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Bad experience on Train #51-Amtrak Cardinal

Posted by TransitChuckG on Sun Feb 16 10:37:18 2020

Quite an experience on Amtrak 51, the Cardinal, yesterday and today. We departed WAS (bound for CHI) yesterday on time at 11am. We were in a viewliner roomette. Just before arriving Prince, WV, the sleeper car lost all lights on the ceiling in the rooms. The toilets (one in each room) stopped flushing. The WiFi stopped (only stopped in the sleeper). And the announcements didn’t work (only in the sleeper). They trouble shot it, but no luck. So we departed Prince. A very short time later, the train stopped. There was a mud and land slide that closed the rails. So we sat there for about 8 hours. Since we had a malfunctioning announcement system in the sleeper, we heard NO updates. Around 2:30am I saw the conductors being whisked away in a car outside, even though we were basically “in the woods.” They obviously “timed out.” I walked the entire train looking for someone to update me, but found no one. I went back to bed. In the morning, we began backing up and returned to Prince, WV. We sat there a few hours, then they made us detrain. They wanted to “turn the train around.” The train departed, and we sat in the tiny terminal for 3 more hours! It finally returned to pick us up. We ended up returning all the way to Staunton, Virginia. They supposedly booked hotels for us, but it was SO disorganized, with NO transportation, so we jumped in our own Uber and booked our own room. I wasn’t waiting any longer. They have us booked again tomorrow, but we’ll see if the tracks are open. Mother Nature is not within anyone’s control. But Amtrak could have handled this better. The crew was taking the train one more stop to Charlottesville. Many of us wanted to stay on, as other options are available there, such as a NE Regional train. But the “supervisor” (who boarded after the conductors were removed) would not allow it. We can’t control Mother Nature, but many other issues were not handled well. I’ll chalk it up to “an experience.” I’m still an Amtrak Fan, but a little disappointed tonight.


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