Amtrak's ADIRONDACK

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

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jp1822
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Equipment

Post by jp1822 » Sun Apr 01, 2007 12:13 am

This route has seen so many equipment changes, it's hard to keep up with. Just after the specially restored "Adirondack Heritage Coach Cars" were retired around 2001 or so, the Adirondack got a former Metroliner Amfleet trainset. This was better than what is currently offered, as the former Metroliner Amfleet cars were low density coaches (providing for more legroom etc.). When the Acela Express trainsets were pulled out of service, the Adirondack lost this Metroliner Amfleet equipment, and it has yet to return. As I mentioned on another post, the Empire Corridor Amfleet equipment should really be re-evaluated. Some low density coaches (former Amfleet Metroliner cars or NEC Business class cars) are operating as regular coach cars on the NYP-Albany route (exclusively).

Other members can certainly chime in on this, but as the story goes, when Amtrak first inaugurated the Adirondack train, D&H provided Heritage coaches and a CP Skyline Dome Car (north of Albany). Then the Turboliners were used. Both of these trainset afforded great viewing as the windows were much larger than the Amfleet window slits. Then the Amfleets started to be used on the route before a special fleet of "Adirondack Heritage Coaches" were restored for the route in the 1990s through around 2001. These cars had large windows, new seats, etc. I really liked them. Then as mentioned, around 2001, the Adirondack got the Amfleet Metroliner trainsets, which was good in respect that they were low density coaches for this train's long day-time route through upstate NY and on to Montreal.

I agree that the current high density Amfleets are not appropriate for this train. Business class, or some sort of premiere class, would also go well for this train. And how about the Great Dome (north of Albany) on some seaonal runs - or VIA Rail lending a Skyline Dome since Canada certainly benefits from the significant number of passengers the Adirondack brings there.

Amtrak has a lot of marketing capability it could do for this train, which could ultimately increase revenue. But it has fallen on darker days, in my opinion, as of late, in terms of equipment and onboard service atmopshere. And I haven't see the National Parks person since at least 2001.

As NY State's only state supported train, NY State should also intervene to help bolster the equipment and onboard experience. Like I said - this train has some great scenery and could really be marketed better with the right equipment. Even if one of the former "Adirondack Heritage Coaches" had been transformed into a parlor car of sorts, with lounge chairs one could find on the upper deck of a Superliner Sightseer Car, this would have been a good move. Again, these cars had large windows for viewing the scenery. Tack on a fee for using the "parlor car."

Gilbert B Norman
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Re: Equipment

Post by Gilbert B Norman » Sun Apr 01, 2007 7:52 am

jp1822 wrote:Other members can certainly chime in on this, but as the story goes, when Amtrak first inaugurated the Adirondack train, D&H provided Heritage coaches and a CP Skyline Dome Car (north of Albany). Then the Turboliners were used. Both of these trainset afforded great viewing as the windows were much larger than the Amfleet window slits. Then the Amfleets started to be used on the route before a special fleet of "Adirondack Heritage Coaches" were restored for the route in the 1990s through around 2001. These cars had large windows, new seats, etc. I really liked them. Then as mentioned, around 2001, the Adirondack got the Amfleet Metroliner trainsets, which was good in respect that they were low density coaches for this train's long day-time route through upstate NY and on to Montreal.
Concur with Mr. JP's outline as set forth.

In addition to the D&H cars assigned to the Adirondack when inaugurated during 1974, the D&H also assigned Alco PA's to the train. Those locomotives subsequently were sold to Mexico where they quickly found their way into a "state of high disrepair'. However, I understand, but have heard little recently, West Coast preservation interests "rescued" the hulk of one and intends to restore it at least to a museum piece.

http://shastaroute.railfan.net/PA.html

TomNelligan
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Post by TomNelligan » Sun Apr 01, 2007 9:21 am

I realize that relations between Amtrak and the state of New York aren't the best these days, but since the New York DOT is paying for the train, have they made any recent efforts to improve the equipment? Like everyone else, I feel that if you have to ride Amfleet on such a long run, it should be in 60-seat coaches, not the current 84-seaters.

Also, I guess that these days a lengthy customs delay in both directions is taken for granted, but in pre-Amtrak days the customs inspection for the various D&H, CV/CN, and CP services to Montreal was done on board by agents who checked people en route with no delay to the train. Canada currently permits US Customs to prescreen US-bound passengers at several major Canadian airports; the same thing could presumably be done at Gare Central in Montreal, if not on the train itself.

raftingguy
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Location: Westmoreland, NY

Re: Adirondack Trip/Observations

Post by raftingguy » Sun Apr 01, 2007 9:59 am

quadrock wrote: Unfortunately, no volunteers from the National Park Service came on board to talk about the scenery, but this wasn't really a big deal.
The Adirondack passes through the Adirondack Park, which is a state park, not a National Park. As such, state volunteers are not as common in the same respect as national volunteers to offer this type of service.

taoyue
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Location: Princeton, NJ

Post by taoyue » Sun Apr 01, 2007 6:39 pm

Re: Customs pre-clearance at the originating station in Canada. The same issue has come up on the West Coast for the Cascades service. Washington DOT indicates that "US federal policy" does not permit this at the moment, and hopes that the 2010 Olympics may produce some traction. See, e.g. http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/NR/rdonlyres/E6 ... cGames.pdf

Screening at the destination station in Canada would require agents at St. Lambert, or for that stop to be dropped.
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Gilbert B Norman
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Post by Gilbert B Norman » Mon Apr 02, 2007 8:40 am

Interesting topic that I'm glad to see has evolved from a railfan oriented trip report to include "impressions' material.

