• Amtrak: Connects US // American Jobs Plan Infrastructure Legislation

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

Moderators: GirlOnTheTrain, mtuandrew, Tadman

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  by Greg Moore
 
I had not heard of any news previously.
But, to me, it makes sense, especially once MA gets around to the Berkshire Flyer starts operating. I think Chatham is a perfect spot for an 'in-fill' station.
  by Gilbert B Norman
 
Being overseas at the time (and with print Journal European Edition now extinct), I was unaware of this Journal editorial until today when a Letter by Messrs. Coscia and Flynn (Bill and Tony; no less) in response was printed:

Fair Use:
But here’s the rub: The bill also pours $16 billion into Amtrak’s national network, which is a financial sinkhole. Some 4.5 million riders in 2019 took Amtrak’s long-distance routes that traverse the country—about a third as many as in the Northeast Corridor. Many of them are travelers nostalgic for the days of sleeper cars as glamorized in classic films.

Low-trafficked routes through rural regions make it harder for Amtrak to increase intercity trains that generate a larger economic benefit. Yet the Senate bill would prohibit Amtrak from changing or reducing service on long-distance routes, no matter how few riders they draw or how much money they lose. Amtrak won’t be allowed to lay off workers on these routes.

If all this weren’t bad enough, the Senate bill would also require Amtrak to employ at least one ticket agent at each station where there were at least an average of 40 passengers per day in 2017. Passengers nowadays can buy tickets on Amtrak’s website or at station kiosks. Employing ticket agents sucks up money that could be used improving service.
Now I'd be concerned that Joe's Senate passed infrastructure legislation initiative, and for that matter his Presidency, are in considerable jeopardy, these concerns of the Journal could well be moot. The history of any Amtrak management attempting to make reasonable changes to the LD System, such as eliminating BOS-CHI through cars, Simplified Dining, and the permant Newton-Albuquerque busteetoot eliminating 400 some miles of solely passenger train trackage, all get the "axe" by successive Congresses.

Finally volks, again I reiterate; while hardly "high up", "I was there on A-Day" and the consensus was that "they'd be gone in five years". But alas, how many other non-rail "temporary" programs enacted through the years have somehow lost sight of that word "temporary"?
  by NRGeep
 
Apples and grapefruits perhaps, but on the other side of the distortion of the word temporary, the MBTA has a history of "temporarily suspending service" on various tracked and untracked lines which turn out to be permanent...
  by photobug56
 
Gilbert B Norman wrote: Fri Aug 20, 2021 7:14 am Being overseas at the time (and with print Journal European Edition now extinct), I was unaware of this Journal editorial until today when a Letter by Messrs. Coscia and Flynn (Bill and Tony; no less) in response was printed:

Fair Use:
But here’s the rub: The bill also pours $16 billion into Amtrak’s national network, which is a financial sinkhole. Some 4.5 million riders in 2019 took Amtrak’s long-distance routes that traverse the country—about a third as many as in the Northeast Corridor. Many of them are travelers nostalgic for the days of sleeper cars as glamorized in classic films.

Low-trafficked routes through rural regions make it harder for Amtrak to increase intercity trains that generate a larger economic benefit. Yet the Senate bill would prohibit Amtrak from changing or reducing service on long-distance routes, no matter how few riders they draw or how much money they lose. Amtrak won’t be allowed to lay off workers on these routes.

If all this weren’t bad enough, the Senate bill would also require Amtrak to employ at least one ticket agent at each station where there were at least an average of 40 passengers per day in 2017. Passengers nowadays can buy tickets on Amtrak’s website or at station kiosks. Employing ticket agents sucks up money that could be used improving service.
Now I'd be concerned that Joe's Senate passed infrastructure legislation initiative, and for that matter his Presidency, are in considerable jeopardy, these concerns of the Journal could well be moot. The history of any Amtrak management attempting to make reasonable changes to the LD System, such as eliminating BOS-CHI through cars, Simplified Dining, and the permant Newton-Albuquerque busteetoot eliminating 400 some miles of solely passenger train trackage, all get the "axe" by successive Congresses.

