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  1. J

    Can Union Pacific bring back their own passenger trains?

    Well, I believe Amtrak did work with Iowa Pacific. Weren't Iowa Pacific sleepers attached to the City of New Orleans for a while? Before that, American-European Express hooked its cars on Amtrak trains. And I seem to recall that Amtrak experimented with running a form of luxury service before: a...
  2. J

    Can Union Pacific bring back their own passenger trains?

    Theoretically, I suppose, but that assumes you can keep fares at their current level. Since fares are determined by supply and demand, you'd probably have to lower fares to fill the increased capacity. Lower fares would be good for customers of course, but they likely would make it harder to...
  3. J

    Can Union Pacific bring back their own passenger trains?

    There is no such federal mandate. Union Pacific or any other railroad could operate passenger service, but they don't want to, because it loses money. The very reason Amtrak was created was that private railroads like Union Pacific wanted to dump their passenger trains.
  4. J

    Gardner's statement on House budget proposal

    Well, I think the premise is untrue, Amtrak routes are not land cruises. There ARE land cruise trains in America (such as the Rocky Mountineer), and they charge fares that will bring them a profit. They do not have the mandates that Amtrak faces as a taxpayer-supported enterprise, such as...
  5. J

    Twin Cities, Milwaukee, Chiacago (TCMC) second daily service

    An article on the Trains.com newswire indicates this was NOT an inspection train, but an excursion train for CPKC employees and their families, to celebrate CPKC's status as Amtrak's best performing Class 1 host railroad,
  6. J

    Round trip Dwight - Kansas City on Lincoln Service/Missouri River Runner

    Amtrak does not have any cars with "dump on the track" toilets. Not for many years.
  7. J

    Crescent discussion

    I know it was the result of negotiation, but was Norfolk Southern asking for this change, or was it Amtrak? I do know that under the terms of the agreement, either side had a year to demand a reversion to the earlier schedule. Since there was apparently no such demand, I have to assume both...
  8. J

    Crescent discussion

    This wasn't formal arbitration per say, if I recall correctly. It was a result of the STB's adoption of metrics to measure on-time train performance. As a prelude to holding the freight railroads more responsible for running Amtrak trains on schedule, the STB ordered Amtrak to hold talks with...
  9. J

    Crescent discussion

    I agree that the schedule change has made the Crescent much less desirable for Atlanta passengers, and I have to believe it's hurt patronage.
  10. J

    California Zephyr discussion

    This is true, but there is one significant difference. The private railroads could cover the fixed costs with freight revenues. Amtrak must cover the fixed costs with government subsidies,
  11. J

    California Zephyr discussion

    Well, I should perhaps clarify what I mean by "profitable." By profitable, I mean providing enough additional revenue to an otherwise all-coach train to decrease the train's overall loss. My fear is that while many taxpayers are willing to support coach trains as a public service, some may balk...
  12. J

    California Zephyr discussion

    If that is the case, would it be conceivably possible to develop an argument that sleepers and diners -- considered as a single business unit -- are profitable? Figures backing that up could go a long way, in my opinion, to preserving both services.
  13. J

    California Zephyr discussion

    One possibility for dealing with that would be allowing coach passengers (and possibly sleeper passengers) to pre-pay for dining car service (maybe even for specific meals) when they make their reservations. That way, demand could be anticipated.
  14. J

    California Zephyr discussion

    I don't know if I've ever actually been in a train with a Cross Country Cafe, so that makes it hard to respond to this observation. What I am advocating is a diner-lounge car like many pre-Amtrak trains had, offering full sit-down waiter service in the dining room, and counter service in the...
  15. J

    California Zephyr discussion

    Well, that gets to a question that has always intrigued me. Do the sleeper fares really reflect the cost of providing meals, or do they just reflect the highest price the market will bear, regardless of whether meals are included or not? If it is indeed the latter, then we would have to conclude...
  16. J

    California Zephyr discussion

    We've heard many recent complaints on this forum about high sleeper fares, and removing the dining car surcharge would be one of the few practical ways to reduce those fares. While it is undoubtedly true that fewer sleeper passengers would eat in the diner after such a decoupling, lower diner...
  17. J

    California Zephyr discussion

    It wasn't that way until Amtrak started offering complimentary meals to sleeping car passengers. It used to be first come, first served for everyone. If it were up to me, I'd decouple the sleeping car fares from dining car purchases, allowing a prepayment option for all passengers.
  18. J

    Amtrak dining and cafe service

    Or simply remove the dining car surcharge from sleeper fares, and give both coach and sleeping car passengers a pre-paid dining car option. That way, Amtrak would know how many people really want dining car meals, and it could stock and staff the dining cars appropriately.
  19. J

    Future Amtrak Sleeper and ADA ideas

    I suspect high speed trains could open up new markets for overnight service. Chicago-New York, for instance.
  20. J

    Restoration of New Orleans - Mobile - Jacksonville Gulf Coast Service

    It's worth remembering that even before Katrina, the Sunset Limited was the route that Congressional Amtrak critics targeted the most frequently. Those critics cited the financial losses and the abysmal timekeeping, and frequently used those issues to attack the entire system. Amtrak likely...
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