Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Amtrak Woes

Snow Day in Springtime!
Train’s supposed to leave Eugene at 12:45.
Schedule on ticket reader reads “ON TIME”
Then a little delay… maybe 20 mintues.
Call (800)872-7245
Say “Train status”
Then “14”
Train appears to be about 1 hour and 21 minutes late. But why?
Well, if you say, “get details,” they will explain that there was a tree down on a track and the train hit it, which derailed it.
Wait. Wait about 30 minutes.
We go home to get my French quizzes so I can grade them while I wait.
When we come back, someone on the loudspeaker announces that the delay is undetermined. (Ticket reader schedule still reads “ON TIME.”)
BUT, the delay is undetermined. A bus will come to pick up the current ticket-holders to take them from Eugene to Portland. (If you’re going beyond Portland, you get on a train in Portland and it will take you to that destination.)
Wait. Wait longer. How long until the bus comes? Should Heather get on the bus or wait until tomorrow?
Call again. Talk to agent. Agent relays the only information she has. Train is one and a half hours late. Why? Then she looks it up again. A tree fell down on a track (near Chemult). That stopped the train. A landslide fell onto a freight car and caused it to derail. Buses have been sent to relieve those travelers. We have no idea when the bus will arrive to pick up the Eugene travelers. We have no idea when is the ETA in Portland.
A “live” announcement inside the station: “Line up here to transfer your train ticket to a bus ticket” Aren’t bus tickets cheaper than train tickets? Maybe. But no, we will not give you a refund for the difference because we will be delivering you to your destination. When will the bus arrive? We do not know.
Wait. Wait longer. How long until the bus comes? Should Heather get on the bus today or wait until tomorrow?
Finally the bus arrived Heather got on and now she’s home. Quelle aventure!
And this evening, there isn’t a single story about this on the TV news!