National Day Without Trains

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Chey

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I got an email from NARP about this today, just saying it's planned for 6/23 in various cities (none specified). And saying we'd get more info in an upcoming email.

Googling it I get nothing so it must be new. Anyone have any information? Patience is not my forte.
 
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Carolina Special

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Logically this should be a day without "passenger trains", not "trains". I don't believe the freights are going away anytime soon. :)
 
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Don't see how a train boycott is going to accomplish anything but help to lower the route revenue for that day. Then those who are anti-passenger rail can say "see I told you so, no one rides trains anymore, look how much money was lost on the operation that day"
 

AmtrakBlue

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Don't see how a train boycott is going to accomplish anything but help to lower the route revenue for that day. Then those who are anti-passenger rail can say "see I told you so, no one rides trains anymore, look how much money was lost on the operation that day"
??? Do you really think that everyone who shows up for this would have been on a train instead that day?

If they have something near me and I'm free that day/time, I may go. But I have no plans made to ride a train that day, so no revenue from me regardless.

Now, if there's nothing near me, but there is something within a train ride away from me, then I might book the train (to and from) and, wala, revenue for Amtrak.
 
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Don't see how a train boycott is going to accomplish anything but help to lower the route revenue for that day. Then those who are anti-passenger rail can say "see I told you so, no one rides trains anymore, look how much money was lost on the operation that day"
??? Do you really think that everyone who shows up for this would have been on a train instead that day?

If they have something near me and I'm free that day/time, I may go. But I have no plans made to ride a train that day, so no revenue from me regardless.

Now, if there's nothing near me, but there is something within a train ride away from me, then I might book the train (to and from) and, wala, revenue for Amtrak.

.
Has NARP explained what they are trying to accomplish?
 

priller

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Don't see how a train boycott is going to accomplish anything but help to lower the route revenue for that day. Then those who are anti-passenger rail can say "see I told you so, no one rides trains anymore, look how much money was lost on the operation that day"
Need for wait for the details. But, they have never mentioned the word boycott and I do not read it as such. I suspect more along the lines of organized rallys in cites across the country.
 

Chey

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Update from email today, just the relevant (to this topic) passage:

"We’re planning a comprehensive campaign that will be the broadest and loudest NARP has ever mounted. This summer we’ll create billboards, radio ads, newspaper op-eds, and social-media content to support this nationwide effort to save our long-distance trains.

We’re calling attention to what’s at stake – service to 220 stations in 23 states -- and we’ll kick it off with rallies on June 23, 24th and 25th at as many of those stations as we can."

I'll post again when I find out which cities but I'm sure it'll be on NARP's website before I get the list.
 

zethya

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AND here's potentially another reason why:

<Amtrak Sues Union Station Over Delta Air Lines Ads>
"Amtrak is suing Union Station (DC) over wall advertisements inside the station.
The transit agency is demanding the removal of ads for Delta Air Lines.
Amtrak said its lease at the transit hub prohibits Union Station from allowing competitors to advertise inside. Amtrak said it competes with Delta for passengers, including in the Northeast....."

Source: Amtrak Sues Union Station Over Delta Air Lines Ads | NBC4 Washington http://www.nbcwashington.com/investigations/Amtrak-Sues-Union-Station-Over-Delta-Airlines-Ads-425525934.html#ixzz4ipLLTRux
 
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I don't know if Delta Airlines ads at WAS is going to have any effect on the NEC ridership. Short distance air travel can never compete with rail travel. With the time that it would take many passengers to get to their airport, get through security, and get to their final destination from the airport, Amtrak would already have you there. Its a five hour portal to portal trip from here to WAS by plane. By train its three hours and that includes travel time to the station. Delta could stand on its head and they could not change this.
 

Ryan

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Only the fastest Acelas make the trip in sub 3 hours, and your standard only gets met if you're willing to leave your house less than 15 min before train departure. Not likely.

Meanwhile, I live about 10 min from BWI and routinely go from sitting on the couch to sitting on the plane in about an hour. An hour and 10-20 minutes later, I'm on the ground at JFK.
 

jis

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Only the fastest Acelas make the trip in sub 3 hours, and your standard only gets met if you're willing to leave your house less than 15 min before train departure. Not likely.

Meanwhile, I live about 10 min from BWI and routinely go from sitting on the couch to sitting on the plane in about an hour. An hour and 10-20 minutes later, I'm on the ground at JFK.
Yup. It all depends on how short or long the "last mile" at each end of the trip is for each individual travel situation. There is no blanket ca, or cannot compete.

I often have meetings at hotels near O'Hare Airport, and nothing beats flying in early in the morning, meeting all day and departing by a 6pm flight back home. OTOH if the meeting happens to be in the Loop, the equation changes considerably, again depending on where you are coming from. Unfortunately, the dearth of rail service around Chicago (except from Milwaukee) makes it harder to take the train into Chicago for a day meeting anyway. But similar situations arise even on the NEC. For example, if my meeting is in Reston (near Dulles) flying in works better than training in.

However, what this campaign is about is about the LD trains, and most of this discussion has not the greatest relevance to them. What is relevant is that many places lose the last vestige of public transport with the loss of Amtrak service. Many of these places have no viable air service of any sort anyway. That is the point that needs to be made primarily with this campaign.
 