Finally volks, again I reiterate; while hardly "high up", "I was there on A-Day" and the consensus was that "they'd be gone in five years". But alas, how many other non-rail "temporary" programs enacted through the years have somehow lost sight of that word "temporary"?
Simplified Dining was a reasonable change? LD trains without viable food - main reason to do it is to discourage ridership so you can eliminate them.
  by R36 Combine Coach
 
RRspatch wrote: Thu Aug 19, 2021 1:05 am
Greg Moore wrote: Wed Aug 18, 2021 9:55 pm https://www.amtrakconnectsus.com/maps/n ... cleveland/ - Buffalo extension to Cleveland.

To me, this is a no-brainer, especially when Amtrak gets more equipment so can they
don't have to worry about forcing a turn in Buffalo to get the equipment back in NYC.
Looking at the distance involved it looks like the two trains will be an re-incarnated "Empire State
Express" for the day train and the overnight Lake Shore Limited.
I don't know, but would it be better to simple extend that train to Toronto instead of of CLE, especially if
U.S. Customs preclearance is added? That would mean no more local suburban stops that are served by
GO (the Maple Leaf has local service to some GO stations).
  by David Benton
 
I'm not sure what was said 50 years ago is that relevant today. Like they say in football, people only remember who won after awhile, Amtrak came to be , and is still here. It survived an administration, and a crisis, that could have kicked it to touch, and there is no reason to believe its going away.
  by njtmnrrbuff
 
The proposed route plan for NYC-PHL-RDG is out.
https://www.amtrakconnectsus.com/maps/n ... a-reading/

It's not the best not not the worst. Here are the advantages.
1. It is close to time competitive with driving end to end.
2. People who are heading to and from stations stations like Pottstown and Reading to Metropark would have a pretty fast ride.
3. It's great for people attending Princeton University and Rutgers who live in the Reading area.

The disadvantages
1. The NS Harrisburg Line would have to be upgraded to permit higher speeds. I rode the Amtrak Autumn Express excursion in 2014 and from what I remember, we didn't move very fast on NS between Philly and Reading.
My suggestion-any passenger rail service running to Reading from Philly should be an extension of Septa. See if NS would upgrade their own line to let Septa run frequent and fast rail service to Reading. Any Amtrak service to Reading should just be extensions of the proposed trains to Allentown.
  by Greg Moore
 
R36 Combine Coach wrote: Fri Aug 20, 2021 11:06 pm
RRspatch wrote: Thu Aug 19, 2021 1:05 am
Greg Moore wrote: Wed Aug 18, 2021 9:55 pm https://www.amtrakconnectsus.com/maps/n ... cleveland/ - Buffalo extension to Cleveland.

To me, this is a no-brainer, especially when Amtrak gets more equipment so can they
don't have to worry about forcing a turn in Buffalo to get the equipment back in NYC.
Looking at the distance involved it looks like the two trains will be an re-incarnated "Empire State
Express" for the day train and the overnight Lake Shore Limited.
I don't know, but would it be better to simple extend that train to Toronto instead of of CLE, especially if
U.S. Customs preclearance is added? That would mean no more local suburban stops that are served by
GO (the Maple Leaf has local service to some GO stations).
Honestly I don't think it should be an "either/or" option. NYS should be working with Amtrak to extend more Empire Service trains west of Albany and continue at least one or two to Toronto.
  by bostontrainguy
 
From Amtrak Connects Us site:

"Boston and Albany are two of the largest cities in New England"

Yikes, do you think Albany seceded while Cuomo was distracted? Anyway welcome to Red Sox Nation upper New York State :laughing: )
  by lordsigma12345
 
Nothing surprising from the WSJ. The editorial board there with their traditional Reagan/Bush style fiscal conservative view have long been anti Amtrak. I respect their free market “get government out of” mentality and I don’t consider myself a big liberal - but I have to agree to disagree with them on passenger rail that profit/privatizing is the most important priority for Amtrak - rather providing a decent service in all their 3 business lines should be the priority. I disagree with them on agents as well - we don’t need as many ticket agents as we did and this provision placing numbers may be a step too far - but with part time agents they can provide the minimum staffing while not spending the ton as they are now at several stations - major stations should have staff. It’s also important to note this doesn’t apply to state supported services
  by MikeBPRR
 
njtmnrrbuff wrote: Sat Aug 21, 2021 7:39 am The proposed route plan for NYC-PHL-RDG is out.
https://www.amtrakconnectsus.com/maps/n ... a-reading/

