Amtrak Auto Train Discussion

Discussion related to Amtrak also known as the National Railroad Passenger Corp.

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Re: Amtrak Auto Train Discussion

Postby mmi16 » Fri Feb 08, 2019 3:41 pm

Arborwayfan wrote:I'm curious about how the railroads handle the Auto Train, and whether they find it less of a dispatching problem than other passenger trains. I am thinking that because it has no intermediate stops, it never needs to wait at a station until it's scheduled to leave. So the railroad could essentially allow it to "make up time" early in the trip to cover for expected delays later in the trip. No one on board has a reason to care if it passes town A "late" or leaves town B "early". So I wonder (1) does Amtrak schedule it just as optimistically as it's other trains, basically assuming it will get up to the speed limit just outside of Lorton and stay there until Sanford except for crew changes, or does Amtrak schedule it with a little bit of padding that gives the dispatchers some flexibility in how to handle it without delaying it too much and (2) do the dispatchers handle it differently from a passenger train with lots of stops?

From a Metrics point of view. Auto-Train is only marked for departure from origin and arrival at destination. There are no intermediate checkpoints for the trains operation from the CSX perspective.
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Re: Amtrak Auto Train Discussion

Postby gokeefe » Fri Feb 08, 2019 10:34 pm

What about the crew change in Florence, SC?
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Re: Amtrak Auto Train Discussion

Postby Jeff Smith » Sat Feb 09, 2019 10:32 am

Remember the movie Unstoppable? :P :wink:
Next stop, Willoughby
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Re: Amtrak Auto Train Discussion

Postby Gilbert B Norman » Tue May 14, 2019 7:54 am

Here is a video taken by a "dashcam" showing the entire load at LOR and unload at SFA. Somewhere I never saw on my AT journeys:

https://youtu.be/BCkUnz3GxO8

While I cannot assure how much longer my health will hold out for road trips to Florida, Auto Train simply "priced me out of the market" when they wanted $974 (Bedroom for me, rack for "Black Beauty") for an NB trip during February this year. I'd seen the rate go from $675 during '17 (acceptable) to $814 in '18 (pushing it) to the "obscenity button" of '19.

I recently looked and a $675 rate was available - well, if you wanted to travel NB during mid-July. Anyone think I'm about to drive down there then just to take a joyride? There'd have to be a bit more foam "excreting from the orifice" for that to happen.

Until now, every auto I owned since the Amtrak resumption has seen an AT rack. Oh well, "Black Beauty" may have to be content with the one ride he has had - Portland, OR to Elwood, IL.
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Re: Amtrak Auto Train Discussion

Postby mtuandrew » Tue May 14, 2019 8:12 am

If only there were a convenient, price-effective way for individuals to send their cars from Elwood to Portland, Long Beach, Ft Worth, Rensselaer, Lorton, or Sanford. The capacity is there on the Class Is and Amtrak could also offer limited Auto train service on its LDs, but today the only ways you can do so are either at the hands of a small-fry trucking company or if “fresh off the boat” like Black Beauty or “hot off the presses” like my now-aged blue oval once was.
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Re: Amtrak Auto Train Discussion

Postby Backshophoss » Mon May 20, 2019 2:02 am

After Auto Train's failed Attempt on the Chicago-Florida routing,and today's intermodal competition between the Class ! RR's,
the Auto Train concept is DOA on any of the Transconns.
The Needed Support facilities for loading/unloading and Passengers require too much real estate.
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Re: Amtrak Auto Train Discussion

Postby bostontrainguy » Mon May 20, 2019 11:20 am

Backshophoss wrote:After Auto Train's failed Attempt on the Chicago-Florida routing,and today's intermodal competition between the Class ! RR's,
the Auto Train concept is DOA on any of the Transconns.
The Needed Support facilities for loading/unloading and Passengers require too much real estate.


I don't know about that. There are lots of vacant unused and underutilized old rail yards around the country. There are probably lots that could be used.
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Re: Amtrak Auto Train Discussion

Postby BandA » Mon May 20, 2019 2:13 pm

mtuandrew wrote:If only there were a convenient, price-effective way for individuals to send their cars from Elwood to Portland, Long Beach, Ft Worth, Rensselaer, Lorton, or Sanford. The capacity is there on the Class Is and Amtrak could also offer limited Auto train service on its LDs, but today the only ways you can do so are either at the hands of a small-fry trucking company or if “fresh off the boat” like Black Beauty or “hot off the presses” like my now-aged blue oval once was.
It's 2019; If you go to Amtrak's website, you can get a price for the auto train. If you go to any of these trucking companies you either have to call them or fill out a form and they will get back to you. So 1990. Wait until self-driving cars come around & your car becomes a Slumbercoach to Florida.
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Re: Amtrak Auto Train Discussion

Postby mtuandrew » Mon May 20, 2019 8:51 pm

BandA wrote:It's 2019; If you go to Amtrak's website, you can get a price for the auto train. If you go to any of these trucking companies you either have to call them or fill out a form and they will get back to you. So 1990.

Yup, that’s my point; Amtrak doesn’t offer Auto Train anywhere but one corridor, and it’s extremely inconvenient to hire someone to haul your car. So, rentals it is.

BandA wrote:Wait until self-driving cars come around & your car becomes a Slumbercoach to Florida.

We shall see. I’m not sure I want to sleep in my car either, though I suppose the Self-Driving Carevolution (tm) will include queen-sized beds on wheels.
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Re: Amtrak Auto Train Discussion

Postby CentralValleyRail » Tue May 21, 2019 11:19 pm

4 hours late twice and 8 hours late once on SB-53 in the last week is not a great catalyst for expanding service. Am taking next week, thinking of getting the 3 hours or later insurance added on...
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Re: Amtrak Auto Train Discussion

Postby BandA » Wed May 22, 2019 12:30 am

Alternatives could be, the car carrier firms start offering a "standard product" or online quotations on what is known as an "app"

Or car carriers can go onto freight trains.

Perhaps packaged with an airplane flight and temporary car rental until the car arrives. (but I'm repeating myself)
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