• 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 photobug56
 
Again, few people get private charters. Your situation is unusual.

As to commercial flights, I used to look forward to them. No longer - just too painful an experience. PITA getting to the airport, a bigger one going through security, praying for your luggage to be there when you deplane, the flight itself (unless you have a good upgrade on a decent plane). After a family trip on Delta some years ago - in first class, I reached my limit with airline incompetence and discomfort. I can only imagine how much worse it would have been on that trip - both ways, flying coach, and even worse today. And having experienced security in a few other countries, I've had my fill of TSA (ignoring how they treated my in laws who were in their 80's on multiple flights).
  by Gilbert B Norman
 
Gilbert B Norman wrote: Sun Jul 04, 2021 10:05 pm Of interest is that Mr. Rattner's opinion piece appears in print in Sunday's edition. Sunday Times' circulation is some twice that of Daily.

It will be interesting to review the Letters regarding the piece.
Here they come, spinning out of the turn:

Letters
  by STrRedWolf
 
I think there's a few points missed because there's some history and fact here, namely our current state of infrastructure.

If it were not for the current bore limitations going into various stations, several LD trains that run on the NEC would NOT be Viewliners. They'd be Superliners. The only LD trains that would be Viewliners would really be Amfleets because they're day-running. They're not overnighters.

So you're stuck there until you expand those tunnels to fit 16' 2" equipment. The LD's are ether Viewliner or Superliner.

The second thing is that Amtrak does not own any rail lines outside of the eastern states, with the exception of the Michigan Line between Porter, Indiana and Dearborn, Michigan. It has to pay host railroads to help run the LD system outside it's own track. If Amtrak were to buy or build more rail lines to run corridor service, then it would be maintaining those lines themselves... and I bet that's cheaper than paying the host railroads.

Yeah, I know, Amtrak's finances are thicker than concrete, see other threads on that.

The third thing is that on-time performance over those LD services is beholden to the host railroads, who see how hard it is to be held accountable for running the trains on time and are exploiting that. There's going to be a clash, and it's going to take a regulation/law shift to resolve.

Right now? It's all catch-up.
  by njtmnrrbuff
 
I believe that the State of Michigan owns the tracks east of Kalamazoo and to Dearborn but yes, Amtrak gets the priority. Amtrak owns the Michigan Line from Porter to Kalamazoo. The corridors in Michigan have potential to improve.
  by Ken W2KB
 
eolesen wrote: Wed Jul 07, 2021 3:55 am 2.1M people went thru TSA checkpoints yesterday... I'd say *your* situation is unusual.
My former boss would fly on company business several times a year. The company would only reimburse for coach, but did reimburse the one-time small fee for background check, etc. which avoided the regular TSA line, and he in most cases could get to the airport and be through TSA expedited check in less than ten minutes.
  by eolesen
 
STrRedWolf wrote: Wed Jul 07, 2021 7:26 am If Amtrak were to buy or build more rail lines to run corridor service, then it would be maintaining those lines themselves... and I bet that's cheaper than paying the host railroads.
You're kidding, right?... There's no way Amtrak is paying anything remotely close to the full cost of ownership for the lines it traverses outside the NEC.

In an earlier thread, I posted the following:
The last number I heard was Amtrak paying around $150M per year to host railroads (prior to COVID), which comes out to around $6.50 per mile regardless of train length or weight. As Prof. Norman said, that's going to vary depending on the expenses incurred by the host road and the prorated miles/operations for Amtrak. Running on Metro North where it's electrified won't be as cheap as running the BNSF transcon.

Trackage rights or access fees charged to foreign roads are a fixed rate based on tons per mile, and they might vary based on bilateral agreements.
If you think that Amtrak could possibly maintain a nationwide network for less than $150M a year, I'd love to see that cost analysis....
  by scratchyX1
 
Ken W2KB wrote: Wed Jul 07, 2021 9:49 am
eolesen wrote: Wed Jul 07, 2021 3:55 am 2.1M people went thru TSA checkpoints yesterday... I'd say *your* situation is unusual.
My former boss would fly on company business several times a year. The company would only reimburse for coach, but did reimburse the one-time small fee for background check, etc. which avoided the regular TSA line, and he in most cases could get to the airport and be through TSA expedited check in less than ten minutes.
The Trusted Traveler program. iirc, that is not just TSA, but OBIM, who maintains TT for TSA and other stakeholders.
  by photobug56
 
