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Amtrak Mail and Express future


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#41 Palmetto

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Posted 05 September 2016 - 12:44 PM

Your stream is offline.



#42 CCC1007

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Posted 05 September 2016 - 05:57 PM

Your stream is offline.

I wasn't streaming today, that was Friday

#43 Anderson

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Posted 07 September 2016 - 01:58 PM

 

Yeah, I don't know why Amtrak doesn't properly advertise Amtrak Express.  For the city-pairs where it is already operating (and which pairs are those?  And why isn't that advertised?) I think they could get a lot more business than they already do.

My understanding is that any station that handles checked baggage can originate and terminate express shipments up to the size that the onsite equipment can handle safely. The only exception I've ever heard of is NYP which is not allowed to be the origin point of a shipment.

 

And IIRC the rule there is "take it to Newark".


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#44 dlagrua

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Posted 12 November 2016 - 06:09 PM

Back in the days of "Special Delivery" overnight mail it made sense to have railway post office cars to quicken the flow. It would be to the rail car post office, sort on the trip, and pick up at the station. Then the post office used special cars ( may have been station wagons) to deliver the "Special Delivery mail. .  As airline delivery became popular that's where much of the express mail was diverted.  Current express and much priority mail goes by air or by truck. Passenger trains don't serve the structure of the current USPS system . 800px-Special_Delivery_stamps_3.jpg


Edited by dlagrua, 12 November 2016 - 06:13 PM.


#45 jphjaxfl

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Posted 12 November 2016 - 07:40 PM

Back in the days of "Special Delivery" overnight mail it made sense to have railway post office cars to quicken the flow. It would be to the rail car post office, sort on the trip, and pick up at the station. Then the post office used special cars ( may have been station wagons) to deliver the "Special Delivery mail. .  As airline delivery became popular that's where much of the express mail was diverted.  Current express and much priority mail goes by air or by truck. Passenger trains don't serve the structure of the current USPS system .

The US Mail has changed dramatically since the late 1960s when the RPOS were discontinued. First class mail has mostly become electronic. E-mail has replaced personal letters. Most of my bills are sent electronically. There is no need for RPOS on passenger trains.
800px-Special_Delivery_stamps_3.jpg



#46 Palmetto

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Posted 13 November 2016 - 04:13 PM

Well, at one time Amtrak worked some mail on the NEC.  They even had a dedicated train originating in Springfield MA in the middle of the night.  Anyone know why that dried up?



#47 CCC1007

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Posted 13 November 2016 - 04:24 PM

Well, at one time Amtrak worked some mail on the NEC.  They even had a dedicated train originating in Springfield MA in the middle of the night.  Anyone know why that dried up?

It was killed in 2004 when gunn chose not to renew the contracts.

#48 Thirdrail7

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Posted 30 October 2017 - 07:46 PM

any mail would be moved in high priority container freight trains, not on Amtrak LD trains. 

 

 

 You can be sure that if mail does return to the rails, you won't find them on the likes of the Southwest Chief.

 

 

 

 

:ph34r:


They say laughter is the best medicine. Obviously they never posted on AU.


#49 Thirdrail7

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Posted 30 October 2017 - 07:47 PM

There was a report issued in 2012 by the USPS Inspector General that said that intermodal rail was a "sensible option" compared to trucks. But the intermodal is the freight lines, not Amtrak.

 

 

Radar2.gif

 

:ph34r:


Edited by Thirdrail7, 30 October 2017 - 07:58 PM.

They say laughter is the best medicine. Obviously they never posted on AU.


#50 pennyk

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Posted 30 October 2017 - 07:55 PM

MODERATOR NOTE:  Two threads on the same topic have been merged.


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#51 cirdan

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Posted 31 October 2017 - 04:00 AM

One of the main advantages of mail on trains is that you can save time by sorting mail while the train is moving.

 

You can't do that very well on a plane and you can't really do it at all in a truck or in a container.

 

But seeing that email has eaten into the express delivery mail market, whereas the mail service has expanded more and more into parcels and boxes, thanks to the likes of Amazon, the speed thing is no longer a major selling point.

