• Amtrak Downeaster Discussion Thread

  • 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 gokeefe
 
Restaurants and delis are having trouble finding help right now. Interesting that the problem in Dover has become so sure that it has provoked closures.

I can tell you that the main reason Dunkin stays open right now is that they offer unlimited overtime at most locations along with full time benefits.
  by Cosakita18
 
Stumbled across an interesting video last night, covering Amtrak's long term strategy. At 5:10 it mentions a "new northeast regional" service from Richmond all the way to Portland, as part of Amtrak's plan tool optimize the NEC.

https://youtu.be/dSw7fWCrDk0

I don't know where exactly this channel is getting their information, but this is the first I've heard of something like this.

So I guess my question is...are the DE's days numbered?? Will Boston-Portland service be folded into the NEC in the long term?
  by bostontrainguy
 
Cosakita18 wrote: Wed Dec 04, 2019 7:45 am Stumbled across an interesting video last night, covering Amtrak's long term strategy. At 5:10 it mentions a "new northeast regional" service from Richmond all the way to Portland, as part of Amtrak's plan tool optimize the NEC.

https://youtu.be/dSw7fWCrDk0

I don't know where exactly this channel is getting their information, but this is the first I've heard of something like this.

So I guess my question is...are the DE's days numbered?? Will Boston-Portland service be folded into the NEC in the long term?
Don't know who made this video, but it's not physically possible to travel directly through Boston on a NEC/DE routing.
  by sicariis
 
The comments seem to have originated from Amtrak’s fiscal year 2019 earnings call:
The nonstop Acela service currently operates with just one round-trip between New York’s Penn Station and Washington Union Station, but Amtrak plans to add nonstop trains in both directions during peak hours, CEO Richard Anderson said Friday during Amtrak’s fiscal year 2019 earnings call. In addition, it wants to expand the nonstop service north between New York and Boston South Station.

The additional nonstop trains would be part of a tiered service plan for the Northeast Corridor. Limited-stop Acela trains would be a tier below, followed by Northeast Regional trains, and finally a new tier of service that makes all local stops on routes between Richmond, Virginia, and Maine.
https://thepointsguy.com/news/amtrak-pl ... -new-york/

I've done some digging for a recording or a transcript of the call but have yet to find it, maybe others will be able to locate it more easily.

I guess the big question is there any feasibility to doing this sans N/S rail link? Sending an 11 car NEC set over the grand junction?
  by artman
 
Does anyone know if there will be Santa Downeaster runs like in years past?
  by artman
 
Dick H wrote: Sun Nov 24, 2019 11:04 am Regarding the Dover Station "tenant": A year ago there was a proposal for a bagel shop. In the end, the operator essentially wanted nothing to do with the DE passengers, except if they were buying bagels, etc. This time around with the deli operation, there is a extensive lease agreement that requires deli employees to have a one day course on the operation of the DE, tickets and information. If the deli is a major success, the employees sure won't have time to be checking the status of the train and when it is late, such as during temperature speed restrictions, weather events and the infamous PAR freight train breakdowns.

The station building was never designed to have a separate area for a tenant that can be secured when the tenant is not open and still provide at least some waiting room facilities. The main entrance to the station is on the east end facing the high level platform, while the rest rooms are on the west end beyond the end of the low level platform. Initially, it appeared that only the vestibule on the east end and the rest rooms on the west end would be open when there was a station host available and the deli was closed, which would have included weekends, as the original contract called for a 6 AM to 2 PM Monday to Friday deli operation. The Foster's article seems to have modified that.
FWIW - It's not a full-service deli that is moving in there. From the article:

"Bubby’s NY Style Delicatessen, formerly of downtown Portsmouth, will concept itself into more of a grab-and-go café and open within the center’s existing station building by about March."

The city will replace the station’s roof in conjunction with Bubby’s interior renovations. Parker said a portion of the building, but not all of it, will be closed to the public starting Dec. 2 due to the work.

Schweitzer estimated there will be around 10 seats in the station after the outfitting of the eatery is complete.

“There will be a mixture of seating and standing available to both Bubby’s and (transit customers),” said Parker. “The business is not taking over the space; they’re sharing the space with existing transit riders. The goal was truly to add the amenity of food service.”


PS - The other benefit to having a business onsite is less chance for disreputables and vandals to get away with things
  by gokeefe
 
Cosakita18 wrote: Wed Dec 04, 2019 7:45 amI don't know where exactly this channel is getting their information, but this is the first I've heard of something like this.

So I guess my question is...are the DE's days numbered?? Will Boston-Portland service be folded into the NEC in the long term?
No on both. As others have mentioned this rumor appears to be a slight misunderstanding of statements made during Amtrak's regular earnings call.

