Would a Presidential "Amtrak One" Actually Work? 🚅

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tgstubbs1

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That's it. I think they made up the name.

It was a close call, but the President made it safely all the way to LA.

I guess the crooks didn't think just derailing the train would be enough, so they planned to shoot him.
 

jis

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jebr

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It's worth noting the only world leaders to travel by private train today are Queen Elizabeth II and Kim Jong-un. For Her Majesty it's a convenient way to take lodging with her to fit more engagements in. Security is less of a concern in the UK and she actually takes regular passenger trains sometimes (first class of course). Of course in North Korea the Leader can do as he pleases and the costs or public inconvenience of his security are irrelevant.

Both of those are also rather different instances than POTUS.

On the North Korea front, there's also a lot of restrictions already within the country which likely minimize internal risk for sabotage or other issues by taking a train. It's easier to keep a rail line safe when you have an authoritarian regime throughout the entire country.

For Queen Elizabeth II, her role is largely ceremonial in terms of the day-to-day politics of the United Kingdom. She certainly has the power of the podium, and technically she has a lot of power vested in the office of the Queen, but practically speaking the power of the United Kingdom rests with Parliament - if the Queen tried to usurp that there'd be some major crises in the UK. I'm not sure if we'd be seeing the Prime Minister of the UK in a standard passenger rail car in revenue service, even first class!
 

AmtrakBlue

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Say Hello to the Secret Service guys :D
Just saw a picture someone took in 2009 of Obama's train passing NRK. Hmm, might have to plot another location. They're going to need a lot of Secret Service guys if they're going to block the whole trail. :D

If it's not going to be too cold, maybe I'll just camp out somewhere on the trail with my camp chair.
 

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It has been reported that there were numerous red flags and warning signs that were largely ignored prior to the violent and deadly storming of our nation's Capitol. In retrospect this news shines a harsher light on prior reports that switches were apparently left unsecured with hazmat trains allowed in close proximity of the previous charter.

 
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jis

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There used to be a different sort of President Special consisting usually of a couple of cars attached to various Amtrak trains and occasionally run as a self standing train where there was no Amtrak service. This of course was a special for the Amtrak President (Boardman) and did not require much security. :)
 
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Is that an actual possibility?

Yes. It absolutely is a possibility and something that should be explored. The power of this action is more symbolic than actual--and the symbolic gesture towards prioritizing rail travel is important enough to support this effort.

While perhaps impractical for LD travel around the country, just the existence of an "Amtrak One" sends a positive message about passenger rail travel, even if Biden never uses it.

If Biden is to take the NEC to go from DC to Boston, or DC to Delaware, just bringing in the Secret Service to make NEC facilities more secure is a huge win for rail travel. Just like in airports, they put in HiDef cameras for terrorists but they use them afterwards to catch regular thieves.

It could work outside the NEC as well. Even if Biden were flown into Detroit and took "Amtrak One" from there to Chicago, the spectacle alone is worth the added costs of security. Imagine if they were able to rehabilitate buildings with sidings on them and use them for "Whistlestop" events.

Imagine if MSM was showing pictures of how beautiful the CZ route between Denver and SLC is!

As far as security goes, despite what events at the Capitol lead you to believe, most Presidential security is threat intelligence based and is very good. They know who has the capacity to make threats on the president and can usually address those threats long before people with weapons get close to POTUS or whatever vehicle they're traveling on.

There are a ton of ways to make this work. I hope the Biden administration acts on it.
 

Devil's Advocate

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There are experimental hydrogen trains. Diesel-electric engine can run on biodiesel, even conveniently diesel trains are greener than airplanes or fleets of cars.
Greener now with room for improvement. One thing I've often wondered is why diesel electrics don't seem to capture anything from the dynamic breaking process. So far as I am aware the energy goes to a large resistor bank to be blown out as exhaust heat. That seems rather wasteful when it should be possible to capture it in a battery tender or slug conversion. Maybe we could see a Tesla Tender product with full current connectivity as part of a future Tier 5 spec.

Yes. It absolutely is a possibility and something that should be explored. The power of this action is more symbolic than actual--and the symbolic gesture towards prioritizing rail travel is important enough to support this effort. While perhaps impractical for LD travel around the country, just the existence of an "Amtrak One" sends a positive message about passenger rail travel, even if Biden never uses it.
I'm inclined to agree. Start the process and plant the seed now so it can hopefully grow in relevance over time.
 
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Seaboard92

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Just saw a picture someone took in 2009 of Obama's train passing NRK. Hmm, might have to plot another location. They're going to need a lot of Secret Service guys if they're going to block the whole trail. :D

If it's not going to be too cold, maybe I'll just camp out somewhere on the trail with my camp chair.

