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Train 8 (9-3-10) left SEA 5 hours late


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#1 pennyk

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Posted 03 September 2010 - 09:03 AM

Thursday's eastbound Empire Builder left Seattle 5 hours late. Does anyone know why? I am in Seattle now and plan to take the 9/3 EB to West Glacier. I hope it is on time today because I will only be spending one night in West Glacier and I hope it is not real late.
Thanks.

Amtrak miles: 112,559; Routes: Silver Meteor, Champion (1973), Silver Star, Auto Train, Capitol Limited, Empire Builder, Lakeshore Limited, Adirondack, Vermonter, Cardinal, California Zephyr, Coast Starlight, Texas Eagle (CHI-STL), Missouri River Runner, Acela Express (FC), Southwest Chief, Cascades, Crescent, City of New Orleans, Hiawatha Service, Maple Leaf, Keystone Service, Northeast Regional, Downeaster, Piedmont, Carolinian, Lincoln Service, Autumn Express 2013, Empire Service.   VIA miles: 4,584; Routes: The Canadian (westbound), Ocean (eastbound/westbound).


#2 jmbgeg

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Posted 03 September 2010 - 01:18 PM

Thursday's eastbound Empire Builder left Seattle 5 hours late. Does anyone know why? I am in Seattle now and plan to take the 9/3 EB to West Glacier. I hope it is on time today because I will only be spending one night in West Glacier and I hope it is not real late.
Thanks.


It appears that 7 was 1 hour and 52 minutes late arriving yesterday morning. That can affect turn around time for 8.
jmb<br /><br /><span style='font-family: Palatino Linotype'>Select Plus Traveling the Empire Builder, Coast Starlight, Cascades, California Zephyr, San Joaquins, Capitol Limited, Southwest Chief and Lakeshore Limited</span>

#3 pennyk

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Posted 03 September 2010 - 01:25 PM

Thanks for your response. I notice that 14 is running late today, so maybe 28 might be delayed. Since I did not have control over very much, I guess whatever happens, happens and I will just go with the flow.
:)

Amtrak miles: 112,559; Routes: Silver Meteor, Champion (1973), Silver Star, Auto Train, Capitol Limited, Empire Builder, Lakeshore Limited, Adirondack, Vermonter, Cardinal, California Zephyr, Coast Starlight, Texas Eagle (CHI-STL), Missouri River Runner, Acela Express (FC), Southwest Chief, Cascades, Crescent, City of New Orleans, Hiawatha Service, Maple Leaf, Keystone Service, Northeast Regional, Downeaster, Piedmont, Carolinian, Lincoln Service, Autumn Express 2013, Empire Service.   VIA miles: 4,584; Routes: The Canadian (westbound), Ocean (eastbound/westbound).


#4 ColdRain&Snow

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Posted 03 September 2010 - 01:38 PM

Thanks for your response. I notice that 14 is running late today, so maybe 28 might be delayed. Since I did not have control over very much, I guess whatever happens, happens and I will just go with the flow.
:)


I just detrained #7 at Seattle King this morning and we were about 25 minutes early. Our trainset was operating well, and I did not hear of any problems in my sleeper or the 730 car. P42 #50 pulled us in this morning after running as the trailing unit from Chicago - ran well all the way out here. I think you should be good to go on #8 this afternoon! Wow, it's a beautiful day here in Seattle!

Have a fantastic trip.

#5 amtrakwolverine

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Posted 03 September 2010 - 01:49 PM


Thursday's eastbound Empire Builder left Seattle 5 hours late. Does anyone know why? I am in Seattle now and plan to take the 9/3 EB to West Glacier. I hope it is on time today because I will only be spending one night in West Glacier and I hope it is not real late.
Thanks.


It appears that 7 was 1 hour and 52 minutes late arriving yesterday morning. That can affect turn around time for 8.


That's nothing that's considered on-time.

#6 pennyk

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Posted 03 September 2010 - 05:26 PM

I'm at the King Street Station right now. I found out that there was an equipment problem yesterday.
:(
So far everything looks good for today. :)

I had 2 beautiful days in Seattle. :wub:

Amtrak miles: 112,559; Routes: Silver Meteor, Champion (1973), Silver Star, Auto Train, Capitol Limited, Empire Builder, Lakeshore Limited, Adirondack, Vermonter, Cardinal, California Zephyr, Coast Starlight, Texas Eagle (CHI-STL), Missouri River Runner, Acela Express (FC), Southwest Chief, Cascades, Crescent, City of New Orleans, Hiawatha Service, Maple Leaf, Keystone Service, Northeast Regional, Downeaster, Piedmont, Carolinian, Lincoln Service, Autumn Express 2013, Empire Service.   VIA miles: 4,584; Routes: The Canadian (westbound), Ocean (eastbound/westbound).


#7 jmbgeg

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Posted 03 September 2010 - 06:16 PM



Thursday's eastbound Empire Builder left Seattle 5 hours late. Does anyone know why? I am in Seattle now and plan to take the 9/3 EB to West Glacier. I hope it is on time today because I will only be spending one night in West Glacier and I hope it is not real late.
Thanks.


It appears that 7 was 1 hour and 52 minutes late arriving yesterday morning. That can affect turn around time for 8.


That's nothing that's considered on-time.


