Regional 183

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Dan O

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I am on the 183, New York Penn station to DC. I got on the train, business class, and right before we were scheduled to leave the train was emptied due to mechanical failure. Back to Moynihan hall to wait for a new train. About 35 minutes later there was an announcement that boarding would restart soon. So I lined up in a line of 150 (just a guess) or so passengers. Business class is the last car on the train. I walked to the end of the train and the door was closed. I tried to open it but I didn't know what I was doing and the door didn't open. I headed back towards a coach car as one about 3 cars away had been open (3 or so cars from end) and at that moment noticed no one was visible on the platform. I recognized the conductor sitting in the coach car next to the business class car (I could see someone with an Amtrak uniform and hat on) so knocked on his window to let me on the train. He went to the nearest door and opened it. The train has just started rolling and I was able to get on and get to my seat.

I realize the train was about 40 minutes late departing but I would have guessed someone would be looking to make sure all the passengers were boarded.


Had the conductor not been sitting on the left side of the train, I'd have missed the train.
 

jis

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On the NEC when they are doing a fast boarding after mechanical or some such my habit has been to get onto the train at the first available door, since there is no telling when they will decide to shut the doors and take off. Suffice it to say that when compared to corridor service in many other countries Amtrak is actually rather good at waiting for people to board and will hold a train for many minutes. I have been at places where when it is time they will shut the door and be off, and whoever did not make it will get the next train.
 
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On the NEC when they are doing a fast boarding after mechanical or some such my habit has been to get onto the train at the first available door, since there is no telling when they will decide to shut the doors and take off. Suffice it to say that when compared to corridor service in many other countries Amtrak is actually rather good at waiting for people to board and will hold a train for many minutes. I have been at places where when it is time they will shut the door and be off, and whoever did not make it will get the next train.
I do agree that's nice for the tardy passenger, but it's also nice to be able to rely on the on-time performance records that the European trains achieve. So I guess it's a case of choose your poison. :rolleyes:
 

jis

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I do agree that's nice for the tardy passenger, but it's also nice to be able to rely on the on-time performance records that the European trains achieve. So I guess it's a case of choose your poison. :rolleyes:
I completely agree with you.
 

railiner

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I am glad you made it, but very surprised the conductor allowed you to board a train that was rolling, albeit slowly. I wonder how many rules were broken to do that?🤔
Perhaps I misread, and it started after you were on?
 
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I completely agree with you.
I disagree. If there's been a last-minute equipment substitution, track change, incorrect track announcement, or any cause for delayed boarding or confusion, they should allow enough time for all passengers to get on board, including those who are unable to move quickly. If someone is on the platform moving towards their assigned car, they should either hold the train until that passenger reaches it, or a staff member should direct them to board at the nearest door.
 

jis

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I disagree. If there's been a last-minute equipment substitution, track change, incorrect track announcement, or any cause for delayed boarding or confusion, they should allow enough time for all passengers to get on board, including those who are unable to move quickly. If someone is on the platform moving towards their assigned car, they should either hold the train until that passenger reaches it, or a staff member should direct them to board at the nearest door.
Yes there are all sort of possibilities, but at some point one has to decide to stop waiting and let the train go. Of course in the US where train service seems like a hobby to many outside the NEC, things can be taken much easier specially when there is a single train a day running in hour long slots. But when you have trains running on 2 minute headway into a platform it would be the prudent thing to have the customer wait for the next train. What is the right thing to do depends entirely on the circumstances. There is no one size fits all answer to this.
 
