What a day we had today!! We got up fairly early but still managed to have to rush to get to the train station – today we were heading back to Los Angeles for one night before flying out to Vancouver the next day.
Our Amtrak ‘Pacific Surfliner’ train was due to leave the station at 10:35am but even when we rushed to get to the station – the lady at the information counter said that there had been ‘some problem’ further up the tracks and that our train hadn’t even arrived yet, so there was no rush….
Having said that, the train did actually arrive on time in the end. We hopped aboard and sat back to relax the 2hr 40mins journey along the coast back to LA. Well, we were about 2 hours into our journey when the train slowed to a grinding halt….we waited about 10 minutes for an announcement which said that there was ‘a technical difficulty’ and that they had called the engineers to fix the problem. 30 minutes later we had another announcement saying that the engineers ‘were on their way’ and that as soon as they fixed the problem we would be up and running again!! an hour later people were starting to get ‘jokey’ about the situation and after about 2 hours, some people started actually getting off the train with their luggage and walking to the next town!! Well we waited and waited and eventually we were told that the train’s wheels had broken and that we could neither go backwards nor forwards!! A lot of people on the train were frustrated because they had been on their way to football games, gigs and concerts, and a lot of them resorted to buying beers to pass the time!! Interesting choice of beers at that – Arrogant Bastard Ale?? (Note: the photo is blurred not me…I wasn’t drinking!!)
Some marines on board were fed up because they had finally been given leave only to be stuck on this train!!
We waited and waited for another announcement…’We have been given the OK to progress very very slowly to the next siding where we will be able to transfer you to another train….’ ‘It will take a couple of minutes to do so.’ No joke, about 1hr later the train finally started to move very very very slowly to underneath a motorway bridge where it once again came to a stop. The train would stay there for another 2 hours before anything started to happen. Of course we were stuck on a single stratch of track so none of the other north- or southbound trains could go past us either. Everyone was being held up!! More and more people were getting off the train as the frustration with the poor communication got worse and worse.
We were told that there was a train about 10 minutes behind us that would pull up alongside and we could transfer over…then we were told that we would be letting this train go by and another one would be coming which we could transfer to…then they told us that we would be letting 2 southbound trains go past before our northbound train could pull up….and the untruths kept coming and coming! I don’t know what kind of a watch Amtrak was using, but it wasn’t the same as anyone else on board. They kept telling us ‘in 2 or 3 minutes…’ which was more like 30 to 40 minutes…Their ‘in 10 minutes’ turned out to be 2 1/2 hours later!!
We eventually got ‘rescued’ after about 5 or 6 other trains had passed us! Then at the next station we were told that we would be pulling out and then pulling back in to hook up to a train behind us – the first ‘positive’ idea of the day!! Anyway we pulled forward, hooked up and pulled back into Anaheim Station only to sit still for another 30 or so minutes.What was going on?? Finally, an announcement was made telling us that according to FAA regulations the current crew had worked their full hours limit and that we had to wait for a relief crew to come and take over…they were apparently ‘coming from a place 4 stations away’. Once again, a number of passengers got so fed up that they left the train and shared taxis into LA and other common destinations. We sat there and waited for the next communication…apparently the relief crew was now ’10 minutes’ away’…Well we all now knew how long 10 minutes can take!! About 30 minutes later the crew was now ‘3 minutes away’….Yeah right!! About an hour or so later the crew finally turned up and we were on our way to LA….we were still about 30 minutes or so outside LA at this point. When we finally arrived at LA Union Station it was just before 10:30pm!! The train ride had taken 12 hours!!! It was only meant to take 3 at the most!! How ridiculous…have they not heard of Business Continuity????
We were still not at our destination though – we needed to take a bus from Union Station to LAX Airport and catch a bus to the hotel. The bus journey took about 30 minutes which was fine – all we had to do now was catch the ‘free’ shuttle bus from the airport to our ‘airport’ hotel. Unfortunately our ‘free’ ride had stopped at 10pm and so we had no choice but to take a cab. Never mind, it was an ‘airport’ hotel so it wouldn’t be far or expensive either…WRONG!! The hotel wasn’t too far away, but the taxi cab flat rate for in and around the airport is $15 plus a $2.50 ‘processing’ fee. The perfect end to a perfect day – a 5 minute $17:50 cab ride….I was expecting a red carpet to greet me at the hotel, but…..no such luck!! Not today anyway (^^)v