My most recent horrendous experience was on Oct 23, 2015. I had got on the train in Chicago the previous day. The morning of the 23rd we were advised that there had been a freight car derailment near Gallup NM and we would be taking a bus from Albuquerque into Gallup where the train heading the opposite way would be waiting to take us westbound.
It was chaotic. Got to ALB and was told to take our luggage and cross over tracks and sit in train on other side until our buses would arrive. Employees should be trained in protocol for matters such as this.
They had notified me by email of this situation. EMAIL??? They don't even have wifi on the trains. I discovered this at a later date when I arrived home.
I am a Senior and disabled and had no way to get luggage anywhere and had asked for assistance at any stops.
I am standing there outside the train with all my luggage and not knowing how I can do this when a gentleman who was on the Eastbound train and waiting to board the train that I had just got off. He said not to listen to those employees as he knew where the buses were since he had come from Gallup on one. He was so polite and took my luggage to the waiting bus.
If I had wanted a bus tour then that is what I would have planned instead of train. I do not travel by bus due to an accident as a child and I get quite sick on a bus.
I got on the bus and it took about 2 1.2 hours to get to Gallup. The bus kept getting hotter and hotter and people were complaining. Finally we get to Gallup and everyone stands up waiting to get off and the driver gets off and locks everyone inside in the heated bus. People were screaming "Let us off, you can't hold us hostage, we are not children". After about 10-15 minutes the doors were opened and we got off
Here there was an Amtrak employee that I flagged down who actually helped me to where the train was waiting. After I got on I noticed that outside there was a 12-15 ft high chain link fence that separated us from the parking lot. There sitting in this deserted unsecure lot was the checked in baggage. Anyone could have drove up and took their choice of items and left.
By this time is is about 8pm. I am hungry, thirsty as I had planned dinner on the train. I go into the dining car and asked about food. The chef told me they were not prepared but had sent out for chicken. I asked how long it would take for them to cook and serve it. He said it was already cooked as they were ordering from Church's fried chicken. When I heard that I though I would take my chances on the lesser of 2 evils (Greasy fried chicken or snack food) I chose to go to the snack car. Tried to find something healthy and ended up with chicken soup in a cup and a beef hot dog. After eating this I felt sick to my stomach. In fact even the next day I was sick.
After waiting some time for the rest of the buses we left for my destination in Flagstaff.
Was able to get the attendant to unload my carry on bags but was left by side of train trying to get them to the station.What a chore as there is nobody there who helps anyone. As for claiming my baggage there is no baggage claim room. You have to go back outside and get it off the truck.
Last time I traveled from Flagstaff to LA I had problems again with getting my bags on board. I always alert Amtrak when making my reservations that I am disabled and need help. They always tell me they will have help for me and not to worry. I verified this several times before I started my trip. Station attendant said he could only help me get my bags out close to the boarding area. I was left there and had to rely on other passengers to help me to the train. WHen I got to the train there was a lady conductor and I asked her to help me get my carry on bags on the train. Her response was "If you can't get them yourself then you will have to get somebody here and take the next train" (which would be a 24 hours wait).
This Chicago to LA train I took 10 years ago with same kind of derailment problem in NM. That time when we had to take the bus they handed everybody a bottle of water and boxed lunch. This time NOTHING.
I give up. It has been nothing but nightmare trips for me.
About 7 years ago I was traveling from Maricopa, AZ to El Paso, TX. Train delayed 8 hours while my granddaughter sat in the El Paso station for 8 hours with a small baby. Leaving El Paso another delay and I didn't get out of there on time. About another 8 hour delay.
Then about 8 years ago was delayed for hours somewhere in CA.
I think I have taken maybe 1 trip that went smooth. That was in 2003 and the first trip I had ever made on Amtrak.
One successful trip does not make up for all the bad ones though.
I have written to Amtrak customer relations HO and asked for a refund for this latest trip. I had been offered a $100 voucher off my next trip by a rep on their 800#.. That is a joke. Whey would I ever want that when I do not plan to ride with them again.
AMTRAK does not care anything about Senior or disabled persons. If you are in this category I would suggest finding an alternative way to travel.
Product or Service Mentioned: Amtrak Customer Care.
Reason of review: Poor customer service.
Monetary Loss: $195.
Preferred solution: Full refund.
Amtrak Cons: No help for disabled persons, No food for over 8 hours, Being bused from one place to another, Delays, Being promised one thing and then not following through.