Amtrak and Commuter Railroads: SEPTA, MARC, VRE, NJT (was Bullying)

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

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quad50cal
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Re: Amtrak Bullying Commuter Railroads, Newest Target is SEPTA

Post by quad50cal » Fri Jun 21, 2019 9:58 pm

Tadman wrote:
Wed Jun 19, 2019 7:50 am
See graph: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/ ... 0-2015.png
See graph of NYC Subway Ridership: https://cdn.viewing.nyc/assets/media/bf ... 731dd8.png
Tadman wrote:
Wed Jun 19, 2019 7:50 am
Despite what our resident socialists feel, the number show privatisation has been a resounding success for ridership in the UK, which has more than doubled since privatisation in 1997. It hasn't been without its hiccups
The NYC Subway managed to accomplish a near identical renaissance without having to resort to a privatization scheme. The NYC Subway as did British Rail suffered from the same problem of decades of chronic extreme under-funding. The British made a deal with the devil by choosing privatization to address their funding shortfall. They now have to contend with international ownership of their railways, ticket prices that are up to six times the relative price of their European peers and the British government still pays for nearly all of the capital improvements to infrastructure and about half of infrastructure maintenance costs.

So while the "socialize the losses, privatize the profits" scheme that the British have adopted would help alleviate capital needs, you have to wonder if a convoluted accounting shell game is an improvement on Amtrak.

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Re: Amtrak and Commuter Railroads: SEPTA, MARC, VRE, NJT (was Bullying)

Post by mtuandrew » Sat Jun 22, 2019 10:10 am

This is one of those moments I wish this forum had “like” buttons :wink: Thanks, meatchopper, you’re more eloquent than I was.

electricron
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Re: Amtrak Bullying Commuter Railroads, Newest Target is SEPTA

Post by electricron » Sat Jun 22, 2019 1:12 pm

quad50cal wrote:
Fri Jun 21, 2019 9:58 pm
Tadman wrote:
Wed Jun 19, 2019 7:50 am
See graph: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/ ... 0-2015.png
See graph of NYC Subway Ridership: https://cdn.viewing.nyc/assets/media/bf ... 731dd8.png
Tadman wrote:
Wed Jun 19, 2019 7:50 am
Despite what our resident socialists feel, the number show privatisation has been a resounding success for ridership in the UK, which has more than doubled since privatisation in 1997. It hasn't been without its hiccups
The NYC Subway managed to accomplish a near identical renaissance without having to resort to a privatization scheme. The NYC Subway as did British Rail suffered from the same problem of decades of chronic extreme under-funding. The British made a deal with the devil by choosing privatization to address their funding shortfall. They now have to contend with international ownership of their railways, ticket prices that are up to six times the relative price of their European peers and the British government still pays for nearly all of the capital improvements to infrastructure and about half of infrastructure maintenance costs.

So while the "socialize the losses, privatize the profits" scheme that the British have adopted would help alleviate capital needs, you have to wonder if a convoluted accounting shell game is an improvement on Amtrak.
Do not confuse British Rail with the Underground, nor confuse Amtrak with the NY subway. All four are completely different organizations.
The Underground was entirely private until 1948, when the nationalized British Rail was formed, initially within BR eventually and in 1962 it became independent but still under the Transport Ministry. In 1970 responsibility was assumed by the Greater London Council . In 1984 responsibility returned to the central government, and finally in 1994 back to the Greater London.
It seems the British can not decide which government should run it, national or local.
Intercity trains in Britain were also entirely private until 1948 when British Rail was formed. BR was privatized 1994-1997. Ownership of the track and infrastructure passed to Railtrack on 1 April 1994. Passenger operations were later franchised to 25 private-sector operators and the freight services were sold to six companies.

