Where do Amtrak crew members stay for overnight layovers?

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Where do Amtrak crew members stay for overnight layovers?

Postby SouthernRailway » Mon Dec 25, 2017 5:25 pm

I am not looking to know specific names of hotels, but out of curiosity, where do Amtrak crew members stay when they have overnight layovers? I assume that most overnight layovers would be end-of-the-line big cities such as Los Angeles, NYC, Chicago, etc., which are expensive.

Do they stay in large chain hotels? Does Amtrak have special deals with hotels near, say, NY Penn Station? Or does Amtrak have lower-cost accommodations far from key train stations?

The crew on the Crescent was so nice--I hope that they are treated well!

Thanks.
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Re: Where do Amtrak crew members stay for overnight layovers

Postby Bob Roberts » Mon Dec 25, 2017 7:36 pm

SouthernRailway wrote:I am not looking to know specific names of hotels, but out of curiosity, where do Amtrak crew members stay when they have overnight layovers? I assume that most overnight layovers would be end-of-the-line big cities such as Los Angeles, NYC, Chicago, etc., which are expensive.

Do they stay in large chain hotels? Does Amtrak have special deals with hotels near, say, NY Penn Station? Or does Amtrak have lower-cost accommodations far from key train stations?

The crew on the Crescent was so nice--I hope that they are treated well!

Thanks.


Back in 2015 I knew of some NYC bound Crescent crews who had overnights at the Hotel Pennsylvania. They didn't like it since it was widely renowned for bedbugs at the time.

Completely agree about the Crescent crew -- sleeper staff are nearly always fantastic.
Last edited by Bob Roberts on Tue Dec 26, 2017 12:48 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Where do Amtrak crew members stay for overnight layovers

Postby Backshophoss » Mon Dec 25, 2017 7:53 pm

Most "away" from home crew change points have some Hotel/Motel arrangement near the station(T & E Crews).
Believe OBS crews layover near the terminal station,again an arranged Hotel/Motel with shuttle to/from the yard.
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Re: Where do Amtrak crew members stay for overnight layovers

Postby STrRedWolf » Mon Dec 25, 2017 9:33 pm

Off hand, CSX had a contract with a local hotel near Union Station DC (WAS) just so MARC conductors and engineers on the Camden and Brunswick lines could take their downtime there with a few reserved rooms for them. I forget which hotel, and I don't know if Bombardier has a similar arrangement now. It's been several years.
"The last and final stop is BALTIMORE PENN STATION." I can has MARC V?
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Re: Where do Amtrak crew members stay for overnight layovers

Postby Gilbert B Norman » Tue Dec 26, 2017 7:40 am

Prevalent during my years in Labor Relations, Agreements use the term "suitable lodging". What that means is "well, what do you want it to mean?"

I think you will find that term means "three star", as in major brand names such as Express, Hampton, and Fairfield. I think that the "rock bottom econobrands" such as Red Roof, Baymont, Motel 6, are not deemed "suitable". Independent hotels usually require joint concurrence between Carrier and the Chairman.

"Suitable Lodging" was first a provision within 1964 National Agreements with Operating Employees. Prior to that date, it was a bunkhouse, cabosse, or an easy chair.

The Air Transport industry's Agreements for Flight employees also have similar agreements. I learned of a case with a major carrier when the lodging at a major European city was changed from Downtown to one out near the airport. The airline started to wonder why their experienced flight crews were all bidding away from that route. Well, it was time to go back Downtown and have those crews with their "institutional knowledge" return.
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Re: Where do Amtrak crew members stay for overnight layovers

Postby Alcochaser » Tue Dec 26, 2017 1:19 pm

Some of the midpoint away layover spots were dodgy as hell.

Amtrak used to own a house for layovers in Waterloo IN that was pretty old. You can imagine that since the dorm cars never got a lot of maintence how much this old house got. I believe they offloaded it 10 or more years ago. It was used for the crew from the train that ran thru Napanee IN too.
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Re: Where do Amtrak crew members stay for overnight layovers

Postby Tadman » Tue Dec 26, 2017 10:37 pm

Bob Roberts wrote:
SouthernRailway wrote:I am not looking to know specific names of hotels, but out of curiosity, where do Amtrak crew members stay when they have overnight layovers? I assume that most overnight layovers would be end-of-the-line big cities such as Los Angeles, NYC, Chicago, etc., which are expensive.

Do they stay in large chain hotels? Does Amtrak have special deals with hotels near, say, NY Penn Station? Or does Amtrak have lower-cost accommodations far from key train stations?

The crew on the Crescent was so nice--I hope that they are treated well!

Thanks.


Back in 2015 I knew of some NYC bound Crescent crews who had overnights at the Hotel Pennsylvania. They didn't like it since it was widely renowned for bedbugs at the time.

Completely agree about the Crescent crew -- sleeper staff are nearly always fantastic.


Man, that place is a serious dive. I've stayed there a few times when I had to leave throug NYP on the bright and early. I strongly prefer not to stay there anymore. I much prefer the former Commodore Vanderbilt, which was the NYC hotel adjacent to GCT. It's now a Hyatt and rather nice.
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Re: Where do Amtrak crew members stay for overnight layovers

Postby lstone19 » Wed Dec 27, 2017 6:30 pm

While hotels in big cities can be expensive, volume buying makes a big difference, particularly when you're buying X number of rooms per night 365 days a year whether it's slow season or busy season.

But with volume business also come unique housekeeping needs. I know this more from the airline side than railroad but rooms used by crews turn over at odd times. Crews expect rooms to be available when they arrive (contractual requirement for airline crews) regardless of time of day. But with 24/7 housekeeping, the room vacated at 5am by an outgoing crew can be cleaned and ready for the crew arriving at 7am who sleeps during the day and may go back out before the day is over.

In some cases, hotels have floors just for transportation industry crews due to the unusual occupancy requirements. During my days of airline employment, while I didn't do that many business trips, it was not unusual to be booked at a crew hotel and then assigned a room on a crew floor. Being on a crew floor was obvious due to all the signs reminding everyone to keep it quiet due to day sleepers.

At least with my airline, all hotels to be used had to be approved by the union and were, for the most part, upper end (but not ultra-luxury) hotels in that city. In the big cities, we're talking Hiltons, Marriotts, Hyatts, etc. Generally, layovers up to 16 hours required what was called a "field" hotel - within 15 minutes of the airport. Over that and a "downtown" hotel was required usually in the city so that there were things to do. In a few cases in smaller cities, one hotel served both roles and in some others, with nothing suitable near the airport, only "downtown" hotels were listed so a layover requiring a "field" hotel could not be scheduled (and I remember one situation when planning scheduled an overnight turn based on there being a non-existent field hotel and as a result, crews spent two nights (one flight a day so no other option). Fortunately for some, this was a ski city so the crews could go skiing on the down day.
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Re: Where do Amtrak crew members stay for overnight layovers

Postby ST214 » Sun Dec 31, 2017 6:15 pm

It varies, it can be a chain or a independent hotel, but Amtrak usually uses a mid-grade hotel.

I know Norfolk Southern has an entire floor for them at the Microtel in Lynchburg, VA.
Hoping for a rebirth of the Screamer fleet.
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Re: Where do Amtrak crew members stay for overnight layovers

Postby AgentSkelly » Mon Jan 01, 2018 3:27 am

I know the Cascades crew that stay over night in Vancouver, BC get the same 5 block of rooms at one of the hotels closest to Pacific Central.
New Westminster to Amtrak 516, whats up with the extra 4 axles, over?
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