Amtrak Downeaster Discussion Thread

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

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Re: Amtrak Downeaster Discussion Thread

Postby MEC407 » Sun Nov 18, 2018 9:28 am

Regarding slippery rails:

The MBTA rail washer ran to Brunswick, with MEC power at one end and AMTK power at the other end. Video by drc930:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3HBNZrearFU
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Re: Amtrak Downeaster Discussion Thread

Postby Dick H » Wed Nov 21, 2018 9:07 am

Busy day for the Downeaster. Trains #683, #685 and #687 all sold
out leaving Boston today, 11/21. Happy Thanksgiving to all the
Downeaster crews. The 17th Anniversary of Downeaster service
is coming up on December 15th.
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Re: Amtrak Downeaster Discussion Thread

Postby Dick H » Fri Nov 30, 2018 10:15 am

There will be no bagel shop opening in the Dover NH station.
I do not have an official notice, but from what I understand,
"None of the station activities would have been allowed to
continue in an acceptable fashion".

Dover Ridership FY 2018 63,916 (Great American Train Stations).
FY 2017 59,060.
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Re: Amtrak Downeaster Discussion Thread

Postby jonnhrr » Fri Nov 30, 2018 2:27 pm

Sunday after Thanksgiving busy also. I dropped my son off at Brunswick for 694 and there must have been at least 80 people boarding that train, most I have ever seen there.
This time 694 was on time into BON.

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Re: Amtrak Downeaster Discussion Thread

Postby gokeefe » Fri Nov 30, 2018 8:08 pm

That may very well be a new all time high for that specific train.
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Re: Amtrak Downeaster Discussion Thread

Postby Cowford » Sat Dec 01, 2018 11:19 am

The ATK FY 18 station stats are pretty sobering. POR's ridership declined, and while BRU and FRE showed impressive YOY gains on a percentage basis, combined POR-FRE-BRU ridership in FY 2018 was nearly 8% below FY 2013 levels, and essentially dead-even with POR's ridership BEFORE the Brunswick extension opened.

Six years into it, the extension has generated virtually zero new ridership. TRNE, this is success?
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Re: Amtrak Downeaster Discussion Thread

Postby Station Aficionado » Sat Dec 01, 2018 5:53 pm

Which brings up a question I’ve asked before—what is the purpose of the extension? If to gain additional ridership (vs. creating more remote economy parking for POR, or being a waystop on a future extension to Augusta and Bangor) the long-term results to date are pretty unimpressive. Maybe the extension of additional trains to BRU will help.
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Re: Amtrak Downeaster Discussion Thread

Postby gokeefe » Sat Dec 01, 2018 8:53 pm

We'll see how things go. Watch for continued improvements this year as additional frequencies come online and the schedule pairs for Freeport and Brunswick and the rest of the route improve significantly.

I am a little concerned that Portland is capacity constrained for parking. The bus service seems to be growing and I think there are a lot people using those parking lots as alternate satellite parking for PWM. That might be causing some ridership loss (but probably not much).

One other metric likely to drive ridership back up is going to be OTP which should see a major improvement after several years of intensive tie and timber replacement.

Given a other potential factors and noting that a gas price crash might soften ridership I think the service is doing well and that at currently levels the Brunswick ridership numbers are far stronger than we could have realistically hoped for (especially given the current service level).
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Re: Amtrak Downeaster Discussion Thread

Postby Station Aficionado » Sun Dec 02, 2018 12:26 am

I will add one note of caution on the FY2018 station ridership numbers. There appears to be some glitchiness with some of the numbers. For example, Amtrak says there was a 42k drop in ridership on the San Joaquins (1.120m to 1.078m), but the GAS numbers for Bakersfield show an increase of 287k (482k to 769k). While the total of all station numbers (boardings + alightings) should be double system ridership (number of passengers carried), the San Joaquin/Bakersfield anomaly has got to be some sort of data issue. I don’t think the Maine numbers show any similar disparities, but it is something to keep in mind.
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Re: Amtrak Downeaster Discussion Thread

Postby Cowford » Sun Dec 02, 2018 9:46 am

GO'K, it's my understanding that parking at POR is allowed only for bus and train patrons. And if the lot is always sold out, I would also submit that they are charging too little. Makes no sense that daily parking there is $5, but lot parking at PWM is $12.
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Re: Amtrak Downeaster Discussion Thread

Postby MEC407 » Sun Dec 02, 2018 10:09 am

PWM recently raised the daily price of their onsite parking to $14/day. They also reopened their satellite lot on the other side of the Turnpike and that one is $10 a day with a free shuttle every 20 minutes.

If PWM customers are using the POR lot, that's bad for bus/train customers and it's also bad for PWM (loss of parking revenue). Do we know if this is happening, and if so, are POR and PWM staff aware of it?
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Re: Amtrak Downeaster Discussion Thread

Postby sicariis » Sun Dec 02, 2018 4:13 pm

Would love to see the Thruway connection for the Concord Midcoast Bus changed from POR to BRK now with the expanded frequencies. This would maximize time on the train and minimize time on a bus. I emailed this idea to NNEPRA but never got a response.

If it is not changed I'll probably still do this and book them separately, but it would nice to have the protected connection, and earn/use points for the whole trip.
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Re: Amtrak Downeaster Discussion Thread

Postby Suburban Station » Mon Dec 03, 2018 10:56 am

POR seems to have a poor location, worse than the old union station. take a slow train to Portland and end up on the wrong side of a highway interchange from downtown
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Re: Amtrak Downeaster Discussion Thread

Postby diburning » Mon Dec 03, 2018 5:46 pm

Was there any service disruption (such as track work, bridge work, PTC install, etc) that might have skewed these numbers?

The MBTA's ridership was down as well, but that could be explained by all of the service disruptions this year due to capital investment and maintenance projects.
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Re: Amtrak Downeaster Discussion Thread

Postby njt/mnrrbuff » Mon Dec 03, 2018 8:12 pm

I'm not a big fan of the current Portland Amtrak station for a few reasons. 1. It is not within walking distance of Downtown.
2. If you are continuing your journey north of POR, the train has to do multiple reverse moves I think and this can add travel time to the schedule.
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