You've been appointed President of Amtrak....with a catch

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IndyLions

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I would say.... let’s not waste money on experiential routes, let’s continue to serve as many routes as possible.

Taking money away from some routes and piling it on experiential trains is a terrible idea imho.
Depends on your definition of Experiential. If it is a beautiful train with an infrequent schedule, lousy on time performance and is way overpriced - I agree that’s not what you want.

What if Experiential means maintaining equipment at a much higher level than today? Or better yet buying new equipment? Bringing back dining service prepared by an actual chef? What if means the windows are always clean when traveling through the best scenic areas? What if it promotes a can-do attitude among employees who are rewarded appropriately for providing an excellent level of service to all customers - including coach?

If that’s Experiential I’ll take it.
 

jiml

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The route may exist, but keep in mind it's in a whole 'nother country. Without the stick of RPSA1970 and related legislation hanging over their heads, we may not have a sweet enough carrot to secure the cooperation of the Canadian railroads. Particularly since, if we extend an especially sweet deal to them, the freight railroads in this country (with good reason) will expect the same treatment as well.
In fairness you are talking about the two countries with most integrated economy and infrastructure in the world. Your car might very well have been made in Ontario, just as mine was in Kentucky. Politics are the main barrier - the subject for another day. I can see northern NY State from my deck on a clear day and as a frequent visitor to the US, I sincerely hope for a return to what has been normal for a century.

Concerning the railroads though, the two in this discussion are hardly exclusively Canadian - both having huge holdings in the US. That fact alone is a pretty good opening in any negotiation.
 

dlagrua

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Is the only reason to ditch the Auto Train is to provide more equipment for other services?
There is absolutely no reason to ditch the Auto train. It is the most profitable LD route that Amtrak has.
As for what I would do as president; I would steadfast refuse to cancel any LD route. They are vital to the small rural towns that either have poor access to airline travel, have only a few choices of flights or might be hours and miles away from other forms of transportation. My focus would be to build the ridership by restoring amenites and making the service an attractive means of travel. I would advertise more heavily touting these amenities. Under Anderson's cuts passengers were discouraged from riding Amtrak LD service. Under Dennis LaGrua Amtrak would be a railroad that many people would wish to ride. It would take aggressive marketing and a new ad campaign but it can be done
 

crescent-zephyr

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Depends on your definition of Experiential. If it is a beautiful train with an infrequent schedule, lousy on time performance and is way overpriced - I agree that’s not what you want.

What if Experiential means maintaining equipment at a much higher level than today? Or better yet buying new equipment? Bringing back dining service prepared by an actual chef? What if means the windows are always clean when traveling through the best scenic areas? What if it promotes a can-do attitude among employees who are rewarded appropriately for providing an excellent level of service to all customers - including coach?

If that’s Experiential I’ll take it.
Customer Service needs to be good system wide, experiential or not.

Windows should be clean, experiential or not.

Equipment should be in good condition and there should be quality food options, experiential or not.

I mean the coast starlight was experiential right? The parlor car, refurbished sleepers, wine tasting, library, etc.
 

crescent-zephyr

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To play the game though, I would keep -

-Silver Meteor only with split to Tampa
- Capitol
-Lake Shore with split to Boston
-Crescent with split to Dallas
-Coast Starlight
- Southwest Chief
- Empire Builder with split to Portland
- California Zephyr with split to Portland
- Sunset Limited
- Texas Eagle
 

Dakota 400

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There is absolutely no reason to ditch the Auto train. It is the most profitable LD route that Amtrak has.
As for what I would do as president; I would steadfast refuse to cancel any LD route. They are vital to the small rural towns that either have poor access to airline travel, have only a few choices of flights or might be hours and miles away from other forms of transportation. My focus would be to build the ridership by restoring amenites and making the service an attractive means of travel. I would advertise more heavily touting these amenities.
It would take aggressive marketing and a new ad campaign but it can be done
I agree with you.

We know that rail travel can be very attractive from a scenic perspective. Once, the onboard ambiance added to our pleasure. Restore the amenities that have been lost and advertise those along with the joys of seeing our beautiful country at land level: a winning marketing campaign might just work.
 

