How long at each stop?

Amtrak Unlimited Discussion Forum

Help Support Amtrak Unlimited Discussion Forum:

steveindixon

Train Attendant
Joined
Apr 1, 2008
Messages
26
Hi Everyone! I apologize for all my questions. But, I am brand new to this site and I just ordered my tickets yesterday for my trip in July. So, I have a lot of questions and you people are great at answering them! So, my next question is, how long do you usually have at each stop? Enough time to get off the train and stretch your legs? Thanks! Steve
 

MrFSS

Engineer
Honored Member
Joined
Mar 13, 2004
Messages
9,712
Location
Central Kentucky
Hi Everyone! I apologize for all my questions. But, I am brand new to this site and I just ordered my tickets yesterday for my trip in July. So, I have a lot of questions and you people are great at answering them! So, my next question is, how long do you usually have at each stop? Enough time to get off the train and stretch your legs? Thanks! Steve
At each stop - NO. At a number of stops - YES.

If the schedule has an arrive and depart times you will usually have some time to get off, especially if you arrive earlier than the scheduled time.

At other stops on the schedule they will announce if it is a stop you can get off for a few minutes. But, always be ready to jump back on, as the train waits for no person.

The crews/conductors are usually very good about telling you when, where, and for how long.

One time they don't announce is during sleeping times. They may stop somewhere for a while in the middle of the night but you won't hear about that.

Enjoy your trip!
 

Bill Haithcoat

Engineer
Honored Member
Joined
Aug 23, 2002
Messages
4,031
Location
atlanta, georgia
Hi Everyone! I apologize for all my questions. But, I am brand new to this site and I just ordered my tickets yesterday for my trip in July. So, I have a lot of questions and you people are great at answering them! So, my next question is, how long do you usually have at each stop? Enough time to get off the train and stretch your legs? Thanks! Steve
Amtrak publishes a neat thick, readable timetable showing all the times and all the stops of trains all across the country. You will not see anything quite like this with the airlines or the bus. Stop by and grab one sometime between now and July. If you are going to pick up your tickets at the station, ask for one then. They are free. Or perhaps order one over the Amtrak phone number. A good way to learn about trains.

Larger cities with will have a separate arrival time and departure time. Smaller stations just have one one time. You have to be careful getting off at the smaller stations.

Furthermore, if a train is scheduled to stay, say, 30 minutes at a particular station, and arrives late, it might cut station dwell time down to about 20 minutes. So very be very careful and hang close to the door.

But pick up that timetable. It should enhance your entire experience, not just answer specific questions about station time.
 

the_traveler

Engineer
Joined
Nov 15, 2007
Messages
25,998
Location
Whatever siding I'm sitting on!
You can also get a copy of the schedules for each route on the Amtrak website.

As mentioned, if you see 2 times at a station (usually Ar and Dp), then the train will make an extended stop at that station. But be ready to reboard when instructed and you hear the train's horn! (It won't wait for 1 person!) Also, the conductor or attendant should tell you that "We will be at ____ for ____ minutes" - if you ask!
 

steveindixon

Train Attendant
Joined
Apr 1, 2008
Messages
26
You can also get a copy of the schedules for each route on the Amtrak website.
As mentioned, if you see 2 times at a station (usually Ar and Dp), then the train will make an extended stop at that station. But be ready to reboard when instructed and you hear the train's horn! (It won't wait for 1 person!) Also, the conductor or attendant should tell you that "We will be at ____ for ____ minutes" - if you ask!
Once again great information! Thanks! Steve
 
Joined
Aug 23, 2002
Messages
2,960
Location
southern Idaho
One of our frequent posters just barely made it on the train- he turned his back toward the door and lost his mind (either phone or taking picture). He ran for his life, pleading the conductor to stop. Luckily, the conductor instructed the engineer to stop and have him boarded.
 

Crescent ATN & TCL

OBS Chief
Joined
Jan 30, 2008
Messages
691
Location
Tuscaloosa/Lincoln, AL
One of our frequent posters just barely made it on the train- he turned his back toward the door and lost his mind (either phone or taking picture). He ran for his life, pleading the conductor to stop. Luckily, the conductor instructed the engineer to stop and have him boarded.
Depending on the crew you may not have time to even realize you stopped at a station. I watch the Crescent come through Anniston, AL quite a bit. Usually the train is a little late here because there is no recover time scheduled nearby. The train usually rounds the curve going full track speed, the train comes roaring into the station and the engineer applys the brakes at the last possible second, The conductor has the door opened and is on the ground before the train completely stops, luggage is essentially thrown off the train, passengers are rushed on and off, the conductor gives the all clear the train starts to move, he grabs the step stool, runs down the platform throws it up in the car, jumps up onto the bottom step, and closes the door, the train is pretty much back up to speed by the time the last car clears the platform. I've timed them and the stops are generally less than a minute, usually about 30 seconds. On the rare occasion they are early you might have time to get of here, or in a holiday rush when there could be 30+ boarding compared to the usual family or two.
 

