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Amtrak Service Reductions

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Trogdor

Conductor
Joined
Aug 3, 2004
Messages
5,501
Location
Here
Is it me... or could have a toddler come up with a better schedule? Unless I am reading this wrong... a conductor out of Chicago on the EB would sit in Winona, MN for Mon, Tue, and Wed night. Because when they arrive on 7 at 8pm on Monday night. The next possible train home would be 8 around 10am on Thursday. Same deal on 3 with Fort Madison and Kansas City. ***. So either crews get 3 nights sitting on the company dime or hundreds of dollars are poured out for vans back to Chicago from remote places. The unions and crew bases must be flipping out tonight.
It is essentially impossible to build a 3x/week schedule that is going to maintain connections and keep operating crew turns efficient. And if you make the turns work for the MKE/CHI crew base, it will probably break the turns for the St. Cloud base, or the Minot base, or the Spokane base, or...etc.
 

saxman

Conductor
Gathering Team Member
Joined
May 17, 2004
Messages
2,449
Location
New Orleans
Here's a quote from a friend of mine, a rail advocate: pretty grim.

Amtrak released, finally, their reduced 3-times-a-week schedule for the
long haul trains on "America's Part-Time Railroad", effective in less than
60 days.

While some arrivals at the Chicago hub will offer thrice-weekly same day
connections to other services (providing, of course that trains don't run
excessively late) there are a few "casualties" to the body count for
non-connects: The Cardinal, California Zephyr and playing the part of the
red-headed stepchild, the Texas Eagle. The Eagle gets the royal shaft.

The Westbound California Zephyr does not connect with any inbound Chicago
hub trains from the East Coast on Wednesdays. Only on Monday and Saturday.
That's 2X weekly. Sorry Toledo, you're screwed during the week!

The Eastbound Cardinal leaves Chicago on Tuesdays with only a potential
connection from the Texas Eagle. It does not connect with any trains
arriving from the West coast. So sorry if you're in Galesburg and want to
go to Indianapolis. You can only travel on Thursday and Saturday. 2X a week.

Taking the big hurt is the Texas Eagle, whose grass-roots TEMPO (Texas
Eagle Marketing and Performance Organization) built up ridership and
revenue for about 20 years until former CEO Richard Anderson yanked local
revenue management away from a dedicated team and the train started to
falter.

The Texas Eagle Arrives in Chicago on Wednesdays with no connections
possible to anything other than a state-supported regional service. Zero
national network connections. Ditto on Wednesday departures from Chicago.
It's the only long haul train at Chicago Union Station that day. Watch
connection revenue disappear like vaporware.

You can't travel from Pittsburgh to Little Rock on the Eagle any day except
Thursday. That's a 1-time a week connection! Don't book Fort Worth to South
Bend on anything but a Monday or a Saturday. 2X a week service.

Watch for those knowledgeable Amtrak executives to announce some time in
the future the disappointing statistics on the Texas Eagle and wring their
hands and cry that the train just isn't performing and must be cut (again,
like they tried in the 90's before the locals showed the Washington elites
how to run a train service).

Three-times weekly service will be a disaster, just like it was in the
90's.
 

looshi

Train Attendant
Joined
Oct 25, 2012
Messages
81
This is the schedule for my trip in late October:
Fly to Boston on Saturday morning
Boston-Chicago on the LSL: Saturday
Chicago-New Orleans on the CONO: Tuesday (8:05 PM)
Fly home from New Orleans: Friday

I honestly cannot figure out how to make this work with the new timetable. This is because I have meetings in Chicago all day on Monday and Tuesday. Plus... I have to make it work with the airfare that I have booked.
Many airlines are letting you move flights for free right now. Not sure if that helps you or not.
 

Exvalley

Service Attendant
AU Supporter
Joined
Jul 7, 2020
Messages
174
Many airlines are letting you move flights for free right now. Not sure if that helps you or not.
The biggest problem is the fact that I have meetings all day on Monday and Tuesday in Chicago. This means that I have to take the Friday Lake Shore Limited to Chicago. My employer doesn't really monitor my time off, but I am not comfortable being out on Friday as a travel day (for a Monday meeting) since I am taking three days off the following week to visit New Orleans. I'm prefer not to be out of the office for more than one week without a better reason. It's a self-imposed rule, but my employer is gracious enough to give me carte blanche for days off and I would rather not make them rethink that.

