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2016 NARP Meeting News?


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#1 Philly Amtrak Fan

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Posted 16 October 2016 - 11:38 AM

Anybody at the NARP meeting in Denver? Any news or interesting discussions?


Trains Traveled:
 
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Three Rivers (Harrisburg, PA-CHI, Altoona, PA-CHI, PHL-CHI)
Capitol Limited (CHI-WAS)
Lake Short Limited (NYP-CHI)
Silver Meteor (PHL-ORL)
Southwest Chief (CHI-LAX)
California Zephyr (CHI-SLC, SLC-EMY)
City of New Orleans and/or Illini (CHI-Champaign, IL)

 

All I want for Amtrak is a direct train from Philly to Chicago in less than 24 hours 
 
 


#2 Acela150

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Posted 16 October 2016 - 10:36 PM

Well keep in mind that a few AU members are heavily involved in NARP. Charlie is one of them. I know for a fact he was splitting time between the two this weekend. 

 

He will gladly update us when he gets some free time. :) 


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#3 jis

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Posted 17 October 2016 - 08:35 AM

Phew! I am off the hook. Charlie, over to you. Besides you'll be home before I even start on my way home from Denver.

We were told that the Viewliner Diners start rolling out of CAF mid-November when I asked whether the delivery of the Viewliners was part of the performance metrics for the first year for Mr. Moorman. :)

#4 Mystic River Dragon

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Posted 17 October 2016 - 08:42 AM

jis--

 

Does that mean rollout, then testing on different trains like the prototype [sorry, can't remember its number] diner, then a few more months before we, as passengers, get to eat in them?

 

Or rollout as some will be completely ready for passengers and added to trains in mid-November? Thanks for clarifying :).



#5 Just-Thinking-51

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Posted 17 October 2016 - 10:27 AM

Did not attend the NARP meeting, but Charlie was talking about the up and coming Drop car from the Southwest Chief to Pueblo CO experiment while at the AU dinner.

Still scratching my head on this one. If you look at a map, you would think La Junta to Pueblo is a bus route, if your running a car off the SWC let's run it from La Junta to Pueblo to Colorado Springs and end in Denver proper.

But then it's going to be short term experiment, and Puebla got the backing from Colorado to do it. Just seem a little short of a good idea.

#6 jis

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Posted 17 October 2016 - 10:29 AM

jis--
 
Does that mean rollout, then testing on different trains like the prototype [sorry, can't remember its number] diner, then a few more months before we, as passengers, get to eat in them?
 
Or rollout as some will be completely ready for passengers and added to trains in mid-November? Thanks for clarifying :).

The latter. Actual delivery for acceptance testing is rumored to be around the 1st of November.

Though I would refrain from counting the chicken until they actually hatch :)

Edited by jis, 17 October 2016 - 01:55 PM.


#7 jis

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Posted 17 October 2016 - 10:33 AM

Did not attend the NARP meeting, but Charlie was talking about the up and coming Drop car from the Southwest Chief to Pueblo CO experiment while at the AU dinner.

Still scratching my head on this one. If you look at a map, you would think La Junta to Pueblo is a bus route, if your running a car off the SWC let's run it from La Junta to Pueblo to Colorado Springs and end in Denver proper.

But then it's going to be short term experiment, and Puebla got the backing from Colorado to do it. Just seem a little short of a good idea.

It was clearly stated that this was a first step towards eventually rerouting the entire SWC via Pueblo. There at present are no plans for running anything on the joint line between Pueblo and Denver. C-DOT has a long EIS plan in its work plan and anything involving the joint line will follow that activity and inevitably will be expensive.

#8 CHamilton

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Posted 17 October 2016 - 01:29 PM

Guess I really am off the hook. jis and Just-Thinking-51 have shared most of the news. :)

 

The speculation front was a lively as ever, but I think it's fair to say that most of us were feeling more positive and hopeful about the future of passenger rail than we have been for a while.

 

But the upcoming elections for officials at all levels will make an enormous difference. The meeting underscored how important it is to elect people who care about, and are willing to support, passenger rail. The improvements to the SWC described above would not have happened without the grassroots work of the Southwest Chief Coalition and people like the city manager of Garden City, Kansas.

 

So ask your local candidates to support passenger rail and local transit connections. And when they get elected, make yourself available as an expert on these issues. They'll appreciate folks like us who can give honest appraisals of the complicated rail business.


