• 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

  • 283 posts
  • 1
  • 9
  • 10
  • 11
  • 12
  • 13
  • 19
  by Tadman
 
And "maintain frequencies" is a very open ended term, I can tell you, it's hard to get places these days. It takes twice as long to fly somewhere now.
  by mtuandrew
 
eolesen wrote: Fri Jul 10, 2020 1:03 am That's a mistake. Requiring the airlines to maintain frequencies/service and not lay off employees has resulted in around $100M of cash burn DAILY for that industry.

Amtrak needs the ability to determine its own schedule without interference from politicians.
Amtrak is the definition of interference from politicians :wink: a little more interference is expected, as long as the checks keep coming.
  by Pensyfan19
 
I found an interesting article consisting of former Amtrak president Tom Downs' opinion regarding Amtrak attempting this move, and how they attempted to do so in 1995.

https://trn.trains.com/news/news-wire/2 ... ly-service
WASHINGTON — Any savings Amtrak management may achieve by reducing most long-distance trains to triweekly service will be overshadowed by a precipitous drop in revenue, additional unforeseen expenses, and a crippled ability to restart service.

That assessment is the consensus of former Amtrak managers contacted by Trains News Wire: former president and CEOs Thomas Downs and David Gunn; former vice president of transportation Bob Vander Clute; and two product line managers responsible for growing revenue and managing costs in the mid-1990s, when many long-distance train frequencies were reduced in a bid to cut expenses while promising to keep routes intact.

Amtrak has announced plans to cut long-distance frequencies as of Oct. 1 as a result of COVID-19-related revenue losses expected to last through most of 2021. This is the first in a series of articles on the impact Amtrak frequency reductions had in the 1990s, and the historical perspective that might provide the current proposal.
  by gokeefe
 
This is a pretty significant piece of reporting by Trains. I think it helps a lot to see this level of information and perspective out there.

Sent from my Pixel 2 XL using Tapatalk

  by Rockingham Racer
 
I wonder if facts like this are being taken to Congress. The Amtrak BOD seems clueless at the moment.
  by mtuandrew
 
I can say with certainty that some members of Congress have staff that are fully aware of Amtrak’s position. The (edit) HEROES Act that passed the House and still sits on Sen. McConnell’s desk has funding for Amtrak to continue uninterrupted operations. Tell your reps and senators that you want it (or some compromise version) to continue through the Senate and to the president’s desk.
  by Gilbert B Norman
 
Likely lower than that, Mr. Olesen.

Amtrak has not been any kind of campaign issue for Joe to date, and not likely to become one in "the home stretch". It's $1.2B Annual and the (I think) $1.3B "supplemental" are simply rounding errors in respective $3T budgets.

For all the reason Bob Johnston notes in September TRAINS, reduction of the LD's to Tri-Weekly won't save much, if anything. But as I noted much earlier in the topic, "OPTICS".

What I think the "experiential" and advocacy communities are concerned about is that Tri-Weekly frequency is the stepping stone to being "rid of 'em". The first step was to have avoided Superliner and A-II orders followed by the '79 "Carter Cuts", which simply should have kept going until they were gone, but alas, politics intervened. The '96 "Clinton Cuts" simply wiped up the additional routes that were added since the RPSA70 "Basic System". The '05 "Bush prunings" and the Sunset East "suspension" were simply just that.

Obviously, I'm of mind that the LD's should be gone. My January "more negatives than positives" Auto Train journey "did it" for me and Amtrak, unless I'm in the Northeast, or should I lose my Driver's License (they road test 80yo's biennially here) and wish to go to a concert in Ann Arbor (Detroit or Cleveland, whose orchestras I support, I'll just fly), I'll "think about it".
  by mtuandrew
 
Gilbert B Norman wrote: Wed Aug 05, 2020 7:52 amFor all the reason Bob Johnston notes in September TRAINS, reduction of the LD's to Tri-Weekly won't save much, if anything. But as I noted much earlier in the topic, "OPTICS".

What I think the "experiential" and advocacy communities are concerned about is that Tri-Weekly frequency is the stepping stone to being "rid of 'em".

...

Obviously, I'm of mind that the LD's should be gone. My January "more negatives than positives" Auto Train journey "did it" for me and Amtrak, unless I'm in the Northeast, or should I lose my Driver's License (they road test 80yo's biennially here) and wish to go to a concert in Ann Arbor (Detroit or Cleveland, whose orchestras I support, I'll just fly), I'll "think about it".
I’m sorry that you had such a bad experience with your last Auto Train trip, Mr. Norman. Why does your poor experience equate to a desire to permanently cancel LD service? I’ve never ridden a “lightly-patronized” LD, from the Crescent and Cardinal to the Builder and Chief. I have had indifferent experiences with rides and personnel (and Tadman has a perennial point with regard to boarding procedure). However, I have never been a first-class passenger on either Amtrak or an airline, let alone on a Golden Era postwar passenger train, so wouldn’t have a basis for comparison. Most of my Amtrak experiences have been the equal of my airline experiences, with poorer timekeeping compensated by more comfortable seating. Once you’re out of sleeper or business class I think you’d find a crowd that does consider Amtrak a very viable option between air and bus/driving - the luxocruise folks may be disappointed, but Congress never intended them to be Amtrak’s target audience.

