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Triweekly service will be overshadowed by drop in revenue

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Chatter163

OBS Chief
Joined
Aug 26, 2002
Messages
595
Bring back some of the lines that might work today. I think the Floridian might work today. Edit the route as when it leaves Nashville it goes to Atlanta before going to Jacksonville. The route could end in Orlando. CSX wants to sell Tilford Yard in Atlanta. Have Amtrak partner with the city of Atlanta and the state of Georgia and buy it. Move the Atlanta Amtrak Station there and make it a Hub. You have routes from Atlanta that would take you to New Orleans, Nashville, Louisville, Jacksonville, Orlando. Throw in some smaller amtrak commuter trains as well Atlanta/Chattanooga/Knoxville and
Atlanta/ Macon/ Savannah
Sorry, but you don't seem very well-informed on the current state of rail affairs. The State of Georgia has long had zero interest in purchasing any rail yards, or in supporting regional passenger routes. This is true of the current legislature and governor, as well as their predecessors. And the poor relations between the current governor of Georgia and the mayor of Atlanta, makes any such scheme even less likely.
 

Exvalley

Service Attendant
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Jul 7, 2020
Messages
158
If the taxpayers are to believe that Amtrak funding is not a boondoggle and bottomless money pit, it may make sense to temporarily cut back on service. Politics is a fine dance, after all.

I hope that service continues, but I also don’t want to see legislators tiring of Amtrak.
 

McIntyre2K7

Train Attendant
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Messages
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The government is not handing out money to airlines for expansion. Airlines have shrunk dramatically in the past few months.
I never said the government was handing out money for expansion. However the airline industry got a 25 billion dollar bailout. Delta had it's best profit ever in 2019. If they can give 25 billion to the airline industry the government can easily write a check to Amtrak. What did the airline industry to with all of that extra money from those bag fees and change fees lol. That's just my two cents.

As far as expansion. 1 long distance line east of the Mississippi that goes from Chicago to Orlando. Is not the right time to do it. No but Maybe that route could be introduced with funding.
 

jruff001

Train Attendant
Joined
Jan 23, 2020
Messages
74
I never said the government was handing out money for expansion. However the airline industry got a 25 billion dollar bailout. Delta had it's best profit ever in 2019. If they can give 25 billion to the airline industry the government can easily write a check to Amtrak.
I'm not the one to defend airline bailouts, but I will point out that the government DOES write a big check to Amtrak, every year. And Amtrak also got additional "bailout" money too this year to help deal with the effects of Covid.
 

Exvalley

Service Attendant
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As they should, since they are the owner of Amtrak ... they are not the owner of the airlines - let the airline owners write those checks
But Amtrak’s charter says that Amtrak is to be operated as a for-profit company, rather than a public authority.

Shareholders of for-profit companies aren’t expected to continuously plow money into the company.
 

Ryan

Conductor
Joined
Apr 14, 2008
Messages
17,031
Location
OTN
WASHINGTON — Any savings Amtrak management may achieve by reducing most long-distance trains to triweekly service will be overshadowed by a precipitous drop in revenue, additional unforeseen expenses, and a crippled ability to restart service.
Revenue has *already* dropped. In the absence of supplemental funding from Congress to make up the difference, it's unclear what folks expect Amtrak to do.
 

Devil's Advocate

Conductor
Joined
May 24, 2010
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Danny Harmon has good charisma and a great narrator's voice, but his repertoire of jokes needs a little work. The more he keeps complaining about the scourge of "avocado toast" killing off his favorite railroads the less it sounds like humor and more like a confusing soapbox rant.

 
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Exvalley

Service Attendant
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Messages
158
As are the privately owned airlines that are getting Gov't money that could be given to the transportation system the Gov't actually owns.
Fortunately government isn’t always thinking of its own self interests. When that happens it never ends well. Interests must be balanced.
 

nferr

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Feb 24, 2009
Messages
277
It isn't so much they are cutting back now but their recent history shows they have no real interest in LD or in service so they aren't trusted to bring back that service and those trains when Covid ends. Moreover, I've heard nothing about any attempt to use this as an opportunity to refurbish cars and engines.

