Builder Schedule - December

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David Benton
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Re: Builder Schedule - December

Post by David Benton » Thu Jan 30, 2014 6:39 pm

The Builder has its own facebook page, with many comments and experiences with the current situation.https://www.facebook.com/groups/AmtrakEmpireBuilder/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
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David Benton
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Re: Builder Schedule - December

Post by David Benton » Fri Jan 31, 2014 6:03 pm

The detour route looks shorter and straighter. Plus, 3 station stops are missed. I would say the detour would represent a chance to catch up regardless of the directional running.
It Could possibly arrive early.!
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The only train trips I regret are the ones I didn't take.

ThirdRail7
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Re: Builder Schedule - December

Post by ThirdRail7 » Sat Feb 01, 2014 9:13 am

It's bad news for the Builder, but good news for the industry...as long as things remain on the the rails. The effects of this boom is being felt nationwide. IF anyone is paying attention, the NEC regularly sees crude oil trains outside of the general freight curfew. I'd say there are at least 2-3 trains a day.

To bring this back to topic (although I'm the one taking it off), it will be months before the situation is addressed. There were 100 freight trains in the area the builder needed to bypass and a lot of them weren't moving. With little exception, Amtrak severed the same day Chicago connections from the Builder.

It is as stressful for BNSF as it is for everyone involved in the surge.
I want my road foreman!

AMTK1007
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Re: Builder Schedule - December

Post by AMTK1007 » Sat Feb 01, 2014 10:20 am

David Benton wrote:The Builder has its own facebook page, with many comments and experiences with the current situation.https://www.facebook.com/groups/AmtrakEmpireBuilder/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
And many of those comments are made by people that refuse to listen to the many Amtrak employees and former employees that work (worked) the empire builder and deal with the situation on a 24/7 basis. Certainly I am not advocating censorship and not to express your opinion, but when someone that is coping with the situation tells you what is going on or why something is the what that it is, you really shouldn't tell them they don't know what they are talking about.

SOmetimes I see that in this forui as well, but not to the extent that I have seen it over there. Certainly the idea to put 2 operating crews on the train and have them get rest on the train relieving each other all the way to the opposite terminal will be a non stater no matter what.
Conductors Portable calling the Head End of Amtrak 7, we have a green on the starting system, America's train can Depart Chicago on signal indication, lets go to channel 44

David Benton
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Re: Builder Schedule - December

Post by David Benton » Sat Feb 01, 2014 3:29 pm

At least it shows wnat customers and supporters are thinking . I thought most were supportive , and few overly critical of Amtrak crews.
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peconicstation
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Re: Builder Schedule - December

Post by peconicstation » Thu Feb 13, 2014 8:26 am

Another story on the Empire Builders struggle with oil trains, and what is according to BNSF a general increase in freight traffic along the route.

http://www.npr.org/2014/02/06/272150321 ... ern-plains" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;


Ken

Gilbert B Norman
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Re: Builder Schedule - December

Post by Gilbert B Norman » Thu Feb 13, 2014 1:44 pm

Sob, Sob, Sob:

  • Ross Capon, president of the National Association of Railroad Passengers, says BNSF is giving the job of moving oil priority over transporting people. "The result of that is passengers are left out in the cold," he says.

    And Capon fears the chronic delays will give Amtrak a black eye.
    "If you are running a service that looks like a sad joke for an extended period of time, you're going to start to lose business," he says, "and then the people on Capitol Hill who don't believe these trains should exist anyway are going to smell blood and go in for the kill."

    Capon's group is calling on Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx to intervene
Warren did not acquire BNSF for the convenience of Amtrak, who, for as long as I have been following its affairs, has been getting a free ride over the roads with which they hold operating contracts.

It would be 'kinda nice' if NARP could simply accept the facts of life regarding any LD train.
Last edited by Gilbert B Norman on Thu Feb 13, 2014 5:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.

mtuandrew
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Re: Builder Schedule - December

Post by mtuandrew » Thu Feb 13, 2014 4:05 pm

Gilbert B Norman wrote:Sob, Sob, Sob:

  • Ross Capon, president of the National Association of Railroad Passengers, says BNSF is giving the job of moving oil priority over transporting people. "The result of that is passengers are left out in the cold," he says.

    And Capon fears the chronic delays will give Amtrak a black eye.
    "If you are running a service that looks like a sad joke for an extended period of time, you're going to start to lose business," he says, "and then the people on Capitol Hill who don't believe these trains should exist anyway are going to smell blood and go in for the kill."

    Capon's group is calling on Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx to intervene

Warren did not acquire BNSF for the convenience of Amtrak, who, for as long as long as I have been following its affairs, has been getting a free ride over the roads with which they hold operating contracts.

It would be 'kinda nice' if NARP could simply accept the facts of life regarding any LD train.
If NARP put the effort into encouraging a corridor from MSP to CHI that they put into lambasting BNSF for not having enough capacity, we'd have six Twin Cities Hiawathas a day and bus connections to Minot and Bismarck.

peconicstation
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Re: Builder Schedule - December

Post by peconicstation » Thu Feb 13, 2014 5:57 pm

With all these delays to the Builder, and the uptick in business, has this lead to anymore discussion about restoring a train using the North Coast Hiawatha route ?

