Amtrak Empire Service (New York State)

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

Moderators: GirlOnTheTrain, Amtrak67 of America, Tadman, gprimr1

Jeff Smith
Site Admin
Posts: 8512
Joined: Tue Nov 07, 2006 9:28 am
Location: MP 67.2 Georgia Southern Railway

Re: Empire Service (New York State)

Post by Jeff Smith » Tue Jan 22, 2019 9:51 am

NYS/MTA owns up to Poughkeepsie. North of Poughkeepsie to Albany is owned by CSX but dispatched by Amtrak. West of Albany is 100% CSX operation; that corridor would be the biggest hurdle.

It seems like NYP-Albany would be an easy hurdle. You’re trading frequencies; extra slots come later. And there is a demand in that corridor for premium service; Amtrak does not offer Cafe cars, at least on the Albany trains. It just seems like a slam dunk for NYS to seek out a corridor operator, and leave north and west of Albany to Amtrak.

And “their own corridor” is a huge fantasy.
Next stop, Willoughby
~Jeff Smith (fka "Sarge") :: RAILROAD.NET Site Administrator/Co-Owner

superstar
Posts: 41
Joined: Tue Jan 30, 2018 5:38 pm

Re: Empire Service (New York State)

Post by superstar » Tue Jan 22, 2019 1:04 pm

The whole point of Brightline is that they control the entire experience--train, station, track, etc. And the rail corridor is associated with real estate properties that the operator manages as well, with the train serving to add value to the real estate and make both parts stronger. None of these things is true in NYS, and Brightline has made absolutely no indication that they care to serve as a contract operator. Quite the opposite in fact. Any idea of having them take over from Amtrak as a one-for-one replacement is complete fantasy with no grounding in reality.

Jeff Smith
Site Admin
Posts: 8512
Joined: Tue Nov 07, 2006 9:28 am
Location: MP 67.2 Georgia Southern Railway

Re: Empire Service (New York State)

Post by Jeff Smith » Tue Jan 22, 2019 1:30 pm

So, Superstar, you’re saying Virgin, which is a contract operator in the UK, and Brightline management would unequivocally turn down an opportunity to expand their brand? And who’s to say they wouldn’t do it and expand into Real Estate? Northern Westchester, Dutchess, etc. still has development opportunities.

Yes, it’s “foam” right now. But so was Penn Access for MNRR up until today.
Next stop, Willoughby
~Jeff Smith (fka "Sarge") :: RAILROAD.NET Site Administrator/Co-Owner

superstar
Posts: 41
Joined: Tue Jan 30, 2018 5:38 pm

Re: Empire Service (New York State)

Post by superstar » Tue Jan 22, 2019 1:50 pm

Jeff Smith wrote:So, Superstar, you’re saying Virgin, which is a contract operator in the UK, and Brightline management would unequivocally turn down an opportunity to expand their brand? And who’s to say they wouldn’t do it and expand into Real Estate? Northern Westchester, Dutchess, etc. still has development opportunities.

Yes, it’s “foam” right now. But so was Penn Access for MNRR up until today.
Yes, even more so now that Virgin is involved, which is a globally known brand with a (generally) favorable brand image. Virgin also has a huge presence in Florida already with VS's flights to Florida; I have no doubt that they will be selling combined flight/rail tickets through Orlando. They also have significant traffic to Las Vegas...where Brightline is also bound. They have no such connections to New York, where BA more or less owns the UK-origin transatlantic traffic.

Look at the stations Brightline built. Look at the buildings that sprouted up around them. Do you think that is in any way compatible with the rathole of NYP and the boarding lines that snake halfway across the concourse? Or the unsheltered platforms north of MNRR territory? That doesn't expand their brand, that destroys it. Do you see a twenty acre plot of land at NYP or ALB for them to buy and develop? Do you honestly think that the wealth of New York's northern suburbs would ever let similar development happen without a legal fight for the ages?

And half the line is already leased to Amtrak on the northern end, a lease that doesn't expire until early next century. What motive does Amtrak have to play ball, and if NYS somehow has a way to break the lease, why would Brightline get into a business relationship with NYS if the state's first action is to unilaterally screw over the previous partner. Why would they invest billions and depend on a partner that is demonstrably untrustworthy?

The only way I could Virgin/Brightline being involved is if they established another subsidiary for contract operations that was operated and branded separately. But I would think that to be even less likely than NYS, if they were well and truly fed up with Amtrak for some reason, establishing their own agency to run the trains.

Jeff Smith
Site Admin
Posts: 8512
Joined: Tue Nov 07, 2006 9:28 am
Location: MP 67.2 Georgia Southern Railway

Re: Empire Service (New York State)

Post by Jeff Smith » Tue Jan 22, 2019 2:15 pm

I’d expect Virgin would want to gain access to that market, since they have nothing now. NY is the center of the universe. Who wouldn’t want to be there?

As for NYP, point conceded, but I’d also expect Virgin to have a solution to preserve the brand. Like any franchise agreement, there would be opt outs and protections for both parties.

As for Amtrak, it’s a state supported route, not an LD. I said they would keep the LD’s. I’m not sure if they lease the route; I thought they just dispatch. But even so, Amtrak allowed CtDOT to outsource operations on the Hartford Line, and they own that line outright.

