• Illinois Amtrak Service

  • 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 Rockingham Racer
 
[quote="jck]Would a judge actually force CN to run the trains on its own tracks?[/quote]

The Boston and Maine was forced to in the 60's. They were required to run one passenger train per day on lines they wished to abolish. I presume that situation could obtain in this instance.

  by JimBoylan
 
It would be a very interesting precedent if a judge were to rule, and be sustained on appeal, that a contract may be broken just by paying the unspecified damages. It would be even more interesting if the judge were to craft his opinion so that it only applied to this narrow case. Recent precedent involving Guilford roads, the Downeasters, and the Montrealer, had judges ruling in Amtrak's favor, although the decisions were delayed by many appeals. Amtrak's right to run the Illinois trains over lines that joined Amtrak started with the 1971 law that established the National Railroad Passenger Corp. Some of the technicalities expired in 1996.

  by jck
 
Rockingham Racer wrote:[
Interesting. Are there any more recent (e.g., Amtrak-era) decisions?

  by jck
 
JimBoylan wrote:It would be a very interesting precedent if a judge were to rule, and be sustained on appeal, that a contract may be broken just by paying the unspecified damages. It would be even more interesting if the judge were to craft his opinion so that it only applied to this narrow case. Recent precedent involving Guilford roads, the Downeasters, and the Montrealer, had judges ruling in Amtrak's favor, although the decisions were delayed by many appeals. Amtrak's right to run the Illinois trains over lines that joined Amtrak started with the 1971 law that established the National Railroad Passenger Corp. Some of the technicalities expired in 1996.
Thanks for the info. I recall a dispute with Guilford regarding the Downeaster, but in my recollection the dispute was over 59 vs. 79 mph running on the route. Was there an earlier dispute with Guilford regarding running the trains at all?

What rights does the 1971 law grant Amtrak?

  by JimBoylan
 
The earlier dispute involved the speed of the Montrealer and the condition of its track. Of course, the present dispute with CN involves the quantity of trains.
The Guilford roads involved hadn't joined Amtrak as they had no intercity trains in 1971, so theirs was really a contract dispute. For the Montrealer, Amtrak bought the line (part of the Connecticut River Line) by condemnation over Guilford's objections and promptly sold it to the Central Vermont Rwy. (owned by CN), who was willing to cooperate!
In the case of the Illinois trains, Illinois Central did join Amtrak in 1971. Part of the requirement to get the IC out of its obligation of running passenger trains was to let Amtrak run them over the same line (under certain conditions and payments)! Even without an alleged invalid contract, Amtrak may still have the right by law (instead of contract) to run the trains on these lines. If so, a judge might order the trains run while the amount Amtrak has to pay is litigated.
If all else fails, would Kansas City Southern like to play the role of Central Vermont and get their own line to Chicago and a Canadian Pacific connection?

  by amusing erudition
 
jck wrote:
amusing erudition wrote: Assuming they lose [...] does anyone want to speculate which two runs to/from St. Louis will get cut?
Assuming who loses?

Amtrak could still "win" the contract dispute, but not be able to run the trains, if a judge or other arbitor determines that CN is required to pay damages to Amtrak. Would a judge actually force CN to run the trains on its own tracks?
Sorry...assuming Amtrak loses the suit in equity. That's the only situation that will result in their having to cut trains. And I reissue my question.
JimBoylan wrote:It would be a very interesting precedent if a judge were to rule, and be sustained on appeal, that a contract may be broken just by paying the unspecified damages.
That's not really interesting at all, and they would almost certainly be sustained on appeal if it were the judgment. Legal damages are the default remedy for contracts. You almost always get only money for someone breaching a contract with you. The courts are very hesitant to enjoin compliance with a contract without a very good reason. One of the reasons is if you would not be able to get what you had contracted for using the money they would pay you.

Thus, I think that this is a reason for Amtrak to get the injunction because damages will not be sufficient since Amtrak has few if any other options to run the service it was about to under the agreement (noting of course that the replacement service would have to run through all the cities that the first service did). Now, CN could be required to pay damages equal to what Amtrak would be making from running the service, but it seems to me that the speculative "profit" would still not be a sufficient remedy.

So, notwithstanding any statutory right Amtrak has to the tracks, I'd say this is a classic case for a judicial order for specific performance. The rights to the tracks are not fungible and so damages may not ever be a sufficient remedy.

Also, I'm not sure what you mean by unspecified damages. They would have to be specified before a suit could even happen. And I can think of several ways that they could angle for damages (the cost of the tracks themselves being the likely ceiling). But I think they would rather have the injunction, and I think they can frame the case in such a way to get it.

-asg

  by jck
 
JimBoylan wrote:Even without an alleged invalid contract, Amtrak may still have the right by law (instead of contract) to run the trains on these lines. If so, a judge might order the trains run while the amount Amtrak has to pay is litigated.
If there is a specific statute, then I could see the judging ordering CN to run the trains, but as amusing erudition has outlined, monetary damages, not requiring performance, are the usual remedy for breach of contract.

  by mkellerm
 
Things seem to have been resolved in Amtrak's favor for the time being:

AP story in Crain's Chicago Business

  by jck
 
Good. Better to have the trains running than to worry about what type of damages Amtrak might receive!

  by Gilbert B Norman
 
Amtrak is "doin' its End Zone Dance".

  by Gilbert B Norman
 
WBBM 780 had a report during the 5AM hour of the agreement between Amtrak and CN to allow operation of the Saluki and Lincoln Service starting Monday Oct 30.

Elsewhere Mr. PRR 60 (that handle BTW represents an EB Pgh-NY All-Pullman -WB was 61 - overnight train named The Pittsburgher that lasted into the '60's) has submitted material from Today's Chicago Tribune.

http://www.railroad.net/forums/viewtopic.php?t=31395
  by wigwagfan
 
MODERATOR'S NOTE:

All,

We've reduced this discussion down to a bit of one-liners.

Should there be no further tangible discussion, I think I'll call it a night, and lock the door behind me.

Thanks,

  by Gilbert B Norman
 
I'll make it my business to be trackside when #381 The Carl Sandburg passes tomorrow on its inaugural run. That should be about 830A. Regretably, there are "other things on the agenda' tomorrow that preclude an inaugural ride. FWIW, the website a few moments ago reported open seating and a fare more attractive than offered on #383 (nee 347) Illinois Zephyr.

While the "ol' Iballs' and other cognitive functions are no longer sharp enough to record a consist of a train passing at MAS of 70mph, I'll at least get a car count and if Mr. Halstead has chosen to lock this topic in the meantime, I shall seek his pre-approval to post.
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