The other choice is that I scrap my meetings in Chicago and do them remotely another time. That would allow me to take the Lake Shore Limited on Sunday and connect to the CONO on Monday, putting me into New Orleans on Tuesday. It would give me an extra day in New Orleans, which isn't a bad thing - but it would also mean that I would be taking the whole week off of work since I would no longer be conducting business on Monday and Tuesday.

I think that I will just sit tight right now and pray that Congress comes through.
 

20th Century Rider

OBS Chief
Joined
Jan 26, 2020
Messages
706
Location
Oregon Coast
Many airlines are letting you move flights for free right now. Not sure if that helps you or not.
Be sure the new schedules will allow for a connection. Including an airline flight may be risky and even with miss-connects and all that stuff, do you have a hotel selected if needed???
 

Bob Dylan

Conductor
Joined
May 31, 2009
Messages
20,466
Location
Austin Texas
Taking the train means taking a risk. That's just not right. Most reliable transportation? Your car.

My most reliable transportation asset is an old Camry... I keep the engine tuned and the tires are always the best money can buy. The door locks and air conditioning systems don't work... but it gets me to where I need to go. With the advent of Amtrak's decline and the pandemic and my passion for travel... the spector of a car trip motivates me to keep dreaming.🚕
View attachment 18441

View attachment 18442
You might not want to come to the Southwest where Daily Temps are running 100-125!!! ;) 😷
 

Bob Dylan

Conductor
Joined
May 31, 2009
Messages
20,466
Location
Austin Texas
Hope you are doing ok in all the heat... I wouldn't think of traveling when it gets this hot... Do whatever is necessary to keep the air conditioning in your home running ok. Right now I am not even considering a car trip. I used to live in St. Louis years ago where there were reports of deaths due to the heat... and I'm sure this summer with covid and global warming it is worse. The lines at world famous Ted Drews Ice Cream where stretched around the block. Stay home, stay cool, and stay safe!
View attachment 18444
View attachment 18445
Thanks, I'm a Texas Native so do everything I can to stay out of the Blow Torch!

Know what you mean about the Heat in St Louis!
 

Devil's Advocate

Sarcastic Misanthrope
Joined
May 24, 2010
Messages
11,608
Location
Texas
Hope you are doing ok in all the heat... I wouldn't think of traveling when it gets this hot.
Down here 100F isn't even all that bad. It's the 110F and over days that you have to worry about. That's when your air conditioner is going to be approaching the limits for continuous operation. If there is any sort of fault or defect in your system that's when it's going to become a problem. Even a reduction in airflow due to traffic or construction can render a condenser nearly useless at those temperatures.
 

neroden

Conductor
Joined
Feb 23, 2014
Messages
7,848
Location
Ithaca, NY
This completely screws up my trip in October on the LSL and CONO. I even booked airfare around it.
Have you written to both your Senators, your Congressperson, your state's Governor, and your state legislators, demanding that they force Amtrak to reverse this three-a-week idiocy?

If not, please do so at once. You know what to say.
 

neroden

Conductor
Joined
Feb 23, 2014
Messages
7,848
Location
Ithaca, NY
I guess, if there is not enough riders to support daily service without additional cash infusion that no one seems to be willing to make, and three times a week service cost more than daily service, then the logical thing to do would be to shut the system down, no? Of course, since Amtrak cannot furlough everone of its employees like Brightline did, I am not sure how that would work either.
Amtrak could save a lot of money by cutting half the NEC schedule, and with current ridership, it would be justified.

The LD sector is the *best perfoming sector of Amtrak's business* during the pandemic -- so the corrupt and incompetent management decides to attack it. Everyone, including the former Amtrak Presidents, knows that three-a-week doesn't save much in costs and loses far more in revenue than that. Basically because more than half the passengers cancel due to scheduling problems. This is complete BS; it's sabotage designed to cost the taxpayer more money.

IMO: Vote for "Amtrak Joe" Biden, who I believe will appoint better board members and managers for Amtrak; and vote for Congressmembers who insist on daily service. The House of Representatives has already passed a bill which both funds Amtrak and demand daily service, the Senate Democrats have endorsed it, but Mitch McConnell and the Republican Senators who back him are preventing it from being heard in the Senate. That's where we are now. If four Republican Senators can be convinced to drop McConnell and vote with the Democrats, that would also work.
 

