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What is your predictive outlook for the future of Amtrak in the next 3 years?

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Devil's Advocate

Sarcastic Misanthrope
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That's not how it works. All it would take is a solid Republican party and one Democrat who opposes a particular piece of legislation and it will fail.
It was intended as a joke because he wasn't actually talking about voting or power sharing, but I'm no author and sarcasm can be easy to botch in written form. I'm in general agreement with the rest of your post.
 

20th Century Rider

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When Bill Clinton got elected in 1992, I got my hopes up that he would really do something for Amtrak and rail transit. But I was disappointed. Then, when Obama got in there, I was *REALLY* encouraged with some of his rhetoric. But again, we were let down.

So, with Biden will it be different this time? I certainly hope so but I'm not holding my breath either. I do think there are reasons once again to be encouraged but...........................
We can only hope. But there is a need now more than ever before for a strong national rail service... also there is a strong push to get local rapid transit going and growing... as can be seen on city websites. But we need to get past the pandemic.

There may be a correlation between building and rebuilding a strong national rail system... as mentioned before on the forum; after WWII it was the US Interstate System... now it's Amtrak's turn! 🤩 ☺;)
 

IndyLions

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...most likely a big chunk of Republicans will now oppose as they flop over conveniently to the fiscal conservative side again...
This is so freaking hilarious and yet so true. They spend like drunken sailors when they are in control, but dust off the “fiscal responsibility” platform otherwise.

Democrats just spend like drunken sailors all the time :)

On a more serious note, I will be interested to see when Biden makes his giant infrastructure push. That’s well overdue. Trump probably would have floated something ginormous if he hadn’t gotten so distracted by his wall.

I would think Biden rather than Trump floating an infrastructure proposal helps Amtrak’s odds of benefitting more from the plan.

Obviously, getting through the Covid crisis as quickly as possible both health-wise and economically is Job One.
 

20th Century Rider

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Democrats just spend like drunken sailors all the time
Well said... you got a gift for writing... when is your first book due out!

Eee gads... What can I say... taxes are rising and making Oregon too expensive for many retirees. Gas is up 30 cents per gal in the last two weeks. So... ya gotta pay for all of this stuff with something... just one ongoing tug-o-war. My property taxes were over $4000; local, state, and Federal dig deep into my pension which isn't protected. What's a retired school teacher to do?
 

Bob Dylan

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Well said... you got a gift for writing... when is your first book due out!

Eee gads... What can I say... taxes are rising and making Oregon too expensive for many retirees. Gas is up 30 cents per gal in the last two weeks. So... ya gotta pay for all of this stuff with something... just one ongoing tug-o-war. My property taxes were over $4000; local, state, and Federal dig deep into my pension which isn't protected. What's a retired school teacher to do?
Oregon's nice, but if you get priced out theres several good States for retirees, depends on what you like and can afford!
 

west point

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The Senate is handicapped from its final make up. Here in Georgia there appears no rush to certify the election of the new Senators. The counties ( may be solid republican ones ) are not even required to certify their election results until I believe Friday afternoon. Then the Secretary of state is not required to certify until I believe Jan 28.
So with the one Senator that was appointed she will not loose her seat until Senate is notified the present Senate . The present Senate is R - 51 and D -48. When the new Senators are seated then it will be R - 50 D - 50 + VP's vote . Since that will not happen until probably after Jan 20th expect a continuing R agenda. My worry is that there may be a possibility of claims stolen election that the Runoffs were tainted here in Georgia delaying the Senate going to 50/ 50 ?.
 

IndyLions

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The Senate is handicapped from its final make up. Here in Georgia there appears no rush to certify the election of the new Senators. The counties ( may be solid republican ones ) are not even required to certify their election results until I believe Friday afternoon. Then the Secretary of state is not required to certify until I believe Jan 28.
So with the one Senator that was appointed she will not loose her seat until Senate is notified the present Senate . The present Senate is R - 51 and D -48. When the new Senators are seated then it will be R - 50 D - 50 + VP's vote . Since that will not happen until probably after Jan 20th expect a continuing R agenda. My worry is that there may be a possibility of claims stolen election that the Runoffs were tainted here in Georgia delaying the Senate going to 50/ 50 ?.
Good points - but I wouldn’t sweat that too much.

McConnell has pretty much established nothing is going to happen in the Senate until the 19th. And even then, the gears of government grind slowly.
 

IndyLions

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This isn’t really a predictive outlook, it’s more of a wish list. But what the heck.