Ken

ThirdRail7
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Re: Builder Schedule - December

Post by ThirdRail7 » Thu Feb 13, 2014 6:29 pm

Gilbert B Norman wrote:Sob, Sob, Sob:

  • Ross Capon, president of the National Association of Railroad Passengers, says BNSF is giving the job of moving oil priority over transporting people. "The result of that is passengers are left out in the cold," he says.

    And Capon fears the chronic delays will give Amtrak a black eye.
    "If you are running a service that looks like a sad joke for an extended period of time, you're going to start to lose business," he says, "and then the people on Capitol Hill who don't believe these trains should exist anyway are going to smell blood and go in for the kill."

    Capon's group is calling on Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx to intervene
Warren did not acquire BNSF for the convenience of Amtrak, who, for as long as I have been following its affairs, has been getting a free ride over the roads with which they hold operating contracts.

It would be 'kinda nice' if NARP could simply accept the facts of life regarding any LD train.

Umm...Amtrak and the feds just put up 2/3 of the money needed to rebuild a line on the (I believe) the Devil's Lake sub that BNSF said was only used for passenger trains and would abandon the line. Once the money was spent, BNSF naturally put freights on the line they said they don't need. If Amtrak and the feds hadn't sunk money into this route (which is now being used in one direction while another route is being used in the opposite direction to ease congestion from what I understand), BNSF would have even more congestion and would have to offer more apologies to the rest of their customers along the line.

Not bad for 1/3 of the cost.

So, Mr Norman realize that once again, private corporations are benefiting from Amtrak's long Distance service. It would be "kind of nice" if you could tell me how that is a free ride when things like this happen all over the LD system and why you think it is OK to accept money for capital projects and renege on the deals.
I want my road foreman!

David Benton
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Re: Builder Schedule - December

Post by David Benton » Thu Feb 13, 2014 7:41 pm

Good points,TR7.
Regardless of the money spent on the devils lake section, BNSF does have a contract with Amtrak to provide passage of the Amtrak Builder. One could say, Amtrak is a relatively small customer, and can be ignored. But small customers can raise just as much a stink as big ones, especially if they have the public on their side.
To put it in Amtrak terms , the little old lady going from Chicago to Galesburg, can garner as much or more public sympathy, as the high roller travelling first class from NYP to LAX. I woldnt upset her.
Nothing worst in business, when your trying to sell a multi K deal, to have your worst customer come in loudly complaing about the $ 2 part they brought.
Finally, I would note the USA is probably the only democratic country in the world where a big corporation could get away with something like this. If it were to happen here, I would gaurantee the CEO would be invited to have a cup of tea with the prime minister, and would be well aware of what the conversation would be about.
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The only train trips I regret are the ones I didn't take.

AgentSkelly
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Re: Builder Schedule - December

Post by AgentSkelly » Fri Feb 14, 2014 2:49 pm

I think BNSF will figure out something....big or small, BNSF does solve problems with customers pretty well.

This issue isn't just affecting Amtrak, but I also hear JB Hunt with its intermodal service is affected as well, which has a huge operation sending containers from Chicago to Portland and Seattle.
New Westminster to Amtrak 516, whats up with the extra 4 axles, over?

David Benton
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Re: Builder Schedule - December

Post by David Benton » Fri Feb 14, 2014 7:07 pm

Well. "BNSF has promised to add 5,000 crewmembers system wide, with 250 temporary workers in North Dakota. Additionally, BNSF will send 5,000 rail cars and 125 locomotives to the area within the next few weeks. The railroad also committed to end the directional running of the Amtrak’s Empire Builder in North Dakota by month’s end, which forced westbound passengers onto buses for Devils Lake, Grand Forks and Rugby."
From the NARP hotline.
http://narprail.org/news/hotline/2507-h ... ry-14-2014" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
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The only train trips I regret are the ones I didn't take.

mtuandrew
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Re: Builder Schedule - December

Post by mtuandrew » Fri Feb 14, 2014 7:21 pm

David Benton wrote:Well. "BNSF has promised to add 5,000 crewmembers system wide, with 250 temporary workers in North Dakota. Additionally, BNSF will send 5,000 rail cars and 125 locomotives to the area within the next few weeks. The railroad also committed to end the directional running of the Amtrak’s Empire Builder in North Dakota by month’s end, which forced westbound passengers onto buses for Devils Lake, Grand Forks and Rugby."
From the NARP hotline.
http://narprail.org/news/hotline/2507-h ... ry-14-2014" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
I don't see that the 125 additional locomotives and 5,000 railcars will help Amtrak much :wink: Good to see the commitment from BNSF regardless.

If tickets weren't still scarce and I had extra time (and money), I'd be tempted to buy a ticket to Minot just to ride the KO. Then again, I do have better things to do than travel to North Dakota in February :P

David Benton
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Re: Builder Schedule - December

Post by David Benton » Fri Feb 14, 2014 7:42 pm

i think you'd have to allow plenty of time to do so , Andrew.Watching the trains on Amtraks Track a Train , both 7 and 8 seem to be still losing time through the area, despite the directional running.
The good news , no 8 that left Seattle on the 13th is running 13 minutes early, just out of Williston.
Moderator worldwide railfan , Rail travel & trip reports
The only train trips I regret are the ones I didn't take.

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