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 Post subject: Re: Amtrak Special Moves and Charters Under Threat
PostPosted: Fri Apr 06, 2018 8:05 pm 
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Location: Pac NW, via North Florida
Alexander D. Mitchell IV wrote:
Tell me how much credence YOU are going to give to a supposed online petition with 5,000 names, from all over the place, virtually all of whom have no managerial or fiduciary stake whatsoever in your business or operation--if, indeed, they are even real names and places?

This is not petitioning your local restaurant to offer waffles as well as pancakes, or your brewpub to make an imperial stout.

The only thing online petitions do in reality is give the people who put their names to them the (completely false) sense of "accomplishment" or "having done something."

Yep, Google the term, "slactivism" for more on that.

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 Post subject: Re: Amtrak Special Moves and Charters Under Threat
PostPosted: Sat Apr 07, 2018 8:42 pm 

Joined: Sat Oct 17, 2015 5:55 pm
Posts: 464
"In the policy advisory, Amtrak president and CEO Richard Anderson said that these operations “caused significant operational distraction, failed to capture fully allocated profitable margins and sometimes delayed our paying customers on our scheduled trains.”

http://www.register-herald.com/news/man ... 4af9f.html

The article says that Amtrak may grant waivers to the new policy on a case-by-case basis.


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 Post subject: Re: Amtrak Special Moves and Charters Under Threat
PostPosted: Sun Apr 08, 2018 9:28 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 7:19 am
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Location: southeastern USA
Does it sound to anybody else as if AMTRAK simply failed to provide a reliable operating strategy to absorb this line of business without creating those difficulties in the process? Varnish has been switched in and out of consist and serviced while in consist for over a century now....... I don't think it should be too difficult to relearn how to handle it efficiently.

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 Post subject: Re: Amtrak Special Moves and Charters Under Threat
PostPosted: Sun Apr 08, 2018 11:49 am 

Joined: Fri Feb 13, 2015 2:48 pm
Posts: 77
There in lies the point, we have people running railroads, who don't know how to run a railroad. It's a completely different kind of beast than what most corporations are today.


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 Post subject: Re: Amtrak Special Moves and Charters Under Threat
PostPosted: Mon Apr 09, 2018 6:22 am 

Joined: Tue Sep 03, 2013 9:50 am
Posts: 76
With ATK being understaffed and underfunded, it only makes sense to discard anything but bare bones operations. Even the extra $400 million ATK is scheduled to get is under attack in a claw back bill and Congress just may not allocate the money.


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 Post subject: Re: Amtrak Special Moves and Charters Under Threat
PostPosted: Mon Apr 09, 2018 8:23 am 

Joined: Thu Aug 26, 2004 2:50 pm
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Location: Northern Illinois
I tend to agree. Amtrak isn't a railroad... it's a transit operation, the purpose of which is to move seats from here to there reasonably close to the advertised schedule time. Anything else is just a distraction and a waste of taxpayer money.

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 Post subject: Re: Amtrak Special Moves and Charters Under Threat
PostPosted: Mon Apr 09, 2018 4:47 pm 

Joined: Fri Mar 05, 2010 3:41 am
Posts: 3211
Location: Inwood, W.Va.
Something to read from Kevin Keefe at Kalmbach, along with some of the comments that follow:

http://cs.trains.com/ctr/b/mileposts/ar ... y-bad.aspx


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 Post subject: Re: Amtrak Special Moves and Charters Under Threat
PostPosted: Wed Apr 11, 2018 5:20 pm 

Joined: Wed Jan 20, 2016 1:15 pm
Posts: 83
Does anybody know how much the insurance costs to operate steam on the mainline?
Probably a tricky number as it has gone up in years since anyone looked into purchasing it.

There is obviously an insurance out there... Amtrak has it.. Union Pacific has it... Norfolk Southern had it for the 21st Century Steam trips. So it exists. It's just VERY expensive.


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 Post subject: Re: Amtrak Special Moves and Charters Under Threat
PostPosted: Wed Apr 11, 2018 5:38 pm 

Joined: Thu Feb 27, 2014 10:08 am
Posts: 305
Kelly Anderson wrote:
Sounds like the simpler solution is to get Amtrak to rescind this edict.

Wick Moorman seems friendly to excursions, and has intimate experience with Amtrak. Does anyone have a connection to him to ask his opinion on this situation and what the best solution would be?


The recent, 3-22, Wall Street Journal article on private varnish quoted Mr. Moorman on this very topic and, as Pat Boone used to sing, "The news was not so good."

"Mr. Moorman, who owns his own private railcar called the Sandy Creek, bought for “about the price of a nice fishing boat,” says he isn’t particularly worried Amtrak will stop allowing private rail travel. “If it does, it does,” he says, adding that the historical significance can be appreciated by seeing these old cars in museums."

Here's the link to the whole article.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/wealthy-train-buffs-are-traveling-cross-country-in-super-luxe-railcars-hitched-to-amtrak-trains-1521727200


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 Post subject: Re: Amtrak Special Moves and Charters Under Threat
PostPosted: Wed Apr 11, 2018 5:55 pm 

Joined: Mon May 24, 2010 10:22 am
Posts: 459
Quote:
Does anybody know how much the insurance costs to operate steam on the mainline?
Probably a tricky number as it has gone up in years since anyone looked into purchasing it.

