Sunday, March 13, 2011

Where's Amtrak

We have had an unfortunate string of late trains on the Surfliner recently. It seems like the train is late more often than not and the list of reasons given is long. Late departure in the morning because the crew slept in, late arrival in morning because of an accident up the line. And to make it even more fun, the train is occasionally, albeit rarely, early! Regardless of the reason on any particular day, these incidents provide opportunities to tell jokes, catch up with friends, and above all complain.

Waiting for the 784 in Los Angeles

The network of regular riders often does a better job of updating each other than the folks at Amtrak do. Texts, emails, and calls go out to riders up and down the line to warn of delays, and to determine how long a delay is likely to be (Amtrak's default reply is that the train will be there in 5 minutes). Alternatives are discussed (carpooling, taking Metrolink, going to Trax) and plans are made. We all eventually make it home safe to try again the next day.

In order to share these updates with the larger group, I have set up a Twitter account under the Rail_Tweet username and will post the status of my trains whenever we are running off schedule. The most recent tweets will also be displayed on the top of the blog homepage. Hope this helps people plan and feel free to send Rail_Tweet your updates as well. Working together is how we will win.


  1. Let's keep our fingers crossed for the 784 next week.

  2. Yes, at least on M/W/F. The other days you are on your own!

  3. Thanks, that's helpful. I will join in.

  4. We haven't been challenged much laely, but the Twitter network is certainly paying off. I am interested in expanding it as I am not on the train every day. Any ideas on how to make it work?