Amtrak Crescent Discussion

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Re: Crescent Questions/Comments

Postby SouthernRailway » Sun Aug 28, 2016 11:28 am

dowlingm wrote:1/3 more train mileage doesn't imply that if SR had run the train daily then that they would have proportionately more revenue and therefore losses also proportional. Surely that is how that segment ended up 3/weekly in the first place?


Fair point; the losses would probably be larger than 1/3 more. But double the losses today vs. 1978/9, with 1/3 more train-miles on a less-trafficked segment of the line, but significantly more demand and much higher pricing on the remainder of the line?
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Re: Crescent Questions/Comments

Postby mtuandrew » Sun Aug 28, 2016 1:03 pm

Also keep in mind that even with full allocation of costs to the Southern Crescent, SRY dipped crews from existing crew bases at a lower rate than today, used its own fuel at company prices (Amtrak pays market rate), had its own shops en route which maintained all of the railway's equipment (the Es and Budds were a small part of their rotation), paid no rent on facilities or trackage rights (aside from that allocated through the company), and had a switcher at Atlanta to cut and add cars at a company rate. Amtrak has none of these advantages. I have a feeling they carried more LCL freight to offset costs as well, but someone else will need to confirm or deny.
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Re: Crescent Questions/Comments

Postby SouthernRailway » Sun Aug 28, 2016 2:47 pm

mtuandrew wrote:Also keep in mind that even with full allocation of costs to the Southern Crescent, SRY dipped crews from existing crew bases at a lower rate than today, used its own fuel at company prices (Amtrak pays market rate), had its own shops en route which maintained all of the railway's equipment (the Es and Budds were a small part of their rotation), paid no rent on facilities or trackage rights (aside from that allocated through the company), and had a switcher at Atlanta to cut and add cars at a company rate. Amtrak has none of these advantages. I have a feeling they carried more LCL freight to offset costs as well, but someone else will need to confirm or deny.


Sounds like Class I freight railroads should take back all of Amtrak's long-distance passenger trains and be paid a subsidy.
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Re: Crescent Questions/Comments

Postby mtuandrew » Sun Aug 28, 2016 3:12 pm

SouthernRailway wrote:Sounds like Class I freight railroads should take back all of Amtrak's long-distance passenger trains and be paid a subsidy.

We've talked about that, and they did at first, but it isn't so simple now that Amtrak has an established base and that the Class 1s have by-and-large stopped supplying any passenger service (BNSF and UP excluded, and only in a few cities.) Also, it'd likely cost the government more to run these trains with Class 1 crews - those railroads already see Amtrak as freeloading, and would be even less likely to give NRPC trains priority unless they got a correspondingly higher rate.
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Re: Crescent Questions/Comments

Postby Morning Zephyr » Sat Sep 03, 2016 5:21 pm

Now that the Silver Star and Lake Shore Limited have lost their diners (and Cardinal lost it long ago) what are the chances that the Crescent is next? If there's really a shortage of working "heritage" cars and the new ones from CAF are anybody's guess, how will that affect the remaining single-level trains that still have diners?
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Re: Crescent Questions/Comments

Postby Arlington » Mon Sep 05, 2016 7:00 am

So far, its hard to say what the pattern is in diner removal. The Star had/has one of the lowest sleeper-$/mile while the LSL is one of the highest. On a $/mile basis (versus Sleeper revenues) the Crescent's diner is probably the worst money loser the east (worse than the Star), yet has kept its diner.

I'm going to suggest "diner dependence" as the reason the Crescent has kept its diner: a long route on which diner times loom large as a % of trip and as a time-killer (versus the LSL's fast trip where station food is available and sleeping can fill the trip) and for which there is no alternative train with a diner (as for the Meteor recapturing some who'd fled the Star)

https://www.amtrak.com/ccurl/601/626/Am ... y-2016.pdf
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Re: Crescent Questions/Comments

Postby east point » Tue Sep 06, 2016 3:45 am

If The ATL situation were different Amtrak's PRIIA proposal already lists no diner south of ATL.
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Re: Crescent Questions/Comments

Postby UnitedCapt » Wed Sep 21, 2016 4:52 pm

I'm looking forward to my trip from NO-NYC a week from today. Planning to fly to New Orleans the night before for dinner with friends before setting out Wednesday at 7. This is year 2 of my annual AMTRAK long distance trip. Last year I left Austin for Chicago on the Texas Eagle. My wife is flying up this year to meet me in NYC for several days of fun after I arrive. I don't see a lot of Crescent discussion on the site but looking forward to the experience! Besides the Greensborough stop, any other recommendations for a quick exit/leg stretch? Any Roomette cars better than others? Thanks!
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Re: Crescent Questions/Comments

