Another Good Amtrak Experience

For years I have found Amtrak maddeningly inconsistent — a great ride when things go well and a nightmare when they don’t.

Oh, yes, we have suffered some Amtrak-related delays in my family. Hours that we will never get back, sacrificed for reasons that were never entirely clear. The train was late. The train ran out of fuel. The train sort of didn’t come and we had to take a bus.

And, yet. Just this week when I arrived at the Amtrak station in Seattle with the wrong tickets – I had inexplicably bought them for the wrong month – a friendly Amtrak ticket agent quickly, efficiently and kindly changed the tickets. It’s not the first time an Amtrak employee has gone beyond the call of duty to help me or my family.

Just thought I ought to shout out.


4 thoughts on “Another Good Amtrak Experience

  1. Mike Martin

    Hey Jeanne,
    Glad to hear it all worked out for you! My wife and I are empty nesters and have turned into Amtrak junkies. We’ve been very impressed with every Amtrak person we’ve encountered for their courtesy, friendliness and expertise.
    Mike Martin
    Yorktown, VA

  2. Susan

    When a freight train derailment prevented the Amtrak train to Bakersfield from picking us up in the Bay area, they put the 4 of us in taxis and took us all the way to Stockton! I was so grateful! Can you imagine an airline doing that?

  3. Mark

    I’ve been a long time Amtrak rider, (over 20 years now), and couldn’t agree more. When Amtrak is good its great! When Amtrak is bad it is REALLY bad. However I’m glad to see that people out there are recognizing Amtrak as a possible alternative to the Auto and Airplane. Mind you, like I said above I’ve been ridding Amtrak a long time now and none of these problems are new: Late trains, equipment breaking down, less than clean interiors and bathrooms, so/so food on some trains, disgruntled employees, I think that about covers it. I fly when I have to but most often I opt for Amtrak. However there is an ‘art’ to using Amtrak and with a little preparation one can overcome most if not all of its shortcomings. Keep after your Senators and Congressmen/women. There the only ones who can make the freight RRs, (over which most Amtrak trains run), run Amtrak on time. Congress stipulates what services get cut and how and it will take an act of government to bring high-speed rail to the US because no private entity wants to gamble that much money on passenger rail, or Amtrak would have never been created.

  4. Mary Leblanc

    I don’t know about other segments of the Amtrak empire, but my husband and I had a very good experience on the West Coast. We traveled from Seattle to San Diego with stops in Eugene,Oregon, San Francisco and San Luis Obispo. The itinerary was complicated. For instance, we got off the Coast Starlight in San Luis Obispo and three days later boarded the Surfliner in the neighboring town, Grover Beach. We made the reservations by phone from home and weeks later picked up our tickets at the Amtrak station in Seattle and they were correct in every detail.
    Trains departed and arrived on time, with one exception, a five and a half hour delay because a freight train was broken down in a tunnel ahead of us.
    Our reserved seats and roomette reservation were waiting for us.
    Car attendants were efficient and courteous. Seats are roomy, pillows are free. Teh viewing car is wonderful.
    Caveat. The dining car on the Coast Starlight is just plain silly. White tablecloths, fresh flowers, required reservations, – and very mediocre food?
    Please. In contrast the simple snack bar on the Surfliner had very good packaged salads at a reasonable price.


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