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Yes there are all sort of possibilities, but at some point one has to decide to stop waiting and let the train go. Of course in the US where train service seems like a hobby to many outside the NEC, things can be taken much easier specially when there is a single train a day running in hour long slots. But when you have trains running on 2 minute headway into a platform it would be the prudent thing to have the customer wait for the next train. What is the right thing to do depends entirely on the circumstances. There is no one size fits all answer to this.
But in this specific case, there had been an equipment substitution and I would presume a track change, and the PP said he was moving down the platform. The conductor should have warned him to board at the nearest door before battening the hatches.
 

jis

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But in this specific case, there had been an equipment substitution and I would presume a track change, and the PP said he was moving down the platform. The conductor should have warned him to board at the nearest door before battening the hatches.
I don't really know the specifics of this case enough to form an unequivocal judgement so I won't. But that should certainly not stop others from doing so ;)
 

AmtrakBlue

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But in this specific case, there had been an equipment substitution and I would presume a track change, and the PP said he was moving down the platform. The conductor should have warned him to board at the nearest door before battening the hatches.
Perhaps there was a train on the other side of the platform with passengers boarding or detraining and it wasn’t obvious the OP was planning to board 183. When I’m walking to my train I sometimes switch sides on the platform because of pedestrian traffic.
 

Dan O

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I am glad you made it, but very surprised the conductor allowed you to board a train that was rolling, albeit slowly. I wonder how many rules were broken to do that?🤔
Perhaps I misread, and it started after you were on?
It was rolling. It started between when I banged on the window and when he opened the door, closer to when the door was opened. I was surprised he opened the door. Almost as surprised that a train would just close the doors and start without some kind of announcement.
It seems almost like musical chairs if one is expected to run for the nearest door even if that car is several cars away from one's assigned car. In my case musical chairs without knowing that was the game.
I was walking to get to the right car about 2.8 to 3 mph.
 

Dan O

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Perhaps there was a train on the other side of the platform with passengers boarding or detraining and it wasn’t obvious the OP was planning to board 183. When I’m walking to my train I sometimes switch sides on the platform because of pedestrian traffic.
There wasn't a train on the other track.
 
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A couple of days ago, I got to the gate of my 7 pm Acela at 655. right before they closed the gate. I hustled out to the track, and I just boarded the train at the first door, car 2 and walked through the train to KY seat up in car 5. Surprisingly, I made it to my seat before the train started moving.

This should only be an issue for the Acela, as regular biz class pax can't really board in car 1, the first class car. and all the seats are assigned
If you're in a Northest Regional, and it's close to departure, you can just board anywhere, and then worry about finding an open seat in coach.
 

Anderson

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Yes there are all sort of possibilities, but at some point one has to decide to stop waiting and let the train go. Of course in the US where train service seems like a hobby to many outside the NEC, things can be taken much easier specially when there is a single train a day running in hour long slots. But when you have trains running on 2 minute headway into a platform it would be the prudent thing to have the customer wait for the next train. What is the right thing to do depends entirely on the circumstances. There is no one size fits all answer to this.
I'd agree if there were a proviso in the rules of "You will be accommodated on the next train at no additional charge". Doing this where the underlying ticket would plausibly get cancelled out and the person would have to potentially buy a walk-up-priced ticket is a lot more problematic than if there's a stated policy to accommodate anybody left on the platform like this.
 

jis

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I'd agree if there were a proviso in the rules of "You will be accommodated on the next train at no additional charge". Doing this where the underlying ticket would plausibly get cancelled out and the person would have to potentially buy a walk-up-priced ticket is a lot more problematic than if there's a stated policy to accommodate anybody left on the platform like this.
Good points. However, the general issue of how long a train will be held still involves some amount of judgement call on part of the platform dispatching person. In US that role usually belongs to the train conductor, but in many other countries there is a assistant station master or some such that determines that.

And indeed, the Amtrak reservation paradigm put together with their creaky IT system adds additional challenges which would cause one to err more towards holding trains, and of course that won’t help OTP. Amtrak actually has surprisingly high percentage of events causing OTP adverse effects assigned to itself.
 
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railiner

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In US that role usually belongs to the train conductor, but in many other countries there is a assistant station master or some such that determines that.
On the NEC, or at least at Penn Station -NY, they still have these, along with Usher’s, holdover’s from the PRR…
 
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