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What should the top priorities be for train advocates?

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What should NARP's top priorities be in its advocacy efforts? (Select no more than FIVE)


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CHamilton

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If you haven't seen or responded to the post elsewhere on this site, I'm adding a poll here with the hopes of eliciting more responses. The feedback so far has been excellent, but we're still looking for more.

The mission of the National Association of Railroad Passengers (NARP) is to work for a modern, customer-focused national passenger train network that provides a travel choice Americans want. In order to achieve this goal in the current political environment, what should NARP’s top priorities be in its advocacy efforts?

This is informal, and was not created by NARP. Its results will, however, be shared with NARP’s Council of Representatives during their upcoming meeting on October 17th.
You may respond to the attached poll, and add any additional comments below. Or you can click here to submit your comments. Thank you!
 

John Bredin

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IMHO, Amtrak fares ARE "transparent" with no extra fees that pop up only on the last screen before payment like a lot of airlines and hotels. As an extreme contrast, I know someone who flew RyanAir and paid a one-Euro "fare" with 99 Euros in "fees." Still a good deal overall, but more than a little absurd.

If "transparent" means a simple two-dimensional fare table like a commuter rail line, Amtrak isn't going to and IMHO shouldn't go back to that pre-computer model. Yield management is here to stay, and it makes sense to scale fares towards (not exactly at -- I'm not arguing that Amtrak fares should "break even" by whatever measure) what riders are willing to bear. That is particularly true as long as (1) ridership is up, (2) capacity is not up significantly, and (3) certain drama queens in Congress act like a couple of billion dollars for Amtrak will singlehandledly break the national Treasury.
 

me_little_me

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I think the choices don't address the major issues:

Passenger experience for ALL classes and for all trains is inconsistent and the Amtrak Standards Manual is not followed. That includes bathroom cleanliness. #1 in my book

Working on a solution to the Amtrak vs host RR issue struck down by the courts which could be easily resolved if the government appointed an independent arbitrator and rules restoring passenger train priority so passenger trains can increase average speed and improve on-time performance.. - #2

The rest of those issues seem to be a matter of funding and could be resolved only if the money is there. So more money from congress would solve most of those - #4
 

neroden

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OK, so I've thought about this a bit, and I think NARP's priorities should really be separated into three categories:

(1) priorities for lobbying Amtrak (and if Amtrak doesn't respond, Congress)

(2) priorities for lobbying *state governments*

(3) priorities for lobbying the *federal government*

I think category #2 is the most important, and I think the priority lobbying effort there has to be "buy the tracks". In some ways it's an easy sell: point out that when a government (federal, state, or local) or Amtrak owns the tracks, passenger trains run pretty much on time and are popular, and when private "freight" companies own the tracks, they don't run on time and suffer as a result. I suppose the second priority here should be "don't sell the tracks" (for the tracks where the state government already owns them!) and the third priority should be "run some more passenger trains".

In category #1, Amtrak's internal top priority needs to be clear and consistent communications with passengers -- we've had an absence of service alerts where they are needed, faulty pricing of sleepers on the website, lack of information about sudden changes to food service, lack of information about food service status in general (particularly on delayed trains), some OBS employees telling falsehoods to passengers for their own convenience, etc. Amtrak needs to act like a railroad and provide reliable, accurate information to customers.

The second (closely related) internal priority needs to be getting certain "recalcitrant" sections of Amtrak to operate in a manner consistent with everyone else: for instance, getting the Empire Service conductors to stop delaying trains by funnelling everyone through one door, getting the airplane-obsessed managers at the big city terminals to operate their stations like every other train station in the country, getting the one crazy dining car LSA who delays everyone at dinner on the CZ to run the car the same way every other LSA does, etc. If rumor is correct, getting Chicago maintenance to behave themselves like other maintenance bases would fall in this category too. This, unfortunately, calls for lots and lots of management; even micromanagement, if you will.

The third internal priority should be to attempt to implement the PIPs, which have been quite unreasonably ignored.

Better integration with other local passenger train services would also fall under the "lobby Amtrak" category.

In category #3, first priority should be enforceable penalties against the host railroads if they can't run trains on time, and second priority should be capital funding.
 
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Gary Letts

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On time performance. Crews all working the same re: scanning tickets so guaranteed connections are not lost.
 

