I'm writing you today to discuss your New York-Savannah service on the Palmetto line that I had the pleasure of experiencing this past Sunday as I was coming home from Charleston. As with all forms of travel, there were some highs and there were some lows. The highs included the friendly service, roomy accommodations and a scenic view through some lovely mid-Spring vistas.
The lows, however, were pretty freaking low.
The lowest point occurred after our stop in Washington DC. Your service switches from diesel to electric at that point, so there is a short break as you switch engines. Except that our short break lasted about 2 and 1/2 hours. The first engine they attached to the train made it about 100 yards out of the station before it broke down, and the second one had to be built from scratch or so it seemed.
Now, I normally would have no problem with this kind of delay. I was choosing to travel via rail. A mode of transportation that takes 5-6 times as long as flying while costing approximately the same price. I was doing it of my own free will. I wanted to travel that way. It's usually something that I enjoy.
But that 2 1/2 wait turned into something out of a horror film. Since the engine was broken we had no electricity. That means no AC, no overhead reading lights and no lights in the bathroom. There was literally nothing to do in that time period except close your eyes and try to sleep in the stale air of the rail car. The infrequent announcements apologizing for the delay made no estimates as to when we would be moving again. Maybe your team could have let us off the train until such time that we were ready to go again. I don't know. Anything other than just sitting there in the dark.
And that sleep that I mentioned as the only remaining option? Wasn't going to happen. Because there were these two women with young children seated across the aisle from me. The kids were mostly awesome. They slept just about the entire way from Charleston to Washington DC. But since they were getting off at Baltimore their mothers woke them up, thinking they were only 30 minutes away from home. That 30 minutes turned into 3 hours because of the delay. And it wasn't a quiet 3 hours, no sir. These formerly awesome little kids must have saved up all of their energy during their naps because they spent that 3 hours running around, screaming and crying. It was delightful.
So I don't know if this kind of delay is "normal" for your service. I've traveled by rail before and this was the first significant delay I've experienced. But after about an hour in the hot, fetid, dark air of the rail car with two screaming kids, I was convinced that I had done something horribly wrong in a past life.
You should offer this service as a method of torture to Homeland Security. I would have given my mother up to get that freaking train moving again.
An Unsatisfied Customer
Note: Remember to play the Bug-Eyed Trivia Challenge every day. Next time....I'm flying. Probably.