Amtrak Surge Capacity & Reserve Fleet

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ChesterValley
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Amtrak Surge Capacity & Reserve Fleet

Post by ChesterValley » Fri Jan 18, 2019 11:53 am

This is a question I've been pondering the past couple of days. With the Super Bowl around the corner and rumors of TSA strikes and terminal shutdowns, would it be possible for Amtrak to handle a surge in ridership for the event?

Given the partial shut down, would Amtrak be able to add additional trains or cars?

Supposing that they could clear the red tape, does Amtrak even have the equipment or personal on hand to deal with a situation like this?
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MACTRAXX
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Re: Amtrak Super Bowl Surge capacity 2/4/2018

Post by MACTRAXX » Fri Jan 18, 2019 12:38 pm

CV: I will reply with these thoughts:

1-The Super Bowl on February 4th is being played in Atlanta - this will only directly affect just ONE
Amtrak train pair - #19 and #20 Southern Crescent - operating once each way per day.
The poor reported on-time performance of these trains could be problematic here.

2-Getting extra equipment for a SB ridership surge will not come easy - can North Carolina spare
extra cars for that weekend? I can not see Amtrak being readily able to accommodate large surges
in possible Super Bowl ridership unless there is major air traffic problems with weather being the
best example with a major storm set for the Northeast this weekend - taking note to the Amtrak
service cuts already being placed into effect in anticipation of this event.

3-This Super Bowl could be an event attracting numerous private car owners (Mr. Deasy answers
this question further) as has been the case depending on game location in the past.

4-Let's see which two teams will get into the big game: New Orleans, New England, Kansas City
and Los Angeles (in that order) fans that will travel to Atlanta may choose Amtrak.

MACTRAXX
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Greg Moore
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Re: Amtrak Surge capacity

Post by Greg Moore » Fri Jan 18, 2019 1:20 pm

Atlanta, at least at the station used, is problematic for adding/removing cars, but it is possible. (They have to discharge the passengers and then move several miles away to a yard I believe.)
That said, Atlanta would be idea for a day train, but that's another story. If they had the infrastructure and equipment, that might work.

As for surge capacity... not really. And this is sort of by design, sort of by fate.

An accountant will tell you that too much surge capacity means you've got equipment laying around doing nothing. Wheels that aren't turning aren't carrying passengers.

This is is a huge reason why over Thanksgiving break, Amtrak tends to lease equipment from commuter agencies that are at rest.

That said, Amtrak can with a little planning provide a limited (I have idea how) surge capacity by moving up some inspections and postponing some work.
For example, say you had 5 cars coming due in 5 successful weeks for inspection. This means during any particular week you only have 4 cars available.
If you can get all 5 cars inspected BEFORE that those weeks, you now have 5 cars available during that 5 week period. Of course this then means you need to later restagger their inspections.

And if you have a car due in for say new upholstery, you can put that off and use it during the surge.

But in terms of having say 50 extra cars just sitting around doing nothing, no, Amtrak doesn't have that (and arguably it shouldn't). It should have more capacity, but should be using it as much as possible.
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east point
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Re: Amtrak Surge capacity

Post by east point » Fri Jan 18, 2019 1:47 pm

Surge is possible for Super Bowl as many trains are cut back on equipment and not all that equipment is in Beech, Wilmington , or MIA for work. However as noted there is a major problem at ATL station. Checked reservations and both direction Crescents are not booked in coach however the sleepers are already full. Now if New Orleans gets to the Super Bowl? who knows. An interesting note is that even though NS's shutdown is still in effect for that Monday Amtrak is showing open reservations?

There could be extra long trains out of NOL and add many cars at WASH with connections from various NEC trains. Then again if New England gets to Super Bowl as well ? / OBS should be no problem. As for extra trains. The bigger problem for an extra train(s) is T&E crews. Southbound CVS and CLT may have extra crews from Cardinal(CVS) and Piedmoonts(CLT). Out of NOL Crews are at Meridian. Extra there ? ?


Either extra long train or extra train might not have required assistant conductors but the contrat I believe can be mitigated somehow ?