Philly Amtrak Fan

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1. Broadway Limited with a DC leg splitting off at Philly serving Baltimore (if possible, serving Ft. Wayne and Columbus)
2. Lake Shore Limited, Boston leg staying (if possible serving Michigan west of Toledo)
3. Silver Star
4. Silver Meteor
5. Crescent going all the way to San Antonio, picking up the NOL-SAS leg of the Sunset Limited
6. Texas Eagle (if possible adding a Dallas-Houston leg)
7. Southwest Chief
8. California Zephyr
9. Coast Starlight
10. New Chicago-Florida train, 1st choice Indianapolis-Louisville-Nashville-Atlanta, then City of New Orleans/SL East.
 

MARC Rider

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So if I read this right, the two trains that come the closest to breaking even of all the LD trains, Auto Train and the Palmetto, would be ended or spun off somehow. Does this sound like something that makes sense? As a starting point I would look at the farebox recovery percentages. Any of these trains under 50% recovery I would look at as possible candidates for dropping. This assumes an honest accounting system.
I wouldn't consider the Palmetto to be a real "long distance train." It is very popular, and carries a lot of people, even south of Florence. It should be considered a corridor train of sorts. Although I would like to see them run it with a dining car.

Given the traffic I've experienced on I-95, they should probably have additional corridor service on the A-line going at least to Fayetteville (NC state support?) or Florence. (NC could still support a train just like Maine supports the Downeaster stops in New Hampshire. Even if the state is being a cheapskate, the state paying gets the benefit of the additional revenue. Plus, Florence looks like a better place to terminate a train compared to Fayetteville.
 

MARC Rider

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Actually, if I became dictator (or at least dictator of transportation), I would consider all Amtrak service to be "corridor" trains, that is trains providing useful transportation service. Thus, I would not only keep the existing trains, I would want to add routes to improve connectivity and increase frequencies where justified by market potential.

I would privatize the "experiential trains," roughly like the Alaska Railroad lets the cruise lines run their own equipment on Alaska Railroad trains, although the private operators would still have a relationship with Amtrak to allow the privatized experiential trains access to the rail lines and Amtrak terminals. Amtrak might provide operating crews to the private trains (for a fee, of course), and Amtrak would manage those trains to the extent of including them in the reservation system, issuing AGR points for travel on the experiential trains, etc.

Of course, if I were dictator, I'd nationalize the rail infrastructure in its entirety and then Amtrak would be just another rail operating company, just like the freight roads and the commuter lines. In that case, it might not be necessary for the private experiential trains to have a relationship with Amtrak simply to have access to the rail system. They might still find it useful for economies of scale and marketing purposes, though.

Amtrak-provided on-board service would thus be simplified, with food being the equivalent of what's served for business/first class air travel, and served at extra charge to all passengers, coach, business, and sleeper. Passengers might have to line up in the dining car to receive their (good quality) tray meal, as rolling airline style food cars between railcars might be difficult. Advance ordering would allow greater variety and ability to meet special dietary requests. Lounge service would be continued, and attention paid to optimizing net revenue from snack and beverage service. Sleeper service would be comfortable, but with no expectations of luxury or overly attentive service. Perhaps couchette service could be tried to see if there is a market for cheaper "lie flat" sleeping space, but this only on trains where there is a lot of traffic during the overnight segment. I would make blankets and pillows available for overnight coach passengers, possibly at a slight extra charge. All of this should be focused on passengers who are travelling on journeys of greater than 4-6 hours.

The experiential service could be whatever the private operators think will make them money. Hopefully this would involve gourmet food, white glove service, and plush surroundings, but it wouldn't be something that would be on Amtrak's budget.

However, the most important thing I would want to do is make sure that every Amtrak train, whether corridor or "long-distance" meets a schedule that provides for a minimum 55 mph average end-to-end speed and good on-time performance.
 

sttom

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Jan 23, 2019
Messages
494
If I was running Amtrak, I wouldn't consider any "long distance" train with less than 24 hour run time a "long distance" train. Which I would swiftly downgrade from "long distance" status to "overnight express" status (which I just made up for the sake of preserving the connections). This would mean the Lake Shore Limited, Capitol Limited and City of New Orleans would be downgraded and would drop the number of "long distance" trains down to 10 trains (Coast Starlight, Empire Builder, California Zephyr, Southwest Chief, Sunset Limited, Texas Eagle, Crescent, Silver Service and Cardinal). If the route the Cardinal takes between Cincinnati and Chicago was modernized, its run time could also be decreased below 24 hours, giving me an extra long distance train. Which I would use to to restore the Desert Wind and Pioneer as a continuous route and call it the Desert Pioneer.

