W Palm Beach Safety Patrol Trains 2018?

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Just-Thinking-51

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Local paper in West Palm Beach is reporting the potential demise of the Safety Patrol Train to Washington DC.

http://www.palmbeachpost.com/news/rolling-slumber-parties-school-safety-patrols-dropping-trains/UTuZPrDLUCHXhL58hEHnZN/

I am not sure if this is real news or a PR bit from the local airport. I guess will see next year (2018) if there is a safety patrol train or not.

Also the moderators spun this off to its own thread.

MODERATOR EDIT: TItle of thread changed from End of W Palm Beach Safety Patrol Trains? The Safety Patrol Trains ran in February 2018
 
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MattW

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Good riddance. As much as I'd have liked to have seen Amtrak finally grow a pair and inform the WPB school district that they could either plan this 12 months in advance, or deal with existing ticket holders, I won't be sad to see kicking ticketed passengers off come to an end.
 

railiner

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Good riddance. As much as I'd have liked to have seen Amtrak finally grow a pair and inform the WPB school district that they could either plan this 12 months in advance, or deal with existing ticket holders, I won't be sad to see kicking ticketed passengers off come to an end.
Amen to that!
 

Anderson

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Good riddance. As much as I'd have liked to have seen Amtrak finally grow a pair and inform the WPB school district that they could either plan this 12 months in advance, or deal with existing ticket holders, I won't be sad to see kicking ticketed passengers off come to an end.
I'm split. On the one hand, I think Amtrak could have found better ways to deal with the situation than they did (putting a notice on the dozen most likely dates would have been a starting point, and putting a sleeper and a coach on the front for pre-booked pax but making sure there was always someone staffing an FSC in the middle to keep them and the kids apart would have been a compromise). Actually, seeing that picture, can anybody tell me why when Amtrak was sidelining all of those Superliners last year they couldn't have simply run this as a Santa Fe-style split level train? It's not like the Superliners needed to go north of WAS for this. Altering the Star's schedule for a day wouldn't have been the end of the world (I think a lot of folks could endure the altered schedule; it's more the total loss of the schedule, and with it a number of viable pairs, that's at issue).
 
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Thirdrail7

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Good riddance. As much as I'd have liked to have seen Amtrak finally grow a pair and inform the WPB school district that they could either plan this 12 months in advance, or deal with existing ticket holders, I won't be sad to see kicking ticketed passengers off come to an end.
Amen to that!

Yes, if this is true, good riddance to guaranteed revenue that likely triples the amount that could be made by the star and meteor in the same dates combined. Good bye to future riders and potential spill revenue. Weeeee!

Actually, seeing that picture, can anybody tell me why when Amtrak was sidelining all of those Superliners last year they couldn't have simply run this as a Santa Fe-style split level train? It's not like the Superliners needed to go north of WAS for this.

If it is a charter train (as the story & photo suggest) and uses Superliners, why then do they need to "cancel" the SM (which uses single level equipment) on those dates and bump passengers already booked? :huh:

From the caption underneath the picture that has some of you mesmerized:

The Amtrak Superliner, a special charter train out of Chicago, carries the Palm Beach County Safety Patrol through Virginia enroute to Washington D.C., March 7, 1998. (Greg Lovett / The Palm Beach Post)
 
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railiner

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If it is a charter train (as the story & photo suggest) and uses Superliners, why then do they need to "cancel" the SM (which uses single level equipment) on those dates and bump passengers already booked? :huh:
Don't know for sure...could be CSX wouldn't allow an extra train? Or perhaps it would be a shortage of Amtrak manpower to handle both?
 

railiner

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Good riddance. As much as I'd have liked to have seen Amtrak finally grow a pair and inform the WPB school district that they could either plan this 12 months in advance, or deal with existing ticket holders, I won't be sad to see kicking ticketed passengers off come to an end.
Amen to that!
Yes, if this is true, good riddance to guaranteed revenue that likely triples the amount that could be made by the star and meteor in the same dates combined. Good bye to future riders and potential spill revenue. Weeeee!

Actually, seeing that picture, can anybody tell me why when Amtrak was sidelining all of those Superliners last year they couldn't have simply run this as a Santa Fe-style split level train? It's not like the Superliners needed to go north of WAS for this.
If it is a charter train (as the story & photo suggest) and uses Superliners, why then do they need to "cancel" the SM (which uses single level equipment) on those dates and bump passengers already booked? :huh:
From the caption underneath the picture that has some of you mesmerized:

The Amtrak Superliner, a special charter train out of Chicago, carries the Palm Beach County Safety Patrol through Virginia enroute to Washington D.C., March 7, 1998. (Greg Lovett / The Palm Beach Post)
You made some valid points, but I still think that they should commit to a date and block the space before having to displace 'regular' passenger's that booked in good faith...
 

Seaboard92

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I'm going to side with Third Rail here I see more benefits to the kiddie train then a regular train. It's already the slow season so the train isn't going to be sold out and here comes a group that will not only sell your train out but force the addition of extra cars. And I'm sure even with the group rate fare they are still paying more then what would be a sold out train would yield.

And on the secondary benefit side you are exposing over six hundred kids to train travel and giving them a good memory that might cause them to ride in the future.

I'll go with guaranteed revenue that's easily impressionable.
 

Thirdrail7

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If you've ever dealt with a school calendar, you'll note that it can vary from year to year. Anything from bad weather factor days, mandatory testing to religious holidays can impact the calendar. Some of it isn't hashed out until the beginning of the school year. An example is my school district decided to basically cancel "Spring/Easter" break this year. They did this because they started observing another batch of religious days off. In order to allow the children to finish school before July, they truncated spring break.