 

UPS and other parcel services already send containers by rail, and this will doubtlessly continue if not expand further. This could even be an incentive for railroads to raise speeds,(assuming the likes of UPS and FedEx would be willing to pay the railroads a premium for faster delivery)  which could indirectly also benefit Amtrak.

 

Of course the question is whether there is room in the market for an intermediate speed level between slow freight train and air freight. Right now probably not. One day, who knows?

 

But I don't think there will ever be a revival of traditional style combined passenger and mail trains, at least not in my lieftime.


Edited by cirdan, 31 October 2017 - 04:08 AM.


#52 jphjaxfl

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Posted 31 October 2017 - 09:43 AM

Mail has changed dramatically since the last Railway Post Office cars and REA express cars disappeared in the late 1960s. I worked in the Jeffersonville, IN post office from 1966-68 during my first 2 years in college.  When I first started, we dispatched and received mail from various RPOs the most prominent being the Chicago, Logansport and Louisville RPO on PRR later PC Train 94 and 95 which stopped in Jeffersonville at 6:55 AM and 11:05PM.  By the time I left the job 2 years later, the RPOs were just about gone except for one of L&N trains 8 and 9 which lasted a little longer.  Back then, all pension checks, social security checks, and bills including utility bills were sent via first class mail monthly.  There were many personal letters and cards being sent via first class mail. There are also significant amounts of newspapers, magazines and third class (junk mail).  Fast forward to the 21st century and most pension, social security checks and other payments are sent electronically to banks.  Many utility, credit card and others bills are sent out electronically.  There is still a lot of junk mail and as has been mentioned package delivery via USPS, FedEx and UPS.  There is no need for the type of mail service the Railroads once provided.  IF REA Express still existed, there would be a place for it shipping packages by passenger train and providing the great local service that it once did.  The REA Express infrastructure  is long gone and there is good delivery service via the modes I mentioned, so mail on passenger trains will likely never return.


Edited by jphjaxfl, 31 October 2017 - 09:45 AM.


#53 neroden

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Posted 31 October 2017 - 05:16 PM

I could see Amtrak moving packages along the NEC (Boston-Philly, NY-DC, etc) faster than any truck or airplane could.  The packages business is booming.  Unfortunately the postal service dismantled *all* their rail-connected infrastructure (dumb), and the Railway Express infrastructure is all gone too, which makes it harder.


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#54 jebr

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Posted 31 October 2017 - 08:21 PM

How much long-haul package business does USPS do? I could see them slowly working back towards using rail as needed, but it seems like a lot of their package business is UPS/FedEx/DHL/Amazon/etc. using the USPS for last-mile residential delivery where it's cheaper to drop off the packages at the local post office and pay the couple bucks for the last mile delivery than it is for them to use their own vehicles to the end customer. Rail wouldn't help the USPS at all in that instance, and that seems to be a lot of their focus right now.



#55 cirdan

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Posted 01 November 2017 - 04:32 AM

I could see Amtrak moving packages along the NEC (Boston-Philly, NY-DC, etc) faster than any truck or airplane could.  The packages business is booming.  Unfortunately the postal service dismantled *all* their rail-connected infrastructure (dumb), and the Railway Express infrastructure is all gone too, which makes it harder.

 

Maybe in a broader context there is also a potential market for express freight on the NEC. It' could probably be faster than airfreight between some of the city pairs. So maybe such a service could be embedded within a larger airfreight network and use the same airfreight containers and logistics base. One big obstacle is that very few major airports or airfreight hubs are actually served by rail lines that could meaningfully carry such trains. So the startup investment would simply be too large.

 

Simiarly for the costs of building distribution terminals along the NEC. In many cases there isn't the land available on railroad property as former freight yards and things in downtown locations have been sold off long ago. The remaining locations are for the most part not that ideal.

 

So we are talking about very high startup costs for a potentially low margin business. That's not going to excite many investors.

 

Maybe at some point in the future these paradigms will shift again and the question can be re-assessed. But I venture to say not in the next 20 to 30 years.


Edited by cirdan, 01 November 2017 - 04:37 AM.





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