• A good example of why RR's lost pasenger service

  • General discussion about railroad operations, related facilities, maps, and other resources.
General discussion about railroad operations, related facilities, maps, and other resources.

Moderator: Robert Paniagua

  by charlie6017
 
Please----put the champagne down!! It's not even close to midnight! :-)

Charlie
  by Cowford
 
Just as fun trivia - the "real" folks flying that American Airways journey between Chicago and New York back in 1933 would have paid a whopping $1,820 for a round-trip ticket (in today's dollars) and taken ~6.5 hrs each way... in the mid 50's, it would cost $5-700 and take 3.5-5 hrs. Today, a 14-day advance ticket costs $231 and takes 2-2.5 hrs. Like planes or hate 'em, that's progress.

Meanwhile on the same route, Amtrak takes 20 hrs each way and the RT fare with roomette is $558.
  by RDGTRANSMUSEUM
 
thanks for pointing that out,as long as planes are faster and cheaper rail has no chance for mass travel long distance.
  by PassRailSavesFuel
 
RDGTRANSMUSEUM wrote:thanks for pointing that out,as long as planes are faster and cheaper rail has no chance for mass travel long distance.
All we have to do is have the airlines build their own airports, and maintain the air traffic control system. And of course pay for the security costs. You do know that the few trains we have do sell out weeks in advance. The most expensive space on the train goes first. The deluxe bedrooms! So when it comes to trains, it all about comfort. Let's forget that $558, because there is plenty of people to pay it.
  by Passenger
 
The switch to airplanes would have been much sooner but for the Great Depression and WWII.
  by Ocala Mike
 
That is very debatable, at least insofar as the war is concerned. Technological advances such as pressurization, jet propulsion, radar, and improved radio communications came directly out of WWII.
Also, after the war, many airbases which had outlived their usefulness became commercial airports.
  by scharnhorst
 
Cowford wrote:Just as fun trivia - the "real" folks flying that American Airways journey between Chicago and New York back in 1933 would have paid a whopping $1,820 for a round-trip ticket (in today's dollars) and taken ~6.5 hrs each way... in the mid 50's, it would cost $5-700 and take 3.5-5 hrs. Today, a 14-day advance ticket costs $231 and takes 2-2.5 hrs. Like planes or hate 'em, that's progress.

Meanwhile on the same route, Amtrak takes 20 hrs each way and the RT fare with roomette is $558.
only thing is the air lines are stretching the things out. My sister lives in Colorado Springs, CO She departed from Syracuse and had to change planes in Boston before she could go to Colorado Springs. The flight was an 8 hour flight. Hell I went to Arizona 11 years and the flight was less than 6 hours and that included changing planes in Chicago, IL. Hell this would be like leaving Rochester,NY on a flight to NYC but first flying to Buffalo for a flight change if your going to do that then you might as well have taken the train!
  by PassRailSavesFuel
 
scharnhorst wrote:
Cowford wrote:Just as fun trivia - the "real" folks flying that American Airways journey between Chicago and New York back in 1933 would have paid a whopping $1,820 for a round-trip ticket (in today's dollars) and taken ~6.5 hrs each way... in the mid 50's, it would cost $5-700 and take 3.5-5 hrs. Today, a 14-day advance ticket costs $231 and takes 2-2.5 hrs. Like planes or hate 'em, that's progress.

Meanwhile on the same route, Amtrak takes 20 hrs each way and the RT fare with roomette is $558.
only thing is the air lines are stretching the things out. My sister lives in Colorado Springs, CO She departed from Syracuse and had to change planes in Boston before she could go to Colorado Springs. The flight was an 8 hour flight. Hell I went to Arizona 11 years and the flight was less than 6 hours and that included changing planes in Chicago, IL. Hell this would be like leaving Rochester,NY on a flight to NYC but first flying to Buffalo for a flight change if your going to do that then you might as well have taken the train!
The Long Distance trains that are out there, are very popular. There are no extra cars. More than once the Boston sleeper I was assigned to last year. Was bad ordered in Chicago. I was lucky there was a extra long distance coach in the yard, which they did put on the train. I could have been turned away like other times. Half the people were given refunds, and left. There are no extra cars, period. There are private Amtrak approved cars that could be rented ready for something like this. On stand by. But no, not even that! No there's no demand for a 150 name trains a day anymore. But just one train west of Buffalo? Service to Cleveland during the witching hours! The demand we have isn't met! The last trip we stopped at Rochester, I didn't see anyone get on, a major city! Why? they couldn't because no one got off! Every seat was filled.
  by Cowford
 
"All we have to do is have the airlines build their own airports, and maintain the air traffic control system. And of course pay for the security costs."

No doubt airlines are recipients of direct and indirect subsidies, but it's probably not as much of a parasitic situation as many pro-railers make it out to be. For instance, user fees pay for a substantial portion of airport terminal operating and capital costs, and regarding ATC, the commercial carriers have long complained, with reason, that they pay MORE than their fair share (general aviation, e.g., private planes and business jets, pay zero). Amtrak's always been heavily subsized... and with few line exceptions, I don't see ATK providing its own "ATC" or paying it's fully allocated cost of track space on private carriers... or building terminals on its own dime.

Lauding the development of govt.-supported rail pax service, while deriding any public support of air travel is simply hypocritical.
  by Tommy Meehan
 
I've heard it argued that in the nine-plus years since 9/11 the airline industry has probably received more financial support from the US Government than Amtrak has since it's birth in 1971.

