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Are they shutting down the NEC (or parts of it) next week?

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MARC Rider

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In todays Washington Post, they had a map of closures in Downtown DC for security reasons during the Inauguration. It looks like Union Station is is the "red zone" (authorized vehicles only) and Metro has said they're closing a bunch of downtown stations, including Union Station. I also saw in another thread here that both MARC and VRE won't be running trains next week.

This kind of suggests that if one were to ride Amtrak to Union Station during this period, they wouldn't be able to practically leave the station. No taxis, no buses, no Metro, no connecting commuter rail. This suggests that it would be silly for Amtrak trains to stop in Union Station during this period. Now, I don't see why it wouldn't be possible for through trains (such as the Virginia service or the long-distance trains) to run through as "sealed trains between New Carrolton and Alexandria, but anything terminating in Washington (Northeast regionals and Acelas and the Capitol Limited) might have problems.

How could this be handled?

1) Cancel all the Northeast Regionals, Acela, and Capitol Limited that terminate in Washington. This would really be a problem for all the NEC passengers that aren't going to Washington.
2) Terminate the Northeast Regionals, and Acelas at New Carrolton. They could kick out all the passengers at New Carrolton, run the empty trains to Ivy City and turn them, and then come back to New Carrolton to pick up northbound passengers.
3) Terminate the Northeast Regional and Acelas in Baltimore. I thing there are enough tracks to be able to run the engines around to the other end of the train.
4) Terminate the Northeast Regionals and Acelas in Philadelphia.

As for the Capitol Limited:

1) Terminate in Rockville. They could run the train empty to Ivy City for service and turn around.
2) Run it through to Alexandria. I think the Superliners can fit through the 1st St Tunnel, but there's really nowhere to turn the train in Alexandria.

Has Amtrak announced what they're really going to do?
 

bms

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Nothing official, but I heard employees talking about a four-day shutdown. Having been in Union Station for a layover yesterday afternoon, I think your safest bet is to use the suburban stations in Alexandria, Rockville, etc., rather than plan on any layover in Washington. It's too close to the Capitol and all the action that it's best not to be a part of.

Personally I don't see any reason to even have the inauguration in Washington, or for anyone to travel there unnecessarily. Philadelphia was totally normal yesterday, I was BSing about favorite cheesesteak places with a nice Uber driver and had the Metropolitan Lounge practicallg to myself. A few hours later I was getting stressed out just being in Washington, and you can't know which groups are getting incited to do what.
 

RebelRider

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Looks like everything south of WAS on Tuesday and Wednesday was just canceled. The only things still running are 97/98, 19 on Tuesday and 90 on Wednesday. This is borderline ridiculous. Can't travel anywhere in the state of VA or between NC and VA because of something in DC. Just wow.

66 - Canceled NPN-WAS
67 - Canceled WAS-NPN
79 - Canceled WAS-CLT
80 - Canceled CLT-WAS
84 - Canceled NFK-WAS
93 - Canceled WAS-NFK
94 - Canceled NFK-WAS
95 - Canceled WAS-NFK
125 - Canceled WAS-NPN
171 - Canceled WAS-RNK
174 - Canceled NPN-WAS
176 - Canceled RNK-WAS
 

jis

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It's the 1st St. Tunnel thing I bet.

90 on Wednesday is way after the day's festivities.

I would also suspect that they will have all service north of Washington probably stopping at New Carrolton since that would be the only station accessible from the Metro system.
 

jis

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I would also suspect that they will have all service north of Washington probably stopping at New Carrolton since that would be the only station accessible from the Metro system.
NOMA Metro takes care of Union Station arrivals/departures thus removing any need for additional stops at New Carrolton.

I see they completely killed all service through the 1st St tunnel on those two days.
 

daybeers

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What I'm frustrated about is the fact that the customers are left in the dirt with three days notice. What are they supposed to do now? Many people choose the train for COVID safety and now they'll have to cram onto buses, planes, or drive themselves which doesn't help anyone. What a joke.
 

flitcraft

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What I'm frustrated about is the fact that the customers are left in the dirt with three days notice. What are they supposed to do now? Many people choose the train for COVID safety and now they'll have to cram onto buses, planes, or drive themselves which doesn't help anyone. What a joke.
Getting caught up in a riot is probably a trifle more risky than taking a bus, plane, or driving, though. Especially a riot where both sides are likely to be heavily armed. I wouldn't want to risk getting caught in the middle, and I wouldn't want to be the person in charge who figured that maintaining normal public transportation was more important than preventing innocent bystanders from being hurt or worse.
 

Willbridge

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When we hosted the Oklahoma City bombing trial in Denver we were concerned because our LRT line passed within sight of the Federal courthouse. Numerous security measures that I won't describe were set up but to our relief the trains kept running. I've had experience in several cities with last-minute security measures disrupting service without time to alert customers.

