North Carolina NCDOT-Amtrak Carolinian Service

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Re: Carolinian assigned seating

Postby R36 Combine Coach » Mon Feb 21, 2011 5:25 pm

afiggatt wrote: Both the Carolinian and Vermonter are state supported trains that have consists similar to an NE Regional, with the difference of a baggage car on the Carolinian and the number of Amfleet I coach cars.
The Vermonter is all Amfleet I, while the Carolinian has Amfleet II coaches and an Amfleet I cafe.
Since my friend continues to chain smoke nonstop, she is probably an Alco.
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Re: Carolinian assigned seating

Postby BuddSilverliner269 » Mon Feb 21, 2011 5:32 pm

R36 Combine Coach wrote:
afiggatt wrote: Both the Carolinian and Vermonter are state supported trains that have consists similar to an NE Regional, with the difference of a baggage car on the Carolinian and the number of Amfleet I coach cars.
The Vermonter is all Amfleet I, while the Carolinian has Amfleet II coaches and an Amfleet I cafe.

The Carolinian is ALL Amfleet 1 cars.
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Re: Carolinian assigned seating

Postby R36 Combine Coach » Mon Feb 21, 2011 5:35 pm

Must have confused with the Palmetto/Pennsylvanian.
Since my friend continues to chain smoke nonstop, she is probably an Alco.
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Re: Carolinian assigned seating

Postby Matt Johnson » Mon Feb 21, 2011 6:08 pm

BuddSilverliner269 wrote:The Carolinian is ALL Amfleet 1 cars.


Indeed. When I last rode the Carolinian down to Durham in 2002, it used an Amfleet II for business class. (And it had a Horizon cafe as well.) But now it's all Amfleet I (plus a baggage car).
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Re: Carolinian assigned seating

Postby orulz » Tue Feb 22, 2011 3:01 pm

Back to assigned seating.

If all the stations along the route could be converted to high-platform (fat chance, I know) or the rolling stock converted to some sort of bilevel with level boarding at low platforms, then I speculate that assigned seating would be a thing of the past. As it is, they seem to try to sort people out into cars based on what station they are detraining at, so that they only have to open one, two, or three doors at any given low-platform station.

As it is, I wish that, rather than having your seats be completely up to the conductor, it could be incorporated into Amtrak's reservations system. Say you are traveling CYN-WAS. The reservation system then "knows" that only the 4th car will be opening there, so it restricts your seat selection to anywhere in that car, but allows YOU to be the one to choose. The policy of keeping large blocks of seats reserved for large groups is a nice thought, but the best seats in the train really should be first-come, first-serve: ie, you book first, you get first choice, as on most airplanes.

I have definitely boarded at CYN for a trip to DC, and had friends board 10 minutes later at RGH, but be given the ultimate "evil eye" by the conductor when asking if I could be moved to an open seat closer to my friends.
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Re: Carolinian assigned seating

Postby TomNelligan » Tue Feb 22, 2011 3:39 pm

The policy of keeping large blocks of seats reserved for large groups is a nice thought, but the best seats in the train really should be first-come, first-serve: ie, you book first, you get first choice, as on most airplanes.


I strongly agree. If I'm traveling alone I certainly don't expect a seat to myself, but I want to be able to grab a window seat if one becomes available. It is absolutely routine for airlines to offer seat selection, and Amtrak's reservation system should be able to do the same on long distance routes.
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Re: Carolinian assigned seating

Postby oknazevad » Tue Feb 22, 2011 6:04 pm

I don't believe that's viable. There's a key difference between train travel and air travel. Once the plane is in the air, until it lands, no one is getting on or off the plane (unless it's D.B. Cooper). Therefore it's a fixed set of people with a fixed set of seats for the entire length of the flight. Everybody's starting in the same place and going to the same place.

Whereas on a train, somone can get on in New York, grab the window seat, and then get off in DC, opening up that same seat for a guy who got on in Philly and is going to Richmond. The number of people on the train is not fixed throughout it's entire journey, and not everybody is going to the same places. And it's different for every trip. So assigned seating just wouldn't work.
rails > roads

On second thought, let's not go to the NJ Transit Rail forum, 'tis a silly place.
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Re: Carolinian assigned seating

Postby hi55us » Wed Feb 23, 2011 12:14 am

oknazevad wrote:I don't believe that's viable. There's a key difference between train travel and air travel. Once the plane is in the air, until it lands, no one is getting on or off the plane (unless it's D.B. Cooper). Therefore it's a fixed set of people with a fixed set of seats for the entire length of the flight. Everybody's starting in the same place and going to the same place.

Whereas on a train, somone can get on in New York, grab the window seat, and then get off in DC, opening up that same seat for a guy who got on in Philly and is going to Richmond. The number of people on the train is not fixed throughout it's entire journey, and not everybody is going to the same places. And it's different for every trip. So assigned seating just wouldn't work.

