Cut Costs. Save Money. Lose Passengers.

Two interesting comments came in today. The first is in the form of a report on one portion of an extended rail journey: the Boston section of the westbound Lake Shore Limited.
“My husband and I recently returned from a trip to Sacramento via the Lake Shore Limited and the California Zephyr. The Lake Shore Limited has boxed meals. The box itself is lovely and appears to be expensive. In fact, they tell you about the construction of the box in a flyer that comes inside it. The meals themselves, in our opinion, were worse than airline food.
“The steward kept referring to ”the dining car”, which was going to be attached in Albany, so we were initially hopeful that Mr. Anderson had changed his mind. But there was no dining car, just another diner/lounge. On top of the indignity of having to eat a boxed meal, the diner/lounge car was 8 cars back. There was at least one elderly person who couldn’t even think about walking back for her meal. And, in fact, we didn’t want to bother to walk ‘way back there either after the first time.”

And, from a reader in West Virginia, here’s a wonderful example of why draconian cost-cutting is counter-productive.
I am planning a trip with my grandson to the west coast and back, going west on the Zephyr and east on the Empire Builder. I can save a good $400 using a rail pass. However, due to the ticket office closures the closest office is Charlottesville about a four hour drive. They first closed Huntington then Charleston. I just checked and they refuse to email or snail mail the tickets and pass. It seems they have a real case of cranial rectal inversion. Have you heard of any policy change in this area? I can get a BritRail pass sent to me from England but not an Amtrak pass in my own country. I can see closing some offices but Charleston and Huntington were very part time to begin with. I suppose I can go to Charlottesville if we go to Williamsburg by car sometime, but this is absurd.

Yes, it surely is!