All Things Cascades incl Vancouver

Discussion related to Amtrak also known as the National Railroad Passenger Corp.

Moderators: GirlOnTheTrain, gprimr1, Amtrak67 of America, Tadman

All Things Cascades incl Vancouver

Postby NS VIA FAN » Tue Mar 23, 2010 5:29 pm

(Admin note: adding a link for the website: http://amtrakcascades.com/)

http://www.newswire.ca/en/releases/arch ... c4282.html

"Government of Canada extends Amtrak pilot project until September 2010

OTTAWA, March 23 /CNW Telbec/ - The Honourable Vic Toews, Minister of Public Safety, announced today that the pilot project providing border-clearance services for the second daily Amtrak train between Vancouver, British Columbia, and Seattle, Washington will be extended through September 2010"
User avatar
NS VIA FAN
 
Posts: 884
Joined: Wed Mar 31, 2004 11:51 am

Re: Second Vancouver Train To Continue

Postby jstolberg » Wed Mar 24, 2010 7:43 pm

"In the seven months since the train service began, ridership has totaled more than 33,000."
"In February alone, a total of nearly 14,000 passengers rode on both Amtrak Cascades trains to and from Vancouver, B.C. During the 19-day run of the 2010 Winter Olympics, both trains averaged more than 163 passengers with 16 trains sold out or close to capacity."
http://www.amtrak.com/servlet/BlobServer?blobcol=urldata&blobtable=MungoBlobs&blobkey=id&blobwhere=1249207369313&blobheader=application%2Fpdf&blobheadername1=Content-disposition&blobheadervalue1=attachment;filename=Amtrak_ATK-10-034_Second_Train_Extension_Cascades_Final.pdf

Canada has not agreed to permanently waive the fee for providing border control agents to clear passengers on the train. Government officials in Vancouver want the train to continue to bring American tourists. Government officials in Ottawa aren't very supportive. The extension of the trial service until September 30th will provide 13 months of ridership data and show if the train will be popular during the summer.

Let's hope that our DHS Secretary doesn't say anything more to upset the Canadians.
jstolberg
 
Posts: 1298
Joined: Tue Aug 25, 2009 6:17 pm
Location: Lakewood, CO

Re: Second Vancouver Train To Continue

Postby electricron » Wed Mar 24, 2010 7:55 pm

jstolberg wrote:"In the seven months since the train service began, ridership has totaled more than 33,000."
"In February alone, a total of nearly 14,000 passengers rode on both Amtrak Cascades trains to and from Vancouver, B.C. During the 19-day run of the 2010 Winter Olympics, both trains averaged more than 163 passengers with 16 trains sold out or close to capacity."
http://www.amtrak.com/servlet/BlobServer?blobcol=urldata&blobtable=MungoBlobs&blobkey=id&blobwhere=1249207369313&blobheader=application%2Fpdf&blobheadername1=Content-disposition&blobheadervalue1=attachment;filename=Amtrak_ATK-10-034_Second_Train_Extension_Cascades_Final.pdf
Canada has not agreed to permanently waive the fee for providing border control agents to clear passengers on the train. Government officials in Vancouver want the train to continue to bring American tourists. Government officials in Ottawa aren't very supportive. The extension of the trial service until September 30th will provide 13 months of ridership data and show if the train will be popular during the summer.
Let's hope that our DHS Secretary doesn't say anything more to upset the Canadians.


Let's do some simple math.
Some facts:
(1) 33,000 passengers over 9 months. (2) 14,000 passengers for February.

33,000 passengers - 14,000 passengers = 19,000 passengers
9 months - 1 month = 8 months
19,000 passengers / 8 months = 2,375 passengers per month (non-Olympic months)

(3) Assuming 30 days per month
2,375 passengers / month / 30 days / month = 79.16 passengers per day.

