Amtrak Service Reductions

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tim49424

Engineer
Joined
Dec 20, 2010
Messages
5,407
Location
Holland, MI
In the meantime, my hometown train, the Pere Marquette remains suspended. Rumor has it, that it's not supposed to be reinstated to service until October 1. Maybe now that Amtrak has authorized service reductions, could that date be optimistic and a pipedream?
 

flitcraft

Conductor
Joined
Jan 10, 2018
Messages
1,230
If so, I am gone as well. I'm not going to pay sleeper car pricing for meals that are nothing more--or less--than TV dinners, if that.

And that is the point of cuts like dining cuts--to drive away passengers so that everything except commuter routes can be done away with. I'm reminded of a quote from the great comedienne, Lily Tomlin, "No matter how cynical I get, I worry that it's never enough."
 
Joined
Jan 26, 2020
Messages
2,225
Location
Oregon Coast
As are several other Amtrak Trains!( Broadway,Desert Wind,Pioneer,Montrealer etc)

The real hope is with Congress, even though Biden is known as "Amtrak Joe", ( and if Trmp gets re-elected who knows??)Democrat Presidents have actually cut more than Republican Presidents!!
Oh no! Say it isn't so! Would Biden actually cut Amtrak service? The continuing decline is like going over Niagara Falls. We'd better hold on cause it looks like it'll be quite a ride!:eek:
 
Joined
Nov 24, 2009
Messages
3,368
Location
Hillsborough, NJ
All I can say is wow! The board that is running Amtrak has no idea how to build ridership. LD 3X wk cannot and will not work. Ridership will only return if services and full amenities are restored. Amtrak needs to attract ridership not discourage it. If the dining cars are permanently gone then there is no incentive for us to spend big bucks on the sleepers to ride the service. It will be back to the road.
 

Eric S

Engineer
Joined
Dec 19, 2009
Messages
2,628
Location
Milwaukee
I believe the Empire Builder was less than daily at one point, and was later restored to daily service.
Didn't the cuts in the mid-1990s result in most long-distance trains, or maybe it was just the western ones, being cut to less-than-daily service (I recall a mix of 3-, 4-, and maybe 5-days/week service) for a period of time? And then when the Desert Wind and Pioneer were cut the remaining trains were restored to daily operation?
 
Joined
Apr 5, 2011
Messages
4,873
Location
Baltimore. MD
I notice there has been no announcement of service reductions on the Northeast Corridor. Just sayin;;)
1) That's not true. There's a ~20% service reduction on the NEC.
2) The NEC is about the only part of the Amtrak system in which passenger rail has a significant market share. Anderson's goal to build up <500 mi corridor service (which I would take to mean making other corridors more like the NEC and increasing the number of corridors) was probably a rational approach.
3) The only reason the national network exists is to provide pork-barrel spending in a larger number of more rural states. Our political system is such that legislators from rural states tend to call the shots, so providing service to rural areas is a political necessity for support for the more rational parts of the system. After all, adequate passenger service from rural towns could be provided much more cheaply (and to more locations) by funding a network of motor coach lines that connect to regional airports and corridor service stations.
4) Sleeping car and dining car service is provided on the long distance trains solely as a way to cross subsidize the service by increasing net revenue. Thus, the cost of providing the service needs to be a lot less than the additional revenue. (That's probably why sleeper fares are so high and OBS staffing is inadequate.)
5) I have priced trips on privately run excursion trains that claim to provide full traditional service (i.e. fresh cooked meals, fancy lounge service, attentive SCA's, etc.) The prices are far higher than even the highest bucket Amtrak sleeper fare for an equivalent trip. Let's face it, times have changed. White-glove service is going to cost you, and most of us probably can't afford it anymore.
6) With all that, Congress has previously expressed support for the full Amtrak network. Thus, while it may be appropriate right now to not spew out pointless greenhouse gas emissions by running empty trains, I suspect than as demand increases, most of the service will eventually be restored.
 
Joined
Aug 5, 2011
Messages
1,421
Location
Texas
Well, nobody on AU predicted the pandemic. I wouldn’t say these cuts are due to bad management but are due to what a lot of companies are going they right now due to the pandemic.
Agreed. No one could have predicted the virus. However, the reaction to it just might be something that extends far into the future past the end of the virus scare. As it seemed the direction things were going anyway, perhaps the virus might have accelerated it.
 

NativeSon5859

OBS Chief
Joined
Aug 6, 2003
Messages
998
Location
NOLA
Here’s an idea of the operation in 1996.

CONO: 6X weekly
California Zephyr: 4X weekly
Empire Builder: daily CHI-MSP, 4X weekly MSP-SEA/PDX
Texas Eagle: 3X weekly
Crescent: 4X weekly NOL-ATL, daily ATL-NYP

By 1997, everything above resorted back to daily service.