For Amtrak, 3 things:
  1. Competent management, competent management, competent management. PLEASE put people in place with a vision for the future and a passion to serve America with a great transportation network.
  2. A consistent, dedicated funding source. Something sensible, sufficient, and not too controversial. I don’t want it reversed by the next Congress.
  3. Rolling stock, rolling stock, rolling stock. You can’t provide service without equipment. Modern, attractive equipment that is functional and comfortable.
Now on a more local level. I’m a Midwest guy, and would like to see improvements in the Midwest.
  • One of the biggest problems in the Midwest is all the rail congestion around Chicago. There are a number of projects already outlined (Gateway, etc), let’s get every one of them funded and complete. If others are viable as well, such as expanded capacity on the South Shore with a viable connection to the Michigan Services and Chicago Union Station – let’s do those as well.
  • Destroy whatever barriers are left preventing 115 mph running in Illinois and Michigan. It’s taking too darn long.
  • Michigan has made a big investment in passenger rail, and I’d like to see that continue. I’d like to see funding to allow them to acquire trackage from Detroit to Toledo, and to start upgrading that as a viable corridor - and connection to the national network.
  • While we are in Michigan, fund the connection of the new Michigan Central Station to the Michigan rail network. It just makes sense for that to be the gateway to a resurgent Detroit. And I can’t imagine a better first train than Chicago to Toronto via Detroit. There’s a lot of work to be done there politically as well as financially, but we’re thinking big here.
  • In Indiana and Ohio, let’s get investment going in real Corridors. Neither of those legislatures are going to be impressed with a slow train running over slow tracks – so let’s paint a vision of the future and start breaking ground on a reasonable high speed Corridor. Let’s at least get it to where Michigan is, publicly owned tracks that have the capability to run 115 miles an hour or better.
    • Cincinnati-Columbus-Cleveland
    • Cincinnati-Indianapolis-Chicago.
    • Cleveland-Chicago
Sorry from transitioning from “predictive future” to “unrealistic wish list”.
 
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Nick Farr

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  • While we are in Michigan, fund the connection of the new Michigan Central Station to the Michigan rail network.
I'm pretty sure that's not even in the plans--and I'm not sure Ford would be behind that.

It's actually a very awkward place for a railway station in Detroit. Something much closer to downtown would be preferable.
 

IndyLions

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I'm pretty sure that's not even in the plans--and I'm not sure Ford would be behind that.

It's actually a very awkward place for a railway station in Detroit. Something much closer to downtown would be preferable.
No one is saying it will be easy.

Ford is open to it - they’ve committed to leaving the passenger tracks in place, and the entire Main Floor / Concourse is to remain open to the public. As with anything else there is funding to solve and a lot of hurdles to clear.

Awkward or not - it’s where the train station was located at the height of the train travel era. And besides, by the time the CHI-DET-TOR trains are in place, there will be Ford Autonomous Taxis driving visitors up and down the streets of Detroit. Kind of like a two-dimensional version of Bladerunner or The Fifth Element :)
 

flitcraft

OBS Chief
Joined
Jan 10, 2018
Messages
692
It did take quite a while to get trains running again on Point Defiance Bypass. Have they started running again. I had heard it was imminent.
Actually, your question is timely. This weekend they are scheduled to do test runs on the route, according to a radio report this morning, and are warning drivers to expect potential delays at the new level grade crossings in the bypass route.
 

20th Century Rider

Conductor
Joined
Jan 26, 2020
Messages
1,059
Location
Oregon Coast
This isn’t really a predictive outlook, it’s more of a wish list. But what the heck.

For Amtrak, 3 things:
  1. Competent management, competent management, competent management. PLEASE put people in place with a vision for the future and a passion to serve America with a great transportation network.
  2. A consistent, dedicated funding source. Something sensible, sufficient, and not too controversial. I don’t want it reversed by the next Congress.
  3. Rolling stock, rolling stock, rolling stock. You can’t provide service without equipment. Modern, attractive equipment that is functional and comfortable.
Now on a more local level. I’m a Midwest guy, and would like to see improvements in the Midwest.
  • One of the biggest problems in the Midwest is all the rail congestion around Chicago. There are a number of projects already outlined (Gateway, etc), let’s get every one of them funded and complete. If others are viable as well, such as expanded capacity on the South Shore with a viable connection to the Michigan Services and Chicago Union Station – let’s do those as well.
  • Destroy whatever barriers are left preventing 115 mph running in Illinois and Michigan. It’s taking too darn long.
  • Michigan has made a big investment in passenger rail, and I’d like to see that continue. I’d like to see funding to allow them to acquire trackage from Detroit to Toledo, and to start upgrading that as a viable corridor - and connection to the national network.
  • While we are in Michigan, fund the connection of the new Michigan Central Station to the Michigan rail network. It just makes sense for that to be the gateway to a resurgent Detroit. And I can’t imagine a better first train than Chicago to Toronto via Detroit. There’s a lot of work to be done there politically as well as financially, but we’re thinking big here.
  • In Indiana and Ohio, let’s get investment going in real Corridors. Neither of those legislatures are going to be impressed with a slow train running over slow tracks – so let’s paint a vision of the future and start breaking ground on a reasonable high speed Corridor. Let’s at least get it to where Michigan is, publicly owned tracks that have the capability to run 115 miles an hour or better.
    • Cincinnati-Columbus-Cleveland
    • Cincinnati-Indianapolis-Chicago.
    • Cleveland-Chicago
Sorry from transitioning from “predictive future” to “unrealistic wish list”.
Wow! You put some serious work into your excellent suggestions... no doubt reflective of your experience, research, and wisdom. BTW... lets get that STL CHI HS project completed! Bravo for an excellent post! 🌈