Paulus

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Copying over my comments from earlier submission and thread:

1) Amtrak needs to greatly expand their Thruway services. Thruway connections are the single best, and cheapest, way of increasing ridership and revenue on existing services. 20% of California's riders use a Thruway connection for their journeys; there's no reason that Amtrak should not be offering a similar network of connections elsewhere.

2) NARP needs to lobby for greater flow of information from Amtrak to its customers. If a train is delayed, station staff need to let passengers know in a timely manner, the approximate delay, and they need to keep passengers up to date as information changes. Saying sorry has been shown to reduce malpractice lawsuits, it'll also keep riders on trains when they've had bad experiences with delays.

3) NARP needs to focus on the states more, especially with lower level agencies. NARP should be lobbying the California Public Utility Commission to replace its antiquated rules about platform heights so that there is a uniform platform height in the state and then to lobby the surrounding states so that the entire Western region can have level boarding. Similarly, they should be lobbying the states to increase their funding of corridor trains to increase service, improve speeds, and so forth.

4) NARP should consider changing its focus away from a focus on Federal lobbying in support of Amtrak to acting as more of a coordinating committee and central resource gatherer/organizer to focus lobbying on the individual states. Most lines are now funded and controlled by the states and the best growth, such as in California, has come from local state efforts.

5) In line with suggestions 3 and 4, NARP should expend more efforts on behalf of commuter rail improvements. Most American rail passengers are commuter, rather than intercity, and it's not seemly to mostly ignore them while focusing so much effort on rural long distance lines that serve fewer passengers in a year than a commuter railroad may do in a day.
 

WoodyinNYC

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What a wacky poll!

Mixes profound with the petty, and omits a few issues.

Nothing at all about the NEC. Isn't that some kind of oversight?

And it has this, "Purchase equipment ... Superliners."

So, how about this unasked question?

"Purchase equipment for Eastern LD trains".

I'd rank single-level equipment well above the Superliner order. Several LD trains in the East are not impossibly far from breakeven or an operating profit. Let's improve those results and then turn to the Western trains and their heavy losses. But the poll forgot to ask about single-level coaches to replace the Amfleets.

Improve on-time performance.

Don't know what Amtrak or NARP can do about activist judges. Better to concentrate on things where we can make a difference.

Advocate for more funding from Congress.

The sine qua non. That without which nothing can be much improved.

Increase frequency of all services beyond one a day.

I like to say the cure for Amtrak's problems is more Amtrak. More and better equipment. More frequencies. Restored and added routes.

So I certainly support more frequencies. But the question is to increase frequency of all services. Not such a hurry. A third or fourth added frequency in densely populated areas (e.g. Lake Shore Ltd.) could be more deserving of support than a second train out in the empty regions.

Back to basics then: How can we hope to add another frequency anywhere without more equipment?

Under the latest version of the Fleet Renewal Plan (latest I read), Amtrak hopes to see two lines producing new coaches, one each for single-level and bi-level equipment, 100 each per year, over six years or so. It didn't publicly give an estimated cost for 1200 or more cars, but it's going to be in a $3 Billion plus neighborhood. That's the largest single cost item on Amtrak's wish list outside of the NEC. Maybe that's Priority #1?

By the way,

Complete installation of WiFi on all trains (satellite-based, if necessary)

If the coaches are replaced, they'll have Wi-Fi installed. That's standard on all new orders, from Viewliner IIs, to Nippon Sharyo bi-levels to Oregon Talgos.

And NARP asked,

Refurbish all Superliner and Horizon cars.

All Superliners are rotated into the shops for refurbishment on a regular schedule. So what else is this question asking Amtrak to do? Instead of refurbishing them for years to come, the better plan is to replace them with new and improved equipment.

When the 175 bi-level corridor cars enter the fleet, the Horizons will cascade to other routes. I'm sure they'll be refurbished at that time, almost rebuilt even. Exactly to what extent, or where they will be used, I won't guess. I doubt if Mr. Boardman himself knows today what their best use will be four years ahead, after they're rehabbed and available.

Bring back the Pioneer, the Desert Wind, the Sunset Ltd east of New Orleans.

Oh please. Amtrak has no spare equipment to pour into the sands of beaches and deserts. None.

When it can get more coaches to extend LD service:

Priority route #1. Take the Cardinal daily.

Priority route #2: Take the Sunset Ltd. daily from New Orleans to L.A.

Priority route #3. Add a train giving waking hours service to Cleveland.

Priority route #4. Add a day train Atlanta-NEC.