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#9 Devil's Advocate

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Posted 17 October 2016 - 02:38 PM

The main thing I want from Amtrak is a daily SL with better calling times in SAS. Is that a reasonable goal achievable with practical solutions within the current realities of Amtrak? I honestly have no idea.

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


#10 jis

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Posted 17 October 2016 - 03:09 PM

The main thing I want from Amtrak is a daily SL with better calling times in SAS. Is that a reasonable goal achievable with practical solutions within the current realities of Amtrak? I honestly have no idea.

I was surprised to find the lack of enthusiasm to start a daily Sunset project among the Texas contingent. If they are not going to take the lead, hardly anyone else will. The ones I talked to appeared to be more enthusiastic about a daily NOL to at least SAS and perhaps even EL Paso service than the rest of the way to LA. But fortunately it appears that the NARP staff and Board might try to light a fire under a few and see what happens.

#11 Devil's Advocate

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Posted 17 October 2016 - 03:43 PM

 

The main thing I want from Amtrak is a daily SL with better calling times in SAS. Is that a reasonable goal achievable with practical solutions within the current realities of Amtrak? I honestly have no idea.

I was surprised to find the lack of enthusiasm to start a daily Sunset project among the Texas contingent. If they are not going to take the lead, hardly anyone else will. The ones I talked to appeared to be more enthusiastic about a daily NOL to at least SAS and perhaps even EL Paso service than the rest of the way to LA. But fortunately it appears that the NARP staff and Board might try to light a fire under a few and see what happens.

 

 

Is it really that surprising?  Any time an inquiry about increasing/expanding the Sunset Limited's frequency/route shows up on AU it's generally met with resistance, antipathy, or even contempt.  Why would reasonable people spend their time actively supporting something which they believe has little or no basis in reality?  If you look at passenger numbers for SAS they have been plummeting ever since the schedule was changed.  So wherever that support is eventually going to come from I doubt it's coming from here.  Rather than lighting a fire under us maybe NARP should focus on selling us on the idea that these negatives can be addressed in a practical manner without having to move the Sun and Earth first.


Edited by Devil's Advocate, 17 October 2016 - 03:53 PM.

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


#12 CHamilton

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Posted 17 October 2016 - 04:23 PM

Rail advocacy in Texas seems to be in a rebuilding mode at the moment. Texas Rail Advocates does pretty well, but one of the NARP reps is working on reviving TXARP to serve the whole state. Which is a challenge, given its size and diversity of interests. But we will probably be hearing more soon. DA, if you or anyone else is interested in helping, I'll be happy to connect you.


Amtrak can be better! Tell your local, state and national elected officials to support a more robust rail system. Join NARP and your local rail advocacy organization.
Where you'll find my posts: // All Aboard Washington (websiteFacebook) // Amtrak Unlimited Forum Group (Facebook) // Grow Trains (websiteFacebook, Twitter) // Restore the Pioneer Train (website, Facebook, Twitter) // Save the Seattle Waterfront Streetcar (Again) (websiteFacebook, Twitter) // Transit Riders of Puget Sound (Facebook) // Trains on FB (Facebook) // My Random Twitter Musings @HamiltonChas

#13 Philly Amtrak Fan

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Posted 17 October 2016 - 04:57 PM

 

The main thing I want from Amtrak is a daily SL with better calling times in SAS. Is that a reasonable goal achievable with practical solutions within the current realities of Amtrak? I honestly have no idea.

I was surprised to find the lack of enthusiasm to start a daily Sunset project among the Texas contingent. If they are not going to take the lead, hardly anyone else will. The ones I talked to appeared to be more enthusiastic about a daily NOL to at least SAS and perhaps even EL Paso service than the rest of the way to LA. But fortunately it appears that the NARP staff and Board might try to light a fire under a few and see what happens.

 

 

Ideally you'd start by making part of the SL daily aka Hoosier State/Lynchburger rather than the whole route. Any daily service along the route is better than nothing. But that becomes a state responsibility instead of Amtrak/Congress (not that they're any better when it comes to spending money).

 

When it comes to adding trains/services, the answer is ...

 

If less than 750 miles ... Ask your state.

If more than 750 miles ... Probably either ask your state or flat out no. 