On the experiential side, I would more or less rip off Via's Prestige class and put a second Sightseer Lounge on all of the bi-level "long distance" trains (I'm assuming there will be extra funding for new equipment) and set them up as Tavern cars of the past and give "Prestige" passengers 5 free drinks and regular sleeper passengers 2 free drinks. I wouldn't give them an open bar, restaurants make a good chunk of their money on drinks, I don't see how Amtrak would be different. I would also put in a similar type of equipment on single deck trains. In the new Tavern cars I would have tastings of regional food and drinks during the trip that would be free for the "Prestige" passengers and an upgrade for Sleeper passengers.

I would be more interested in the development of corridor services. Being they too much to describe, here is a short overview. I would ask for $10 billion subsidy for state corridors and require the funding to be distributed proportionally to the states. I would also request $2.5 billion subsidy for interstate corridors. While I'm on the subject, I would just reclassify the Palmetto as a "interstate corridor" and add a second run. I have attached maps since a picture is worth 1000 words.
 

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Thirdrail7

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Regulatory observation, here.


I wouldn't consider the Palmetto to be a real "long distance train." It is very popular, and carries a lot of people, even south of Florence. It should be considered a corridor train of sorts. Although I would like to see them run it with a dining car.
Actually, if I became dictator (or at least dictator of transportation), I would consider all Amtrak service to be "corridor" trains, that is trains providing useful transportation service. Thus, I would not only keep the existing trains, I would want to add routes to improve connectivity and increase frequencies where justified by market potential.
If I was running Amtrak, I wouldn't consider any "long distance" train with less than 24 hour run time a "long distance" train. Which I would swiftly downgrade from "long distance" status to "overnight express" status (which I just made up for the sake of preserving the connections). This would mean the Lake Shore Limited, Capitol Limited and City of New Orleans would be downgraded and would drop the number of "long distance" trains down to 10 trains (Coast Starlight, Empire Builder, California Zephyr, Southwest Chief, Sunset Limited, Texas Eagle, Crescent, Silver Service and Cardinal).

For the record, you can attempt to call it what you wish. The bottom line is there has been a federal definition of a long-distance train that was reinforced when PRIIA was enacted. Therefore, I draw your attention to the Cliff Notes from section 201:


(4)“intercity rail passenger transportation” means rail passenger transportation, except commuter rail passenger transportation.
(5)“long-distance route” means a route described in subparagraph (C) of paragraph (7).
(6)“National Network” includes long-distance routes and State-supported routes.
(7)“national rail passenger transportation system” means—
(A)the segment of the continuous Northeast Corridor railroad line between Boston, Massachusetts, and Washington, District of Columbia;
(B)rail corridors that have been designated by the Secretary of Transportation as high-speed rail corridors (other than corridors described in subparagraph (A)), but only after regularly scheduled intercity service over a corridor has been established;
(C)long-distance routes of more than 750 miles between endpoints operated by Amtrak as of the date of enactment of the Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act of 2008; and
(D)short-distance corridors, or routes of not more than 750 miles between endpoints, operated by—
(i)Amtrak; or
(ii)another rail carrier that receives funds under chapter 229.
(8)“Northeast Corridor” means Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island.



As such, any train that operates over 750 is a long-distance train. It is not up to Amtrak to designate the type of train. It falls into federal criteria based upon its operation. Attempting to reclassify the designation will require legislation. As such, renaming them would not be in compliance with this thread as you would still have more than 10 long-distance trains.

The Palmetto is still a long-distance train unless you cut the mileage, which is why I killed my version in Florence (633 miles). Sure, I could have gotten the train to Charleston (728 miles) but I'm aware that Florence already has facilities and a crew base.

Even if you raised the speed, allowing the Capitol Limited operated between WAS-CHI in 10 hours, it would STILL be considered a Long Distance train.
 
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Thirdrail7

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I'd like to suggest a possible rule violation. 😈

The Cardinal would continue but operate as a daily daylight train Chicago-Cinci and overnight to Washington. A section would split at Charlottesville and operate to Richmond (VA DOT is apparently buying that trackage Charlottesville-Doswell). It would have a through coach and sleeper for Miami connecting to the Star. In Indy, it would have a Thruway connection to St. Louis.
If I'm reading this correctly, you'd have a train from Chicago to WAS. That is fine. Then, you'd have a section split at CVS and head to RVR. Sounds good. However, you mentioned a "through coach" that connected to the STAR.

