bording process at Washington Union Station

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Re: bording process at Washington Union Station

Postby east point » Tue Dec 04, 2018 9:52 pm

Many of these proposals appear to have merit. We must remember however that Amtrak seems to kick the can down the road for most items affecting operations. That is especially true for LD trains. Now it may be Amtrak is waiting for the WASH Union station rebuilding to start different boarding and exiting train procedures. The WASH plan has wider platforms and more importantly will have 3 concourses to exit and enter platforms. Please study the link. Now is Amtrak waiting for the rebuild ? Who knows? Take a look at the final plans for WASH. As far as other stations leave that for another thread !

https://www.goiam.org/wp-content/upload ... tation.pdf
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Re: bording process at Washington Union Station

Postby Arborwayfan » Wed Dec 05, 2018 11:47 am

Reserved seats are not about someone's control fetish. They are about giving the largest possible number of people what they want: groups can plan to sit together. Someone can pick the side of the train they want. And no one has to line up, rush for seats, plead to swap with someone to get next to their kid, etc., etc. Work a little something into the software to prevent all the window seats from being reserved before any of the aisles, that kind of thing, to balance out the different benefits, and what you have is equal consumer choice, greater passenger confidence, and a lot less confusion and potential arguing when the train actually pulls into the station. My best experiences boarding in Chicago involved conductors or attendants handing out seat checks with seat numbers on them: four of us walked up and got four seats together without rush or struggle. They even let me choose not to have the first row in the car.

People like assigned seats. European railroads and cheapskate airlines know this, and charge a few bucks extra for the privilege of choosing your seat beforehand.
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Re: bording process at Washington Union Station

Postby Nasadowsk » Wed Dec 05, 2018 12:58 pm

Arborwayfan wrote:People like assigned seats. European railroads and cheapskate airlines know this, and charge a few bucks extra for the privilege of choosing your seat beforehand.


Then assign seats. This still doesn't require line up and wait boarding.

And let's cut the whole "But train cars all have different seating arrangements!" crap. A $500 desktop computer could host a database with the seating plan of every car Amtrak has.

The rest of the world seems to be able to figure this out. No reason Amtrak can't. Hell, DB will tell you when you buy the ticket which platform the train will be at, and ditto for your connections (I was 0 for 2 last time, but whatever)...
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Re: bording process at Washington Union Station

Postby CarterB » Wed Dec 05, 2018 3:58 pm

IIRC, Amtrak in the 70s used to assign seats on many trains??
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Re: bording process at Washington Union Station

Postby Greg Moore » Wed Dec 05, 2018 10:45 pm

Another article (at least I didn't see it in the review):
https://www.vox.com/2018/12/4/18123624/ ... station-dc

In DC, passengers are subjected to an airline-style queuing system where everyone needs to get their tickets checked as they pass through a single gate. This routinely produces overcrowding and confusion in the station and slows down the entire process.

And most strikingly of all, nobody at Amtrak can explain why they do it this way.


Pull quote from the article.
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Re: bording process at Washington Union Station

Postby mtuandrew » Thu Dec 06, 2018 7:56 am

It would sure be nice to have multi-point access to platforms at large stations*^, with general car-destination assignments known to staff prior to boarding. Amtrak ought to be able to leverage its many car doors to speed up loading, which if they have the staff would benefit everyone by clearing the concourse faster. But as long as they don’t, there will always be a single choke point whether it’s the platform door or the narrow platform itself, and a single boarding line will reduce boarding time and confusion on the platform.

*yes, NYP, but can you imagine guiding a gaggle of tourists to the LIRR or NJT gates for Amtrak boarding?

^for baggage handling, don’t the large stations mostly still have baggage tunnels under the platforms? I don’t understand why they’d be running carts on the platform itself - though there will always be a need to transport disabled riders via cart.
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Re: bording process at Washington Union Station

Postby Station Aficionado » Thu Dec 06, 2018 8:51 am

You can wait on the platforms for the lower level tracks for VRE, not sure about Amtrak.
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Re: bording process at Washington Union Station

Postby superstar » Thu Dec 06, 2018 4:03 pm

Station Aficionado wrote:You can wait on the platforms for the lower level tracks for VRE, not sure about Amtrak.

I've snuck down to the platform for VA regionals from Union Station's back concourse ahead of the line, since I can figure out which train is which from looking out the windows. Almost invariably someone from Amtrak complains at me, but I've never gotten booted off the platform. As far as I'm concerned, as long as they leave the doors unlocked they're allowing access to the platforms, so I don't really feel bad about it.
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Re: bording process at Washington Union Station

Postby Arborwayfan » Thu Dec 06, 2018 5:28 pm

Then assign seats. This still doesn't require line up and wait boarding.

