Amtrak Autumn Express Thread

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2013 Amtrak Rare Mileage Excursion in the Mid-Atlantic

Postby njt/mnrrbuff » Wed Aug 21, 2013 12:54 pm

Hey all,
Here is an advertisement from Amtrak's official website about a rare mileage excursion that they will operate on November 2nd. It looks like it's going to be a big treat. I plan to go on this myself.

http://www.amtrak.com/fall-foliage-aboa ... mn-express
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Re: Amtrak Rare Mileage Excursion in the Mid-Atlantic Region

Postby Patrick Boylan » Wed Aug 21, 2013 1:02 pm

Wow, thanks. I rode parts of this on excursions decades ago, can't remember how much I paid, probably at least $40 for each one.
I also rode the Port Road on the last National Limited connector from DC in I believe 1977. I'm lousy at remembering dates.
I also bicycled part of the Port Road. I was biking Philly-Baltimore, got to Perryville and saw 'no bikes on bridge' sign, so had to bike back north to Conowingo, which in my opinion was a more dangerous bicycle crossing. That whole trip was 8 hours of pleasant tough bike riding, then another 6 hours of torture, I felt I died. Then I returned to Philly 3 days, the only lesson I learned was not to try to go through Perryville again. The lesson I should probably have learned was to box the bike up in Baltimore and take the train back to Philly with the bike in baggage :)
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Re: Amtrak Rare Mileage Excursion in the Mid-Atlantic Region

Postby SouthernRailway » Wed Aug 21, 2013 7:42 pm

Thanks for the info! I might take it as well.

Do we know what the consist will be: a Genesis and a bunch of Amfleets, likely?
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Re: Amtrak Rare Mileage Excursion in the Mid-Atlantic Region

Postby Mackensen » Wed Aug 21, 2013 7:46 pm

Genesis, Horizon coaches, and an unspecified cafe car. See the press release for more.
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Re: Amtrak Rare Mileage Excursion in the Mid-Atlantic Region

Postby acelaphillies » Wed Aug 21, 2013 8:11 pm

It would be nice if you could use AGR points. I tried it, and it came up with an error so I don't think so. If anyone has more info on that it would be appreciated.
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Re: Amtrak Rare Mileage Excursion in the Mid-Atlantic Region

Postby njt/mnrrbuff » Wed Aug 21, 2013 8:42 pm

Anytime. I hope that they stop so we can take pictures of the consist along the way. I know that the site mentions a stop in HAR.
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Re: Amtrak Rare Mileage Excursion in the Mid-Atlantic Region

Postby shadyjay » Wed Aug 21, 2013 8:45 pm

Sounds like basically the same route as the Conrail Express excursion run a few years back. This price seems pretty reasonable... in fact, I think cheaper than the CRX trip. Pretty unusual this seems for Amtrak to run an excursion train on its own without any group sponsoring it. Guessing it'll be standard fare P42s for power. For the CRX trip, we got the PRR E units.
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Re: Amtrak Rare Mileage Excursion in the Mid-Atlantic Region

Postby acelaphillies » Wed Aug 21, 2013 9:19 pm

I think we could expect a heritage unit. Or 42?
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Re: Amtrak Rare Mileage Excursion in the Mid-Atlantic Region

Postby JimBoylan » Wed Aug 21, 2013 10:57 pm

This trip gets the Columbia Branch part of the original Main Line, which probably hasn't been used for an excursion since the Railroad Museum of Pa. - Strassburg RR trips in the last century.
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Re: Amtrak Rare Mileage Excursion in the Mid-Atlantic Region

Postby SouthernRailway » Thu Aug 22, 2013 4:39 am

Thanks for the info. I'll plan to go.

Curious as to why Horizons are being used; I'd figure that since Amtrak views this as a revenue opportunity, it would just use whatever spare Amfleets are sitting around on a Saturday. I'm glad that Amtrak is using something else, though!
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Re: Amtrak Rare Mileage Excursion in the Mid-Atlantic Region

Postby chuchubob » Thu Aug 22, 2013 6:25 am

Bigger windows to view the fall foliage.
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Re: Amtrak Rare Mileage Excursion in the Mid-Atlantic Region

Postby Gilbert B Norman » Thu Aug 22, 2013 9:49 am

Hey y'all @ 60 Mass; here is a revenue enhancement idea.

See if you could scour up a few A-II's for the consist. With their larger windows and 60 seat configuration, you'd be able to charge a premium to occupy them. I guess Dome 10031 is ruled out account those things known as wires with 11KV running through them.

The Port Road is a 'been there done that' for me in this life; the scenery IS spectacular.

But it is interesting to learn that Amtrak is getting into the fan trip business for their own account, and no doubt have factored in having to pay NS for pilot Engineers and Conductors (how many Amtrak T&E in service today are Rules Qualified over the Port?). Only 'cost' likely not factored is having to call in some non-Agreement 'help' to work on an otherwise day off.
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Re: Amtrak Rare Mileage Excursion in the Mid-Atlantic Region

Postby JimBoylan » Thu Aug 22, 2013 10:11 am

ConRail's dome car has made almost that same circle trip from 30th St. track 1, using the Shellpot Branch to get around low wire in Wilmington, Del., and the Reading's Lebanon Valley Branch and Old Main Line to get around low wire on the ex-Pennsylvania RR's Main Line.
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Re: Amtrak Rare Mileage Excursion in the Mid-Atlantic Region

Postby afiggatt » Thu Aug 22, 2013 11:06 am

The Amtrak news release on the special Autumn Express train quotes DJ Stadler as saying this is a test for a potential new revenue source. Since they probably need the train to at least come close to breaking even if not run at a small surplus, makes sense to not accept AGR points for it. Take the $89 per person. The news release content:

WILMINGTON – Amtrak invites passengers to experience the splendor of fall aboard the inaugural “Autumn Express.” Tickets are now on sale for this one-day-only special train, which departs from and returns to Philadelphia 30th Street Station on Saturday, Nov. 2, and affords scenic views of historic railroad sites throughout Delaware, Maryland and Pennsylvania.

The train will travel the Northeast Corridor to Perryville, Md., then make a rare trip up the historic Port Road Branch (usually off limits to passenger traffic) along the Susquehanna River, passing through Enola Yard, crossing the Shocks Mill and Rockville bridges before continuing over the Columbia Secondary and back to Philadelphia via Amtrak’s Keystone Corridor through scenic Lancaster County.

“This unique excursion is an exciting opportunity for passengers and a new venture for Amtrak,” explained DJ Stadtler, Amtrak vice president of operations. “In addition to exploring rare mileage, the ‘Autumn Express’ is a first of its kind charter train which we’ll test as a potential new revenue source for America’s Railroad.”

The train will consist of a P-42 locomotive, Horizon coach cars (with larger “picture” windows to take in the view) and café car. Tickets cost $89 for adults and are half-priced for children ages 2-15. All tickets include a boxed lunch and free souvenir tote bag emblazoned with the special “Autumn Express” inaugural logo. Other commemorative merchandise will be available for purchase aboard the train and special announcements will be made highlighting key landmarks along the route.
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Re: Amtrak Rare Mileage Excursion in the Mid-Atlantic Region

Postby Jersey_Mike » Thu Aug 22, 2013 11:31 am

That's the first time I have ever seen Horizon windows described as "larger".
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