Amtrak Downeaster Discussion Thread

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Re: Amtrak Downeaster Discussion Thread

Postby Dick H » Thu Nov 30, 2017 2:39 pm

For several years, there was a poster on the Guilford Rail Sightings Yahoo Group
that used to post when DE extra equipment was moved to Boston, often on
Thursdays on the rear of #696, to be forwarded to the Southhampton St. shops
via the Grand Junction branch. He would then report what equipment would
be picked up at the shops for forwarding back to Maine. Sometimes this would
be done by attaching the equipment to #689, but more often it was an extra
move by itself. There would be an extra crew to handle these moves. My main
point in noting this is that the type and number of equipment sent to Boston did
was not always the same as the equipment being sent back to Portland, which'
would seem to indicate that NNEPRA has some extra equipment around at some
times, as I don't recall any of the regular trains being "shorted".

Perhaps they could plan these equipment moves around having one extra coach
on one train set on Fridays during the Rockland service. The poster mentioned
has moved to western MA and no longer posts the DE equipment move info.
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Re: Amtrak Downeaster Discussion Thread

Postby charlesriverbranch » Thu Nov 30, 2017 7:02 pm

sicariis wrote:
Arlington wrote:
MEC407 wrote:You can already see #1 in play today BON-DHM 685 is $21 while other trains are $20, and there are never any saver fares for NH tickets. While BON-POR can be had for $29 on 685 or $24 on other trains in a saver fare.


New Hampshire will not support rail service. Passengers to/from Exeter, Durham, and Dover are freeloading on a service paid by and for the state of Maine. I'm surprised they don't actively discourage passengers traveling from Boston to and from NH who occupy seats that could otherwise be sold to passengers to and from Maine.
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Re: Amtrak Downeaster Discussion Thread

Postby gokeefe » Thu Nov 30, 2017 7:47 pm

east point wrote:2. Does another car or two require another assistant conductor and another OBS ? Another for only 1 or 2 days would seem to be cost prohibitory unless assigned from regular NEC assignment.?


Yes. Six or more incurs additional labor (assistant conductor). You can forget about the NEC. The two pools don't mix.
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Re: Amtrak Downeaster Discussion Thread

Postby Dick H » Thu Nov 30, 2017 7:54 pm

New Hampshire fares have been increased several times, with no increase in Maine fares.
It costs $9.00 to travel from Dover to Durham, a distance of 5 1/2 miles.
It costs $11.00 to travel from Wells ME to Durham, a distance of 22 miles.

In FY2017, which ended 9/30/17, Durham, Dover and Exeter handled 202,081 passengers.
Maine handled 337,760 passengers and Massachusetts handled 63,780 passsengers,

With NH handling 33% of the total passengers at a higher price, I don't think the
Downeaster wants to throw that income away. Also, while the State of NH does
not contribute to the cost of running the Downeaster, Dover, Durham and Exeter
foot the bill for operating the stations, the Quik Trak machines, snow removal etc.
They also paid 20% of the capital costs to construct the platforms and the Dover
Station and Durham station additions. So, New Hampshire is not freeloading.
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Re: Amtrak Downeaster Discussion Thread

Postby Dick H » Thu Nov 30, 2017 8:03 pm

Reference an extra A/C for six cars, I don't think they had an extra A/C
during the run of the Dome Car. Of course, that is not a revenue car,
as it is not ADA compliant.

On a few rate occasions, maybe the Patriots parade day, they have run six cars.
I would expect any time a sixth car is run, they fill the job from the "spare board.
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Re: Amtrak Downeaster Discussion Thread

Postby gokeefe » Thu Nov 30, 2017 10:57 pm

Dick H wrote:Reference an extra A/C for six cars, I don't think they had an extra A/C during the run of the Dome Car. Of course, that is not a revenue car, as it is not ADA compliant.

Exactly.
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Re: Amtrak Downeaster Discussion Thread

Postby gokeefe » Fri Dec 01, 2017 9:48 am

Test trains to Rockland in December.

No passengers just testing train timing.
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Re: Amtrak Downeaster Discussion Thread

Postby MEC407 » Fri Dec 01, 2017 11:48 am

charlesriverbranch wrote:Passengers to/from Exeter, Durham, and Dover are freeloading on a service paid by and for the state of Maine. I'm surprised they don't actively discourage passengers traveling from Boston to and from NH who occupy seats that could otherwise be sold to passengers to and from Maine.


