Amtrak Shutting Down Several Route Sections 12/31/2018

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Amtrak Shutting Down Several Route Sections 12/31/2018

Postby gprimr1 » Mon Aug 27, 2018 11:06 am

Looks like Amtrak is really issuing an ultimatum on the PTC issue.

A significant number of train routes would be truncated or bus bridged over non-PTC sections.

Southwest Chief: between La Junta, Colo., and Dailies, N.M., and through Topeka, Kan.
Cardinal: over the Buckingham Branch Railroad between Orange and Clifton Forge, Va.
California Zephyr: 152 miles of UP’s Green River subdivision west of Grand Junction, Colo.
Texas Eagle: 110 miles of UP’s Desoto subdivision south of St. Louis, Mo.
Downeaster: north of Haverhill, Mass., to Brunswick, Maine., on Pan Am Railways
Vermonter: north of Springfield, Mass., on the New England Central
Ethan Allen: on Vermont Railway east of Whitehall, N.Y.
City of New Orleans: a total of 18 miles on Canadian National around Memphis, Tenn., and New Orleans

Do I think this will actually happen? Probably not, I think Congress will step in and work out something, but they are really throwing down the gantlet.

One thing that I do find interesting, there seems to be, at least among the Amtrak groups, little concern about the legit safety concerns.

http://trn.trains.com/news/news-wire/20 ... ithout-ptc
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Re: Amtrak Shutting Down Several Route Sections 12/31/2018

Postby Ken W2KB » Mon Aug 27, 2018 11:31 am

I strongly suspect that Amtrak is engaged in a gambit to have PTC funded for the exempt segments. There is a significant rational basis for not operating trains if PTC is not present by the mandatory date. Running trains on a non-PTC segment entails a very substantial liability risk were an accident to occur that arguably would have been prevented by PTC. Given the attention that PTC has received in the press, and the legislative and regulatory arenas in recent years, plaintiff's counsel would convincingly argue to the jury that Amtrak was not merely negligent, but grossly negligent, indeed perhaps engaged in willful and wanton behavior in exposing its passengers to the risk of operating in non-PTC territory. The fact that the segment was exempt from PTC requirements would be a weak defense at best since the exemption is simply that, not mandatory that there be no PTC, and state of the art safety dictates that PTC is necessary whether required by law or not. Even if older control systems were in place, a jury would easily be convinced that old technology is inferior to PTC and thus not a reasonable alternative. Added to the direct risk of substantial liability is the adverse reaction of potential future riders and the public at large to the widespread publicity that an arguably PTC preventable accident would engender.
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Re: Amtrak Shutting Down Several Route Sections 12/31/2018

Postby Matt Johnson » Mon Aug 27, 2018 12:38 pm

But I was told we'd have "the best infrastructure, believe me, it'll be tremendous!"

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hMvYNTVoMBE
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Re: Amtrak Shutting Down Several Route Sections 12/31/2018

Postby PC1100 » Mon Aug 27, 2018 1:44 pm

Matt Johnson wrote:But I was told we'd have "the best infrastructure, believe me, it'll be tremendous!"

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hMvYNTVoMBE


Well Obama had 8 years to do it, the first two with his party controlling congress...
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Re: Amtrak Shutting Down Several Route Sections 12/31/2018

Postby NRGeep » Mon Aug 27, 2018 2:12 pm

PC1100 wrote:
Matt Johnson wrote:But I was told we'd have "the best infrastructure, believe me, it'll be tremendous!"

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hMvYNTVoMBE


Well Obama had 8 years to do it, the first two with his party controlling congress...


He's done and gone. There were states like Florida which refused federal funds for railroad infrastructure upgrades which the Conn river line in Mass was happy to receive.
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Re: Amtrak Shutting Down Several Route Sections 12/31/2018

Postby Gilbert B Norman » Mon Aug 27, 2018 2:36 pm

Somehow, I'd like to think that Amtrak has now become wise to the ways of Washington, and have assurance that the record FY18 funding level and more of same for FY19 no longer depends on maintenance of the present LD system. The enabling Amtrak legislation, RPSA70, does call for a national system, but that Amtrak operates regional corridors on both coast as well as in between, satisfies the definition of a national system. While of course, this definition falls short of the interconnected system that has been the conventional wisdom, nowhere does the letter of RPSA70 call for that.
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Re: Amtrak Shutting Down Several Route Sections 12/31/2018

Postby zuckie13 » Mon Aug 27, 2018 3:01 pm

Well, I hope this doesn't happen. Hate to see those nice cross country runs go away. I'd love to ride them all at some point.

