Amtrak Downeaster Discussion Thread

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

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b&m 1566
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Post by b&m 1566 » Tue Feb 26, 2008 6:21 pm

I'll have to agree with Dick H. if the numbers where down then why did they add another train? The Downeaster is growing but unfortunately not enough and the money that is there is running out. When the new administration comes into office I hope they put a little more TLC into the nation’s rail system than the Bush administration. You can't blame ME, NH or MA each states have major funding issues political or not.
Given the competition level of the automobile and/or buses it’s hard to raise the prices to meet the cost of operation. I don't know what the cost is now to purchase a ticket but if I understood it correctly in my original post ticket prices would have to be raised by at least 12 dollars to cover the net loss per rider. All of a sudden the bus might look much cheaper.

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toolmaker
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Post by toolmaker » Tue Feb 26, 2008 8:01 pm

So far no one has convinced me as a New Hampshire resident I should be taxed for something that I can’t use. I still demand those who use it or have access to this service need to pay more. Stop picking my pockets.
-gary

“If practice makes perfect, and if nobody's perfect, why practice?"

Dick H
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Post by Dick H » Tue Feb 26, 2008 8:06 pm

The Downeaster feature on the WMUR TV9 this evening's "Chronicle" was taped by the news crew boarding #682 at Dover, riding to Boston, then taking #683 to Portland and then #686 back to Dover. These are the trains that a previous poster said that no one was riding. While certainly not crowded, these trains were quite well patronized for mid-day trains during the week during the winter. Good piece by the Channel 9 crew.

Dick

Cowford
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Post by Cowford » Tue Feb 26, 2008 8:37 pm

I don't know what the cost is now to purchase a ticket but if I understood it correctly in my original post ticket prices would have to be raised by at least 12 dollars to cover the net loss per rider. All of a sudden the bus might look much cheaper.
The future is here: The bus already is cheaper: Round trip Por-Bos is $35 (same day $31); Downeaster is $46 (same day $39). That's a whopping 31% (or same day 26%) premium to ride the train.

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MEC407
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Post by MEC407 » Tue Feb 26, 2008 8:49 pm

Same day round trip on the DE can be had for about $35 if you have a AAA membership. Seniors and students also get similar discounts.

Even if the bus is a little cheaper and a little faster, I'm willing to pay a little more for the train because it's so much more comfortable... and based on my past experiences with Greyhound, I consider the train safer as well. ("That's just my personal opinion," etc.)
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NHN503
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Post by NHN503 » Tue Feb 26, 2008 10:42 pm

I would have to agree. I personally prefer to pay more for the DE than the bus as I find the trains experience better. And I'm not just saying that because I like trains. I hate buses, and I hate subway trains. :-D

Finch
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Post by Finch » Tue Feb 26, 2008 11:41 pm

So far no one has convinced me as a New Hampshire resident I should be taxed for something that I can’t use. I still demand those who use it or have access to this service need to pay more. Stop picking my pockets.
I'm sure the sheer number of programs we all pay for with our taxes but never use is overwhelming. But someone is using them. Personally I am comfortable with the idea of taxes because they work for the greater good of our society. I have a feeling neither of us is going to be convinced by the other's arguments though, so I think we can just leave it at this. :-)

I can personally attest to the popularity of midway stations on the Downeaster route. There is ALWAYS someone getting on or off at UNH. I use the Downeaster to travel between Durham and Woburn, usually on a mid- to late-afternoon southbound train (clearly not rush hour for commuters), and there is no shortage of passengers. On a special occasion (say, Thanksgiving weekend), I have seen 80 to 100 students board. On normal weekend, I may share the train with 20 to 40 other students. And there is a healthy population of non-UNHers on the train as well. Things can get a little snug!

Virtually all of these student riders would be using cars (NOT a bus) to get to and from campus if it weren't for the Downeaster. So I think in this case the train has a modest but distinct positive impact on the environment (and local traffic).

I missed this TV special. If anyone happens to find it online (no luck on wmur.com so far), I would appreciate a link.

NEWanderer
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Post by NEWanderer » Wed Feb 27, 2008 8:39 am

Finch wrote:
I can personally attest to the popularity of midway stations on the Downeaster route. There is ALWAYS someone getting on or off at UNH. I use the Downeaster to travel between Durham and Woburn, usually on a mid- to late-afternoon southbound train (clearly not rush hour for commuters), and there is no shortage of passengers. On a special occasion (say, Thanksgiving weekend), I have seen 80 to 100 students board. On normal weekend, I may share the train with 20 to 40 other students. And there is a healthy population of non-UNHers on the train as well. Things can get a little snug!

