes, there are some lovely views, but those special moments add up to about 7 minutes of our 36-hour ride.
I hope this review finds you all well. My name is Dallas **. I traveled on train 79, July 5th 2016, going from Washington to Charlotte between 10:53AM and a planned arrival time of 8:12PM. I'd say for the majority of the train ride I had an overall decent experience. I believe it was at the Rocky Mount Station it was announced that the cafe would be closed until we arrived in Raleigh, which was no problem. However, it became a major problem for myself and I'm sure other passengers on train 79 when the cart we were seated in lost its ventilation and we were without cool air. It would have been bearable had it not consisted on our trip going from Rocky Mount, NC to Selma, NC. We were left without cool air and refreshments which would make any passenger irritable and upset.
There was a conductor that came to check to see what was the problem in our section, but after he left, no one returned for about 20 minutes. It's as though we the passengers were left to accept what was while people complained and moved due to discomfort. The conductor finally returned and gave a few passengers an alternative to the lack of cool ventilation, which was to move to another cart with only eight available seats. This becomes an issue, when passengers who aren't able to get those available seats are left in the cart where there isn't any air.
I was on the train for an extra hour and a half (Arriving in Charlotte at 10:32PM) which makes a big difference when I had my mother waiting for me at the Charlotte train station. There were many abrupt stops during the train ride that was not at any particular station, leaving myself and others passengers to sit and wait at one point for 20 minutes before we were able to move.
I've ridden the Amtrak many times, train 79 in particular, which is always extremely late going in the direction of Charlotte. It's never a 20 or 30 minute delay, it's always an hour or more which has always frustrated myself and many others I'm sure of. This is over the course of two years, so I'm wondering what is the Amtrak headquarters doing to advocate and make the passenger experience more than a reasonable priced ride and more of a smooth enjoyable experience for all passengers boarding and departing? Without hassle.
I love Amtrak. I am 15 years old. I take the train a lot and encourage others to ride Amtrak instead of using cars or airplanes because of the many benefits, and I have taken 2 major Amtrak rides that have lasted overnight (once from the West Coast to the East Coast) but Amtrak has a couple problems that I really think should be dealt with. I have read numerous complaints about rude employees and travel issues that were hard to endure.
Last year in July of 2015, I took the California Zephyr from Davis to Chicago with my family. I enjoyed the trip. When we were booking it, the sleeping car price for a family of 4 is extraordinarily expensive like $5000! Do you really think that is fair. Seriously, a motel costs about $1000 for 4 people to stay in for 3 nights. I slept just fine in Coach being small, but my parents were up all night and got no sleep at all. How is Amtrak more comfortable if you can't sleep the correct way and it's outrageously expensive to have a good night's sleep.
The plan was to take the train to Chicago, arriving there scheduled 2:50 pm and transfer to the Capitol Limited three hours and 50 minutes later. However, the train was stuck in the Rockies because of a passing freight train. In the mountains there are a lot of one-track zones where you can't pass another train, so we had to sit a long time in a two-track zone waiting for a freight train to pass us which made our train arrive Chicago at 4:50 pm, two hours late. Luckily, we didn't miss the Capitol Limited, but I was upset because I wanted to use those 3 and a half hours to go to the top of the Sears Tower Skydeck, which we could not do because our train was late and we only had 90 minutes in Chicago, we still however got to see the city, just not the top of the tower.
The other thing, is that since that was my first time taking a very long Amtrak ride, my parents and I didn't know the drill for that, and we were unable to get dinner in the Dining Car for two nights in a row (Third night we had dinner in Chicago as planned). We still got breakfast and lunch in the dining car, but no dinner because you need reservations. The first day, my parents got reservations but we were never called to the dining car (we had a late reservation anyway). The second day, we were promised to get in earlier, but the dining car staff did not come to our coach to get dinner reservations. For two nights in a row we had to use the snack bar for dinner, that stuff is not as good as the dining car food which are real entrees that are fresh and served on china. The snack bar has bagged foods and is microwaved, not baked.
On the second day of the trip, when we had dinner from the snack bar, I had a cup of noodles. The noodle cup however, read an expiration date (Apr 2015) where apparently the noodles expired 3 months before the trip happened, and because of that, I threw up on the train. How does Amtrak lure more passengers to their train if they do not take the correct sanitary precautions!!?? Because no one wants to be ill on their trip. I did not end up getting sick or going to the doctor, but it was a waste of money.
