NEW AMTRAK CEO: William J Flynn

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Gilbert B Norman
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Location: Clarendon Hills, IL (BNSF Chicago Sub; MP 18.71)

Re: NEW AMTRAK CEO: William J Flynn

Post by Gilbert B Norman »

Mr Lynn wrote:
Wed Mar 11, 2020 11:02 pm
You're right about commercial transportation, and Lord knows too much passenger railroading is "all about moving you expediently, yet safely, from A to B," and nothing more. That's fine for commuter lines, and I suppose for the NEC and short inter-city runs, but the only way you're going to get folks out of the cattle-car airplanes and the Endless Black Ribbons of the highways (q.v Tiny Harris) for long-distance travel, is to entice them with the experience. If you can't do that, forget it; might as well keep Anderson on. /LEJ
Mr. Lynn, I really think that enough people around thought Mr. Anderson did a good job. On his watch, patronage increased and costs were controlled so that by some measurement like unto household ("cookie jar") accounting, Amtrak almost broke even - a measurement that has never in forty eight years been attained. Just think, had he been able to "scalp the Chief", which again I note was the quickest way to avoid paying all the maintenance costs on 350 miles of road, that break even measurement could have likely been attained.

In view of the ridership increases "where it counts" - the Corridors - he oversaw a product acceptable to those riders.

Now I realize and respect that the various rail discussion sites, and the advocacy organizations, attract people who hold that rail travel should be experiential - you have noted an environment - entertainment, kiddie cars. movies, dining as distinct from "being fed", that would enhance the experience. But to me, rail travel today should simply be "A to B", as is air and highway.

You likely surmised that if the LD system folded tomorrow, I'd be saying "high time" - and it should have happened forty years ago. But they indeed have their "staying power" because the average "Critter" and those who keep him.on The Hill choose not to recognize how they represent a Taking (that Fifth Amendment kind of stuff;.railroad track capacity) without just compensation.

But to both the industry and Amtrak, Kubler-Ross Phase 5 - acceptance - is in place. I think a model for those that can't be rid is with the State operated LD's in Eastern Australia. (distinct from the private sector Luxotrains). Those trains simply have Coaches, one Sleeper, and an all purpose Food & Beverage car. No Domes, Lounges, Sky-Top obs, or on-board entertainment.

If it is Amtrak's objective under Mr. Anderson and his successor, to be rid of the LD's, then the Superliners should be replaced with Single Level equipment that can be readilly converted to short distance stock.

Finally, circa '74, when word spread Amtrak had ordered the Superliners, the washroom walls at my road sure heard it: "looks like we're gonna be stuck with those trains for more than just another five years".

disclaimer: author had ample "experiential" rides during the '50's and 60's where there still plenty worth while.

Mr Lynn
Posts: 13
Joined: Mon Jul 09, 2012 3:06 pm

Re: NEW AMTRAK CEO: William J Flynn

Post by Mr Lynn »

Gilbert B Norman wrote:
Fri Mar 13, 2020 2:21 pm

. . .You likely surmised that if the LD system folded tomorrow, I'd be saying "high time" - and it should have happened forty years ago. But they indeed have their "staying power" because the average "Critter" and those who keep him.on The Hill choose not to recognize how they represent a Taking (that Fifth Amendment kind of stuff;.railroad track capacity) without just compensation. . .

. . . If it is Amtrak's objective under Mr. Anderson and his successor, to be rid of the LD's, then the Superliners should be replaced with Single Level equipment that can be readily converted to short distance stock.
If that is management's objective, then you're right; no point in the Superliners. It will make you bean-counters happy. But I think eliminating the railroad option for Long-Distance travelers and vacationers would be a mistake.

Re 'a Taking', I would agree, in principle, that a real Long-Distance passenger railroad should have its own, dedicated right-of-way, or at least hosts that were intent on maintaining their freight lines to passenger standards. In my experience, the roads the Lake Shore Limited and the Silver Star travel are way too rough for upper-berth sleeping.

Oh well. I'll have to think about ways we could both appeal to those who don't like airplane travel and still not lose a ton of money. Maybe Maglev trains?

eolesen
Posts: 667
Joined: Sat Apr 17, 2010 12:01 am

Re: NEW AMTRAK CEO: William J Flynn

Post by eolesen »

There's a different thread on this, but yes, I'd say single level equipment which can be easily converted from a LD to Corridor purpose is the future.

mtuandrew
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Joined: Tue Feb 20, 2007 2:59 am
Location: the Manassas Gap Independent Line

Re: NEW AMTRAK CEO: William J Flynn

Post by mtuandrew »

I think we have to assume that unless he’s been the shadow boss for five years, Flynn hasn’t and won’t have a say in rolling stock decisions. Excepting (possibly) the new Corridor equipment. Far more of his energy will be in dealing with the viral outbreak, whether in terms of personnel protection and scheduling, station operations, car sanitation, or outright cancellation of services. I’m honestly shocked that Amtrak is still operating to Seattle King Street for instance.

Hopefully Flynn is prepared to deal with this.

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