Amtrak was formed in 1971, when it basically assumed all remaining intercity train services from private operators. Amtrak reported 31.7 million passengers and $3.17 Billion in revenues in 2018, but received $2.8 Billion in additional subsidies from Congress.. So, for 2018 the math = $5.97 Billion / 31.7 million riders = $188 /rider.

NY’s subway per Wiki
“By the time the first subway opened in 1904, the lines had been consolidated into two privately owned systems, the Brooklyn Rapid Transit Company (BRT, later Brooklyn–Manhattan Transit Corporation, BMT) and the Interborough Rapid Transit Company (IRT). The city built most of the lines and leased them to the companies. The first line of the city-owned and operated Independent Subway System (IND) opened in 1932; this system was intended to compete with the private systems and allow some of the elevated railways to be torn down, but stayed within the core of the City due to its small startup capital. This required it to be run 'at cost', necessitating fares up to double the five-cent fare popular at the time. In 1940, the city bought the two private systems. Some elevated lines ceased service immediately while others closed soon after. As of 2018, the New York City Subway's budgetary burden for expenditures was $8.7 billion, supported by collection of fares, bridge tolls, earmarked regional taxes and fees, as well as direct funding from state and local governments. In 2017, the subway delivered over 1.72 billion rides, averaging approximately 5.6 million daily rides on weekdays and a combined 5.7 million rides each weekend (3.2 million on Saturdays; 2.5 million on Sundays).”
Some math = $8.7 Billion/year / 1.72 Billion riders/year = $5.05 /rider

FYI, I wish I knew how to find costs/rider in Britain, I would add those statistics to this thread.

SouthernRailway
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Re: Amtrak Bullying Commuter Railroads, Newest Target is SEPTA

Post by SouthernRailway » Sat Jun 22, 2019 3:25 pm

Tadman wrote:
Wed Jun 19, 2019 7:50 am
It's all kind of crazy. I'd split it up into an infrastructure company that owns NEC, another one that owns the Michigan track (sell it to Michigan?), a long distance company, and let the privateers open up the corridor(s). Despite what our resident socialists feel, the number show privatisation has been a resounding success for ridership in the UK, which has more than doubled since privatisation in 1997. It hasn't been without its hiccups, but the entire point of publicly owned and operated passenger trains has been to provide a public good, and it seems the private sector is providing twice the units of public good in the same setting.

See graph: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/ ... 0-2015.png
I believe that even with privatization in the UK, government subsidies have increased, by various measures.

If elected officials in the Federal government were even remotely capable of doing anything in a competent and well-intentioned manner, than I'd be glad to let them privatize Amtrak. But Republicans (and I used to be one) generally hate trains, and Democrats hate private enterprise, and Class Is don't really want to be in the passenger business, and our skeletal network may be too skeletal to support the overhead of numerous private companies.

So I'll cheer on Brightline and hope that it expands, but I'd rather just let Amtrak be, as it's the devil we know.

rcthompson04
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Re: Amtrak and Commuter Railroads: SEPTA, MARC, VRE, NJT (was Bullying)

Post by rcthompson04 » Wed Jun 26, 2019 5:36 pm

New less biased article:

https://trib.al/fyuTKj6

Posted from the over hour late Great Valley Flyer that had to back up all the way from Bryn Mawr to Overbrook due to Amtrak switch failure.

eolesen
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Re: Amtrak Bullying Commuter Railroads, Newest Target is SEPTA

Post by eolesen » Wed Jun 26, 2019 10:00 pm

mtuandrew wrote:
Thu Jun 20, 2019 7:23 pm
Hah, I’m not advocating nationalization of Class 1s. However, a well-planned, creative, long-lasting and forceful legal battle could result in a landmark monopolies case such as Northern Securities that results in open access on private roads. If a de facto Class I like Amtrak has to be open access, it must be a good enough idea that private Class I roads be pressured to do the same.
If you have to involve the courts to force access, that sounds an awful lot like a government taking...

There are also no barriers to a new railroad being formed and built, or for existing ones to build new mainline.

