Upcoming Amtrak LD Schedule Changes (2021)

Help Support Amtrak Unlimited Discussion Forum:

neroden

Engineer
Joined
Feb 23, 2014
Messages
8,447
Location
Ithaca, NY
I am "sort of" OK with lengthening the schedule if the train runs more on time, but I doubt NS will actually handle it any better.
If they don't they will pay millions of dollars in fines or in damages to Amtrak, and possibly get their management replaced by the STB -- *and that is new*.

It's sad some of the freight RRs can't handle just 1 train in each direction, but I digress.
Yes, it's sad.

I'm more disappointed they made #20 leave 2 hours later from NOL.
That's an improvement coming from NOL.

The 11PM departure from Atlanta is terrible.
Get over it. It's better than what we've been subjected to on the Lake Shore Limited, in both directions, at *Amtrak's own initiative*, for years, even though Amtrak itself admits that this is unprofitable and stupid.

If it arrives consistently on time, it'll be OK.
 

neroden

Engineer
Joined
Feb 23, 2014
Messages
8,447
Location
Ithaca, NY
So the big thing is this. The behavior of people who take scheduled transportation -- buses, trains, airplanes, etc. -- is documented to be that people plan their trips based on, IIRC, the 90th percentile travel time. (If I remember wrongly, then it's the 95th or 85th.) That means that if the train is late 10% of the time, they plan based on the schedule, but if it's late *more* than 10% of the time, *they plan based on the delayed schedule*.

If this schedule is actually run reliably, people will start actually.... relying on it. Rather than adding three hours to every expected trip time because of potential delays, which is what we all do now.

Which is why I think that adding less than three hours to the schedule, *and hitting it reliably*, is going to be perceived by the customers as a shorter schedule.

I fully expect the criminals at CN to make outrageous demands like adding 40 hours to the CONO's schedule, but NS seems to have worked out something with Amtrak which is not unreasonable. And as someone else pointed out, during the annual trackwork closure, it looks like Amtrak could probably reverse at Birmingham instead of Atlanta now, which would be a major improvement during February.
 

Palmland

OBS Chief
Joined
May 25, 2006
Messages
991
Location
Central Florida
Well if we’re looking for a silver lining, for passengers heading west, the schedule makes a better connection (less waiting time) at Charlottesville for the Cardinal and Washington for the Capitol and still has a connection to upstate NY (western NY loses). Certainly it’s better too for those that like to enjoy all that NOLA has to offer. I still don’t like the fact that it’s schedule is so close to the Roanoke-Lynchburg train.

Consider the two night schedule of Southern’s schedule in the 50’s (it was routed via Montgomery slightly longer than via Birmingham)). It left NOL at 11pm. Time for a good dinner in town as well as a connection from today’s version of the Sunset. Overnight to Atlanta with arrival there at 1:45pm. Then good times for all stations in the Carolinas with Lynchburg arrival at 11:50pm. Overnight to NYP with 9am arrival.
 

jruff001

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Jan 23, 2020
Messages
268
Consider the two night schedule of Southern’s schedule in the 50’s (it was routed via Montgomery slightly longer than via Birmingham)). It left NOL at 11pm. Time for a good dinner in town as well as a connection from today’s version of the Sunset. Overnight to Atlanta with arrival there at 1:45pm. Then good times for all stations in the Carolinas with Lynchburg arrival at 11:50pm. Overnight to NYP with 9am arrival.
OK, I am considering it. I can't come up with a business plan that has enough people who would choose to take two nights to get from NOL to NYC?? When you can fly that in like three hours; maybe four with a connection via ATL.
 

me_little_me

Engineer
AU Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Jul 16, 2010
Messages
4,241
Someone had to get hit with that. And frankly, they managed to hit reasonable times for both Atlanta and for Charlotte. Getting Charlotte out of O-Dark-Thirty should actually help ridership. Even the NOL times are an improvement. Sucks to be Greensville, of course, but again, someone had to get hit with it.
C'mon! Charlotte already has the Carolinian as a day train. to NYP. There is no need to have an improved time for the overnight as Charlotte's "overnight" travel is not likely to increase as much as Atlanta's loss.

Georgia deserves what it gets but the people that use the train from Georgia do not.

Amtrak gave up everything. The enforcement of the schedule is a joke since it is so bad. Our trains will be running at no better speed because we are agreeing to make the already terrible freight-caused delays permanent. I don't know how anyone can justify that.
 

tricia

Conductor
Joined
Aug 23, 2011
Messages
1,286
Location
Spring Creek, NC
OK, I am considering it. I can't come up with a business plan that has enough people who would choose to take two nights to get from NOL to NYC?? When you can fly that in like three hours; maybe four with a connection via ATL.
There are plenty of folks who'd use a schedule like this for intermediate stops--overnight NOL to ATL, for example. I'd LOVE to have this option. Ideally, of course, there'd be at least two trains per day, each way, on this route, with different schedules.
 