Come on guys and gals, Amtrak doesn't need 2 Cascade trains per day in each direction to carry less than 80 passengers per day. One Cascade train per day should be sufficient. I'll admit the 2 Cascade trains per day were needed during the Olympics, but the Olympics in Vancouver are over.......
electricron
 
Posts: 3922
Joined: Tue Aug 25, 2009 8:35 pm

Re: Second Vancouver Train To Continue

Postby jstolberg » Wed Mar 24, 2010 9:26 pm

That's not quite the way I interpret it (although the figures are not presented very clearly).

14,000 riders in February on both trains. Assume 8,000 riders on the train running the original schedule and 6,000 on the new one.

33,000 riders (on the new train) - 6,000 = 27,000 over the remaining 8 months.

27000 / 8 = 3,375 per month

3,375 / 30 = 112 per day or 56 each way on the new train. That fits with anecdotal reports I have heard.

The Canadians are looking for 80+ passengers per arrival to justify the expense of the additonal border security personnel.
jstolberg
 
Posts: 1298
Joined: Tue Aug 25, 2009 6:17 pm
Location: Lakewood, CO

Re: Second Vancouver Train To Continue

Postby ne plus ultra » Wed Mar 24, 2010 9:35 pm

jstolberg wrote:That's not quite the way I interpret it (although the figures are not presented very clearly).

14,000 riders in February on both trains. Assume 8,000 riders on the train running the original schedule and 6,000 on the new one.

33,000 riders (on the new train) - 6,000 = 27,000 over the remaining 8 months.

27000 / 8 = 3,375 per month

3,375 / 30 = 112 per day or 56 each way on the new train. That fits with anecdotal reports I have heard.

The Canadians are looking for 80+ passengers per arrival to justify the expense of the additonal border security personnel.

Either way you interpret it, it's not a lot for two trains. I do think there's another factor - host cities tend to assume that the Olympics make people think "hmmm, I'd like to go there." How well that works isn't really clear. My guess is that BC officials will be very disappointed if the train merely continues to carry the pre-Olympic average.
ne plus ultra
 
Posts: 803
Joined: Fri Jun 23, 2006 11:02 pm

Re: Second Vancouver Train To Continue

Postby mkellerm » Wed Mar 24, 2010 11:17 pm

ne plus ultra wrote:Either way you interpret it, it's not a lot for two trains. I do think there's another factor - host cities tend to assume that the Olympics make people think "hmmm, I'd like to go there." How well that works isn't really clear. My guess is that BC officials will be very disappointed if the train merely continues to carry the pre-Olympic average.


I'm quite confident that BC officials would be delighted with anything they can get, since they are not paying a dime to support the service. As far as I know, the only funding that BC has ever contributed was for the new siding at Delta. This has always been a dispute between the BC government and Ottawa, not between BC and Amtrak/Washington State.

jstolberg wrote:14,000 riders in February on both trains. Assume 8,000 riders on the train running the original schedule and 6,000 on the new one.

33,000 riders (on the new train) - 6,000 = 27,000 over the remaining 8 months.

27000 / 8 = 3,375 per month

3,375 / 30 = 112 per day or 56 each way on the new train. That fits with anecdotal reports I have heard.


Small problem with the math there; the new train started running on August 19th, so it was only in service for 5.5 months before February 2010. Using the same assumptions, that suggests

27000/5.5 = 4909 per month or 81 each way on the new train. That does not compare badly to the ridership numbers out of Vancouver on the first train.

The other thing to keep in mind is that there is non-trivial ridership from the stations between Vancouver and Seattle; you are looking at another 80-90 passengers per day from those stations. That, combined with the Vancouver ridership, suggests a pretty healthy service to me.
mkellerm
 
Posts: 641
Joined: Tue Sep 12, 2006 9:09 pm
Location: Annapolis, MD

Re: Second Vancouver Train To Continue

Postby Gilbert B Norman » Thu Mar 25, 2010 7:13 am

mkellerm wrote:
ne plus ultra wrote:Either way you interpret it, it's not a lot for two trains. I do think there's another factor - host cities tend to assume that the Olympics make people think "hmmm, I'd like to go there." How well that works isn't really clear. My guess is that BC officials will be very disappointed if the train merely continues to carry the pre-Olympic average.