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fillyjonk

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I don't know if Delta Airlines ads at WAS is going to have any effect on the NEC ridership. Short distance air travel can never compete with rail travel. With the time that it would take many passengers to get to their airport, get through security, and get to their final destination from the airport, Amtrak would already have you there. Its a five hour portal to portal trip from here to WAS by plane. By train its three hours and that includes travel time to the station. Delta could stand on its head and they could not change this.
Especially since Delta is sometimes jokingly known as "Doesn't Ever Leave The Airport."

I know also the Chicago to St. Louis route, if you're going somewhere downtown, is essentially faster by Amtrak than by plane, given the hassles of parking and security at the airports, and the fact that airports tend to be distant from the city center. (And if they ever get high-speed up and running on that corridor, Amtrak will be even more competitive....)
 
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However, what this campaign is about is about the LD trains, and most of this discussion has not the greatest relevance to them. What is relevant is that many places lose the last vestige of public transport with the loss of Amtrak service. Many of these places have no viable air service of any sort anyway. That is the point that needs to be made primarily with this campaign.
I disagree. LD trains have always been to me as a means from traveling long distances/coast to coast as opposed to buses/planes. I'm more worried about not being able to go to Florida or California or others to come to the East Coast than whether or not Malta, MT or Montgomery, WV has train service. Transportation is important to everyone but to me spending a ton of federal money on these towns that only benefit a small population is wasteful. And Amtrak can't serve "everyone". Sure cities like Las Vegas and Nashville have other transportation options but do you not think there are small towns out there that aren't served by Amtrak or other public transportation? Anyone know where Tunkhannock, PA is? The entire state of Wyoming has no Amtrak service, there aren't rural towns in Wyoming that have no airports or buses serving them?

I may be selfish but I'm guessing a lot of people in this country are selfish, especially when it comes to their tax money. You're not going to get much sympathy from me or other taxpayers to spend tax money for half empty trains to nowhere or to places they have no interest in visiting. Most of you don't mind your tax money spent on trains but I'm sure there are pork projects that Congress spends money on that if you knew about you'd be angry too. People at AU don't want to hear the "anti-train" viewpoint but if you don't acknowledge it how are you going to fight it? How do you convince those against Amtrak that it is worthwhile? There may be people who are dead set against Amtrak who you won't convince and probably shouldn't waste your time. But there's probably others who might be on the fence and getting their support might push the needle in favor of Amtrak.

Much of the push in advocacy is towards Congress. But it's not just Congress you have to convince, you also have to convince the court of popular opinion. If the general public cares enough Congress will eventually have to listen (or if they don't they will be voted out). If the general public doesn't care, Congress won't care. So how do you get them to care? Any campaign that only a few train enthusiasts and citizens of small towns get behind isn't going to get very far. Is Amtrak a "national" transportation system or a transportation system for the rural areas only? Take your campaign to large cities/states that would lose Amtrak. It might mean more to get thousands of people from Orlando or Denver to fight to save Amtrak in their area than five people from Thurmond, WV. In that rally in New Orleans, tell them to fight for trains so people in Rugby, ND have trains and you won't get much enthusiasm from them.Tell them they in New Orleans won't have trains anymore and they probably listen more. If you want to convince people that these trains are worth saving and worth spending their money towards then convince them what's in it for them, not "these small towns need it". Convince them on the benefits of train travel in general. A person in Tampa may not want to take a train to New York but might want to take a train to Orlando or Miami where taking a plane isn't as desirable or even practical and buses get stuck in traffic and are uncomfortable. Get more Dan Akroyd's behind Amtrak. If they speak, people will be more likely to listen. Also it wouldn't hurt to get corporate America behind you as well. Tell Disney World how many passengers take trains to/from Orlando (well over 100,000/year) that may not if the trains go away and how much business they would lose. Congress might not listen to us but I'm guessing they'd be more likely to listen to the CEO of Disney.
 
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Why not promote train travel for both: highly traveled routes where service already exists and rural areas that need service? Plus logical corridors where train service doesn't exist?

For example, I am thrilled that I can go out of PHL on a train to many places, and I tell that to anyone who will listen, but that doesn't mean I don't want to advocate for a train to go to Northeast PA or from Springfield to Boston (which I think was being planned? It's long overdue, though.)

I think the best place to start is with small businesses--whenever I get a tourist brochure from an area without train service, I write back and tell them how much I would love to visit their lovely area, but I only travel by train and so am able to spend my tourist dollars only in towns I can get to by train. If enough of us did this, it might finally start to sink in and encourage those towns to pursue train service.

There are other small ways to advocate--whenever someone asks how I got to wherever, and they say "Did you fly or drive?," I very politely say, "I came by train--it's the only way I travel." At which point, they always say, "I didn't know the train went to [town name]," and I describe the train service to them.

So I think a national day is a good idea, but I agree somewhat with Philly Amtrak Fan--highlighting our weakest points won't help. I think a general ad campaign might be better (look at how excited everyone--well almost everyone--is about Brightline)--they've done a good job of feeding us tantalizing tidbits while we wait for the actual service to start. And even non-train people know about it.

Sorry this is a mind dump, but it's the advocacy ideas that have been kicking around in my brain for a while. And one more--my favorite--is to compliment Millennials on how smart they are to take the train :) .
 
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