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Just wanted to say that a few days after I made a reservation, I received a notice that tickets were on sale. I called Amtrak and they immediately gave me a voucher for the price difference and reissued the tickets. They even hung on for a few minutes while I got my mother's confirmation number so I could do the same for her. These days it is rare to see such excellent customer service - I was sure I was going to have to argue with them. Thank you Amtrak!!
I took a train from Washington, DC to New York City in 1991 that was supposed to get in a 8:30 pm. It arrived at 2:30 in the morning to a deserted Penn Station and passengers were abandoned in our efforts to continue our travels. I stayed away from trains for 25 years, but booked an AMTRAK train from Washington, DC to Savannah, GA in 2016. This disaster of a ride got us in 5 hours late, the toilets were full, the dining car ran out of food and we were stuck on the tracks in the middle of nowhere for hours on end. At least AMTRAK gave me a full refund of my fare. I swore then that I would never, ever, Never, Ever, NEVER, EVER take AMTRAK again.
I needed to get up to Trenton, NJ on July 22, 2019 but faced weather related flight cancellations, so I HAD NO CHOICE but to try AMTRAK again. Train 94 left Union Station on July 22, 2019 within :30 seconds of its scheduled departure time. We arrived Trenton right on time. On the return, train 129 arrived in Trenton (from Boston?), within one minute of its scheduled arrival time. We arrived in Washington, DC right at 8:13 pm, July 23, 2019, the scheduled arrival time. Way to go AMTRAK. Clean cars, courteous on-board stall, decent grub in the dining car, but most of all, reliable transportation. Thank you.
In the past 4 or 5 years I have traveled on Amtrak from Sacramento to Denver and back, maybe 5 times giving me about 10 experiences of travel with them. Here’s my review. ARRIVAL-DEPARTURE: Nine out of ten times my travel has been pleasant enough with the train arriving and departing on time. Once I recall it arrived early to Sacramento, which made me slightly disappointed only because I was so much enjoying new friends and the views. A more recent travel experience with Amtrak was frustrating. There was flooding in Nebraska so the train was delayed 7 hours. I wish the notifications came sooner as my son dropped us off at Denver Union Station early to check baggage, and other family was not easily able to load up several children to pick us up. So we remained at the Union Station for the day.
Knowing the train wasn’t coming for 7 hours we decided to walk around town. (Amtrak staff allowed us to “store” all our luggage in the baggage room, which made our day much easier.) Our walk ended early as we didn’t have extra money to spend. We headed back to Union Station which is quite a lovely place to be. My girls and I found outside seating at Mercantile Dining and relaxed while enjoyed lemonade, pastries and matcha tea. They were not too busy and very understanding of our situation...to let us linger. I would say the worse part of waiting was the fact that Amtrak corporate offered very limited communication. Even hours later, on Amtrak Alerts via Twitter, there was still only one message; flooding occurred and they were running 7 hours late. For hours we didn’t hear if the train was even on its way! Although, Amtrak’s train status update changed every time we checked.
First the train wouldn’t arrive until 5:30 pm, (8am that morning was departure time), then 20 minutes later it was expected at 6:11pm, it continued throughout the day, though the evening, then through the night until the train was to arrive at 11:54pm. The time 11:54 wasn’t changing on the updated train status, so many of us remaining passengers, who weren’t smart or rich enough to make other travel plans, got excited and went out to the tracks. Up at 5:30am, it’s late and we were all exhausted and just wanted to board the train and sit in our seat to fall asleep. But no train. We wait, still no train.
COMMUNICATION: Finally, out comes an Amtrak worker stating the train is stuck around the corner due to a signal problem. She was more informative than anyone we’d heard from all day, and gave us reassurance while scanning out tickets. But we still waited. Earlier, the (friendly but quiet) staff at DUS counter said they knew nothing as the conductor wasn’t answering calls. Turns out Amtrak was experiencing more than the flooding problems, there were issues with signal changes or lights and they had to stop and manually set them. Most people can understand and sympathize but not being informed and being left in the dark is the worse. That was one of my main frustrations. Amtrak’s extreme lack of communication. I’ll get to the other main frustration towards the end of this review. Finally, at midnight...we board the train. It didn’t leave for an hour, but that was expected, and we didn’t mind... We were boarded!
