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#1 Tracktwentynine

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Posted 18 February 2011 - 03:23 PM

If an agreement between Republicans and Democrats cannot be agreed upon by March 4, we could face another government shutdown. Politico now reports that this may be very likely to happen.

My question is, will Amtrak be affected? Does anyone remember if it shutdown in 1995 when the federal government was closed?

I'm actually supposed to be traveling on Amtrak on March 4. I'd hate to get stuck.

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#2 ALC Rail Writer

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Posted 18 February 2011 - 03:33 PM

For those of us young enough not to remember 1995 as anything but first grade, what happened back then?

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#3 caravanman

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Posted 18 February 2011 - 03:37 PM

Hi,
I have no idea how things work in your part of the world, but over here in Europe, Belgium has been without a government for 249 days!
"What would be a humiliation for many turned into a party for Belgium on Thursday as the country's citizens marked 249 days without a government, a figure that they are treating as a world record in political indecision. A bunch of youngsters took off their clothes to mark their protest."

Services are normal in government free Belgium...

Ed :cool:

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Posted 18 February 2011 - 03:42 PM

Because Amtrak is, officially, a private corporation, the answer to your question is a definitive NO; Amtrak would not shut down if the government does (although as I recall from 16 years ago, not much else shut down, either).

#5 Ryan

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Posted 18 February 2011 - 03:45 PM

Since Amtrak is notionally a private company (albeit owned by the DoT), I would expect service to continue.

My wife (who works at the Capitol Visitor Center) was told that if the government shut down the CVC would be closed and they would not receive a paycheck for the duration of the shutdown. I was in 10th grade in '95, so I don't remember a lot of the details, but rush hour will be a thing of the past here in DC for the duration!
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#6 Tracktwentynine

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Posted 18 February 2011 - 03:46 PM

For those of you who don't remember the 1995-1996 government shutdown, Wikipedia has a brief overview.

All non-essential federal government employees were sent home on furlough. National Parks were one of the notable things closed. The Smithsonian closed its doors as well.

Amtrak: 35,600 miles, 24 routes, 44 states, 2 provinces. First trip 5/2005. Miles in 2014: 10,154.

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#7 Devil's Advocate

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Posted 18 February 2011 - 03:56 PM

Seeing how badly the previous shut down harmed Gingrich while helping Clinton, I'm clueless as to why the the GOP are so confident history won't simply repeat itself again. I'm not saying I can see the future, I'm just saying I'd be a lot more cautious about tempting fate again this soon after the last disaster.

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#8 Tumbleweed

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Posted 18 February 2011 - 04:12 PM

Seeing how badly the previous shut down harmed Gingrich while helping Clinton, I'm clueless as to why the the GOP are so confident history won't simply repeat itself again. I'm not saying I can see the future, I'm just saying I'd be a lot more cautious about tempting fate again this soon after the last disaster.


Yup.....people don't forget it when you draw a line in the sand and refuse to budge.....

Edited by Tumbleweed, 18 February 2011 - 04:13 PM.

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#9 TransitGeek

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Posted 18 February 2011 - 04:38 PM

Seeing how badly the previous shut down harmed Gingrich while helping Clinton, I'm clueless as to why the the GOP are so confident history won't simply repeat itself again. I'm not saying I can see the future, I'm just saying I'd be a lot more cautious about tempting fate again this soon after the last disaster.


The obvious answer is that they think they can force meaningful concessions from Obama and the Democrats. Based on previous situations, such as the unemployment/Bush tax cut situation a few months ago, they may well be right.
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#10 Cho Cho Charlie

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Posted 18 February 2011 - 05:47 PM

Shutting down the Federal government (and from what I read, some States too), is not a good thing. However, increasing the National Debt is not a good thing either, and IMHO, the worse evil.

Yea, maybe all those leased lux cars and SUV's driven by most Congressmen, will get repro'ed when the monthly payments stop. And, gasp, they might have to drive their own cars to work. :o

As to Amtrak, operations should continue, but capital expenses might get stopped for the duration.
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#11 ALC Rail Writer

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Posted 18 February 2011 - 05:49 PM

This is the price we pay for a two party system, if the two can't agree they just shut things down. It would be nice to have a parliamentary system where a third party could slap the other two and force a coalition.

Amtrak Routes Travelled: Capitol Limited (x12s), Northeast Regional (x10), Pennsylvanian (x10), Empire Builder (x6), Cascades (x4), Empire Service (2), Acela Express (3), New Haven Shuttle (2), Vermonter (1), Lake Shore Limited (x3), Lincoln Service (3), Coast Starlight (x2), California Zephyr(1), Capitol Corridor(1), Southwest Chief (1), Missouri River Runner (1), Downeaster (2), Crescent (2)
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#12 Cho Cho Charlie

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Posted 18 February 2011 - 05:52 PM

BTW, from CNN...

On Thursday, lawmakers voted on amendments to protect $450 million slated for Amtrak train service, ...


