Anderson possible changes: Dismantling LD, Corridor, Etc.

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Backshophoss
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Re: Anderson Six Month Grade

Post by Backshophoss » Fri Mar 02, 2018 12:32 am

Beginning to think Amtrak's insurance carrier is putting words in Mr Anderson's mouth, using the PTC deadline as the reason to not cover some of the
trains that wind up on class II or III RR's away from the Class I host RR's,also to get tennent Roads on the NEC to get their "act" together(Install ACSES or
you are not allowed on the NEC or any trackage that's owned/controlled by Amtrak)

HIS GRADE:pending till the PTC deadline.
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Suburban Station
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Re: Anderson Six Month Grade

Post by Suburban Station » Wed Mar 21, 2018 8:19 pm

https://mobile.twitter.com/AmtrakNEC/st ... 8695320576" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

TomNelligan
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Re: Anderson Six Month Grade

Post by TomNelligan » Wed Mar 21, 2018 9:12 pm

I'll be waiting (probably in vain) for his staff's explanation of Amtrak's roll-over-and-die mass cancellations in the Northeast a day in advance of today's snowstorm, which turned out to be nothing more than an average winter event in the Boston-New York corridor, nothing that hasn't been happening multiple times every year since forever. And now most trains out of Boston are cancelled for Thursday as well. There just doesn't seem to me to be any corporate "can do" attitude in the face of mild challenges like a moderate snowfall. That is something that Mr. Anderson needs to address unless Amtrak is now in de facto shrinkage mode.

bdawe
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Re: Anderson Six Month Grade

Post by bdawe » Wed Mar 21, 2018 10:25 pm

....I was wondering why there are currently more intercity passenger trains rolling in Oklahoma than in Connecticut right now
B. Dawe's map of routes and urban populations https://brendandawe.carto.com/viz/80b9d ... /embed_map" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; NOW updated with 2016 Canadian Populations

Mackensen
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Re: Anderson Six Month Grade

Post by Mackensen » Sat Mar 24, 2018 6:59 am

TomNelligan wrote:I'll be waiting (probably in vain) for his staff's explanation of Amtrak's roll-over-and-die mass cancellations in the Northeast a day in advance of today's snowstorm, which turned out to be nothing more than an average winter event in the Boston-New York corridor, nothing that hasn't been happening multiple times every year since forever. And now most trains out of Boston are cancelled for Thursday as well. There just doesn't seem to me to be any corporate "can do" attitude in the face of mild challenges like a moderate snowfall. That is something that Mr. Anderson needs to address unless Amtrak is now in de facto shrinkage mode.
I believe this matches the same panicked reaction from the state governments of New Jersey and New York, and it's become a pattern over the last few years. There should probably be a single thread where this trend can be discussed, as it's much broader than Amtrak and didn't start with Anderson's tenure.

jp1822
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Re: Anderson Six Month Grade

Post by jp1822 » Sat Mar 24, 2018 12:09 pm

I agree with the original post Tadman made: F- is a good grade. Anderson's awful.

What appeal has he brought to the table to make people want to choose the train as an option. I can name more things that have been ELIMINATED and are seen as a turnoff than as an "attraction."

Amtrak has hired folks with a railroad background to run the company. Mooreman, Kumant, Gunn, Warrington (to a degree), Claytor..... Claytor was the best President Amtrak had in my opinion. Gunn tried, but pushed the envelope too far and wouldn't play politics. So he was handed his hat. I do give the Gunn guts for staying onboard and forcing the Board to do an outright firing as he returned from his cross country "system tour" aboard Beech Grove. They couldn't hand him his pink card fast enough when the train rolled in to Union Station at Washington DC.

Anderson has done absolutely nothing (or at least nothing remarkable that I can think of) to augment the passenger experience. Some examples to the contrary and I'll retract my statement. You don't "attract people" to train service by:

- eliminating long standing basic discounts (AAA discount).
- cutting the % of long standing discounts (Senior discount).
- removing a popular "service" or amenity without replacement (e.g. Pacific Parlor cars could have been replaced with Cross Country Cafe Cars as had been discussed and put on long term plans).
- continuing to put band-aids on age-old equipment that should be replaced.
- keeping the status quo on the CAF Viewliner order.
- removal of the National Park Service volunteer program.
- downsizing consist size (beyond just the winter months or first quarter). Try to book a bedroom between Chicago and Emeryville for May 2018 travel.
- and MANY more items.

There could be some simple improvements to the overall passenger experience but I don't see any top brass at Amtrak embracing it - for any train line, be it state, corridor, long distance, NEC.

