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Is freight train traffic down due to the economy


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#21 JayPea

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Posted 28 April 2009 - 09:33 PM

Last month during my Chicago-Sacramento CZ trip I only recall a handful of coal trains over the entire run. Not one other freight train along the whole route. We didn't have to wait at all, except for an hour due to maintenance of way work.

Last week I went to Spokane for some railfanning and the freight traffic was about as heavy as I remember it there.
Amtrak Routes Traveled: City of New Orleans, State House/Lincoln Service, Empire Builder, California Zephyr, Southwest Chief, Cascades, Crescent, Capitol Limited, Coast Starlight, Texas Eagle/Sunset Limited, Silver Meteor, Lake Shore Limited, Pacific Surfliner, Cardinal, Vermonter, Northeast Regional, Downeaster
 
Pre-Amtrak Routes Traveled:
Empire Builder (Great Northern), North Coast Limited (Northern Pacific), Abraham Lincoln (Gulf, Mobile, and Ohio), City of Hinkle  (Union Pacific) Panama Limited (Illinois Central)

Bustitutions: Portland-Spokane (EB),Galesburg-Bloomington (CZ/Lincoln Service )
 

Amtrak Miles: 85410

Pre-Amtrak Miles: 8478

Bustitution Miles: 450

Excursion trains ridden:  Centralia and Chehalis Railroad, Mt. Hood Scenic Railroad, Alaska Railroad, 1880 Train (Black Hills Central RR) and trains at the Illinois Railway Museum, California Railway Museum, and the Monticello (IL) Railroad Museum.

#22 George Harris

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Posted 28 April 2009 - 10:54 PM

I almost got caught with my pants down; # 2 was 48 minutes EARLY into Houston Sunday morning.
Quite a surprise at 4:45 a.m. :lol:


I know what you mean. The trains get back into my origin city at either 12:20 or 1:40 a.m. . I have the sleeper attendent wake me up an hour out and I take a shower in my sleeper. Sometimes I have found my hour wakeup was only 15 minutes when I am standing there dripping wet out of the shower and we pull into the station. :o

Not to panic. If it gets in early, you will still have time to get off before the train leaves. Remember, unless you are at a departures only stop, the train can not leave before its published time.

#23 rtabern

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Posted 28 April 2009 - 11:19 PM

I just got back from a cross-country trip on Amtrak and NEVER had better on-time performance from the trains that I took. (#5, #11, and #422) On the California Zephyr, we kept getting into stops early the whole route providing for extra smoke stops and an arrival in EMY of about 40 minutes early. #11 did get into LA about 30 minutes late, but it was running 2 hours late in Oregon so it made up some time. AND #422 was running early the whole way... so much so we sometimes had to sit and "kill time" shy of reaching stations as not to block main roads through towns. We arrived into Chicago early as well... I was very shocked, but conductors say it was because of the low amount of freight traffic.

#24 Jersey Jeff

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Posted 18 May 2009 - 10:54 AM

I just got back from a cross-country trip on Amtrak and NEVER had better on-time performance from the trains that I took. (#5, #11, and #422) On the California Zephyr, we kept getting into stops early the whole route providing for extra smoke stops and an arrival in EMY of about 40 minutes early. #11 did get into LA about 30 minutes late, but it was running 2 hours late in Oregon so it made up some time. AND #422 was running early the whole way... so much so we sometimes had to sit and "kill time" shy of reaching stations as not to block main roads through towns. We arrived into Chicago early as well... I was very shocked, but conductors say it was because of the low amount of freight traffic.


Your post was featured in Slate this week!
http://www.slate.com/id/2218394/

#25 EarthIslandJournal

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Posted 22 May 2009 - 12:42 PM

Dear Amtrak Riders:

I'm a reporter with the environmental magazine Earth Island Journal (www.earthislandjournal.org) doing a story about the recent improvement in Amtrak on time performance due to the significant decrease in freight traffic.

I am very eager to interview any passengers or conductors who could share with me their experiences of recent months, and also compare that with past experience.

If you have noticed an improvement in Amtrak on-time performance, and would be willing to do a 10 min interview, please contact me at:
jmark@earthisland.org or cal me at 510-859-9119.

Many thanks for your attention.

Jason Mark
Earth Island Journal




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