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#13 Green Maned Lion

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Posted 18 February 2011 - 06:12 PM

The government won't shut down. The two moronic parties will sit and yell at each other and scream and posture. And then around 11:30 PM March 3rd, they'll pass a resolution.
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#14 jis

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Posted 18 February 2011 - 06:24 PM

As to Amtrak, operations should continue, but capital expenses might get stopped for the duration.

Why would work being funded by capital that has already been disbursed to Amtrak be affected? Only new capital will not get disbursed.

#15 ALC Rail Writer

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Posted 18 February 2011 - 06:52 PM

The FRA would close for business, no?

Amtrak Routes Travelled: Capitol Limited (x12s), Northeast Regional (x10), Pennsylvanian (x10), Empire Builder (x6), Cascades (x4), Empire Service (2), Acela Express (3), New Haven Shuttle (2), Vermonter (1), Lake Shore Limited (x3), Lincoln Service (3), Coast Starlight (x2), California Zephyr(1), Capitol Corridor(1), Southwest Chief (1), Missouri River Runner (1), Downeaster (2), Crescent (2)
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#16 Train2104

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Posted 18 February 2011 - 07:03 PM

The FRA would close for business, no?


Yes.

#17 Dovecote

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Posted 18 February 2011 - 07:13 PM

For those of you who don't remember the 1995-1996 government shutdown, Wikipedia has a brief overview.

All non-essential federal government employees were sent home on furlough. National Parks were one of the notable things closed. The Smithsonian closed its doors as well.

Thanks for the trip down memory lane. I was a U.S. government employee from 1977-2008 with the Department of Agriculture and was involved in three separate government shutdowns in 1981, 1984, and 1986. Each of these shutdowns were short in duration. We were sent home during the work day but returned the following day when emergency spending bills were inacted.

The government shutdown in 1995 did not send all non-essential government employees home on furlough however. Although being classified as non-essential government employees, Agriculture Department employees were not affected as their appropriation bill for the fiscal year had been previously approved. We worked throughout this 1995 shutdown. :) I would suspect that any government agency that has their appropriation bill passed for the fiscal year would not be affected.

Edited by Dovecote, 18 February 2011 - 07:21 PM.

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Posted 18 February 2011 - 07:26 PM

Since Amtrak is notionally a private company (albeit owned by the DoT), I would expect service to continue.

My wife (who works at the Capitol Visitor Center) was told that if the government shut down the CVC would be closed and they would not receive a paycheck for the duration of the shutdown. I was in 10th grade in '95, so I don't remember a lot of the details, but rush hour will be a thing of the past here in DC for the duration!

(sigh) Amtrak is NOT - repeat NOT - owned by the Federal Government, DOT or otherwise. It is a private corporation, whose shareholders INCLUDE but are not limited to: the Feds, the Freight railroads, and some large multinational organizations. It is private stock, but stock nonetheless. It is NOT a national rail system. Would that it were...

#19 bretton88

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Posted 18 February 2011 - 07:45 PM

Now, granted, that stock is considered to be worthless, but technically Amtrak is privately owned.
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#20 ALC Rail Writer

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Posted 18 February 2011 - 07:57 PM


Since Amtrak is notionally a private company (albeit owned by the DoT), I would expect service to continue.

My wife (who works at the Capitol Visitor Center) was told that if the government shut down the CVC would be closed and they would not receive a paycheck for the duration of the shutdown. I was in 10th grade in '95, so I don't remember a lot of the details, but rush hour will be a thing of the past here in DC for the duration!

(sigh) Amtrak is NOT - repeat NOT - owned by the Federal Government, DOT or otherwise. It is a private corporation, whose shareholders INCLUDE but are not limited to: the Feds, the Freight railroads, and some large multinational organizations. It is private stock, but stock nonetheless. It is NOT a national rail system. Would that it were...


Actually, you are right but for the wrong reasons. No it is not owned by the Fed directly, but all preferred shares or stock are owned by the US Congress. Amtrak is not a publically traded company and no individual or business may invest in Amtrak stock. The '71 agreement codified this very strictly.

The freight railroads are the least likely to ever invest in Amtrak again. Owning Amtrak stock is akin to owing money, it's not only not worth the paper its printed on it requires a subsidy because it is run at a loss. The paper its printed on is a bill, owning Amtrak is owning debt that will not likely return.

It is a private company who's sole owner is the US Congress, it is operated as both an independent company and political football. It isn't wholly one way or the other. They operate in the grey area that Greyhound, NPR, Planned Parenthood, PBS, and all other "public owned businesses".

Edited by ALC_Rail_Writer, 18 February 2011 - 08:01 PM.

Amtrak Routes Travelled: Capitol Limited (x12s), Northeast Regional (x10), Pennsylvanian (x10), Empire Builder (x6), Cascades (x4), Empire Service (2), Acela Express (3), New Haven Shuttle (2), Vermonter (1), Lake Shore Limited (x3), Lincoln Service (3), Coast Starlight (x2), California Zephyr(1), Capitol Corridor(1), Southwest Chief (1), Missouri River Runner (1), Downeaster (2), Crescent (2)
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