• 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 jp1822
On my Adirondack trips recently, the Albany engine/crew change has not been that bad. At one point, they re-fueled the dual mode engine and we kept that train on north. Course my travels on the Adirondack are typically on a Friday through Sunday, so perhaps Amtrak could have spared a dual mode at the time. Lately, I've seen the engine switched out.

Yes, trackwork to increase speeds would be welcome. On my most recent trip in June, we seemed to travel at faster speeds than I recall between St. Lambert and the border. It also seemed to be a smoother ride.

But the delay on my June trip - customs at the border! I agree that customs shold try to do the check onboard.

This train used to travel on a much faster schedule and allow better connections to VIA trains. Now, that reliability is lost and even some connections non-existant. I used to ride the northbound Adirondack to St. Lambert and then transfer to VIA's Ocean. You can technically still do that if the train sticks to the printed timetable, but it's unlikely a connection will happen.

  by chuchubob
I rode PV Mount Vernon on the rear of train 68on Tuesday Aug 7. Since customs at Rouses Point took ninety minutes and the timetable allows thirty, we were off schedule with respect to meets. North of Port Henry, we stopped on the main with the adjacent passing siding occupied by a northbound freight. The freight following us inched up behind us very carefully until the switch behind it was cleared and the northbound freight departed. The CP conductor then emerged for a rollby inspection of northbound Adirondack train 69, during which time we got a signal and moved on to Port Henry.
That's part of the reason trains 68 and 69 were late on Aug 7.

  by hsr_fan
Ninety minutes for customs is ridiculous. I'm thinking about making another trip to Montreal in the near future, and I don't think I'll consider Amtrak this time. That route is just too darn slow!

And why on Earth did this train not get its 60 seat coaches back?

  by george matthews
johnpbarlow wrote:Ornoi1 (aka Ross) says
waiting on single track and customs plays the largest chunk (98%) of the reasons that the Adirondack is late daily
Maybe the easiest answer here is to annex Canada as the 51st state to eliminate that custom's delay. :wink:

On a more serious note, somehow the EU nations have figured out to streamline the customs process as you go from country to country by air (I've never crossed a European border by train).
Once, decades ago, there were passport checks at every frontier, and perhaps a customs check as well. Now, inside the Schengen zone, there are no checks on road or rail in normal circumstances (there are powers to reimpose them in emergency). I have crossed many frontierson road and rail and seen no checks. The old border posts have been pulled down.
(The exception is Britain. Expect delays at Waterloo on Eurostar.)

  by chuchubob
We incurred another delay on our Aug 7 train 68 trip when we stopped in CP in Schedectady prior to joining CSX at the Amtrak station. We were informed (by the General Manager of the Mount Vernon, who was listening to his scanner) that there was a signal malfunction on CSX.
We eventually moved onto CSX and to the Amtrak platform, waited a while after passengers were accommodated, then crawled a little beyond the platform and stopped again.
The delay didn't bother the foamers in the vestibule, because a CP freight came along on their adjacent track, providing a photo op.
We soon moved into the next block and stopped again. Train 48, the Lake Shore, came up behind us. Shortly thereafter, train 291, the Ethan Allen, passed in the other direction.
We finally crawled past the faulty signal.
The passengers who remained inside the Mount Vernon dodn't seem to mind the delay, either.

  by hsr_fan
If I had been aboard the Mount Vernon during my trip rather than a crowded Amfleet I coach, I wouldn't have minded the delays so much either! :-D

  by jhdeasy
Train 68 of Tuesday August 7th, with private car MOUNT VERNON on the rear, eventually arrived NYP right about 11 PM ... 3 hours late. Fortunately out very late arrival was still timely enough to allow 2 of our passengers heading to WAS to board a late train 177 seconds before the doors closed, so they did not have to wait around NYP for another 4 hours until train 67's 3:00 AM departure for WAS.

Our delay between Schenectady and CP 156 was due to signal problems on CSX.

Although the timetable allows 15 minutes at ALB, we spent more time there changing from a P42 to a P32ACDM locomotive ... ALB is a busy place!

Unfortunately, "Rockingham Racer" missed a good opportunity to ride MOUNT VERNON.

