Ray Suarez Tweets About NEC

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Trollopian

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AmtrakMaineiac

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It would be useful to know more details. I assume he was on 166 that leaves at 5:15 PM. Did the lateness happen due to one event or several?

The 2020 statistics show NEC is on time about 88% of the time so this would be unusual to say the least.
 

John Santos

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Oh no, some random guy I never heard of was on a train that was late and said something about it on twitter.

Do you genuinely think that because it's the "crown jewel" (whatever that means) that trains are never late?
Ray Suarez is a well-regarded journalist with PBS. Often on Washington Week in Review and similar shows.

According to @AmtrakNECAlerts, yesterday evening 166 stopped while approaching Trenton due to debris on the tracks. It seems to have been approximately on time. (The alert was posted 19 hours ago, which would have been about 7:15 PM yesterday.) Then at 8:40 PM, Amtrak posted "UPDATE: Due to mechanical issues, Train 166 passengers will transfer to Trains 50 or 158." So it must have struck something and been damaged. About an hour later, they started transferring passengers to alternate, apparently full trains.)

The debris on the tracks and the disablement were probably NOT Amtrak's fault. They would only be responsible for the apparently crappy communications with the passengers and crew.

If the "debris on the track" was the remains of a vehicle at a grade crossing or stuff that fell off a freight train or the result of vandalism, then I would expect there would have been a news story somewhere. Local TV news in Philly and Trenton should have covered it. Remember, in a battle between a locomotive and a truck, the locomotive always wins!
 

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Oh no, some random guy I never heard of was on a train that was late and said something about it on twitter. Do you genuinely think that because it's the "crown jewel" (whatever that means) that trains are never late?
I genuinely think American trains are some of the slowest and least dependable rail services among industrialized democracies and that if you mention this view to the average American they will often take personal offense to the implication that we should do better.
 

jis

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I genuinely think American trains are some of the slowest and least dependable rail services among industrialized democracies and that if you mention this view to the average American they will often take personal offense to the implication that we should do better.
Only if they happen to know about passenger trains, and specially if they are railfans. 🤷‍♂️ Most American will more likely look weirdly at you and say "Huh"?

Not that I disagree with you regarding the matter of the precariousness of passenger rail service in the US, mind you.
 

frequentflyer

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Only if they happen to know about passenger trains, and specially if they are railfans. 🤷‍♂️ Most American will more likely look weirdly at you and say "Huh"?

Not that I disagree with you regarding the matter of the precariousness of passenger rail service in the US, mind you.
Time to brush off that old Amtrak slogan and pay for some commercials.

 

Dan O

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Maybe he'd have done better if he flew on Southwest-if they fly that route.
 
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Only if they happen to know about passenger trains, and specially if they are railfans. 🤷‍♂️ Most American will more likely look weirdly at you and say "Huh"? Not that I disagree with you regarding the matter of the precariousness of passenger rail service in the US, mind you.
The presumption that only railfans know about passenger trains is incorrect in my experience. Just because most Americans have little or no interaction with Amtrak is not the same as never having known that it exists. Some will be offended at the implication that we should be judged by something that happens in a foreign country while others will be offended simply from being reminded that we happen to run any trains at all. 😅
 

John Bredin

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We can, and should, do better with rail service in the United States - regardless of how well Southwest Airlines is doing.
True, but the plural of anecdote ("Bulgarian State Railway") is not data (88% on-time on the NEC). It's not good to ignore Amtrak's problems, but some people see every sliver in Amtrak's eye while disregarding planks in highway's or aviation's eyes. When was the last time someone did a dramatic "never again" to driving?

I can think of several times when my half-hour-ish Metra commute became multiple hours, but it was usually due to a grade crossing incident or severe weather, and while I wasn't happy about it and sometimes blamed UP* I didn't start presuming that my commute would always suck that bad because of a relative handful of incidents.

*As I recall, UP would suspend its Metra service whenever there was a tornado warning anywhere in the six metropolitan counties, even one nowhere near its lines. Metra's own trains would be running through the same general territory at the same time. 🤔 UP says it now uses more geographically-refined forecasts in deciding whether to suspend service.
 

Tlcooper93

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Not sure why I should regard the opinion of someone I’ve never heard of nor really care to know more about.

He’s not wrong. It’s really frustrating, and things need to change, but like... who cares?
 

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The Southwest comment is ironical this week unless it is made in jest though 😬
Southwest got its start providing shuttle service here in TX but I wouldn't trust them with that kind of schedule now. They did so well for so long but some of the magic seems to be lost as they grow ever larger.

When was the last time someone did a dramatic "never again" to driving?
Where I live it would be difficult to lead a productive life without access to a car so giving up driving would be rather impractical no matter how bad it gets. That being said I no longer support major road initiatives or bond measures unless they also benefit other means of travel. This 99% road 1% everything else crap needs to stop.

