Short Consists of Long Distance Trains

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#1: The author is a "guest commentator". Who is he and what is his expertise?

#2: There is not a business in this Country that is not having problems doing the amount of business that they would like to do. Supply chain issues, staffing issues, etc. Why would Amtrak be exempt from this current business condition?

#3: The author does make a good point about the trains' consists. Why are the sleepers sometimes the closest cars to the engines? It seems to me that in the distant past, the sleeping cars were always at the end of the train. Who or what regulation/rule determines how the consists are composed?
 
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Sabotage is believable because Amtrak made it believable.

They tried to screw the Southwest Chief.

They have never explained why they could not use money from the government to keep people employed in maintenance so that the cars would be ready to go to now.

They have been unwilling to be open with their customers about why that had to to things such as removing SSL lounges and whether such moves are temporary or permanent.

They have never explained why they didn't put the new VL2 sleepers to work when accepted instead of holding them and not using those expensive assets. It has nothing to do with Covid.

They never explained why their promise to put new linen on the trains just disappeared into thin air even though that promise was made pre-Covid.

They never explained or justified the need to go from real food to the worst of packaged food nor why they couldn't provide more choices. This is not a case of having to save money because the difference in cost between quality packaged food and packaged garbage is incidental as is the difference in cost between having so few choices and having differnt choices on, e.g., different directions or different trains or different days.

They never explained their need to suddenly and without proper notice, decide to quit pulling private cars instead of just simply saying they would phase out the program by no longer signing contracts to haul cars except for limited city combinations.

They never justified why they couldn't provide proper schedules/timetables and pricing information any more which is especially critical on LD trains because of the high prices.

They never explained why they knocked Amsnag out even though it was providing a service that Amtrak has failed to provide.

Amtrak tries to hide information from the public, from congress, from the media consistent with the theory of sabotage or deliberate malfeasance.

Amtrak operates like a company that feels no obligation to be open and honest to its customers even though the American people are paying to subsidize it.

So claiming sabotage is not unreasonable in response to the company's deliberate actions and failures to justify or explain them.
 

Amtrakfflyer

OBS Chief
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I’m confused, so Boardman didn’t want to downgrade dining on any trains?
[/QUOTE]

It was actually a pretty shrewd move on Boardmans part. He had to placate the Mica types in Congress and show some type of initiative on cutting food costs as misguided as the notion is and was. He took the only route with double daily service and removed the diner from one train. Customers still had the choice of a full service train or save a few bucks and take a no frills train. It was a good sacrificial lamb all things considered. The move made logical sense unlike today’s cuts which don’t make any sense.

The first paragraph of this article from the time sums it up. It hurt ridership but it was done to appease Congress.

 
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I would like to point out that Northeast Regional consists are now shorter than they were before the pandemic. In addition, a lot of the Northeast Regionals have been cancelled, and have still not been restored. I suppose this is some nefarious plot by Amtrak to cancel the Northeast regional Service... (pay no attention to the man behind the curtain who just let out a contract for 100s of new cars for the Northeast Regionals.)
 
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Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity (or apathy)

The core problem with the LD trains is lack of investment. The cars are dated. The operating procedures are archaic.

They have never explained why they could not use money from the government to keep people employed in maintenance so that the cars would be ready to go to now.
They do keep people employed in maintenance--but there's really very little even an incredibly gifted maintenance crew can do for a fleet of cars that literally predate Facebook and Google by a decade or more.

Who here has been on a round trip voyage on an LD train where there wasn't some kind of major problem with one of the cars?

The third generation of Superliners will probably never come to be, even though they started the design process in 2006.

They have been unwilling to be open with their customers about why that had to to things such as removing SSL lounges and whether such moves are temporary or permanent.
There wasn't a press release, but they were pretty clear about the fact they were refurbishing them. The refurbished ones are quite nice, actually. Also, there are a very limited number of SSLs in service and they are a vital part of the experience on the EB and CZ...less so on the other lines. When there's a limited amount in stock in Chicago, they have to roll with what they have.

They never explained why they knocked Amsnag out even though it was providing a service that Amtrak has failed to provide.
Amsnag was technically violating the TOS of the Amtrak website. They didn't "knock it out" as much as keeping their website current made the way Amsnag was scraping non-viable.

Amtrak tries to hide information from the public, from congress, from the media consistent with the theory of sabotage or deliberate malfeasance.
Given the glaring mistakes on the things they make available for public consumption, I think Hanlon's razor (i.e. stupidity) is a much more likely explanation.
 
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Amtrak operates like a company that feels no obligation to be open and honest to its customers even though the American people are paying to subsidize it.
Let's never forget that Amtrak's primary customer on the LD trains is congress.