Additionally, you have to coordinate with institutions the children intend to visit. You have to work with their framework as well. As such, I can see why they may not be able to commit 12 months in advance.
 

Carolina Special

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From the article it sounds like the numbers of safety patrollers are going to keep going down anyway. Amtrak can't really compete with air travel on speed or comfort for adult chaperones, at least not from Florida to DC.
 

AmtrakLKL

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From the article it sounds like the numbers of safety patrollers are going to keep going down anyway. Amtrak can't really compete with air travel on speed or comfort for adult chaperones, at least not from Florida to DC.
I believe the numbers actually went up from 2016 to 2017. Not by much, but we did operate and fill one more coach this year over last. Everyone onboard loves the train experience. To me, the article seemed more a rant from PBI airport over not having the business of the groups that fly vs. no more train trips. I'm optimistic and wouldn't put a nail in the Patrol Train's coffin just yet.
 

Devil's Advocate

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Yes, if this is true, good riddance to guaranteed revenue that likely triples the amount that could be made by the star and meteor in the same dates combined. Good bye to future riders and potential spill revenue. Weeeee!
It would seem that the mature and responsible thing for Amtrak to do is block the entire window of possible charter dates so that no paying customer has to suffer the preventable indignity of forced rebooking or cancellation after confirming and purchasing their seats ahead of time. If Amtrak were to adopt such a process you could then compare the revenue of the kiddie train with several days/weeks worth of tickets that were prevented from being sold for months on end while Amtrak patiently waited for the school district to eventually make up its mind about when to travel. Instead of wringing hands over winning the hearts and minds of little kids who may eventually return as adult passengers decades from now, perhaps you should worry about providing an honest and dignified service to revenue passengers who are trying to purchase and use your services today.
 
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railiner

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If they do continue the present practice of 'bumping' paid reservations, I believe they should at least raise the ante on compensation to those affected...perhaps a lot...think about the recent airline fiasco by way of comparison.
 

Heath Loxton

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So is the Safety Patrol Train basically where a whole bunch of schoolkids travel from Florida to Washington DC with chaperones and look out the window and record any safety hazards, found along the right of way, into their workbooks and then go back to school and write letters to the Amtrak CEO stating how they should fix the safety concerns? :D
 
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A Voice

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I fully understand why the safety patrol trains are best run in place of the Meteor, and I am also familiar with the reasons dates cannot be firmly set many months in advance. I hope that the specials are in fact able to continue. However, the one problem I've always had with how this is done is displacement of passengers already holding confirmed reservations. There is an element of first-come first-served at work here. Amtrak should certainly bend over backwards to accommodate the safety patrol and its associated revenue and passenger travel exposure, but those already booked who cannot be easily and voluntarily reaccommodated should still have their reservations honored (perhaps a car largely isolated from the rest of the train).

Between the (likely) change in schedule and number of kids on board, most all passengers will likely choose another option anyway (which might well render such a suggestion impractical). But in principle, I don't believe those with reservations who still want to travel should be involuntarily bumped.
 

Devil's Advocate

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I'm sure once they learn it's a train full of middle schoolers those people would voluntarily bump themselves to the Silver Star.
That's not what the paid passengers who were bumped have said in the past. They had a confirmed ticket and they expected to use it. Shocking, but true. In most cases it never occurred to them that they might be casually bumped to make way for a bunch of school kids on a short notice joy ride.
 

west point

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What is sad is Amtrak not having enough spare equipment to run an extra train or attach extra cars to the Meteor. Locos might also be a problem ? Since CSX limits Auto Train to 50 cars cannot see why that is more than enough train length.
 

MikefromCrete

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What is sad is Amtrak not having enough spare equipment to run an extra train or attach extra cars to the Meteor. Locos might also be a problem ? Since CSX limits Auto Train to 50 cars cannot see why that is more than enough train length.
The problem in not equipment or locomotives -- those could be rounded up for a once a year event. The problem is that CSX will not allow Amtrak to operate a special train. That is why the Silver Meteor has to be replaced twice a year.
 

brianpmcdonnell17

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What is sad is Amtrak not having enough spare equipment to run an extra train or attach extra cars to the Meteor. Locos might also be a problem ? Since CSX limits Auto Train to 50 cars cannot see why that is more than enough train length.
The problem in not equipment or locomotives -- those could be rounded up for a once a year event. The problem is that CSX will not allow Amtrak to operate a special train. That is why the Silver Meteor has to be replaced twice a year.
Then why can't the extra cars simply be added to the end of the SM with no access permitted between the two sections?
 

CCC1007

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What is sad is Amtrak not having enough spare equipment to run an extra train or attach extra cars to the Meteor. Locos might also be a problem ? Since CSX limits Auto Train to 50 cars cannot see why that is more than enough train length.
The problem in not equipment or locomotives -- those could be rounded up for a once a year event. The problem is that CSX will not allow Amtrak to operate a special train. That is why the Silver Meteor has to be replaced twice a year.
Then why can't the extra cars simply be added to the end of the SM with no access permitted between the two sections?
If I remember correctly, there are stations that have limited track space off the main line railroad, and the mainline is busy enough that CSX, who owns the mainline at least, will not allow longer trains than the platform tracks allow. That also means those stations don't have platforms on the main tracks, just in the sidings. IIRC, Jacksonville is one such station.
 
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