• The big ax just fell. Long distance to 3x/week.

  • 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 justalurker66
 
electricron wrote: Sun Dec 20, 2020 2:32 amNorth Carolina was willing to subside its' train, so the Congress had to choose between 704 and 780 rail miles in the legislation, 750 seems like a nice round number.
Why not keep it simple and allow a state to subsidize any train that they want?

As stated, the trains in the federal system should be paid for based on their utility to the national network. Ignore the funding for a minute and design what is best for the national passenger rail system. If something falls outside of what is best for the national network then the states can step in and fund their pet project trains. No arbitrary threshold needed.
  by electricron
 
I am not sure if this the the proper thread, but many other topics like this have been referred to this one, so here it goes.
Congress has finally compromised for the next round of covid relief funding, which includes $45 billion in transportation aid — That includes $15 billion to help airlines maintain their payrolls, $14 billion for mass transit, $10 billion for state highways, $2 billion for airports and $1 billion for Amtrak.

Will an additional $1 Billion for the rest of this fiscal year reintroduce daily services to all long distance trains reduced to 3 per week?
  by R36 Combine Coach
 
$1 billion is still only a quarter of what the MTA is getting ($4 billion), and even that amount only would
keep service running through 2021 without cuts. (MTA had originally requested $12 billion)
  by Gilbert B Norman
 
electricron wrote: Mon Dec 21, 2020 12:57 am.
Will an additional $1 Billion for the rest of this fiscal year reintroduce daily services to all long distance trains reduced to 3 per week?
Ron, this B and the first B enacted during the prior FY COVID relief, essentially represents the revenue shortfall Amtrak has suffered "since it all began".

It's enough to "gas 'em up and pay the driver" and not to restore frequencies with nobody to ride.

Let's not even address restoring "amenities" such as full-service Dining- leave that to other sites "more into that stuff".

Finally, COVID notwithstanding, regarding the overall future of the LD's, I can recall circa '74 "how the washroom walls" at MILW's CUS HQ heard someone say "Amtrak just ordered some new cars" and they also heard a response "yeah, and now we're going to be stuck with those trains for the next thirty years".

Well, thirty has become more like forty five, and the cars need to be replaced. Time for Amtrak and the "Benefactors on The Hill" to make the choice.
  by trainviews
 
justalurker66 wrote: Sun Dec 20, 2020 10:57 pm
electricron wrote: Sun Dec 20, 2020 2:32 amNorth Carolina was willing to subside its' train, so the Congress had to choose between 704 and 780 rail miles in the legislation, 750 seems like a nice round number.
Why not keep it simple and allow a state to subsidize any train that they want?

(...)
There's nothing stopping any state subsidizing any train it wants, whether its route is 10, 749 or 751 miles.

The only thing PRIIA does is making Amtrak finance the existing 750+ mile trains, while demanding the states foot most of the bill for the rest (outside the NEC). As for any new routes the length doesn't matter as Amtrak is not allowed to finance them absent an act of congress, so all the fuss about creating new routes over 750 miles so Amtrak will/has to fund them is utterly moot (the exception being new LD's between existing endpoints, but not a lot of those have been popping up either...).

To finance new routes of any length falls solely on the states, unless someone can lobby a specific earmark for it through Congress. We have not seen a lot of those either, though this seems to be the way the initiatives around a partial revival of a Sunset East or a North Coast Hiawatha are trying, again regardless of 750 miles or not.

The goals of PRIIA to make a uniform formula for the states' financing of regional corridors and to ensure local ownership to these are generally sound. But it has more than a few ill side effects.

The most important is the obstacles that state borders create. This means that some corridors, that are very feasible transportationwise are not politically feasible. A day train Memphis-Chicago is a pretty obvious one, but Tennessee politics makes it unlikely for the state to finance a train that serves only one city at the western end of the state, and one that is politicially different from the rest of the state to boot. A corridor connecting Buffalo and Cleveland will attract very little attention from either New York. Pennsylvania or Ohio. A Cleveland-Chicago corridor none from Indiana...

PRIIA also leaves far the largest share of the bill to the states, and that's an obstacle to starting new routes. Often investment in capacity etc is very high and also poorly or inconsistently financed by the federal government to start with. Leaving the states more or less on their own for operating subsidies too in a start up phase makes the threshold even higher.

So yeah, PRIIA needs a reform if America is to get serious about expanding its intercity network.
  by lordsigma12345
 
Absolutely correct - it is highly unlikely ANY new routes would come without state support. The 750 mile rule just states what the federal government is allowed to fund - and the federal government would have to authorize and fund a new route under the 750 mile rule. The original intention of the Sunset East plan was to include a once daily New Orleans - Florida (Orlando I think with servicing at Sandford) train along with the additional New Orleans - Mobile frequencies. Alabama Governor Kay Ivey's opposition to the project along with a lack of enthusiasm at the Florida state level axed the feasibility of a train running past Mobile - Amtrak was open to a train past Mobile but wanted state support for all of it. Ivey was opposed to all of it - including what's being done as she is concerned about the impacts to freight at the port of Mobile. The only reason the corridor may be able to go forward is because the Mobile city government agreed to fund Alabama's portion.

I think Amtrak likes the state supported model better because it considers the payments revenue and you don't have to beg as much at the federal trough - I think Amtrak would only be open to new long distance routes under the state supported model.
  by RRspatch
 
urr304 wrote: Sun Dec 20, 2020 10:00 am Referencing reroutes in the future, perhaps if you have not taken the Southwest Chief yet, I would recommend you take it to ride over Raton and Glorietta because I do not believe that the expense of one train a day each way [now three a week each way] can continue, no matter who is in charge. That is a lot of track to maintain with no sharing of expenses.

If SW Chief goes, do you think they will revive the Desert Wind to connect with the Zephyr in Utah? Or will they retain the SW Chief but reroute through Amarillo?
A lot of money was just invested in this route funds coming from the Fed's, the states and yes, even BNSF. Upgrades included new rail, new ties, fresh ballast, replacement of the last remaining semaphore with color light signals and repairs to station platforms. With only two trains a day over the over the line (light weight passenger trains at that) the track hardly takes a beating. Back in my BNSF dispatching days (3rd Raton DS18 desk) there were very few speed restrictions on the main tracks.
  by Gilbert B Norman
 
Observed:

380 (28)

SC-44
2 AmFlt Coach
2 Horiz Coach
Did not notice if there was Food Svc in consist. This would have been the returning consist from the "college crush" after Xmas. Not too much sign of any expansion.

4 (26)
6 (26)
5 (28)

All; "the usual" 2 P-42, 3 "Pvt Rm", Diner, Lounge, Coach, Coach (3-4 only), Coach-Bag

I'm not sure if the 2nd Coach on 3-4 is CHI-LAX, or KCY. The "key" would be if it is placed rear behind the 310XX Co-Bg
  by urr304
 
Watching morning news and outlook for travel does not look any healthier for months more. Domestic air travel may require a health and vaccine certificate of some sort in addition to 'real ID' card, will ground travel require the same. I recall the immunization record that was in your personnel file when in the Armed Forces.
  by STrRedWolf
 
urr304 wrote: Thu Jan 28, 2021 5:18 am Watching morning news and outlook for travel does not look any healthier for months more. Domestic air travel may require a health and vaccine certificate of some sort in addition to 'real ID' card, will ground travel require the same. I recall the immunization record that was in your personnel file when in the Armed Forces.
This was in the works last year when the vaccines were gaining traction in the news. The last I heard it'll be an app and card with a QR code output that can be scanned. This would show that you had the vaccine or not. I think Apple, Google, and IBM were competing for it.
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