Shortened Single-Level LD Consists

Help Support Amtrak Unlimited Discussion Forum:

brianpmcdonnell17

Conductor
Joined
Mar 5, 2016
Messages
1,503
Location
Chicago, Illinois
Why are the Eastern LDs running with so few coaches since the return to daily service? Amtrak doesn't seem to be hiring an excessive number of OBS employees, which would seem to indicate it's not an employment issue. In doing searches for random trains, it also doesn't seem to be a demand issue, as the coaches are consistently high bucket or sold out in the days leading up to departure. Domestic personal travel is roughly back to pre-pandemic levels and is the main demographic for LD Amtrak riders. It also doesn't initially appear to be an equipment issue, as it looks like Amtrak is actually using fewer total coaches for the single-level LDs than during the reduced schedules. Given that the Silvers and Crescent each require 4 trainsets and have been running with 2 cars while the LSL requires 3 trainsets and has been using 3 cars, that indicates a total need of 33 coaches for the daily overnight single-level LDs (excluding protects and maintenance requirements). Meanwhile, during the reduced schedule, the Silvers required 4 trainsets of 6-7 cars, the LSL required 2 trainsets of 5 cars, and the Crescent required 2 trainsets of 3 cars. This adds to a total of 40-44 coaches needed. The Palmetto now needs an extra set of 3 cars, but that still means 4-8 fewer single-level LD coaches are needed than during the reduced schedules, which would allow for an extra coach on at least one route. Even if the equipment is the reason, it seems odd that the stored equipment hasn't been returned to service given that the aid bill passed 3+ months ago and the increase in demand has been anticipated for a long time. When I traveled on the SS a few weeks ago, there were a large number of Amfleets stored at the Auto Train facility in Lorton.
 

chrsjrcj

OBS Chief
Joined
Mar 24, 2011
Messages
863
Location
West Palm Beach, FL
It's not like the demand isn't there. Just doing a booking for West Palm Beach to Tampa today shows the Silver Star sold out in coach.

This is really a net loss in available seats over the course of the week. The pre-daily Silver Star I saw had 7 coaches (7 coaches x 3 days a week = 21 coach cars worth of seats available a week), and today they only have 14 coach cars worth of seats available in a week. The Silver Meteor has an even bigger reduction in supply of available coach seats (going from 28 to 14 a week).
 

jis

Conductor
AU Lifetime Supporter
Gathering Team Member
Joined
Aug 24, 2003
Messages
28,335
Location
Space Coast, Florida, Area code 3-2-1
Silver Meteor has 4 Coaches effective yesterday (6/9/21) according to reports from eyewitnesses on Trainorders. Star is supposed to get its third Coach within a week. Don't know about other trains.
 

AmtrakBlue

Conductor
Gathering Team Member
Joined
May 6, 2011
Messages
12,445
Location
Delaware
Silver Meteor has 4 Coaches effective yesterday (6/9/21) according to reports from eyewitnesses on Trainorders. Star is supposed to get its third Coach within a week. Don't know about other trains.
98(9) just went by me with only 2 coaches.
Maybe 97(9) has 4
 

jis

Conductor
AU Lifetime Supporter
Gathering Team Member
Joined
Aug 24, 2003
Messages
28,335
Location
Space Coast, Florida, Area code 3-2-1
98(9) just went by me with only 2 coaches.
Maybe 97(9) has 4
Yes. 97(9).

I have heard that they are also having a few issues with some furloughed people taking this opportunity to make a career change causing short staffing until new people are brought on board.
 

daybeers

OBS Chief
Joined
Jan 6, 2016
Messages
961
Location
HFD/POU
I think they weren't proactive about maintenance even though they knew daily was coming. The cars are also incredibly old and have so many miles on them. It's very difficult to find replacement parts. The conductor on LSL 48(6) said they've been having a lot of problems with the Amfleets: the café car felt like a refrigerator and the overhead aisle lights were out. One of the coach's accessible bathroom toilets wasn't flushing. I mentioned it to him and he said they'd look at it but they've been having plumbing problems too.
 

Just-Thinking-51

Conductor
AU Lifetime Supporter
AU Supporter
Joined
Sep 17, 2009
Messages
2,168
Location
USA
Deferred maintenance.

Someone was not thinking there would be a fast return of the passenger. So equipment is sitting around needing routine maintenance before it can return to service.

Add on that post-pandemic employment opportunities and desire for a different careers are impacting the work force.

Toss in a bit of conspiracy theory about driving away the customer too.

Plenty of possibilities, I am thinking it a lack of employee available to staff.

In my line of work (OTR Trucking) we are desperate now for people. Yes, we had shortages for a long time, but it really feels different now. Two pay raise in the last 6 months. That say there trying to squeeze more out the employees when IMHO we need better working conditions and more time away from the workplace.

I think we are experiencing an new work force that has different need and wants then the work force before the pandemic.

Sure in some states they blame the extra 300 usd a week of unemployment, but to me it feels different.
 