study_area_map_th.jpg
 

Sauve850

OBS Chief
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Messages
565
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West Palm Beach, Florida
Top priority should be getting cabinet nominees confirmed. As to infrastructure, stocks are usually forward looking. Many infrastructure companies/funds reflect in their pricing its going to happen. Does that benefit Amtrak? Somewhat I hope.
 

Bob Dylan

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May 31, 2009
Messages
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Austin Texas
Actually, your question is timely. This weekend they are scheduled to do test runs on the route, according to a radio report this morning, and are warning drivers to expect potential delays at the new level grade crossings in the bypass route.
Hopefully theyve trained the Crews better after that Disaster on the First " Official "run!
 

me_little_me

Conductor
Joined
Jul 16, 2010
Messages
3,494
Nailed it! 🤣
No! A Toyota one. Or a Google one. Or some company that doesn't even exist yet. American car manufacturers have mostly, with few exceptions, become followers rather than leaders. So the only chance of Ford having it is everyone else has already reached that point.

If your next quarter isn't good, you are toast so they don't innovately plan for long term.
 

caravanman

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Nottingham, England.
Sad to look back on the rail accident mentioned above, I believe some A.U. or other train website fans were among those who lost their lives?
My worry about the future is that new Corona virus variants are appearing now... If there is no worry about the current vaccines not working against the new variants, why are certain countries being banned from travelling? Hopes of getting back to "normal" in the next few quarters seem very optimistic to me?
 

IndyLions

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No! A Toyota one. Or a Google one. Or some company that doesn't even exist yet. American car manufacturers have mostly, with few exceptions, become followers rather than leaders. So the only chance of Ford having it is everyone else has already reached that point.

If your next quarter isn't good, you are toast so they don't innovately plan for long term.
There is nothing innovative about Toyota. They don’t really invent anything, they just do what everybody else does with very high quality. That’s not innovation, that’s good execution.
 
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jiml

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No! A Toyota one. Or a Google one. Or some company that doesn't even exist yet. American car manufacturers have mostly, with few exceptions, become followers rather than leaders. So the only chance of Ford having it is everyone else has already reached that point.

If your next quarter isn't good, you are toast so they don't innovately plan for long term.
I was simply agreeing with @IndyLions humorous statement that autonomous taxis were more likely to be seen before the restoration of the Toronto-Detroit train - nothing to do with vehicle manufacturers.
 

cirdan

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Messages
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My two cents worth.

There has over the last decades been a shift from rural living to urban living. This has to do with population increase, but also with where the new jobs are being created. The growth of cities has brought with it congestion and the associated side effects such as lost productivity and pollution. This is what has driven mass transportation projects ranging from incremental improvements in bus systems to light and heavy rail for commuters. But also corridor trains (which are in effect super-commuter trains).

People were assuming this was going to continue. Cities getting bigger and bigger with more commuting and thus more transit.

I think maybe in the longer term this will change. Covid has taught us that people working from home is something that works. This may in the long term change commuting habits, reduce congestion, and even permit people to move back to rural areas where houses are cheaper and life more wholesome.

This may reduce the need for further investment in transit and also corridor rail, while maybe providing a slight boost to LD rail.
 
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cirdan

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The first two years of 44's administration approved billions for passenger rail that was used to upgrade tracks and repair rolling stock, but the Executive branch does not exist in a vacuum and after the opposition turned on passenger rail further progress was blocked and reversed at every turn. Not sure how you missed that but it's still true today.
Much of what was done was fixing or replacing stuff that was broken. In a properly run railroad, that sort of stuff is considered maintenance, not investment, and is duly budgeted for.

Then there was the high speed rail plan, for which a lot of starting money was put on the table. But much of that got frittered away, and now there is little to show for it.

A daily Sunset Limited or a train between New Orleans and Florida is about as remote today, if not even remoter, than when Obama took office.
 

railiner

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me_little_me

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Exceptions, such as these?
.

And long before that, there was this...


.
Tesla didn't exist until it came out with the electric. It is one of those that qualified as "doesn't exist yet" as opposed to the traditional car manufacturers who were just followers.

As to GM, they just dabbled in it. Per your article, the dumped the whole idea in spite of customers and because they couldn't make a profit. They didn't really make a commitment to EVs. Note that if EVs die, so does Tesla as that is their business as is true with some other startups in the business.

As to this thread, we have gone far and wide from it so I will say no more on the subject of EVs here. Others are free to keep the subject of EVs going as so many topics on this forum do the same wandering far and wide.
 
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