Marietta, Georgia
Not resolved

I have traveled Amtrak trains since 1993. I soon discovered that I need to include the ride as part of my adventure, my journey.

Amtrak shares the tracks with freight trains. Knowing this, Amtrak will rarely be on time. Riding Amtrak is an opportunity to get to know national and international people within our international global neighborhood!

Sit back and enjoy the journey. You may not make it to your destination on time, but you will have an adventure of a journey along the way!

This is an opportunity to try out your people skills, communication skills, your "how flexible are you" skills. If you are not prepared for the journey, you will not like using Amtrak as your mode of transportation. But, if you like to socialize, meet new people, have a ride of a life time, see the country that most people never see, read a book, take a nap, take a stroll in the isle while you move across America the Beautiful, then Amtrak is the Journey for you. Otherwise, take a car, take a bus, take a plane, take a bike, take a walk, or better yet, rent a video and watch your vacation from the comfort of your couch or bed.....its up to you!

Personally, I love taking my journey with Amtrak!

One Life, One Journey, A Myriad of Adventures!

Monetary Loss: $200.

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Nothing against Xamber, but he/she obviously either is employed by our company to address damage control in forums such as this, or has little travel experience with us.

If you read what the original poster has written literally, it can also describe the railways of the world, such as Indian railways, where you may be riding inside the coach along with chickens and other livestock, or even on the roof, open to the weather and what ever comes flying at you.

But the differnce is this.......America was the worlds most advanced nation in railroading at one time, we now are far behind such nations such as france, japan, germany, etc.(systems we rebuilt after WW2 while our was being worn out). so it would only make sense that we should enjoy the very BEST sytem in the world, but we more closely resemble the 2nd and 3rd class passenger systems of other less wealthy countries.


Yes siree... You will also get a taste of what it's like to be in a detention facility when you deal with Amtrak personnel! Amtrak is run by the federal government, so they don't have to have customer service....why bother being courteous when they have subsidies? Kind of like the Post Office, the IRS and TSA.

By the way, this isn't just a rant against the federal government. I frequently ride Amtrak as a passenger when the freight railroad I work for "deadheads" me (no train for the return trip).

You will also encounter other facets of government run enterprise, such as broken and backed up plumbing, filthy bathrooms, and microwave cuisine.

If you like Public Housing projects, you'll love Amtrak!


I will be going on my first Amtrak ride ever next month. I plan on being as prepared as possible, reading reviews, good and bad.

This compels me to bring air freshener and towels to stuff the vents I can and have to. Or just to spray in the roomette. Blanket for cold.

Food in case they run out. I only hope my trip preps are for nothing, and that I enjoy it, as my mom did last year.


good lord what kind of problems did the people in the first car have that they had to use to restroom every 15 minutes!?!!?!?!


Thank you for your information. I was considering an Amtrak vacation next summer and started to read reviews. Your review, along with other reviews, has convinced me not to take an amtrak train.


I have just had one of my most unpleased travel experiences and I have traveled all over the world. I always thought a wonderful way to see the country would be from an Amtrak cross country sleeper car.

On Friday afternoon I set out on a cross country trek from Washington DC to San Diego California, by Amtrak train. The trip from Washington DC to Los Angeles was by Amtrak sleeper car. I was going to spend 3 nights in an Amtrak sleeper car. One night from DC to Chicago, change trains in Chicago for a two night trip to Los Angeles.

Change train in Los Angeles for a 2.5 hour train ride to San Diego.

The trip from DC to Chicago was uneventful. The bulk of the traveling was done at night so I was a little disappointed about not seeing lots of scenery. The upper bunk did NOT have a window so my images of falling asleep while the landscape passed were thwarted. We arrived in Chicago Saturday morning with a 6 hour layover before boarding the Southwest Chief for Los Angeles.

After sightseeing in Chicago, we boarded the Southwest Chief sleeper car. Before we left the station in Chicago a fowl smell overtook the sleeper cabin. It smelled like sewage. It lingered then passed after a few minutes.

Soon the train took off and the adventure was underway. Soon after leaving the station the smell of sewage appeared again, lingered a few minutes then passed. I assumed it had something to do with the area the train was travelling. Unfortunately it soon became a pattern every 15 minutes or so the entire sleeper car would be overcome with the smell of sewage.

The smell would linger and then pass. The smell was coming from the vents. Yes, the vents were emitting the smell of sewage again and again. It soon became unbearable.

We entered the lounge car to get away from the smell. We had paid for an expensive sleeper car, but were unable to use it because the smell of sewage was being vented into the room on a regular basis. Four hours out of Chicago, I saw the conductor passing thought the lounge car and mentioned this problem to him. He said he would get back to me since he had to attend to boarding passengers.

One hour passed and I had not heard from the conductor. However I could see him having a conversation with staff in the dinning car. I asked him about the smell. Again he told me he would get back to me.

Finally someone told me that no other sleeper or coach seats were available, and the lounge car closed at 10:00 PM. The problem was that when the sleeper car in front of my sleeper car flushed their toilets the smell was vented into my sleeper car. For 2 nights and 3 days the customers on my sleeper car were bathed in toilet smells coming through the vents. You can imagine the horror of the experience.

We passed through many large train stations between Chicago & Los Angeles……….nothing was done. We were told they would take care of it in Los Angeles. How would that benefit passengers on the train? The train trip ended in Los Angeles.

We were told to complain to 1 800 USA Rail. The problem started Saturday and did not end until the train arrived in Los Angeles Monday morning. Customer relations for Amtrak is closed on the weekend. When you called 1 800 USA Rail you are told to call back on Monday.

Monday morning 9:00 AM I began calling 1 800 USA RAIL. While I could get through to make a reservation, I could NOT get through to customer relations, I was just forwarded to music. I attempted to find someone to complain to in the Los Angeles & San Diego train stations. In both places I was told to call 1 800 USA RAIL.

I was told that typically there are so many calls on Monday to customer relations that you can not get through. I have now spent 6 days while on vacation in San Diego attempting to get thought to customer relations on the 1 800 USA RAIL number. I have literally spent hours listening to the music on hold and have yet to be able to speak to anyone at Amtrak’s customer relations about my experience. Not being able to get through to complain about Amtrak on the 1 800 USA Rail is either an insidious plan by Amtrak or a grand omission.

Neither is acceptable. However I was able to get through to the Department of Transportation who forwarded me to the Federal Railroad Administration. They told me that while they do not regulate the toilet problem on Amtrak (they get involved in things like derailments) it is the number one Amtrak complaint. Seems my experience is far from unusual.

Unless you are a fan of sewage smells, stay far away from Amtrak especially on long haul trips.

During my week in San Diego every time I heard a train whistle it brought back smells of the sewer. Fortunately, I am flying back to DC.