Postby Greg Moore » Wed Sep 21, 2016 7:52 pm

You should definitely have a bit of time to stretch your legs at Atlanta.
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Re: Crescent Questions/Comments

Postby Rockingham Racer » Thu Sep 22, 2016 7:23 am

Washington, also, for the engine change.
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Re: Crescent Questions/Comments

Postby electricron » Thu Sep 22, 2016 8:52 am

I believe all the sleeper cars are maintained to the same standards, so one roomette isn't always better than others. Location of the roomette might make a difference, those nearer to the shower room might have more noise than the others, and these will also be the ones over the wheels that can be noisy - especially if one of the wheels has a flat spot. So, I suggest the roomettes nearer the center of any car is better than those at the ends. The same holds true for the full sleeper compartments too, ;)
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Crescent ride report

Postby CharlieK » Thu Oct 13, 2016 2:39 pm

I rode The Crescent from NOLA to NYC last Saturday/Sunday. Before I left I thought I might post some comments here as I rode but the WiFi wasn't very good especially at the beginning of the trip. I traveled alone in a Viewliner Roomette, $233.00 extra and well worth it for the comfort and privacy. I do think that two people traveling in a Roomette might be crowded and would have to be accommodating of one another particularly where toilet use is concerned. I'd go for the Bedroom if I had someone else with me. Total fare, New Orleans to Albany NY, Roomette on The Crescent and Business Class seat on the Ethan Allen Express was $422.45.
Other than the WiFi the trip was fine, boarding went smoothly, tickets were scanned at the gate before we got on board. We departed on time and stayed on time until the we were north of DC, here the train only stops to discharge passengers and we ran slightly ahead of schedule all the way to New York. Once we were on the Northeast Corridor the WiFi was good. I was watching the Amtrak Connect app on my iPhone, our cruising speed was generally 108 mph.
The Amtrak people on the train were good. The sleeping care attendant was friendly and helpful. The dining car staff did a good job too. The same crew traveled with us from NOLA to NYC. Meals were OK with a good selection, the food was good but not great.
Ride quality varied, it was rough in Louisiana and Alabama. On the other hand, during the night I woke up somewhere in the Carolinas and I thought we were stopped, it took me a moment to realize we were moving right along on some exceptionally smooth rail. Sunday, in the diner as I ate lunch just north of Wilmington the car was vibrating and nosing quite a bit at high speed, more likely a car problem than the track. My sleeper, the next car forward, was fine.
Pennsylvania Station in New York was more crowded that usual. I knew it was a three day weekend and I thought Sunday might be a quiet day, I was wrong. This is where Business Class is worth the extra. Trains northbound from Penn Station use the third rail and there are only a couple of third rail tracks in the station, you always know what gate you're boarding from. People line up long before departure time. By the time the train is announced the line is a couple of hundred feet long. If you have a Business Class seat you can let the people in line board first, your seat will be there.
I arrived at Albany-Rensselaer station on time at 5:45 PM Sunday after a 34 hour, 1519 mile trip.
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Re: Crescent Questions/Comments

Postby ExCon90 » Fri Oct 14, 2016 2:18 pm

Refreshing to read something like that. So often all you find is a report on a trip that was a horror show; maybe an indication that a bad trip is news, but a good one is routine?
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Re: Crescent Questions/Comments

Postby Greg Moore » Fri Oct 14, 2016 2:41 pm

I haven't done the Crescent from NOL, but routinely do that exact trip from ATL.
One note, it's actually not the 3rd rail (that's only used getting into/out of Penn Station, once out of the Empire tunnel it changes to diesel) that determines the gates, it's the fact that only those tracks can get to the Empire connection.

One nice thing about the Crescent getting in early is I've often been able to change to an earlier train to get to Albany. Which is a nice benefit.
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Crescent ride report addendum

Postby CharlieK » Fri Oct 21, 2016 1:01 pm

After discussing my trip on the Crescent with a few people I realized that I left something out of my previous post, baggage. There's no space for a large suitcase in the Viewliner Roomette, if you have a bag bigger than airline carry on size you'll have to check it. I didn't use that service so I can't comment on it. I have a maximum sized carry on, it fit in the small overhead compartment in the Roomette with room for another of the same dimensions. It's a little awkward getting the bag in and out of the overhead.
I was also asked about cost. The $422 is a senior fare for a reservation I made three months in advance, the senior discount is 15% on the base fare, no break on the Roomette. Without the early reservation it would be around $700, in both cases about the same as First Class airfare. :wink:
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