How Amtrak Ruined My Weekend

Initially, I planned on heading home for my sister’s birthday party. I was going to surprise her, since I didn’t get her a gift I figured I could get away with saying “I’M YOUR GIFT.” And then promise her some kind of gift IOU.

But Amtrak has been running on wonky schedule lately because it’s really cold out. Yeah, that’s right, Amtrak finds it difficult to operate trains because it’s really quite chilly out there.

I don’t own a car, so I’m a person who legitimately relies on public transportation to get me everywhere. E-VER-RYWHERE. This isn’t even just when I lived in New York City, this includes when I lived in Minneapolis for two years (where it’s, you know, really fucking cold, like almost Canadian cold), and now in DC.

So things like this (combined with Amtrak’s total price gauging) kinda make me a little cranky. I once rode Amtrak while it was snowing a few inches total, and they kept having  to stop because, I’m not kidding, THEY HIT SOMETHING, so they had to check the entire train each time (which took 15-30 minutes for each inspection). Don’t ask me what they hit, don’t ask me how they hit it and what about that hit prompted them to stop the train so frequently, but there you have it. Then there was that time we had to stop for 2 hours to pick up passengers from a broken down Acela train. Or that time the engine just died.

Since I know Amtrak well enough that I don’t like my odds of getting to and from my destination in a relatively timely fashion, I’m spending the weekend at home on my couch. So thanks once again, Amtrak, for proving you are so totally not worth the money.

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11 thoughts on “How Amtrak Ruined My Weekend

  1. bahaha! “like almost Canadian cold” – I love this! 🙂 Your post makes me scared: we are looking at taking the Amtrak train from NYC to DC sometime this spring, and if all hell brakes loose in terms of the weather, maybe that won’t be the best idea….

  2. when i was a kid, we took Amtrak from Oakland, Ca to Philadelphia, Pa…it took forever, and it was the craziest trip I have ever been on in my entire life…. my Mom wrote a letter of complaint for all the shenanigans that happened – and they gave us free tickets for travel. So we used them – and it was crazy again.

    no thanks! :/

  3. I have only taken the Amtrak once but it wasn’t too long of a trip. I love the idea of public transit but it stinks when things are out of your control and go wrong.

    • There are so many people who travel between NY and DC, and in theory (especially for what they charge) Amtrak should run smoothly, but for random reasons it infrequently seems to work out well. “Sooo, we’re going to be stuck here about an hour, you’re going to laugh, someone left the bridge up in Wilmington and we can’t find anyone to lower it!”

      And as someone who took NJ Transit before this, I know all too well that Amtrak has messed up the Northeast Corridor on a regular basis. “Oopsies! Did our train just kill all the electricity so no trains can go in or out of Penn Station? Our bad! We’ll have it fixed in 5-10 days…”

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