jiml

Engineer
AU Supporter
Joined
Feb 27, 2019
Messages
3,714
Location
Somewhere in Southern Ontario
Get over it. It's better than what we've been subjected to on the Lake Shore Limited, in both directions, at *Amtrak's own initiative*, for years, even though Amtrak itself admits that this is unprofitable and stupid.
This is a valid observation outside the context of this thread and probably doesn't alter the opinions of those with a "horse" in the Crescent race. Not only is it an example where the endpoints are the primary consideration, but let's not forget that some stations on the route have the luxury of being overlooked by 2 trains instead of just one... Cleveland comes to mind.
 

bms

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Jan 29, 2018
Messages
483
Location
Cleveland
If this schedule is actually run reliably, people will start actually.... relying on it. Rather than adding three hours to every expected trip time because of potential delays, which is what we all do now.

Which is why I think that adding less than three hours to the schedule, *and hitting it reliably*, is going to be perceived by the customers as a shorter schedule.
Others know more than me about the laws related to Amtrak, but I believe the deal when joining Amtrak is that the freight railroads are required to allow the same level of passenger service as when they joined. If a road is now insisting on a longer schedule, does that mean they're not in compliance?
 

bms

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Jan 29, 2018
Messages
483
Location
Cleveland
OK, I am considering it. I can't come up with a business plan that has enough people who would choose to take two nights to get from NOL to NYC?? When you can fly that in like three hours; maybe four with a connection via ATL.
There are plenty of folks who'd use a schedule like this for intermediate stops--overnight NOL to ATL, for example. I'd LOVE to have this option. Ideally, of course, there'd be at least two trains per day, each way, on this route, with different schedules.
In 1952 the Southern had five named trains running between New Orleans and the Northeast Corridor. I think an 11 p.m. departure makes sense as one of five choices, not so much as the only choice.
 

jruff001

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Jan 23, 2020
Messages
268
Others know more than me about the laws related to Amtrak, but I believe the deal when joining Amtrak is that the freight railroads are required to allow the same level of passenger service as when they joined. If a road is now insisting on a longer schedule, does that mean they're not in compliance?
No, it would not necessarily mean that.

"Compliance" in this regard would mean that if there had been a DC - Atlanta train pre-Amtrak, the host RR would have to let Amtrak operate a DC - Atlanta train.

If Amtrak insists on a specific schedule, it would be free to discuss with the host RR (and pay for) the infrastructure changes that would be needed to provide that.
 

bms

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Jan 29, 2018
Messages
483
Location
Cleveland
No, it would not necessarily mean that.

"Compliance" in this regard would mean that if there had been a DC - Atlanta train pre-Amtrak, the host RR would have to let Amtrak operate a DC - Atlanta train.

If Amtrak insists on a specific schedule, it would be free to discuss with the host RR (and pay for) the infrastructure changes that would be needed to provide that.
Thanks!
 

Anderson

Engineer
Joined
Nov 16, 2010
Messages
9,700
Location
Virginia
OK, I am considering it. I can't come up with a business plan that has enough people who would choose to take two nights to get from NOL to NYC?? When you can fly that in like three hours; maybe four with a connection via ATL.
(1) As it stands, taking the train sinks most of two days (all of one and a huge chunk of the other). Sinking only a sole day might well be an improvement.
(2) You presume that NOL-NYC is a large portion of the train's ridership. It's not nothing but intermediate pairs are arguably more important. Rolling to a theoretical 2345 departure from NOL would provide a morning arrival into Birmingham and midday/afternoon into Atlanta. It would be a "daylight" train as far as perhaps Lynchburg, and then run overnight to Philly/NYC. I think such a train would be quite popular in North Carolina (daylight service CLT-ATL and overnight service to New York), and I wouldn't be surprised if (were it a second train on the run) it would prove to be quite popular from SW VA heading up north (since now you can get to NYC without killing most of a day on the train).
 

daybeers

Conductor
Joined
Jan 6, 2016
Messages
1,044
Location
HFD/POU
On May 3rd, the LSL changed its schedule to lengthen several portions of the schedule, namely in NY. The dwell time on 48 has now increased from a painful 1 hour, 14 minutes to an absolutely ridiculous 1 hour, 39 minutes. Why would you ever need that much padding?!? I am currently on 48 running basically on time and I did receive a new e-ticket with the changed time but thought it was just track work. Impossible to tell unless looking at transit docs since the schedules are no longer on the website 😤😤 I can’t believe I’m going to waste 1:39 of my life in Rensselaer. Not like there’s anything to do in that amount of time.
 

Rasputin

OBS Chief
Joined
Jan 17, 2019
Messages
978
On May 3rd, the LSL changed its schedule to lengthen several portions of the schedule, namely in NY. The dwell time on 48 has now increased from a painful 1 hour, 14 minutes to an absolutely ridiculous 1 hour, 39 minutes. Why would you ever need that much padding?!? I am currently on 48 running basically on time and I did receive a new e-ticket with the changed time but thought it was just track work. Impossible to tell unless looking at transit docs since the schedules are no longer on the website 😤😤 I can’t believe I’m going to waste 1:39 of my life in Rensselaer. Not like there’s anything to do in that amount of time.
Try to think positively. Perhaps the Albany yard crew has finally passed Switching School and they just need a few more minutes to switch the Boston sleeper in and out from the rear of the train in with the New York sleepers. which of course is where it should be.

