Amtrak Downeaster Discussion Thread

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Re: Amtrak Downeaster Discussion Thread

Postby gokeefe » Tue Sep 26, 2017 1:21 pm

MEC407 wrote:That's quite impressive.


It's really jaw dropping. NNEPRA seems to have truly hit this one "out of the park". The big change is the later train that can accomodate night games for the Red Sox. This has cascading effects through the rest of the schedule because there are now fans traveling south to Boston on earlier trains and everyone converges on 689/699. Also keep in mind that this schedule didn't take effect until part way into the baseball season.
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Re: Amtrak Downeaster Discussion Thread

Postby Cowford » Tue Sep 26, 2017 1:44 pm

Very impressive start for FY18, but it needs to be kept in perspective. The first two months of the FY are always the busiest by far, so comparing FY YTD cost recovery against past ANNUAL averages is misleading. Not likely coincidental that this is the first Board report that highlights cost recovery performance... wonder if those statistics will remain published when the annual starving time hits. Also odd that NNEPRA has adjusted their targets slightly, from 45% to 46% Cost Recovery and from 80% to 85% Food Cost Recovery.

Average miles per pax hasn't budged since before the extension, which indicates to me that growth is POR - west. GO'Keefe, any insight on ridership performance at FRE / BRU?
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Re: Amtrak Downeaster Discussion Thread

Postby gokeefe » Tue Sep 26, 2017 2:10 pm

Cowford wrote:Very impressive start for FY18, but it needs to be kept in perspective. The first two months of the FY are always the busiest by far, so comparing FY YTD cost recovery against past ANNUAL averages is misleading.


I thought about that as well when I posted but in general my impression has been that cost recovery is roughly the same average year round. Probably naive on my part not to think otherwise.

Cowford wrote:Not likely coincidental that this is the first Board report that highlights cost recovery performance... wonder if those statistics will remain published when the annual starving time hits. Also odd that NNEPRA has adjusted their targets slightly, from 45% to 46% Cost Recovery and from 80% to 85% Food Cost Recovery.


I'm not sure about the thinking behind the target adjustment other than reflecting the likelihood of improved fiscal performance. Cost recovery is a constant topic of discussion at Board meetings. The written report does not do justice to the meeting format at which cost recovery both overall and foodservice in particular has always been an ongoing concern. This is particularly true of the oral delivery for the Financial Report which when given addresses revenues and then what the current expected operating support requirement from the Multi-Modal Fund (State rental car sales tax revenues) will be. Lately that number has been under budget, mostly due to fuel savings but also due to improved revenues. The total annual budgeted amount for the state revenue sharing portion is less than $2,000,000 so in the context of a $15M+ budget these changes to farebox and foodservice revenue are actually quite significant to the portion that is funded using rental car sales tax funds.

Cowford wrote:Average miles per pax hasn't budged since before the extension, which indicates to me that growth is POR - west. GO'Keefe, any insight on ridership performance at FRE / BRU?


The increase in ridership has been spread pretty evenly which is why I think the average miles may not have shifted. Performance at Freeport and Brunswick is up significantly. Brunswick in particular is up 30% +/- and Portland is down about 7%. I'm not sure what the base numbers are so I would not rush to conclusions. The concern about how much, where and what the origins of the ridership were came up and it was made clear that the net gain in passengers at Brunswick and Freeport was greater than any loss in Portland.

The Board and the Authority definitely understand the issue with simply moving originating ridership North and I think they feel that the statistics clearly bear out that whatever loss occurred in Portland has been recovered (and then some) further to the North. I can say that given the parking crunch in Portland that the service extension is looking more and more helpful everyday.

The train is definitely pulling in new riders from beyond Portland. Brunswick Station is absolutely out of parking. The 40 parking spaces for the train are full everyday and now the Town Council has voted to create a daily charge for parking ($5/day) that will help fund station operations. Also worth noting Business Class sold out on almost every train on every single day in July and August.
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Re: Amtrak Downeaster Discussion Thread

Postby Cowford » Tue Sep 26, 2017 9:52 pm

I'm curious to see the numbers... Amtrak is more forthcoming with station-specific data, so we may have to wait for their annual updates. I suspect that annual BRU ridership may be in the low- to mid-30's and FRE is dabbling in the mid-teens. In other words, ridership east of Portland hasn't developed after six years of service.
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What happened yesterday?