Many travelers had other connecting travel plans or jobs to get to, so it was extremely frustrating for them. Our group did not have time restraints, only the inconvenience of our pickup person juggling small children possibly in the middle of the night to pick us up. We still had no idea or input of our expected arrival time. Amtrak was initially delayed because of flooding...obviously out of their control and not their fault. They are limited on having staff for only 12 hour shifts so part of the ongoing delays were waiting at other train stations for replacement staff to arrive. Throughout the train ride mechanic issues continued with signal problems, and or waiting for other trains to pass. This is understandable as they’re off schedule. What I feel they could control, and improve, would be to inform the customers!
Earlier at the station we were constantly held at bay expecting the train in about 45 minutes... You can’t plan anything. Had we known at 7am that morning the train would not arrive until midnight... Well, we may have opted to rent a car or have my daughter come back for us. Luckily, that evening in the station a Jazz band came and played. Such an unexpected treat! It made waiting a more pleasant experience.
BATHROOMS: Loading the train at midnight, we found the restroom toilets were filled to the brim with... Well, that image is STILL in my mind. And a bad smell... ugh. We used a nearby train car. No problem, not for me. (60’s) But a lady, we waited in line with, purposely sat down stairs for easy access to the restroom. So more inconvenient for her. That said, I was happy to find the other car had a newer style restroom design. Much nicer and easier to move around in!
STAFF: On all my trips the staff is pleasant enough. I will agree with others though, there are a couple who treat you as cattle, shine lights in your eyes in the middle of the night and not ask, but tell you to move. On our recent trip, we were sitting separately but were told to move together as the train would fill up in Grand Junction. Haha. I think one or two people boarded at that stop. On our severely delayed trip, one female conductor was very informative and apologetic, another gentleman conductor not as much. As far as attendants go, we are paying customers, not getting a ride for free. It would be nice to be greeted with a smile by attendants. Some DO go out of their way to be friendly. So appreciated! Makes the trip fun!
BUS: At times of traveling around mountain highways, I see buses going high speeds around curves and never wanted to be on one. Ever! Much to my dismay, and my other main frustration, Amtrak decided to unload its passengers in Reno, short of their destinations, and put us on a bus. The interior of the bus was nice enough, and they gladly loaded up our luggage that we hauled over from the train stop. But once we were on the highway, I had to distract myself not to be in a panic... The driver drove super fast, like her life depended on it! I was VERY, VERY uncomfortable with her speeding in the mountain areas.
COMPENSATION: Upon asking... Amtrak was gracious enough to offer a partial refund or a better savings with a voucher, for the more than 24 hour delayed ride home. I already had another trip planned and will be experiencing a sleeper car for the first time. To date, I’ve only purchased coach seating. Afterwards, I will give my review if it’s worth the extra cost or not.
Pretty great. I get in, I sit down in a big comfy seat, and I stretch my legs all the way out in a really roomy area. I watch the landscape speed past and I do work on my laptop. If I'm hungry I grab food from the cafe car. It's amazing. There are delays, and the conductors are often overworked and rushing all around. Don't get in their way, and don't complain to them - they don't control whether the train breaks down or not. I've always been polite and done what they asked immediately, and I've never had a problem with them.
I've always heard mixed reviews about the Amtrak experience. I decided to give the 'slow way' a try and see how the experience is. I can pleasantly say that it was delightfully enjoyable! Below is a short summary of my recent trip from Kalamazoo to Detroit. First of all, the mobile app is super easy to search and book. It's right on par with other transportation mobile booking apps that I've used, like FlyDelta, Uber, Transit, and others. When I got to the station, I fully expected the train to be late. However, it was (literally) right on time. Boarding was fast too. Within 7 or 8 minutes we were pulling out of the station, still on time. Also, an amazing factor was no hassling security or check-in procedures. I literally arrived 10 minutes before the scheduled time and it was perfect.
