Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Guaranteed late arrival: stuck on the Amfleet cabbage

Amtrak hates us.  They have decided to keep the awful old trainset, the Amfleet cabbage, in the permanent rotation even though Racing Season in Del Mar is over.

This means we will always be late if on this train.  Why?  Because you can't get on it fast enough.  Instead of two automatic doors per car, there are only manual doors.  They don't open them all because there aren't enough crew to do it.  The doors are narrow, with fold down rickety steps.  Loading and unloading passengers takes minutes longer.  On a 2 hour intercity ride, minutes more per station adds up to serious delays of 20 minutes or more into LA in the morning.

The regulars tweet Amtrak @Pacsurfliners to complain, plead, and cajole--if you're going to keep the cabbage, then at least put it on the less crowded mid-day trains, not at commuter hours. 

 But roughly twice a week, the cabbage is used on 763, the first train of the day from San Diego to LA and on to Goleta.  This is a commuter-heavy train.  WE're lucky if it's on time with a normal trainset;  with the cabbage, it's at least 20-30 minutes late into LA, making us all late to work.   Once it finally makes Goleta, it turns around to become 784, which is supposed to be a 5pm departure from LA--also loaded with commuters.  And all that accumulated delay adds up to a miserable commute day for the regulars, when the cabbage is running.