• Comparison between recent Amtrak and airline shutdown

  • 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

  by twropr
On Jan. 11 an FAA computer outage had grounded over 11,000 flights.

Between last Thursday and Sunday, back office server issues with Amtrak I-ETMS (PTC) resulted in over 50 Amtrak train cancelations out of Chicago alone along with numerous spot cancelations. The FRA had a preliminary report the next day - we haven't seen anything from the FRA or Amtrak even offering to investigate. At least 15,000 and perhaps over 20,000 passengers suddenly had to find alternate means of reaching their destinations. It appears that neither Amtrak nor the company that offers the server service had backup facilities.

Continuous transportation can be provided if the carrier is willing to accommodate some redundancy in its facilities. Recently when CSX had a situation that affected the computers used by train dispatchers in the systemwide facility in Jacksonville, the dispatchers were moved into a back-up facility until the main office was up and running. When I worked for Conrail, their busy Selkirk Yard kept running without a hitch after an October heavy/wet snow felled so many branches that the greater Albany, NY area lost commercial power for several days. Why? Because Selkirk had backup generators.

I firmly believe that everyone who had a ticket who was denied transportation during this period needs to contact his/her elected officials.

  by FatNoah
The FRA had a preliminary report the next day -
Did you mean to say FAA here?

I don't think an issue with a railroad-controlled technology vs. a government controlled one is a fair comparison. I think a more fair comparison would be with something like my experience with Delta last year when an issue prevented flights from arriving in Atlanta. The result was that Delta kept bumping our flight later and later (7pm to 1:30am) and then eventually cancelling at 1:30am, which was too late to secure lodging anywhere due to the massive number of disrupted passengers. Our minor child cleared standby the following evening, but my wife and I didn't until the day after that. Fortunately, when seeing that the standby lists for flights were greater than the number of seats, we chose to drive the rest of the way. I then had to spend about 6 hours over 2 days working with customer service to make sure our return flight wasn't cancelled.

There were no press releases or investigations publicized about that either. I'm not saying this to absolve Amtrak, because they absolutely should be making crystal clear statements about whats going wrong and how they're going start the process of making sure it doesn't happen again.
  by eolesen
The difference is that Amtrak is federally funded, so there should be a higher level of transparency as well as accountability.

Look at all the Congressional howling over Southwest Airlines' IT system meltdown and demanding answers. What's good for them is good for Amtrak.