Amtrak crew base Seattle & Coast Starlight

The nearly month-long May 29, 2018 to June 25, 2018 truncation of the Amtrak Coast Starlight has raised fears among Amtrak crew, leading to rumors (nothing more than rumors, at this point) of cutbacks or even closure of the Seattle crew base. Numerous Coast Starlight crew were on emergency furlough (layoffs) during the month-long route truncation. This would not have any real customer-facing implications, but any reassignment of crew base location means employee(s) may move across the country.

Living far from Amtrak crew base

In general, throughout the Amtrak system, some Amtrak onboard crew live far from their crew base location. Particularly for 6-day on / 6-day off assignments, a Seattle-based crew member might live in New York City, flying to/from SeaTac Airport to connect with their train job. Another crew member lives in Atlanta while flying to Chicago crew base.

This can lead to some interesting position “bumps” where a senior crew member that must fly into a crew base has priority over a less senior crew member living locally to the crew base. This becomes important for crew bases like Chicago where the cost of living is high. In general in the United States, prices for the classic single family three-bedroom home easily vary by a factor of twenty going from major suburban MSAs to more rural MSAs.