CA Zephyr big delays

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Old Aug 7, 14, 1:42 pm
  #16  
 
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Originally Posted by Rare View Post
I think you're right. One of the conductors told me that it took them about 15 minutes to figure out that we were going to have to detour, and 4 hours to set it up.

I'd like to stay in Chicago tonight, but the conductor just announced that everyone going to Michigan will be put on a bus or van to our destination. I feel sorry for those going to eastern Mi; they'll be on a bus all night! We're only going about a two-hour drive from Chicago. Still, that means arriving at 2:00-3:00 a.m. at best, which is inconvenient for the person picking us up. Do you know if we can request an overnight in Chicago? I suppose we could if we're willing to pay for it, so I guess the question is will Amtrak pay for it--and will it be worth the wait?

I don't know from personal experience (my recent trip involving four trains went like clockwork), but I've read on another Amtrak forum that whatever is offered when a guaranteed connection is missed is usually "take it or leave it." It couldn't hurt to ask, though. Best of luck to you-
EDIT: Oops, too late! How did it turn out for you?
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Old Aug 7, 14, 7:07 pm
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I have a friend on today's Zephyr which is supposed to arrive CHI 4 hours and 29 minutes late. Part of their delay occurred when a Metra train hit a pedestrian. People connecting to the Capitol Limited are told the train is being held, those going to the Cardinal were detrained at Galesburg and bused to Indianapolis, a 4 hour drive.
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Old Aug 10, 14, 8:34 pm
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Originally Posted by CMK10 View Post
I have a friend on today's Zephyr which is supposed to arrive CHI 4 hours and 29 minutes late. Part of their delay occurred when a Metra train hit a pedestrian. People connecting to the Capitol Limited are told the train is being held, those going to the Cardinal were detrained at Galesburg and bused to Indianapolis, a 4 hour drive.
That was me! Yes, we did arrive in Chicago 5 hours and 35 minutes late, at 8:25 p.m. vs. 2:50 p.m. scheduled.

California Zephyr, Aug. 5

It really looked like we were going to arrive at about 6:30 p.m. and that they would hold the Capitol Limited for us (there were 45 passengers going on that train), but the delay was indefinite and I don't blame them for not waiting. I counted 12 outbound Metra trains that went past us as we waited near Cicero.

But it's hard to be mad when you read about the brother and sister who were killed collecting scrap metal:

Family: Woman may have gone to help brother when both hit by train

I was offered a seat that night on the Lake Shore Limited, arriving at BWI close to midnight on Friday (vs. a scheduled arrival at 3:29 p.m.), an eight-hour delay, but in coach (no sleepers left; I had a bedroom reserved on the CL). Or a bedroom on the next day's Capitol Limited, a 24 hour delay, with a hotel room in Chicago. I wouldn't have minded that, but I had plans in Baltimore, so I asked for a refund (I got $371 back to my credit card, not a travel credit). I was at the ticket counter for less than five minutes and was on my way.

I'd hoped to not need my award flight ORD-BWI the next morning, but I was glad I'd booked it (only 10K miles for a sub-700 mile flight, and I got a CPU to F).

My 23 hours on the train were fun, though!
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Old Aug 13, 14, 10:39 am
  #19  
 
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I was on the CZ leaving CHI on 07/26 arriving in SFC 07/28.

We left CHI 2 hrs late. We were 5 hrs late by the time we were in Denver and we ended up arriving at EMY (Amtrak bus takes the 45 minute drive from EMY to SFC) 7.5 hours late.

On 08/04 we took CS from EMY to PDX. We left EMY 4 hrs late (sitting in EMY until 2:30 AM with the family isn't my favorite memory).

08/06 we took EB from PDX to CBS. After a full day, we were a little over 1 hr late. That last day everything that could go wrong did and we ended up in CBS over 8.5 hrs late.
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Old Aug 13, 14, 11:10 am
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Originally Posted by dvdapex View Post

On 08/04 we took CS from EMY to PDX. We left EMY 4 hrs late (sitting in EMY until 2:30 AM with the family isn't my favorite memory).

08/06 we took EB from PDX to CBS. After a full day, we were a little over 1 hr late. That last day everything that could go wrong did and we ended up in CBS over 8.5 hrs late.
Wow! I was on the same trains except I did DEN to SAC, SAC to PDX and PDX to MSP. My first long distance Amtrak ride and probably my last given the issues.
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Old Aug 13, 14, 11:26 am
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Originally Posted by dvdapex View Post
I was on the CZ leaving CHI on 07/26 arriving in SFC 07/28.