transit54

Conductor
Joined
Feb 13, 2007
Messages
1,390
Location
Washington, DC
You will not see anything quite like this with the airlines or the bus. Stop by and grab one sometime between now and July.
Actually, I have the Greyhound Lines time table sitting on a shelf within view at the moment. The big difference is, of course, that Amtrak's is free and Greyhound made me buy it off them for $5 (needed it for a project, but its also an interesting read). But they do exist. In fact, some airlines even maintain them, but they're completely digital only. I was shocked last week when I found Lufthansa doesn't have a route map anywhere on their site - instead, they offer you a PDF version of their timetable.
 

Green Maned Lion

Engineer
Joined
Dec 27, 2007
Messages
8,293
Location
NJ
Personally, I think people need to accept the trains as they are- lateness and all- to appreciate the service and become long term customers.
It is the customers who are wrong and the business that is right? I don't think so. The (potential) customers demand reasonably on-time performance, and Amtrak has to find a way to give them that if they want their business.

I understand that YOU don't mind late trains because YOU don't have to worry about vacation time and YOU enjoy being on the train. But you're in the exteme minority and Amtrak will continue to suffer with poor funding and relatively low ridership if attitudes like yours are prevalent in Amtrak management. "Customers - let them eat cake. We'll do what we want."
I ain't saying that at all! I think the system would be much more palatable to the average man if the trains ran on time.

The fact of the matter is, the trains normally run late. Customers need to know that as the truth. Running the service on time for the promotion, when they never actually do this, is a form of false advertising.
 

transit54

Conductor
Joined
Feb 13, 2007
Messages
1,390
Location
Washington, DC
Personally, I think people need to accept the trains as they are- lateness and all- to appreciate the service and become long term customers.
It is the customers who are wrong and the business that is right? I don't think so. The (potential) customers demand reasonably on-time performance, and Amtrak has to find a way to give them that if they want their business.

I understand that YOU don't mind late trains because YOU don't have to worry about vacation time and YOU enjoy being on the train. But you're in the exteme minority and Amtrak will continue to suffer with poor funding and relatively low ridership if attitudes like yours are prevalent in Amtrak management. "Customers - let them eat cake. We'll do what we want."
I ain't saying that at all! I think the system would be much more palatable to the average man if the trains ran on time.

The fact of the matter is, the trains normally run late. Customers need to know that as the truth. Running the service on time for the promotion, when they never actually do this, is a form of false advertising.
But they shouldn't normally run late. I work for an airline, and we have particular flights that run late during certain months 30% or more of time. Despite this, we don't advertise the "truth" about that particular flight. If anything, we'll adjust the padding a bit. If things get really bad, to the point that our flight might end up on the "most delayed flights list" that the DOT puts out every month, then it becomes a "red zone" flight and will be given priority over our other flights so that it doesn't make it onto the list. My point is that all transportation runs late due to various factors at various times. No one advertises that fact, nor do they do anything to try and make that fact apparent. If a train "never" runs on time, the padding needs to be adjusted in the schedule (which I've seen Amtrak do).

Obviously, this is a much broader issue that needs to be addressed at a whole different level. The problem is less that the trains can't be run on time (as timeliness is just a function of the schedule), but that they can't be run consistently on the same schedule, regardless of what it is.
 

Green Maned Lion

Engineer
Joined
Dec 27, 2007
Messages
8,293
Location
NJ
Amtraks trains run at the mercy of several train companies, some of which seem to get a kick out of seeing how long they can delay Amtrak trains. Not naming any names- COUGH UNION PACIFIC COUGH.

To pretend Amtraks trains do not routinely run hours late is infantile.
 

Bill Haithcoat

Engineer
Honored Member
Joined
Aug 23, 2002
Messages
4,031
Location
atlanta, georgia
You will not see anything quite like this with the airlines or the bus. Stop by and grab one sometime between now and July.
Actually, I have the Greyhound Lines time table sitting on a shelf within view at the moment. The big difference is, of course, that Amtrak's is free and Greyhound made me buy it off them for $5 (needed it for a project, but its also an interesting read). But they do exist. In fact, some airlines even maintain them, but they're completely digital only. I was shocked last week when I found Lufthansa doesn't have a route map anywhere on their site - instead, they offer you a PDF version of their timetable.
I, too, have heard that they do exist. But they are still not plentiful and sitting around to be easily and freely be picked up.That you had to ask and then had to pay sort of nips it in the bud for traveling enjoyment. If you take another bus ride four months later, perhaps have to pay for another one. . I sorely miss them though, because when I do travel by bus I want to know the stops, and change points, as much as I want to know them for the train.