Virtually all of these student riders would be using cars (NOT a bus) to get to and from campus if it weren't for the Downeaster. So I think in this case the train has a modest but distinct positive impact on the environment (and local traffic).
.
Falls short on nitric oxide, but in general, yes.

Lawnmowers, snowblowers, boats, and everything else that use petroleum support the highway fund. I wonder how many would cry fowl if those other petroleum uses could be diverted into passenger railways.

Noel Weaver
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Post by Noel Weaver » Wed Feb 27, 2008 9:07 am

toolmaker wrote:So far no one has convinced me as a New Hampshire resident I should be taxed for something that I can’t use. I still demand those who use it or have access to this service need to pay more. Stop picking my pockets.
If you take this position, I could take the position that my tax dollars
should not go to a bridge in Littleton or a road in Grafton County because
I don't live there and will never use it.
To carry this even further, my tax dollars here in Florida should not go to
any Interstate highways or railroads in New Hampshire because I do not
live there and I will not use them.
Your argument is very selfish.
Noel Weaver

Jonny Bolt

Post by Jonny Bolt » Wed Feb 27, 2008 11:18 am

I agree with Noel on this one. It seems foolish to take that stance. I live on the seacoast, so in that frame of mind, I shouldn't be paying any taxes to support Littleton's infrastructure, because I do not go there lol.

I believe if pitching in to help society rid of some traffic, accidents, injuries and deaths etc, I am willing to do so.

I also just read that the bus stop at Pease if overflowing with cars. I wonder how this will be remedied. Imagine an alternative......a passenger rail station at Pease connected to the Portsmouth Branch!

Wow, if the PDA up there had any brains, Pease would be booming. It is underutilized. The wrong people are at the top, as usual.

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toolmaker
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Post by toolmaker » Wed Feb 27, 2008 12:47 pm

When I read Amtrak is only collecting 45% of the operating cost per rider on the DE, this is waste. It is not selfish at all. I like trains being used where it makes sense.

What gets me is you rail nuts want to fund a loser. Amtrak should have learned in 30 years how to appeal to the masses enough by now to get the operating loss down to 25% or less. It is BS to think trains should be operated at such a huge loss and not allow for dissent from those with a differing opinion.
-gary

“If practice makes perfect, and if nobody's perfect, why practice?"

henry6

EVIDENTLY

Post by henry6 » Wed Feb 27, 2008 2:30 pm

Evidently Toolmaker is new to these "discussions". One thing I would point out, Tool, noting that you live in Littleton, NH, and not wanting to pay for Downeaster service because you don't use it, am I then to assume you are comfortable paying taxes for I95 through New Hampshire from the MA to ME boarders which I am assuming from where you live, you wouldn't use? Thus, should someone in Fremont or Portsmouth be paying for the upkeep of the highway from Littleton to Whitefield because they don't use it? The whole of government doing for the good of the people: the how, what, where, when, and how much, is something that will always be debated and argued. However the truth is when it comes down to the you get this and they get that and it should all even out, then you have to stop arguing. Except he got more than me... and.....etc.

And the name calling below is uncalled for guys.
Last edited by henry6 on Wed Feb 27, 2008 5:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.

NealG
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Post by NealG » Wed Feb 27, 2008 2:34 pm

toolmaker wrote: It is BS to think trains should be operated at such a huge loss and not allow for dissent from those with a differing opinion.

You have every right to your opinion, however some people will counter or disagree with it, as is their right; that is not "not allow[ing] for dissent from those with a differing opinion".

Mattydred
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Post by Mattydred » Wed Feb 27, 2008 3:57 pm

His name says it all. He's a tool.

Go put some more $4 a gallon gas in your Yukon. You're part of the problem. I'll be laughing on the "train that nobody rides" as I sweep past you while you're in gridlock on the Spaulding or I-95. How's that for dissent?

Guilford Guy

Post by Guilford Guy » Wed Feb 27, 2008 4:02 pm

Mattydred wrote:His name says it all. He's a tool.
LOL!
It takes time to build a rail infrastructure. NH is slowly expanding with service to Nashua with the success of Dover, etc.
peace!

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