• Amtrak: Connects US // American Jobs Plan Infrastructure Legislation

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

Moderators: GirlOnTheTrain, mtuandrew, Tadman

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  by Gilbert B Norman
 
https://www.wsj.com/articles/amtraks-co ... 1624181404

Like the NPR Podcast Mr. Wolf immediately submitted, this materiak appearing in today's Journal breaks new ground:

Fair Use:
WASHINGTON—Amtrak and the Biden administration have a $75 billion plan to transform passenger train travel across America—but aside from funding, the biggest challenge might be getting the nation’s freight railroads to get on board.

The seven major freight carriers have long resisted calls to make more room on their tracks for trains carrying people rather than coal, grain and steel. Current and former federal officials say the greatest impediment to Amtrak’s national expansion could be finding a way to work with freight carriers.
But these general circulation sources all seem to forget railroads are investor owned and the foremost priority of their managers is, or best be lest Mr. Ichan be knocking at the door, is maximizing the return to those shareholders. Towards that end, Precision Railroading or some variant thereof, seems to be "the hot ticket" - and PSR is quite incompatible with the operation of scheduled passenger trains.
  by David Benton
 
Theres nothing precision about the American railroads version of PSR. If it was precision , and scheduled ., it would suit passenger operations very well. However it is simply running the longest trains possible , , on a schedule of sorts .
i do agree it would be better for both parties if the Class ones were left to run a diminishing number of ever longer trains , and a new set of high speed railroads were created , for passenger and freight that would actually compete with over the road shipping , in time and service.
  by Gilbert B Norman
 
Mr. Benton, I think you will find Saint Elwood envisioned a road constantly "in fluid", but that fluidity would be done around the whole road on a continuous basis. Such would vary given factors of where to have trains meet so that crews can get home under the Law yet avoid lodging and HAFHT, if such remains applicable under existing Agreements (I honestly don't know - forty years removed from "that stuff"). It also envisions trains arrive at yards when another train has "highballed" so that a train is not sitting outside of Yard Limits tying up everything and crews "breathing their last".

And strange as it sounds, Elwood also envisioned having that fluidity extend to the "customers that count" such as auto assembly plants that have their production schedules centered around "just in time" deliveries. Sorry Amtrak, but paying your bargain basement rates for access does "not exactly" make you a preferred customer. You simply are "gettin' what you're payin' for" - movement over the road when we can fit you in. Further, your fixed schedules, ostensibly built around the needs of people, simply are not compatible with "The Gospel".

Finally, and relevant to the extent of "just in time" logistics, anyone around here who is in the market for a "new ride" as well as anyone who picks up the Financial section of their paper, knows there is an acute shortage of electronic parts used in autos and other vehicles nowadays (the days of "give me a crank and running boards" is, uh, kind of over). I was at the car dealer yesterday for an "out of cycle oil change" (hey, only 2200 miles since "the Beginning" fifteen months ago) as well as a minor electronics related warranty repair. For a showroom usually with twelve autos or SUV's in there, there were only two. I said to the Saleswoman I've used for my last two; "Dear, how can you sell cars when you haven't any cars to sell?". "We're expecting a trailer load this week, and there's money down on all of them". But for a dealer who normally would sell a trailer load in a day, that's a "big hit".
  by RRspatch
 
David Benton wrote: Mon Jun 21, 2021 7:37 pm Theres nothing precision about the American railroads version of PSR. If it was precision , and scheduled ., it would suit passenger operations very well. However it is simply running the longest trains possible , , on a schedule of sorts .
i do agree it would be better for both parties if the Class ones were left to run a diminishing number of ever longer trains , and a new set of high speed railroads were created , for passenger and freight that would actually compete with over the road shipping , in time and service.
That's basically what I said in my long reply in the PSR/Amtrak thread. The words Precision and Railroading don't belong in the same sentence. In it's current form PSR is merely asset stripping for the benefit of Wall Street. As I pointed out in my long reply many of the things related to PRS are actually counter productive and cost MORE money in the long run. You actually have to wonder just what will be left once the vultures have picked everything clean and move on to the next victim ..... er, industry.

As for a "new set of high speed railroads" that's what the government will have to do when it comes time to rebuild the system.
  by Railjunkie
 
RRspatch wrote: Wed Jun 23, 2021 2:02 am
David Benton wrote: Mon Jun 21, 2021 7:37 pm Theres nothing precision about the American railroads version of PSR. If it was precision , and scheduled ., it would suit passenger operations very well. However it is simply running the longest trains possible , , on a schedule of sorts .
i do agree it would be better for both parties if the Class ones were left to run a diminishing number of ever longer trains , and a new set of high speed railroads were created , for passenger and freight that would actually compete with over the road shipping , in time and service.
That's basically what I said in my long reply in the PSR/Amtrak thread. The words Precision and Railroading don't belong in the same sentence. In it's current form PSR is merely asset stripping for the benefit of Wall Street. As I pointed out in my long reply many of the things related to PRS are actually counter productive and cost MORE money in the long run. You actually have to wonder just what will be left once the vultures have picked everything clean and move on to the next victim ..... er, industry.

