Amtrak Conductors Are In Charge!
In my experience—and that includes thousands of miles on Amtrak long-distance trains—passengers who cause trouble are annoying. It’s rarely a serious problem, but they do show up from time to time. However, Amtrak conductors are very good at spotting a potential troublemaker and getting him to shape up before he becomes a serious problem.
Like the captain of an ocean liner, a conductor on one of Amtrak’s long-distance trains is the ultimate on board authority. He or she can stop the train and put a troublesome passenger off—bag and baggage—even if it’s in the middle of nowhere.
That doesn’t happen without giiving the passenger a chance—at least one chance—to shape up. The conductor will take him aside and quietly warn him that he’s in danger of being put off the train. That will be the only warning the troublemaker gets and usually that’s all it takes.
At the first sign that a passenger is becoming aggressive, the conductor will initiate a brief, private, very personal conversation. It probably goes like this:
Conductor: Have you ever had occasion to spend a night in jail?
Conductor: If I get just one more complaint about you, that’s where you’ll be for the next few nights!
When you’re on board a moving Amtrak train, never forget that the conductor is responsible for the lives of several hundred passengers and crew. In his mind, if you are caught smoking a joint, you are a thoughtless jerk with no sense of responsibility and no legal rights. More to he point, you must have missed the conductor’s announcement over the train’s P.A. system:
If you are caught smoking on this train, our next stop will be yours.
Trust me on this . . . It’s true!
(Note: My apologies for the long delay between posts. I had a computer melt-down, which I do now wish on anyone.)