Amtrak is on pace to set a new ridership record this year based on it's latest press release. This is good news from the standpoint of overall interest in the rail system. Hopefully it spurs a new era of track improvements and system efficiency. In the meantime, it means more crowded trains and complaints from both regular riders and tourists.
The following photos document a rare, but increasing problem. This is the record of my horrific ride home on 3/18/11.
Picture #1 could be a shot of a Tokyo commuter train (not actually, but you get the point). There were not enough seats for riders. There was not enough standing room either.
Picture #2 shows the riders who were fortunate to make it on the train, but unfortunate enough to have been stranded on the stairwell. I was shocked to see a conductor make his way through this to punch tickets. So were some of these people who voiced their displeasure.
Then to add insult to injury, I made my way to the bar only to find it had no beer!
Not a happy commuter...
This particular train did not accept new passengers till Irvine, so I am sure the next one (2.5 hours behind it) was just as joyful.