I'm glad I'm getting a couple in (Cardinal/Southwest Chief this week/weekend) before they have the potential to become disjointed messes.

Now, when I look at the FRA's PTC Dashboard (https://www.fra.dot.gov/app/ptc/) it doesn't even show the Class II/III guys that they are complaining about. Are those Railroads even pursuing PTC?
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Re: Amtrak Shutting Down Several Route Sections 12/31/2018

Postby charlesriverbranch » Mon Aug 27, 2018 3:40 pm

Anderson has to go. This is outrageous.

To whom can we write? There's an election in two months.
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Re: Amtrak Shutting Down Several Route Sections 12/31/2018

Postby gprimr1 » Mon Aug 27, 2018 3:55 pm

Is there good data on the actual safety risk of not running PTC? Is Richard Anderson using it as a smokescreen, or are railfans legitimately saying "We'd rather the trains run but might crash?"

I'm also wondering if we might see states like Vermont and Maine step up and contribute funding for PTC on some of their routes.

I do think this is some posturing. The Southwest Chief is in a different category because of the Raton pass situation, but railroads like the Buckingham Branch and New England Central are hosting more than just Amtrak. Of course, the trains running on Pan Am will be running so slow it'll just be a fender bender if they get hit. :-)
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Re: Amtrak Shutting Down Several Route Sections 12/31/2018

Postby DutchRailnut » Mon Aug 27, 2018 4:24 pm

Amtrak has stated this a few months ago, so why did no one take them serious ?
If Conductors are in charge, why are they promoted to be Engineer???

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Re: Amtrak Shutting Down Several Route Sections 12/31/2018

Postby Train60 » Mon Aug 27, 2018 4:30 pm

charlesriverbranch wrote:Anderson has to go. This is outrageous.

To whom can we write? There's an election in two months.

Start by contacting your congressperson and both of your senators.
Last edited by Train60 on Mon Aug 27, 2018 5:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Amtrak Shutting Down Several Route Sections 12/31/2018

Postby DutchRailnut » Mon Aug 27, 2018 5:09 pm

not like those elected idiots will do something to negate PTC mandate.
If Conductors are in charge, why are they promoted to be Engineer???

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Re: Amtrak Shutting Down Several Route Sections 12/31/2018

Postby mtuandrew » Mon Aug 27, 2018 5:12 pm

Also write to Anderson and tell him you’re writing your representatives, your governors, and the US DOT and FRA.

I don’t know what this sounds like to me. NECR (G&W) could afford a bare PTC installation, as could PAR, but Buckingham Branch wouldn’t be able to afford any such thing. Meanwhile, UP and BNSF can fight forced PTC installation all day and probably win, since require private uncompensated payment for Federal government-operated trains would qualify as an unlawful taking.

Serious question: does Anderson own stock in regional airlines and freight railroads that would directly benefit from lack of Amtrak service in rural America? I hate going to that question, but insider trading is rampant nowadays.

Dutch: even if they did, these lines are exempt from PTC under current regulations. Congress or USDOT would have to compel Amtrak to operate over exempt track even if they did rewrite or scrap the PTC law.
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Re: Amtrak Shutting Down Several Route Sections 12/31/2018

Postby dowlingm » Mon Aug 27, 2018 5:42 pm

Interesting that Cascades and Adirondack aren’t listed, no? (VIA operates Maple Leaf in our side of the border so there might be some excuse there)
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Re: Amtrak Shutting Down Several Route Sections 12/31/2018

Postby charlesriverbranch » Mon Aug 27, 2018 6:03 pm

The sheer idiocy of this move boggles the mind.

PTC or no PTC, Amtrak passengers are far safer than they would be on the highways.

Do Anderson's buses have automatic bus control?
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