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#21 Joeker

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Posted 07 January 2014 - 05:18 PM

How soon we forget! Just 3 years ago on Feb 1-2 2011, Chicago was hit with a blizzard that dumped over 21" of snow and drifts as deep as 6 feet or more.

Lake Shore drive had over 900 abandoned cars stuck on it. All local transit was suspended.

Amtrak shut down all of  its trains from Chicago for 3 days. No service anywhere. I know, as I had a friend returning from LA on #4 in a sleeper and they offloaded all passengers in ABQ where they stayed at a Hotel for 3 days until the route was reopened.

 Also the airport was closed for 2 days with over 1500 flights in Chicago cancelled .

Stuff happens. Weather has always plagued all forms of transportation whether we like it or not.



#22 tricia

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Posted 07 January 2014 - 05:25 PM

 

Why the heck is the Crescent cancelled? They should at least run it from NOL to WAS, but I'm not aware of anything as severe along that route as what they are experiencing along the LSL, SWC, CZ, IZ, TE, and the NEC.

Usual Winter Track Work between ATL and NOL!!! North of Atlanta in the NC Mountains its Darn Cold also!!!

 

 

Minus 8F at 8AM today here in the mountains of western NC, about an hour northwest of Asheville, about 2 hours from the Crescent's stations in Toccoa, GA, and Greenville, SC. Darn cold, indeed! Record-breaking for around here. 



#23 Tennessee Traveler

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Posted 07 January 2014 - 07:25 PM

Amtrak's Floridian has been cancelled through Nashville all of 2014.  



#24 Devil's Advocate

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Posted 07 January 2014 - 10:46 PM

I hope the folks who keep claiming Amtrak isn't seriously affected by bad weather will take a moment to read this and similar threads. I don't blame Amtrak for being essentially helpless in the face of bad weather, but I also don't understand why a few vocal members take it upon themselves to rewrite history over and over again in order to build up a rather unrealistic image of what is in reality a surprisingly fragile passenger rail network. If the airlines won't get you there and the buses won't get you there then Amtrak probably won't get you there either. Simple to understand, hard to repeat apparently.

I'd rather be a glass half empty than a glass half fool.


#25 CHamilton

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Posted 08 January 2014 - 12:41 AM

Devil, I think that the lesson here is two-sided. Well-built, well-maintained, and plentiful passenger trains, serving a redundant network, can be inherently better at dealing with bad weather than any other form of transportation. But Amtrak has none of those features. They have managed to provide national train service for 40+ years with pitiful resources, and even this week, they have managed to do better in many ways than the airlines, the roads and the buses.

 

But think what they could have done with a robust system! I'm sure we'll be hearing calls for tax money to be thrown at "infrastructure," meaning air and highways, as a result of this week. It's up to us to make sure that our local, state and national elected officials know that rail is a more effective way of spending those dollars.


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#26 June the Coach Rider

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Posted 08 January 2014 - 10:17 AM

I hope the folks who keep claiming Amtrak isn't seriously affected by bad weather will take a moment to read this and similar threads. I don't blame Amtrak for being essentially helpless in the face of bad weather, but I also don't understand why a few vocal members take it upon themselves to rewrite history over and over again in order to build up a rather unrealistic image of what is in reality a surprisingly fragile passenger rail network. If the airlines won't get you there and the buses won't get you there then Amtrak probably won't get you there either. Simple to understand, hard to repeat apparently.

The severe weather that has halted the trains right now is a once in 20+ year experience. In the majority of the instances, Amtrak runs when the roads and planes are not.



#27 fillyjonk

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Posted 08 January 2014 - 12:12 PM

The Eagle#21, along with Most other LD Trains, Did NOT Leave Chicago for the Past Two Days! #22, the NB Eagle has Been Running  ( Hours Late) so it will be Up to the Chicago Yard Crews to Get the Equipment Ready for Service! I Understand that most of the Equipment is Frozen including the Engines! A Warm Up is On the Way but Everywhere is a Mess for Transportation  Right Now! I'd keep Checking all the Train and travel Sites, Call Amtrak etc. etc. Good Luck, its Suynny Down Here in Central Texas and Warmed up into the 40s today, 50s Tomorrow and 70s with Rain for the End of the Week so perhaps the Eagles will start Flying again Soon!  Good Luck, keep us Posted! ;)

 

 

Thanks for the info, jim. The local paper here said "one of the 5 scheduled daily round-trips got through yesterday" but they did not say which one. (My parents' house is perhaps 3 miles from the tracks and I heard what MIGHT have been an Amtrak whistle, followed about 10 minutes later by a freight, at about 8:35 pm last night here in BNL.)

 

Amtrak Website is saying that today's Eagles are scheduled to run. I'm really hoping that today will be what it takes for the system to mostly right itself.

 

I agree with the folks who are saying "we need other hubs to the West than Chicago, and we need more equipment" but I don't see that happening any time soon. (I would say I'd also like to have Amtrak give more clarification on their website - if the train's cancelled, SAY it's cancelled, not "service disruption." If you're bustituting, say that.)



#28 John Bobinyec

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Posted 08 January 2014 - 12:30 PM

I agree with the folks who are saying "we need other hubs to the West than Chicago, and we need more equipment" but I don't see that happening any time soon. (I would say I'd also like to have Amtrak give more clarification on their website - if the train's cancelled, SAY it's cancelled, not "service disruption." If you're bustituting, say that.)

I personally think the website people, including ARROW, deserve some thanks, too.  They've been churning up the schedules like crazy for the last few days.  Normally, they might be able to go home after work and put their feet up - but not lately.  The reservations system (et al) has become a central part of operations, even when the operations goes to hell.

 

jb

 

Edit: The Amtrak website folks, I mean.