The worst part of my recent Amtrak travels was the 14 hours layover at Sunnyside Yard between our Tuesday night return from Montreal on train 68 and our Wednesday afternoon departure for Rutland on train 291. I could not get Amtrak to plug the car into HEP, despite the fact that we were right next to a HEP terminal (so I ran the generator and burned diesel fuel for 14 hours), fill the potable water tanks (which were nearly empty) and pump-out the sewage holding tanks (which were nearly full). The West End Yardmaster said "I'll see when I can do", but unfortunately nothing happened. During the last hour prior to our departure on Wednesday afternoon, I found a Mechanical deaprtment foreman I knew, who made the watering and pump-out happen with not a minute to spare before we pulled from Sunnyside for our run down Line 2 under the East River into Penn Station. Thank you Mr K @ Sunnyside! The remainder of our travels on trains 291, 290, 448, 449 and 254, with our time parked at Rutland, Boston and Albany, went smoothly.

Jack Deasy
General Manager
Dominion Rail Voyages, LLC

  by John_Perkowski
Mr Deasy,

Sorry, but WINGED STREAMLINER seems to be the most appropriate china for MOUNT VERNON ;)

Yours is not the first time I've seen/heard of Amtrak mechanical forces not pumping out the honey bucket. They omit that on their own cars as well. ... I've told the story before...

Glad the rest of the trip was smooth!

  by jhdeasy
On our northbound trip to Montreal, Amtrak train 71 of Saturday August 4th, Amtrak had to pump-out a full Amfleet toilet tank at ALB. The work was done just north of the station platforms, where the serviving truck could access the car, after all station work had been completed. ALB mechanical personnel were good enough to water MOUNT VERNON at the same time, seeing that Sunnyside Yard failed to water the car on the night before departure, despite the written notice to water the car at Sunnyside.

Here at Dominion Rail Voyages, we do not emphasize MOUNT VERNON's Union Pacific heritage. Therefore, we worked with China Concepts of Colorado to design and manufacture a full set of chinaware for the car, with a unique MOUNT VERNON design, adapted from Franklin Roosevelt's White House china service.

  by drewh
Am I glad I decided to drive for my trip earlier this month. Though the border crossing was 1.5 hours to get into Canada and 2 hours returning.

I did the Adirondack back in 2001 and it is just too long. On the return the crew was not very pleasant either forcing all the boarding MTL passengers into a single Amfleet car and reserving the Adirondack coaches for ALB.

What has happened to those Adirondack coaches?

10-12 hour train trip on a route that can be driven in 6-8 is just rediculous especially considering the less than comfortable accomodations.

  by John_Perkowski
Mr Deasy,

Very cool that you have developed your own china for the car. That's certainly in the tradition of great trains! :-D

  by jhdeasy
Two other comments on my recent Adirondack experience come to mind:

1. CP Rail (x- D&H) track north of Schenectady is admittedly slow and has some nasty bad spots ... we fully bottomed out about 4 times at different locations ... full compression on the truck springs, metal to metal, and the carbody shudders with the shock of impact.

2. I was surprised by the lack of business class accomodations ... not even one of those nice cafe cars with 2 & 1 business class seating on one side of the cafe, much less a full business class car.

That said , it is still a very good route for a nice PV trip.

I firmly believe the best Adirondack for coach passengers was the 1974-1977 Amtrak - Penn Central / Conrail - Delaware & Hudson version of the train with a full diner-lounge ... plus a vista-dome, ALCO PAs, friendly crews and drumhead sign north of Albany. Comfort and Service in the north country of the Empire State!

  by David Benton
Are you allowed to leave the pv whilst parked at Sunnyside ? . I.e do you have access to public streets .
Sounds like sunnyside needs a good management stirup , but i guess we'll just get the lack of money excuse .

  by jhdeasy
David Benton wrote:Are you allowed to leave the pv whilst parked at Sunnyside ? . I.e do you have access to public streets .
Private cars are allowed crew/owner only occupied parking at Sunnyside Yard ... guests/passengers not allowed.

PV crew/owners have access to the local neighborhood (Astoria, Long Island City, Sunnyside) around the yard in order to do the necessary shopping for food, beverages and supplies ... to provision the car before it departs on a trip.

  by 35dtmrs92
Do the individual issues between passengers and customs often stem from the possession of banned merchandise or items that must be declared that were not?
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