Car Attendant Check List.

I’m often asked what makes a really good sleeping car attendant on one of Amtrak’s long-distance trains. I really don’t know what Amtrak’s employee manual says, but here’s what I want and almost always get from one of Amtrak’s sleeping car attendants.

* * *

* Greets me with a warm welcome on the platform at the doorway to his car, checks off my name from his manifest, confirms my destination, directs me to my accommodations, and offers to help me with my luggage.
* Stops by my roomette shortly after we’re underway to provide an orientation; i.e.: light switches, power outlets, call button, A/C vents, etc. (Some attendants do this over the car’s public address system, but they should also stop by your room to be sure you understood everything and to answer any questions you might have.)
* Keeps the shower room and lavatories clean and stocked with bath towels, toilet paper, paper towels and paper cups.
* Prepares my bed at night and restores the room to its daytime configuration in the morning. (When you head to the dining car for breakfast, as a signal to your car attendant, close your sliding glass door, but leave the curtains open. Your room should be ready for you when you return.)
* Checks in on me once in mid-afternoon to see if I need anything … bottled water, for example.
* Brings meals from the dining car to my roomette if asked to do so.
* Shortly before arriving at my destination, looks in on me to be sure I’m ready to leave the train and asks if I need any help with my luggage.
* And finally, the exceptional car attendant will tell me where he can be found during the night in case of an emergency. (It will either be roomette #1 in a Superliner sleeper or, if the train is full, in the transition sleeper, aka dorm car, located immediately behind the baggage car at the front of the train. In Viewliner sleepers, the car attendant will be in a roomette at the rear of the coach opposite the shower room.)
OK, so how much should we tip one of these really good car attendants … and what to do if you run into one that’s not-so-good? More on that next time.