It would work for the auto train :)

Also they could do this for the people traveling the full distance of the route, IE Newark/NYP-North Carolina
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Re: Carolinian assigned seating

Postby gt7348b » Thu Mar 03, 2011 8:33 pm

Ummm, having traveled reserved seat (including paying an extra 3 euros or so) many times on DB, Thalys, TGV and Eurostar which all board and alight along the entire route, assigned seating can most definitely work on trains. It isn't impossible, just we don't do it.
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Re: Carolinian assigned seating

Postby bardk321 » Sat Mar 05, 2011 12:35 pm

I'm Amtrak OBS and I regularly assign seating in the coaches.

Without assigning seats, it's chaos. People will always flock to the window seats and sprawl across the double seats denying the seat beside them for other passengers. The last thing I need is getting into Denver on my 5th day of working, completely sleep deprived and shuffling comfortable angry people to aisle seats to accommodate a family of 5 so they sit together.

For myself, I try to provide long haul passengers a window seat or even a double seat when available, but it's not guaranteed. I've given up my own seat in the coaches multiple times when we're full. The problems of providing seating in coaches is not an OBS problem, but a ticketing problem. Amtrak's ticketing should be reformed so as to assign seats via ticketing and allow customers to choose their preference, but don't blame OBS for trying to manage their cars. We have very limited resources and are stretched thin to work two or even three coaches all alone for days at a time. We have to have a system to maintain some control and ensure that people get on and off at their stops and that there are seats available for every ticketed passenger.
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Re: Carolinian assigned seating

Postby Jeff Smith » Wed May 09, 2012 1:55 pm

Site Admin Note: Combining a few threads into a Carolinian Thread.

See here for a Piedmont Thread: viewtopic.php?f=46&t=87693&p=1044222#p1044222
Next stop, Willoughby
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Re: North Carolina NCDOT-Amtrak Carolinian Service

Postby Arlington » Fri Dec 07, 2012 3:56 pm

Congrats to the Carolinian for showing a profit for FY 2012!

from Page 48 of http://www.amtrak.com/ccurl/34/894/Amtr ... r-2012.pdf

Here are Amtrak's top routes by contribution (profit in cents per Seat-Mile)

20.0 Acela
5.7 Amtrak Virginia - Lynchburg - NEC
2.8 Non-Acela NEC
1.8 Amtrak Virginia - Newport News - NEC
0.7 Carolinian
- 0.1 Ethan Allan Express
- 0.9 Pere Marquette
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Re: North Carolina NCDOT-Amtrak Carolinian Service

Postby SouthernRailway » Fri Dec 07, 2012 8:23 pm

Thanks for the link- very interesting. It should also help the Carolinian's survival to be seen as profitable.

My view, after looking at those financial statements, is that they're not worth a lot. They exclude interest/depreciation/capital costs/OPEBs, which are apparently "other post employment benefits", and "other costs". They include all revenues, which seems to include state support.

In short, "profitable" by Amtrak's "do-your-own-thing" accounting wouldn't mean "profitable" in the private sector.
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Re: North Carolina NCDOT-Amtrak Carolinian Service

Postby hi55us » Fri Dec 07, 2012 8:54 pm

SouthernRailway wrote:Thanks for the link- very interesting. It should also help the Carolinian's survival to be seen as profitable.

My view, after looking at those financial statements, is that they're not worth a lot. They exclude interest/depreciation/capital costs/OPEBs, which are apparently "other post employment benefits", and "other costs". They include all revenues, which seems to include state support.

In short, "profitable" by Amtrak's "do-your-own-thing" accounting wouldn't mean "profitable" in the private sector.


With state supported trains like the Carolinian, I would assume "profitable" would be counting the subsidy from the state as revenue.

When a state supported train runs a profit, does amtrak have to refund the state?
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Re: North Carolina NCDOT-Amtrak Carolinian Service

Postby Arlington » Fri Dec 07, 2012 10:45 pm

SouthernRailway wrote:Thanks for the link- very interesting. It should also help the Carolinian's survival to be seen as profitable.

My view, after looking at those financial statements, is that they're not worth a lot. They exclude interest/depreciation/capital costs/OPEBs, which are apparently "other post employment benefits", and "other costs". They include all revenues, which seems to include state support.

In short, "profitable" by Amtrak's "do-your-own-thing" accounting wouldn't mean "profitable" in the private sector.

OPEBs are applied--just in their own column. The capital charge is currently n/a. The last two (rightmost) columns are meant to be the profit after the full-allocation of the pooled costs (of OPEB and Capital equipment costs).

Amtrak Virginia (at least) "bought" its equipment (by paying for the refurb of equipment that were then added to the pool to support its extensions). It paid about $8m, and I seem to recall that if you amortized that over 10 years, you'd get about 800k in capital costs allocated (on a train that currently has a $3m surplus) so that it will be profitable even when they figure how to allocate capital costs. I don't know how NC paid for the Carolinian rolling stock.
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