Amtrak Downeaster Discussion Thread

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

Moderators: GirlOnTheTrain, gprimr1, Amtrak67 of America, Tadman

Re: Amtrak Downeaster Discussion Thread

Postby swist » Fri Nov 09, 2018 1:21 pm

Not to belabor the point of train 683 being sold out today (Fri 11/9) but this morning its status changed from sold out to not sold out, I quickly changed my wife's travel plan from the bus back to the train. They just left BON a few minutes ago and says the train appears to be very lightly sold.

The bigger point is that glitches like this are not good for ridership - most people aren't train nuts like me who check back periodically for an opening to avoid taking the *gasp* bus.

More info - according to the conductor, they weren't sure if yesterday's trackwork (683 had a scheduled cancellation yesterday) was going to be done. So since there's no such status as "may or may not run", they set it to "sold out" until proven otherwise? Crazy but maybe the only way?
swist
 
Posts: 240
Joined: Fri May 09, 2014 4:01 pm
Location: Westport Island, ME

Re: Amtrak Downeaster Discussion Thread

Postby Cowford » Fri Nov 09, 2018 2:33 pm

The schedule "improvements" to/from BRU are soon to be enacted. So why does NNEPRA think they'll be a game-changer?

Featured is a new 0430 departure that will be as popular as wet weekend; the new 0600 weekend departure is not much better. What's left is an additional mid-day departure on weekdays - which will probably just siphon off some of the 1110 departure rather than generate new business.

Arrivals are slightly better as they give returning pax an evening departure option from BOS.

Overall though, meh.
Cowford
 
Posts: 2765
Joined: Thu Mar 18, 2004 12:34 pm
Location: Florida

Re: Amtrak Downeaster Discussion Thread

Postby charlesriverbranch » Fri Nov 09, 2018 3:33 pm

An early morning departure from Boston would be extremely useful to me; I frequently go to Dover, NH and an arrival time around 9 AM would be ideal.
charlesriverbranch
 
Posts: 68
Joined: Thu Mar 05, 2015 6:53 am

Re: Amtrak Downeaster Discussion Thread

Postby swist » Fri Nov 09, 2018 6:30 pm

Yes, that's the most significant improvement. The lack of a Northbound train to BRK before 1:05 PM was a killer.
swist
 
Posts: 240
Joined: Fri May 09, 2014 4:01 pm
Location: Westport Island, ME

Re: Amtrak Downeaster Discussion Thread

Postby gokeefe » Fri Nov 09, 2018 6:38 pm

I would not underestimate the power of the 430a departure from Brunswick of #680.

I have been very surprised by the level of ridership at 520a out of Portland. They were generally at least 50 passengers on weekdays. I never would have guessed that but it's true.
gokeefe
User avatar
gokeefe
 
Posts: 10878
Joined: Sat Feb 16, 2008 12:28 pm
Location: Winthrop, Maine

Re: Amtrak Downeaster Discussion Thread

Postby diburning » Sun Nov 11, 2018 10:33 pm

Does anyone know what's going on with the Downeaster tomorrow Monday November 12? I got four automated calls from Amtrak saying that there has been a service disruption with trains 681 and 686, but they've set up alternate transportation, so there's nothing that I need to do. As far as I know, both Amtrak and the MBTA are running a normal weekday schedule, and none of the lines are closed, so what's going on?

EDIT: I called Amtrak and after being passed around until they found someone who knew why, it turns out that Portland to Brunswick is suspended due to slippery rails, so that portion is being bused tomorrow.
User avatar
diburning
 
Posts: 3027
Joined: Sat Feb 09, 2008 7:37 pm
Location: Practicing safe CSX by using Three-Step Protection

Re: Amtrak Downeaster Discussion Thread

Postby johnpbarlow » Mon Nov 12, 2018 7:33 am

Service suspended due to slippery rails? MBTA operates a rail wash train system-wide because wet leaves fall on rails in New England in October-November. Does Amtrak or Pan Am have such a train in the area? If no, then service could be suspended for awhile. Seems like an odd excuse for Amtrak.
johnpbarlow
 
Posts: 1917
Joined: Fri Mar 12, 2004 12:50 pm

Re: Amtrak Downeaster Discussion Thread

Postby Station Aficionado » Mon Nov 12, 2018 12:02 pm

Has this been a problem in the past several autumns that Amtrak has run between Portland and Brunswick? If not, then makes you wonder about the explanation.
Station Aficionado
 
Posts: 1731
Joined: Tue Apr 21, 2009 10:15 pm
Location: Virginia

Re: Amtrak Downeaster Discussion Thread

Postby TomNelligan » Mon Nov 12, 2018 12:15 pm

I guess that this situation where leaves somehow fall off trees and land on the rails at this time of year must be a new phenomenon. :-)

Seriously, I find it interesting that railroads operated through the fall season for 150+ years without having to call attention to this issue. The rail-washing trains now operated by the MBTA, Metro North, NJ Transit, etc., are a relatively recent (last 20 years or so?) development in the long history of railroading.
TomNelligan
 
Posts: 3283
Joined: Fri Mar 12, 2004 5:43 pm
Location: Massachusetts

Re: Amtrak Downeaster Discussion Thread

Postby jonnhrr » Mon Nov 12, 2018 12:38 pm

TomNelligan wrote:I guess that this situation where leaves somehow fall off trees and land on the rails at this time of year must be a new phenomenon. :-)

Seriously, I find it interesting that railroads operated through the fall season for 150+ years without having to call attention to this issue. The rail-washing trains now operated by the MBTA, Metro North, NJ Transit, etc., are a relatively recent (last 20 years or so?) development in the long history of railroading.


