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Sleeper Car removed from Empire Builder on August 7?

Sleeper Car removed from Empire Builder on August 7?

Old Jul 14, 22, 7:48 pm
  #1  
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Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Washington State
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Sleeper Car removed from Empire Builder on August 7?

I'm booked for a family sleeper in early August between Seattle and Chicago. I booked with points at schedule opening, back in October. I received this message via email today:

We wanted to let you know that the Sleeper Car has been removed from train #0008, the Empire Builder, from Seattle, Washington - Train Station on Sunday, August 7th. We've changed your reservation to standard Coach seating and will refund you for the price difference.
That's not gonna work. When I view my reservation at the Amtrak website it shows "canceled" :



I've booked non-refundable (though changeable) airfare home from Chicago at the end of our stay. My family was really looking forward to this trip. Any tips on phrases/concepts I should use when I call Amtrak? Ideal would be to take the trip as-booked. But if we can't be in sleeper accommodations, we won't be going.
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Old Jul 14, 22, 9:42 pm
  #2  
 
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There are typically at least two Seattle and one Portland sleeper cars on this train. I highly doubt there would not be a sleeper car. However, there is only one family bedroom per car. I suggest calling the Amtrak guest rewards line since you booked with points. They usually are more helpful and knowledgeable. If no family bedroom is available for some reason, discuss other bedroom or roomette options. Perhaps the family bedroom on the Portland car is available and you could switch to that car when it is added.

This is really unacceptable that they would just send you an email to tell you this. They will lose a lot of customers if they treat people this way. We have a family bedroom booked on the Zephyr at the end of August and I hope we don't have similar problems. Amtrak is doing a very poor job maintaining and replacing long distance superliner cars, and is probably suffering from losing those on the Southwest Chief in the recent derailment. Good luck.
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Old Jul 14, 22, 10:05 pm
  #3  
 
Join Date: Jul 2022
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Same Issue in Late August

We got the same email today for trip in late August. No other sleeper options. We needed to cancel our whole trip from Minneapolis to Seattle. I think we are done with Amtrak for life as a result.
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Old Jul 16, 22, 9:36 am
  #4  
 
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It appears the second Seattle sleeper car has been removed (hopefully temporary) from the train. I checked multiple dates and sleepers are either sold out or over $1000. Fares start to come down in October, but that may be due to lower overall demand. Amtrak lost two sleeper cars in the Southwest Chief derailment, so they appear to be short on cars. They currently have labor issues in Chicago maintenance facility (lazy workers) and Beech Grove, IN car repair shop. Amtrak really needs new management. Current executives only care about the NE corridor and not for the long distance trains. It is a real missed opportunity.
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Old Jul 16, 22, 2:35 pm
  #5  
 
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They appear to have removed the second regular sleeper (the 31 car line) from the consist for the entire summer after having sold space in it. This happened before the Southwest Chief derailment and was due to a general serviceable car shortage, which the derailment only made worse. They appear to have made this decision in late May/early June. Compounding an already bad situation, they are not proactively informing people until just a couple weeks before their trip.

If you have not been notified and hold space in 731 or 831, I encourage you to check your booking on the Amtrak app. If your Empire Builder trip segment is missing the QR code, it means your sleeper has been cancelled but they haven't told you yet. In that case, call immediately. You may be able to get available space in the remaining sleeper, or otherwise adjust your plans (difference day, etc).

I find Amtrak not notifying people of a known situation until shortly before their trip unconscionable.
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Old Jul 16, 22, 4:07 pm
  #6  
 
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Originally Posted by zephyr17 View Post
They appear to have removed the second regular sleeper (the 31 car line) from the consist for the entire summer after having sold space in it. This happened before the Southwest Chief derailment and was due to a general serviceable car shortage, which the derailment only made worse. They appear to have made this decision in late May/early June. Compounding an already bad situation, they are not proactively informing people until just a couple weeks before their trip.

If you have not been notified and hold space in 731 or 831, I encourage you to check your booking on the Amtrak app. If your Empire Builder trip segment is missing the QR code, it means your sleeper has been cancelled but they haven't told you yet. In that case, call immediately. You may be able to get available space in the remaining sleeper, or otherwise adjust your plans (difference day, etc).

I find Amtrak not notifying people of a known situation until shortly before their trip unconscionable.
Amtrak keeps getting worse with each new CEO. After receiving substantial funding in the Infrastructure bill, they should be able to maintain their equipment and have better customer service. I suggest that impacted passengers contact their local congress representatives and explain what happened to them. Amtrak management won't care unless they receive pressure from their funding sources. Amtrak has several idol cars at Beech Grove and other locations, but don't seem to care about putting them back in service. Capacity could easily be added and sold out on many long distance trains this summer, especially since airlines are having problems.
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Old Jul 18, 22, 10:06 am
  #7  
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Originally Posted by Armani View Post
There are typically at least two Seattle and one Portland sleeper cars on this train. I highly doubt there would not be a sleeper car. However, there is only one family bedroom per car. I suggest calling the Amtrak guest rewards line since you booked with points. They usually are more helpful and knowledgeable. If no family bedroom is available for some reason, discuss other bedroom or roomette options. Perhaps the family bedroom on the Portland car is available and you could switch to that car when it is added.