I’ll be quite disappointed and annoyed with Amtrak should they try to permanently cancel routes without some sort of substitute or attempt at improvement. Mr. Olesen is right that America (not just the Democratic leadership) has larger priorities, but we can walk, chew gum, and think about travel at the same time.
  by electricron
 
I’ve avoided joining into this discussion until I could think and chew on it for a while.
It is a mix blessing. It still provides a passenger rail service to rural areas while at the same time making it possible to make more equipment available for more regional train services.

The very first response most new regional services gets is with what equipment, there is now an answer to that question now.

Most of the complaints I seen to the proposed tri-weekly service is not coming from the rural areas, but from the urban areas. Which reinforces my belief all along that the long distance services were not designed to provide services to rural customers, but to urban customers instead. Just like rural interstates, inter connecting large urban cities Is/was more important than servicing rural towns along the way. Rural and fly over cities receiving services as a coincidence, because the service has to go through them to inter connect the cities Amtrak really wants to serve.

I repeat, this development is/will be a mix blessin.
  by Gilbert B Norman
 
mtuandrew wrote: Wed Aug 05, 2020 10:07 am
Gilbert B Norman wrote: Wed Aug 05, 2020 7:52 amObviously, I'm of mind that the LD's should be gone. My January "more negatives than positives" Auto Train journey "did it" for me and Amtrak...
I’m sorry that you had such a bad experience with your last Auto Train trip, Mr. Norman. Why does your poor experience equate to a desire to permanently cancel LD service?
Mr. Stephens, it doesn't.

That AT (52 27JAN) trip just left me feeling as if I were back in "boarding school, or Basic Training" - even though "the Guard", aka SCSA, was "exceptional" and it was an hour early. "Dining" was Basic Training; everything rationed (one glass; Red or White, from a milk bottle) and table mates I could have nicely done without (and surely they me). I was either cold or hot with one blanket (don't touch the bedding in the other bunk). All told, the transportarion contract was fulfilled, but no reason to come back unless I was to visit friends in the DC area.

I don't need it anymore in what remains of this life.

But my "anti-LD" sentiments that I have consistently noted since joining this community during '99 are based on the needless providing of a service that was outmoded now some 60 years ago. If government sees some need to provide transportarion to the "can't drives won't fly" segment of the population choosing to reside in regions less populated, then so be it. But that provision need not interfere with operations of the Class I rail sysem to the extent they do - especially even more the case as Precision Railroading (PSR) is adopted. It can be provided by busses operating on public highways.

So it's not just that "I'm done with 'em" it is the greater portion of society, and voters, are so done, or could care less.
  by gokeefe
 
Gilbert B Norman wrote:It can be provided by busses operating on public highways.
If there was ever a place where this was proven wrong it's probably Maine.

I am well aware of course that a high frequency corridor such as the Downeaster is a very different business proposition than "one a day each way" but then again we have recently heard how "tri-weekly" is terrible for everyone (Amtrak, passengers, taxpayers etc).

There are many reasons why busses do not provide comparable service but in areas where winter weather can be severe this is particularly true. Montana is the showcase for this proposition but so too Minnesota, North Dakota or also Colorado, Utah and Nebraska. Air travel to or from many of the small station towns in these areas can easily be compromised with a sudden blizzard or freeze.

As always the Sunset Limited is probably the poster child for Long Distance trains that could be cut. Sunshine and arid conditions make bus and air consistent, on time, and cheap.

Perhaps the most important thing to remember about service levels is that travel demand is elastic and responsive to service levels. Given the right schedule to the right places travel demand from any given place can (and will) increase with service frequency.

Sent from my Pixel 2 XL using Tapatalk

  by BitterOldRRExec
 
Gilbert B Norman wrote: Wed Aug 05, 2020 1:02 pm But my "anti-LD" sentiments that I have consistently noted since joining this community during '99 are based on the needless providing of a service that was outmoded now some 60 years ago. If government sees some need to provide transportarion to the "can't drives won't fly" segment of the population choosing to reside in regions less populated, then so be it. But that provision need not interfere with operations of the Class I rail sysem to the extent they do - especially even more the case as Precision Railroading (PSR) is adopted. It can be provided by busses operating on public highways.

So it's not just that "I'm done with 'em" it is the greater portion of society, and voters, are so done, or could care less.
Sadly, I agree with this.
  by David Benton
 
electricron wrote: Wed Aug 05, 2020 10:26 am I’ve avoided joining into this discussion until I could think and chew on it for a while.
It is a mix blessing. It still provides a passenger rail service to rural areas while at the same time making it possible to make more equipment available for more regional train services.

The very first response most new regional services gets is with what equipment, there is now an answer to that question now.

Most of the complaints I seen to the proposed tri-weekly service is not coming from the rural areas, but from the urban areas. Which reinforces my belief all along that the long distance services were not designed to provide services to rural customers, but to urban customers instead. Just like rural interstates, inter connecting large urban cities Is/was more important than servicing rural towns along the way. Rural and fly over cities receiving services as a coincidence, because the service has to go through them to inter connect the cities Amtrak really wants to serve.

I repeat, this development is/will be a mix blessin.
I think it might be a case of rural people take what they can get , and don't really have an avenue to complain.
  by Greg Moore
 
It's also a case that far more people live in urban areas, so I'd hazard a far percentage of folks here and elsewhere that are complaining are from urban areas. There's a certain observation bias here.
  • 1
  • 9
  • 10
  • 11
  • 12
  • 13
  • 19