Not sure why I should regard the opinion of someone I’ve never heard of nor really care to know more about. He’s not wrong. It’s really frustrating, and things need to change, but like... who cares?
Hard to imagine someone caring more than those who take the time and effort to post in this thread.
 
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AmtrakMaineiac

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Where I live it would be difficult to lead a productive life without access to a car so giving up driving would be rather impractical no matter how bad it gets. That being said I no longer support major road initiatives or bond measures unless they also benefit other means of travel. This 99% road 1% everything else crap needs to stop.
I think it will change eventually but when you have a society that for the last 70 years or so has built almost all of its housing shopping and places of employment around auto transportation it is really hard to turn that giant aircraft carrier onto a new course.
 

Deni

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I think it will change eventually but when you have a society that for the last 70 years or so has built almost all of its housing shopping and places of employment around auto transportation it is really hard to turn that giant aircraft carrier onto a new course.
I'm not even sure how hard we're trying to change. Here in Chicago we finally got an ordinance that gives exemptions to the parking minimum rules for new developments if near transit, they refer to it as "transit oriented development." And that has caused some good development to happen in some places. But when the Catholic Archdiocese sold their parking lot to developers at first I was like, great we're getting rid of that 150-ish space surface lot and getting a residential and retail building. But the new development includes a 900-space parking garage. Right outside the door of this new complex is the entrance to the Chicago/State Red Line subway stop, the major north-south artery on the L system. A major east-west bus line with frequent service runs on Chicago Ave, north-south bus service on State Street as well as northbound bus service on Dearborn St which the building also border. Southbound bus service for that route is on Clark St one block away. The "Mag Mile" section of Michigan Ave. is a 5-minute walk away, you can walk to the Loop in 15 minutes or bike it in like 5 minutes. The location is perfect for a no-parking residential and retail. Yet we're getting 900 parking spaces to encourage driving.
 

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Ray Suarez is a well-regarded journalist with PBS. Often on Washington Week in Review and similar shows.
Thanks, John. I should have including that info in my original post. Ray Suarez is best-known for his PBS and NPR work. In addition, "in his more than 30-year career in the news business, he has also worked as a radio reporter in London and Rome, as a Los Angeles correspondent for CNN, and as a reporter for the NBC-owned station WMAQ-TV in Chicago. He is currently one of the US correspondents for Euronews" (source: Wikipedia).

His Twitter account has 18,500 followers, so lots of eyeballs saw those tweets about the NEC delay.
 

jis

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Tweeting about an occasional three hour delay on the NEC is no different than tweeting about a disruption for a little while on the New York subway. People look at it and say "Yeah well, such is life. Nothing out of the ordinary", and then go on with life. ....

I have never seen overflowing ridership on the NEC get unduly affected with the normal parade of hours of delay due to the seemingly regular altercations between NEC trains and human beings leading to injuries of grievous nature- an euphemism for body parts strewn all across the right of way, either.
 
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John from RI

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As long as we have had passenger trains some have been late. As long as we have had planes some have been late. As long as we have had automobiles some have been late. I could, if I choose, tell stories of overnight delays on planes and in my car but many have had similar experiences. And I have had late trains too. I have also been able to take the train when planes were grounded and roads were closed.
 

sttom

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Being the best known journalist is frankly meaning less and less as time goes on. Saying this as one of those illusive Millennials that is ruining everything, I haven't watched anything on PBS aside from one of the Presidential debates in several years. And it seems like my generation wants Amtrak and public in transit in general to grow more than the age groups that will think Ray Suarez is a big name. And given how ambivalent Democrats in Congress are towards rail and hostile the Republicans are, this will likely be a wash. I never knew or cared who Ray Suarez is, the age group that does probably doesn't care about Amtrak all that much and politicians probably aren't going to move much on Amtrak short of a big turn over in Congress.
 

Tlcooper93

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Tweeting about an occasional three hour delay on the NEC is no different than tweeting about a disruption for a little while on the New York subway. People look at it and say "Yeah well, such is life. Nothing out of the ordinary", and then go on with life. ....

I have never seen overflowing ridership on the NEC get unduly affected with the normal parade of hours of delay due to the seemingly regular altercations between NEC trains and human beings leading to injuries of grievous nature- an euphemism for body parts strewn all across the right of way, either.
This is always amusing to me. People use Amtrak no matter what. People use public transit no matter what. People drive their car no matter what.

I think it will change eventually but when you have a society that for the last 70 years or so has built almost all of its housing shopping and places of employment around auto transportation it is really hard to turn that giant aircraft carrier onto a new course.
True.
That said, we did it before. 100 years ago, this country was largely non car centric. Many cities had great public transit, and having a car was largely unnecessary. And over the course of 25 or so years, it all changed....
 

jis

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This is always amusing to me. People use Amtrak no matter what. People use public transit no matter what. People drive their car no matter what.
Actually it is not really "no matter what" in all contexts. It is just that an occasional 3 hour delay is not something that matters a lot. If Amtrak on the NEC was regularly unpredictably 5 to 10 hours late it would matter ;)
 
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