Amtrak has exceptional individuals working for it, but as an organization, the LD passengers are treated somewhere between an inconvenience and and an afterthought.
 

amtrakpass

Service Attendant
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On the NEC Tomorrow it looks like about 15 round trips scheduled Boston to New York and 30 plus round trips New York to Washington. I don't know what the previous pre-covid schedule was but that is still pretty good service. I take the NEC myself once every month or so and enjoy having it available. I just wish the rest of the system had a small part of the attention it receives. It's not personal to me and I think maybe the attention on a few specific individuals who are in charge of different roles at Amtrak is perhaps unwarranted when the issues run deeper within the company than that. Hopefully this is something that will all change in the not too distant future and we will see improvements across the whole system
 
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On the NEC Tomorrow it looks like about 15 round trips scheduled Boston to New York and 30 plus round trips New York to Washington. I don't know what the previous pre-covid schedule was but that is still pretty good service. I take the NEC myself once every month or so and enjoy having it available. I just wish the rest of the system had a small part of the attention it receives. It's not personal to me and I think maybe the attention on a few specific individuals who are in charge of different roles at Amtrak is perhaps unwarranted when the issues run deeper within the company than that. Hopefully this is something that will all change in the not too distant future and we will see improvements across the whole system
Comparing the NEC to any other part of the country is unhelpful, and questioning Amtrak's continued preference to it is also unwise.

The NEC was largely handed down infrastructure that Amtrak didn't screw up. Its the one place in this country that has somewhat European level rail service, but also requires gargantuan maintenance.

There is no other part of the country that could, right now, demand the same level of attention from Amtrak, or provide the same level of service, even with significant capital infrastructure investments. Perhaps in 10-20 years, something similar could arise.
St. Louis was once the busiest train station in the world, so anythings possible.

The "conspiracy" to prefer the NEC to the LD network looks way more like a last ditch effort to keep Amtrak profitable than a demonic attack on the LD network.
 
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Comparing the NEC to any other part of the country is unhelpful, and questioning Amtrak's continued preference to it is also unwise.

The NEC was largely handed down infrastructure that Amtrak didn't screw up. Its the one place in this country that has somewhat European level rail service, but also requires gargantuan maintenance.

There is no other part of the country that could, right now, demand the same level of attention from Amtrak, or provide the same level of service, even with significant capital infrastructure investments. Perhaps in 10-20 years, something similar could arise.
St. Louis was once the busiest train station in the world, so anythings possible.

The "conspiracy" to prefer the NEC to the LD network looks way more like a last ditch effort to keep Amtrak profitable than a demonic attack on the LD network.
And the point I was making was that, even on the NEC, they have cut back and not restored all the cuts. Thus <sarcasm> Amtrak has a nefarious plot to shut down the NEC, too.</sarcasm>
 
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Sabotage is believable because Amtrak made it believable.

They tried to screw the Southwest Chief.

They have never explained why they could not use money from the government to keep people employed in maintenance so that the cars would be ready to go to now.

They have been unwilling to be open with their customers about why that had to to things such as removing SSL lounges and whether such moves are temporary or permanent.

They have never explained why they didn't put the new VL2 sleepers to work when accepted instead of holding them and not using those expensive assets. It has nothing to do with Covid.

They never explained why their promise to put new linen on the trains just disappeared into thin air even though that promise was made pre-Covid.

They never explained or justified the need to go from real food to the worst of packaged food nor why they couldn't provide more choices. This is not a case of having to save money because the difference in cost between quality packaged food and packaged garbage is incidental as is the difference in cost between having so few choices and having differnt choices on, e.g., different directions or different trains or different days.

They never explained their need to suddenly and without proper notice, decide to quit pulling private cars instead of just simply saying they would phase out the program by no longer signing contracts to haul cars except for limited city combinations.

They never justified why they couldn't provide proper schedules/timetables and pricing information any more which is especially critical on LD trains because of the high prices.

They never explained why they knocked Amsnag out even though it was providing a service that Amtrak has failed to provide.

Amtrak tries to hide information from the public, from congress, from the media consistent with the theory of sabotage or deliberate malfeasance.

Amtrak operates like a company that feels no obligation to be open and honest to its customers even though the American people are paying to subsidize it.

So claiming sabotage is not unreasonable in response to the company's deliberate actions and failures to justify or explain them.
Appreciated is all the work you put into this ... keeping Amtrak's most loyal customers fully informed! ;)
 

Cal

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Who here has been on a round trip voyage on an LD train where there wasn't some kind of major problem with one of the cars?
I have. At least I didn't notice or hear of any major problems.
 

Cal

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they are a vital part of the experience on the EB and CZ...less so on the other lines.
Just gotta forget about the CS which has arguably better scenery than the Builder, and the 30 hours you go on the TE with nowhere to go?? They are a vital part of the experience on ALL superliner routes, even if there is no spectacular scenery.
 
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Just gotta forget about the CS which has arguably better scenery than the Builder, and the 30 hours you go on the TE with nowhere to go?? They are a vital part of the experience on ALL superliner routes, even if there is no spectacular scenery.
I'm not sure the conductors have ever had to ration seating on the TE, whereas it's standard procedure now on the CZ.

With a limited number of SSLs, they'll have to be pulled off a route every now and then. There's some routes that can do without them better than others.
 

