Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Amtrak Sinks to Lowest Point Ever in Customer Service – Denys Coach Class Passengers Access to the Diner ... A Showbiz David On-the-Scene Exclusive ..

    DATELINE AMTRAK, en route on the California Zephyr behind mask — having both shots count for nothing. Yesterday through Colorado, my mask-free windows glowed with the blossoming yellows of fall, train now three and a half hours late on its way to Chicago.  My next train, the cozy Cardinal for family in Culpepper VA (who earlier appeared here in April), leaves 4 hours after this one arrives, when it’s on time, and I fear an overnightmare of boredom in this great big city that feels so alien to me, waiting to get out and back on the  tracks.  My Grade A car attendant, Greg, believes we will make it.  As you can see, we did.

    DAMTRAK’S INFURIATING delays are caused partly by its kowtowing to freight trains barreling through as we wait on side tracks like old-school peasants accepting whatever will be. Now and then, a spectacular vista reminds me of  why I put up with our national railway.  Still, I am not ready to embrace a bullet train that blurs the landscape to nothingness.  Slow does have it advantages, does it not?  Service so far is exemplary.  Much easier these days to dine in your own compartment and not be made to feel like a snob or a difficult loner.

    HAVING SAMPLED on a few previous trips  the “bedroom” suites, I am happily for now, tucked back into the eminently doable economy compartments, where everything can be within arms reach, and where you will avoid the difficult-to maneuver shower and toilet combo.  The solo community restrooms are much easier to navigate and more comfortable.

   FOOD IS A MIXED plastic plate — the salmon divine, the baby potatoes for breakfast hard and clumpy.  Flat Iron was a tad tough The “garden salad,” an insulting joke, more aptly titled Dead Leaves of Wrath, some strands bearing odiously unhealthy colors.  Three or four small grape tomatoes, dry chicken breast pieces can be added. But other items satisfied, if overly rich.

    THE MORE MY sleeper rumbles and jerks about, the better, it seems, I sleep.  Sometimes.  Which makes me wonder if I was lullabied to sleep in a tilt-a-whirl crib.

   SO JOE BIDEN gave Amtrak a whole lot of play money. Then why does the diner, in a shocking and callous move, refuse to serve the coach set?  I ask them.  Covid is why.  Covid is so easy an excuse for any why.  The audacity of denying all coach passengers food in or from the diner, and ordering them to the hell pits of the sodium and sugar dispensary (aka: the lounge car café), is an outrage.

   THE COACH CLASS are doomed to a sentence of deprivation.  I have close up and with horror examined the glossy packages of these dastardly “café” offerings.  The lady at counter asked if she could help me.  I said I was looking for something on the low-sodium side. She said, “I don’t read the labels."  Okay, now my turn to toss around that nauseating word, Equity.  Joe, knock knock: Are you or one of your under-lords reading this?  Where is the equity in dining options on your pampered railroad?  How would you feel, Joe, setting out on a 3-day train trip and learning that your dining choices have been reduced to 7-ll junk food?  I would scream abuser of public health! You’d spend trillions on catastrophic nonsense, and leave stranded the people in coaches?

   WITH LUCK, there will be time between trains to type this out on my maddening Dell that features a wild jumping cursor, which not infrequently runs away from where I am and sneaks into something already typed ... At Union Station in savvy Windy City, there is a great subway style place that puts out the most fabulous sandwich, the  ingredients on a sheet of paper which contains info for this trip, the ONLY thing I forgot to take! ...  Maybe I can get them to pry it out of me with key words. I could use a break from Uncle Sam’s hit and miss menus. I'll wait for my subway-like moment upon my return through, and for now wallow in the thrill of having not been too late on Amtrak, again!  We don't ask much of it these days.


Jim Royal said...

David, I think the answer would be what used to be referred to as "private varnish". You need your own private car...think Jomar.

Showbiz David said...


Hi Jim, I am this moment rocking wildly on the Cardinal, Public Ajax model, ramming itself down the tracks for my return through Chicago, hoping there to find that great subway style sandwish, before continuing on the CA Zephyr. I rode the fabulous original Zephyr in 1961, from S. Lake back to Oakland after extricating myself form my summer with Wallace Bros. Circus. Oh, what a suave train. The most glamorous ever, although I’d surely put Santa Fe’s trains on runner up rails.

Pardon me, I just took my mask off, reminding msyelf I do not have to wear it in my compartment! Yes this bit may be typo friendly.My spell checker has gone on strike, claiming I am an enemy of its reputation.

Hope you are having a GREAT season!!!