We left CHI 2 hrs late. We were 5 hrs late by the time we were in Denver and we ended up arriving at EMY (Amtrak bus takes the 45 minute drive from EMY to SFC) 7.5 hours late.

On 08/04 we took CS from EMY to PDX. We left EMY 4 hrs late (sitting in EMY until 2:30 AM with the family isn't my favorite memory).

08/06 we took EB from PDX to CBS. After a full day, we were a little over 1 hr late. That last day everything that could go wrong did and we ended up in CBS over 8.5 hrs late.
Originally Posted by jadecocoa View Post
Wow! I was on the same trains except I did DEN to SAC, SAC to PDX and PDX to MSP. My first long distance Amtrak ride and probably my last given the issues.
Are you following me? Were you in the sleepers?

I wasn't really bothered by the delays until we sat outside MSP for 3+ hrs. From there the hits just kept coming.
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Old Aug 13, 14, 12:35 pm
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I was in the sleepers until Wolf Point (1 zone roomette redemption from DEN-Wolf Point, so 5 days on the train except for 12 hours in SAC and overnight in PDX). I'm glad I did it. The scenery through the Rockies, Sierra Nevadas and along the Columbia River was incredible, but the almost non-stop train riding got to be a bit too much at the end.
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Old Aug 15, 14, 7:00 am
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CZ Report

Despite my delay and misconnect, I enjoyed my CZ experience. Here is a little trip report if anyone is interested.
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Old Aug 18, 14, 10:13 am
  #24  
 
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Originally Posted by crescent2 View Post
I don't know from personal experience (my recent trip involving four trains went like clockwork), but I've read on another Amtrak forum that whatever is offered when a guaranteed connection is missed is usually "take it or leave it." It couldn't hurt to ask, though. Best of luck to you-
EDIT: Oops, too late! How did it turn out for you?
Sorry for the delayed response--been busy catching up on things since we got back.

Turns out we were a special case within a special case. Almost everyone on the train was given a hotel room for the night and a seat on the next day's train. The exceptions were passengers going to Michigan or Wisconsin, who would normally be put on a bus to their destinations.

However, there are exceptions to the exceptions. One is that if there aren't enough passengers (I'm not sure where the line is, but two is too few), they won't charter a bus as it's cheaper for them to pay for a hotel. I believe this was the case for the Wisconsin passengers (I'm not 100% sure as I didn't hear the final arrangement but I did overhear the somewhat heated "request" and the calm response from the Amtrak agent).

The other exception is passengers traveling to Michigan but not as far as Kalamazoo. Passengers ticketed to Niles are normally put on the Lake Shore Limited to South Bend, and given taxi fare to take them from South Bend to Niles. However, on this night we arrived so late that even the LSL had departed, so we were put up in a hotel (the Hyatt Regency at McCormick Place--not bad!) and given our choice of train the next day. All in all, it was the best solution for us.

There was at least one bus that night, and that was for passengers going to Kalamazoo and points east. I'm glad we weren't in that group!

One lady was very upset because she was headed for Lansing on the Blue Water and they wouldn't give her transportation that night. She had been traveling longer than we had; first she was on the Starlight from Seattle, intending to transfer to the Zephyr in Sacramento, but the Starlight had been delayed for over 6 hours in southern Oregon due to fires, so she missed her connection. Now she had missed her connection again, and didn't want to spend another night in a hotel. She swore she would never take Amtrak again. But, I thought, it couldn't have been all bad, so I asked her how her trip was other than the missed connections. She said it was very good--that everyone was nice, her room was comfortable, the food was good... which sounds like a good trip to me! I think she was just having a hard time dealing with the change.

The agents in Chicago handled things better than I expected from some anecdotes I've read online. I'd say they did the best they could under the circumstances. The problem is that the lateness is becoming chronic again; this had been happening every day for at least a week, and I think they said that there had been six trains that misconnected that day.
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Old Jan 8, 19, 11:41 pm
  #25  
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Anybody have recent experience here? According to a few tripadvisor reports, the train is now sometimes running 30m ahead at the final Westbound stop (Emeryville).
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Old Jan 9, 19, 8:28 am
  #26  
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I'll be travelling CHI-EMY in a little over a week. I'll post an update as far as on-time performance, etc. when I get to EMY.
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Old Jan 9, 19, 1:12 pm
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It looks like over the past month the average arrival is one minute early. There were a few days where it was significantly late (more than an hour.) Historical train information is available here: https://juckins.net/amtrak_status/ar...ml/history.php
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Old Jan 11, 19, 10:16 pm
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I rode the CZ this week. We started on time in CHI. Got as much as an hour behind. But we were almost an hour early into Martinez, two stops from EMY.
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