Amtrak in 2011: 40 years of being America's Railroad...

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

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MACTRAXX
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Amtrak in 2011: 40 years of being America's Railroad...

Post by MACTRAXX »

Everyone: I looked thru the Amtrak section and looked at recent posts from this month (January 2011) and after seeing the current Amtrak calendar with its photos from Amtrak's early 70s days I thought "Why not post a topic for and about Amtrak's 40th Anniversary?"

The Amtrak section of Railroad.net is perhaps the most informative topic section in this entire site and perhaps this topic can be
used to post and remember the highlights (and perhaps some lowlights) of Amtrak's 40 years...

With the wealth of information and pictures available from the active posters here this may become a quite interesting section
that may be of historical use for all here...

I do not have scanning capability but if I had I would post Amtrak's Form One-the System timetable from May 1,1971 for starters and reference...I have heard that Amtrak's System timetables are posted on line someplace...anyone have a link to contribute?

Thoughts from MACTRAXX
EXPRESS TRAIN TO NEW YORK PENN STATION-NO JAMAICA ON THIS TRAIN-PLEASE STAND CLEAR OF THE CLOSING TRAIN DOORS

R36 Combine Coach
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Re: Amtrak in 2011: 40 years of being America's Railroad...

Post by R36 Combine Coach »

The 5/1/71 timetable is available here.
Since my friend continues to chain smoke nonstop, she is probably an Alco.

mtuandrew
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Re: Amtrak in 2011: 40 years of being America's Railroad...

Post by mtuandrew »

R36 Combine Coach wrote:The 5/1/71 timetable is available here.
Dear American Traveler:
This publication is the first systemwide schedule of intercity passenger trains to be operated by the National Railroad Passenger Corporation. The trains, services and stations listed herein comprise what the Directors of Amtrak believe is a large step towards an integrated national system of rail passenger service.

We feel that this network of trains -- which has been developed through months of intensive analysis -- provides a solid base on which to build and expand the scope and quality of intercity passenger service. This new system can and will succeed because it unifies for the first time the operation and promotion of the nation's rail passenger service. Now, a single management can devote its energy exclusively to serving the passenger. Refurbishing of terminals and equipment and innovative improvements of ticketing, reservation, and food services can be attained on a systemwide basis.

We know these changes which are vital to upgrading rail service cannot be accomplished overnight. We are optimistic, however, that continuing improvements will attract hundreds of thousands of people who have not recently -- or ever -- relied on railroad transportation. We think the Amtrak system will become increasingly attractive to those who travel for business and pleasure, young people and older people, families and travel groups.

The Board of Directors of Amtrak asks the support of the traveling public as this schedule is introduced and service improvements are implemented. We ask also the enthusiastic response of every rail passenger employee who shares with us the task of providing the best in intercity travel service to our riders. On our part, we pledge our best efforts to providing the American people a modern, attractive rail service as rapidly as possible.

Sincerely,

[signed]
David W. Kendall
Chairman of the Board

Mcoov
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Re: Amtrak in 2011: 40 years of being America's Railroad...

Post by Mcoov »

It looks like there were more routes to choose from way back when then there are today. Although the Lake Shore Limited is noticeably missing.

Pacific 2-3-1
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Re: Amtrak in 2011: 40 years of being America's Railroad...

Post by Pacific 2-3-1 »

Nothing is as powerful as a Utopian idea whose time has come. "Amtrak" wasn't altogether a new idea in 1970. In the 1950's there was discussion among America's railroads about the possibility of unifying all the existing passenger train operations under the auspices of the already existing Pullman Company and/or the Railway Express Agency (both of whom were jointly owned by the railroads).

mtuandrew
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Re: Amtrak in 2011: 40 years of being America's Railroad...