I've also heard it argued that it's commercial aviation that those long runways and sophisticated air traffic control systems are built to serve. Not private or business aircraft (which tend to be a lot smaller). And that the FAA exists to protect airlines.

I know private and business aircraft do pay user fees. You know what it costs to land a business jet at a large airport?

As for hypocrisy, passenger railroading did not get underway in 1971 with the advent of Amtrak. The private railroads did pay for all the things mentioned and then some. Don't forget the huge property taxes they paid for rights-of-way and facilities they had to operate and maintain for themselves. In 1959 (a kind of watershed year) the New York Central's property tax bill just in New York City alone was over three million dollars.You know how much money that is in 2011 dollars?

All the while competing against airlines that got financial support virtually from Day One.
  by Cowford
 
"I know private and business aircraft do pay user fees. You know what it costs to land a business jet at a large airport?"

Apologies, I meant to say NEXT TO nothing... and this comment was specific to ATC costs. With regard to landing fees, many airports don't charge them, or the fee is nominal. For example, a small private plane landing in Albany, NY pays about $7 (and that can be waived with a purchase of avgas). A private jet is about $50 (the charge is weight-based). By comparison, a 737 fee is about $300. Interestingly, Albany County Airport operates solidly in the black - operating AND capital costs are funded solely by user fees. (I picked this airport at random - your results may vary.)

And about those runways... many airports are former military bases or mixed civil/military use. Bangor ME never needed a 2-mile long runway for commercial use (though it came in handy for the occasional diversion of the Concorde).

Comparing airline and rail subsidies since 9/11? If what you say is true, put it in perspective: airlines handle ~100 times the passenger-miles as Amtrak.

To state the inequity of airlines being subsidized for 80 years compared to Amtrak's 40 years hand-out history skirts the point: Are you for subsidy of both moving forward, or subsidy of neither?
  by Tommy Meehan
 
Cowford wrote:Are you for subsidy of both moving forward, or subsidy of neither?
From the railroad point of view it's too late to ask that question, at least regarding passenger service.

Go back to the 1950s and you'll see the railroads -- separately and collectively through the Association of American Railroads -- wanted "equality." A level playing field. Essentially they were asking for the airlines or truckers or barge operators to pay their real costs. But that never happened and investment in rail passenger services gradually ended. In fact the lack of a coherent government transportation policy nearly drove the entire railroad industry into bankruptcy.

That "many airports" were orginally military fields always seems like a real canard to me. I think very few actually were. None of the major airports in the New York area are converted military bases with one exception -Stewart near Newburgh.

These airports have consumed millions and millions of public dollars. If you read the history of the Port Authority of New York/New Jersey, you'll discover the major airlines have always fought tooth-and-nail to keep their user fees as low as possible.
Cowford wrote:Albany County Airport operates solidly in the black - operating AND capital costs are funded solely by user fees.
Are they exempt from paying property taxes?
  by 3rdrail
 
That was a very interesting little movie. Thank you for bringing it to us. What I found particularly interesting was the demeanor of the passengers on board the early Curtiss Condors which was obviously inspired by the best that the railroad has to offer. Airplane passengers rarely are as animated and relaxed as in this movie. The reason being, frankly, is that most are thinking about dropping thousands of feet out of the sky. That was true before 9/11, and I would assume, quite pronounced during the pioneering days of air flight such as depicted in this film. The passengers look like they are in good spirits...travelling on a train, where travel is more relaxed and conducive to good humor and communication between many other passengers and not just your seat mate. I'm sure that the producers of this flick took that cue from the railroads. They knew that if they showed the typical airplane cabin, that viewers would notice the tension and compare in their own minds their experiences on board trains...which would have been a gross PR error. And that's where trains had the edge. Trains had their accidents, but everyone knows that what will delay you in a train mishap will kill you thousands of feet up in the air. AA wanted it's viewers to forget all that, so they made it look like New York Central's 20th Century Limited. By the way, some juice went into that flick. Did you notice the presence of who I believe might have been famous persons of the day ? I think that the "fat guy" is Fatty Arbuckle, an infamous actor who later became quite controversial. And could that actually be Colonel Sanders of Kentucky Fried Chicken fame ? hahaha!!! Who's the actress ? Anyone know ? Oh, and you gotta love the added extra footage after the end of the flick, "Yes, air travel has changed...especially at American", so as to not confuse the viewer into thinking that AA still runs with Condors. And best of all, I believe that the voice is non other than great character actor/icon, the late Leslie Nielsen of "Airport" fame. hahaha!!!
  by Cowford
 
Mr Meehan, the Albany County Airport is tax-exempt where the property is used for air transport purposes. Go a few miles east and you'll find that the Amtrak property in Rensselaer, NY is also exempt. So what is your point? That there's not a level playing field now? That's hardly defensible. That things weren't "fair" 50 years ago? Agreed. (But remember, railroads were subsidized through land grants, etc. when they started up, and air travel has prevailed not because of subsidies, but because of one thing: comparative transit time.)
  by Ken W2KB
 
Cowford wrote:Mr Meehan, the Albany County Airport is tax-exempt where the property is used for air transport purposes. Go a few miles east and you'll find that the Amtrak property in Rensselaer, NY is also exempt. So what is your point? That there's not a level playing field now? That's hardly defensible. That things weren't "fair" 50 years ago? Agreed. (But remember, railroads were subsidized through land grants, etc. when they started up, and air travel has prevailed not because of subsidies, but because of one thing: comparative transit time.)
Air passenger and cargo service is deemed essential to the national defense. As is the air traffic control system which is a mix of civilian and military.