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Michigan trains late!

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SarahZ

Conductor
Joined
May 8, 2011
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Blue Water 364 encountered rail congestion east of Chicago.

Wolverine 354 had mechanical problems before leaving Chicago and departed an hour late.

Wolverine 355 encountered rail congestion west of Dearborn.

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Joined
Jan 25, 2020
Messages
3
This is nothing new - the Michigan trains are habitually late. A 2014 Detroit Free Press article noted that the Wolverine trains had an on-time record of just 33%, down from 72% in 2005; the same article noted that the Blue Water train ran on time only 13% of the time.
 

IndyLions

Lead Service Attendant
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Nov 6, 2016
Messages
341
Location
Brownsburg IN
The biggest problem is NS between Chicago & Porter IN. I was on the last Wolverine out of Chicago a few months ago. We were running more or less on time a few miles from Porter, when NS parked us on a siding. I counted AT LEAST SEVEN freight trains they made us sit and wait for. Next thing you know we are 3+ hours late and I’m arriving in Jackson Michigan at 2am.

I don’t understand why that new lawsuit happy Michigan Attorney General doesn’t sue NS for illegally ignoring government regulations on Passenger Train priority. That’s just ridiculous.
 

Michigan Mom

OBS Chief
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Jan 28, 2012
Messages
670
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MI
Been a passenger on the Wolverine for 20 years now. It's always been what it is, board the train in Michigan, detrain in downtown Chicago, by and large I have really been delighted with this travel option. The overwhelming majority of the time you will get to where you're going within about an hour of the scheduled time, very occasionally something more serious happens such as a tree on the tracks (happened to colleague) trespasser incident (happened to me) and you're looking at a major delay. However during the recent snowstorm, when 1000 flights canceled out of Chicago and Detroit, the Wolverine service was running with no cancellations and I don't think, any delay. The ability to travel safely during snow and thunderstorms is what I appreciate the most.
 
Joined
Jul 21, 2016
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...The overwhelming majority of the time you will get to where you're going within about an hour of the scheduled time...
I checked the performance of 352 at Ann Arbor for the past year on https://juckins.net/amtrak_status/archive/html/home.php It has departed over an hour late, or been outright canceled, 136 times. It has left exactly on time (6:34 PM) ONCE. In the past month, it has left over an hour late 12 times. In addition to freight delays, a lot of the problem is the ITCS/engine interface.
 

SarahZ

Conductor
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I don’t understand why that new lawsuit happy Michigan Attorney General doesn’t sue NS for illegally ignoring government regulations on Passenger Train priority. That’s just ridiculous.
Michigan doesn't own the tracks west of Porter, IN. I'm not sure she'd have jurisdiction.
 

Qapla

Conductor
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Jul 15, 2019
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Gator Country Florida
However during the recent snowstorm, when 1000 flights canceled out of Chicago and Detroit, the Wolverine service was running with no cancellations
One morning on The Weather Channel they mentioned that over 3,500 flights had been cancelled and another 2,000+ had been delayed - funny how they never mention that the trains were still running :confused:
 

IndyLions

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Nov 6, 2016
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341
Location
Brownsburg IN
Michigan doesn't own the tracks west of Porter, IN. I'm not sure she'd have jurisdiction.
Of course you are probably right - but it sure would be nice if a politician stirred something up to get some attention on the matter.

After all it is a Michigan supported service using Michigan taxpayer dollars, and Michigan citizens being wronged by a major corporation ignoring federal law...
 

neroden

Conductor
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Feb 23, 2014
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Ithaca, NY
Michigan doesn't own the tracks west of Porter, IN. I'm not sure she'd have jurisdiction.
The major problem is that the law currently only gives the US (federal) attorney general the power to file suit over violation of the passenger priority laws. Rail Passengers Association has been advocating for Congress to amend the law to give other parties the power to file suit, such as Amtrak or the states which pay for the train service.
 