I have a nice collection of railroad timetables but I proudly have an old airline or bus timetable or two as well. I prize them greatly. Funny, the further back to you go with airline schedules the more they were structered like train timetables, (since that is who they learned from). They even had schedules reading "up" amd "down". Planes made more stops back then, etc. Rather interesting. I wish system-wide airline and bus schedules were fully available as they used to be---added much to any trip, whether by bus, plane or train. Devouring the full, complete timetable would help pass the time even more on a bus or plane since there is less to do than on a train.

On a tran it is especially helpful in heavily served regions like the Northeast Corrider so you can know what train that is you jsut passed.
 

RailFanLNK

Conductor
Joined
Mar 24, 2006
Messages
1,928
Location
Lincoln, Nebraska (LNK)
Being fairly new to rail travel, I was really surpised on how "quick" the actual stops are. So don't venture very far away or even think about getting off at some stops. Personally, I only get out when its a scheduled stop of some duration.
 

steveindixon

Train Attendant
Joined
Apr 1, 2008
Messages
26
By the way, Steveindixon, where in California are you boarding? On this forum we are kind of intersted in each others trips.
I am boarding in Davis, CA. I'll be going to Chicago, then to Albany, N.Y. before my final destination in Boston. Then, 6 days later I'll make the return trip.
 

Bill Haithcoat

Engineer
Honored Member
Joined
Aug 23, 2002
Messages
4,031
Location
atlanta, georgia
By the way, Steveindixon, where in California are you boarding? On this forum we are kind of intersted in each others trips.
I am boarding in Davis, CA. I'll be going to Chicago, then to Albany, N.Y. before my final destination in Boston. Then, 6 days later I'll make the return trip.

That tells us you will be on the California Zephyr, which has some of the best scenery in the country, esp. the Rocky Mountains.
 

Joel N. Weber II

Engineer
Joined
Sep 22, 2007
Messages
2,917
Location
Greater Boston, MA
Funny, the further back to you go with airline schedules the more they were structered like train timetables, (since that is who they learned from). They even had schedules reading "up" amd "down". Planes made more stops back then, etc.
Pressurized jet airplanes get terrible fuel economy at low altitudes, which is a reason why avoiding intermediate stops becomes desireable. I think this was much less of a problem for unpressurized piston planes that were common before about WWII.

A modern pressurized jet at cruise altitude and speed also probably goes 2-4 times faster than a DC-3. And the takeoff/landing process hasn't gotten any faster (if anything, it has probably gotten a lot slower, between airport congestion and the larger altitude changes now used). So those extra stops would have a much bigger impact, percentagewise, on the time the trip takes than they used to. It's probably now faster to take a direct flight to a hub even if that hub is a little out of the way than it would be to make extra intermediate landings to get to a hub fewer miles away.

I suspect a typical modern jet also can carry enough fuel to give it a much longer range than those older planes had. I suspect a DC-3 full of passengers simply cannot carry enough fuel to make a trip from New York to Los Angeles without stopping for fuel. (Yes, I'm using the present tense here. A private pilot who is willing to spend a couple thousand dollars can still find flying DC-3s on which to get a DC-3 type rating. It's even possible to spend about $4 million to get a remanufactured DC-3 with turboprop engines, and apparently for certain kinds of cargo carrying, etc, that makes a lot of sense even today.)
 

AlanB

Engineer
Honored Member
Joined
Aug 22, 2002
Messages
28,402
Location
Queens, New York
Funny, the further back to you go with airline schedules the more they were structered like train timetables, (since that is who they learned from). They even had schedules reading "up" amd "down". Planes made more stops back then, etc.
Pressurized jet airplanes get terrible fuel economy at low altitudes, which is a reason why avoiding intermediate stops becomes desireable. I think this was much less of a problem for unpressurized piston planes that were common before about WWII.

A modern pressurized jet at cruise altitude and speed also probably goes 2-4 times faster than a DC-3. And the takeoff/landing process hasn't gotten any faster (if anything, it has probably gotten a lot slower, between airport congestion and the larger altitude changes now used). So those extra stops would have a much bigger impact, percentagewise, on the time the trip takes than they used to. It's probably now faster to take a direct flight to a hub even if that hub is a little out of the way than it would be to make extra intermediate landings to get to a hub fewer miles away.

I suspect a typical modern jet also can carry enough fuel to give it a much longer range than those older planes had. I suspect a DC-3 full of passengers simply cannot carry enough fuel to make a trip from New York to Los Angeles without stopping for fuel. (Yes, I'm using the present tense here. A private pilot who is willing to spend a couple thousand dollars can still find flying DC-3s on which to get a DC-3 type rating. It's even possible to spend about $4 million to get a remanufactured DC-3 with turboprop engines, and apparently for certain kinds of cargo carrying, etc, that makes a lot of sense even today.)
Pressure from the riding public, in particular business people, wanting a one seat ride also contributed to loosing intermediate stops.
 
Top