Historically, "through equipment" and "set outs" have typically had their own train number ( particularly for accounting and allocations). Additionally, since this through car would obviously split from the train at WAS much like the section at CVS, my observation is it runs afoul with the guidelines for this thread:

Also - five of the ten LD routes can feature multiple sections - ala the LSL and EB today. Trains with more than 2 sections are not allowed, however.
This seems like a train with a section to RVR, a section to WAS and a section (albeit two cars) to MIA.

What say you, judge @IndyLions?
 
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IndyLions

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Nov 6, 2016
Messages
327
I'd like to suggest a possible rule violation. 😈



If I'm reading this correctly, you'd have a train from Chicago to WAS. That is fine. Then, you'd have a section split at CVS and head to RVR. Sounds good. However, you mentioned a "through coach" that connected to the STAR.

Historically, "through equipment" and "set outs" have typically had their own train number ( particularly for accounting and allocations). Additionally, since this through car would obviously split from the train at WAS much like the section at CVS, my observation is it runs afoul with the guidelines for this thread:



This seems like a train with a section to RVR, a section to WAS and a section (albeit two cars) to MIA.

What say you, judge @IndyLions?
The triple sections would be a violation.

That being said, if I were him in an effort to fix the violation – I would just consider ditching the WAS section and have connecting passengers to DC just connect cross platform in Charlottesville. There’s going to be pretty frequent corridor service CVS-WAS, and it’s a pretty short ride after CVS.

But it’s his call...
 

Philly Amtrak Fan

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Jul 25, 2015
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1. Broadway Limited with a DC leg splitting off at Philly serving Baltimore (if possible, serving Ft. Wayne and Columbus)
2. Lake Shore Limited, Boston leg staying (if possible serving Michigan west of Toledo)
3. Silver Star
4. Silver Meteor
5. Crescent going all the way to San Antonio, picking up the NOL-SAS leg of the Sunset Limited
6. Texas Eagle (if possible adding a Dallas-Houston leg)
7. Southwest Chief
8. California Zephyr
9. Coast Starlight
10. New Chicago-Florida train, 1st choice Indianapolis-Louisville-Nashville-Atlanta, then City of New Orleans/SL East.
For some reason I couldn't edit my past message.

I reread the ability to having through legs up to 750 miles so I'd like to add a "Desert Wind" leg to the California Zephyr at Salt Lake City. If we're also in fantasy land, I'd also like to extend the California Zephyr to Los Angeles on the Coast Starlight route to give San Jose and Santa Barbara a direct route to Chicago and Denver.
 

IndyLions

Lead Service Attendant
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Nov 6, 2016
Messages
327
On the experiential side, I would more or less rip off Via's Prestige class and put a second Sightseer Lounge on all of the bi-level "long distance" trains (I'm assuming there will be extra funding for new equipment) and set them up as Tavern cars of the past and give "Prestige" passengers 5 free drinks and regular sleeper passengers 2 free drinks. I wouldn't give them an open bar, restaurants make a good chunk of their money on drinks, I don't see how Amtrak would be different. I would also put in a similar type of equipment on single deck trains. In the new Tavern cars I would have tastings of regional food and drinks during the trip that would be free for the "Prestige" passengers and an upgrade for Sleeper passengers.
I like this general idea on the Experiential side for the Tavern car.

A special lounge car for the sleeping car passengers will by definition free up space for the coach passengers in the Sightseer. it’s not rocket science obviously, it’s just the Pacific Parlor Cars taken to the next level.

I could see two drinks per day included in the first class ticket. But I would do more than just serve booze - I‘d offer premium appetizers, desserts, etc. I‘d also put more emphasis on comfortable seating than the current sightseers do, with different functional areas for a bar area, lounge/living room area for conversation, and an area that includes tables for card games, etc.

I think most of us here would agree that returning appropriate service levels on all trains is a much higher priority than creating a land cruise environment. But the reason I put the “Experiential” element into the rules was because of Anderson’s quote in Skift. (“There will always be a place for the experiential long-haul train...”)

The only positive way to interpret that quote (in my opinion) is that he wanted to be able to designate certain routes that were exempt from silly legislation such as the Mica rule. But since he’s not President any more (and we are), we can interpret it any way we want!
 
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jiml

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Feb 27, 2019
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I like this general idea on the Experiential side for the Tavern car.