Good luck finding a spot I've chased multiple POTUS Moves now and it is quite a challenge to find a spot where the Secret Service, or Department of Homeland Security will leave a person alone. It is annoying that the people are kept from getting close enough to get a good photo, or don't tell you that you are in the wrong spot till it's too late to move somewhere else. On the initial Biden Special my friends and I looked at Audi's at a trackside dealership every time the Secret Service chopper would go overhead. Then when the train came we took our cameras out.

There used to be a different sort of President Special consisting usually of a couple of cars attached to various Amtrak trains and occasionally run as a self standing train where there was no Amtrak service. This of course was a special for the Amtrak President (Boardman) and did not require much security. :)

Most of the railroads still run these actually. It's the only dependable day that one will see the CSX Police when it comes generally. Usually these attract maybe one or two railfans for a few hours. Nothing special usually about their security however.

Yes. It absolutely is a possibility and something that should be explored. The power of this action is more symbolic than actual--and the symbolic gesture towards prioritizing rail travel is important enough to support this effort.

While perhaps impractical for LD travel around the country, just the existence of an "Amtrak One" sends a positive message about passenger rail travel, even if Biden never uses it.

It could work outside the NEC as well. Even if Biden were flown into Detroit and took "Amtrak One" from there to Chicago, the spectacle alone is worth the added costs of security. Imagine if they were able to rehabilitate buildings with sidings on them and use them for "Whistlestop" events.

Imagine if MSM was showing pictures of how beautiful the CZ route between Denver and SLC is!

I see the importance of the symbolic and political meaning of a campaign train. It moves on the ground and as much as it's hard to believe the railroad is part of the American Soul. Railroads cut across so many small towns and cities that they have found their way into our soul collectively. It is a way to have personal campaign without actually physically stopping in a small town. Look at a town like Cassat, SC I can promise you no President or candidate has ever stopped in that little town without a traffic light. But if you announced it far enough in advance I could promise you the entire population of the town would be at the track to see the politician. It's a way to show that you understand the people who live in rural areas that you care.

Railroads aren't as effective in the larger cities and metropolises but for small towns, and county seats they are a godsend. You can reach 200 towns in a day (counting the ones you don't stop in) many of those are towns no politician will ever visit. A politician visiting even if he only goes by will be talked about for years after the event. Politics is a hearts and minds game and the railroad is the best way to reach those hearts and minds.

I don't think they would rehabilitate buildings however for a one of special but it would be good from a preservation standpoint because the more eyes that see something needs help it might potentially come to fruition. It took the Camden, SC Mayor's child leaving from that station on Amtrak in the middle of the night to finally get some help to that structure several years ago. I remember it having shingles hanging from the roof up until at least 2011.

I probably wouldn't route a campaign special on the CZ between Denver and Salt Lake City a very low population, and a very slow route. I would likely route it via the UP Transcon across Wyoming and do some campaign events in those areas instead.
 
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Greener now with room for improvement. One thing I've often wondered is why diesel electrics don't seem to capture anything from the dynamic breaking process. So far as I am aware the energy goes to a large resistor bank to be blown out as exhaust heat. That seems rather wasteful when it should be possible to capture it in a battery tender or slug conversion. Maybe we could see a Tesla Tender product with full current connectivity as part of a future Tier 5 spec.


I'm inclined to agree. Start the process and plant the seed now so it can hopefully grow in relevance over time.
They can and do:
Hybrid RR engines
 
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As far as security goes, despite what events at the Capitol lead you to believe, most Presidential security is threat intelligence based and is very good. They know who has the capacity to make threats on the president and can usually address those threats long before people with weapons get close to POTUS or whatever vehicle they're traveling on.

Nick Farr, I hope you are correct. I was a senior in high school on November 22, 1963, at 1:30 that afternoon. I never want to feel that way again.

I agree that there are tons of ways to make this work if the will to do it is there.
 

Bob Dylan

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Good luck finding a spot I've chased multiple POTUS Moves now and it is quite a challenge to find a spot where the Secret Service, or Department of Homeland Security will leave a person alone. It is annoying that the people are kept from getting close enough to get a good photo, or don't tell you that you are in the wrong spot till it's too late to move somewhere else. On the initial Biden Special my friends and I looked at Audi's at a trackside dealership every time the Secret Service chopper would go overhead. Then when the train came we took our cameras out.



Most of the railroads still run these actually. It's the only dependable day that one will see the CSX Police when it comes generally. Usually these attract maybe one or two railfans for a few hours. Nothing special usually about their security however.



I see the importance of the symbolic and political meaning of a campaign train. It moves on the ground and as much as it's hard to believe the railroad is part of the American Soul. Railroads cut across so many small towns and cities that they have found their way into our soul collectively. It is a way to have personal campaign without actually physically stopping in a small town. Look at a town like Cassat, SC I can promise you no President or candidate has ever stopped in that little town without a traffic light. But if you announced it far enough in advance I could promise you the entire population of the town would be at the track to see the politician. It's a way to show that you understand the people who live in rural areas that you care.