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Re: Amtrak Surge capacity

Post by Jeff Smith » Sat Jan 19, 2019 7:54 am

Greg Moore wrote:Atlanta, at least at the station used, is problematic for adding/removing cars, but it is possible. (They have to discharge the passengers and then move several miles away to a yard I believe.
...
I’ve seen Amtrak use the former Atlantic Steel siding when they annul the Crescent at Atlanta. The siding is right next to the station. They would wye it just north of the station on the former Belt Line IIRC. I’m not sure if they still do that or if it’s still possible. If the siding is still there, I’d assume it has ground power and decent storage, but I don’t know if it’s set up for PV access. Another question for Mr. Deasy.

The station itself is small, with very limited parking. It’s a bottleneck for Norfolk Southern freight traffic as well. They’ve been trying to replace it for years. It was a commuter/suburban station for Southern, and it’s all that’s left, with both Union and Terminal Station (the latter often talked about as a new location in the “Gulch” by Five Points) gone for about 40-some odd years or more. The station is just above midtown in the Brookwood neighborhood on Peachtree St, right at the top of the Downtown Connector (75/85). Not near any MARTA connection either.
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Re: Amtrak Super Bowl Surge capacity 2/4/2018

Post by jhdeasy » Mon Jan 21, 2019 2:19 pm

MACTRAXX wrote: This Super Bowl could be an event attracting numerous private car owners (Mr. Deasy answers
this question further) as has been the case depending on game location in the past.
The Super Bowl is an event that has always attracted private cars. This includes cars from railroad business fleets providing corporate hospitality, and privately owned cars making the trip for their owner and/or a private charter client.

NS can provide parking for their own executive cars, for those of their shortline partners, and for those of other Class I railroads. I doubt NS is interested in dealing with individual private car owners.

Amtrak's current (1-01-2019) private car tariff allows them to levy a Special Event Surcharge for private car parking associated with a special event, and a major sporting event such as the Super Bowl falls in that category. It used to be published in the tariff as $500, but they no longer publish a fixed number and it is whatever amount Amtrak feels like they should charge for the given location/dates/event.

I have not spoken to any other PV owners who are planning a trip to Atlanta for the Super Bowl. If someone is going, I'm not sure how they will get there, where they will park and how they will get back home.
Jeff Smith wrote: I’ve seen Amtrak use the former Atlantic Steel siding when they annul the Crescent at Atlanta. The siding is right next to the station. They would wye it just north of the station on the former Belt Line IIRC. I’m not sure if they still do that or if it’s still possible. If the siding is still there, I’d assume it has ground power and decent storage, but I don’t know if it’s set up for PV access. Another question for Mr. Deasy.
Atlanta is not on Amtrak's current (11-01-2018) list of locations where private cars can be switched on/off their trains. The scheduled dwell time at ATL is less than 30 minutes for both trains 19 and 20.

Over the past decade, before Amtrak imposed their 2018 switching restrictions on private cars at certain locations, I declined at least 2 charter requests where the client wanted to visit Atlanta. The cost of NS switching the car off the Crescent and onto the Crescent was quite high, and Amtrak had no parking available for PVs in Atlanta. I could have dropped the client at Atlanta and picked them up at Atlanta on their way back home, but the car would have been required to deadhead south from ATL to NOL, turnaround at NOL and then come back to ATL, thus canceling the cost advantage and convenience of using the car as your hotel at the destination (Atlanta).

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Re: Amtrak Surge Capacity (Special Events e.g. Super Bowl)

Post by Greg Moore » Mon Jan 21, 2019 8:19 pm

This whole thing, including jhdeasy's post remind me what a shame the Atlanta situation is when it comes to Amtrak. For a city of its size, it really should be a friggen hub, not 1 train a day in each direction.
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benboston
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Re: Amtrak Surge Capacity (Special Events e.g. Super Bowl)

Post by benboston » Mon Jan 21, 2019 10:59 pm

Greg Moore wrote:This whole thing, including jhdeasy's post remind me what a shame the Atlanta situation is when it comes to Amtrak. For a city of its size, it really should be a friggen hub, not 1 train a day in each direction.
Same could be said about Phoenix.

