AmSnag Oddity

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niemi24s

Conductor
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Feb 11, 2015
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While doing AmSnag searches for TE trips from CHI to TUS over the past several days, the search occasionally returned results for all consecutive days in the search just as if the SAS to TUS leg on the SL was a daily train:

Oddity 3.jpg
But clicking on the dates (days) when the train doesn't run from CHI to TUS the Amtrak website still reports service not available on those days.

Then, after a while, AmSnag will go back to normal and give results for only the correct dates (days). When I first saw this seemingly daily train result I started to hyperventilate but soon figured out it was just a glitch in something - like a square electron in Paul's server. :D
 
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the_traveler

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Maybe the “odd” days was via a connection at LAX to the eastbound SL from the SWC?
 

niemi24s

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Maybe the “odd” days was via a connection at LAX to the eastbound SL from the SWC?
I don't think so for two reasons. The connection choice page display after the search is completed just shows 21 - 1 and 421 for choices. And when choosing 421 on that page, the fares displayed on the odd/erroneous departure days from CHI are valid fares for 421 from CHI to TUS and not any different ones for a connection at LAX.

[Image in Post #1 modified with odd/erroneous dates shaded in red.]

I recall noticing the time for AmSnag to complete the fare search with odd/erroneous data was much, much longer than normal. Excruciatingly slow.
 
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Barb Stout

Lead Service Attendant
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Mar 13, 2019
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I had problems for several days in a row trying to use the 1st Amsnag you listed for dates in December 2020 and January 2021. It would inform me that there were no train services on day 7 or 12 or 3 etc on daily trains. Searched the this forum for a possible answer and found this, so thanks! The 2nd link is so much faster and didn't say there were no train services on day x.
 

niemi24s

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Feb 11, 2015
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I suspect the the second link given in Post #4 (. . . AmSnag Verson 2.02 . . .) is nothing more than the latest version of AmSnag. I've simply deleted the first one given as well as one other from a few years ago.

However, I'm not sure whether the Fare Watch feature of the x10.mx AmSnag is still in operation. Remember its author saying he'd lost interest in keeping it running a year or so ago.

Q: Anybody know if AmSnags Fare Watch feature still works?
 

willem

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Aug 17, 2014
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Q: Anybody know if AmSnags Fare Watch feature still works?
A few months ago, I went to the Fare Watch page and clicked on something that caused it to update. Immediately, I received email messages with new fare information. I concluded that automatic checking and notification no longer works.
 

niemi24s

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Feb 11, 2015
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A few months ago, I went to the Fare Watch page and clicked on something that caused it to update. Immediately, I received email messages with new fare information. I concluded that automatic checking and notification no longer works.
Thanks. If it still compiles change data for a trip and makes it available upon request, then it still has a little usefulness - for me a t least.
 

PaulM

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Jun 27, 2008
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I don't remember saying that I lost interest in keeping Amsnag running a year or so ago. I do remember saying I had lost interest in following Amtrak because of all the depressing changes.

I've had noticed that AmSnag Verson 2.02 was much slower than http://biketrain.x10.mx/amsnag2.0/amSnag.php. I now see that the former has become extremely erratic. But no, the latter is not a later version. It is simply a backup that I used if the primary hosting service were to go down. The code should be the same. When I get some time I will try to find out what is going on. Right now I am in the midst of automating our church's food pantry which serves over 1000 households. They had been managing it with spread sheets, a fate worse than death.

Regarding the original post, the backup version does right by the Chicago-Tuscon query.

Regarding the fare watch program, a while back the email feature started spamming users; and I couldn't determine the cause. So I scratched the email feature. Instead, I wrote a script that checks fares and displays an alert if a price has dropped. The script is automatically triggered by the Windows task scheduler. If anyone is interested in the details, please PM me.
 

tricia

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Aug 23, 2011
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I don't remember saying that I lost interest in keeping Amsnag running a year or so ago. I do remember saying I had lost interest in following Amtrak because of all the depressing changes.