In addition, they have not used it as an opportunity to test out the use of the excess cars and engines in short distance coach trains along any routes as I suggested wherein for example, they could run between Tampa and Miami at the same time they run the Star on the days it doesn't run as they already have the rights to do so.
Refurbish cars and engines costs money, which they don't have.
 

nferr

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Feb 24, 2009
Messages
277
As they should, since they are the owner of Amtrak ... they are not the owner of the airlines - let the airline owners write those checks
You do realize it would be a total disaster if the airlines shut down entirely. The feds are handing out emergency money to just about everybody right now.
 
Joined
Oct 19, 2010
Messages
2
By the way.. Amtrak is still letting you make reservations for any day on the long distance services -- in my case the Empire Builder -- well past October 1, 2020.. What happens on the 4 other days when there is no train??
 

Sidney

Train Attendant
Joined
Jul 12, 2020
Messages
60
Hopefully the tri weekly idea will be shot down. If not and you made a reservation after October you'll receive an update from Amtrak. Can you imagine the horrors of trying to connect in Chicago?
 

McIntyre2K7

Train Attendant
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Jun 30, 2020
Messages
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You do realize it would be a total disaster if the airlines shut down entirely. The feds are handing out emergency money to just about everybody right now.
They have tons of money from charging us those bag fees. If anything they change their fare pricing to attract more customers.


For example you have people join a club where you pay $100/yr to join that gives you special pricing and you have to select the closest airport to you. I'll use mine for example: TPA.

So I pay for it and now I see a map that has 1 tiers:

Tier 1: < 500 miles. Flights are $99 one way
Tier 2: 501 miles to 999 miles. Flights are $150 one way
Tier 3: 1000 miles to 1499 miles. Flights are $200 one way
Tier 4: 1500 miles +. Flights are $250 one way


Lets say the plane is a 737-800 so it would have about 170 seats. Let's look at some major destinations from Tampa:

Atlanta: $99

Washington, DC: $150

NYC: $200

Boston: $200

Chicago: $200

LA: $250



So lets say that these flights 80 percent of the people are using the program so it would be 136 people. So 6 flights times 136 people would be 816 people. Now those 816 people have contributed to a $100 subscription so that's $81,600 BEFORE you buy a plane ticket.


Atlanta: $13,761
Washington DC: $20,400
NYC/BOSTON/CHICAGO: 27,200 EACH for a total of $81,600
LA: $34,000


Total: $149,761 ticket fares (one way) of those 6 flights.




Let's say EVERYONE has a flat fee of $25 for a checked bag. Each flight has 170 people and they have a checked bag.

170 people times 6 = 1020 people.

1020 people times $25 = $25,500



So basically the airlines have made the following:

$81,600 for the subscriptions
$149,761 for the ticket fares (One way flights)
$25,500 for the baggage fees

Total: $256,861

Now say this is peak travel season so lets multiply that amount by 30 to get a months amount:

Total: $7,705,830 (before deductions)

Now I know there are fees and items like fuel, pilot salaries, maintenance, landing fees and what not. I know there are other variables as well. That was just for 6 flights. Use tier pricing until the economy rebounds however if the numbers look good you can keep it.
 

Exvalley

Service Attendant
AU Supporter
Joined
Jul 7, 2020
Messages
158
Can we please stop being so competitive and stop pretending that if those pesky airlines would just go away we would return to the glory days of rail travel? Both forms of transportation play a very vital role and both should receive sufficient resources. Same for highways. Maybe we need to rebalance those resources, but it’s not an all or nothing game.
 

McIntyre2K7

Train Attendant
AU Supporter
Joined
Jun 30, 2020
Messages
56
Can we please stop being so competitive and stop pretending that if those pesky airlines would just go away we would return to the glory days of rail travel? Both forms of transportation play a very vital role and both should receive sufficient resources. Same for highways. Maybe we need to rebalance those resources, but it’s not an all or nothing game.
I don't think anyone here wants airlines to go away. However some of us (me) can't justify the airline industry getting these bailouts when Amtrak should be receiving more funding. Airlines are prefect for traveling long distances over a short period however there's a range where it's "too short to fly" and "too long to drive." I guess the problem with that would be the 750 mile rule.
 

jruff001

Train Attendant
Joined
Jan 23, 2020
Messages
74
I don't think anyone here wants airlines to go away. However some of us (me) can't justify the airline industry getting these bailouts when Amtrak should be receiving more funding. Airlines are prefect for traveling long distances over a short period however there's a range where it's "too short to fly" and "too long to drive." I guess the problem with that would be the 750 mile rule.
The airlines AND Amtrak got "bailouts" to help survive Covid.

