What scheduling changes would you like?

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west point

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For example, the Crescent used to be a Washington-Atlanta (and reverse) night train.

Same for Chicago-Denver, NY or Philadelphia-Chicago and others.

Crescent definitely. First Amtrak take over some days many more passengers especially holiday times.
When SOU RR it would even run 2nd sections ATL <> WASH and remove extra cars at WASH from 1st section. 2nd sections often beat 1st due to no intermediate stops. happened to me once.
 

jimdex

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Couldn’t most of the long-distance trains be scheduled to leave a large city in the early evening and arrive in a large city in the early morning, and with enough marketing, couldn’t Amtrak mostly fill them with people traveling between those cities?

Good goal where that can be done. Of course, sometimes that timing can't be maintain, and sometimes, when you're talking about a route that operates through several large markets, good timing for one pair of cities results in bad timing for another pair of large cities long the same route.
 

Trollopian

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Couldn’t most of the long-distance trains be scheduled to leave a large city in the early evening and arrive in a large city in the early morning, and with enough marketing, couldn’t Amtrak mostly fill them with people traveling between those cities?

I think that's the idea though it falters when there are also medium- to large cities en route.

The Capitol Limited, for example, follows your formula (leaves DC in late afternoon and arrives in Chicago at breakfast time). But it chugs into Pittsburgh near midnight, which is tolerable but barely; and Cleveland and Toledo (big connection to Detroit), and numerous smaller cities in OH and IN, have schedules that could please only a vampire.

Ditto the Cardinal, especially for Cincinnati, a city that deserves better.
 

TheCrescent

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I think that's the idea though it falters when there are also medium- to large cities en route.

The Capitol Limited, for example, follows your formula (leaves DC in late afternoon and arrives in Chicago at breakfast time). But it chugs into Pittsburgh near midnight, which is tolerable but barely; and Cleveland and Toledo (big connection to Detroit), and numerous smaller cities in OH and IN, have schedules that could please only a vampire.

Ditto the Cardinal, especially for Cincinnati, a city that deserves better.

Good points, thanks.

My view is that Amtrak offers so few sleeping car rooms and has such low market share that I figure that it could schedule trains between any pair of cities so that the train leaves in the evening and arrives in the early morning and largely fill up the sleeping car space with some decent marketing. So: pick one city pair, focus on building ridership between those cities and that should largely be enough.

I take an overnight train between NYC and another metro area with about a million residents. There are multiple flights per day between those cities, with hundreds of passengers between those cities each day.

Yet in the destination city, people don’t even know that the train exists and Amtrak does no marketing whatsoever. Result? I been the only sleeping car passenger getting off at my destination.

It shouldn’t be too hard to fill up one sleeping car between those cities. But Amtrak gets ONE passenger. Come on, Amtrak, give it some effort.
 

zephyr17

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Good points, thanks.

My view is that Amtrak offers so few sleeping car rooms and has such low market share that I figure that it could schedule trains between any pair of cities so that the train leaves in the evening and arrives in the early morning and largely fill up the sleeping car space with some decent marketing. So: pick one city pair, focus on building ridership between those cities and that should largely be enough.

I take an overnight train between NYC and another metro area with about a million residents. There are multiple flights per day between those cities, with hundreds of passengers between those cities each day.

Yet in the destination city, people don’t even know that the train exists and Amtrak does no marketing whatsoever. Result? I been the only sleeping car passenger getting off at my destination.

It shouldn’t be too hard to fill up one sleeping car between those cities. But Amtrak gets ONE passenger. Come on, Amtrak, give it some effort.
You seriously think that Amtrak management cares? They don't manage the long distance trains for revenue, they are only concerned with costs on what they still consider an albatross. You think they are going to spend money marketing something they don't care about and, in their heart of hearts, don't want to run and don't particularly want you to ride?

The ghost of Ben Biaginni would find a comfortable home at Amtrak.
 

neroden

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What scheduling changes would you like to see, for a given Amtrak route?
Lake Shore Limited, eastbound, depart at a reasonable hour (somewhere between 5 PM and 7 PM) instead of the dead of night. It used to depart earlier. Arrives at better hours everywhere if it departs earlier.

This was changed to accomodate late trains from the west, which is putting the cart before the horse. It needs to be changed back
 

neroden

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It's time-consuming to research in the brave new non-timetable world,

The secret is learning to decipher GTFS

 

west point

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Move the Crescent's departure at NOL back to 0600 - 0700. That will guarantee decent times at ATL. As well guaranteed connections at CLT for Carolinian, WASH for Capitol, and NYP for Albany and BOS.
Amtrak will need to change crew assignments because of the required rest in NOL for Meridian T&E that originate on 19 and return on 20. Extra crew costs will be more than offset by additional revenue especially from ATL.
 
