• MTA Alternative to Amtrak's Empire Corridor Service

  • 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 hsr_fan
Rhinecliff wrote:I think what drives Mr. hsr_fan crazy more than anything else, however, (if I may be so presumptious) is the complete fiasco of seeing tens of millions of dollars in taxpayer money used to rebuild that equipment -- or any equipment, for that matter -- only to have the equipment abandoned by Amtrak upon completion.
Indeed. I hate to see waste like that. I've only owned two cars in my life, and I just retired my first car last year after 220,000 miles. To see newly rebuilt trains with practically zero miles on them sent to the boneyard drives me nuts. The fact that they were the coolest looking trains in America next to the Acela Express just adds insult to injury! It's like they teased us by putting them in service briefly, only to take them away and go back to Amfleets. It's kind of like giving someone a brand new Mustang and then taking it back and saying, "Hey, here's a used Ford Escort instead!" :wink:

  by Greg Moore
Rhinecliff wrote: That Amtrak failed to act on that knowledge before entering into the joint venture is deplorable. That some railfans seem so willing to excuse this type of conduct never ceases to amaze me.

I cannot imagine the Metro North engaging in such outragious conduct.
There are many of us who would agree that Amtrak should not have entered into the venture. Of course much of Warrington's tenure resulted in what I would consider "poor but possibly necessary" planning in order to make the "glidepath" work.

So, if someone offers you a white elephant to plow your garden and you don't have fast enough elephants as it is, you may take it, deluding yourself into thinking that you can figure out how to feed it later.

As for Metro-North not engaging in such outrageous behaviour, I think you're completely wrong. The shenigans the MTA has been pulling with its books over the last two years would probably land most public companies in jail.

I'm sorry, I see NO evidence MTA could deliver a superior product any more cheaply or with less interference with the politicos.

  by Greg Moore
Irish Chieftain wrote:
Not to mention, where are the 125-mph segments of the Empire Corridor that NY State was supposed to deliver along with the RTLs? The P42DCs and P32AC-DMs at least would be able to operate at 110 mph along those parts of the corridor. Those were not on Amtrak to deliver, since they are not Amtrak-owned (and IIRC they are not even NYS-owned at present).
I believe the 125 mph sections were simply for the most part the 110mph sections upgraded. So w/o the turbos there's really no reason to spend that money yet.

  by RailBus63
This thread has veered far away from the original premise - driving to Metro-North stations from the Capitol Region instead of riding Amtrak - but what the heck, let's run with it.

In my opinion, any talk of who should be running the Empire Service is premature. The state of New York first has to seriously consider what this corridor should be, then determine what needs to be done (including new equipment and track renovation for higher speed operation) and how it can be funded. Deciding who gets to run the show comes later.

I hope that if New York state ever gets serious, they will look at what California has done and try to learn some lessons from their experience. Perhaps a separate 'Amtrak Empire' subsidiary could be set up to operate the expanded service.

Question - does anyone know how Amtrak California is funded? I ask because I know that general Amtrak operations are funded by the federal government, yet the Golden State kicks in additional money and cars to operate expanded service. How is it determine which services in that state are paid through using the 'regular' Amtrak money (from the feds) and which are the 'state paid' services?

Jim D.

  by AgentSkelly
Back when I was living in New York state a few months ago, I once in a while for work be called down to Poughkeepsie or Newburgh and if I had no obligations for the next day, I of course would of hopped on MNRR to go down to the city for the heck of it.

When I did go to Boston though, I always parked my car at Westboro (near Worcester) and took the MBTA Commuter trains right into South Station then to Attleboro to visit my friend.

I also used drive to Syracuse or Rome when I took the Maple Leaf to Toronto. The reason why is that I would usually happen to work out that way the day before.

My grandfather used to drive to Poughkeepsie actually all the time and hop on Metro-North when he had a go to a client in New York City. The reason why is that it was faster for him to get down the to city that way.

So I think there is a market for expansion of the MNRR to the rest of New York State. Start with a "special service" MNRR train that would run some limited schedule either from ALB to NYP or heck, even NFL to NYP as a trial to see if it can be done off-the-shelf so to speak. From there, you can go right to full expansion and rename service north of Poughkeepsie to something fancy like "Water Level Railroad"

And Amtrak would of course still have a place in New York State, they would continue to operate the LSL, Maple Leaf and the Adirondack, which would benefit from Water Level route improvements.

And I do like the "Ampizza". I have one every time I ride Amtrak :P
  by wigwagfan

Ladies and gentlemen,

The underbrush has been cleared, and a number of edits were made and several posts killed. I did not take the time to individually notify everyone involved; but there were a number of messages that served no other purpose than to attack other members and their ideas. That will not fly on this forum.

However, I did not edit any material that was posted while the thread resided on the Metro-North forum.

Per the request of Mr. Rhinecliff, the forum is now open to continued and respectful discussion and debate over this corridor service in New York state.

  by JPhurst
One other cool thing about the Beacon Station. They have a Zipcar at the station (shared car). If you're coming from NYC, you can reserve the Zipcar, take the train to Beacon, and then use the car to drive wherever you want. It adds flexibility for New Yorkers who don't have a car and would like to take an upstate excursion without having to pay NYC's exorbitant rental car rates.

MN has Zipcars at 4 stations. I'd love to see them expand it. I'd love to have Amtrak take a page out of their book and have cars at stops on the Empire line. I could leave work, hop on the train, and have the car waiting for me at the stop (Rhinecliff). It would save lots of time and also take one more car off the thruway.

  by Rhinecliff
Thanks for sharing the information about Zipcar. I had never heard about it. So for New Yorkers visiting the Hudson Valley, the MTA and Zipcar have combined to offer a great service at a fraction of the cost of taking Amtrak to Rhinecliff, and with considerably more convenience.

Of course for business travel, it sometimes still makes sense to take Amtrak instead of a combined car/MTA trip, because Amtrak allows one to work for a larger portion of the journey. In returning to Rennselaer last week, however, I had the opportunity to time the parking lot attendants. The Rennselaer station is staffed with three parking lot attendands in the evenings to process the payments for returning passeners. (No Easypass, of course.) I found myself in one of the thee lines, with 7 cars in front of me. For the privilege of paying $6.00 to park in the garage, I had to waite 6 minutes.

By way of comparison, in Beacon, all of the parking is automated. You simply make note of the number assigned to your parking space, and then pay cash or credit at one of the many meters conveniently located throughout the parking lots.

  by Irish Chieftain
So for New Yorkers visiting the Hudson Valley, the MTA and Zipcar have combined to offer a great service at a fraction of the cost of taking Amtrak to Rhinecliff
A fraction of the out-of-pocket cost. The other costs, however, still need to be looked at (I hereby begrudge my federal gas tax dollars being used for any artery that Zipcar may use). The MTA is still very heavily subsidized, and were it to be held to the same stringent revenue versus subsidy standard of Amtrak, would not be so affordable.

MODERATOR'S NOTE: Removed moderating reference, 2:57 AM 12/09/96.