Nasadowsk, that was my point. Reserved seats would speed up boarding and still get people in the right cars for their destinations. I was responding to this from Tom C, who I thought was objecting to assigned seats in general.

This reminds me of 4th grade. I lined up for Miss Savage's room and went in to my assigned seat. It's all about control.
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Re: bording process at Washington Union Station

Postby hs3730 » Sat Dec 08, 2018 2:43 am

mtuandrew wrote:It would sure be nice to have multi-point access to platforms at large stations*^


Many large stations such as Philly have 2 staircases/escalators down of which they only use one. They could start using both, which I'm sure is what the PRR did back in the day. Otherwise why build two?
Newark Penn is a large enough station with multi-point access as well as baggage handling, so most arguments Amtrak would have against it are mooted by the existence of this stop.

*yes, NYP, but can you imagine guiding a gaggle of tourists to the LIRR or NJT gates for Amtrak boarding?


The tourists can still be directed to use the main concourse; getting the regulars out of the giant line would help enough. By placing conspicuous boards at the lower level exit concourse, appropriately setting escalators, and placing boards at the new west end concourse, more points of boarding are achieved. The NJT section is way too crowded with their own passengers to burden them with Amtrak passengers too, so they can stick with their NJT only boards.

As for "first stop" scenarios like ALB, WAS, BOS, BON, CHI - they could allow people on the platform early to line up with the doors while the train is being prepared. Open the doors when ready. Or, if the doors need to be opened for preparing, they can install a $20 tensabarrier across each Amfleet doorway that employees can unhook-rehook to get around. The manual doors won't have this problem.
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Re: bording process at Washington Union Station

Postby STrRedWolf » Sat Dec 08, 2018 4:13 pm

superstar wrote:
Station Aficionado wrote:You can wait on the platforms for the lower level tracks for VRE, not sure about Amtrak.

I've snuck down to the platform for VA regionals from Union Station's back concourse ahead of the line, since I can figure out which train is which from looking out the windows. Almost invariably someone from Amtrak complains at me, but I've never gotten booted off the platform. As far as I'm concerned, as long as they leave the doors unlocked they're allowing access to the platforms, so I don't really feel bad about it.


Some time ago, Baltimore would send Amtrak Police down and move folks back out to the platform as there was some scare at the time. Since there's no concern now, they don't enforce it much.
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Re: bording process at Washington Union Station

Postby mtuandrew » Sat Dec 08, 2018 7:40 pm

hs3730: it’s worth reinstating a one-way flow of passengers at major corridor stations again, similar to how PSNY used to use (still uses? Been a while) a special concourse just for passengers disembarking. That should speed up the process even with single-point platform entry and lines.
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Re: bording process at Washington Union Station

Postby electricron » Sat Dec 08, 2018 8:51 pm

mtuandrew wrote:hs3730: it’s worth reinstating a one-way flow of passengers at major corridor stations again, similar to how PSNY used to use (still uses? Been a while) a special concourse just for passengers disembarking. That should speed up the process even with single-point platform entry and lines.

Sounds like an excellent idea ——until one realizes there will always be many who will rake a shortcut and go the wrong way. I have yet to find an effective always working check valve for humans.
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Re: bording process at Washington Union Station

Postby mmi16 » Sun Dec 09, 2018 7:56 pm

electricron wrote:
mtuandrew wrote:hs3730: it’s worth reinstating a one-way flow of passengers at major corridor stations again, similar to how PSNY used to use (still uses? Been a while) a special concourse just for passengers disembarking. That should speed up the process even with single-point platform entry and lines.

Sounds like an excellent idea ——until one realizes there will always be many who will rake a shortcut and go the wrong way. I have yet to find an effective always working check valve for humans.

Would be possible IF - boarding was on one side of the train and disembarking passengers were on the other side of the train.
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Re: bording process at Washington Union Station

Postby Suburban Station » Mon Dec 10, 2018 2:05 pm

hs3730 wrote:Many large stations such as Philly have 2 staircases/escalators down of which they only use one. They could start using both, which I'm sure is what the PRR did back in the day. Otherwise why build two?
Newark Penn is a large enough station with multi-point access as well as baggage handling, so most arguments Amtrak would have against it are mooted by the existence of this stop.

I've seen older pictures of 30th with both stairwells open and no lines...from the 70's in the Amtrak era so I'm not sure when Amtrak started the line up and wait process.
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