There is obviously an insurance out there... Amtrak has it.. Union Pacific has it... Norfolk Southern had it for the 21st Century Steam trips. So it exists. It's just VERY expensive.

I don't remember if this has come up before (it probably has).

The Railroads have insurance, they have VERY LARGE deductibles.

This deductible is what a trip operator must cover.

Back when I got involved in trips in the early 1980's the deductible was 1 million, then it went to 3 million, the last that I remember was 10 million, I have no idea what it is now.

-Hudson


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 Post subject: Re: Amtrak Special Moves and Charters Under Threat
PostPosted: Wed Apr 11, 2018 7:23 pm 

Joined: Wed Jan 20, 2016 1:15 pm
Posts: 83
Interesting. That does clear things up a bit if that's the case.


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 Post subject: Re: Amtrak Special Moves and Charters Under Threat
PostPosted: Thu Apr 12, 2018 1:38 am 

Joined: Fri Mar 05, 2010 3:41 am
Posts: 3211
Location: Inwood, W.Va.
A new story on one of Amtrak's better known special operations.

http://www.register-herald.com/news/art ... 82b78.html


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 Post subject: Re: Amtrak Special Moves and Charters Under Threat
PostPosted: Thu Apr 12, 2018 7:38 am 

Joined: Thu May 21, 2015 9:33 am
Posts: 119
And all may not be lost for charters, but it will severely limit where they can operate. It affects several projects we have been working on here in SC.

http://trn.trains.com/news/news-wire/20 ... ter-trains

WASHINGTON — Testifying on Capitol Hill today, a top Amtrak executive reiterated the passenger railroad’s stance that it will not operate on some routes that fail to meet this year’s positive train control deadline, and said the carrier will assess whether it feels it can safely run on routes exempted from PTC requirements. The latter view could affect the Chicago-Los Angeles Southwest Chief.

Stephen Gardner, Amtrak’s executive vice president and chief commercial officer, told a House Appropriations Committee hearing that “there will be portions of our routes where we cannot operate” if host railroads have not qualified for an extension of the Dec. 31, 2018 PTC installation deadline.

For those route segments exempted by the Federal Railroad Administration’s PTC standards, Gardner said, “… We believe PTC is part of a modern passenger rail system and we want to see PTC levels of safety across our network. We’re going to be analyzing those areas where safety improvements can be made.” He noted that the appropriations bill provides $50 million toward safety improvements in such areas, “so that’s a top priority for us.”

Rep. Pete Aguilar (D-Calif.) asked specifically about the Southwest Chief, which utilizes both tracks required to have PTC (Albuquerque-Lamy, N.M., hosting Rail Runner commuter trains) and those exempted (from Lamy, N.M., to Trinidad, Colo.). Gardner responded, “We will be able to serve portions of a route where we have PTC, but there may be parts of our network where we believe PTC is required — if that route has high operating speeds, and we want to make sure we have a single level of safety across our network.” He said Amtrak is assessing routes with PTC exemptions and will make decisions “by this summer.”

The Southwest Chief’s former Santa Fe main line across Kansas, Colorado, and New Mexico is equipped with Automatic Train Stop, a forerunner of PTC dating from the 1920s, which requires engineers to acknowledge any restrictive signal indication or suffer a penalty brake application.

Gardner was also asked why Amtrak suddenly decided to forego revenue earned by private cars and special trains. “Our policy,” he said, “…is to simply constrict the number of routes we operate over and the type of services we run” so that any additional revenue comes “with a minimum amount of disruption and distraction away from our core business.”

Some past charter moves, he said, “involved us running one-off routes off of our core network onto various host railroads, and frankly, exposing the company to new operating challenges and safety risks.” Amtrak’s goal, he said, is only to offer these services on its current routes “where we can use equipment that we are confident in and the requirements on our end are manageable, not a distraction, and do not divert our core staff from the job of becoming fully PTC implemented, focusing on improving on-time performance, and providing great customer service.”

In earlier prepared testimony, Gardner characterized continuing freight train interference delays as an “existential crisis,” and reiterated the company’s desire for legislation that would allow Amtrak to sue host railroads over failure to give passenger trains dispatching priority.

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Last edited by airforcerail on Thu Apr 12, 2018 8:09 am, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Amtrak Special Moves and Charters Under Threat
PostPosted: Thu Apr 12, 2018 7:55 am 

Joined: Tue Jan 25, 2005 4:03 pm
Posts: 741
Important to point out what may not be immediately obvious: Many steam excursion charters that Amtrak has been involved with do not necessarily occur on existing Amtrak routes or within the Amtrak network. While a good number do, I can think of a handful right now that fall right off the drawing board because they're "off-line" so-to-speak.

One of the best uses of the charter coverage was being able to plan and execute operations on lower capacity lines, regional railroads, etc. away from busier Class 1 main lines.

This significantly restricts many of the operational futures for mainline steam.

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 Post subject: Re: Amtrak Special Moves and Charters Under Threat
PostPosted: Sat Apr 14, 2018 10:43 am 

Joined: Fri Mar 05, 2010 3:41 am
Posts: 3211
Location: Inwood, W.Va.
From Roanoke.

http://www.roanoke.com/news/local/roano ... 8e1a1.html


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