SEPTA to run the Keystones?

Discussion relating to Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (Philadelphia Metro Area). Official web site can be found here: www.septa.com. Also including discussion related to the PATCO Speedline rapid transit operated by Delaware River Port Authority. Official web site can be found here: http://www.ridepatco.org/.

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BuddSilverliner269
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Re: SEPTA to run the Keystones?

Post by BuddSilverliner269 » Fri Aug 16, 2013 2:02 pm

Quinn wrote:
25Hz wrote: Fiddling with train frequenciesand onboard crew and station staff numbers is not the answer.
Adjusting staff levels to meet needs is addressing efficiency. "Fiddling" is not for fun.
Uhmmm Amtrak keystone trains only have an engineer conductor and brakeman and that's it. It's bare minimum now as it is.

Clearfield
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Re: SEPTA to run the Keystones?

Post by Clearfield » Fri Aug 16, 2013 5:03 pm

25Hz wrote:Amtrak is a public service entity, its purpose is not to make profit, but to serve the public.
I agree with you. Without getting political, its a fact that part of the Republican platform is hostile to Amtrak:

"The platform approved by Republicans on Tuesday calls for the elimination of funding for Amtrak passenger rail service,..." (excerpt, link below)

Source: http://thehill.com/blogs/transportation ... z2cAj46Ts9" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Where do we go from here? Seriously.
"The needs of the many, outweigh the needs of the few, or the one".............. Spock

My opinions expressed here represent my own and not those of any organization, Association, or Authority.

bikentransit
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Re: SEPTA to run the Keystones?

Post by bikentransit » Sun Aug 18, 2013 12:57 am

Um that article is over a year old. And the GOP has been saying that for years now. Seriously, like that's going to happen. It would be nice for the state to get their act together and fund the stuff, but after plugging so much into revamping the Harrisburg line, they aren't going to kill the service. If we really want Potter county to support funding passenger rail, then the state needs a statewide passenger rail entity and not just something that caters to Philly. Take the railroad away from SEPTA and let them run their buses. Put a statewide agency together that can start looking at more corridors that connects the state.

As far as the Pennsylvanian goes, its worse than useless now with 1 train a day in each direction. Years ago I used to be able to do day trips to Altoona. Now I just hop in my car. For what little ridership is left, they might as well kill it until they come up with a better way to serve these markets.

Clearfield
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Re: SEPTA to run the Keystones?

Post by Clearfield » Sun Aug 18, 2013 9:34 am

bikentransit wrote:Um that article is over a year old. And the GOP has been saying that for years now. Seriously, like that's going to happen.
The fact that the Pennsylvanian has been de-funded IS going to happen.
"The needs of the many, outweigh the needs of the few, or the one".............. Spock

My opinions expressed here represent my own and not those of any organization, Association, or Authority.

ACeInTheHole
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Re: SEPTA to run the Keystones?

Post by ACeInTheHole » Mon Aug 19, 2013 2:02 pm

60 Car wrote:
bikentransit wrote:Riding a Silverliner to Harrisburg with no bathrooms? Please, don't torture us!
You people must have peanut sized bladders...

I know people who rode SLV's to Harrisburg on the test runs and no one had to make a "pit stop".

Didn't your mother tell you to go before you leave?
Hahahahahahahahahahahahaha!

Suburban Station
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Re: SEPTA to run the Keystones?

Post by Suburban Station » Tue Aug 20, 2013 6:49 am

Matthew Mitchell wrote:Nobody said anything about Silverliners on the Harrisburg service (except Ed Tennyson, who actually had the Silverliner IIIs designed with rest rooms and left-hand operation for just that purpose).

Contracting for operations does not mean contracting for equipment. Equipment can be leased or purchased from Amtrak or other suppliers in the short run, until an add-on order can be placed with the Silverliner VI contract (or someone else's equipment acquisition[*]) for cars to be dedicated to the Keystone.

And as for the funding situation, we're talking about a contract operation just like SEPTA runs for the state of Delaware (or NJT runs for Metro-North west of the Hudson), where the contracting party covers the projected operating deficit, not an unfunded mandate. Done right, it has the potential to save SEPTA some costs, such as by spreading fixed costs over a larger operation, and gaining some (small) scheduling efficiencies.

*--to tie this in with another thread, that's part of why SEPTA got a particularly good deal on the Bombardier cars: it was an incremental order when the production line was already running for NJT and Metro-North
Silverliners for the Harrisburg line? Seems like a pretty terrible idea. I'd guess that you are interested in a 75-80 minute trip time to Harrisburg. . Anyway, there are a number of problems with DVARP's suggestion. a) PennDot is the recipient of rather large sums of through revenue to NYP which would be lost by making it a commuter service. Second, there are scheduling efficiencies to be had out of Amtrak. the schedule is set by PennDOT, it's on them that the sets sit around so much...and worse, that the train runs every 90 minutes at rush hour and every hour in the middle of the day. Third, the Keystone may be Amtrak's best performer, with something like 98$ on time performance...people like it. It has bathrooms, wifi, and guest rewards that earn you points for trips to nyp to boston. SEPTA's wilmington service is SLOW. 50 minutes and some 17 stops is very slow, SEPTA doesn't even service west of malvern on sundays. this amounts to a serious downgrade in service. It takes as long to get from thorndale as it does from lancaster on the keystone. In the long run I think DVARP needs to do a little actual work and find a more complex but workable solution. why do buses along the Keystone route not meet trains? why is there no fare cooperation between Amtrak and SEPTA? For instance, why can't I buy a ticket from Lancaster to Jenkintown on one site?
Why not consolidate powelton and penn coach yards? More to the point, if I were going to contract out a service, perhaps contracting out the Pennsylvanian is the way to go instead, to an entity like talgo that claims it could do the run nearly two hours less?
as for getting rid of it, that's a bad idea. it's very difficult to get back. the state should just come up with a plan to improve it. in fact, the intial Keystone plan was $300 million for Keystone east (only half was completed) and $140 million to add three trains and eliminate the 34 minutes of pad west of harrisburg.