Amtrak has refused to look for ways to find revenue, or incremental revenue. Instead, it's a constant look at where to cut costs. The costs are cut to the max right now. How to increase the revenue - and it should NOT be a mere "raise the rates." For any business that raises their rates, I believe you need to be able to justify the rate increase through better/improved/expanded service. Amtrak hasn't done that. I am talking about new revenue sources or trying to get the value added or incremental revenue.

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Matt Johnson
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Re: Anderson Six Month Grade

Post by Matt Johnson » Sat Mar 24, 2018 7:26 pm

jp1822 wrote:I agree with the original post Tadman made: F- is a good grade. Anderson's awful.

What appeal has he brought to the table to make people want to choose the train as an option. I can name more things that have been ELIMINATED and are seen as a turnoff than as an "attraction."
Was he brought in on a "Chainsaw Al Dunlap" mission? I hope not.

jhdeasy
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Re: Anderson Six Month Grade

Post by jhdeasy » Sat Mar 24, 2018 9:13 pm

At this time, I must say there is much uncertainty about the future of private car operations on Amtrak under Mr. Anderson.

Gilbert B Norman
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Re: Anderson Six Month Grade

Post by Gilbert B Norman » Sun Mar 25, 2018 6:13 am

Regarding Mr. Deasy's immediate point, here is a Fair Use quotation taken from this past Friday’s Journal aericle, which is linked over at the active "PV" topic:
In November, Amtrak’s office of inspector general initiated an audit of its private railcar services. Last month, Amtrak halted all private rail travel between Los Angeles and San Diego until the passenger service’s on-time performance improves, and is considering other changes to ensure these operations don’t interfere with its core business and service to its passengers.

Reports of bad behavior—loud parties and disorderly conduct—by some private railcar owners and their guests in Amtrak yards are exacerbating these fears.

“It’s up to the private car owners to make sure they conform to Amtrak standards,” says Wick Moorman, former Amtrak president and CEO, who now serves in an advisory capacity. (A spokeswoman for the owners association says it has zero tolerance for disorderly conduct

jp1822
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Re: Anderson Six Month Grade

Post by jp1822 » Sun Mar 25, 2018 5:18 pm

jhdeasy wrote:At this time, I must say there is much uncertainty about the future of private car operations on Amtrak under Mr. Anderson.
And the private car operation is definitely a profitable line item for Amtrak, so this is concerning.

The M&E delays were awful, but I don't see those delays being parallel to the private car operation.

It should be a rather simple hookup or drop off - and owners have to go to a great expense to ensure compatability to allow for such. Nonetheless, I do remember being delayed at Denver Union Station when the conductors were trying to tack on a private car to the rear of the train. But I also saw a bunch of mistakes being made by crew that led to the delay, none of which were the private rail car owners' fault. Most private rail cars also seem to go endpoint to endpoint, which brings no effect to the timetable as the car is hooked up before it loads passengers at originating station, and then heads off with the consist at terminating terminal. Yes, some of the trans cons "drop" private cars at various places, and then they also pickup as well. But they charge handsomely for it and Amtrak does this with their own equipment be it business cars, the exhibit train, or other equipment. Not sure of how San Diego and LA private car operations are affecting on-time performance.

"......[Amtrak is] considering other changes to ensure [private car] operations don’t interfere with its core business and service to its passengers."

Not liking that statement as it is similar to a statement that was said about M&E operations, but M&E was a completely different animal. Private car operations have been a profitable line item for Amtrak since the company's inception in 1971.......... Hopefully Mr. Anderson's wide knowledge of the airline industry, and particularly how private planes get along with commercial airlines, will help bring about a very positive resolution for all parties.

PS - even though VIA largely does not carry private rail cars anymore (and it is also a LOT more expensive), they have made exceptions. A private rail car did make a trip on the Ocean fairly recently. I don't think there is anything barring private rail car operations to northern Quebec. And when in doubt, money always talks better. But more importantly, a trip on VIA or at least the Canadian is a "private rail car" experience.

AC4619
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Re: Anderson Six Month Grade

Post by AC4619 » Sun Mar 25, 2018 9:07 pm

My uneducated guess on Anderson is, he's running Amtrak like an airline. Specifically, an airline that's losing a lot of money and is trying to cut routes and amenities to bleed less money. The Pacific Parlor cars are expensive. They're old-ish, unicorns for Amtrak, not many of them, and do not generate significant rev. Yes, they may convince some people to take the train who otherwise wouldn't. However, it's likely that the loss of the cars gives Amtrak much more money than they lose in missed ticket sales.

