Lake Shore Limited

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TomNelligan
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Re: Lake Shore Limited

Post by TomNelligan » Wed Nov 11, 2015 10:02 pm

I wonder how busy that Amtrak agent at Worcester is. According to the Worcester Union Station Wikipedia entry, 2013 Amtrak ridership to/from Worcester averaged just 26 passengers a day (arrivals plus departures). Not exactly booming business. The fact that Amtrak's one train a day is sometimes a bus certainly doesn't help.

The EGE
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Re: Lake Shore Limited

Post by The EGE » Wed Nov 11, 2015 10:36 pm

A fair percentage of that 26 is people riding one-way BOS-WOR. It's not much more than the T (17 versus 10.50 day-of) , it's faster, and the seats are nicer. I used to use it occasionally when getting picked up at Worcester, as it used to fill a nice gap between MBTA trains.

jmar896
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Re: Lake Shore Limited

Post by jmar896 » Wed Nov 11, 2015 11:29 pm

TomNelligan wrote:I wonder how busy that Amtrak agent at Worcester is. According to the Worcester Union Station Wikipedia entry, 2013 Amtrak ridership to/from Worcester averaged just 26 passengers a day (arrivals plus departures). Not exactly booming business. The fact that Amtrak's one train a day is sometimes a bus certainly doesn't help.
I think there has been small ridership gains since then. There was a good number of people waiting at the platform for the train going towards Albany when I was waiting for an MBTA train one day. The train was 2 hours late FROM Boston. That being said the agent is underutilized but with only one train a day what can you expect. Worcester has the potential to become a major stop if inland routes (and the 2nd platform) ever end up happening.

ThirdRail7
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Re: Lake Shore Limited

Post by ThirdRail7 » Thu Nov 12, 2015 12:07 am

jmar896 wrote:. Worcester has the potential to become a major stop if inland routes (and the 2nd platform) ever end up happening.

Worcester was a powerhouse when Amtrak had the inland route. I suspect it would be again if they decided to run trains up there.
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gokeefe
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Re: Lake Shore Limited

Post by gokeefe » Thu Nov 12, 2015 10:11 am

Dick H wrote:According to a report elsewhere, Amtrak is closing the ticket
office in Worcester MA Union Station permanently on November
14th. There is no quik-trak machine there currently. Amtrak.com
has not yet been updated. The Lake Shore 449//449 are the only
Amtrak trains using the Worcester station.
I would have to say that I'm more than a little amazed that they even have a staffed ticket office in the first place! (still!)

Worth noting that this ticket office has almost certainly been continuously staffed since the station was built in 1911.
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Re: Lake Shore Limited

Post by Station Aficionado » Thu Nov 12, 2015 10:23 am

jmar896 wrote:
TomNelligan wrote:I wonder how busy that Amtrak agent at Worcester is. According to the Worcester Union Station Wikipedia entry, 2013 Amtrak ridership to/from Worcester averaged just 26 passengers a day (arrivals plus departures). Not exactly booming business. The fact that Amtrak's one train a day is sometimes a bus certainly doesn't help.
I think there has been small ridership gains since then. There was a good number of people waiting at the platform for the train going towards Albany when I was waiting for an MBTA train one day. The train was 2 hours late FROM Boston. That being said the agent is underutilized but with only one train a day what can you expect. Worcester has the potential to become a major stop if inland routes (and the 2nd platform) ever end up happening.
I'm afraid that in FY14, total ridership was 8,439, or only 23 per day. Perhaps things improved a bit in FY15.

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Re: Lake Shore Limited

Post by F-line to Dudley via Park » Thu Nov 12, 2015 10:24 am

gokeefe wrote:
Dick H wrote:According to a report elsewhere, Amtrak is closing the ticket
office in Worcester MA Union Station permanently on November
14th. There is no quik-trak machine there currently. Amtrak.com
has not yet been updated. The Lake Shore 449//449 are the only
Amtrak trains using the Worcester station.
I would have to say that I'm more than a little amazed that they even have a staffed ticket office in the first place! (still!)

Worth noting that this ticket office has almost certainly been continuously staffed since the station was built in 1911.
It's the transit center for WRTA city buses and houses their administrative offices and tix booths. I doubt it's costing Amtrak much of anything to keep one staffer there sharing space with WRTA's customer service windows. As noted, that's going to become a MUCH more significant Amtrak station in the next 7-10 years. And probably will also hit critical-enough mass of MBTA service to get their own tix window there for customer service and sales of MBTA subway/bus passes and commuter rail monthly passes. MBTA and WRTA being under the MassDOT umbrella, they likewise can cheaply share space. Chances are every user of Worcester Union is going to have full onsite customer service before too long the way its growth projects in the near future. There's certain efficiencies to be had pooling the customer service resources when it's a really big inner-city terminal like that.