As for a "new set of high speed railroads" that's what the government will have to do when it comes time to rebuild the system.
Couldn't agree with you with you more. PSR works on the assumption that everything is 100% right 100% of the time. We all know what happens when we ass/u/me.

The Queen of railroading Ms Cindy Sanborne is still pushing for single man crews. Wont that be fun, two trains with issues and you gotta wait for a road truck to show up that's 100 miles away cause he is on the other side of the division helping the other train. Cause you know there wont be two trucks per division costs too much.

What happens when those single man crew trains break down in your little berg and cover the major grade crossings keeping police and EMS isolated to one side cause it takes two to cut a train.

Is all this really going to to help the precision or just make $$$ for the share holders.

Dedicated HSR in this country I still think is a pipe dream. The Gov't doesn't have the money and I certainly don't see any private investors stepping forward with a pile of cash one would need the space shuttle to fly over it. I have a little under seven years till I can pull the pin, maybe if I am lucky I will run something with that new engine smell. Otherwise its the antique GE and EMD's that Amtrak uses now.
  by NRGeep
 
When "shareholder value" trumps online customer relations and overall efficiency, well, you will reap what you sow...
  by electricron
 
Senate Bipartisan deal reduces Biden's Infrastructure Bill to around $1.2 Trillion.
https://news.yahoo.com/biden-backs-bump ... 33277.html
8 year plan will invest:
$109 billion for roads and bridges
$66 billion for railways
$49 billion for public transport
$25 billion for airports
$73 billion would be pumped into power grid
$65 billion for expanding Americans' access to broadband internet.
$40 billion investment in the Internal Revenue Service for beefed-up enforcement would generate a net gain of $100 billion in extra tax revenue.

Those sums add up to just $427 billion, so lets wait for more details to find out where the rest will be spent upon. Maybe other reports will have more details. But a spending programs with less than half identified where the money is going is worrisome to me. I'm not sure if we can call that a victory or not?

Never-the-less, how far will $66 Billion go for railways?
Have a little fun and give your thoughts on where you think that money can be used for maximum effect.
  by eolesen
 
I'd think the Infrastructure plan would be deserving of its own thread.
  by electricron
 
eolesen wrote: Thu Jun 24, 2021 10:51 pm I'd think the Infrastructure plan would be deserving of its own thread.
Why? The Railroad component of Biden's Infrastructure plan is the funding mechanism available for Amtrak's Connect US plan. $66 Billion over 8 years is around $8 Billion per year, about 4 times more funding than what Amtrak receives every year for the past decade.

Amtrak has its Connect US plan, so how much of it will this $66 Billion fund?
From http://media.amtrak.com/wp-content/uplo ... R-maps.pdf
"To achieve the goals outlined above, Amtrak will need the following:
$75 Billion Investment
We will need reliable federal funding programs that provide sustained investment levels to Amtrak, states
and others to undertake the multi-year planning, development and construction efforts necessary to
support this vision. The estimated cost for stations, cars, locomotives, and infrastructure to implement this vision is approximately $75 billion over fifteen years."

So basically, $66 Billion of $75 Billion, an additional $9 Billion will still be needed. :wink:
  by eolesen
 
Sorry, thought this was the PSR thread reborn.

That $66B isn't just for Amtrak. It's also for freight railroads, and a few infrastructure projects outside of Amtrak might also be looking for FeddyBucks...
  by nomis
 
Mod Note: Since these two thoughts "Connects US" and "American Jobs Plan" are interwoven, they shall be combined for the sake of Amtrak, and any direct effects that the infrastructure project will have on NRPC or it's host railroads.
  by Gilbert B Norman
 
Times

Fair Use:
…The agreement on traditional infrastructure projects — roads, bridges, tunnels, rail and broadband — would be significant on its own, the first major increase of federal public works spending since President Barack Obama’s 2009 economic rescue plan. It would include some existing infrastructure programs, but also provide $579 billion in new money over eight years to patch cracking highways, rebuild crumbling bridges, speed rail traffic and more equitably spread high-speed internet access...
Journal

Fair Use:
With $579 billion of spending above expected federal levels and a total of $973 billion of investment over five years and $1.2 trillion if continued over eight, the agreement will make new investments in the electrical grid, transit, roads and bridges and other forms of infrastructure.
Volks, $1.2 is a long way from $6 - and a North Portico photo-op is also a long way from enacted legislation. It further does not include what Bernie, Liz, and "The Squad" all seem to consider "infrastructure" - Daycare, job training, substance rehabilitation.

There is also the further item not included in previous definitions of infrastructure, and I'm inclined to hold should be - broadband enhancement. Simply because that means nothing for me in my affluent Western Chicago suburb, COVID has shown how lacking such is within some rural and "inner city" regions.

What concerns me is that the "bone" thrown to passenger rail will be as useless and meaningless as was that within Obama's ARRA09. About the only tangible from that appears the use of passenger rail funding to rebuild an additional route for "my UP" to access Chicago.