Railroads aren't as effective in the larger cities and metropolises but for small towns, and county seats they are a godsend. You can reach 200 towns in a day (counting the ones you don't stop in) many of those are towns no politician will ever visit. A politician visiting even if he only goes by will be talked about for years after the event. Politics is a hearts and minds game and the railroad is the best way to reach those hearts and minds.

I don't think they would rehabilitate buildings however for a one of special but it would be good from a preservation standpoint because the more eyes that see something needs help it might potentially come to fruition. It took the Camden, SC Mayor's child leaving from that station on Amtrak in the middle of the night to finally get some help to that structure several years ago. I remember it having shingles hanging from the roof up until at least 2011.

I probably wouldn't route a campaign special on the CZ between Denver and Salt Lake City a very low population, and a very slow route. I would likely route it via the UP Transcon across Wyoming and do some campaign events in those areas instead.
Theres more people between Denver and SLC on the Zephyr Route than there is on the UP Transcon through Wyoming!
 
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I probably wouldn't route a campaign special on the CZ between Denver and Salt Lake City a very low population, and a very slow route. I would likely route it via the UP Transcon across Wyoming and do some campaign events in those areas instead.

I absolutely would route that campaign special, not for the people along the route but for the US to see that LD rail exists and it is beautiful.

We absolutely need pictures of the President looking out the window of their train car, seeing how beautiful a journey it is!

Also, the stops along that route are actually perfect for larger gatherings, given how many resort towns and available sidings there are. Biden could start with a large gathering at Denver Union Station, have an amazing sendoff--then wind up, have a small gathering in Winter Park and move on to Grand Junction talking about the need to improve our national rail infrastructure, etc. It could be a weekend-long event highlighting one of the most scenic parts of the LD system.
 

Bob Dylan

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I absolutely would route that campaign special, not for the people along the route but for the US to see that LD rail exists and it is beautiful.

We absolutely need pictures of the President looking out the window of their train car, seeing how beautiful a journey it is!

Also, the stops along that route are actually perfect for larger gatherings, given how many resort towns and available sidings there are. Biden could start with a large gathering at Denver Union Station, have an amazing sendoff--then wind up, have a small gathering in Winter Park and move on to Grand Junction talking about the need to improve our national rail infrastructure, etc. It could be a weekend-long event highlighting one of the most scenic parts of the LD system.
You forgot Glenwood Springs which is perfect for photo ops and drawing a crowd from the surrounding Mountains!
 
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Nick Farr, I hope you are correct. I was a senior in high school on November 22, 1963, at 1:30 that afternoon. I never want to feel that way again.

I was a Junior in college that afternoon studying for a Comparative Anatomy practical exam. I never want to experience a repeat of the feelings and thoughts that I had that day. America changed on that day. It wasn't for the better, either.
 

Cho Cho Charlie

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It's worth noting the only world leaders to travel by private train today are Queen Elizabeth II and Kim Jong-un. For Her Majesty it's a convenient way to take lodging with her to fit more engagements in. Security is less of a concern in the UK and she actually takes regular passenger trains sometimes (first class of course). Of course in North Korea the Leader can do as he pleases and the costs or public inconvenience of his security are irrelevant.

I was reading, a few months ago, that the Royal Train is by far the most expensive way for the Queen to travel.

As to lodging, is there really anywhere within the UK she can go, that there isn't one of her 23 castles near by? ;)
 

WWW

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One thing for sure - Air Force ONE will not be getting a weekend workout with golf vacations.
The Biden homestead in Delaware will be easily accessible by Marine ONE and could even entertain Amtrak ONE -
A armored Budd Car with the Marine ONE escort on a course of an un-announced schedule for security reasons.

Won't happen for the first 100 days - things are going to be busy undoing road blocks and obstacles
clearing the tracks for an Acela administration of the virus vaccines.
Full speed (high ball it) ahead to save lives - let no one be without a timely vaccination !
God save the people and the United States of America - Amen !
 

neroden

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Several people have claimed that it would be more difficult to make a secure trip by train because you can reroute cars but it's hard to reroute trains.

Truman and FDR didn't have any problems rerouting trains. The problem is that we ripped out too much of our railroad infrastructure. There are still two totally separate routes from DC to Philadelphia, though, so with proper management and planning you can reroute a train on that route.
 
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The only leader of a nation that I'm aware of who uses rail travel to get around on a regular basis is Kim Jong Un of North Korea.
In England a special train has been maintained in the recent past for the use of the Royal Family. There were also 'Royal Trains' for Tito in Yugoslavia, and a somewhat similar train in Australia.

Recently there was a funeral train for the late President George HW Bush.

Does anyone know of other examples of heads of state that use rail to get around?

The biggest obstacles to such a train in the USA is the immense need for security, and the lack of rail infrastructure [other than the NEC] to transport our leader.
 

Mailliw

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I think the Dutch Royal Family uses trains for official travel, but they just charter first class coaches instead of having a dedicated train.
 
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