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I live tweeted most of what took place that evening. This video clearly shows an unsafe situation on Lincoln Service 305 on January 17, 2014.
What caused the situation was a self absorbed arrogant woman who thought she should get what she wanted. Granted that isn’t the actual problem that prompted her to create this unsafe solution.
The whole left side of Business Class seating had no power coming into their outlets. An Amtrak Engineer who was out of uniform but wearing his employee lanyard stated he had been commandeered to work. Even though inside Chicago Union Station he stated he didn’t have a uniform he was “drafted” to take a ride on Lincoln Service that evening.
This Amtrak Engineer was the one who was tasked with resolving the power problem. I think it was determined that it was a bad fuse and could not be fixed. The Cafe Car Attendant later offered outlets in the dining area and behind his counter for Business Class passenger use.
For at least one passenger – who I did recognize as someone who rides often – this solution wasn’t good enough. She proceeded to ask the young lady sitting across from her to plug a device cord in on the other side of the car. This left a cord stretching across the passenger walkway. A clear safety violation and major tripping hazard.
The Amtrak Engineer walked over the cord multiple times and said nothing. Cafe Car Attendant – who I have had on previous trips – noticed it, walked over it and actually tripped over it once – yet said nothing to this pompous ass of a woman about removing the cord.
Amtrak Lincoln Service has had a continuing issue with tickets not being scanned in Business Class. Granted it was a busy train that evening – but an Amtrak Conductor did not show up until after Joliet Illinois to handle BC ticket holders. He walked over the stretched out cord / trip wire multiple times and said nothing to the woman about it.
Several passengers almost fell do to this cord being plugged in across the aisle. An older gentleman who de-boarded in Springfield Illinois almost took a nasty fall – he said nothing to the Conductor or other Amtrak employees. He had his near miss before the Conductor came to finally scan tickets.
The worst near miss was a woman who boarded in Joliet with her young daughter. She almost completely fell down to the floor when entering Business Class do to this tripping hazard. She had her young daughter in her arms as she came very close to doing a face plant onto the walkway.
Unfortunately she also said nothing to the Conductor when he came around to scan tickets. This was her very first train ride – she was heading down to St Louis for a bridal or baby shower. Her mother in-law uses the service to Joliet often and raved about it. Normally the woman and her husband take an airplane when traveling.
Along with the freezing cold temperatures in the car – nothing new this time of year for Amtrak Lincoln Service and almost crashing to the ground with her child – you wonder if she will depart from the train with a negative first impression – only to return back to flying
All this and many other issues could easily be avoid if all Amtrak employees took their jobs seriously. Unfortunately there are still many who work for Amtrak that really don’t care about giving quality customer service or resolving problems. Whether it is someone blasting their device disturbing other passengers, obnoxious drunks, dirty bathrooms or safety concerns – many turn a blind eye and do nothing. And when asked to do something about problems they in many cases give the passenger complaining attitude.
I have seen this take place many times in person. I’ve also been on the receiving end of this attitude several times personally. Not a good way to treat any customer. But even dumber when you do so with a customer who always purchases your higher end services.
Unfortunately this seems to be par for the course on Amtrak Lincoln Service. The really good crews are outweighed by the bad. I think the old 1970’s Amtrak mentality has been instilled in many of the younger new hirers.
That evening I was coming home from Chicago after an 8 hour layover in the Amtrak Metropolitan Lounge. I didn’t want to travel in coach – earlier Lincoln Service trains had Business Class fully booked. Amtrak refuses to add more BC seats by adding another car – when warranted – trust me they are losing revenue by not doing so. Not sure if they just don’t have the rolling stock or just that dumb not to see the demand.
Earlier that day I had rode into Chicago Union Station on the City of New Orleans from Memphis in a roomette. That experience was much more pleasant. Many times my Amtrak travels are – until I have to deal with some employees within Union Station and all the Lincoln Service drama.
Those who heavily promote passenger rail in this country and who lobby for investment in this mode of transportation are doing customers a disservice by continuing to sugar coat the customer experience. The daily reality is not how they represent it. Problems can not be addressed if those in power keep denying they exist or are unwilling to deal with reality.
A comment on cord woman. How much of miserable self absorbed arrogant piece of garbage can one person be – when you see an older gentleman almost fall to the ground and not say sorry and remove the cord causing the problem? Even worse how much of pompous ass insensitive human being can you be – when you don’t even give a rats ass that you almost caused a Mom and her child to crash down onto the floor? What is even worse is all the other passengers in the car sat there and said nothing – including those who almost got seriously hurt by this woman’s actions and Amtrak employee’s inaction.
I should add that cord stretch woman did her plug it in across the aisle – after the Amtrak female conductor had announced that passengers should NOT have anything in the aisles of the train. Of course this employee like many others did NOT make the device noise warning. Granted just like nothing is the aisles no one ever listens and nothing is ever enforced. More on all that later.
The first part of my video clearly shows a passenger getting their shoe caught in this cord / trip wire.
Older well dressed gentleman who got off in Springfield IL – the one that almost ended up taking a dive – actually had a conversation with the Amtrak Engineer – seemed like they knew each other from what I overheard. That is where I got the “drafted” to work information.
From a conversation I overheard inside St Louis Amtrak station – I now know the name of the engineer mentioned above – his name is Patrick. A male Amtrak employee who is retiring in 30 days – who works at the terminal called him by name last time I was heading home.