• 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 shlustig
Received some off-line requests to continue current comments:

HIGH-SPEED operations in Ohio continue as #30 (15th) eastbound "Capitol Limited" arrived at SKY 1' 26" before it departed TOL, at least according to Amtrak!!!

Why wouldn't the computer reject such data automatically? Or does the same program handle the financials?
  by rcthompson04
I have seen weird things like this on the SEPTA Regional Rail train tracker and the SEPTA bus tracker.

My dad is in the trucking business and had told me about similar things showing up in the real time tracking systems as they are imprecise at times. My general understanding is that these systems are designed to get to the next waypoint so if for some reason a waypoint is missed or tracking lags behind, it will either show skipped stops or Insane speeds between stops. The data eventually reconciles on the true system of record as the unit gets better service, but often doesn’t reconcile on the live tracker. A good example he gave once was trucks entering and exiting a yard. There is a scanner to detect them entering and exiting the yard, but it is visual and doesn’t work great in heavy rain, fog or snow. The company knows where the truck is due to GPS, but doesn’t have a record of it coming or going.
  by shlustig
Still no correction of the faulty timekeeping discussed previously.

#29 (20th) westbound "Capitol Limited" disappeared before reaching PGH and was last reported 4' 40" late due to mechanical problems. Train showed returning to WAS and being cancelled. However, the problem was apparently corrected and the train sent out again. Was running about 5' 30" tardy when I last checked.

In reviewing various delays, it seems that Amtrak does not bother to explain delays of 15" to 45" at various stations which show both an arriving and a departure time. The impression continues that nobody in senior management cares about performance. And we are supposed to believe that all will be corrected with the proposed expansion of services and the $$$ provided in the Biden Bill.
  by kitchin
I watched a coal train make an Amtrak stop in CSX territory yesterday in North Carolina, just before a double track section, on a railcam. Do any freights stop for Amtrak? Biden tried to put more enforcement in the law, but it was stripped out, I read.

As for real-time tracking, that could be better. Sometimes one tracker has info another doesn't.

The new Siemens Charger engines are emerging from the factory in Sacramento. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LkJJVdCeVck

It's more info than Brightline supplies, though.
  by shlustig
No signs of any improvement so far in this period.

When tracking delays, there is no mention of the several delays of 15" to 40" at initial terminals or at other major stations.

At ALB, for example, if the scheduled dwell time is not sufficient to allow for adding or dropping cars, then the schedule should be changed to reflect reality.

The OT % is dropping, and the # of long-term en route delays caused by "disabled freight train" is increasing.

The only logical conclusion given the lack of any corrective steps is that the current senior management is determined to kill the services.
  by StLouSteve
I'm pleased to report good timekeeping on the Lincoln route (CHI to STL) for Thanksgiving holiday. Speeds have been increased by 10 mph and schedules have stayed the same so it is common for trains to run o/t or even arrive early.

My son rode the SW Chief into KC from Chi on Sunday, and it too arrived a bit early.
  by eolesen
I'd be careful about using holidays as a benchmark... fewer freight movements on the 24 hours before an observed/paid holiday would result in higher OTP and track speeds.

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  by eolesen

shlustig wrote: The only logical conclusion given the lack of any corrective steps is that the current senior management is determined to kill the services.
Or, Senior Management has decided that the best way to fight for money is to run a crappy operation and say they need more to do it right.

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  by R.B.Phillips
eolesen wrote: Mon Nov 29, 2021 2:46 pm
Or, Senior Management has decided that the best way to fight for money is to run a crappy operation and say they need more to do it right.
During my time working within the NASA octopus, that strategy was used effectively by the Jet Propulsion Lab's earth sciences operation. At planning meetings, asking them to fix mistakes was answered by "Uh, we CAN, but it'll cost ya!"
  by shlustig
A few notations from the past several days:

Continuing erroneous times between Toledo and Cleveland for #30 eastbound "Capitol Limited" which result in very high speed averages;

Almost daily delays from NOL to SDL for #20 eastbound "Crescent" and from NOL to HMI for northbound #58 "City of New Orleans" which go unreported on the Amtrak Twitter delay site; and

Various delays at terminals and major station which range from 15" to 30"+ and which also go unreported on the Twitter site.

The chronic delay areas on NS that effect the "Crescent" south of Atlanta and those that effect performance of multiple services between CHI and Elkhart including those which merge / diverge at Porter continue to go uncorrected.
  by kitchin
All or almost all Florida and Savannah trains to Washington are late. The worst congestion seems to be just north of Savannah. But lately even reliable sections are getting delays. I'm not sure a freight ever is sidelined for Amtrak. Proposing enhanced enforcement, and then not being able to get it through Congress may have given the host railroads bad ideas, along with the supply chain crisis, the shortage of workers, etc. Dispatchers and everyone else below management level seem unhappy with their employers, or I just notice the complaints.

The Amtrak Twitter is not great, but it and the tracker map are more detailed than what Brightline offers. Amtrak Twitter occasionally makes mistakes in locations and station names.
  by west point
Todays #20 did OK until Laurel lost just 15 Minutes Then lost 50 minutes to Meridian and another 50 to Tuscaloosa but gained 50 minutes back to BHM so estimated ~ 1 hour late to Atlanta. That is most confused dispatching going on. Cannot understand at all.
  by Gilbert B Norman
kitchin wrote: Sun Nov 21, 2021 9:15 pm Do any freights stop for Amtrak?
Mr. Kitchin, as far as I'm concerned "they do all the time".

Just yesterday, I observed a Westward Manifest being held on the 2 Track at West Hinsdale so that, first, a somewhat late #6(4) could run ahead of BNSF1264 (METRA) at Westmont so that it could switch to 1 Track there. So #6 was first, followed by #1264. Only then did the manifest (in no particular hurry), which looked to me largely comprised of MTY's proceed Westward.

Not sure what the Moms hustling the kiddies from school to Ballet or Kung Fu thought of it, but I think it showed deferential railroading for the benefit of Amtrak.
  by Arborwayfan
Maybe there really are more disabled freight trains lately? (account crew shortages, maintenance labor shortages, parts shortages?)

Maybe Amtrak doesn't think it's good for the signal-to-noise ratio to tweet about every 25-minute delay? Maybe given the state of repair of the power and rolling stock and various labor shortages terminal delays are up?

I'm pretty sure Amtrak management thinks that if they adjust schedules to reflect real performance, then (a) some people will complain about "schedule padding" and pull out copies of the Official Guide from 1952 and (b) the host railroads will still delay Amtrak just as much.

Maybe boarding is too slow, but senior management can't figure out how to get CUS to do a better job, and someone sees benefits to, for example, making people have their tickets scanned before they board through just a couple of doors at intermediate stops, which has got to be slower than letting people board through all doors?

I think saying nefarious intent is the only possible explanation is a stretch.
  by J.D. Lang
I've seen CSX hold freights on the B&A numerous times for Amtrak. Case in point, from CP-109 just west of Westfield Center MA. to CP-123 just east of Chester MA. the B&A is single track. On the Chester Station Museum webcam I've seen eastbound freights held on the double track by the station for up to 45 min. to let westbound P-449 come up the hill and clear CP-123.

Now if you had a crew that was close to the end of their Hrs. of service they would hold 449 at CP109 and let the freight come down first. Can't blame CSX for wanting to get their crew into a yard and avoid tying up the mainline while waiting to recrew. It's just the nature of railroading so Amtrak just has to deal with it.