A special lounge car for the sleeping car passengers will by definition free up space for the coach passengers in the Sightseer. it’s not rocket science obviously, it’s just the Pacific Parlor Cars taken to the next level.

I could see two drinks per day included in the first class ticket. But I would do more than just serve booze - I‘d offer premium appetizers, desserts, etc. I‘d also put more emphasis on comfortable seating than the current sightseers do, with different functional areas for a bar area, lounge/living room area for conversation, and an area that includes tables for card games, etc.
What you're suggesting is basically a mobile version of the executive lounge at a better hotel or airport. Not a bad idea. 👍
 

MARC Rider

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Apr 5, 2011
Messages
2,002
Regulatory observation, here.







For the record, you can attempt to call it what you wish. The bottom line is there has been a federal definition of a long-distance train that was reinforced when PRIIA was enacted. Therefore, I draw your attention to the Cliff Notes from section 201:


(4)“intercity rail passenger transportation” means rail passenger transportation, except commuter rail passenger transportation.
(5)“long-distance route” means a route described in subparagraph (C) of paragraph (7).
(6)“National Network” includes long-distance routes and State-supported routes.
(7)“national rail passenger transportation system” means—
(A)the segment of the continuous Northeast Corridor railroad line between Boston, Massachusetts, and Washington, District of Columbia;
(B)rail corridors that have been designated by the Secretary of Transportation as high-speed rail corridors (other than corridors described in subparagraph (A)), but only after regularly scheduled intercity service over a corridor has been established;
(C)long-distance routes of more than 750 miles between endpoints operated by Amtrak as of the date of enactment of the Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act of 2008; and
(D)short-distance corridors, or routes of not more than 750 miles between endpoints, operated by—
(i)Amtrak; or
(ii)another rail carrier that receives funds under chapter 229.
(8)“Northeast Corridor” means Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island.



As such, any train that operates over 750 is a long-distance train. It is not up to Amtrak to designate the type of train. It falls into federal criteria based upon its operation. Attempting to reclassify the designation will require legislation. As such, renaming them would not be in compliance with this thread as you would still have more than 10 long-distance trains.

The Palmetto is still a long-distance train unless you cut the mileage, which is why I killed my version in Florence (633 miles). Sure, I could have gotten the train to Charleston (728 miles) but I'm aware that Florence already has facilities and a crew base.

Even if you raised the speed, allowing the Capitol Limited operated between WAS-CHI in 10 hours, it would STILL be considered a Long Distance train.
This is all true, but (1) in my game, I'm Dictator of Transportation, so these rules are abolished and a more reasonable classification system is instituted, and
(2) if we're playing by your rules, I would recommend terminating the Palmetto at Charleston, which would be within the 750 mile limit. There are a LOT of people who get on and off in Charleston, it would be worth it to spend whatever money it takes to provide terminating facilities there.

The other alternative would be to keep the Palmetto operating to Savannah and terminate in Washington with a cross-platform transfer to a Northeast Regional. In my experience, the Palmetto really does empty out in Washington. Maybe they could park the connecting trains next to each other on adjacent tracks and use the boarding plates to move people between the trains without forcing them to descend to the low level platforms. Of course, the through tracks in DC are going to get high platforms sooner of later.
 

sttom

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Jan 23, 2019
Messages
494
For the record, you can attempt to call it what you wish. The bottom line is there has been a federal definition of a long-distance train that was reinforced when PRIIA was enacted. Therefore, I draw your attention to the Cliff Notes from section 201:
To be fair, the premise of this thought experiment is based on the 750 mile rule not existing to allow for corridor service. That would mean that the definition of a long distance train would be in flux and one was not given in the original post, so I put in my own. If I am the President of Amtrak, I would have the clout to argue for a change anyways. And its not like my post, or any of them for that matter, would get done at the snap of a finger. There would still be a transition time, unless my new found powers as the President of Amtrak gave me the ability to bend the universe to my will.
 

Palmland

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May 25, 2006
Messages
839
The triple sections would be a violation.

That being said, if I were him in an effort to fix the violation – I would just consider ditching the WAS section and have connecting passengers to DC just connect cross platform in Charlottesville. There’s going to be pretty frequent corridor service CVS-WAS, and it’s a pretty short ride after CVS.