Not true.

As has been pointed out dozens or even hundreds of times in the past, the Downeaster has to go through New Hampshire. It can't go around it. It makes sense to stop for one or two minutes in those towns and pick up passengers who pay good money for their seats. There is no "freeloading." New Hampshire riders pay more per-mile than Maine riders do. It would not be financially beneficial to Maine if the train ran express through NH and left all that money on the table. The trains have ample capacity. NH riders are not preventing Maine riders from having seats on the train.
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Re: Amtrak Downeaster Discussion Thread

Postby BM6569 » Sun Dec 03, 2017 9:39 am

gokeefe wrote:Test trains to Rockland in December.

No passengers just testing train timing.


Wonder if the Amtrak Geo train might make an appearance?
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Re: Amtrak Downeaster Discussion Thread

Postby dowlingm » Sun Dec 03, 2017 12:14 pm

MEC407 wrote:Not true.

As has been pointed out dozens or even hundreds of times in the past, the Downeaster has to go through New Hampshire. It can't go around it. It makes sense to stop for one or two minutes in those towns and pick up passengers who pay good money for their seats. There is no "freeloading." New Hampshire riders pay more per-mile than Maine riders do. It would not be financially beneficial to Maine if the train ran express through NH and left all that money on the table. The trains have ample capacity. NH riders are not preventing Maine riders from having seats on the train.
Play a PA announcement when departing NH stations "welcome to Downeaster, supported by the State of Maine" accompanied by this? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xXknnb-d4WU

A few weeks of that and NH State pols will be faced with figuring out how to either appropriate some $ or continuing to have their office lines jammed and voicemail boxes overflowing.
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Re: Amtrak Downeaster Discussion Thread

Postby Cowford » Sun Dec 03, 2017 12:47 pm

Echoing MEC407's comment about ample capacity... any question about the value of NH ridership can be answered with one statistic (a statistic that coincidentally is now being published by Amtrak in their reformatted monthly performance report): Average Load Factor (ALF). For October, even as Downeaster's ridership was considered strong, the service's ALF was a dismal 35%... more dismal than pre-Brunswick extension (October, 2012 ALF was 38%) and even early post-extension (October, ALF was 36%).

I'm looking forward to Amtrak publishing FY17 ridership by station soon. A lot's been said about Downeaster's surprising and impressive ridership performance this year, but little (nothing?) has been said about where that ridership is being generated. The average miles per passenger is in 80-83 mile/passenger range... that's essentially the same it was BEFORE the Brunswick extension started. I'd guess two things: Ridership has rebounded with commuters as service has returned to more consistency, and ridership hasn't significantly developed east of Portland.
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Re: Amtrak Downeaster Discussion Thread

Postby CN9634 » Sun Dec 03, 2017 2:46 pm

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Re: Amtrak Downeaster Discussion Thread

Postby gokeefe » Sun Dec 03, 2017 4:12 pm

So the answer appears to be "both".

Brunswick at 29,457 is a pretty big jump. Keep in mind that includes two months of track work in 2016 and the third roundtrip didn't start until November 2016.

Dover and Exeter both saw increases in ridership and Durham just about held steady.

Perhaps the biggest story of all ... Wells: 2016, 48,790; 2017, 68,752. That's an increase of 41% in a single year.
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Re: Amtrak Downeaster Discussion Thread

Postby MBTA3247 » Sun Dec 03, 2017 4:28 pm

Train 694 detouring through Reading, MA today:

Image
"The destination of this train is [BEEP BEEP]" -announcement on an Ashmont train.
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Re: Amtrak Downeaster Discussion Thread

Postby Dick H » Sun Dec 03, 2017 4:42 pm

Posters reading the Maine and New Hampshire Fact Sheets may take notice
that NNEPRA spent. $9.6 million in Portsmouth NH in FY17. PAR apparently
still maintains at least a mailing address and/or some business office at the
Pease Trade Port. Perhaps, there is a tax advantage in doing so,

I am reminded of GRS accepting delivery of used CR, NS and other locos at
Dover NH in the 80's. The locos would be trailing on an eastbound through
job, which would stop west of the Third St. Crossing. A GRS "white helmet"
type employee would show up with a clipboard, view each loco, make a few
notes, and give the engineer a highball signal to head east. This practice
dates back to the MEC, who had new and used locos shipped via the Mtn.
Division and would "accept" them at Whitefield or Bartlett NH.
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