Desert Wind, Pioneer, Sunset, and Cardinal all 3X weekly.
 

Siegmund

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Nov 19, 2018
Messages
378
Location
northwestern Montana
If you go back even further, you'll find long stretches in the early 70s where the San Francisco Zephyr ran only 3 times a week west of Denver, the Builder only 3 times a week west of Minneapolis, the Coast Starlight only 3 times a week north of Oakland. But those were different, in that they were a) systematically cut back during the off-season and made daily again in the peak season every year, and b) by the mid-70s they ran every day year round.

The Builder/North Coast Hiawatha had the most complicated variations on this, with 'bad years' when they ran on alternate days, in-between years where one ran daily and the other triweekly (sometimes combined east of Minneapolis sometimes not), good years where both ran daily, but not sure we ever got to a period where both-trains-daily became 'normal' (maintained for more than a year or so.)

It was the 90s cuts that felt like the current ones - running trains fewer days per week to save operating costs but not save equipment, and doing bait-and-switches like Daily CZ/Wind/Pioneer --> 4xCZ / 3x Wind/Pioneer -> Daily CZ, Wind/Pioneer cut.
 

41bridge

Train Attendant
Joined
Feb 9, 2016
Messages
29
An earlier reference was made that maybe things will change Nov. 3. Keep in mind there won't be any change until Jan. 20, 2021, 7 months from now. If Trump is reelected all bets are off!
 
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Devil's Advocate

🚂〰️〰️〰️〰️
Joined
May 24, 2010
Messages
13,414
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🇺🇸
Better check your math. This administration is in power until noon Jan. 20, 2021. 7 months by my reckoning.
Of course you are right but there are provisions for an incoming administration to quickly reverse changes which occur shortly before transition. That being said I personally believe the current administration will find a way to secure reelection one way or another and have no reason to reverse anything. Even if they lose I do not believe they will leave willingly and will instead revive claims of a vast conspiracy while daring our justice system to kick them out and calling on supporters to defend them at all costs. Under the current bench they would probably lose but it could take a while for that to happen and with each new claim they might gain more time to further manipulate the outcome. If the skeleton of RBG were unable to participate there's a chance they could remain in power indefinitely regardless of the outcome.
 
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AmtrakFlyer

Service Attendant
Joined
Nov 27, 2016
Messages
112
I personally think the popular vote will be a landslide victory for Biden and the EC probably won’t be close either. The fringe has had their 15 mins of fame. Sure pockets of the South and Midwest will stay in GOP control but that very well could be it.

The transformation that could take place would be life changing for our younger generations. We have to get away from a country where everything goes to corporations and the ultra wealthy at the expense of everyone else. It won’t be until this next generation retires who don’t have pensions or true healthcare for it to become obvious. I think we’ve forgotten what it’s like to live in a first world country because as of today we really don’t looking at quality of life and health. We’re currently 46th in lifespan tied with Cuba low second world standards. There’s also a huge quality of life difference in the above 60 crowd vs the below 60 crowd as well which makes it hard for some to recognize the problem.

Specific to Amtrak our infastructure will take years to get back to the standard of other first world countries. Rail will be involved in that to some extent. Other issues will fall into place as well.

I’m realist though while I don’t think Trump will win re election it’s possible Biden and the Dems will be led into a deficit reduction mindset from the minority GOP and nothing will change.

I think Amtrak will survive but it’s best days (and our country’s) are both behind us at this point unfortunately unless something drastically changes soon.
 
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Joined
Mar 5, 2014
Messages
3,660
Even if they lose I do not believe they will leave willingly and will instead revive claims of a vast conspiracy while daring our justice system to kick them out and calling on supporters to defend them at all costs. Under the current bench they would probably lose but it could take a while for that to happen and with each new claim they might gain more time to further manipulate the outcome. If the skeleton of RBG were unable to participate then there's a chance they could remain in power indefinitely regardless of the outcome.

God forbid your scenario occurs! Can you imagine the chaos that would take place in this Country!
 
Joined
Mar 5, 2014
Messages
3,660
5) I have priced trips on privately run excursion trains that claim to provide full traditional service (i.e. fresh cooked meals, fancy lounge service, attentive SCA's, etc.) The prices are far higher than even the highest bucket Amtrak sleeper fare for an equivalent trip.

True, but remember that there is a different focus as to why such trains are offered. People who book such trips do so for different reasons than why many book Amtrak.
 
Joined
Mar 5, 2014
Messages
3,660
it’s possible Biden and the Dems will be led into a deficit reduction mindset from the minority GOP and nothing will change.

Sooner or later, someone(s) are going to have to "bite the bullet", be the statesmen/women that we need, and utter the "T" word: Taxes. This applies Nationally as well as in the States and Localities. They have to be increased if we are going to have the kind of first world country that we want that provides the services (including Amtrak) and benefits that we expect.
 
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