Gilbert B Norman wrote: ↑Sun Dec 03, 2023 8:15 am
Having been in the industry and further having examined documents regarding Amtrak payments to both mine and other roads as well, Amtrak gets bargain basement rates, yet they insist and threaten roads with legal action to be treated in the same manner as Uncle Warren treats his trucker friend JB Hunt, i.e. lay down the road for Amtrak's benefit.
Perhaps I am remembering this wrong, but I think I once read that JB Hunt pays the western carriers something like $50k+ per train to do the 48 hour run from LA to Chicago. That's like $28/train mile. Heck, Amtrak charges $4 per private car mile, $3 for each extra, until you need third motor which is another $6/mile. You get a bill of something like $3000-5000/day for one private car day, according to AAPRCO.
If, according to the above post, Amtrak pays the Freighs $5/mile, it's no wonder the Freights just don't care. Yeah, I know, "it's illegal to prioritize freight". Here's a few other things it is illegal to do: speed, spit in public, mispronounce "arkansas", copulate with your socks on (in virginia), throw snowballs (in kansas)...
The same legislature that writes the law, writes the punishment. You get a $10 fine for parking tickets, but you get a $250 fine and five points for speeding in a work zone. Currently the Amtrak legislation gives little enforcement or fines, certainly not enough to make the Freights really care.
Fix the trackage rates and you go a long way to fixing Amtrak.
The other big flaw is the failure rate on the motors - they do not get adequate maintenance. I've long advocated that anything under 80mph operation should have leased freight motors and HPU/baggage vans. If Union Pacific were on the hook for forty SD70MAC's to run the Zephyr, Starlight, Sunset, and Eagle, you can bet they would rarely die. The guy in Little Rock or Cheyenne that sent that motor out in less than top shape would certainly hear about it from the boys that had priority trains stopped behind it.
The new Acela: It's not Aveliable.