One thing that I will describe, as it made one of the papers, is that the old Russian guy who ran a hot dog cart on that corner was looking forward to increased business. Instead, customers were intercepted by young, athletic looking guys with clean new hot dog carts posted at corners around the perimeter.
 

jebr

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NOMA Metro takes care of Union Station arrivals/departures thus removing any need for additional stops at New Carrolton.
The NOMA Metro station is still a roughly 15-minute walk - especially with baggage, increased security/scrutiny and potential additional unrest near Union Station, I'd probably still opt for New Carrollton if at all possible. IMO, Amtrak should have all trains also stop at New Carrollton so that those that don't need to get near Union Station for their final destination have a clear second option to at least avoid transferring in that area.
 

AmtrakBlue

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Staying home is always an option ...
Well, some of us have important appointments that we need to make, like medical ones.
Edit:
Luckily my next appt, which is in Baltimore, not DC, isn’t till the next week, but I’d be unhappy if I had one this week and the trains I have booked were cancelled. Yes, I can drive, but find taking the train less stressful - in case there’s an accident or construction on 95 that causes me to detour in unfamiliar areas.
 
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adamj023

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The trains should be protected for everyone equally. Instead they are restricting transit and movement which will lead to even more anger. What a joke. The citizens pay for mass transit from their taxes and some don’t even use it.

If someone really wants to be in the area, board a military grade jet equipped with torpedos and missiles and don’t give in to anyone who tells you to leave the airspace. The US Navy got in some P-8 recently. Maybe someone can get a ride in one.
 
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AmtrakBlue

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The trains should be protected for everyone equally. Instead they are restricting transit and movement which will lead to even more anger. What a joke. The citizens pay for mass transit from their taxes and some don’t even use it.

If someone really wants to be in the area, board a military grade jet equipped with torpedos and missiles and don’t give in to anyone who tells you to leave the airspace. The US Navy got in some P-8 recently. Maybe someone can get a ride in one.
They're protecting everybody equally at the point where the most likely danger exists....under the Capitol.
 

adamj023

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Tunnels are less dangerous than airspace. That explanation doesn’t make sense as tunnels can be secured easily with the appropriate equipment. Virginia hosts a lot of intelligence and military assets. Example: Norfolk Virginia and the US Navy.

The Cardinal is shut down on all the Northern routes as well apparently. Areas skipped includes Quantico, VA where the FBI is. Doesn’t seem to be due to tunnels which are more securable since trains go thru a confined space and Amtrak and local and federal police could easily secure a train with bomb sniffing dogs, and the like. Trains would have been the safest way to travel if they were kept open and could have been secured moreso than the rest of the area including weapons checkpoints. Not sure what is really going on.
 
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PaTrainFan

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Tunnels are less dangerous than airspace. That explanation doesn’t make sense as tunnels can be secured easily with the appropriate equipment. Virginia hosts a lot of intelligence and military assets. Example: Norfolk Virginia and the US Navy.
Perhaps the security experts should have consulted you before making their plans.
 

Nick Farr

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Doesn’t seem to be due to tunnels which are more securable since trains go thru a confined space and Amtrak and local and federal police could easily secure a train with bomb sniffing dogs, and the like.
Mostly, it's due to the classic fight between threat intelligence and inconveniencing important people. A lot of people coming from north of DC will be traveling by train into DC--and in a lot of ways, this is a good thing since they're able to better pool scarce security resources. For example, they can always do a thorough security check of every DCUS train in New Carrolton and leave the K-9 and other assets parked there--where they can be easily deployed back to DC if needed.

Not so much with the trainsets that have to pass through the 1st st tunnel. There are really a very limited set of K-9 and other assets that have to be deployed to meet the highest need--and those trains are not "high need". Most VIPs coming to the inauguration from the south are driving or flying.

Further, the people most likely to disrupt the inauguration are coming from the South rather than the North--so they're basically establishing defensive positions from the south since it's easier to cut off those bridges.
 

Bob Dylan

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Story on Yahoo News that Amtrack Regional Trains WILL Terminste @ Union Station, not New Carrelton or Baltimore.

As has been discussed here, the Metro stop @ Union Station will not be open and no Taxis or Ride Share vehicles will be sllowed.

Traffic patterns are all altered with Security Checkpoints etc.

It warns that you should allow plenty of extra time to reach or leave the area, in other words "you cant get here from there!"
 

adamj023

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People like myself can get into DC from the north by train by rail via commuter and Amtrak. No blockage here. As far as the local mass transit network goes, one can just walk or rent a car and the like And use the metro where its open. If you are coming from the South, it seems like you need to find alternative transportation from North Carolina or further north to get to DC. But the tunnel doesn’t seem to be the reason. There are heavy ties between DC and south of the Potomac River as everyone knows. Two bridges to the south of the Potomac seem to be closed as well.
 
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