• Amtrak and Commuter Railroads: SEPTA, MARC, VRE, NJT (was Bullying)

  • 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 Suburban Station
 
mcgrath618 wrote: Wed Jun 19, 2019 11:18 pm Why should SEPTA not have rights to operate over the NEC? I'm not trying to get into the whole "good, widespread service vs turning a profit" debate, but why should a commuter agency that is an essential service to one of the largest metro areas in the country not have rights? SEPTA already pays Amtrak a hefty sum of money, and as said in the article, there are six stations that the two entities share that Amtrak doesn't have to pay a dime for.
here's what I know:
1) the article is clearly a rant by a publication that has a history of them. there are no facts and figures , the claims are taken at face value from one entity only. there are always two sides to a story and there is barely one.
2) I've been riding SEPTA for 3 decades and there are immutable facts about SEPTA. they lie when it is convenient, their current president has no issue with this. secondly, they are cheap to a fault. it would not surprise me at all if SEPTA is refusing to pay their fair share. they are always willing to throw their own passengers under the bus.
3) SEPTA does not have rights to operate on other people's infrastructure for less than cost. it took an act of congress to get them to pay more (PRIIA) and there are no facts or figures to say one way or another whether it is enough. after decades of underpaying it will likely take years to bring the SEPTA sections to a state of good repair.
4) SEPTA is always more interested in controlling who gets contracts than anything else. https://www.inquirer.com/transportation ... 90530.html
5) I also don't trust Amtrak but I'm not fool enough to assume SEPTA is being bullied.
6) what are the six stations? Is SEPTA including PennDOT money in their $228 million figure as if it's their own?
7) why would anyone think VRE shouldn't have to pay access? they should have been paying it all along instead of receiving a back door subsidy from intercity funding.
Last edited by Suburban Station on Thu Jun 20, 2019 10:15 am, edited 1 time in total.
  by Suburban Station
 
rcthompson04 wrote: Thu Jun 20, 2019 5:49 am I am not surprised by Amtrak’s antics. There has been a deterioration of service in SEPTA’s Amtrak territory over the last several months that is quite noticeable. Service was actually improving then it took a serious turn for the worse a little after the beginning of the year.
maybe. clearly the work at PAO is taking its toll, downed wires are a serious problem, but it also seems like there's an uptick in mechanical failures again. SEPTA had four years of mechanical problems, not just the S5 debacle (itself caused by SEPTA being pennywise pound foolish).
http://www.septa.org/strategic-plan/Renewal.html
  by mcgrath618
 
rcthompson04 wrote: Thu Jun 20, 2019 5:49 am(itself caused by SEPTA being pennywise pound foolish).
The Silverliner V cracks were due to faulty steel from a contractor of Hyundai Rotem, not SEPTA. Their money-grubbing had nothing to do with the SLV incident.
Last edited by mcgrath618 on Thu Jun 20, 2019 5:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.
  by east point
 
At first blush our group down here supported the idea of splitting Amtrak into infrastructure and operating entities. However some one pointed out that the infrastructure group would want to group all work into least cost times. that would be of course days and continuous work windows. That could cause havoc with scheduling and probably causing many cancellations during the day time. That is a big no - no in our opinion to the idea of splitting the company that way.
  by rcthompson04
 
Speaking of Amtrak’s high quality service, another evening commute with complete chaos on the Main Line with no service past Malvern. To put it charitably, SEPTA does not have as many “tree down” problems on its right of way.
  by Tadman
 
mtuandrew wrote: Wed Jun 19, 2019 12:46 pm
Tadman wrote: Wed Jun 19, 2019 7:50 amIt's all kind of crazy. I'd split it up into an infrastructure company that owns NEC
So while you’re in the process of selling off the NEC, you’ll also force the Class 1s be broken up into operating and right-of-way companies, and further you’ll force open access freight?
Absolutely not, and there is no legal mechanism that says that's what has to happen. Right now, the entire NEC is publicly owned, by Amtrak or other gov't entities. That means we're moving government money between government entities, much of which is federal anyway.

On the freight side, 99% of the freight system is owned by the freight roads. You can't nationalize that, it's a "taking", which is very clearly not legal under the US constitution.

There is no law or caveat that says "if we rearrange Amtrak we have to take/pay for the freight network". There is a large law that says "you can't take the freight network". Why is there a connection?