Cal

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I'm not sure the conductors have ever had to ration seating on the TE, whereas it's standard procedure now on the CZ.
That is true, but that doesn't mean they aren't still one of the better aspects of long distance rail journeys, and I'd say they are vital for all routes.
 

Ryan

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Who here has been on a round trip voyage on an LD train where there wasn't some kind of major problem with one of the cars?
/me raises his hand several times

They are a vital part of the experience on ALL superliner routes, even if there is no spectacular scenery.
For you, perhaps. I scarcely set foot in them.
 

RebelRider

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America's Railroad
They have never explained why they could not use money from the government to keep people employed in maintenance so that the cars would be ready to go to now.
To the best of my knowledge, no one in mechanical was furloughed. Amtrak parked the "excess" cars, literally let them bake in the sun with no preventative maintenance for months while all the mechanical folks spread the remaining work around. Not surprisingly, the stuff still running didn't get any additional attention or care.

They have never explained why they didn't put the new VL2 sleepers to work when accepted instead of holding them and not using those expensive assets. It has nothing to do with Covid.
When new cars are delivered to Hialeah, they aren't immediately ready for service. Acceptance testing, additional field modifications, WiFi installation, etc. needed to be completed before going into service. This has been mentioned here before.

They never explained or justified the need to go from real food to the worst of packaged food nor why they couldn't provide more choices. This is not a case of having to save money because the difference in cost between quality packaged food and packaged garbage is incidental as is the difference in cost between having so few choices and having differnt choices on, e.g., different directions or different trains or different days.
Amtrak sure did explain the change. It's because millennials asked for crap food. :rolleyes:

They never justified why they couldn't provide proper schedules/timetables and pricing information any more which is especially critical on LD trains because of the high prices.
I think this is a case of IT mis-management. There is supposed to be some new, fantastic schedule/route tool on Amtrak.com that generates PDFs on the fly with the latest and greatest schedule information. It's probably a combination of killing the old schedules too early and the new tool getting delayed.

Amtrak operates like a company that feels no obligation to be open and honest to its customers even though the American people are paying to subsidize it.

So claiming sabotage is not unreasonable in response to the company's deliberate actions and failures to justify or explain them.
Is this deliberate and intentional? I don't think so. Is it incredibly short-sighted mis-management combined with media relations/marketing spin? Yup.
 

Cal

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Just saw #8 and #30 on the cams.

8's Consist: One engine (161), baggage, transdorm, two sleepers, diner, one coach.

30's consist: Two engines, three amfleets (Are they deadheading or-), baggage, two sleepers, diner, two coaches (one being a coach baggage)
 
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Boston
Really? I'm surprised. On my most recent trip at least 70% of the ride was spent in the SSL for me!
I think like all things, it depends on the route/person.
On my CZ trip, I didn’t enter the SSL the entire first day/night. After Denver however, I spent a considerable amount of time there.

Subsequently though, I found the dining car (which was often empty due to COVID) to be a nice alternative to the overcrowded SSL. I could see out both sides easily, get some work done at a spacious table, and enjoy the scenery just as much.

On a non-scenic route, i really don’t have too much interest in a SSL.
 

frequentflyer

OBS Chief
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999
In the 90s the Silver trains were 18 car consists during peak season, even though they used to split in Jacksonville and Aubundale. 18 cars! Go to the Plant City or Forkston video cams and you see these same trains with two or three sleepers and TWO coach cars. Would love to see year over year pax numbers for the Silvers. Tell me Amtrak did not chase off pax over the years from the Silvers. How do you screw up a mature market from northeast to Florida?
 

Willbridge

50+ Year Amtrak Rider
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In the 90s the Silver trains were 18 car consists during peak season, even though they used to split in Jacksonville and Auburndale. 18 cars! Go to the Plant City or Forkston video cams and you see these same trains with two or three sleepers and TWO coach cars. Would love to see year over year pax numbers for the Silvers. Tell me Amtrak did not chase off pax over the years from the Silvers. How do you screw up a mature market from northeast to Florida?
"From out of the pages of yesteryear!" (Rail Travel News) Riders

NEW YORK - FLORIDA -- November 1981 = 42,410 // December 1981 = 55,642
NEW YORK - SAVANNAH --November 1981 = 10,466 // December 1981 = 14,496

In February '82 the typical consist of the Silver Meteor southbound from Washington, DC was 16 cars to 18 cars, including three sleepers and a Slumbercoach..
 

joelkfla

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"From out of the pages of yesteryear!" (Rail Travel News) Riders

NEW YORK - FLORIDA -- November 1981 = 42,410 // December 1981 = 55,642
NEW YORK - SAVANNAH --November 1981 = 10,466 // December 1981 = 14,496

In February '82 the typical consist of the Silver Meteor southbound from Washington, DC was 16 cars to 18 cars, including three sleepers and a Slumbercoach..
Compare to:
1631192370745.png
1631192480948.png

389,995 + 353,466 = 743,461 / 12 = 61,955
(not sure whether those numbers are directly comparable)
 
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