This is really unacceptable that they would just send you an email to tell you this. They will lose a lot of customers if they treat people this way. We have a family bedroom booked on the Zephyr at the end of August and I hope we don't have similar problems. Amtrak is doing a very poor job maintaining and replacing long distance superliner cars, and is probably suffering from losing those on the Southwest Chief in the recent derailment. Good luck.
I was able to connect with Amtrak Guest Rewards this morning. They had already moved my family into two roomettes. Though the rooms aren't next door, or across the hall, they're pretty close, and the change will work for us. I accepted; they sent me a new eTicket, and hopefully we're good to go for next month's trip.
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Old Jul 19, 22, 1:29 pm
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Originally Posted by trucker View Post
I was able to connect with Amtrak Guest Rewards this morning. They had already moved my family into two roomettes. Though the rooms aren't next door, or across the hall, they're pretty close, and the change will work for us. I accepted; they sent me a new eTicket, and hopefully we're good to go for next month's trip.
That is very good news. I'm glad they were able to accommodate your family. Did they provide these roomettes at no additional expense? I think the roomettes on the upper level are more quiet than the family bedroom on the lower level and you have faster access to the dining car. In my experience, the diner car is adjacent to the first (no only) Seattle sleeper and the sightseer lounge is the next car. I hope you enjoy your trip.
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Old Jul 19, 22, 6:17 pm
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Originally Posted by Armani View Post
That is very good news. I'm glad they were able to accommodate your family. Did they provide these roomettes at no additional expense? I think the roomettes on the upper level are more quiet than the family bedroom on the lower level and you have faster access to the dining car. In my experience, the diner car is adjacent to the first (no only) Seattle sleeper and the sightseer lounge is the next car. I hope you enjoy your trip.
Yep, no additional expense. I would have preferred the family bedroom, as my kids are still small and in just a couple years they'll no longer fit in that space (so this was a one-time opportunity to try it out), but the offer of 2 roomettes is reasonable. We previously used 48,706 points for the family bedroom, so this works out to 24,353 per roomette for SEA-CHI.
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Old Jul 19, 22, 7:44 pm
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Originally Posted by trucker View Post
I was able to connect with Amtrak Guest Rewards this morning. They had already moved my family into two roomettes. Though the rooms aren't next door, or across the hall, they're pretty close, and the change will work for us. I accepted; they sent me a new eTicket, and hopefully we're good to go for next month's trip.
Are the roomettes at least in the same car?
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Old Jul 19, 22, 11:20 pm
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Originally Posted by KathyWdrf View Post
Are the roomettes at least in the same car?
Yes, just a few doors down from each other, and both on the upper level. Definitely much better than the youve been moved to coach scenario they referenced in the original email.
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Old Jul 20, 22, 11:39 am
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This isn't new. My family took the Crescent in the early 1980s, and our sleeping car wasn't attached to the train. We found out after we had boarded.
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Old Aug 15, 22, 10:30 pm
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Same thing is happening with the California Zephyr car 532 starting in september. At least I was notified almost 2 months before the trip. Now I'll be on the Empire Builder to Portland. It sucks that I'll miss most of the Rocky Mountains in the dark.

Last edited by Putnik; Aug 17, 22 at 8:41 am
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Old Aug 16, 22, 1:20 am
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Originally Posted by Putnik View Post
Same thing is happening with the California Zephyr car 532 starting in september. At lease I was notified almost 2 months before the trip. Now I'll be on the Empire Builder to Portland. It sucks that I'll miss most of the Rocky Mountains in the dark.
You won't miss most of the Rocky Mountains westbound, you'll miss all of them. Train doesn't get to Browning about 15 minutes from East Glcier the start of Marias Pass until 7:28 pm. The sun sets at 6:43 pm at East Glacier on October 15th according to NOAA.
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Old Aug 16, 22, 8:48 am
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Originally Posted by zephyr17 View Post
You won't miss most of the Rocky Mountains westbound, you'll miss all of them. Train doesn't get to Browning about 15 minutes from East Glcier the start of Marias Pass until 7:28 pm. The sun sets at 6:43 pm at East Glacier on October 15th according to NOAA.
Thanks for looking it up. At least I'll get to see the Columbia River to Portland in daylight.

It's interesting that WB Zephyr is timed perfectly for the scenic parts, yet the Empire Builder seems not be.
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