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shadyjay
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Re: Lake Shore Limited

Post by shadyjay » Thu Nov 12, 2015 11:42 am

In this age of "e-tickets", I can see Amtrak's desire to get rid of the agent, especially for a "one-a-day" station. But, with the removal of the agent, most likely also comes the removal of the ability for a passenger to check baggage. Unless Amtrak initiates a "self-check" baggage policy, where you hand your baggage up to the baggage car attendant.

gokeefe
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Re: Lake Shore Limited

Post by gokeefe » Thu Nov 12, 2015 12:48 pm

Agreed that this should be changed. I'm just stumped at the thought of Worcester still having a manned ticket booth after all these years. There are stations on the Downeaster with far greater ridership which have never had anything more than a Quik-Trak machine.

I would imagine that it is in fact due to the need for checked baggage but it is still a jaw dropping expense nonetheless. I remember Kansas City Union Station having a very similar arrangements but at least there you had more than just "one a day each way".

I think one fact that is illustrated here is the absurdity of current service levels in this market. It's obvious that Worcester should have more service and that it could be supported on a variety of corridors and routes going through the area.
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TomNelligan
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Re: Lake Shore Limited

Post by TomNelligan » Thu Nov 12, 2015 1:06 pm

gokeefe wrote:Worth noting that this ticket office has almost certainly been continuously staffed since the station was built in 1911.
Well, not during the couple decades after Penn Central closed it down, during which Worcester Union Station became a rotting ruin. During that period the ticket agent was housed in an adjacent Amshack. The nicely restored building of today is a far cry from what it was before it was rescued by the city.

Dick H
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Re: Lake Shore Limited

Post by Dick H » Thu Nov 12, 2015 2:28 pm

#449 and #448 are being bused on Sundays through Wednesdays through November 18th for CSX track work.

http://www.amtrak.com/servlet/ContentSe ... 1629761963" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

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Re: Lake Shore Limited

Post by F-line to Dudley via Park » Thu Nov 12, 2015 2:50 pm

gokeefe wrote:Agreed that this should be changed. I'm just stumped at the thought of Worcester still having a manned ticket booth after all these years. There are stations on the Downeaster with far greater ridership which have never had anything more than a Quik-Trak machine.

I would imagine that it is in fact due to the need for checked baggage but it is still a jaw dropping expense nonetheless. I remember Kansas City Union Station having a very similar arrangements but at least there you had more than just "one a day each way".

I think one fact that is illustrated here is the absurdity of current service levels in this market. It's obvious that Worcester should have more service and that it could be supported on a variety of corridors and routes going through the area.
Can you quantify this expense before calling it "jaw dropping"? There are a lot of Amshacks out in podunk little outposts of lesser ridership that are staffed as well as costing Amtrak 100% of the utility bills, and those don't have the economy of scale that comes with sharing space at a Regional Transit Authority's HQ building and busy MBTA terminal. If the cost were so onerous, the position would've been cut like so many others. Springfield's lost a lot of staff over the years because of need to cut costs. Worcester hasn't. Is it a testable theory that maybe the expense is not so "jaw dropping"? Or that the building owners Worcester Redevelopment Authority are possibly underwriting some of that cost?


At any rate, if the Inlands are still on the planning front-burner as they appear to be, they certainly aren't going to get rid of the agent now. They won't get it back when they need it if they make the purely short-term decision, "jaw dropping" savings or not. They'll keep the placeholder for the future even if Amtrak has to hit up the state with a tin cup to keep the tix window open. An ask it does not appear they're are making at this very moment.

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Re: Lake Shore Limited

Post by nomis » Thu Nov 12, 2015 5:08 pm

I heard that there are two additional ticket offices closing in the area as well, so it isn't just a Worcester thing. Personnel will be reassigned accordingly. Perhaps security will move offices in WOR to keep better and quicker tabs on the clientele.
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markhb
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Re: Lake Shore Limited

Post by markhb » Fri Nov 13, 2015 8:49 am

Was there an actual Amtrak employee acting as agent in Worcester, or was it a similar situation to North Station where an MBCR agent would just slide his chair over to the other window?
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TomNelligan
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Re: Lake Shore Limited

Post by TomNelligan » Fri Nov 13, 2015 9:54 am

Worcester has/had an actual real live Amtrak ticket agent sitting in an Amtrak office. Probably bored most of the time. :-)

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