The extra time at Albany station will also allow passengers more time to make their selections at the Albany coffee shop. A wonderful oasis on the desert of the iron road.
 
Last edited:

jis

Engineer
AU Lifetime Supporter
Gathering Team Member
Joined
Aug 24, 2003
Messages
28,842
Location
Space Coast, Florida, Area code 3-2-1
On May 3rd, the LSL changed its schedule to lengthen several portions of the schedule, namely in NY. The dwell time on 48 has now increased from a painful 1 hour, 14 minutes to an absolutely ridiculous 1 hour, 39 minutes.
Here is my semi-educated guess....

This one would appear to be mainly to increase schedule reliability on MNRR I think. In the past schedule LSL was expected to arrive and depart POU one minute before the MNRR to GCT which is all stops to CRT. Which meant that if the LSL was even one minute late, MNRR would release their train and then LSL will get delayed running on the tail light of a stopping train. This change puts the LSL well behind the MNRR even if it is on time and being a little tardy has no effect unless it is so late as to interfere with the next hourly MNRR departure, at which point the delay would be charged to Amtrak and not MNRR. More possible unintended consequences of getting better enforceable schedule reliability.

Now of course Amtrak could have achieved the same by shortening the stop at ALB by 20 or so minutes, but ALB being able to switch an engine in less than hour is almost unthinkable I suppose. :D Or they could have had it depart at its old time and just amble along and finally sit at the home signal of POU should it arrive there too early. Afterall Amtrak has nothing arriving at POU at around that time. :D
 
Last edited:

Just-Thinking-51

Engineer
AU Lifetime Supporter
AU Supporter
Joined
Sep 17, 2009
Messages
2,215
Location
USA
IMHO the departure time out of NOL is the crew comes in the night before and need its HOS off duty to go out the next morning.
Onboard service crew is based in NOL is it not? There is a crew base there for the City of New Orleans.

The conductors and engineers need a fixed rest break, but are they not also based out of NOL?

The location of these two sets of employees make or break the required time of departure. One thinks having them located at the terminal would make it much easier to have on-time departure. Late train no big deal for the T/E and OBS.
 

SubwayNut

Conductor
Joined
Nov 17, 2011
Messages
1,470
About the Lake Shore, isn't 48 still discharge only from Albany to NYP, so maybe it's were going to pad the schedule and might leave way early?
 

jis

Engineer
AU Lifetime Supporter
Gathering Team Member
Joined
Aug 24, 2003
Messages
28,842
Location
Space Coast, Florida, Area code 3-2-1
About the Lake Shore, isn't 48 still discharge only from Albany to NYP, so maybe it's were going to pad the schedule and might leave way early?
Discharge only from Hudson to NYP. You can ride the LSL from ALB to NYP or any intermediate stop. So it may not leave Albany way early. Besides even if it could, the Albany crew have a well earned reputation of making sure that it leaves late no matter how early it arrives. :D
 

daybeers

Conductor
Joined
Jan 6, 2016
Messages
1,044
Location
HFD/POU
About the Lake Shore, isn't 48 still discharge only from Albany to NYP, so maybe it's were going to pad the schedule and might leave way early?
Yes it is, but according to the history, it doesn’t leave early. Who knows why.

Discharge only from Hudson to NYP. You can ride the LSL from ALB to NYP or any intermediate stop. So it may not leave Albany way early. Besides even if it could, the Albany crew have a well earned reputation of making sure that it leaves late no matter how early it arrives. :D
The PDF schedule from 10/12/2020 shows discharge only from Albany south on 48. Arrow shows the same.
 

jis

Engineer
AU Lifetime Supporter
Gathering Team Member
Joined
Aug 24, 2003
Messages
28,842
Location
Space Coast, Florida, Area code 3-2-1
The PDF schedule from 10/12/2020 shows discharge only from Albany south on 48. Arrow shows the same.
Since I can book a ticket from Albany to New York on it on June 9th I assume that at least on June 9th what I said is true. Hey $126 in Roomette too when I last looked. To get the more trustworthy information I go into the booking system and try to pull up a test reservation.

I don't trust any of those PDF schedules any further than I can throw Flynn, which is not too far.
 
Last edited:

daybeers

Conductor
Joined
Jan 6, 2016
Messages
1,044
Location
HFD/POU
Must be a change with the daily schedule because when trying reservations before that date, the LSL isn’t an option.
 

fdaley

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Jan 25, 2020
Messages
290
Must be a change with the daily schedule because when trying reservations before that date, the LSL isn’t an option.
Make sure you try the right day of the week, given that it only operates SuTuFr. When I search for Albany to New York this Friday, #48 is an option, though coach allegedly is sold out.
 
Top