Last edited:

railiner

Conductor
Joined
Mar 20, 2009
Messages
9,593
Location
Palm Beach County
In my line of work (OTR Trucking) we are desperate now for people. Yes, we had shortages for a long time, but it really feels different now.
In my line (buses), too. After being retired for four years, I decided to return to driving a few weeks ago, and now am driving on a part time basis...they want me full time, but not me...;)
 

Just-Thinking-51

Conductor
AU Lifetime Supporter
AU Supporter
Joined
Sep 17, 2009
Messages
2,168
Location
USA
Amtrak is one of those businesses that doesn't ever seem to have to work hard to recruit a vast number of applicant's, without even trying. Their biggest issue is to screen them all.
Good pay, good balance of work and time off, good retirement plan. Union work still has it’s plus side.
 

railiner

Conductor
Joined
Mar 20, 2009
Messages
9,593
Location
Palm Beach County
RTD here has recently canceled some rail trips due to operator shortages even though they are still running the scaled down pandemic schedules.
Now that's a surprise, to me...I'd have thought they'd also have a vast number of applicants. New York's MTA has a competitive test for applicants. Typically, 80,000 apply for 4,000 positions....
 

jis

Conductor
AU Lifetime Supporter
Gathering Team Member
Joined
Aug 24, 2003
Messages
28,335
Location
Space Coast, Florida, Area code 3-2-1
Now that's a surprise, to me...I'd have thought they'd also have a vast number of applicants. New York's MTA has a competitive test for applicants. Typically, 80,000 apply for 4,000 positions....
But MTA has also suffered from staff shortage through this period. They are just managing to crawl out of that situation. In normal times, yup. What you say is absolutely true. But these are not normal times I guess. Hopefully we will return to some semblance of, perhaps modified, normal times soon. Maybe we are already getting there in NY which has very good vaccination rate and case rate data these days, though everyone is a bit leery about the Delta variant becoming dominant and its effects on case data.


 

Willbridge

OBS Chief
AU Supporter
Joined
Mar 30, 2019
Messages
933
Location
Denver
Now that's a surprise, to me...I'd have thought they'd also have a vast number of applicants. New York's MTA has a competitive test for applicants. Typically, 80,000 apply for 4,000 positions....
It's always been more difficult to fill operating positions in rapid growth situations. When I lived in Edmonton I learned not to take the first express after 5 p.m. to my neighborhood because it was one of the last pull-outs and only made a single trip. We should have had a footnote in the timetable "subject to cancellation without notice, especially on nice summer Fridays."
 

brianpmcdonnell17

Conductor
Joined
Mar 5, 2016
Messages
1,503
Location
Chicago, Illinois
Silver Meteor has 4 Coaches effective yesterday (6/9/21) according to reports from eyewitnesses on Trainorders. Star is supposed to get its third Coach within a week. Don't know about other trains.
Have you heard anything else since last week? As of yesterday it appeared that both trains were still running with only two coaches.
 
Last edited:

dcipjr

Train Attendant
Joined
Mar 8, 2012
Messages
23
I was on the Cardinal this week, and the train was completely sold out—sleepers and coaches. We only had two coaches in the consist.
 

Bob Dylan

Conductor
Joined
May 31, 2009
Messages
22,683
Location
Austin Texas
Haven’t heard anything further.
They're doing the same thing on the Texas Eagle, the Western Orphan Train.🤬

Shortened consists( 1 Sleeper, 1 CCC,2 Coaches on non-421/422 Days between SAS and CHI), and yet on most days the Rooms are "Sold Out" with Coaches 90-100% Full, and on the days that a few Rooms are available, High Bucket Rooms( ie AUS-CHI Roomette $772!!!)and Coaches($256!@!) are the Norm.🤡

And No Sightseer Lounge, and No plans to replace Flex Dining in the CCC!😬.🤬

Southwest Airlines will Fly you Non-Stop AUS-CHI for $109 Get-a-way Fare!! Guess which way I'll travel to Chicago next trip I make?
 
  • Angry
Reactions: Cal

joelkfla

OBS Chief
Joined
Oct 16, 2018
Messages
564
Location
12 miles from Walt Disney World
I was on the Star in both directions between ORL & TPA this past Wednesday, and there were 2 coaches. The southbound wasn't too bad, but the northbound looked close to full. I felt sorry for the one and only coach attendant running around trying to get everybody seated and their luggage stowed. There were several walkers on the car, and he had to get really creative trying to stash them all into the space next to the restroom. And to boot, the conductor was on his case about getting the train moving.
 

joelkfla

OBS Chief
Joined
Oct 16, 2018
Messages
564
Location
12 miles from Walt Disney World
Also my sympathies. But since when does stowing luggage keep the train from leaving?
It was about getting everyone seated. I had a mobility scooter, and someone was in the wheelchair seat with a ton of luggage in the overhead, and there was also some luggage in the wheelchair space. He had to help her to move all of her stuff and find somewhere else to move the stuff in the wheelchair space before I could board.

He told a couple what seats to sit in as they boarded, and they came back saying someone else was in the seat.

But he stayed cheerful & friendly through it all, even somehow finding a charger for the I-phone of a passenger across the aisle from me.
 

Brian Battuello

Service Attendant
AU Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Jul 23, 2014
Messages
153
Location
Arlington, MA (near Boston)
Thanks. I know Amtrak doesn't technically overbook, but I've sure been on plenty of trains (mostly on the NE corridor) that left with people looking for seats, and usually put into the cafe car. I didn't know anyone actually checked.

Are they assigning seats in coach now? Has been a while since I've been anywhere but business class or higher. Too many AGR points....
 

joelkfla

OBS Chief
Joined
Oct 16, 2018
Messages
564
Location
12 miles from Walt Disney World
Thanks. I know Amtrak doesn't technically overbook, but I've sure been on plenty of trains (mostly on the NE corridor) that left with people looking for seats, and usually put into the cafe car. I didn't know anyone actually checked.

Are they assigning seats in coach now? Has been a while since I've been anywhere but business class or higher. Too many AGR points....
Not assigned, but I assume he was mentally keeping track of open pairs (of which there were not many). Most people boarding, he just told them which of the 2 cars to go to, and sometimes, "anything past seat number [##]."
 
Top