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Re: Amtrak Surge Capacity (Special Events e.g. Super Bowl)

Post by Backshophoss » Tue Jan 22, 2019 2:11 am

UP didn't want to maintain the Phoenix sub at a passenger train standard and was not "expandable" for a second track in city limits for use
as part of their southern Transconn to LA. This sub has been severed by UP in 1 place near Yuma. :P
The Gila Sub was upgraded and UP moved Amtrak to that sub, Maricopia now is the closest station to Phoenix with a bus connection to
Valley Metro's Bus Hub and Sky Harbor airport.

You figure that CSX and NS will run their Biz Fleet trains to Atlanta,Not sure if BNSF or UP will join the party.
This a repeat meeting, NE Patriots vs the Now LA(ex-SD) Chargers, ho-hum, Brady's last gasp at fame!

Does anybody know if there will be a viewing event of this game at Foxboro stadium?
That might be the only way MBTA gets involved. :wink:
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benboston
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Re: Amtrak Surge Capacity (Special Events e.g. Super Bowl)

Post by benboston » Tue Jan 22, 2019 9:46 am

Yes, but I was saying that both Phoenix and Atlanta are big cities which should be hubs for passenger rail.

east point
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Re: Amtrak Surge Capacity (Special Events e.g. Super Bowl)

Post by east point » Tue Jan 22, 2019 1:54 pm

benboston wrote:Yes, but I was saying that both Phoenix and Atlanta are big cities which should be hubs for passenger rail.

From about 1920 ( maybe even earlier) to 1965 Atlanta was the busiest hub in the south east both freight and passenger!

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Re: Amtrak Surge Capacity (Special Events e.g. Super Bowl)

Post by ChesterValley » Wed Jan 23, 2019 11:06 am

Thanks everyone for responding. When I made this thread, I was under the impression the Saint's were going to the bowl along with New England. Now that it's the LA Rams it seems to be a moot point, especially with no direct service from LA to ATL.
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Tadman
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Re: Amtrak Surge Capacity & Reserve Fleet

Post by Tadman » Fri Feb 15, 2019 2:53 pm

Perhaps its also worth listing the potential surplus cars within the next few years:

1. Horizons replaced by Siemens cars
2. Amfleet replaced by _____?
3. Wisconsin Talgo sets

Also worth noting that the Caltrain fleet of 124 gallery and cigar cars are going to be surplus in 2020 after the Stadler fleet comes on line. They are much newer than most of the Horizon/Amfleet group.

You'll also see quite a few Via cars surplus after the Siemens fleet, something like 90-120 cars.

Long and short of it, this is a buyer's market soon and if scrap prices go up, don't expect to see all of them find operating homes. Many will probably be cut up.

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Re: Amtrak Surge Capacity & Reserve Fleet

Post by dowlingm » Fri Feb 15, 2019 11:19 pm

Tadman wrote:You'll also see quite a few Via cars surplus after the Siemens fleet, something like 90-120 cars.
I would be shocked to see any VIA cars come south. The LRC and Renaissance fleets are headed for pop cans/razor blades. A steel sided car in good enough shape to come south is one that can be sent for re-re-rebuild in a politically advantageous riding.

Backshophoss
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Re: Amtrak Surge Capacity & Reserve Fleet

Post by Backshophoss » Sat Feb 16, 2019 3:05 am

For now there's NO reserve fleet,should change a little over time along with the end of leasing commuter equipment on the NEC
1 The Acela I's as the Acela II sets go online
2 Amfleet i's and II's,the "best of" cars kept at Bear and some cars at DC and Boston as protect sets,as the new single level cars
come online.
3 Horizon Fleet,for the Gulf Coaster service and intra Florida service along the 2 silver service routes as the new single level cars go online.
4 Superliners released from the midwest and Amtrak Ca Services will help as the the new single level cars go on line in Ca and Midwest services pools
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