It's not the best not not the worst. Here are the advantages.
1. It is close to time competitive with driving end to end.
2. People who are heading to and from stations stations like Pottstown and Reading to Metropark would have a pretty fast ride.
3. It's great for people attending Princeton University and Rutgers who live in the Reading area.

The disadvantages
1. The NS Harrisburg Line would have to be upgraded to permit higher speeds. I rode the Amtrak Autumn Express excursion in 2014 and from what I remember, we didn't move very fast on NS between Philly and Reading.
My suggestion-any passenger rail service running to Reading from Philly should be an extension of Septa. See if NS would upgrade their own line to let Septa run frequent and fast rail service to Reading. Any Amtrak service to Reading should just be extensions of the proposed trains to Allentown.
The map makes no sense. Somehow it has Ardmore listed as a station stop followed by Norristown. Unless Amtrak plans on connecting SEPTA’s Norristown High Speed Line to both the Keystone Line and the NS Reading Line, that isn’t happening. Here are Amtrak’s options for making NYP-PHL-NOR-RDG a reality.

1. Amtrak using 30th Street Upper Level, running via Suburban Station and using SEPTA’s Norristown Line.
2. Rebuilding the PRR’s line to Norristown via Cynwyd, Manayunk, and Ivy Ridge. This is unlikely, as it would displace the popular Cynwyd Heritage Trail.
3. Amtrak builds the Swampoodle Connection so that trains can leave the NEC and connect to the Norristown Line via a short trip on SEPTA’s Chestnut Hill West line.
4. Amtrak uses the escape track that connects from the NEC to the Norristown Line. It would be the most simple, but my understanding is that the grade is unfriendly for passenger service.

Whichever option Amtrak chooses, the mapmaker at Amtrak needs to actually look at how the railroads are connected - or not. As a sidenote, I’d love to see service from Reading to Harrisburg and a rebuilding of the eastern-most platform.
  by njtmnrrbuff
 
It would be nice to also possibly see the proposed service to Reading end in Harrisburg. There are plenty of rural towns along the NS Harrisburg Line that would love to see daily passenger rails service to Harrisburg, Philly, and NYC. The student body at Lebanon Valley College would benefit from the service as well, rather than having to use the Keystone Corridor.
  by photobug56
 
bostontrainguy wrote: Sat Aug 21, 2021 12:15 pm From Amtrak Connects Us site:

"Boston and Albany are two of the largest cities in New England"

Yikes, do you think Albany seceded while Cuomo was distracted? Anyway welcome to Red Sox Nation upper New York State :laughing: )
Lots of New Yorkers would live to get rid of Albany! The stench of a century or two of corruption and incompetence will never go away!

Anyone who knows the musical and film 1776 well will know it's famous quote about our illustrious state (previously colony) government. Supposedly describing it for the era of our independence but a perfect description of what it has been for so long. And the scary part, when something does happen there, it's usually bad or at least ill conceived!
  by ExCon90
 
Concerning Mike BPRR's post above, possibilities 3 and 4 would require a reversal somewhere in Philadelphia, and apparently Swampoodle isn't going to happen anyway; No. 2 is out for the reason stated and would require a reversal at 30th St. (as with the Keystone service) in any case. That leaves only No. 1, which would not require reversal en route but would have problems fitting into a memory schedule of Norristown locals* -- in addition to the territory between 16th St. Junction and 30th St. Upper Level. The whole idea of Reading to New York looks like being a classic case of "you can't get there from here."

As to Amtrak's mapmaker, how many people reviewed that material before it was released? And I see no reason to re-name Cornwells Heights.

* Interesting to reflect that the timing of Norristown locals would have to be governed by availability of slots between Newark and NYP.
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