Regardless of taking or paying fair market for freight trackage, or moving public passenger trackage between gov't groups. look at the underlying reasons: Amtrak does a crummy job of their three-way business of owning track, operating their trains, and operating others' trains. Nobody is really happy with them.

The freights do a great job of moving freight. Despite individual shipper concerns, they move far more freight and do it more efficiently than any other country. There's a reason the Canadians wanted EHH to fix CN, despite our opinions of him. There's a reason the South Americans have been working with Henry Posner. There's a reason the Brits and Spanish bought profuse amounts of EMD's and EMD-engined Vosslohs when they realized the 47's and 37's weren't that great after all.
  by mtuandrew
 
Hah, I’m not advocating nationalization of Class 1s. However, a well-planned, creative, long-lasting and forceful legal battle could result in a landmark monopolies case such as Northern Securities that results in open access on private roads. If a de facto Class I like Amtrak has to be open access, it must be a good enough idea that private Class I roads be pressured to do the same. :wink:

All I’m saying is, it sounds like you want to break apart a neglected system and expect to feed multiple mouths, rather than feed the one system and see what grows.
  by BandA
 
mtuandrew wrote: Wed Jun 19, 2019 12:46 pmAmtrak does seem to be happy to sell parts of its railroad to state agencies like MassDOT, and I’m a little surprised it hasn’t sold its legacy Michigan Central to the state of Michigan for $1.
When did Amtrak sell or offer to sell part of it's railroad to MassDOT?
  by mtuandrew
 
I misspoke, MassDOT purchased their portion of the NEC in 1971 before Amtrak had a shot at it. What I meant to say is they Amtrak has been happy to let the states purchase most of the passenger-primary track that’s gone on the market since 1973, but I am surprised that none of Amtrak’s track has gone to state partners.
  by Nasadowsk
 
mcgrath618 wrote: Thu Jun 20, 2019 12:32 pm
rcthompson04 wrote: Thu Jun 20, 2019 5:49 am(itself caused by SEPTA being pennywise pound foolish).
The Silverliner V cracks were due to faulty steel from a contractor of Hyundai Rotem, not SEPTA. Their money-grubbing had nothing to do with the SLV incident.
The SLV cracks could have also been avoided if SEPTA allowed contractors to use a truck design from this side of the Carter administration, instead of going to one flaky contractor for a design that quite literally, nobody else buys anymore.

In any case, besides that and being piggy, what's so horrid about those cars? One can nitpick design decisions all day (not enough door area, braking grids are useless excess when you can regenerate, open gangway/Jacobs trucks would have been nice, though that suggest all level boarding which SEPTA still doesn't have for some dumb reason...), but the actual cars seem to work well enough. Certainly no better worse that anything from Snowmobiles, Inc...

(I put the PL-42 into this bucket, too. It's the world's worst locomotive, but nobody can ever say why. Other than it's French. Which is supposed to be bad I guess?)
  by Jeff Smith
 
I updated the title, as there is valid disagreement on who's bullying who. :wink:
  by rcthompson04
 
Nasadowsk wrote: Fri Jun 21, 2019 4:41 am In any case, besides that and being piggy, what's so horrid about those cars? One can nitpick design decisions all day (not enough door area, braking grids are useless excess when you can regenerate, open gangway/Jacobs trucks would have been nice, though that suggest all level boarding which SEPTA still doesn't have for some dumb reason...), but the actual cars seem to work well enough. Certainly no better worse that anything from Snowmobiles, Inc...
Before being us back on topic, as a rider I would prefer a Silverliner V train over anything else SEPTA throws out there even though the ACS-64 with refurbished Bombers is a close second. They do the best job making up time loses due to Amtrak delays on my normal morning trip.

This brings up an interesting point for me though. Would Amtrak be far less hostile (if you take this at face value) if they ran the commuter services themselves?
  by R36 Combine Coach
 
mtuandrew wrote: Thu Jun 20, 2019 10:00 pmI meant to say is they Amtrak has been happy to let the states purchase most of the passenger-primary track that’s gone on the market since 1973, but I am surprised that none of Amtrak’s track has gone to state partners.
What are the chances of the State of New Jersey owning the NEC between Trenton and NYP?

*ALL* the stations in this segment (except EWR Rail Station/PANYNJ) are under NJT auspices (including Newark Penn Station).
  by ExCon90
 
Amtrak would strenuously resist giving up the dispatching of that territory. They're butting heads all the time with Metro North as it is and they don't want anything like that anywhere else; they don't want Trenton to become another New Rochelle.