Post by mtuandrew »

Mcoov wrote:It looks like there were more routes to choose from way back when then there are today. Although the Lake Shore Limited is noticeably missing.
Routes that we now have, but didn't as of this timetable:

Lake Shore Limited (both NYP and BOS sections)
Texas Eagle
Capitol Limited
Auto Train
Adirondack
Vermonter
Maple Leaf
Carolinian Service
Michigan Service (excluding the Wolverine)
Downeaster Service
San Joaquin Service
Cascades service to Vancouver, BC

Notable routes that disappeared between this timetable and now:
(corrected) South Wind (Chicago to Florida)
Broadway Limited (Pittsburgh to Chicago via PRR)
National Limited (Washington to Kansas City)
Texas Chief (Chicago to Houston via Kansas City)

There have been a few other small changes - the James Whitcomb Riley becoming the Cardinal, route changes in the Chicago hub area, the wholesale shift of Hudson River service from Grand Central Terminal to Pennsylvania Station in New York - but we appear to be equally well or better served than in 1971. (Let's just forget about the huge service expansions and cuts in the 1970s and again in the 1980s and 1990s, okay?)
Last edited by mtuandrew on Thu Jan 20, 2011 10:26 am, edited 1 time in total.

hi55us
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Re: Amtrak in 2011: 40 years of being America's Railroad...

Post by hi55us »

what's amazing is the once daily turboservice from NYP-BOS that covered it in nearly as much time as the Acela. Did this train ever run on time?

jp1822
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Re: Amtrak in 2011: 40 years of being America's Railroad...

Post by jp1822 »

hi55us wrote:what's amazing is the once daily turboservice from NYP-BOS that covered it in nearly as much time as the Acela. Did this train ever run on time?
Can't answer to the "run on time" part of your question, but I think it had its operational difficulties (i.e. breaking down enroute).

Noel Weaver
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Re: Amtrak in 2011: 40 years of being America's Railroad...

Post by Noel Weaver »

jp1822 wrote:
hi55us wrote:what's amazing is the once daily turboservice from NYP-BOS that covered it in nearly as much time as the Acela. Did this train ever run on time?
Can't answer to the "run on time" part of your question, but I think it had its operational difficulties (i.e. breaking down enroute).
I had that job firing during part of 1970 nd we were on time most of the time. Incidentally at the time we terminated at Back Bay for passengers although we went in to South Station to change crews and then the train went back to Fields Point just outside of Providence for servicing.
Having said that, the train (UAC Turbos in this case) were in my opinion a piece of junk. Sometimes when the train didn't make it they would substitute a locomotive and three coaches. We made just as good of time between New Haven and Boston with an E-8 and three coaches.
Noel Weaver

jonnhrr
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Re: Amtrak in 2011: 40 years of being America's Railroad...

Post by jonnhrr »

I remember 5/1/71 well because I was in school in Bethlehem PA and it was a Saturday, so I and some friends were planning to take the train into Philly to do some railfanning. However we weren't sure if the Reading's Bethlehem - Philadelphia Run was now part of Amtrak, or now eliminated, or what. In those days there was no railroad dot net or Internet to go look for information. So with some trepidation we waited at the station. Train time came and went, we thought our worst fears were realized but about 30 minutes later the gates came down and the tardy RDC rolled in to the station. Of course once we got to Philly, the first thing we did was head over to 30th St. station and get the Amtrak system timetable, I still have it around somewhere.

Jon
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Gilbert B Norman
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Re: Amtrak in 2011: 40 years of being America's Railroad...

Post by Gilbert B Norman »

mtuandrew wrote:Notable routes that disappeared between this timetable and now........:
Gulf Breeze (Chicago to Florida)
While of course Mr. Stephens' intent is clear, the Amtrak Chicago-Florida train first assumed the PRR-L&N-ACL name of the South Wind. With the November, 1971 timetable, the name Floridian was adopted and remained until the Adios drumhead went up during the 1979 "Carter Cuts".

The Gulf Breeze was a 1980's addition of through cars to/from The Crescent serving Birmingham-Mobile; suffice to say, "short lived".

Finally, I wonder how many passengers, a good number of which were DDD (drunk, doped, drowsy), were even aware of the history making event in which they participated when they boarded Amtrak #235 departing Penn 1205A for Phila and intermediate stops that Saturday morning we all know here as A-Day.
Last edited by Gilbert B Norman on Thu Jan 20, 2011 9:56 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Amtrak in 2011: 40 years of being America's Railroad...

