Amtrak is Too Cool For Disaster Recovery Drills

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One thing that’s a fact of life for me and my commute is that when the trains are not on time, I get mad. And if other Metra riders are like me, they were very mad one day last February, when all of the trains in Chicago out of Union Station ceased to run.

The trains stopped running because during the middle of the day, computer infrastructure was being upgraded. At some point during this upgrade, someone fell onto the computer and broke both the computer, and the evening commute for thousands. You can read more here.

I’ve written a few posts about Metra, but Amtrak operates Union Station so in this request I wanted to get an incident report, a list of impacted systems, and know if any disaster recovery drills have been performed since then.

This was an underwhelming response. The records received just yielded synopsis which most media outlets reported. I was hoping that video of the incident or names of contractors would surface, but alas, not here.

The more alarming thing to me, especially as someone who works in IT, is that Amtrak has not performed any disaster recovery drills since the incident last February. I find this very disconcerting and unsettling. Redundancy is obviously not their strong suit.