Thank You, Fred Frailey.....

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Re: Thank You, Fred Frailey.....

Postby Backshophoss » Sun Oct 07, 2018 9:33 pm

The given is Amtrak is paying the CONTRACTED pay rate to the host RR's,no more or no less.
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Re: Thank You, Fred Frailey.....

Postby dowlingm » Mon Oct 08, 2018 6:35 am

While Frailey makes the point that priority for Amtrak was not part of the original deal, presumably this was not legislated in a vacuum but rather due to the dispatching environment post 1970?
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Re: Thank You, Fred Frailey.....

Postby george matthews » Mon Oct 08, 2018 9:49 am

Amtrak should be pressing for increased speed. Modern rail practice - outside the US - is for passenger trains to travel much faster than the usual American speeds. Faster trains attract passengers in greater numbers, and away from aircraft. And travel by electrified trains at speed is an important diversion from oil polluting air travel.
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Re: Thank You, Fred Frailey.....

Postby Tadman » Mon Oct 08, 2018 11:01 am

STrRedWolf wrote:
mtuandrew wrote:In a theoretical suit, I could see the Court finding that the original RPSA contract has been fulfilled (ie the value of trackage & equipment roundly equals the value of deferred passenger obligations between 1970 and 20xx and government contributions to the railroads). Rather than address the governmental takings issue, I suspect a court would just relieve all parties of the contract and put Amtrak at square one rate-wise with the railroads. Unless the Supremes really want to make a point, I don’t see them relieving railroads from providing Amtrak access, only from providing below-market-rate access.

Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer or economist, but have studied the judicial system and have some small insight.


This still gets to my question: Is Amtrak paying below-market rates? Or at-market rates?


This was my point. If Amtrak were paying a market rate for their track slot, they would be a dream customer for the freight railroads. Daily unit passenger trains guaranteed forever. That's a dream customer. Since the freights don't like Amtrak, it's likely they are not a dream customer, thus are not paying market rate for their slots. The freights don't dislike passengers, they dislike the interruption a below-market passenger train creates.
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Re: Thank You, Fred Frailey.....

Postby mtuandrew » Mon Oct 08, 2018 11:17 am

Tadman wrote:This was my point. If Amtrak were paying a market rate for their track slot, they would be a dream customer for the freight railroads. Daily unit passenger trains guaranteed forever. That's a dream customer. Since the freights don't like Amtrak, it's likely they are not a dream customer, thus are not paying market rate for their slots. The freights don't dislike passengers, they dislike the interruption a below-market passenger train creates.

The Class 1s may not dislike passenger trains, but they sure aren’t interested in passengers themselves. HUGE liability to have on their rails, more than hazmat or coil cars. Let’s add that to the Amtrak market rate, above and beyond the intermodal rate.

As an aside, I’m still surprised how many railroads don’t just build a station siding where space allows. Let Amtrak sit a little while, so opposing traffic can get through.
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Re: Thank You, Fred Frailey.....

Postby electricron » Mon Oct 08, 2018 11:57 am

george matthews wrote:Amtrak should be pressing for increased speed. Modern rail practice - outside the US - is for passenger trains to travel much faster than the usual American speeds. Faster trains attract passengers in greater numbers, and away from aircraft. And travel by electrified trains at speed is an important diversion from oil polluting air travel.

Why should Amtrak ask BNSF, CP, CN, CSX, KCS, NS, and UP to provide for higher speeds when they can not get higher speeds over the entire NEC, the corridor owned by Amtrak? There are expenses associated with higher speeds that Amtrak can not fund over the 400-500 miles of rail corridor they own. Do you really think they, and I am including everyone, can afford to upgrade the over 21,000 miles of rail corridors Amtrak runs passenger trains on?

Take New York to New Haven as just one example, Amtrak has been running trains capable of faster speeds on it since its’ launch, around 50 years now, yet even today Acela and Amfleet trains run just 79 mph on it. How about getting MTA North to upgrade its’s corridor first with more than 50 passenger trains a day before asking the freights to do so for just two trains a day?

ARRA funding program distributed billions of dollars for supposedly high speed trains, and after 10 years less than 400 miles of rail corridors have seen maximum speed increases resulting from it. At best, the tracks between Chicago and St. Louis and Chicago to Detroit will see higher maximum speeds greater than 79 mph. ARRA funding used in Vermont increased maximum speeds to 60 mph, and many consider that a success! :( :(
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Re: Thank You, Fred Frailey.....