I've had noticed that AmSnag Verson 2.02 was much slower than http://biketrain.x10.mx/amsnag2.0/amSnag.php. I now see that the former has become extremely erratic. But no, the latter is not a later version. It is simply a backup that I used if the primary hosting service were to go down. The code should be the same. When I get some time I will try to find out what is going on. Right now I am in the midst of automating our church's food pantry which serves over 1000 households. They had been managing it with spread sheets, a fate worse than death.

Regarding the original post, the backup version does right by the Chicago-Tuscon query.

Regarding the fare watch program, a while back the email feature started spamming users; and I couldn't determine the cause. So I scratched the email feature. Instead, I wrote a script that checks fares and displays an alert if a price has dropped. The script is automatically triggered by the Windows task scheduler. If anyone is interested in the details, please PM me.
Thanks for all the work you do on Amsnag, PaulM. It's such a huge help to so many people.
 

Barb Stout

Lead Service Attendant
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Mar 13, 2019
Messages
435
I've had noticed that AmSnag Verson 2.02 was much slower than http://biketrain.x10.mx/amsnag2.0/amSnag.php. I now see that the former has become extremely erratic. But no, the latter is not a later version. It is simply a backup that I used if the primary hosting service were to go down. The code should be the same. When I get some time I will try to find out what is going on. Right now I am in the midst of automating our church's food pantry which serves over 1000 households. They had been managing it with spread sheets, a fate worse than death.
Church food pantry effectiveness is definitely more important than Amsnag at this time. Thank you for both.
 

PaulM

Conductor
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Jun 27, 2008
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2,271
The error message you may have seen using the original site was due to the fact that the fare page was not retrieved correctly for all of the dates. So I've redirected Amsnag to AmSnag Verson 2.02. Hopefully, the problem doesn't reoccur.
 

niemi24s

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Feb 11, 2015
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FWIW, those making 30 day searches using AmSnag are cautioned that (at the present time for the CZ, SWC and CONO) the search may not include fares for all 30 days. I've noticed as many as 4 days missing but those dates are still bookable using the Amtrak website. Don't know if this occurs with searches of less than 30 days or other routes. I did notice that the number of missing days can change with time when making repetitive searches 5 to 10 minutes apart using the same search parameters.

If your search for low bucket fares comes up empty, look for missing dates on the AmSnag display and check Amtrak. There may be a low bucket fare lurking that doesn't appear in your AmSnag search. It's easy to see if there's one missing in a short search, but not so easy in a max 30 day search.
 
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PaulM

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FWIW, those making 30 day searches using AmSnag are cautioned that (at the present time for the CZ, SWC and CONO) the search may not include fares for all 30 days. I've noticed as many as 4 days missing but those dates are still bookable using the Amtrak website. Don't know if this occurs with searches of less than 30 days or other routes. I did notice that the number of missing days can change with time when making repetitive searches 5 to 10 minutes apart using the same search parameters.
As I mentioned a few post above, the original version was not retrieving the correct fare page for random dates. Originally, I just threw out an error message and quit. Recently, when the problem was called to my attention, I changed it to bypass the bad date.

I now see the backup version is doing the same thing - not surprising since it's the same code producing the same Amtrak URL. I tried CHI-DEN for 12 days and 2 days were missing. I tried again and only 1 was missing. Random errors like this are hard to track down, especially for an amateur like me.😔 But I'll keep at it
 

niemi24s

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Feb 11, 2015
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Well, don't lose any sleep over it Paul. The important thing is knowing that some days may be missing and if so check with Arrow to see what the missing fares are. That's still much, much easier than making 30 consecutive dummy bookings on Arrow.

After discovering this the other day, I made a paper "ruler" marked from 0 to 30 to the scale of my PC display. Only takes a few seconds to measure the number of days displayed - much easier than counting them in 1, 2, 3, . . fashion.

Best regards.
 
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PaulM

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Jun 27, 2008
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Fixed, hopefully for a while. As always, the free QC testing is appreciated:)
 

niemi24s

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Feb 11, 2015
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Did eight different 30 day searches. Works slicker'n snail snot! Thanx Paul!!
 
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