The other thing is that when my family and I were on the Capitol Limited, we were going to Pittsburgh, PA, where it was scheduled to arrive at 5:05 am and we were planning to get on the Pennsylvanian to Philadelphia, scheduled to leave Pittsburgh at 7:30 am. However the eastbound Capitol Limited was 2 hours behind schedule (another long delay). This was slightly helpful because we didn't have to worry about getting breakfast in Pittsburgh, but they were not going to hold the Pennsylvanian for us and the Capitol Limited arrived into Pittsburgh 6 minutes before the Pennsylvanian's departure! Luckily, it was right across the platform so we did not have to worry about going into the station, but we checked 4 bags onto the Capitol Limited and my dad had to struggle very hard in those 5 minutes to get our baggage on the train. He almost missed it, but he made it.
I just do not understand why Amtrak would only give us 6 minutes to transfer when we have luggage. Overall, the rest of the trip though, was satisfying. Just recently though, I took the Coast Starlight from Davis to San Jose in Business Class, and let me tell you, it ain't worth it. The Business Class seats are just the same as Coach seats except there are water bottles in the seat pockets and you get Wi-Fi access and the conductor writes you a food coupon for the dining or lounge car. However, the Wi-Fi was no good at all. On all the Amtrak trains that say they have Wi-Fi, it's a total rip-off, the connection is terrible. Also, it was published that Coast Starlight Business Class passengers have access to the Parlour Car, and I asked the conductor about that and he said that's not true. Well, lesson learned.
Amtrak has a quiet car... Well a child and parents boarded 4 stops ago, loud talking, playing etc. Of course no one wants to say anything so I leave. A conductor walks through, ummm 5 or 6 times and says absolutely nothing!!! What's the point of having a quiet car if it's not enforced? Train 99 from BWI to Newport News. Horrible. I rode a train previously where the conductor made the woman leave the car.
On June 20, I had an appointment with my allergist in a Philadelphia suburb. I left home (near Washington DC) at 5:45 AM and took various modes of transportation, including SEPTA, to get there. When making my Amtrak return reservation, with 2-week advance purchase, I had to anticipate how long my appointment would take, plus allow time for transfers and possible delays.
My appointment ended sooner than expected, and I arrived at Philadelphia 30th St station at about 4:45 PM. My return reservation on NE Regional was for 6:15 PM. An earlier NE Regional was scheduled to depart Phil. at 5:30 PM. After being up since 5:45 AM, I was tired and eager to get home. I attempted to change my ticket, but the agent informed me that there was an upcharge from my 2-week advance purchase price. I requested a supervisor. After waiting for 5-10 minutes, I asked another agent to call the supervisor. (I believe the first agent never called her.) The supervisor informed me for the second time that there was an upcharge.
I then went to so-called Customer Service and asked for the manager. The receptionist addressed me as "Love". I replied, "I'm not Love." She abruptly left, without even saying excuse me, and kept me waiting for 5 minutes. She ignored my repeated requests for a manager and insisted on helping me herself. She looked up my reservation and informed me for the third time of the upcharge to change my ticket.
I then went to the Information Desk and asked for a manager. The so-called manager was not wearing a name badge and did not introduce herself; I had to ask twice for her name. (She reprimanded me for rudely asking her name!) When I explained my desire to change my ticket, she informed me for the fourth time of the upcharge. I expressed annoyance at hearing this mindless refrain four times. She purported to help, then kept reneging because of my alleged rudeness. She took it upon herself to lecture and harangue me at length. She was very manipulative, as if she were punishing a naughty child. As it turned out, her notion of help was to quote me the price of the upcharge, which she said was only $6. However, she refused to waive this upcharge. By this time, thanks to several delays and debates by Amtrak personnel, the 5:30 train was departing. I was obliged to wait for the 6:15 train.
I believe this manager has a misguided notion of help. I was informed **four times** about an upcharge; I did not require her so-called help to learn the cost! She also has a misguided notion of customer service. She was focused on **being** treated with respect, rather than on extending that courtesy to your customers. She does not listen and thus utterly failed to resolve my concerns. In short, every Amtrak employee I dealt with in Philadelphia was condescending and unprofessional. I also had an unpleasant encounter with an Amtrak usher in Washington DC that morning, that almost caused me to miss the train, even though I was at the head of the line (as a senior citizen). So it was a stressful day, thanks to Amtrak personnel in both stations. (I had no problem whatsoever with Amtrak personnel on the trains.)
To add insult to injury, Amtrak's so-called Customer Relations Specialist claimed to have followed up with station managers regarding my complaint. However, she merely read the notes on my reservation. Thus, her apology is utterly meaningless. She never responded to my email asking her to explain the apparent contradiction in her first and second emails to me. With her deception and mishandling of my complaint, she exacerbated this situation.