Brightline managed to buy access to start service, Texas Central HSR is trying to buy and build new ROW, and CHSR still managed to buy and build new ROW.

Suburban Station
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Re: Amtrak and Commuter Railroads: SEPTA, MARC, VRE, NJT (was Bullying)

Post by Suburban Station » Thu Jun 27, 2019 11:08 am

rcthompson04 wrote:
Wed Jun 26, 2019 5:36 pm
New less biased article:

https://trib.al/fyuTKj6

Posted from the over hour late Great Valley Flyer that had to back up all the way from Bryn Mawr to Overbrook due to Amtrak switch failure.
SEPTA is being cheap, Amtrak is asking for $1.5 million a year for 46 stations and parking.
SEPTA has a $1.5 billion operating budget, and paying $1.5 million more to use the land along the tracks isn’t going to break the bank
the 2% increase may turn out to be a onerous but more likely it will be less than inflation.

rcthompson04
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Re: Amtrak and Commuter Railroads: SEPTA, MARC, VRE, NJT (was Bullying)

Post by rcthompson04 » Thu Jun 27, 2019 12:57 pm

Of course SEPTA is being cheap.

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Re: Amtrak and Commuter Railroads: SEPTA, MARC, VRE, NJT (was Bullying)

Post by ThirdRail7 » Mon Jul 01, 2019 8:20 pm

Cheap...or frugal? It may be best to stay ahead of this, particularly with the turnpike lawsuit still working its way through the courts.
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Suburban Station
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Re: Amtrak and Commuter Railroads: SEPTA, MARC, VRE, NJT (was Bullying)

Post by Suburban Station » Tue Jul 02, 2019 8:58 am

does it make a differences? synonyms for frugal:
"synonyms: meager, scanty, scant, paltry, skimpy, insufficient;"

it isn't the best way to stay ahead of this, it's $1.5 million. 15 years ago SEPTA was supposed to contribute money to a joint program to rehab the Harrisburg line with Amtrak and PennDOT contributing $70 some odd million. SEPTA backed out of their contribution, unwilling to use debt which would have been the intelligent move. as a result the SEPTA section did not get addressed and it shows. as with all things SEPTA, passengers bear the brunt of their short sighted thinking.

rcthompson04
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Re: Amtrak and Commuter Railroads: SEPTA, MARC, VRE, NJT (was Bullying)

Post by rcthompson04 » Tue Jul 02, 2019 11:32 am

I am not sure I agree with the last part of your comment. The primary area used by SEPTA on the Keystone line (Malvern to 30th Street) seems to be less problematic than the "western" section west of Malvern. Sure it would be nice to clean up the interlockings, but the bulk of the delays and cancellations over the last 6 months appear to be due to issues west of Malvern.

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Re: Amtrak and Commuter Railroads: SEPTA, MARC, VRE, NJT (was Bullying)

Post by Suburban Station » Fri Aug 02, 2019 3:31 pm

rcthompson04 wrote:
Tue Jul 02, 2019 11:32 am
I am not sure I agree with the last part of your comment. The primary area used by SEPTA on the Keystone line (Malvern to 30th Street) seems to be less problematic than the "western" section west of Malvern. Sure it would be nice to clean up the interlockings, but the bulk of the delays and cancellations over the last 6 months appear to be due to issues west of Malvern.
not just west of malvern but SEPTA territory west of malvern. west of thorn the railroad is in better shape. when issues occur between Park and PAO it is a big issue because trains have to run at restricted speed when using the opposite track...mainly because this section was part of the unfunded portion of the Keystone program.