Amtrak gets annual direct funding on top of that. (Yes I know parts of the aviation infrastructure are paid for with public money as well.)

Most people here seem to be forgetting that lots and lots and lots of people in the U.S. fly. There would be a huge economic impact if airlines shut down. And I am NOT a proponent of using taxpayer money to prop up unsustainable airline models; just pointing out something obvious that most people here don't seem to want to acknowledge.

OTOH, hardly anyone takes long-distance trains. If Amtrak's long distance network disappeared tomorrow, hardly anyone (relatively speaking) would notice and life would go on normally for 99.9999% of Americans.

I wish that weren't the case because I love traveling by train, but ignoring reality doesn't help anything.
 

Qapla

Conductor
Joined
Jul 15, 2019
Messages
1,175
Location
Gator Country Florida
Can we please stop being so competitive and stop pretending that if those pesky airlines would just go away we would return to the glory days of rail travel? Both forms of transportation play a very vital role and both should receive sufficient resources
The airlines AND Amtrak got "bailouts" to help survive Covid.
Amtrak gets annual direct funding on top of that.
Yes, we need "all three" types of transit, planes, trains and highways. All need funding. However, even though the airlines are private and so are the companies/people using the highways - they seem to get a disproportionally higher percentage of "public funds" than does the publicly owned passenger rail

I agree money needs to be available for all types of travel - I just think Amtrak needs to be FULLY FUNDED since it is OWNED by the Gov't .... not get the table scraps left after giving airline and trucking the lion's share.

OTOH, hardly anyone takes long-distance trains. If Amtrak's long distance network disappeared tomorrow, hardly anyone (relatively speaking) would notice and life would go on normally for 99.9999% of Americans.
I wish that weren't the case because I love traveling by train, but ignoring reality doesn't help anything.
This is, in part (and a large part at that) due to the fact that Amtrak does not advertise - of those 99.999% how many are even aware of Amtrak. Many of those I know have been surprised when I mention riding Amtrak because they were not aware it still ran. Public awareness would go a long way toward helping Amtrak be more relevant to peoples travel plans if they were reminded it exists and runs daily. Better funding, more routes and more frequency would make it a viable alternative to many of those 99.999% if they were reminded of Amtrak's existence on a daily basis like the insurance companies do.
 

daybeers

OBS Chief
Joined
Jan 6, 2016
Messages
726
Location
HFD
Can we please stop being so competitive and stop pretending that if those pesky airlines would just go away we would return to the glory days of rail travel? Both forms of transportation play a very vital role and both should receive sufficient resources. Same for highways. Maybe we need to rebalance those resources, but it’s not an all or nothing game.
Rail travel is and always has been a very efficient mode of transportation. There is now a 70% chance the planet will reach 1.5 degrees Celsius of warming since pre-industrial temperatures by 2024. This is way worse than we originally thought: limiting to 1.5 degrees of warming by 2100. To get to the level that we need to, people need to slow down their flying significantly or quit entirely. The carbon footprint of one round-trip flight New York-London or New York-San Francisco uses up almost the entire budget for the year in order to keep the warming at 1.5 degrees. And even that is already creating more catastrophic storms, flooding, droughts, and those will get worse.
 

Qapla

Conductor
Joined
Jul 15, 2019
Messages
1,175
Location
Gator Country Florida
During the early days of COVID-19, when things first got "locked down" - Amtrak was still running their normal schedules for LD trains. The lack of riders did not reduce the fuel they spent each day. However, the air and road traffic dropped considerably. Maps of air quality shoed a marked improvement in air pollution worldwide.

It would seem that LD trains are a better mode of travel for the environment - if people weren't in such a rush.
 
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