I had the absolute worst experience at this train station!! I thought it sounded like a fun adventure to take the train from AZ to CA. I have a service animal and made sure to inquire with Amtrak before I booked my ticket that this was okay. After spending $260 round trip for a sleeper car, I was told he was not allowed on the train. The people there could not have cared less to my situation or to do anything to help. I was turned away with my service dog in hand. The legal issues didn't matter, all I was told was "to go ahead and try and sue my company." In disbelief.
The Amtrak station was filthy, I could barely breathe through the tunnel as I walked from the south end to the north end. I was attempting to travel on a Sunday, so the station was locked and no employees available to tell me my train would be 20 minutes late. This was not life-ending, except that it made my return trip impossible. I was training a service dog and had made a quick round trip just for him, with 15 minutes between trains. I chose to not board, as Amtrak would have charged me for another ticket and made me wait for hours in an unsafe area for the return train. Amtrak customer service refused to refund or credit my ticket, instead claiming that the late train was not late enough and not even apologizing for it. I'm out a trip and the cost of a roundtrip ticket with Amtrak fully at fault. Unbelievable.
We rode in and out of Union Station. Employees there were horrible. The left hand didn't know what the right hand was doing. Asked 3 or 4 people directions where we needed to go and all of them gave us different directions. Will never ride into Union Station again. Very rude employees at Union Station in Chicago Ill. Very bad experience at Union Station.
My client and I traveled from NYC to Boston, Massachusetts on 5/28/2016 and the service was horrible. My client has a developmental disability. There were no seats for us to sit down. The conductor was very dismissive, rude and disrespectful. My client can barely walk, nor can she stand up for a long period of time. No one would give her a seat. The conductor said he "didn't care, he doesn't have time for the BS, he's about to retire anyway." He walked off with an attitude. My client and I had stand up for 45 minutes. Before she was able to get a seat. I am very livid with the services on the Amtrak train.
My name is Tenzin **. Today I had really bad experience with one of the manager of Amtrak at 30th Street Station. Her name is **. So me and my boyfriend were in line waiting for train and my boyfriend had bike with him and manager **, she came straight at us and ask us to move our bike to the end of the line and I said "We're gonna ride on the train," and she said "Did you buy ticket for the bike?" The way she said it and her tone was unacceptable and I said no and she said we can't take bike on train and mind you I been taking Amtrak for ages and I saw a lot of people bringing bike on train so I wasn't sure why ** told us we can't bring bike on train.
So my boyfriend went to ask other Amtrak employee but that manager showed up and said we can't take bike on train and my boyfriend said to her sorry, he wasn't talking to her and he was talking to that other employee. The manager said "they all work under me," and who the hell care if they all work under her. My boyfriend especially went to ask other employee because the manager was rude and she was discriminating us. We didn't wanted to talk to that manager. So lastly we went to other counter and ask for full refund since we can't ride on Amtrak without bike and the lady was so nice and she helped us get full refund.
I ask her "can we take bike on train" because we didn't trust anything that manager said. That lady said of course we can take bike on train so after that I knew that manager name ** was discriminating us. FYI manager should be helping their customer, not to discriminated them. So whoever is reading, you guys should definitely take action on that woman name **. She is fat and have red hair. She doesn't deserve to be manager. Other employees are far more helpful than her. I hope you guys do something about **. I been taking Amtrak for longest time now and I don't appreciate what miss ** had did.
Described as one of the most scenic routes in the system, this trip was not as glorious as many I have experienced. I have ridden Amtrak across the country several times and the scenery has been resplendent. This was pretty good. Actually New York to Hudson is probably the best part and I did not do that this time. Going to Canada was a nightmare. This was not Amtrak's fault. There was a large group (163 to be exact). We were at the border for 2 1/2 hours. I wish they told us there was no alcohol after the border before that experience. I would have stocked up.
Returning from Canada was a pleasure. Kudos to US Customs and Border Inspection. Forty minutes to do the same job as the initial trip. They were friendly and professional. Train crew on both trips was exceptional. The conductor on the train to Canada was very gregarious and helpful. The cafe car staff members on both legs were great. I am not sure how they did it with such a large group. I realize that the US does not invest in train travel in the way that Europe and Japan does. We may never get to that level of service, but my biggest complaint is that for a nine- 12 hour journey, cannot there be staff to clean the bathrooms? By the end of the journey, they were a health hazard. I feel sorry for those boarding the train at Albany or Hudson.
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