Although I've ridden the D&H/NYC predecessor, The Laurentian, 'bumper to bumper' circa 1960, I'm not sure how much of the spectacular Lake Champlain scenery I absorbed.

My very first ride 'up that way' was 1959 Harmon to Ft Edward and return ('OK you're eighteen, it's your money, and we know you aren't going to go do something stupid that we would be compelled to bail you out of. But why someone wants to simply ride one train to a point on the map just to ride another train back escapes us' - first one to guess who uttered those words wins the prize of an electronic handshake); that of course did not include the "real deal'.

When it was time for SB 'bumper toi bumper' during '64 (NB was an Air Canada turboprop Vickers Vanguard with large windows, clear day, and a flight level of about FL20 - perfect flightseeing, and second only to what Mr. Ken W2KB and Jeff could offer with their Air Force) ride, I was seated in the Diner backwards and on the wrong (Engineer's) side on a perfect autumm day. As I recall my seat in the NYC Parlor Obs (two such were acquired by Amtrak) was also on the Engineer side.

In short, I kind of missed the show.

Ocala Mike
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Adirondack Trip/Observations

Post by Ocala Mike » Mon Apr 02, 2007 10:57 am

Gil, your parents sound exactly like my parents when they speak! I only got as far as Saratoga Springs on the old D&H because I felt compelled to disembark in any town where there is quality horse racing.

I'll waive the electronic handshake, having met "the real deal" not long ago in beautiful downtown Sanford.

gprimr1
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Post by gprimr1 » Mon Apr 02, 2007 11:05 am

The part about why you'd want to ride a train to a point and ride it back, sounds like my friends.
-Greg Primrose
Moderator: General Discussion: High Speed Rail Amtrak
"I'm leaving on a jet train, don't know when I'll be back again. Bags are packed and there ready to go."
Ave Atque Vale

hsr_fan

Post by hsr_fan » Mon Apr 02, 2007 11:28 am

I took the Adirondack up to Montreal and back from New York last October. We were two hours late on the way up and I think over an hour late on the return. I agree fully that this train needs more comfortable accomodations - high density Amfleet seating is not appropriate for a trip of this length.

One thing that kind of made a bad impression was leaving Saratoga Springs, traveling for a few minutes before coming to a stop, and having the crew announce that we'd have to back up to Saratoga and wait for a southbound train to pass us. So, we rolled backwards at about 5 or 10 mph all the way back into Saratoga Springs and sat for a while waiting for the southbound Adirondack or the Ethan Allen I guess. Couldn't they have figured that out before we had departed the station? It made it feel like a rather amateur operation to not only myself, but other passengers as well.

Bobby S
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Post by Bobby S » Mon Apr 02, 2007 11:36 am

I do this trip every June and can relate to all the issues stated. I had started a topic awhile back regarding business class for this route and all the responses were in favor! A dome would be very nice. More leg room even nicer! But they need to bring back the "SARANAC" local microbeer that they offered in 2000/01!!!! Damn cafe car cutbacks!!!
"It is what it is"

JoeG

Post by JoeG » Tue Apr 03, 2007 7:24 pm

We can hope that, with the departure of Pataki and Gunn, the war between New York State and Amtrak will end, and there will be better equipment on the Adirondack.

GG14935

Post by GG14935 » Wed Apr 04, 2007 10:38 pm

When I rode the Adirondak last month I had to get stamped too. Amtrak made some announcements in Penn Station about an "International Check In Kiosk". Actually a preachers pulpit next to the NYPD stand. They were real touchy about it when I rode as well, they were pulling people out of line who werent stamped. No stamping needed at Montreal though(I even asked a VIA ticket agent),so whats the point? When I rode CP ballast tamping killed our schedule, got into Montreal three hours and twenty minutes late.

gprimr1
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Post by gprimr1 » Wed Apr 04, 2007 11:30 pm

There are dispatchers who only dispatch what they see, and don't plan for what hasn't come into their division yet.
-Greg Primrose
Moderator: General Discussion: High Speed Rail Amtrak
"I'm leaving on a jet train, don't know when I'll be back again. Bags are packed and there ready to go."
Ave Atque Vale

palmland
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Adirondack trip

Post by palmland » Thu Apr 05, 2007 11:25 am

Why are customs so difficult on this route and so painless on the Cascades.

On our recent Cascade trip we checked in at the gate in Seattle and then nothing further until Vancouver. Canadian customs took less than a minute although I am sure it was helped by business class passengers being inspected first. On the return the, US Customs was equally painless. Customs boarded at Blaine, near the border and then I believe left the train at Bellingham. They walked through the diner, glanced at our passports laying on the table and asked about our roast beef. That was it. And it too was a full train.

Same two countries, but world's apart. Sounds like New York DOT should have a converstion with their counterparts in Washington to see how it/s done.

TomNelligan
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Re: Adirondack trip

Post by TomNelligan » Thu Apr 05, 2007 12:04 pm

palmland wrote:Customs boarded at Blaine, near the border and then I believe left the train at Bellingham. They walked through the diner, glanced at our passports laying on the table and asked about our roast beef. That was it. And it too was a full train.
Very interesting. As I wrote above, on-board inspection was the rule on all pre-Amtrak trains between US points and Montreal. It was only when the Montrealer was restored in 1972 that the practice stopping the train for inspection was instituted.

I do know that the US border security system is managed by "sectors". Perhaps the authorities in Washington State are more flexible than those in New York?

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