Priority route #5. Restore the Lone Star (aka Texas Chief) Chi-Kansas City-Wichita-Oklahoma City-Ft Worth-Houston. (Or Chi-Ft Worth-Austin-San Antonio, depending on costs and of any reality of high-speed rail Dallas-Houston). This route would provide a second frequency Ft Worth-Austin-San Antonio. It could turn east at San Antonio to add a second frequency San Antonio-Houston-New Orleans. These would be the beginnings of corridor services.

Priority route #6. If the Viewliner II experiment with the coming 60% increase in roomettes pays off, consider extending the Palmetto with sleepers into Florida, or adding frequencies on a couple more Eastern routes. There's something wacky about having two trains arrive and depart Miami within a couple of hours of each other.

Reroute one or more Chicago-New York trains thru Michigan.

Priority should be to increase frequencies on the Western end of this route. To build a basic "corridor service" using Amtrak's LD trains. With enuff equipment and enuff money, it should be easy. LOL. :D

So, (1) Amtrak already has two trains on this Chi-Cleveland "corridor" -- Capitol Ltd and Lake Shore Ltd. (2) Extend one or both Empire Service trains thru from NYC-Buffalo onward to Chicago. (3) Add a full, single-level, LD train Chi-NYC, thru Cleveland and Pittsburgh. This extension will not add to CSX congestion in most of Upstate NY, only ;) adding more trains Buffalo-Cleveland-Chicago. Total Amtrak LD trains running Chi-Cleveland will be 4, or 5 if both Empire trains are extended, or 6 with a second run on the Capitol Ltd route thru Pittsburgh to D.C. It's important to serve Cleveland during waking hours. If we've got 5 or 6 Chi-NYC trains, I could see diverting one thru Michigan. Or extend a Wolverine to Toledo and Cleveland.

A new 4- or 5- or 6-train Chi-Cleveland "Amtrak Corridor" would demonstrate the pent-up demand here, and pressure the politicians to invest in more track upgrades for 110-mph service and 10 or even 12 trains a day. Meanwhile, of course it will take lots of money to add even two more trains. The tracks are crowded Chi-Cleveland-Buffalo. It will not be quick or cheap or easy to upgrade the route. But a 110-mph corridor should be the goal.

Encourage and promote connecting non-Amtrak train services.

Meaning, All Aboard Florida, and VIA and California HSR? Or commuter rail? Don't the suburban lines have their own advocates? If NARP takes on the cause of the LIRR or Jersey Transit, who will speak for the national network of intercity trains?

Standardize passenger experience business class.

Sure. Why not.

Fix the Amtrak website to show correct sleeper costs.

Be transparent about calculation of fares.

Don't know. But can't imagine how this is a top priority when sleeper passengers are such a small fraction of the total.

Encourage Amtrak management to ride long-distance trains.

How does it work for airport officials? (See, Port Authority of NY-NJ, for example.) Avoiding long term parking, and never ever using the bus or local transit, of course, Mr Vee I. Pee arrives at the airport and alights from his chauffeur-driven car. Someone removes his baggage from the trunk and takes care of it. (Never, at any point, does Mr Pee need pay for use of a baggage cart, like those free in European airports but quite pricey in NYC and other U.S. places.) An airport police officer escorts Mr Pee to the priority security clearance, and in a moment or two he's at the departure gate. There, that wasn't so hard.

How will it help to put Board Chair Anthony Coscia or Joe Boardman thru a similar phony experience?

Instead, let me ask, How many NARP Board members never ride in sleepers or never ever eat in the diners on their rail travels?

The premium service experience partaken by NARP leaders is completely different from that of the overwhelming majority of riders on every Amtrak train.

An out-of-touch tone from NARP here is perhaps best demonstrated by the question,

Create more "Parlour Cars" for trains beyond the Coast Starlight.

We have shortages of every type of useful equipment, sold-out trains, some tri-weakly service, a promise to Congress to eliminate losses on food & beverage, and NARP is worrying about more non-revenue-producing parlour cars?
 

Anderson

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The Parlor Car question comes up in no small part because Amtrak seems to have seriously (and repeatedly) looked at adding such a service on the Builder as well. There's at least some validity for adding it to said train once OTP stabilizes at a reasonable level, in part because of the extra diner capacity it would offer (an extra 24-36 seats at a peak mealtime would be a big help on that train as I understand it); a subset of that is the fact that in order to go beyond around 2.5-3 sleepers on a Superliner train or about 3.5 on a Viewliner train, you have to add diner seating capacity. My understanding is that the kitchens could probably handle more seats, but you can only put so many tables in the car. If you can do this and happen to pitch the extra space as a first class lounge space it's awesome for marketing, but as I see it that is a secondary utility that helps in marketing.

