Thank you for the response to my inquiry about using the Coast starlight
as a connection to the Texas Eagle. I chose to take the San Deigan down
to Los Angles, this turned out to be a good decision as the Texas Eagle
left before the Coast Starlight arrived.
I tried to check our bags at the Oxnard station because the national
timetable indicated that this was possible at this station. This seemed
to make sense as the station was manned and the train had a baggage car,
but I was told that this was not possible, go figure.
Here are some observation about the trip that I will share with you. I
expected the once a week L.A. to Chicago direct Eagle to be a small
train but was surprised as to how few people were on it. It had one
sleeper and three coaches. The sleeper was fully utilized but the third
coach was empty and the other two had about 20 people each. Only half of
the dining car was used and the only thing that could possible make the
train profitable was the 6 boxcars on the rear of the train.
When I made my reservation from L.A. to Little Rock I originally wanted
one of the through cars on the Sunset Limited that became the Texas
Eagle on a different day, but the reservation agent told me that this
trip would require the Sunset to Houston a bus to Longview Texas and
rejoin the Eagle to Little Rock. I knew better and could have made two
separate reservations, one to San Antonio and a second one to Little
Rock, but did not want to change rooms in the middle of the trip. The
internet reservation system has the trip laid out the same way, go
I have read your thoughts about tipping and will add mine. The dining
room always has good service and food, I tip one dollar per person. The
car attendant I tip according to the amount of service he provides. I am
an experienced rider who is very capable of and prefer converting my own
room between day and night configurations. On this trip that began at
10:00 P.M. I expected the room to be in night configuration when I
boarded, but it was not. The attendant was busy with many other
inexperienced passengers so I converted my room and put my family to
bed. On this trip of 2 days and 3 nights I only saw the attendant three
times. The next day I hunted him down and asked for clean towels and one
clean sheet as my young son spilled something on the bed, he brought
these items by later. On the second day he came by and offered me two
chits for free drinks in the lounge, this only made me wonder why he did
not offer me any on the first day. He came buy later on the second day
to offer me clean towels without my asking. This is the only contact
that I had with him on the entire trip and I did not feel that a tip was
due. The lounge attendant had a tip jar out for reasons that I don't
understand, seemed kind of greedy to me.
Now the negatives. Although I received good service in the dining car I
saw on two occasions when an inexperienced rider asked for the wrong
thing get insulting service. One morning a gentleman was seated for
breakfast at my table and tried to order coffee and tomato juice. He was
told to get out and go to the lounge car. I was very embarrassed for the
man and explained to him where the lounge was and that downstairs they
sold these items. The diner was not full and if the steward had brought
these items he may have gotten a tip, go figure. On the second occasion
someone tried to order his meal to go and received the same treatment.
With this type of treatment Amtrak will never get repeat riders.
One last comment, the Chief of On Board Services made an announcement at
every stop that a lot of folks boarded asking that they "Put their
debris in the trash cans" but she mispronounced the word "debris" every
time sounding very uneducated or poorly trained.
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