I'm quite confident that BC officials would be delighted with anything they can get, since they are not paying a dime to support the service. As far as I know, the only funding that BC has ever contributed was for the new siding at Delta


Meritorious points, Messrs. Keller and Ultra; it appears that the Province's tourism agency has "sprung" for some pretty splashy ads (this 1"30" video is a composite of several 30" "spots' that air in the Chicago area market)
- and as Mr. Keller notes, 'they ain't paying for it' - and what agency ever gets off the gravy train before the last stop?

It appears that the State of Washington is flush with Feddybux to operate additional frequencies; I'll take the consensus' word that the Talgos are "at home' on such a route and the scenery (at least how I viewed it from the GN "Port of Seattle" Parlor Obs during 1962) is 'great". Somehow, I think the second frequency is here to stay.
Gilbert B Norman
 
Posts: 12927
Joined: Fri Mar 12, 2004 6:52 am
Location: Clarendon Hills, IL (BNSF Aurora Sub; MP 18.71)

Re: Second Vancouver Train To Continue

Postby Pacific 2-3-1 » Thu Mar 25, 2010 10:22 am

The ridership figures do not include hobos "riding the rods" like in the movie, "Emperor of the North (Pole)".
Pacific 2-3-1
 
Posts: 311
Joined: Tue Jun 30, 2009 3:08 pm

Re: Second Vancouver Train To Continue

Postby Vincent » Thu Mar 25, 2010 12:54 pm

Interesting to see the "Super, Natural" ads running in Chicago, but Vancouver never planned to make a profit on the Games during the 19 day run. The idea was to showcase Vancouver as a major tourist destination point for years to come. Hopefully you all will see the ads, remember the Games and make plans for a summer vacation in BC-- with a likely stopover in Seattle and Portland.

I was on 510 (the am departure from SEA>VAC) last week and the passenger count was light, but I need to make several more trips in the coming weeks and I've noticed that the lowest fare bucket is often not available on the midweek days I plan to ride, so somebody is sitting on those trains. The 513/516 extensions to Vancouver started near the end of the tourist season and without much advertising, advance notice or promotion. Because BC doesn't contribute to the operations of the trains, I doubt that they are contributing to the promotion of the trains either. There is a history of bungled government rail investment in British Columbia (see BC Rail or WAC Bennett for more info), so I think that WSDOT will have to continue to subsidize the BC trains unless there is a major change of opinion in BC. The schedule of 513/516 is convenient for BC residents heading south (and Portland residents heading north). With the coming tourist season I would expect to see a jump in ridership on both trains.

Most of the ARRA money allocated to WSDOT will be focused on the Seattle to Portland segment of the corridor. Seattle to Vancouver will be a much more difficult segment to upgrade to higher speeds. Much of the line curves along the shore of Puget Sound, which leads to some spectacular views of the Sound, the Olympic Mts and maybe some beautiful sunsets, but at less than HSR speeds. Once the line moves inland, most of the line is single-tracked without enough sidings to allow for fluid operations. The existing schedules are carefully timed so that the northbound and southbound trains will meet at the Burlington siding. If that meet goes wrong, both trains can be significantly delayed.