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I have one suggestion (I was planning this route for future travel but decided against it due to the train timings) -

Empire Builder 7/27 would be better to depart 2 hours earlier out of Chicago. Would reach Minneapolis St. Paul by 8 PM instead of 10 PM and would reach Portland & Seattle closer to 8/8:30 AM.
 

Cal

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I have one suggestion (I was planning this route for future travel but decided against it due to the train timings) -

Empire Builder 7/27 would be better to depart 2 hours earlier out of Chicago. Would reach Minneapolis St. Paul by 8 PM instead of 10 PM and would reach Portland & Seattle closer to 8/8:30 AM.
Would jeopardize connections from eastbound trains.
 

TheCrescent

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You seriously think that Amtrak management cares? They don't manage the long distance trains for revenue, they are only concerned with costs on what they still consider an albatross. You think they are going to spend money marketing something they don't care about and, in their heart of hearts, don't want to run and don't particularly want you to ride?

The ghost of Ben Biaginni would find a comfortable home at Amtrak.
Do you think that people who work in Amtrak’s long-distance group actually chose to work there, spend a big portion of their lives working there and simply don’t care one bit about what they work for?

Maybe Amtrak as an institution favors other lines of business but to disparage every single person who works in the long-distance division as you do is not based on reality.

And if Amtrak takes a Southern Pacific-type view of its long distance trains then it wouldn’t have spent millions ordering new Viewliner equipment for them.
 

zephyr17

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Do you think that people who work in Amtrak’s long-distance group actually chose to work there, spend a big portion of their lives working there and simply don’t care one bit about what they work for?

Maybe Amtrak as an institution favors other lines of business but to disparage every single person who works in the long-distance division as you do is not based on reality.

And if Amtrak takes a Southern Pacific-type view of its long distance trains then it wouldn’t have spent millions ordering new Viewliner equipment for them.
And mothballed a lot of them. The Viewliner order was made years ago under an entirely different executive management team.

I was not impugning Amtrak line workers. My comments were directed at Amtrak's executive management team, and I hold to that.

Flex dining, reducing LD frequency (which even SP was unable to do on an ad hoc basis because they were subject to ICC regulation), unstaffing stations? Congress had to step in and MANDATE station staffing and train frequency when it was clear Amtrak executive management wouldn't willingly provide reasonable service levels. Doesn't sound like it is really a business the management team wants to be in, now does it?

I know many line workers in the national network service are unhappy with Amtrak executive management. I am sure a lot of powerless middle management likely is as well. Amtrak's C Suite? Give me a break.
 
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TheCrescent

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And mothballed a lot of them. The Viewliner order was made years ago under an entirely different executive management team.

I was not impugning Amtrak line workers. My comments were directed at Amtrak's executive management team, and I hold to that.

Flex dining, reducing LD frequency (which even SP was unable to do on an ad hoc basis because they were subject to ICC regulation), unstaffing stations? Congress had to step in and MANDATE station staffing and train frequency when it was clear Amtrak executive management wouldn't willingly provide reasonable service levels. Doesn't sound like it is really a business the management team wants to be in, now does it?

I know many line workers in the national network service are unhappy with Amtrak executive management. I am sure a lot of powerless middle management likely is as well. Amtrak's C Suite? Give me a break.
Flex dining: implemented due to government requirements to break even on food service.

Reducing frequencies: lots of railroads reduced frequencies due to the pandemic, including Via and the MTA. So did airlines, and so did Amtrak in the northeast.

Unstaffed stations: plenty of railroads have unstaffed stations, including the MTA. Since tickets are sold other ways than in person, many railroads don’t see the need for staffed stations.

So based on the examples you gave, the MTA doesn’t want to be in the passenger rail business, either.

And before belittling and disparaging someone else’s suggestion, look at the title of the thread in which the person posts. There was nothing wrong with posting what I did, and nothing that merited your “stupid suggestion, moron” attack.
 

zephyr17

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There was nothing wrong with posting what I did, and nothing that merited your “stupid suggestion, moron” attack.
I did not indulge in an ad hominem attack on you, which you mischaracterize.

I stated facts and how I interpret those facts as I am free to do on this forum. You are also free to interpret those facts in your preferred way.

I also find your comparison of Amtrak intercity services to a commuter agency less than compelling.
 
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jis

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MODERATOR'S NOTE: Gentlemen! Could we please bring this bickering to an end and get back to discussing what Amtrak schedule changes would be desirable? Thank you! We will be cleaning up a few of the obviously off topic to and fro posts eventually.

So onward and upward.... what schedule changes would you like to see.....
 
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