• Amtrak Express suspended as of Oct 1 2020

  • 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

  by John_Perkowski
 
When my Mom passed, her last trip (We buried her at Arlington in advance of Dad) was by air. The airlines are quite good at it.
  by Gilbert B Norman
 
Colonel, we both know your Father suffered far more, as a WWII POW, in the service of our country than either you or I was called to do.

I wasn't sure; but so pleased to learn that your Mother was there "on the hills" to welcome your Father home.

Finally, Mr. Wharton and Northern, when I was in service supporting the 436th Mortuary Squadron, '65-'67, at Dover AFB, many, many, remains came home, with a uniformed escort, by rail.
  by STrRedWolf
 
WhartonAndNorthern wrote: Thu Jul 30, 2020 10:53 am I remember hearing about a few remaining customers like a florist using Amtrak express to ship flowers on #28 from Portland to Spokane.

I do wonder how this will affect the funeral industry since I believe they do use this service to transport casketed human remains. I'm betting the Florida to New York route was the most common use of this service. I'm not sure how common it was for funeral directors to ship via Amtrak or how they'd plan to replace this service.
It'll shift to airlines if not done so already. Delta has that service.
  by lordsigma12345
 
I am sure the reason for this suspension is the planned reduction to thrice weekly operation of the long distance routes which will eliminate any utility this service has. Well see if if it returns upon a resumption of daily long distance service.
  by R36 Combine Coach
 
lordsigma12345 wrote: Sat Aug 01, 2020 8:28 am I am sure the reason for this suspension is the planned reduction to thrice weekly operation of the long distance routes which will eliminate any utility this service has.
If "remote" essential service in Northern Ontario and Manitoba runs only several times a week, this does not seem to be a rationale for suspension. Moosonee (pop 1,725) gets its food and supplies 2-3 times a week.
  by JimBoylan
 
This will make it easier to close more ticket offices, as there will be less revenue to support the smaller ones where 1 person does everything.
  by R36 Combine Coach
 
JimBoylan wrote: Sun Aug 02, 2020 11:03 am This will make it easier to close more ticket offices, as there will be less revenue to support the smaller ones.
Might follow Greyhound's lead, which sells tickets through 7-Eleven as a third party agent.
  by urr304
 
I did not know they were still doing package express.

My nephew works for funeral home in Western Pennsylvania, half of the pickups are at Pittsburgh airport, none have been by train over the last five years.
  by Arborwayfan
 
The remote location trains in Canada serve places that aren't easy to reach by truck. I agree that the immediate reason Amtrak is suspending package express is because any shipment requiring two or more trains would either be delayed some just by the schedules not matching or risk a two-day delay if it missed a connection.

My wife and I sent a whole pallet of wedding presents from BOS to CHM in 1998. Cheap cheap cheap and it beat us home (we drove ). Amtrak provided the pallet. Guests did not come to our wedding with forklifts full of gifts. :)

The service is probably no great loss to either Amtrak or the shipping market in general, although I suspect there are some individuals and companies who use the service a lot and may miss it.

And, of course, it's express in the 19th-century meaning of the word: packages sent by passenger train or mail-and-express train as opposed to on freight trains, without being mailed.
  by electricron
 
I'm pretty sure if Amtrak was actually earning a profit with this service they would continue to provide it. But their wish to kill the service sort of proves they are not earning a profit with Amtrak Express service. Should we be subsidizing Amtrak to move people or freight?
  by bostontrainguy
 
electricron wrote: Wed Aug 05, 2020 11:29 pm I'm pretty sure if Amtrak was actually earning a profit with this service they would continue to provide it. But their wish to kill the service sort of proves they are not earning a profit with Amtrak Express service. Should we be subsidizing Amtrak to move people or freight?
It is lagniappe. They have the facilities, they have the NEW baggage cars, they have the personnel . . . why not?
Last edited by bostontrainguy on Thu Aug 06, 2020 11:21 am, edited 1 time in total.
  by Arborwayfan
 
I'm not sure this means they are trying to kill Express service. Suspending the service at a time when it can't be provided nearly as often as usual and maybe not as reliably as usual is something I might do if I wanted to protect the image of the service for the future. Not as likely a reason for them to suspend it, but not out of the question. Some stations on LD routes will now probably be open much less, especially at stations that end up having no trains at all on certain days. Amtrak's obviously not going to want to pay the agent at Grand Junction to sit around all day to accept or hand out a couple of packages, and if they close the station for some days or for some mornings or afternoons using express will be more confusing to its potential customers who, after all, aren't travelling themselves so they aren't thinking about the train schedules.

On the other hand, and maybe more likely, suspending express could be part of a bigger move away from handling checked baggage. They've been chipping away at checked baggage here and there for years; for example in around 2000 they stopped handling checked baggage southbound at CHM because they closed the ticket office in the evenings. Really, when a station goes unstaffed checked baggage is the main casualty, now that electronic ticketing is so common. All Express stations also handle checked baggage. A short-distance Amtrak (Tad's model :-D , which is pretty sensible) might just as well do without checked baggage entirely, and at that point express would really not make sense.
  by Gilbert B Norman
 
bostontrainguy wrote: Thu Aug 06, 2020 7:38 am It was lagniappe.
Lagniappe; now there's a term I had not heard since I left practice during '03. I had an antique shop as a client (Glenview IL right next to the MILW), and they used that term in promotions that you buy enough, they'll throw in some "trinket".

But back on the rails, one must wonder; couldn't the entire V-II order just be some kind of "trap" to set Amtrak up for "some kind of investigation" during Trump's second term?

Yes, the V-Bags are fully assigned at present, but if the objective was to be done with Baggage service (how much of that is there in Europe?), why not have patched up the H-Bags enough to have soldiered on - and as they died (didn't anyone know that Budd built structural integrity into the sides of their cars - and Amtrak goes and compromises it with center car roll up doors?), an "excuse" to be rid of Baggage and Express service?

The 60 "people" cars (including the 10 Bag-Dorms) are either undelivered, stored, or hardly used as intended.

What; $300M? Wow "I can smell the meat a cookin'".
  by R36 Combine Coach
 
Gilbert B Norman wrote: Thu Aug 06, 2020 11:39 am But back on the rails, one must wonder; couldn't the entire V-II order just be some kind of "trap" to set Amtrak up for "some kind of investigation" during Trump's second term?
The delays date back to 2013-2015. After the 70 baggage cars were delivered and accepted in 2015, the assembly line in Elmira seemed to have slowed down. The shells for the diners and some early sleepers were actually built in 2012-2013, but not assembled completed until long afterward (2018 for the diners). The baggage cars were the only portion of the fleet delivered on time.


And who would do such investigation, OIG or DOJ?