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Amtrak Support Ticket - Washington, Washington DC - Amtrak complaints

Amtrak Support Ticket - Washington, Washington DC

Amtrak complaints

Created By: erinkabot's Picture erinkabot Last Reply: erinkabot's Picture erinkabot
Priority Level: [Emergency] Status: [Open]
Created: 4 years ago Last Updated: 4 years ago
Department: N/A Replies: 0


Office of Customer Relations
60 Massachusetts Avenue, N.E.
Washington, D.C. 20002

Re: Reference #2863044; itinerary #B1EEBE

To Whom It May Concern:

This is a complaint about our recent trip on Amtrak (Empire Builder). We travelled as a family of 4 – 2 Senior Citizen and 2 adults. We demand a full refund for this trip based on the complaints listed below, which are above and beyond any normal expectations for delays and inconvenience.

After our arrival in Oregon, we called Amtrack. We were told that our concerns should be put in writing and were given the reference number above.

Our original schedule is as follows:

Train 7 6/7/14 2:15 p.m. Leave Union Station, Chicago, IL

6/8/14 8:23 p.m.* Arrive West Glacier, MT

Train 27 6/10/14 8:23 p.m.* Leave West Glacier, MT 6/11/14 10:10 a.m. Arrive Union Station, Portland, OR

*(Arrival & departure from West Glacier, MT, was changed to 9:53 p.m. prior to our departure)

This is what really happened:

Train 7 6/7/14 2:15 p.m. Leave Union Station, Chicago, IL 6/9/14 12:30 a.m. Arrive West Glacier, MT

Train 27 6/11/14 4:30 a.m. Leave Whitefish, MT

Transfer 6/12/14 ??? a.m. Leave Spokane, WA to Bus 6/12/14 4:00 p.m. Arrive Union Station, Portland, OR

As you can see, things did not go as planned.

1. We boarded the train on time in Chicago and immediately noticed that the P.A. system was not working properly in our car. It was barely above a whisper, although, oddly enough, we could hear it in some (not all) of the bathrooms on our car. When walking through the train, we noted that in some cars, we could hear the P.A.; but other cars were like ours. We reported this to a number of people, who always expressed surprise, but never did anything about it.

2. Our train to West Glacier arrived at 12:30 a.m. (6/9/14), not 9:53 p.m. (6/8/14) – 2 hours 37 minutes late. We had previously contacted our hotel about the arrival at 9:53 p.m. and they were going to pick us up. Luckily, we were able to contact someone from our hotel who picked us up at 12:30 a.m. You may not be aware of the fact that the West Glacier station consists of one building which is not open at that hour. What would we have done if our hotel had not been so accommodating? We would be literally out in the street. Since cell phone reception in this area is minimal, we were lucky to make contact.

3. We were supposed to leave West Glacier at 9:53 p.m. on 6/10/14. We

changed our tickets to Whitefish, Montana (the next stop) because we learned that the station was open all night long. Some friends dropped us off there. It was lucky that we did this because we got a text message that the train was now leaving at 4:30 a.m.!!!!!!! Later, we heard that it might be 2:30 a.m. No such luck, we waited until 4:30 a.m. We had to try to (not very successfully) sleep on cold, hard benches at Whitefish.

4. Finally, after a very uncomfortable night, the train arrived!! We got on and were trying to fall asleep when we heard that we would have to get off the train in Spokane, WA, and take a bus to Portland, OR. Who did we hear it from? Not the P.A. system in the train b/c it was not working in our car. Luckily, some passengers were travelling through our car and let us know what was happening. We thought we had to get up immediately because of this change, but other passengers explained the time frame that they had heard in other car. Of course we did not receive this information from the P.A. system or the train porters.

5. It is hard to believe that Amtrak didn’t know about the fact that we needed to transfer to a bus. They should have told us about that when we got on the train.

6. About 3 hours later, when the announcement was made that we had to get ready for the shift to a bus, we could not hear the details (see above). Once again other passengers had to tell us what to do – i.e. that there would be 2 or 3 buses – some to Portland, OR; others to Seattle, WA. No porter was around to answer questions or give information.

7. Once we got off the train, in Spokane, WA, there was no one to direct

us to the buses or tell us what to do. We found our way outside to the buses (luckily it’s a small station). The bus drivers had very little information, but at least they were trying to help us and were patient, considering the fact that they had a bunch of angry & upset people on their hands. Eventually, the porters and other AmTrak employees showed up, but someone should have been at the train immediately as passengers disembarked. Apparently this has happened before - I found it interesting that our bus driver indicated that he has to do this kind of run all the time.

8. Finally, after 6-1/2 to 7 hours on a bus, and 2 short stops (thanks for the Subways), we arrived in Portland at 4:00 p.m. – 6-1/2 hours after our expected time. Had we arrived an hour later, we would not have been able to get our rental car because the agency would have been closed.

Other concerns include:

1. The accommodations on the bus were not as comfortable as on the train.

The seats did not recline; the aisles were much smaller than the train, so we could not easily get up and walk. We felt badly for people with small children who needed to move around, but could not safely do so. Of course, there was only one (tiny) bathroom on the bus, as opposed to the three or four per car on the train, at least one of which was wheel chair accessible and had baby changing accommodations. There also were no outlets, as there were on the train.

2. If we had wanted to take a bus trip, we would have taken one!!! We specifically asked for a route that did not include a bus! Amtrak did not provide the service that we paid for. The fact that our bus driver viewed this as “business as usual” told us that this situation was not unique, but appears to happen all the time. In fact he said that AmTrak had bought a new bus for their line – I don’t know if he was being sarcastic – meaning that you have used their line so often that you could have bought a bus; or whether you actually bought them a bus. At any rate, his statement shows us that this situation happens so often that you have some kind of standing arrangement with them. It seems this should be disclosed to passengers before they pay their money.

3. One reason we chose Amtrak was to be able to see the country as we travelled, which is a selling point in your advertisements. Especially important to us was the opportunity to see the scenic view between East Glacier and West Glacier – which did not happen because it was too dark when we got there – due to delays.

4. Cell phone reception in Montana, and especially in the Glacier National Park area, is almost non-existent. We were lucky to have received the text message about the delays in West Glacier, so we could plan ahead.

5. After returning home, we noticed that your website now has a disclaimer that the trains may be delayed. We have no idea when this was put on the website, but, since we made our reservations in April, we had no reason to continue to check your website. Did it occur to you to at least e-mail or text us so we could have cancelled or changed the reservations?

For these reasons, we feel we were misled about your ability to get us to our destination safely, comfortably, and in a reasonable amount of time. In addition, the added stress and discomfort made this trip a disaster for us. We request that a full refund be given to us.


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