Honestly, what Amtrak needs to look into doing on the equipment front is an attempt to re-equip one LD train at a time. I think there is a strong case to be made, assuming funding could be found, for trying to completely re-equip the Auto Train (I'm sure that Talgo or another provider could help work something out, even if a power car became necessary), which would improve said train's bottom line, and then redistributing the roughly 40 Superliners among the rest of the system. I think a high-profile re-equip of the Meteor, Star, LSL, and/or Cap would work out well...in the case of the Silvers and the LSL, a good re-equip with 4-5 sleepers on the train in question would likely kick the train being upgraded deep into the black.
 

neroden

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Fix the Amtrak website to show correct sleeper costs.

Be transparent about calculation of fares.

Don't know. But can't imagine how this is a top priority when sleeper passengers are such a small fraction of the total.
Because fraudulence and price-gouging is always bad. Bad for reputation, bad business practice, bad all around. Amtrak has a reputational problem, and it needs to fix stuff like this in order to fix it.

This should be an extremely high priority for Amtrak management.

As I've said, NARP's lobbying should really be in three categories: (a) states, (b) Amtrak management, and © federal. I don't think there's much to be said about federal lobbying, other than that we don't care much about middle-of-nowhere trains like the Pioneer; they are not priorities. About state lobbying, it's pretty obvious what to lobby for, and perhaps the key problem is the degree to which NARP isn't doing it.

Within the category of lobbying Amtrak *management*, priorities have to include being honest with passengers about pricing; this sort of reputational issue matters.
 
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Paul CHI

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On-time performance + more money would solve most of the other problems. Ridership and revenues would increase, trains get a bigger voter base and increased usage would encourage states to think about frequency and links.

I didn't see a box for "employee attitude" but there needs to be more top-down supervision. I don't think having Amtrak brass ride the LD trains does the job unless they ride incognito.
 

MARC Rider

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What a wacky poll!

Mixes profound with the petty, and omits a few issues.

Nothing at all about the NEC. Isn't that some kind of oversight?
No kidding!

1) Advocate the Federal Government and states of New Jersey/New York/Connecticut/Maryland for funding to replace Hudson River/East River/Baltimore tunnels.

2) Replacements for the Amfleet I fleet. (They seem to be in pretty good shape, but they are almost 40 years old.)

3) Do something about the ridiculously high coach fares on the NEC. One way BAL-PHL for a Northeast Regional coach should not be ~$100, even for high bucket. I have some concern that unless the NEC fares are kept competitive, Amtrak will start losing market share to Bolt Bus Megabus, etc.

The NEC is the jewel in Amtrak's crown. It's living proof that intercity passenger rail the the potential to be a major transport mode in the United States. Amtrak should not let it fall apart.
 

afigg

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I too find the proposed priority options scattershot and shortsighted with some odd items. Starting with lack of multiple possible priorities for the NEC. Shouldn't NARP be putting a priority on supporting efforts to get funding for the (north) Portal bridge replacement and NEC Gateway? If the two Hudson river tunnels have to close one a time for a year each, I expect LD train service from NYP could be in jeopardy for the 2 year period. Why should a Silver, Palmetto, Crescent, Cardinal train carrying maybe 100-150 passengers in and out of NYP get priority over a NJT commuter train carrying up to 800 or 1000 passengers? .Hard choices will be made if there is only 1 operating Hudson river tunnel and those decisions will not be made by Amtrak.

What about a lot more emphasis on state corridor services? An expanded short to medium distance corridor system with an emphasis on services running over portions of the LD routes would help the long term viability of the LD trains over just about any other improvement.

Why push for restoration of the Pioneer, Desert Wind, SL to Florida over possible eastern and mid-West LD single night trains such which will have better cost recovery putting the LD train system subsidies on a better financial footing?

How about more specific priorities for funding intercity passenger rail services and expansion than "Advocate for more funding from Congress"? Well, duh.
 

neroden

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I actually suspect CHamilton is specifically hoping to get a poll result which tells NARP "shut up already about the Pioneer and Desert Wind; help us improve the routes which have potential". Hence the inclusion of a lot of options which a bunch of us find ridiculous; they're things which NARP has been harping on (and probably should let go of).
 

