Amtrak Train Wreck

Now that everything to do with commerical flying is beyond awful and resembles hard time in a penal colony, you might think the train provides a welcome alternative.

But you would be wrong.

Blog Image 319842 - Heller

The folks at Amtrak, in addition to not being able to spell, appear to be taking a page out of the airlines' customer-service manual.

All trains are reservation-only these days, a horrible  development resulting in long lines when a train is delayed.

Which seems to be happening more and more. Of course, it's usually the conventional service that's delayed, never the Acela that costs so much more to get you to New York a few minutes earlier.

While waiting in line to trade in the ticket for the train that's delayed an hour, you can easily miss the next train during your wait. At New York's atrocious Penn Station, there's rarely any Amtrak customer service rep around to tell you how to avoid the line.

Which turns out you can. But only if you purchase another ticket, then wait in line when you reach your destination and return it there. Otherwise, there's a financial penalty.

Unless, that is, you chose, and remember, to use the ticket on the very same date a year later.  

We are not making this up.

So, after 20 mintues in line to purchase a ticket for third train, while everyone around you exhibits various degrees of disgust and misery, you wait around for a while, take note that there are no seats at Penn Station. Unless you're taking the Acela.

But if you take the Acela, thet train that costs so much more to get you there a few minutes earlier, your train is not delayed and, therefore, you don't need the seat.

Almost makes you want to hop in the car and travel the Jersey Turnpike.

Please feel free to share your experiences.