Murphy demolishes Amtrak, Amtrak shrugs!

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  • Member since
    October, 2007
  • From: Fullerton, California
  • 881 posts
Murphy demolishes Amtrak, Amtrak shrugs!
Posted by hornblower on Tuesday, May 02, 2017 3:46 PM

I took the Amtrak Coast Starlight to Albany, Oregon on Tuesday, April 25, 2017.  That was the day Murphy caused Amtrak to simply throw in the towel.  

Shortly after leaving Los Angeles on the northbound Coast Starlight #14, the conductor announced that a UP freight derailment north of Redding, CA had closed the coastal route and we would likely have to leave the train in Sacramento to ride a bus to Klamath Falls, OR. Amtrak intended us to board the similarly stranded southbound #13 in Klamath Falls where it would be turned in order to return northward as the #14.  

The blockage of the line caused several delays and the train pulled into San Jose about two hours late.  Up to this point, the trip had been pleasant and the food was very good.  I also had the opportunity to meet several people, most pleasant, a couple you wanted to escape from.  

As we passed through Alviso, I entered a restroom to prepare to get some sleep prior to the bus in Sacramento.  I had just finished removing my contact lenses when the train went into emergency and I hit the restroom wall.  Upon leaving the restroom, the car steward reported that the train crew thought we had hit a person on the tracks.  After another two hour delay waiting for police and fire crews to investigate, no body was found and we were finally released about 11:30 PM, a total of four hours behind schedule. My later internet searches could find no reports of such an accident so it would appear that this delay was not warranted.

When we finally reached Sacramento, the station was closed with no Amtrak representatives to meet the train.  The train crew simply pointed down a ramp and told us to turn left at the bottom and keep walking till we see the buses.  Again, there were no Amtrak reps at the buses and the drivers had no idea who (or even how many) should board what bus (multiple destinations).  It took a while to sort out and the only seat available by the time I was allowed to board was next to a very large woman already occupying 1 1/2 seats. Needless to say, the trip to Klamath Falls was less than comfortable.  

Apparently, the train is a little slow between Sacramento and Klamath Falls as the bus got to Klamath Falls only 20 minutes behind the published train schedule.  Great?  No!  Even though the rest of the train crew was aboard and ready to go, the conductors were nowhere to be found and didn't show up until we were 1.5 hours behind schedule again!   

The train remained 1.5 hours late until I reached my destination at Albany, OR.  However, the train had already received notice that a mudslide south of Portland has closed that section of track and passengers heading further north would again be boarding buses in order to continue.  Thank God I had already reached my destination!

I do have to pause a moment to congratulate the galley crew of the train north of Klammath Falls.  Since the southbound #13 had not yet reached a station capable of restocking the train prior to it becoming the northbound #14, the galley was running out of food. However, the galley crew did a commendable job of improvising a menu based on the food stuffs still available so the food service continued to be very good!

On Friday, April 28, I received an e-mail stating that my return train scheduled for Sunday, April 30, had been cancelled and no alternative transportation was available.  Sorry!  Would Southern Pacific have ever done that to it's Lark or Daylight passengers?  I tend to believe they would have organized alternative trains and routes.

The real dissapointment is that Amtrak failed to capitalize on all of the crap happening with air travel lately.  Instead of having at least two trainloads of passengers touting the merits of train travel over the now rather annoying experience of air travel, they now have at least two trainloads of passengers telling others to stick with air travel!


[Moved by MR Forum admin, as this has nothing to do with modeling.]


  • Member since
    May, 2004
  • 5,129 posts
Posted by 7j43k on Tuesday, May 02, 2017 3:50 PM


While I am sure there are exceptionally good people working for Amtrak, it does seem to harbor way too many incompetents.  From on high to down low.

I doubt I'll ever get my wife on a long distance Amtrak train again.

I evaluate companies by what they do when things go wrong.  I have seen some REALLY good "handling".  And some not.



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