WoodyinNYC

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NARP has a new President and CEO, Jim Mathews. He comes from outside the industry. I wish him well.

Of course this presents a great opportunity for NARP to take a fresh look at its priorities.

There could be a few stumbles, too. I've learned on this site and a similar one, you can think you know something about some aspect of Amtrak, and then you learn there's layers more info to take into account.

But I think Mathews has landed a fun job, and one well worth doing.
 

jis

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I actually suspect CHamilton is specifically hoping to get a poll result which tells NARP "shut up already about the Pioneer and Desert Wind; help us improve the routes which have potential". Hence the inclusion of a lot of options which a bunch of us find ridiculous; they're things which NARP has been harping on (and probably should let go of).
To see why that may be futile, you just need to look at who is on the NARP Board. :)
 

WoodyinNYC

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The Parlor Car question comes up ... in part because of the extra diner capacity it would offer (an extra 24-36 seats at a peak mealtime would be a big help on that train as I understand it);

a subset of that is the fact that in order to go beyond ... about 3.5 [sleepers] on a Viewliner train, you have to add diner seating capacity.

My understanding is that the kitchens could probably handle more seats, but you can only put so many tables in the car. ...
Very interesting. I'd wondered what was the right ratio.

Currently 50 Viewliners in the pool, and 25 diners, so

the ratio of sleepers to dining cars is 2:1.

Replace the Heritage diners with Viewliner II diners,

no change. Add 25 more sleepers, the ratio of sleepers

to diners looks like 3:1. Obviously if the costs of operating

the diner could be spread over more roomettes, results

should improve nicely.

But wait. Half of one sleeper now is used for crew. So the

current ratio is actually only 1.5:1. Add a bag/dorm to make it

2:1. Add another sleeper and then it becomes 3:1 again.

Now you say it looks like 3 sleepers to 1 diner would overtax

diner capacity and staff, so that the practical maximum is 2.5:1.

Cutting the order for bag/dorms from 25 to 10 will mean that

almost all, probably all but one or two, of the Eastern LD trains

will have 2:5 sleepers (half of one used for crew) per diner.

If Amtrak ordered more cars from CAF, it could add back the 15

bag/dorms that became baggage cars instead, bumping up all

the trains to 3:1 sleepers to diners again. Problem.

If it ordered 25 Viewliner II Parlor cars, then the extra table space

could supplement the overtaxed diners, and the Parlor car Attendant

could help with dining service. Then, as you suggested, this new

"first class lounge space" would help to market the premium service

at a premium price.

This is all down the road aways. Any pretense about something

definitive happening with the Viewlner IIs in the "summer of 2014"

faded away in September, like the last rose of summer.

Not that I want them to hurry with the deliveries. At this point,

the pending Acela II order is ten times as important as the order

for Viewliner IIs. Until Amtrak gets the answer to its RFP, by

December wasn't it -- and subject to delay, I guess, LOL --

until it has a much better idea of how much the Acelas will cost,

the CAF order and any possible option order can just simmer

on the back of the stove.
 

neroden

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I actually suspect CHamilton is specifically hoping to get a poll result which tells NARP "shut up already about the Pioneer and Desert Wind; help us improve the routes which have potential". Hence the inclusion of a lot of options which a bunch of us find ridiculous; they're things which NARP has been harping on (and probably should let go of).
To see why that may be futile, you just need to look at who is on the NARP Board. :)
I did, and it looks like they should be people who can be convinced -- if their locations mean anything.

There's one California member, one Washington State member, one Texas member, one Hawaii member (?!?!) and every other member is from East of the Mississippi. Except for Hawaii, these are all places where improved corridor service would do very well. They're mostly from the dense states which should have fast rail links to the NEC and Chicago. You'd think their priorities would, in fact, be local. There are no representatives from the empty land near the Rockies. (There are also none from the Deep South.)

Robert J. Stewart (TN), Chairman

Bruce Becker (NY), Vice Chair - Fundraising and National Meetings

Carol Haslett (OH), Vice Chair - Advocacy Advancement & Nat'l Meeting Content Coordinator

Jim Loomis (HI), Vice Chair - Marketing

J. Charles Riecks (WV), Vice Chair - Government Affairs

Stephen J. Salatti (NY), Secretary

Kenneth T. Clifford (OH), Treasurer

Kenneth A. Briers (DC)

George L. Chilson (CA)

James Churchill (VA)

John DeLora (MI)

James Hamre (WA)

Richard Harnish (IL)

Peter LeCody (TX)

W. David Randall (IL)

I'm not sure exactly what prompted Jim Loomis (HI) to join the board -- if you live on an island you aren't going to take intercity rail much -- though there is one big rail advocacy issue in Hawaii (HART).