Patrick Boylan
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Re: SEPTA to run the Keystones?

Post by Patrick Boylan » Tue Aug 20, 2013 1:44 pm

Why do so many of the posts seem to feel that having SEPTA be the operator guarantees that it'll mean no bathrooms and terminating in Philly? For all we know it might still be locomotive hauled Amfleet and through service to New York. If changing the operating entity is unlikely, having that operating entity get comparable equipment and expanded routing is no less likely.

Matthew Mitchell
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Re: SEPTA to run the Keystones?

Post by Matthew Mitchell » Tue Aug 20, 2013 2:11 pm

Through service to New York (with a 15-25 minute layover to change ends and for schedule padding so there won't be a disruption to NEC dispatching if a Keystone gets to 30th St. late) is at the expense of through service to Center City. Remember there was a sharp ridership drop when the Keystones were terminated at 30th, even though the connection via SEPTA was at no charge.

No doubt there are trade-offs in the decision (we called them out in the white paper we did on the Keystone), and the whole discussion would be unnecessary in a better world where there was seamless scheduling and ticketing between all Amtrak services and all commuter rail connections, you have to deal with the situation as it comes to you, which includes an existential threat to the Keystone service if costs aren't reduced or additional state funding approved.

One more thing is that even the prospect of competing bids can get the incumbent to shape up its operation.

Suburban Station
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Re: SEPTA to run the Keystones?

Post by Suburban Station » Tue Aug 20, 2013 3:42 pm

theres no reason keystones couldnt call at suburban again. they were moved to 30th when they staryed running diesels. there are a lot of downsides to septa running the service. theyre both union so suspect the ability to play one off the other is limited. adding bathrooms would mean new facilities for septa. in a perfect world septa could crew phl-har and the traims would remain amtrak while operating into suburban.

barciur
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Re: SEPTA to run the Keystones?

Post by barciur » Tue Aug 20, 2013 5:50 pm

So, can somebody answer these two questions for someone not very well informed on this whole debate?

a) How likely is it that Keystones might have a severe threat of being cut?
b) How likely is a SEPTA or a separate entity (new Pennsylvania Railroad?) take over of commuter trains from Harrisburg to Philly?

Quinn
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Re: SEPTA to run the Keystones?

Post by Quinn » Tue Aug 20, 2013 7:38 pm

Patrick Boylan wrote:Why do so many of the posts seem to feel that having SEPTA be the operator guarantees that it'll mean no bathrooms and terminating in Philly?
I was under the impression that Septa did not have infrastructure in place to handle on-board bathroom maintenance and disposal.

Patrick Boylan
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Re: SEPTA to run the Keystones?

Post by Patrick Boylan » Tue Aug 20, 2013 9:10 pm

Regardless of if SEPTA has infrastructure now to handle bathrooms I don't see why they can't get that infrastructure as part of their possibly taking over the Keystones. It's an obstacle yes, but not insurmountable. They once upon a time had that infrastructure. What I can't figure is why I see posts that say something on the order of "SEPTA can't take over Keystones BECAUSE THEY DON'T HAVE BATHROOMS". If SEPTA takes over Keystones it seems to me they should get bathrooms on the trains.

Clearfield
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Re: SEPTA to run the Keystones?

Post by Clearfield » Wed Aug 21, 2013 8:05 am

If SEPTA takes over the Keystones, their contract price will include all of the expenses needed to run the service as prescribed in the contract.

The cost recovery on the Keystones is pretty good, and although it could be lower if operated by an agency with a lower cost structure, IMHO, the Keystones are safe.

The Amtrak subsidy ends in about 7 weeks and that includes the Pennsylvanian. Don't count on ANY contractor being lined up and ready to go before Amtrak pulls out.

The PA house reconvenes on 9/23/13. If they don't approve a transportation funding bill that would include the Pennsylvanian, it's down for the count. And that's a shame.
"The needs of the many, outweigh the needs of the few, or the one".............. Spock

My opinions expressed here represent my own and not those of any organization, Association, or Authority.

ACeInTheHole
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Re: SEPTA to run the Keystones?

Post by ACeInTheHole » Wed Aug 21, 2013 8:14 am

Clearfield wrote:If SEPTA takes over the Keystones, their contract price will include all of the expenses needed to run the service as prescribed in the contract.

The cost recovery on the Keystones is pretty good, and although it could be lower if operated by an agency with a lower cost structure, IMHO, the Keystones are safe.

The Amtrak subsidy ends in about 7 weeks and that includes the Pennsylvanian. Don't count on ANY contractor being lined up and ready to go before Amtrak pulls out.

The PA house reconvenes on 9/23/13. If they don't approve a transportation funding bill that would include the Pennsylvanian, it's down for the count. And that's a shame.
Bit off topic but Clearfield can you please keep me informed on the Pennsylvanian situation? A friend of mine uses that train to get to his school and I would like to give him a heads up if it gets cancelled.

Clearfield
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Re: SEPTA to run the Keystones?

Post by Clearfield » Wed Aug 21, 2013 8:36 am

beanbag wrote:Bit off topic but Clearfield can you please keep me informed on the Pennsylvanian situation? A friend of mine uses that train to get to his school and I would like to give him a heads up if it gets cancelled.
Sure. It's not really off topic. There will be plenty of chatter on here as we get closer to the October cutoff date.
"The needs of the many, outweigh the needs of the few, or the one".............. Spock

My opinions expressed here represent my own and not those of any organization, Association, or Authority.

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