Post by Jeff Smith »

I'll be posting an article on this very subject shortly by one of our esteemed members. Stay tuned.....
Next stop, Willoughby
~el Jefe ("Jeff Smith Rules") :: RAILROAD.NET Site Administrator/Co-Owner

Noel Weaver
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Re: Amtrak in 2011: 40 years of being America's Railroad...

Post by Noel Weaver »

I remember my first Amtrak Ride in a PRR P-70. To lead up to this, the week immediately prior to the Amtrak takeover I took off from work (engineer's spare board on the former NHRR, now Penn Central at Oak Point) to do my own tour of last and first rides.
Started out with a OW trip to New London for the Budd Car to Worcester. At Worcester I took a late one car New England States (at least that's what it once was) to Albany where I stayed overnight. Next morning the D & H to Montreal where I again laid overnight. Next morning I switched to flying machines for a several stop trip to Cincinnati. Now we are the last day before Amtrak and at the time nobody really knew whether it was going to happen for sure or not. I rode the last B & O day train (no. 12) from Cincinnati to Cumberland for another overnight stay. Day one of Amtrak found me in Cumberland with no more passenger trains but wait a minute, the last EB Capitol Limited was on its way EB from Chicago to Washington so I am in luck. Neat ride with domes, great breakfast and nice people. Upon arrival at Washington the crew announced that the train would operate through to Baltimore and that anybody who wanted to ride to Baltimore was welcomed to do so.
Upon arrival at Camden Station, Baltimore my last pre Amtrak trip ended and a short taxi ride to Penn Station got me on my first Amtrak train which was a morning northbound for New York. At the time they cut and added coaches at Baltimore to a few of the corridor trains so I rode on a P-70 that was added to the rear of an already crowded train for New York which was more or less an uneventful trip.
I had other friends who rode the last Danbury - Pittsfield train or last branch line trains in Florida but this is what I chose to do.
Of course we all looked at Amtrak at that time as very much uncertain and it remained that way for a while. Finally when I saw big improvements in the corridor and some other places, I got over what came out of the timetables and dwelled on what was still in the timetables to be ridden. Looking back now, if Amtrak had not been created, by now virtually all of the intercity passenger trains today would have been history.
Amtrak has done a decent job with what resources that they have had over the past 40 years and today we need to get behind and support them in any way that we can. My best wishes to Amtrak for another 40 years of passenger railroading and many more after that too.
Noel Weaver
Last edited by Noel Weaver on Fri Jan 21, 2011 1:09 am, edited 1 time in total.

mtuandrew
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Re: Amtrak in 2011: 40 years of being America's Railroad...

Post by mtuandrew »

Gilbert B Norman wrote:
mtuandrew wrote:Notable routes that disappeared between this timetable and now........:
Gulf Breeze (Chicago to Florida)
While of course Mr. Stephens' intent is clear, the Amtrak Chicago-Florida train first assumed the PRR-L&N-ACL name of the South Wind. With the November, 1971 timetable, the name Floridian was adopted and remained until the Adios drumhead went up during the 1979 "Carter Cuts".

The Gulf Breeze was a 1980's addition of through cars to/from The Crescent serving Birmingham-Mobile; suffice to say, "short lived".

Finally, I wonder how many passengers, a good number of which were DDD (drunk, doped, drowsy), were even aware of the history making event in which they participated when they boarded Amtrak #235 departing Penn 1205A for Phila and intermediate stops that Saturday morning we all know here as A-Day.
Duly noted and corrected, Mr. Norman. Slip of the fingers.

Ocala Mike
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Re: Amtrak in 2011: 40 years of being America's Railroad...

Post by Ocala Mike »

Noel Weaver wrote:
I had other friends who rode the last Danbury - Pittsfield train or last branch line trains in Florida but this is what I chose to do.

Noel Weaver

Noel (or anyone on here), do you have any information on the last branch line trains in Florida that you mention? I'm interested in what A-Day looked like here in the Sunshine State, but didn't want to start another thread about this. Wasn't NY-Florida a profitable route for anyone (ACL, Seaboard, FEC), or did everyone heed the call to "come on down" by air and road by then?
Ocala Mike (formerly Hillside Mike and Deer Park Mike)

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