eolesen wrote: Wed Jul 07, 2021 3:55 am 2.1M people went thru TSA checkpoints yesterday... I'd say *your* situation is unusual.
On Jet Blue flights from JFK to Florida, TSA frequently picked the oldest passengers for much more intrusive searches, luggage dumps and more. And sometimes one would go through it, get to the gate, and be pulled back for a repeat. It 'helped' if one or both passengers were in wheel chairs - that made them even more attractive to the TSA goon squads. So my desire to avoid TSA goons is part of why I don't have any remaining desire to fly commercial. Also, the hassles for a family member who is diabetic, had the proper paperwork, treated like smugglers. IMHO, TSA is populated with cop wannabees who couldn't qualify for security guard jobs. I even got to see a bunch of trainees once at Newark - they could barely follow each other in a fairly straight line walking through a terminal. Compared to airport security I've experienced in Germany, UK, Israel, even India, absolutely pitiful.
  by electricron
 
eolesen wrote: Wed Jul 07, 2021 3:55 am 2.1M people went thru TSA checkpoints yesterday... I'd say *your* situation is unusual.
FY 2019 Amtrak ridership was around 31 million for the entire year over the entire country.
Take that 2.1 million TSA checkpoints in FY2021, what should definitely be a lower number than in FY2019, over the year that math would show 766+ million airline passengers.
2.1 x 365 = 766.5

I admit I have no idea what the average TSA checkpoint data point was in any of the last few years, I am just using the daily data point someone else provided. And of course, not everybody going through a TSA checkpoint actually boards a jetliner. Never the less, my calculated TSA number is 24 times more than Amtrak passengers number in its busiest year ever.
766.5 /31 = 24.72
  by Greg Moore
 
eolesen wrote: Wed Jul 07, 2021 1:06 am
I suspect most people who prefer the train don't fully take into consideration the value of their time.
I suspect you'd be wrong. And the Acela between NYP and WAS is evidence of that. Once Acela came on line it obliterated the air shuttle market. Even on BOS-NYP Amtrak has close to 50% I believe.

I actually have a term for my time on the train "effective train". When I was routinely commuting from upstate ALB to Washington DC I routinely took the train down (and spent Monday in NYC) because I could work almost the entire time. Flying was a bigger waste of time.

And it wasn't just this route. There are other times I've taken the train (such as the LSL) because I'm sleeping while travelling and effectively waking up at my destination.

So while often Amtrak may take longer, it's also a more effective use of my time.

As for the other comments about gates, that's not an entirely fare comparison.
You're comparing ONE company versus an entire industry. When you compare the entire rail industry vs the air industry the numbers change. But even that's not a fair comparison because they're often serving very different markets.

If you start to look at markets where Amtrak tries to compete, again I'll go back to NYP and WAS, NYP-BOS, or heck, even NYP-ALB, you'll see Amtrak tends to win. (picking NYP-ALB and there's a single non-stop, that will take me to Newark, and round trip is about 2x as much as Amtrak, and once I figure in the time to get through security (at least at Albany that's about 5-10 minutes) and get from Newark to downtown NYC, Amtrak is faster).

In any case, the point is, if you're going to compare fruit, let's try to at least compare the same kind.
  by photobug56
 
In regards to the NEC, as I understand it Amtrak runs a sleeper service overnight on a train or two - idea being board, sleep, wake up in the morning without any airport nonsense. I don't know how popular it is, but I like the idea. I don't think they actually market it worth talking about.
  by R36 Combine Coach
 
Greg Moore wrote: Wed Jul 07, 2021 8:53 pm Once Acela came on line it obliterated the air shuttle market.
The Metroliner was already having the upper hand over Eastern Shuttle in the 1970s/80s.
  by lordsigma12345
 
eolesen wrote: Wed Jul 07, 2021 1:06 am I suspect most people who prefer the train don't fully take into consideration the value of their time.
I value/enjoy my time spent aboard the train when I travel long distances - but then again I don't travel for business often my train trips are always leisure/vacation. I suspect most people traveling very long distances aboard Amtrak are doing so for leisure purposes. But at the same time it's not for everyone. I can understand why you (and most of the rest of America) choose flying as your preferred mode of travel - but at the same time I don't have to like flying. On my recent cross country trip and California vacation (West on the Lake Shore/Zephyr, one week in NoCal, Starlight down to LAX, one week in San Diego, Chief/Lake Shore east) The rest of my family group I traveled with flew except for me and one person who did the train. The whole group did join me aboard one leg of the train trip on the Starlight from EMY to LAX - it worked out given it's a very scenic route and it was just the right amount of time for them to enjoy it and we even got Sleepers as day rooms 3 of us in a bedroom and 2 in a roomette so we could remove our masks. I would not expect those same family members to want to join me on my two night trek aboard the Chief back east.
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