Boarding is seamless. Just step on and take a seat anywhere. The train is comfortable and spacious - much larger than a bus or plane. Every seat has an outlet and lots of leg room. Luggage seems to be no issue since there are large shelves in each car for suitcases, as well as large overhead racks. The seats are large and relatively comfortable - plenty of room to lay back and stretch out. I was able to snag a row to myself so it was very comfortable being by myself. After that, the ride was pleasantly event-free. It was awesome to sit back and relax while looking out the huge windows. During my trip, I got the chance to get up and explore. The restrooms were clean and large too. I made way to the rear of the train and got a coffee, a personal pizza, and bag of pretzels which came out to $9.75. Coffee was great and the pizza was just average.
De-boarding was just a simple. Just gather your bags and step off. Both the station in Kalamazoo and Detroit were simple and clean. Every staff member I encountered seemed friendly and helpful. All in all, the trip was super pleasant. I never considered the train because I thought it would be complicated, but it's just the opposite. I found one of the nicest factors being simply the FREEDOM when you're aboard. You're just able to do so much more than you can on planes and buses. You can get up and walk around, use the restroom whenever you want (there are numerous restrooms in each car so no lines or waiting like in a plane), go grab a quick snack, stretch your legs, read, use your phone whenever, make calls, get actual work done since the tray tables are large, use the free and mildly fast WIFI, look out the window, and simply relax. I find relaxing hard on other transportation but easy on this train.
The train is definitely not overly luxurious by any means, but meets all the expectations of travel. The trip does take a bit longer than driving, especially if you have to drive to and wait at the station. But quite frankly, I think the convenience factors outweigh the timeliness factor. I will definitely be doing this route again and I will be considering traveling by train for future trips.
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Never on time when needed to. Constantly missing my connection train. Their fares change like the wind blows. I my spouse has been harassed and threatened twice and nothing is ever done so good luck.
In all the years I have had to use Amtrak, never once did the train arrive on time. It is the most incompetent and unreliable train service I have ever encountered. Do not use Amtrak unless you have no other option. Just awful.
I hate flying with a passion but I’ll be on a plane next time. My train was supposed to leave at 1:45 am but ended up leaving at 5:15. If you have a tight schedule forget about using Amtrak. I looked up reviews as I waited and saw that my 4 hour delay was actually considered not as bad as it could’ve been. I remember buying a nonstop ticket but my train made countless stops. You could barely hear what place you were stopped in so towards the end of the trip I started googling my location now so that I wouldn’t miss my stop.
Thankfully I only had a seat mate for the first 4 hours of the trip so I could stretch a bit more during my 12 hr trip. I’m 5’3 and kinda bendy so someone a bit bigger than me I’m not sure how comfy a 12hr Trip will be. Don’t depend on the train's WiFi. It constantly goes off and on. And try not to drink anything if you're disgusted by Port-A-Johns which the bathrooms on the train resemble. Port-A-Johns with some horrible monster shaking violently trying to knock you into sitting on the pee covered bowl you're hovering over. Yeah the train shakes violently often constantly. Keep that in mind.
So I guess all the worker gather in the cafe cart and chat, or whatever between stops. Well 1st a women came running into cafe cart coughing and or choking nobody reacted, she asked for water and they gave it to me, but still something was wrong and person working cafe didn't even acknowledge it. So finally a ticket puncher came and I said to please check on her and he kind of laughed and said she's ok, but then everyone mentioned it and he did. Then I guess the boss came and was very attentive. But then a while later they loudly gathered in cafe cart and you can hear them making fun and talking about some on the passengers.. COME ON REALLY? We are sitting in the same cart. Even if it's not about me that's not good for them to do. You should put a worker from corporate on the train and see what happens.
Worst train ride I’ve ever been on. No communication by staff during delay at station. Supposed to arrive at destination by 9:44PM, it’s 2:32AM and we are still an hour away. Delay for sister train then a delay for engine issues. Never taking Amtrak again if I can avoid it.
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