It's an entirely separate question on whether that style is good or bad for Amtrak. I will say that, because Amtrak is not profitable, they NEED to have a goal of profitability before anything else. If someone spends more money than they earn, they go into debt. Most Americans, statistically, are in debt. If you have a family member with a spending problem, you (hopefully) help them to control the spending...you don't give them a new credit card to purchase something un-needed (in Amtrak's case, expensive heritage equipment)! In other words, "oooh but the Pacific Parlor Cars are NICE!", doesn't work in Business, particularly in the Airline business. That said, Amtrak is a public railroad. Not a private airline. So, the governance style doesn't necessarily match up. At the end of the day, it's a question over whether Amtrak's goal is to be utilitarian or "preserve" heritage. Anderson appears to be going for the former. I think it's risky, because it doesn't offer alternatives that draw in customers-- I agree with JP on that. On the flip side, let's be real: real national rail service would have to be a newly built ultra-high-speed network, to make Amtrak a real competitive opt outside the current corridors. What Amtrak preserves at this point IS our past...and also congress critters' ability to ensure rail still goes through their state.

Safetee
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Re: Anderson Six Month Grade

Post by Safetee » Mon Mar 26, 2018 8:11 am

The idea of running Amtrak at a profit is a complete joke. It's been the political holy grail since 1970, but the truth is that dog don't hunt. And jacking rates through the roof while cutting back services to junk bus levels is not going to increase ridership either. Of course one wonders aloud what the roi of say the Wall will be, or the army corps of engineers waterway system, or the defense department, or air force one..........

Tadman
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Re: Anderson Six Month Grade

Post by Tadman » Mon Mar 26, 2018 1:05 pm

Loud parties on PV's? Seriously who cares? It's a profit center, and it's not like the party is on a revenue sleeper where others are trying to sleep. I have never in my life heard activity in another car on the train, so this must be the party of the year (and I'm a bit peeved I wasn't invited). Oddly enough, most PV owners I've met do not seem to be the "party of the year" type...

As for the reason I give him an F, it's still based only on a few things, namely consistency of service. It's no surprise the parlors had to go, we've known that for years and it's not Anderson's fault that Budd isn't making replacement parts. Same with the discounts - I'm glad the railroad is going well enough to get rid of them. I try to make my criticism from that of a paying traveler, not a latent bystander, because the CEO's longevity is not determined by how he pleases the bystanders.
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Gilbert B Norman
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Re: Anderson Six Month Grade

Post by Gilbert B Norman » Mon Mar 26, 2018 3:16 pm

Tadman wrote:Loud parties on PV's? Seriously who cares? It's a profit center.
All you need is one, Mr. Dunville. Someone from a "PV three sheets" stumbling about a railroad facility, getting hurt, and Amtrak is on tap for some $$$$$, and for which Amtrak is self insured for anything under $20M.
Last edited by Gilbert B Norman on Tue Mar 27, 2018 12:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.

MACTRAXX
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Re: Anderson Six Month Grade

Post by MACTRAXX » Mon Mar 26, 2018 9:30 pm

Gilbert B Norman wrote:
Tadman wrote:Loud parties on PV's? Seriously who cares? It's a profit center.
All you need is one, Mr. Dunville. Someone from a "PV three sheets" stumbling about a railroad facility, getting hurt, and Amtrak is on tap for some "wampum". It could be "heap big" and for which Amtrak is self insured for anything under $20M.
GBN and Tad - From the PRR Chronological History (going off the original topic):

Back on September 8, 1979 one person was electrocuted and a second badly burned when they
climbed up on the roof of George Pins private car #120 Pennsylvania as a prank during a party
in Penn Station and come in contact with the catenary.

I recall being told that the car was placed at the bumper block at the east end of one of the stub
tracks (1-2-3-4) and that the couple had gotten onto the roof of the car to reach down and bang
onto one of the side windows from above. They may have been drinking and were not aware of
the 11KV AC overhead wire up above the car.

In the aftermath of that tragedy George Pins sold his entire collection of private cars in February
1980 that were once stored at 30th Street Station in Philadelphia. Car #120 Pennsylvania is sold
to a Florida businessman. Bennett Levin would eventually acquire the car in the mid 1980s.

This makes me wonder what the legal aftermath was over this incident - and if something similar
were to happen today...MACTRAXX
EXPRESS TRAIN TO NEW YORK PENN STATION-NO JAMAICA ON THIS TRAIN-PLEASE STAND CLEAR OF THE CLOSING TRAIN DOORS

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