Qapla

Conductor
Joined
Jul 15, 2019
Messages
1,300
Location
Gator Country Florida
Back when I was younger I enjoyed a good road trip. I could drive all day and still enjoy myself.

I'm a bit older now (receiving SS) and no longer desire to sit behind the wheel dealing with traffic, road conditions and the exhaustion of paying constant attention - I would much rather ride relaxed on the train ... that's why the service reductions and lack of service is so heartbreaking :(
 

Palmetto

Conductor
AU Supporter
Joined
May 12, 2014
Messages
2,055
Location
Miami
There has been no hue and cry from Congress yet, has there, about the service reduction? Do they even know about the previous service reductions that actually cost more than to run trains daily? (Just to get this topic re-railed.)
 

Nick Farr

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Dec 25, 2019
Messages
267
Location
Michigan
Do they even know about the previous service reductions that actually cost more than to run trains daily? (Just to get this topic re-railed.)
Are there good figures on that somewhere? Also, figures showing LD trains were the best performing trains during the peak of the pandemic?
 

jloewen

Train Attendant
Joined
Mar 10, 2009
Messages
80
Have you written to both your Senators, your Congressperson, your state's Governor, and your state legislators, demanding that they force Amtrak to reverse this three-a-week idiocy?

If not, please do so at once. You know what to say.
I would LOVE to write my senators and representatives ... except, oops, I don't have any. I live in DC. This is an outrage that needs to be fixed.
 

tricia

Conductor
Joined
Aug 23, 2011
Messages
1,125
Location
Spring Creek, NC
I would LOVE to write my senators and representatives ... except, oops, I don't have any. I live in DC. This is an outrage that needs to be fixed.
I feel your pain. I don't have a representative now--he resigned to become Trump's chief of staff. And although I technically have two senators to write to, they're both nearly as useless. Hoping to fix that in November. Also hope the outrage of no DC reps or senators gets corrected in the next few years.
 

pennyk

Conductor
Staff member
Administator
Moderator
Gathering Team Member
Joined
Jul 5, 2009
Messages
10,457
Location
Orlando, FL
MODERATOR NOTE: Please keep the discussion on the topic of Amtrak Service Reductions. Comments regarding road trips have been moved to the Road Trip Discussion thread in the Non-Rail Transportation forum.

Also, please limit the posting of off-topic photographs since they take up a lot of room. Train photos may be posted to the Rail Photography forum. Thank you for your continued cooperation.
 

John Bobinyec

Conductor
Joined
Sep 18, 2009
Messages
1,770
Location
CYN
TrainsMag has announced the proposed schedule changes for October.

For completeness, we already have:

Auto Train
Northbound 52: Daily
Southbound 53: Daily

Cardinal
Eastbound 50: Tu Th Sa
Westbound 51: We Fr Su

Sunset Limited
Westbound 1: Sa Mo We
Eastbound 2: We Fr Su

Silver Star
Southbound 91: Fr Sa Su
Northbound 92: Th Fr Sa

Silver Meteor
Southbound 97: Mo Tu We Th
Northbound 98: Su Mo Tu We

The proposed schedules will be implemented as follows:

Changes as of Oct. 5:
California Zephyr

Westbound 5: Sa Mo We
Eastbound 6: Tu Th Sa

Capitol Limited
Westbound 29: We Fr Su
Eastbound 30: Th Sa Mo

City of New Orleans
Northbound 58: We Fr Su
Southbound 59: Th Sa Mo

Crescent
Southbound 19: Fr Su Tu
Northbound 20: Th Sa Mo

Changes as of Oct. 12:
Coast Starlight

Southbound 11: Sa Mo We
Northbound 14: Mo We Fr

Lake Shore Limited
Eastbound 48/448: Th Sa Mo
Westbound 49/449: We Fr Su

Southwest Chief
Westbound 3: Th Sa Mo
Eastbound 4: Tu Th Sa

Texas Eagle
Southbound 21: Fr Su Tu
Northbound 22: Fr Su Tu

Changes as of Oct. 19:
Empire Builder

Westbound 7/27: Th Sa Mo
Eastbound 8/28: Tu Th Sa

Palmetto
Southbound 89: Th Sa Mo
Northbound 90: We Fr Su
 

Dakota 400

Conductor
Joined
Mar 5, 2014
Messages
2,171
I would LOVE to write my senators and representatives ... except, oops, I don't have any. I live in DC. This is an outrage that needs to be fixed.
You do have a Delegate to the House of Representatives.