Postby charlesriverbranch » Mon Oct 02, 2017 8:15 am

694 was more then two hours late into Boston. 695 didn't get to Brunswick until after 11 PM. I heard talk of some sort of incident involving an idiot motorist at a highway crossing, but no details.
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Re: Amtrak Downeaster Discussion Thread

Postby hh660 » Mon Oct 02, 2017 9:13 am

I wonder if the improved ridership is partially due to the earlier departure time from Boston to Maine on non event days. I think it may be much more desirable for many travelers to leave Boston at the earlier time and reach the northern destinations earlier as well. 6pm-ish is too early for many, 11pm too late. Maybe a train at, say, 9:30 pm would be about right.
Ideally, a 1 1/2 hour trip from Beantown to Portland would do the trick :-)

S
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Re: What happened yesterday?

Postby MEC407 » Mon Oct 02, 2017 11:35 am

charlesriverbranch wrote:694 was more then two hours late into Boston. 695 didn't get to Brunswick until after 11 PM.


I heard something about a broken rail on the mainline in NH. That might have been a cause (or contributing factor) of the delays.
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Re: Amtrak Downeaster Discussion Thread

Postby Dick H » Mon Oct 02, 2017 4:03 pm

PAR POSE broke a knuckle at Newmarket late afternoon. Combined with the
broken rail at East Kingston in the New Boston Rd. crossing, The DE's took one
of the worst hits in recent memory.
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Re: Amtrak Downeaster Discussion Thread

Postby BostonUrbEx » Tue Oct 03, 2017 7:36 pm

^ Correct. The one that took it the worst was 696, which arrived in Boston approximately 4 hours and 30 minutes late.
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Re: Amtrak Downeaster Discussion Thread

Postby Dick H » Thu Oct 12, 2017 11:35 am

The infamous "weekend busing" between Haverhill and Boston returns on 10/21-22.
I am hearing here will be additional weekends for busing in November.

From NNEPRA:
On October 21 and 22 track work being performed by the MBTA in Massachusetts will cause a service modification.
Southbound trains will run on a normal schedule servicing all scheduled station stops as far as Haverhill (HHL). Once the Downeaster train arrives in Haverhill, passengers continuing to Boston - North Station (BON) or points beyond will be transferred to awaiting motor coaches and be transported directly

Northbound trains will run on a normal schedule from Haverhill (HHL) and service all scheduled station stops north. Passengers ticketed to depart from Boston - North Station (BON), will board motor coaches in front of North Station, depart on the published train schedule and be transported directly to Haverhill station for transfer to waiting Downeaster trains. No service to or from Woburn will be available.
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Re: Amtrak Downeaster Discussion Thread

Postby BM6569 » Tue Oct 24, 2017 6:47 am

Posted on Facebook by NNEPRA that the Downeaster will start offering seasonal service to Rockland and all stops in between next summer! I'd post a quote but don't have Facebook access at work. Should be interesting to see how they get this going. The line needs some work I'm sure but would be interesting to have a one seat side from Boston to Rockland.
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Re: Amtrak Downeaster Discussion Thread

Postby sicariis » Tue Oct 24, 2017 7:09 am

Here's said quote:

NNEPRA announces the Downeaster Coastal Connection with seasonal service to Bath, Wiscasset, Newcastle/Damariscotta and Rockland! Next summer, a rider can get on the Downeaster in Boston, or any station in between, and travel all the way to Rockland. This came as a pleasant surprise to those attending the rail authority's Annual Meeting. We'll have more later, including interviews with NNEPRA Board Chairman John Melrose and TrainRiders/NE Chairman Wayne Davis.


https://www.facebook.com/TrainRidersNortheast/posts/1912869372062934

Exciting stuff. Let the schedule speculation begin.
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Re: Amtrak Downeaster Discussion Thread

Postby deathtopumpkins » Tue Oct 24, 2017 8:07 am

Ha, I remember all the comments about how ridiculous and infeasible of an idea this was when we were speculating on it a while back. And now here we are.
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Re: Amtrak Downeaster Discussion Thread

Postby MEC407 » Tue Oct 24, 2017 9:48 am

Awesome!

And also:

Told ya' so. :wink:
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Re: Amtrak Downeaster Discussion Thread

Postby artman » Tue Oct 24, 2017 10:54 am

BM6569 wrote:Posted on Facebook by NNEPRA that the Downeaster will start offering seasonal service to Rockland and all stops in between next summer! I'd post a quote but don't have Facebook access at work. Should be interesting to see how they get this going. The line needs some work I'm sure but would be interesting to have a one seat side from Boston to Rockland.


Wow!

I had to look at the date of this post twice to make sure it wasn't April 1st!
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