SarahZ

Conductor
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KAL
The major problem is that the law currently only gives the US (federal) attorney general the power to file suit over violation of the passenger priority laws. Rail Passengers Association has been advocating for Congress to amend the law to give other parties the power to file suit, such as Amtrak or the states which pay for the train service.
Ah, thank you. That answers my question. :)
 

wwchi

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Apr 14, 2009
Messages
273
yup, it's terrible. 20 minutes late is "on time" in my book. But that's surely no way to run a business. :-(
 

IndyLions

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https://www.freep.com/story/news/local/michigan/oakland/2020/02/24/amtrak-blames-freight-trains-passenger-delays-getting-worse/4851468002/

Amtrak's on-time performance on Michigan trains was just 43% last year. On the Wolverine (Chicago-Pontiac), it was just 33%.

Ouch.
As it says in the article, it is critical that real teeth gets inserted into the host railroads requirements to prioritize passenger trains.

These are state supported corridors that even Amtrak management agrees are important for the future. There is no way that these can be effective transportation if they don’t have a chance to be on time.

I personally rode an on-time Wolverine short of Porter Indiana that had to sit on a siding while at least 5 NS freight trains were given priority while we sat for multiple hours. That is blatant disrespect for the law or at least the federal requirements the railroads have been given.

That can’t be allowed to stand. We need to contact our congressmen.
 
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west point

Conductor
Joined
Jun 9, 2015
Messages
2,224
Agreed that t NS needs to be penalized. Probably the Michigan trains (4 - 5 ) take more total minutes delayed. But Crescent takes more delays on that one train than any Michigan train. the only time Crescent is not 2 - 3 + hours late is when south of Atlanta is not running.
 

Michigan Mom

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Jan 28, 2012
Messages
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Location
MI
I can never be sure if I'm observing a trend, or if it's just something I happen to be looking at. So with heavy qualification, it "SEEMS" that there are more delays for mechanical issues on this route lately, an outright cancellation the other day (think it was 350) and 352 delayed today for same reason. 350 cancel really surprised me, it's the first departure of the day and very reliable.
 

frequentflyer

OBS Chief
Joined
Jun 10, 2008
Messages
740
There must be some bureaucrat over the cutting of checks to Amtrak in the Michigan state government. One would think the Michigan government or any state government cutting checks to Amtrak would insist on at least on times service. If the CEO of NS got a terse official letter from the Michigan Governor's office, there will be a flurry of emails filtering down though NS. Do nothing and Michigan gets the service it deserves.
 

Thirdrail7

Conductor
AU Supporter
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Jul 9, 2014
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This is why I snicker when the current leaders mention pushing for additional corridor service. They don't operate much better than the LD network. The punishment is just over quickly.
 

tim49424

Conductor
Joined
Dec 20, 2010
Messages
3,283
Location
Holland, MI
I can never be sure if I'm observing a trend, or if it's just something I happen to be looking at. So with heavy qualification, it "SEEMS" that there are more delays for mechanical issues on this route lately, an outright cancellation the other day (think it was 350) and 352 delayed today for same reason. 350 cancel really surprised me, it's the first departure of the day and very reliable.
There was a cancellation, a rare one albeit, on the Pere Marquette on Feb. 17. It just happened to be I was scheduled to be on that particular train but it never left Grand Rapids due to a mechanical issue. It wasn't announced until the scheduled departure time in Holland. I was lucky enough to catch the Blue Water out of Kalamazoo instead.
 

Tom Booth

Service Attendant
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Jul 5, 2019
Messages
161
Location
Jersey City
There was a cancellation, a rare one albeit, on the Pere Marquette on Feb. 17. It just happened to be I was scheduled to be on that particular train but it never left Grand Rapids due to a mechanical issue. It wasn't announced until the scheduled departure time in Holland. I was lucky enough to catch the Blue Water out of Kalamazoo instead.
Amtrak didn't text or email you? That's pretty bad.
 

wwchi

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Apr 14, 2009
Messages
273
I was scheduled on that one too but got on the morning NBU-CHI train - fortunate they had Bus Class available too! :)
 
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