I agree that the lack of representation in our Congress for the citizens of the District needs to be fixed.
 

Michigan Mom

OBS Chief
Joined
Jan 28, 2012
Messages
669
Location
MI
Very absorbing thread. I would have to think that preserving connections to the extent possible, would be the goal of a temporary, let's hope only TEMPORARY, service reduction. No perfect solutions although it sounds like they could have done it better. Have not actually looked at any sample schedules yet, although the note above about TOL is a little disconcerting.
Is there evidence of a lack of future bookings? Evidently with airlines, future reservations are down as people are not planning things as far in advance, but if this forum is anything to go by, rail passengers are more willing to book far ahead of time. If indeed the demand isn't there, Amtrak might be playing the same waiting game that the airlines are. Fall and winter might be rough with people going through pandemic related job loss and resultant loss of any discretionary income.
 

Barb Stout

OBS Chief
Joined
Mar 13, 2019
Messages
523
I would LOVE to write my senators and representatives ... except, oops, I don't have any. I live in DC. This is an outrage that needs to be fixed.
Write to all of them then with an explanation as to why someone who doesn't live in their state is writing to them. And, yeah, I agree with the outrage.
 

lordsigma

OBS Chief
AU Supporter
Joined
Sep 15, 2017
Messages
960
Amtrak could save a lot of money by cutting half the NEC schedule, and with current ridership, it would be justified.

The LD sector is the *best perfoming sector of Amtrak's business* during the pandemic -- so the corrupt and incompetent management decides to attack it. Everyone, including the former Amtrak Presidents, knows that three-a-week doesn't save much in costs and loses far more in revenue than that. Basically because more than half the passengers cancel due to scheduling problems. This is complete BS; it's sabotage designed to cost the taxpayer more money.

IMO: Vote for "Amtrak Joe" Biden, who I believe will appoint better board members and managers for Amtrak; and vote for Congressmembers who insist on daily service. The House of Representatives has already passed a bill which both funds Amtrak and demand daily service, the Senate Democrats have endorsed it, but Mitch McConnell and the Republican Senators who back him are preventing it from being heard in the Senate. That's where we are now. If four Republican Senators can be convinced to drop McConnell and vote with the Democrats, that would also work.
It should be noted this is part of a much larger bill That deals with Far more than Amtrak. It is not impossible that a bill eventually will pass preventing the cuts but it probably won’t be this much money and the timing of the election is inconvenient because It may not be until after the election that any big spending bills are passed. It’s really bad timing all around.
 

Siegmund

Service Attendant
Joined
Nov 19, 2018
Messages
190
Location
northwestern Montana
Write to all of them then with an explanation as to why someone who doesn't live in their state is writing to them. And, yeah, I agree with the outrage.
It's worth a try, but I've never gotten any kind of reply / acknowledgement my note was received, from a senator or representative outside my own state. When I lived in Alaska I used to regularly write to WA and OR politicians to tell them "I fly to your state and need public transportation when I get there."
When I write to the reps in my own state (AK then, then ID, now MT) I generally got back at least a form letter each time.

Meanwhile, have written to my own. (and jloewen can write to his nonvoting delegate - who probably has more sway with his colleagues than emails from a nonresident do.)
 

me_little_me

Conductor
Joined
Jul 16, 2010
Messages
3,288
Simple fix...make DC part of Maryland...it's too small to be another new state....
We could declare it another country - but then we'd have to give them foreign aid.

We could let them attach to any state that would take them - but then we'd have to bribe the state that did so.

We could force them on another state - but that would violate the Constitution's prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment.

I suggest we separate out the government area from the people then consider the government area to be foreign territory and then restrict foreign travel from that country and allow that area to be the only foreign country that congress critters, Amtrak executives, and high administration officials can visit using tax dollars.

Anyone else want to vote for me besides my whole family, living and dead?
 
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