I agree that the extensions of 513/516 are probably here to stay as long as the CBSA continues to waive the inspection fee.
Vincent
 
Posts: 901
Joined: Sun Jul 02, 2006 12:01 pm
Location: Seattle WA

Re: Second Vancouver Train To Continue

Postby og&frr » Thu Mar 25, 2010 1:43 pm

The second north bound train always stopped in Bellingham. Was Amtrak bussing passengers accross the border to finish the last leg? Amtrak also had(has?) a bus from Seattle to Vancouver daily. Sadly, the bus is faster than the train. WADOT is working on the passing siding in Burlington to lenghen it. Last time I rode south, as we waited for the nb train, everyone on the car was commenting on how loose the spikes were on the main line & how much movement of the rails
og&frr
 
Posts: 8
Joined: Tue Jun 06, 2006 6:22 pm
Location: Bellingham, wa

Re: Second Vancouver Train To Continue

Postby FFolz » Fri Mar 26, 2010 4:02 am

ne plus ultra wrote:My guess is that BC officials will be very disappointed if the train merely continues to carry the pre-Olympic average.


If you're making a bet, then you're on, Ultra. I went to Vancouver this summer for the first time and it was AWESOME. I will be returning as soon as I have the time and money.

If I lived in Seattle, I'd be trying to go there every other weekend. :-D
FFolz
 
Posts: 116
Joined: Sun Feb 07, 2010 6:51 pm
Location: Midway on the Yulee RR

Re: Second Vancouver Train To Continue

Postby FFolz » Fri Mar 26, 2010 4:06 am

Vincent wrote:Hopefully you all will see the ads, remember the Games and make plans for a summer vacation in BC-- with a likely stopover in Seattle and Portland.


Yup, I did that. That way I didn't have to deal with TSA and customs on the same day. Plus I got a sweet train ride in. >:D
FFolz
 
Posts: 116
Joined: Sun Feb 07, 2010 6:51 pm
Location: Midway on the Yulee RR

Re: Second Vancouver Train To Continue

Postby FFolz » Fri Mar 26, 2010 4:09 am

og&frr wrote:Sadly, the bus is faster than the train.


Who cares? I was miserable on that bus.

Well, okay, if you are very worried about time ... but then there is the border crossing. So you will probably have a meltdown if you are too worried about time making THAT trip.
FFolz
 
Posts: 116
Joined: Sun Feb 07, 2010 6:51 pm
Location: Midway on the Yulee RR

Re: Second Vancouver Train To Continue

Postby ne plus ultra » Fri Mar 26, 2010 5:54 pm

FFolz wrote:
ne plus ultra wrote:My guess is that BC officials will be very disappointed if the train merely continues to carry the pre-Olympic average.


If you're making a bet, then you're on, Ultra. I went to Vancouver this summer for the first time and it was AWESOME. I will be returning as soon as I have the time and money.

If I lived in Seattle, I'd be trying to go there every other weekend. :-D

So you're betting that the train will continue to carry the pre-Olympic average, but BC officials won't be disappointed by this??? If that's your bet, I'll take it. That would be the other option to what I said.
ne plus ultra
 
Posts: 803
Joined: Fri Jun 23, 2006 11:02 pm

Re: Second Vancouver Train To Continue

Postby Vincent » Thu Aug 19, 2010 5:09 pm

WSDOT has announced a 25% discount on Cascades fares to Vancouver during September 2010. What isn't being announced is whether or not the 2nd train to BC will continue beyond September 2010. If the Canadian border officials want Amtrak to pay $1500/day for border inspections, it is likely that 9/30/2010 will be the last day of 2 trains a day to Vancouver. Here's an announcement from WSDOT: http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/News/2010/08/08 ... ersary.htm

After one year in operation, the second Amtrak Cascades train to Vancouver, B.C., has topped its ridership expectations and recorded its best month in July, with nearly 25,000 passengers.

To encourage even greater ridership between the state of Washington and British Columbia, travelers will be offered a 25 percent ticket discount on Amtrak Cascades travel to Vancouver, B.C. during the month of September.


The ridership numbers quoted for the 2nd train (513/516) are, I think, ridership on the entire corridor between Portland and Vancouver for those trains, not just the Seattle to BC segment.
Vincent
 
Posts: 901
Joined: Sun Jul 02, 2006 12:01 pm
Location: Seattle WA

Next

Return to Amtrak

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: gokeefe, Woody and 11 guests