I would note that this issue has yet to be fully clarified by Amtrak ...
  by gokeefe
 
bostontrainguy wrote: Wed Dec 04, 2019 9:17 amDon't know who made this video, but it's not physically possible to travel directly through Boston on a NEC/DE routing.
Technically incorrect but operationally "yes" I would agree it's completely impractical.
Last edited by gokeefe on Wed Dec 04, 2019 8:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.
  by ryanch
 
sicariis wrote: Wed Dec 04, 2019 10:16 am The comments seem to have originated from Amtrak’s fiscal year 2019 earnings call:
The nonstop Acela service currently operates with just one round-trip between New York’s Penn Station and Washington Union Station, but Amtrak plans to add nonstop trains in both directions during peak hours, CEO Richard Anderson said Friday during Amtrak’s fiscal year 2019 earnings call. In addition, it wants to expand the nonstop service north between New York and Boston South Station.

The additional nonstop trains would be part of a tiered service plan for the Northeast Corridor. Limited-stop Acela trains would be a tier below, followed by Northeast Regional trains, and finally a new tier of service that makes all local stops on routes between Richmond, Virginia, and Maine.
https://thepointsguy.com/news/amtrak-pl ... -new-york/

I've done some digging for a recording or a transcript of the call but have yet to find it, maybe others will be able to locate it more easily.

I guess the big question is there any feasibility to doing this sans N/S rail link? Sending an 11 car NEC set over the grand junction?
Isn't it more likely that this would involve bypassing Boston through Worcester?
  by charlesriverbranch
 
I can't see a "local" Amtrak train bypassing Boston. Maybe a Maine section splits at New Haven and runs Springfield-Worcester-Ayer-Lowell-Lawrence-Portland?

TRNE has been pushing for a direct Portland-NYC train for a while; I wonder if this proposal is a response to them?
  by ryanch
 
Bostoners already have frequent service to Maine, and anyone on this train coming from further south has more than a dozen options for getting to Boston.

The only reason to run a train the whole way is if you believe there is a significant market of people from south of Boston who want to go to Maine.

So bypassing Boston should have little effect on the prospects. If Amtrak is really considering it. I don't know that they are. But if they are, it would seem that an inexpensive route through Worcester beats a second Big Dig.

For Amtrak anyway. If Mass. DOT wants to connect the stations for other reasons, I'm sure Amtrak would love to route that way.
  by ryanch
 
In general, I don't think people have realized how much the Virginia trains are a game-changer, by proving that connecting service to the NEC can be successful and profitable in places that weren't dreamed of 15 years ago.

I'm hoping Amtrak execs have taken this to heart.

The goal now should be to figure out how many successful feeders you can run into and out of the NEC, via whatever routing works. You've got a captive market of millions of people for whom Amtrak is a normal way to get around. Where else can you get them to? And what new cities and regions can you connect up to the speed and convenience of the NEC?

Maine is one of them, and if you can't do it via Boston, I think the idea is just do it anyway.
  by gokeefe
 
It can be done ... But you have to take an approach to Boston from a direction other than Mansfield.

Still awaiting further comment or clarification from Amtrak ...
  by east point
 
Richmond - Portland service has only one really viable route. Richmond to New Haven -Diesel Springfield - Worcester - Grand route to North Station ( BON ) - Back in to BON then the DownEaster route to Portland. The only problem at BON will be southbound train pulling into BON and possible diesel exhaust problems. Now getting CSX to agree to even one round trip over Worcester - Springfield may be a problem ? That route needs consistent Amtrak service with qualified crews for the times that the coast route is closed due to weather or other reasons so Regionals can detour over the Springfield route.

Since MNRR has constrained capacity New Haven - New Rochelle due to the many draw bridges needing replacement getting additional slots in the foreseeable future ( 2040 -2050 ) may be a real problem. For example the present Walk Bridge replacement will close the 4 track segment over the replacement to 3 tracks and for several times just 2 tracks. That is because replacing the swing bridge with 2 separate lift bridges requires the 2 northern tracks to be displaced northward several feet ( 10 - 14 ft ? ). Once the northern lift bridge is in service the south lift bridge May (?) follow present alignments and not require as long closing one or two of the south tracks.

But once CT DOT gets both Walk lift bridges in full operation we can probably expect the DOT to start on the next bridge that needs a new lift bridge replacement with the same constraints of just 2 tracks in service at times.
  by nkloudon
 
Way not combine the "Pine Tree" with the Vermonter, splitting at Springfield?
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