It may be that in the old days the railroads were able to cut down trees bordering the tracks, which is more of an issue today. There are many places where trees have grown up alomg the right of way that weren't there in the old days as you can see from some old pictures.

Jon
Avatar Photo - P&W local from Gardner to Worcester at Morgan Rd., Hubbardston
User avatar
jonnhrr
 
Posts: 1113
Joined: Sun May 30, 2004 5:58 pm
Location: Sabattus ME USA

Re: Amtrak Downeaster Discussion Thread

Postby PT1101 » Mon Nov 12, 2018 12:54 pm

While hardly new, this year's falling leaves have presented more of a problem. The temporary suspension of service between Portland and Brunswick stemmed from the fact that the leaves (and the paste resulting from them being ground up) were so thick on the rail, they were preventing crossing protection from proper activation. Not only that, they prevented approach lit signals from lighting in a timely fashion. So in the name of public safety, all crossings between CPF 185 and CPL 17 were required to be protected by a crew member. And instead of unnecessarily subjecting trains and passengers to the delay, service was suspended until Pan Am could clean the rails and test that crossing activation occurred properly. To Pan Am's credit, it was competed fairly quickly. The reason no notice was given to the public about the service suspension is that it happened to fast. As I understand it, the situation began with 698 Saturday night, and Pan Am acted swiftly, suspending service in the early hours of Sunday morning. Makes me wonder how many crews are secretly hoping it snows soon so this will be over. :)
PT1101
 
Posts: 107
Joined: Mon Jun 26, 2006 4:04 pm

Re: Amtrak Downeaster Discussion Thread

Postby gokeefe » Mon Nov 12, 2018 12:55 pm

"Back in the day" you would have had quite a bit of smoke and cinders at certain times of the year that might have burned away some of the leaves in the canopy as well.

Not so anymore. So "yes" in a strange way this is a new problem. Worth remembering that Portland - Brunswick was lightly used as a freight corridor for many years. Consequently even more trees growing ever closer to the rails.
gokeefe
User avatar
gokeefe
 
Posts: 10878
Joined: Sat Feb 16, 2008 12:28 pm
Location: Winthrop, Maine

Re: Amtrak Downeaster Discussion Thread

Postby gokeefe » Mon Nov 12, 2018 12:57 pm

PT1101 wrote:To Pan Am's credit, it was competed fairly quickly. The reason no notice was given to the public about the service suspension is that it happened to fast. As I understand it, the situation began with 698 Saturday night, and Pan Am acted swiftly, suspending service in the early hours of Sunday morning. Makes me wonder how many crews are secretly hoping it snows soon so this will be over. :)


Indeed. Kudos to Pan Am for dealing with this problem quickly. Hopefully the new service schedule will help alleviate the problem by increasing train frequency.
gokeefe
User avatar
gokeefe
 
Posts: 10878
Joined: Sat Feb 16, 2008 12:28 pm
Location: Winthrop, Maine

Re: Amtrak Downeaster Discussion Thread

Postby BostonUrbEx » Tue Nov 13, 2018 2:39 pm

re: which way (if any) to go past Brunswick...

Why not both Augusta/Waterville and Rockland (seasonally)? I don't expect the state to plunk down the payments for all of it right off the bat, but once up to six round-trips, consider a long-range plan where three of those round-trips go to Augusta/Waterville and the other three will go to Rockland seasonally (the rest of the year just turn in Brunswick).
User avatar
BostonUrbEx
 
Posts: 3808
Joined: Thu Dec 03, 2009 9:55 pm
Location: Winn to MPT 8, Boston to MPN 38, and Hat to Bank

Re: Amtrak Downeaster Discussion Thread

Postby electricron » Tue Nov 13, 2018 3:29 pm

BostonUrbEx wrote:re: which way (if any) to go past Brunswick...

Why not both Augusta/Waterville and Rockland (seasonally)? I don't expect the state to plunk down the payments for all of it right off the bat, but once up to six round-trips, consider a long-range plan where three of those round-trips go to Augusta/Waterville and the other three will go to Rockland seasonally (the rest of the year just turn in Brunswick).


Three round trips from two cities deeper into Maine will probably mean:

Morning departures from each city with evening departures to both cities from Boston to meet the ever present Maine to Boston weekday commuters, and therefore a single midday departure from both deeper cities in Maine.
Whereas Portland will see two for morning, midday and late afternoon departures, everything looks better off hand. But now you have to consider the longer elapse times for every train trip.
But for both deeper cities in Maine to have a midday departure, you will probably need a fourth train set. That’s not likely, here is why....
Augusta is 32-33 miles deeper into Maine than Brunswick, so at maximum train speeds in Maine, that’s probably an additional 30 minutes to an hour by train one way, and an hour to two hours for a round trip.

Because of the longer elapse times for the longer trips, you will probably see early morning departures from the two deeper cities in Maine, mid morning returns from Boston to Portland, early afternoon departures from Portland to Boston, and the late evening returns from Boston to cities deeper into Maine. That’s six round trips from Portland to Boston, and two round trips from both cites deeper in Maine ( one round trip each). We’re only using two of the three train sets each day, the third train sets will be in standby or in maintenance every day.

Maybe i’m Wrong?
electricron
 
Posts: 4351
Joined: Tue Aug 25, 2009 8:35 pm

PreviousNext

Return to Amtrak

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 7 guests