But it’s his call...
Let me appeal the ruling of IndyLions. To me, a third section of the Cardinal would be if the Miami car would be another train with its own power and crew (like the Boston LSL or Portland EB) to take the through car. In this scenario the through car is just connecting to an existing train at Richmond (not Washington). Yes it is like the LA sleeper on the Texas Eagle. But in my world that's not another section of the train even though for reservation purposes it has a unique ID.

This is not an original idea. Those of a certain age will recognize the train as a rebirth of the George Washington that did split at Charlottesville for Washington and Richmond/Newport News. While it did not have a through car from Chicago the SCL did add a sleeper to the Star in Richmond in the 60's. Leave Richmond at 4:10pm and arrive Miami at 10:45am - nice schedule. And, towards the end the Florida Special picked up a dome sleeper in Richmond.
 

IndyLions

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Let me appeal the ruling of IndyLions. To me, a third section of the Cardinal would be if the Miami car would be another train with its own power and crew (like the Boston LSL or Portland EB) to take the through car. In this scenario the through car is just connecting to an existing train at Richmond (not Washington). Yes it is like the LA sleeper on the Texas Eagle. But in my world that's not another section of the train even though for reservation purposes it has a unique ID.

This is not an original idea. Those of a certain age will recognize the train as a rebirth of the George Washington that did split at Charlottesville for Washington and Richmond/Newport News. While it did not have a through car from Chicago the SCL did add a sleeper to the Star in Richmond in the 60's. Leave Richmond at 4:10pm and arrive Miami at 10:45am - nice schedule. And, towards the end the Florida Special picked up a dome sleeper in Richmond.
Appeal granted. Nice argument. We are just talking about 1 sleeper. And besides - I"m a heck of a nice guy. Just ask me :)

I have a book somewhere - "Night Trains" (?) whose premise was to document the location of every passenger train at midnight on some theoretical date in the 1940's or '50s, I think. For a guy whose favorite place to sleep is a sleeper car - it was a fun read. Filled with lots of single sleepers being transferred from train to train. I've got to dig that book up.
 

Palmland

OBS Chief
Joined
May 25, 2006
Messages
839
In these troubled times we can be thankful for small things. So, thanks IndyLions for your ruling. I’m sure it will have far reaching consequences!

Night Trains was a favorite book of mine too. In those days it was certainly easier for the railroads to switch set out sleepers or through cars to a connecting train. About every terminal had a switch crew that could head to the passenger station to do the necessary work. Not so with Amtrak!

Perhaps that might make a good thread. Where does Amtrak have the capability to do this type of work? Certainly at terminals where trains terminate or originate and also locations where the station has sufficient track capacity to do it without interfering with freight activity. A mechanical department employee would also probably be required.

So, where does this capability exist? And, what would be a good city for a set out sleeper. Also where is the best opportunity to transfer a through car to another train and what would be its origin/destination?
 

sttom

Lead Service Attendant
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Jan 23, 2019
Messages
494
I like this general idea on the Experiential side for the Tavern car.

A special lounge car for the sleeping car passengers will by definition free up space for the coach passengers in the Sightseer. it’s not rocket science obviously, it’s just the Pacific Parlor Cars taken to the next level.

I could see two drinks per day included in the first class ticket. But I would do more than just serve booze - I‘d offer premium appetizers, desserts, etc. I‘d also put more emphasis on comfortable seating than the current sightseers do, with different functional areas for a bar area, lounge/living room area for conversation, and an area that includes tables for card games, etc.

I think most of us here would agree that returning appropriate service levels on all trains is a much higher priority than creating a land cruise environment. But the reason I put the “Experiential” element into the rules was because of Anderson’s quote in Skift. (“There will always be a place for the experiential long-haul train...”)

The only positive way to interpret that quote (in my opinion) is that he wanted to be able to designate certain routes that were exempt from silly legislation such as the Mica rule. But since he’s not President any more (and we are), we can interpret it any way we want!
My main reason for having a per trip limit on drinks is 1) drinks have a good mark up and 2) I wouldn't want to deal with the politics of giving away too many freebies to tourists. I'd rather burn political capital defending why I'm asking for a $300 billion dollar capital infusion and changing how routes are classified, since that would be the thing I would be gunning for.

As for other things offered in a Tavern, I would offer a daily food and drink tasting and/or brunch service on a daily basis. So I'm not really sure if having more than snacks would really be worthwhile. I do like the idea of a dessert service though.

I also think a "what would you do for "corridor" service" post would also be a fun follow up to this one.
 
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