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May 25, 2006
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An excellent AutoTrain trip into Lorton today.

*Arrived 30” early
*Sleeper in good shape mechanically and well cleaned, if a bit tired around the edges
*Excellent crew and another car’s SCA we had on a previous trip came by to wish us a Merry Christmas. He and another SCA took turns helping out by serving the wine in the diner. 3 servers handled the food service for the 5, 7, and 9pm seatings.
*Food was well prepared if unremarkable. Deserts were outstanding.
*Had a full load, 502 passengers with 9 sleepers and 4 coaches. 30 auto carriers.

Clearly Amtrak gives this train some priority as to equipment and service. Got to our son‘s house near Harrisburg where temp is now 6, wind chill -24 because of strong winds.
 
Joined
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nteresting such a large load going North this time of year. Holiday travel I guess.
Yes, supposedly the slow season northbound. But, as you surmise, lots of holiday travelers. We talked to 5 couples, all Floridians from east and west coasts. All were headed north to see family, as we were. Destinations included NJ, upstate NY, MD, and 2 for VA and we were headed to PA and NJ.
 

b243923

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Amtrak Alerts

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Official

UPDATE: Auto Train 53, which departed Lorton (LOR) on 12/26, continues to be stopped south of Lorton due to a disabled vehicle on the tracks along the route ahead. We will provide updates as information becomes available.


https://twitter.com/AmtrakAlerts/status/1607556331627487232
 

b243923

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Official

Due to ongoing delays, Auto Train 52 which is scheduled to depart Sanford (SFA) on 12/27 is canceled. For more information, please call 1-800-USA-RAIL
 

frequentflyer

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Jun 10, 2008
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On TrainOrders, someone on the northbound states the switcher derailed and they are still waiting for their cars hours after arrival. So 53 was not going anywhere today anyway until the switcher is rerailed.
 

frequentflyer

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This why I do not understand why AT only have two consist sets and not three, four preferable. Its looks good accounting wise keeping a consist perpetually moving day in, day out but as airlines have found out, always good to have a backup plane waiting. It makes sense to have three consists rotating through operations.
 

RebelRider

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This why I do not understand why AT only have two consist sets and not three, four preferable. Its looks good accounting wise keeping a consist perpetually moving day in, day out but as airlines have found out, always good to have a backup plane waiting. It makes sense to have three consists rotating through operations.

Disregarding the fact that Amtrak has literally zero extra equipment available, there isn't enough room in Lorton or Sanford to practically park an extra 30 Superliners and 60 carriers. If you do have a third set available, there is a 50% chance it will be on the wrong end when needed. If that extra set is put into service due to a late train, it will be in the station loading for several hours right with the late arrival is due to arrive, further delaying the late train.
 
Joined
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Ugh, eta now 8:50pm at Sanford and both trains are canceled. Glad we missed this. And I know the southbound train has been sold out for this week so no chance for passengers to rebook anytime soon. Lots of lost revenue and unhappy people headed down I-95.
 

west point

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This why I do not understand why AT only have two consist sets and not three, four preferable. Its looks good accounting wise keeping a consist perpetually moving day in, day out but as airlines have found out, always good to have a backup plane waiting. It makes sense to have three consists rotating through operations.
Which trains would Amtrak have to raid cars from ?
 

frequentflyer

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Which trains would Amtrak have to raid cars from ?
The same trains or cars that Amtrak uses when the AT cars have to go in for heavy service. 479 Superliners were built, and while a large number of have been sidelined its up to Amtrak management to at least have a third consist for their most profitable LD train per their words. We are running shortened LD consists, running 7 car Superliner cars on Illinois corridor services, Cap Ltd that could go BACK to single level, who knows how many Superliner cars in Beech Grove waiting for legal reason or money to be repaired, again ask Amtrak management.

No doubt just using two consists makes the numbers for the AT look great. And 95% of the time, two consists work. But whether a Superliner is sitting in Chicago, LA or in Lorton, it hits the books the same.
 

jis

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The same trains or cars that Amtrak uses when the AT cars have to go in for heavy service. 479 Superliners were built, and while a large number of have been sidelined its up to Amtrak management to at least have a third consist for their most profitable LD train per their words. We are running shortened LD consists, running 7 car Superliner cars on Illinois corridor services, Cap Ltd that could go BACK to single level, who knows how many Superliner cars in Beech Grove waiting for legal reason or money to be repaired, again ask Amtrak management.

No doubt just using two consists makes the numbers for the AT look great. And 95% of the time, two consists work. But whether a Superliner is sitting in Chicago, LA or in Lorton, it hits the books the same.
It seems to me that this would be a ridiculous overkill in order to avoid some 7 to 10 cancellations at most, per year. Just IMHO of course.
 

Hans627

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The same trains or cars that Amtrak uses when the AT cars have to go in for heavy service. 479 Superliners were built, and while a large number of have been sidelined its up to Amtrak management to at least have a third consist for their most profitable LD train per their words. We are running shortened LD consists, running 7 car Superliner cars on Illinois corridor services, Cap Ltd that could go BACK to single level, who knows how many Superliner cars in Beech Grove waiting for legal reason or money to be repaired, again ask Amtrak management.

No doubt just using two consists makes the numbers for the AT look great. And 95% of the time, two consists work. But whether a Superliner is sitting in Chicago, LA or in Lorton, it hits the books the same.
I really don't think they care that much about "the books" and that is the problem with government subsidized corporations. But I do understand the need for the subsidies.
 
Joined
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12 miles from Walt Disney World
The same trains or cars that Amtrak uses when the AT cars have to go in for heavy service. 479 Superliners were built, and while a large number of have been sidelined its up to Amtrak management to at least have a third consist for their most profitable LD train per their words. We are running shortened LD consists, running 7 car Superliner cars on Illinois corridor services, Cap Ltd that could go BACK to single level, who knows how many Superliner cars in Beech Grove waiting for legal reason or money to be repaired, again ask Amtrak management.

No doubt just using two consists makes the numbers for the AT look great. And 95% of the time, two consists work. But whether a Superliner is sitting in Chicago, LA or in Lorton, it hits the books the same.
But most of the cancellations seem to be due to delays caused by tracks being impassible for some reason. If they had a 3rd consist, then 50% of the times it would be at the wrong end of the route for recovery.
 

Amtrak709

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What happens if you get in line at Lorton at 2:30 for a 3:00 deadline and the line doesn't move quickly enough to check in at 3? Thank you in advance!
The obvious answer to this question is that, if you are in the que within the appointed time cutoff (much like a bank or other retail-type line), then it would be reasonable to expect you to be accommodated as on time. Having said that, I have NO first hand experience with this situation and one should remember that this is, in fact, AMTRAK--who may have rules that defy reason. The real answer should come from someone on the forum who really knows! I apologize in advance for this "flip" remark.
 
Joined
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When we took AutoTrain last week there were a few cars that came after 3 to maybe 3:15. I don’t know if they were in line or just stragglers but apparently there is some wiggle room in the 3 cut off.

We were there at 12:15 and they began accepting cars right at 12:30. We came early to make sure we had a choice of dinner times and, after checking in at the ticket counter to do that (but not our car), we went downtown for a great lunch. We were back by 2:30, as admonished by the check in staff.

We boarded at 3:30 and departed a few minutes late at 5:10 but arrived 30min early.
 
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