Not true. The past 4 weeks the EB 7's average delay has been 17 minutes, but 4 very long delays in those 4 weeks skewed the number negative. Otherwise, it would have an on time or early average arrival. I travel more on the 7 train into SEA than any other train and it is almost always 15-45 minutes early.
jmb<br /><br /><span style='font-family: Palatino Linotype'>Select Plus Traveling the Empire Builder, Coast Starlight, Cascades, California Zephyr, San Joaquins, Capitol Limited, Southwest Chief and Lakeshore Limited</span>

#8 pennyk

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Posted 03 September 2010 - 07:01 PM

I'm on 8 right now and we left SEA on time. It looks like 28 left Portland on time also. So far so good. Scenery to the left is magnificent.

Amtrak miles: 112,559; Routes: Silver Meteor, Champion (1973), Silver Star, Auto Train, Capitol Limited, Empire Builder, Lakeshore Limited, Adirondack, Vermonter, Cardinal, California Zephyr, Coast Starlight, Texas Eagle (CHI-STL), Missouri River Runner, Acela Express (FC), Southwest Chief, Cascades, Crescent, City of New Orleans, Hiawatha Service, Maple Leaf, Keystone Service, Northeast Regional, Downeaster, Piedmont, Carolinian, Lincoln Service, Autumn Express 2013, Empire Service.   VIA miles: 4,584; Routes: The Canadian (westbound), Ocean (eastbound/westbound).


#9 Ispolkom

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Posted 04 September 2010 - 02:19 PM

Train 8 was 5 hours late out of Seattle on 9/3 because of mechanical problems, perhaps with a truck on one the sleepers. Of course, Amtrak didn't know how long it would take to fix the problem, and couldn't tell passengers that the train would leave 5 hours late, so they had to hang around the station, waiting.

They did alert Portland that there was a problem, as the attendant in the Metropolitan Lounge announced that we would be delayed at Spokane. (Mrs Ispolkom and I were on #28.)

The Portland section arrived in Spokane more or less on time, and was put on station power. The locomotive was tied down next to the station when we checked in the morning. The Seattle section pulled in around 6 a.m., and backed down and hooked up the Portland section pretty expeditiously.

We didn't mind the delay too much, since it allowed us to see the switching, and the mountains between Spokane and Whitefish. We didn't lose much time across Montana, and saw many more trains in the hole for us (including #7) than vice versa.

An Amtrak customer service rep got on in Havre, and told us that passengers boarding east of St. Paul would be bussed, so that the train would run straight through from St. Paul to Chicago (I guess that this meant that passengers debarking between St. Paul and Chicago would also be bussed, but didn't ask.) For connections east, he said that they hoped to make up 2 hours en route, and that earlier eastbound trains would be held. I note that #8 is now expected in at 8:48 p.m., so I guess they weren't any more successful at making up time east of Minot as they were before our arrival in Minot early this morning.

I'd have been irritated by the delay if we were in coach, or if we had a connection to make, but since we were on the last leg of a ABQ-LAX-PDX-MOT one-zone award, and we won 2 bottles of wine in the triva contest (we did give away one bottle), we were perfectly content to sleep a few extra hours in our bedroom. My sister wasn't so thrilled about getting up in the middle of the night to meet us.

I was truly impressed by the number of smokers who got off the train in Minot to light up, most with cigarettes already in mouths as they debarked.

Edited by Ispolkom, 04 September 2010 - 02:21 PM.


#10 EB_OBS

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Posted 04 September 2010 - 08:43 PM

That was I that boarded #8 in Havre, MT. I wasn't very optimistic about making up 2 hours into Chicago either but that IS what I was being told by passenger services in Chicago and by the Customer Service personnel at 1-800-USA-RAIL. When I spoke with people I made it clear that in my experience one hour was pretty likely able to be made up but that even I wasn't betting on making up two hours.

As for the people detraining between MSP and CHI, those passengers did stay on the train. The train still makes all it's normal stops it's just that Amtrak was counting on not picking up many passengers thus making up some time by minimizing the dwell times.

I feel for the people who had connections that were missed. I sure hope that my counterparts and co-workers in Chicago Union Station were able to get everyone re-accommodated or put up for the night. There were a a handful of passengers with situations which were not looking to good due to the lateness. Making up some time was very critical for a few people, it's unfortunate that they didn't make any up.

All in all most passengers were ok with the delay, only one person was a bit ticked off and unforgiving. The couple of people who really needed to get to their final destinations on-time, I hope Amtrak in Chicago got them onto busses. In my conversations with them it was more about getting there than the mode of transportation.

#11 Ispolkom

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Posted 04 September 2010 - 11:36 PM

Re-reading my post, I fear that it might have come off more negative than I meant. In general I was impressed how proactive Amtrak was. I was impressed that you got on in Havre and went through all of the cars (you must have, since you came all the way back to the Portland sleeper) explaining again and again what the plan was for now. I also didn't mention that you reminded us that the conductors in getting on in Winona would have updated information.

I also didn't mention (I was saving that for the trip report), what an excellent crew we had on the Empire Builder. A late train usually isn't a very happy train, but the crew really did a great job trying to keep things positive. As he has been in the past, our sleeping car attendant, Joe, did an especially good job with what I thought was not the easiest car full of passengers.

I'm also sorry that the train didn't make up time, but, frankly, I was surprised that it didn't lose any more time. My experience has generally been the cliche, "a late train only gets later." I don't know what Amtrak worked out with BNSF, but I was surprised by the number of freight trains that went onto sidings to let us pass. I don't think that BNSF had to do that, but was grateful that they did.



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