Contract operation = Negotiated profit, real estate or not. Brand awareness in the largest market in the world, with snowbirds who vacation in Florida and an awful lot of wealthy people in the lower to middle part of that corridor. I don’t think it’s that much of a stretch. You might, that’s cool, we’re not going to change each other’s minds.
Next stop, Willoughby
~Jeff Smith (fka "Sarge") :: RAILROAD.NET Site Administrator/Co-Owner

Railjunkie
Posts: 1128
Joined: Fri Mar 12, 2004 7:24 am

Re: Empire Service (New York State)

Post by Railjunkie » Tue Jan 22, 2019 3:36 pm

Amtrak leases from 75.8 to Hoffmans, the connection with CSX. Amtrak runs the trains keeps up the track, stations, and dispatching. It was 99 year lease. IF Brightline was to get in I dont know if MNRR would be willing to play ball on their RR. Amtrak crews are qualified on their rules and timetable. Generally when a private concern comes in there is an interview process. Who knows how many Amtrak employees would go with the new service.

Jeff Smith
Site Admin
Posts: 8512
Joined: Tue Nov 07, 2006 9:28 am
Location: MP 67.2 Georgia Southern Railway

Re: Empire Service (New York State)

Post by Jeff Smith » Tue Jan 22, 2019 5:12 pm

It was just a thought.
Next stop, Willoughby
~Jeff Smith (fka "Sarge") :: RAILROAD.NET Site Administrator/Co-Owner

DutchRailnut
Posts: 22257
Joined: Thu Mar 11, 2004 8:02 pm
Location: released from Stalag 13

Re: Empire Service (New York State)

Post by DutchRailnut » Tue Jan 22, 2019 5:26 pm

Railjunkie wrote:Generally when a private concern comes in there is an interview process. Who knows how many Amtrak employees would go with the new service.
not to many senior Employees, Brightline would not get you railroad retirement and after loosing current connection that would be about a 20% cut in retirement benefits.
If Conductors are in charge, why are they promoted to be Engineer???

Retired Triebfahrzeugführer. I am not a moderator.

dumpster.penguin
Posts: 248
Joined: Fri Mar 12, 2004 8:57 pm

Re: Empire Service (New York State)

Post by dumpster.penguin » Tue Jan 22, 2019 8:58 pm

superstar has a point. Brightline was a real-estate developer. The trains were perqs to loft the sale price of the condos and offices. It was a magical plan, brilliant in execution, which might yet deliver both public good and private profit. In New York, the closest similar redevelopment opportunity might be Binghamton-Cortland-Syracuse-Watertown. Connect by yak to the future Adirondack Scenic RR in Tupper Lake.

benboston
Posts: 175
Joined: Sun Feb 25, 2018 3:44 pm

Re: Empire Service (New York State)

Post by benboston » Wed Jan 23, 2019 5:07 am

As of today New York is looking into the feasibility of Long Island to Boston or DC trains...

Brightline could go into Grand Central theoretically to meet their standards... Right?

Backshophoss
Posts: 6319
Joined: Mon Mar 05, 2012 7:58 pm

Re: Empire Service (New York State)

Post by Backshophoss » Wed Jan 23, 2019 9:48 pm

Don't believe "Brightline" equipment will fit due to their skirting,that would foul on the 3rd stubs next to the puzzle switches in GCT.
There's not a "clean" straight shot thru the puzzle switches to the platforms.
Amtrak's Siemens built cars should clear,being built to Amtrak's standards.
The Land of Enchantment is not Flyover country!

EuroStar
Posts: 738
Joined: Fri Oct 19, 2012 8:26 pm
Location: Middle of Nowhere

Re: Empire Service (New York State)

Post by EuroStar » Thu Jan 24, 2019 9:19 am

benboston wrote:As of today New York is looking into the feasibility of Long Island to Boston or DC trains...
This is probably just to shut up some local politician or donor. There is no easy way to turn Amtrak trains on Long Island (there is a wye in Montauk, but that is waaay too far and sparely populated). Also anything to DC or Boston will require engine change at NYP and that is just a no-no. The only thing that "could" (whether it should is different story) be extended to Long Island are the trains from Albany and even then probably no further than Ronkonkoma.

Edit: spelling error
Last edited by EuroStar on Thu Jan 24, 2019 11:48 am, edited 1 time in total.

jcepler1
Posts: 122
Joined: Tue Sep 27, 2011 3:33 pm

Re: Empire Service (New York State)

Post by jcepler1 » Thu Jan 24, 2019 11:15 am

What about the LIRR service that they had to lease MARC train cars for last summer? I would think that could be something that Amtrak could take over from LIRR.

DutchRailnut
Posts: 22257
Joined: Thu Mar 11, 2004 8:02 pm
Location: released from Stalag 13

Re: Empire Service (New York State)

Post by DutchRailnut » Thu Jan 24, 2019 11:19 am

no one is suggesting Amtrak take over any service, some politicians want Amtrak express service to LI .
If Conductors are in charge, why are they promoted to be Engineer???

Retired Triebfahrzeugführer. I am not a moderator.

NIMBYkiller
Posts: 1471
Joined: Fri Mar 12, 2004 6:24 pm
Location: Port Washington

Re: Empire Service (New York State)

Post by NIMBYkiller » Thu Jan 24, 2019 9:40 pm

Just pointing out that there's plenty of space immediately surrounding Rensselaer station for development. Deck over the parking lots and voila.

Return to “Amtrak”