bostontrainguy wrote: ↑Wed Jun 22, 2022 9:21 am
There are reports that the "Night Owl" is returning on July 11 but it will not have a baggage or sleeper in the consist. Part of the problem is that 65/67 will be coming north from Newport News and 66 is coming north from Roanoke. Looks like a Sleeper would have to be added/removed in D.C. if they wanted to reestablish the sleeper service. Loss of baggage is a real blow to anyone traveling on a LD from north of NYC which was the only checked baggage train.
Getting back to the opening post here... I kinda wondered "Wait, Roanoke... where's Roanoke? Why this split?"
Central Virginia. Not coastal Virginia like Newport News or Norfolk. In fact, the split to go there happens in Alexandria. Not only that, the station only serves the Regionals, and by poking at Amtrak's scheduler about a month in advance, there's two trains going northbound (176 and 66) but only one coming back (171) from Boston.
Switching it to New York Penn makes things a bit better (151 and 171 going south), which then makes me realize... it's timing and logistics.
You see, it's over 14 hours to get from Boston to Newport News. You also are on a main line and there's no good servicing area. The only good areas are ether Boston South Station, New York Penn, or Washington, DC... unless you also count Roanoke if Amtrak's renting services from NS (they're not, Roanoke's just a flat platform).
They're reusing trainsets. There isn't a dedicated trainset (or two) for the Night Owl. It's not the Night Owl.
They can't service a sleeper in Roanoke because it's not a full train station. They can't service it in Newport News because the station's on a main line. They can't service it in Norfolk because they're getting three trains a day and there's no parking anywhere for it to sit out of the way. All the staff can do is clean out the main cabins, get some basic checks in for the next run, and go. It'll have to be serviced fully in NYP or BOS.
So why not yank the sleeper off in WAS? Well, what time does it arrive? For a Sunday-Thursday BOS departure, it arrives at 7am during the heart of the rush hour. You got MARC and VRE trains coming in. Swapping engines takes two tracks, and the sleeper would need a third engine the way they're doing it.
That explains why the sleeper was closed off in WAS on the way south. The staff had to clean up and reset everything while the train was moving
because it took too long to do it otherwise at stations where Amtrak has logistic issues. And they can't do it now because of the staffing issues.
It doth truly suck.