It's actually interesting to see that the board members are from the states I'd *expect* them to be from -- the ones with active rail advocacy where some progress is being made on building passenger lines. None of them are from the "can't get a dollar for rail to save your life" states like Alabama or Nevada. It's in their (enlightened) self-interest to focus on improving the sort of corridors which we think are good.
 

neroden

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If it ordered 25 Viewliner II Parlor cars, then the extra table space

could supplement the overtaxed diners, and the Parlor car Attendant

could help with dining service. Then, as you suggested, this new

"first class lounge space" would help to market the premium service

at a premium price.
I'd order them as cafe/lounge/obs cars -- more or less the configuration of the Amfleet IIs, but with far more windows (preferably with overhead "Dome" windows on at least one half of the car), and without so much space used in storage lockers / office. Then I'd use the flexibility to reserve half the tables for dining service if needed on a particular train. Viewliner lounges are badly needed to replace the Amfleet II lounges anyway.

It could be a highly flexible car: half the tables could also be sold as premium-priced revenue seating (table for your laptop or paperwork) if that seemed more appropriate for a given train. Some effort would be needed to make the signage clear on what each part of the car was currently being used for, of course. I'd run the LSL with two of them; one unattended adjacent to the dining car (half extended dining car seating, half lounge), and one on the Boston section (half "business class" revenue, half lounge/cafe).

Anyway, dreaming. Sigh.
 

Paulus

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I actually suspect CHamilton is specifically hoping to get a poll result which tells NARP "shut up already about the Pioneer and Desert Wind; help us improve the routes which have potential". Hence the inclusion of a lot of options which a bunch of us find ridiculous; they're things which NARP has been harping on (and probably should let go of).
To see why that may be futile, you just need to look at who is on the NARP Board. :)
I did, and it looks like they should be people who can be convinced -- if their locations mean anything.
Ah, but what about their ages? Their self-interest may be in better corridor service, but that doesn't matter if their personal interest, and the reason that they support trains, is in some nostalgic vision of the 1950s long distance trains.
 
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neroden

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I actually suspect CHamilton is specifically hoping to get a poll result which tells NARP "shut up already about the Pioneer and Desert Wind; help us improve the routes which have potential". Hence the inclusion of a lot of options which a bunch of us find ridiculous; they're things which NARP has been harping on (and probably should let go of).
To see why that may be futile, you just need to look at who is on the NARP Board. :)
I did, and it looks like they should be people who can be convinced -- if their locations mean anything.
Ah, but what about their ages? Their self-interest may be in better corridor service, but that doesn't matter if their personal interest, and the reason that they support trains, is in some nostalgic vision of the 1950s long distance trains.
Well, Bruce Becker seems seriously interested in Empire Corridor and Upstate NY-Chicago service -- can't speak to the others, haven't met them.
 
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jis

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Bruce Becker is OK when it comes to upstate NY service, but he is pretty clueless where anything downstate is concerned.

Sent from my iPhone using Amtrak Forum
 

neroden

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Upstate NY and downstate NY are like two different states, frankly. (Well, three, really; Long Island is its own thing.) Amtrak has very little meaningful role in downstate NY, since it speeds from Connecticut to New Jersey with two stops -- slightly more from NY to Albany. I'm not aware of any complaints or even desires from New Rochelle or Croton-Harmon passengers.

NARP has never gotten very involved in lobbying Metro-North or LIRR or NYC Subway or SIRT; perhaps it should. Perhaps that's your point? Is it?

But frankly there seem to be other lobbying groups -- with *much* more funding and influence -- which have those lobbying issues well in hand, such as the Tri-State Transportation Campaign.

I'm not aware of NARP disagreeing with them on anything (tell me if I'm wrong), but NARP focuses on stuff they *aren't* doing. If you don't like TSTC, there's also the grassroots organization at Streetsblog, the old-school and bad-attitude Straphangers Campaign, and I could name others if I thought about it a little.

I know that there are some... problems in the New Jersey rail advocacy arena, which I haven't followed in detail. That's not NY. :)
 
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