Current San Joaquin Comet Runs

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desertflyer

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On Wikipedia it says 714, 703, 702 and 715 are the current runs, but the source is from last spring. I'd like to take a trip on the Comets, so does anyone know how they are currently assigned?
 

rickycourtney

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It's been sort of back and forth between a few runs in the last few months. The last I heard (Sunday) the Comet cars were running on 712/717 turn. Last month, during the thanksgiving holiday rush they were on the 718/711 turn.

There are supposed to be two Comet car trainsets, but only one seems to be up and running at the moment. Not sure if that's due to technical difficulties, push back from riders/politicians along the San Joaquin (the Comet cars aren't very popular) or a combination of both.

Wish I could help more... but I moved out of Fresno last year and don't get to trainspot on the San Joaquin as often.
 

MikeM

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Any news why they're unpopular? Given they are basically new cars inside, I'd think they would be a nice change of pace on the route, even if they aren't as easy to board as the California cars?
 

roadman3313

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It appears they do rotate sets as well as the NPCU that came in last night as well as the Comet Cars (and train length for that matter) that came in on train 717 last night were different than the ones that went out on train 712 this morning. The 718/711 rotation are back to the bi-levels again leaving the 712/717 rotation as the lone Comet rotation as of now.
 

rickycourtney

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Any news why they're unpopular?
I'll let the San Joaquin Joint Powers Authority (SJJPA) explain that in their own words.

While use of the Comet Car trainset does increase the seating capacity of the San Joaquin service, there are some potential negative aspects to having single-level Comet Car trainsets deployed, including; high-level boarding (which requires all passengers to climb a steep set of stairs), narrow doors that are manually opened, use of a manually cranked wheelchair lift at all stations, bike storage and large luggage stored in separate baggage cars, and costs associated with additional train attendants and maintenance. SJJPA has submitted formal comments to Caltrans raising concerns regarding these aspects of the Comet Car trainsets, as the SJJPA believes they could threaten the future success of the San Joaquin service. SJJPA will continue working to get written commitments from Caltrans that if the Comet Car trainset does not lead to increased ridership and revenue, the equipment will be removed from service and replaced with shorter trains made up of the existing bi-level equipment.
Source: San Joaquin Joint Powers Authority Business Plan June 2014
 

PaulM

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... there are some potential negative aspects to having single-level Comet Car trainsets deployed, including; high-level boarding (which requires all passengers to climb a steep set of stairs), narrow doors that are manually opened, use of a manually cranked wheelchair lift at all stations,
I always thought Californians were tougher than Midwesterners. :) But apparently not.

bike storage and large luggage stored in separate baggage cars,
Sounds like a good deal to me, not something to complain about.
 

desertflyer

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Thanks for the info! I am heading Pasadena to SF in a couple of weeks, so only train 715 worked for my schedule. Bummer. I'm a bit bored of the California Cars. Maybe next time.
 

neroden

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The new bilevels can't show up soon enough -- but they're supposed to start showing up at the end of 2015. By the time the SJJPA complaints go back and forth with Caltrans for a while, this will probably all be moot as the new bilevels will be showing up.

I wonder who will buy the Comets off of California once they're replaced. North Carolina, maybe? They seem to love antique equipment there.
 
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desertflyer

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I was on 714 (southbound) today and saw 717 go by with the comets. It piqued my interest again and I found a workaround in Amtrak's booking system. If you just look for a one way from Pasadena to San Francisco, the booking system only gives two options, a bus that connects with 715 and a bus that connects with 703. If instead you book a multicity with the first segment being Pasadena-Bakersfield, then Bakersfield to San Francisco, you are given more options of thruway connections. The fare was the same as what I had booked before. So now I'm booked on a thruway bus that arrives 15min before 717 leaves. With a little luck I'll get to check out the comets in person.
 

rrdude

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FRACK. I'm on 715 on the 25th, I surely don't want to be sitting in a Comet going up the Valley. Cali-Amtrak NOT being nice to me with my travel options this month.
 

desertflyer

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FRACK. I'm on 715 on the 25th, I surely don't want to be sitting in a Comet going up the Valley. Cali-Amtrak NOT being nice to me with my travel options this month.
Good news - 715 is running California Cars at the moment. Of course it's subject to change so YMMV.
 

rickycourtney

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FRACK. I'm on 715 on the 25th, I surely don't want to be sitting in a Comet going up the Valley. Cali-Amtrak NOT being nice to me with my travel options this month.
While the Comet Cars are older and require walking up a set of stairs... I personally think the seating is MUCH more comfortable than the non-reclining seats on the California Cars.
 
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Paulus

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It's been sort of back and forth between a few runs in the last few months. The last I heard (Sunday) the Comet cars were running on 712/717 turn. Last month, during the thanksgiving holiday rush they were on the 718/711 turn.

There are supposed to be two Comet car trainsets, but only one seems to be up and running at the moment. Not sure if that's due to technical difficulties, push back from riders/politicians along the San Joaquin (the Comet cars aren't very popular) or a combination of both.

Wish I could help more... but I moved out of Fresno last year and don't get to trainspot on the San Joaquin as often.
10. San Joaquin Rolling Stock Update

Brian Schmidt reiterated what Ms. Mortensen said, that Caltrans has directed Amtrak to remove the Comet Cars from regular service. He said, however, that removing them from service and not having them operate at all are two different things. Mr. Schmidt said that the State is not looking to “mothball” the Comet Cars trainsets. He said that they would be using them for high-ridership periods, and as emergency equipment (if bi- level trainset couldn’t go out they could use the Comet Car trainset as a replacement), he said also when they had a lot of overhauls a Comet Car trainset might be utilized. Vice Chair Perea asked “Everywhere? Surfliners? Capitols?” Mr. Schmidt replied “Everywhere”.

Mr. Schmidt said that now the Comet Cars are part of the Northern California fleet, but in the future they would also be used down south. He said that if a Capitol Corridor train went out of service, then a Comet Car trainset would be used to replace that train. Mr. Schmidt said there is also discussion of one of the Comet Car trainsets going to the Surfliners to replace a single-level Horizon Car trainset which is being leased from Amtrak. He said that this could result in a cost savings for the State. He said that there are a lot of discussions going on about how best to utilize the Comet Cars to best serve the State. Mr. Schmidt reiterated that the Comet Cars would go to whichever service needed equipment.
Source
 

Cal

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Anyone happen to know the current Comet runs on the San Joaquins?
Nope, sorry.

On a different note, I thought this thread was new and was reading and thought it was all recently posted till I saw someone talking about new bi-levels that are supposed to be put into service into 2015. Then, I looked at the date. 😂
 

GiantsFan

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Nope, sorry.

On a different note, I thought this thread was new and was reading and thought it was all recently posted till I saw someone talking about new bi-levels that are supposed to be put into service into 2015. Then, I looked at the date. 😂
same hahahaha
 

desertflyer

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Nope, sorry.

On a different note, I thought this thread was new and was reading and thought it was all recently posted till I saw someone talking about new bi-levels that are supposed to be put into service into 2015. Then, I looked at the date. 😂
Sorry for that. I didn't want to open a new thread on the same topic, but I did resurrect this one from the dead.

718 and 713 currently
Thanks!!
 
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