Edited by John Bobinyec, 08 January 2014 - 01:06 PM.

LDS Been On:

 

Old: Lake Cities Express (EL), Montrealer (AT), Laurentian (D&H)

RBBB: St. Petersburg - W. Palm Beach, Lakeland - Atlanta, Baltimore - NYC, Rochester, NY - Hartford, Albuquerque - Salt Lake City, Denver - Chicago

Modern: Ocean (VIA), Silver Star, Capitol Limited, Texas Eagle, Autotrain, Carolinian

 


#29 CHamilton

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Posted 08 January 2014 - 12:56 PM

John, I agree. The train trackers (both Amtrak's and yours) seem to have been displaying what information was pretty accurately. It was really helpful to know how late the Cardinal was running during Anderson's drive to IND to catch the train last night. So thanks again for all your work.


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#30 Guest_Guest_*

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Posted 08 January 2014 - 05:20 PM

Things are looking up. 5 (8) and 3 (8) departed Chicago on time this afternoon. 7 (8), however, is showing a service disruption.

 



#31 NW cannonball

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Posted 08 January 2014 - 11:12 PM

Things are looking up. 5 (8) and 3 (8) departed Chicago on time this afternoon. 7 (8), however, is showing a service disruption.

 

 

Good for #3 and #5 -- the Empire Builder however -- both #8 and #7 from Jan 8 seem to be cancelled.  #8 that departed SEA on Jan 7 may be in NoDak.  #7 that departed CHI yesterday Jan 7 seems to have disappeared just west of Fargo while running almost 8 hours late.


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#32 Devil's Advocate

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Posted 08 January 2014 - 11:39 PM

The severe weather that has halted the trains right now is a once in 20+ year experience.


So the last time Amtrak had to cancel service due to bad weather was 20+ years ago? I think not.


In the majority of the instances, Amtrak runs when the roads and planes are not.


Source?

I'd rather be a glass half empty than a glass half fool.


#33 jis

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Posted 09 January 2014 - 12:04 AM

In the majority of the instances, Amtrak runs when the roads and planes are not.


Source?

I am truly curious about that one too. Having personally experienced the need to substitute a planned Amtrak ride by an airplane ride on at least three occasions due to Amtrak cancellations, I just wonder about the veracity of that claim.

#34 VentureForth

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Posted 09 January 2014 - 08:44 AM

Whereas June's comment may perhaps not be completely accurate, I believe that for the most part, Amtrak CAN operate in conditions that generally paralyzes auto and air transport.  However, as has been made pretty obvious this week, some weather can paralyze everything.


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#35 montana mike

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Posted 09 January 2014 - 09:10 AM

I was just reading that according to FAA records, overall US Airlines canceled only 1.65% of ALL flights in 2013.   I wonder how that stacks up against Amtrak's cancelation record? Does anyone have any stats in this regard?



#36 Devil's Advocate

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Posted 09 January 2014 - 10:01 AM

I was just reading that according to FAA records, overall US Airlines canceled only 1.65% of ALL flights in 2013.   I wonder how that stacks up against Amtrak's cancelation record? Does anyone have any stats in this regard?


I've had flights cancelled on me and still managed to arrive at my final destination on time. If Amtrak cancels a single Texas Eagle trip I'm already a day late. Amtrak cancels one Sunset Limited trip and I'm already two days late before leaving the station to return home. Not to mention that my sleeper compartment is long gone.

I'd rather be a glass half empty than a glass half fool.


#37 montana mike

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Posted 09 January 2014 - 11:29 AM

Good point.   Very few other timely options on Amtrak's LD trains when one is canceled.    That is why is is so important to have at least a modest amount of redundancy in both human and equipment assets.   Not a lot one can do when the "blizzard of the century" hits or massive flooding occurs, but if a train has to be canceled because of the lack of a crew or equipment, both of those are well within the ability of management to control.

It appears things are slowly creeping back to getting trains on the tracks today.   Still some cancelations, but not as many as Monday.    Temps throughout all of the Hi-Line are at or ABOVE normal now.  In some places in MT they are 60 degrees warmer than just 4 days ago.



#38 fairviewroad

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Posted 09 January 2014 - 11:52 AM

 In some places in MT they are 60 degrees warmer than just 4 days ago.

 

Cue the flooding. :help:



#39 June the Coach Rider

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Posted 09 January 2014 - 12:45 PM

 

 

In the majority of the instances, Amtrak runs when the roads and planes are not.


Source?

 

I am truly curious about that one too. Having personally experienced the need to substitute a planned Amtrak ride by an airplane ride on at least three occasions due to Amtrak cancellations, I just wonder about the veracity of that claim.

 

I got that from people here on this forum that said so. I just add that I have traveled myself thru winter storms on Amtrak and the airports have been closed. Also here in Boston area, the news is always mentioning that Amtrak and Acela are running when they say there are severe cancellations at the airports.

 

I also said in the majority of the instances, I did not say EVERY TIME, AND DID NOT SAY THAT THEY DON'T CANCEL. 

 

edited to add:  http://www.flyertalk...mtrak-snow.html


Edited by June the Coach Rider, 09 January 2014 - 12:53 PM.


#40 jis

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Posted 09 January 2014 - 01:00 PM

Conversely I have many times traveled fine by air while Amtrak was dead in the water due to torrential rain or hurricane en route. So irrespective of all the capital letters in the world these are all just anecdotal and often emotional feelings. What I am looking for is some concrete data.

I think the point that Charlie made is probably close to the mark. Given enough resources a rail system can be more reliable than road or air. But today's Amtrak is nowhere near such a reliable system. So let us not kid ourselves. After all the most common rescue mechanism for Amtrak cancellations or disruptions is bustitutions. So clearly those are all examples where road was working fine while rail as in Amtrak was not.




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