Postby mtuandrew » Mon Oct 08, 2018 12:42 pm

Well, yes, Ron, Amtrak is in a tough position on Metro-North. That system has been running the same speeds for what, 50 years? No plans to change speeds on either the NYNH&H or the NYC, and the rights of way aren’t all that wide. It would be a game-changer for Amtrak to weave in another main NYP-POU and NYP-NHV.

That said, a handicap out of NYP shouldn’t stop Amtrak from seeking higher sustained speeds elsewhere.
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Re: Thank You, Fred Frailey.....

Postby lordsigma12345 » Mon Oct 08, 2018 12:57 pm

What are the articles conclusions: that Amtrak pay more or are they advocating for train offs? Another thing to add to the equation: (and I’m just being devils advocate I am not aware of the answer to this question) what do the freight railroads receive for tax breaks and government subsidies? That should be kept in mind if arguing for higher costs for Amtrak (which essentially amounts to a government subsidy of the railroad.)
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Re: Thank You, Fred Frailey.....

Postby george matthews » Mon Oct 08, 2018 2:29 pm

Why should Amtrak ask BNSF, CP, CN, CSX, KCS, NS, and UP to provide for higher speeds when they can not get higher speeds over the entire NEC, the corridor owned by Amtrak?

Why should the United States settle for a railway that doesn't achieve satisfactory speeds common in other industrialised countries?
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Re: Thank You, Fred Frailey.....

Postby ExCon90 » Mon Oct 08, 2018 2:55 pm

Because most people aren't prepared to pay for it--and many feel that they wouldn't use it in any case, because they don't realize the benefits that would result. (I think a textbook example of this would be the business relationships between Paris and Lyon before and after the introduction of TGV: In the 1950's the transit time was around 4 hours and there were only a handful of expresses daily; today it's less than 2 hours, with bi-levels at 30-minute intervals. Consider what that would mean to Chicago-St. Louis or Dallas-Houston--but they don't.)
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Re: Thank You, Fred Frailey.....

Postby David Benton » Mon Oct 08, 2018 5:16 pm

So were the rates Amtrak pays the railroads legislated or negotiated ?. If the railroads negotiated a bad deal . who is to blame for that ?
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Re: Thank You, Fred Frailey.....

Postby electricron » Mon Oct 08, 2018 5:55 pm

mtuandrew wrote:Well, yes, Ron, Amtrak is in a tough position on Metro-North. That system has been running the same speeds for what, 50 years? No plans to change speeds on either the NYNH&H or the NYC, and the rights of way aren’t all that wide. It would be a game-changer for Amtrak to weave in another main NYP-POU and NYP-NHV.

That said, a handicap out of NYP shouldn’t stop Amtrak from seeking higher sustained speeds elsewhere.


Spending billions of dollars on a corridor with over 50 trains a day makes far more sense than spending the same billions on a corridor with just 2 passenger trains per day; 25 times more sense!
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Re: Thank You, Fred Frailey.....

Postby matthewsaggie » Mon Oct 08, 2018 6:15 pm

Somebody referred to needing a dream customer. I can recall a time in the late '70s when SP was so cash short they lived on the monthly Amtrak payment.
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Re: Thank You, Fred Frailey.....

Postby R36 Combine Coach » Mon Oct 08, 2018 7:09 pm

george matthews wrote:Amtrak should be pressing for increased speed. Modern rail practice - outside the US - is for passenger trains to travel much faster than the usual American speeds. Faster trains attract passengers in greater numbers, and away from aircraft. And travel by electrified trains at speed is an important diversion from oil polluting air travel.

The Metroliner apparently took on the Eastern Shuttle and won with greater market share in Northeast city pairs. But the market has also since exploded with numerous low price bus carriers as well. However there seems to be a different market and audience: the shuttles are aimed often for same-day business travelers, the low-price bus routes at younger, more diverse crowds.
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Re: Thank You, Fred Frailey.....

Postby Gilbert B Norman » Tue Oct 09, 2018 11:13 am

mtuandrew wrote:The Class 1s may not dislike passenger trains, but they sure aren’t interested in passengers themselves. HUGE liability to have on their rails, more than hazmat or coil cars. Let’s add that to the Amtrak market rate, above and beyond the intermodal rate.

No question, where the roads can "get away with it", such as a new service or a reroute, they have in the past, and surely will continue, proposed a very simply indemnification policy. Passenger line, you pay for anything - even if it is our train that spills. Reasoning; because of your passenger trains, people have more reason to be around our tracks.

CSX I believe proposed this during the initial phase of Central Florida's SunRail. How successful they were I know not. However all is moot; the agency bought the lines from CSX; now they, and Amtrak, are tennant carriers. What actually was agreed upon with respect to anything is within bilateral contracts and hidden from "enquiring minds".
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