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Tadman
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Re: Amtrak Bullying Commuter Railroads, Newest Target is SEPTA

Post by Tadman » Fri Aug 02, 2019 3:50 pm

quad50cal wrote:
Fri Jun 21, 2019 9:58 pm
Tadman wrote:
Wed Jun 19, 2019 7:50 am
See graph: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/ ... 0-2015.png
See graph of NYC Subway Ridership: https://cdn.viewing.nyc/assets/media/bf ... 731dd8.png
Tadman wrote:
Wed Jun 19, 2019 7:50 am
Despite what our resident socialists feel, the number show privatisation has been a resounding success for ridership in the UK, which has more than doubled since privatisation in 1997. It hasn't been without its hiccups
The NYC Subway managed to accomplish a near identical renaissance without having to resort to a privatization scheme. The NYC Subway as did British Rail suffered from the same problem of decades of chronic extreme under-funding. The British made a deal with the devil by choosing privatization to address their funding shortfall. They now have to contend with international ownership of their railways, ticket prices that are up to six times the relative price of their European peers and the British government still pays for nearly all of the capital improvements to infrastructure and about half of infrastructure maintenance costs.


I completely agree with your analysis of NYC subways and British Rail, with this caveat: riders were scared off, and riders came back, but it was crime in NYC while it was bad service in Britain. See this graph of NYC crime: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crime_in_ ... e_rate.png

In NYC, there were once signs advising riders to stay away after 8pm. The subway was in awful shape and it was a great place to get mugged. This is literally where the Guardian Angels came about: "Sliwa originally created the organization to combat widespread violence and crime on the New York City Subway system." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guardian_Angels. You'll notice that the ridership uptick occurs pretty close to the violent crime downtick.
quad50cal wrote:
Fri Jun 21, 2019 9:58 pm
So while the "socialize the losses, privatize the profits" scheme that the British have adopted would help alleviate capital needs, you have to wonder if a convoluted accounting shell game is an improvement on Amtrak.
I don't wonder much. "socialize the losses and privatize the profits" is a false equivalency.

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Re: Amtrak Bullying Commuter Railroads, Newest Target is SEPTA

Post by SouthernRailway » Sat Aug 03, 2019 5:45 pm

quad50cal wrote:
Fri Jun 21, 2019 9:58 pm
Tadman wrote:
Wed Jun 19, 2019 7:50 am
See graph: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/ ... 0-2015.png
See graph of NYC Subway Ridership: https://cdn.viewing.nyc/assets/media/bf ... 731dd8.png
Tadman wrote:
Wed Jun 19, 2019 7:50 am
Despite what our resident socialists feel, the number show privatisation has been a resounding success for ridership in the UK, which has more than doubled since privatisation in 1997. It hasn't been without its hiccups
The NYC Subway managed to accomplish a near identical renaissance without having to resort to a privatization scheme. The NYC Subway as did British Rail suffered from the same problem of decades of chronic extreme under-funding. The British made a deal with the devil by choosing privatization to address their funding shortfall. They now have to contend with international ownership of their railways, ticket prices that are up to six times the relative price of their European peers and the British government still pays for nearly all of the capital improvements to infrastructure and about half of infrastructure maintenance costs.

So while the "socialize the losses, privatize the profits" scheme that the British have adopted would help alleviate capital needs, you have to wonder if a convoluted accounting shell game is an improvement on Amtrak.
The NYC Subway is a disaster now, with antiquated infrastructure, far higher construction costs than private and public lines elsewhere and far higher labor costs than elsewhere: it uses amounts of money invested in it far less efficiently than a for-profit company would. Further, its ridership is falling.

So if you want an example of a successful publicly-run system, the NYC transit system is not one to use.

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Re: Amtrak and Commuter Railroads: SEPTA, MARC, VRE, NJT (was Bullying)

Post by David Benton » Sat Aug 03, 2019 6:26 pm

British rail had pretty good Service levels, it was nothing to do with service, more to do with ideology. The British taxpayers ended up paying far more, but it was OK because it was going to private hands. I don't think privatization was a bad thing, but it was bungled badly by blindly following a dogma. The lesson is its more about the capital avaliable, than where it comes from.
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