So let's see what happens here. Anyone care to rank passenger rail priorities if $579B is the "number" for all transportation?
  by electricron
 
Here's where I think that $66 Billion for railroads should go.
Gateway Tunnels $12 Billion
Baltimore Tunnels $4 Billion
Doubling FRA's direct commitment to CHSR $4 Billion
Wow, $20 Billion was spent pretty fast, still $46 Billion left to spend.
Amtrak could easily spend around $1 Billion on tracks upgrades for every service expansion planned
Oklahoma and Kansas expansion to Newton $1 Billion
Texas DFW to Houston expansion $1 Billion
Pennsylvania expansion to Scranton $1 Billion
Pennsylvania expansion to Reading $1 Billion
Wisconsin expansion to Green Bay 1 Billion
Minnesota expansion to Duluth $1 Billion
Virginia S Line $1 Billion
North Carolina S Line $1 Billion
Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama expansion to Mobile $1 Billion
Colorado eastern slope expansion to Colorado Springs $1 Billion
That was another $10 Billion spent fairly fast.
That still leaves $36 Billion to spend.
But there are some new HSR lines to support
Atlanta to Charlotte (SEHSR) could easily consume $10 Billion (50% match)
Dallas to Houston could easily consume up tp $10 Billion (50% match)
Las Vegas to Victorville could easily consume up to $10 Billion (50% match)
$6 Billion for other NEC upgrades projects not already listed.

Whoops, I spent it all already.
Well, that's where I think that $66 Billion should go.

For those who think intercity rail was gutted in the deal, that's about "all" the intercity projects that had any post feasibility studies environmental impact studies planning processes underway. The few remaining projects I left off this list I do not think outrank the ones I included.
  by Gilbert B Norman
 
Ron, I'm not sure what is the source for your noted $66B for passenger rail . If such is an arbitrary 15% with the remainder for highways. That I hold is "reasonable".

I'm with you 100% on Gateway and B&P "Frederick Douglass", but $4B for California HSR - a project that has only lost support since first proposed by Gov. Brown? Might that $4 go towards straightening curves at LIZ and at Frankford Jct?

And even though I hold "you're a heads up guy" around these parts, the rest appears to be "railfan fantasy".

I must ask how far would be $1B go in rebuilding from the ground up the Cutoff beyond anywhere NJT is proposing - and for that matter what remains of the DL&W over the Poconos to FRA Class 4? To apply that B to a routing over the "Leaky" to Wilkes-Barre than over the hills to Scranton on who ever operates that former CNJ trackage today, would only result in a seven hour schedule - hardly competitive with 3hr highway (back during '60 and in the days "when I did those kind of things", I rode a fan trip over the CNJ to Scranton. This is where I met "face to face" The Late Noel Weaver).

Now where I'd like to see some of your noted $46B go would be to "finish the job" by re-double tracking the C&A, so that Illinois DOT could have their "twelve a day" - and UP still have its access to the Intermodal facility near Joliet (BNSF has theirs at Elwood; that's where my present auto was delivered from Portland for a local transfer to the dealer).
  by Tom V
 
electricron wrote: Fri Jun 25, 2021 7:59 am Here's where I think that $66 Billion for railroads should go.
Gateway Tunnels $12 Billion
Baltimore Tunnels $4 Billion
Doubling FRA's direct commitment to CHSR $4 Billion
Wow, $20 Billion was spent pretty fast, still $46 Billion left to spend.
Amtrak could easily spend around $1 Billion on tracks upgrades for every service expansion planned
Oklahoma and Kansas expansion to Newton $1 Billion
Texas DFW to Houston expansion $1 Billion
Pennsylvania expansion to Scranton $1 Billion
Pennsylvania expansion to Reading $1 Billion
Wisconsin expansion to Green Bay 1 Billion
Minnesota expansion to Duluth $1 Billion
Virginia S Line $1 Billion
North Carolina S Line $1 Billion
Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama expansion to Mobile $1 Billion
Colorado eastern slope expansion to Colorado Springs $1 Billion
That was another $10 Billion spent fairly fast.
That still leaves $36 Billion to spend.
But there are some new HSR lines to support
Atlanta to Charlotte (SEHSR) could easily consume $10 Billion (50% match)
Dallas to Houston could easily consume up tp $10 Billion (50% match)
Las Vegas to Victorville could easily consume up to $10 Billion (50% match)
$6 Billion for other NEC upgrades projects not already listed.

Whoops, I spent it all already.
Well, that's where I think that $66 Billion should go.

For those who think intercity rail was gutted in the deal, that's about "all" the intercity projects that had any post feasibility studies environmental impact studies planning processes underway. The few remaining projects I left off this list I do not think outrank the ones I included.
The Feds are not paying 100% on all these projects, for instance the Gateway tunnel will be shared between New Jersey, New York, The Port Authority and the Federal Government. The Federal share would probably be between $5-6 Billion.

It's the same for other projects, the Feds will probably pay between 50-60% on some of these. But not 100%.
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