Trains Traveled:
 
Broadway Limited (CHI-Harrisburg, PA) 
Three Rivers (Harrisburg, PA-CHI, Altoona, PA-CHI, PHL-CHI)
Capitol Limited (CHI-WAS)
Lake Short Limited (NYP-CHI)
Silver Meteor (PHL-ORL)
Southwest Chief (CHI-LAX)
California Zephyr (CHI-SLC, SLC-EMY)
City of New Orleans and/or Illini (CHI-Champaign, IL)

 

All I want for Amtrak is a direct train from Philly to Chicago in less than 24 hours 
 
 


#14 jis

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Posted 17 October 2016 - 04:58 PM

Another significant news is that the National Train Day is going to be reinstated under the auspices of NARP. NARP and Amtrak have come to an understanding whereby Amtrak will let NARP use the Amtrak assets that were developed in support of the National Train Day, NARP will engage with Amtrak, other passenger operating agencies and various state and local organizations to coordinate arrangements for the National Train Day. Hopefully this will work out better for all.

#15 Devil's Advocate

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Posted 17 October 2016 - 05:13 PM

Rail advocacy in Texas seems to be in a rebuilding mode at the moment. Texas Rail Advocates does pretty well, but one of the NARP reps is working on reviving TXARP to serve the whole state. Which is a challenge, given its size and diversity of interests. But we will probably be hearing more soon. DA, if you or anyone else is interested in helping, I'll be happy to connect you.

 

What would sell me on increased involvement would be a qualified sanity check on the goals I've mentioned above.  If my goals are deemed reasonable and attainable then I am willing to put in that effort regardless of our eventual success or failure.  However, if my goals are impractical or unrealistic then I have little interest in fighting an impossible battle.  Even though we joke about politicians being idiots they are experts at identifying the weakest link in your argument and using it to unravel the rest of your position.  If you don't know what you're talking about and if you don't fully believe in your own methodology then they will be able to pick up on that.  Once they know the political score they can quickly deflect your criticisms and dissolve your arguments with ease.  Being an advocate is hard thankless work so it's important to know what you're getting into before you get on board.  Just my personal opinion of course, but this wouldn't be my first rodeo, so to speak.


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


#16 Devil's Advocate

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Posted 19 October 2016 - 11:32 AM

Perhaps a visual aid would help spark further dialog?

 

Attached File  SAS-ONG-EXL.png   88.23KB   17 downloads

 

If there is a genuine desire to build up more advocacy in TX then SAS would seem to represent a substantially deteriorating location worthy of being targeted.


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


#17 jis

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Posted 19 October 2016 - 11:48 AM

AAF is going to get delivery of the first train set late October or early November. Amtrak will deliver the set to AAF from Sacramento. This was mentioned by Rusty Roberts of AAF at the NARP Meeting.



#18 Devil's Advocate

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Posted 19 October 2016 - 11:55 AM

Message received loud and clear.

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


#19 Gulfwind2

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Posted 19 October 2016 - 04:22 PM

Texas Central was represented at the NARP meeting by Travis Kelly, who ordinarily is tasked with speaking at public hearings in Texas to distribute information regarding the project. TC has boldly announced that it plans to begin constructing its 100% grade-separated right-of-way in 2018 with 8-car Shinkansen trainsets making (ballpark figure) 34 trips a day between Dallas and Houston in the projected 2022 service debut. We could see a great deal of additional support for a daily Sunset in the event that the TC's plans go off without a hitch. A daily Sunset could act as a funnel for additional business on the TC if they wise up and actively seek to share a facility (at least something to the effect of a European style cross-the-street transfer) with Amtrak. It's just my 2 cents but currently there isn't any political pressure to seek daily trains from New Orleans to LA in Texas simply because it's a state that isn't accustomed to train travel in the manner that the Northeast or Chicagoland are. Perhaps if the Texas Central becomes a reality, then those advocating for more conventional passenger rail service in Texas could be dealing with a much more receptive audience some years down the road. 


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"What's the deal with airline food?"- Jerry Seinfeld

 

Want to solve the problem of passenger trains not having the infrastructure they need?

STEP 1. Let the Class I's pay into a USDOT-managed trust fund through 6.5% of their own revenues in order to construct a right-of-way parallel to the existing Class I right-of-way that can take Amtrak trains off the freight railroad's trackage in busy corridors.

STEP 2. Wait 10 years once enough funds are gathered.

STEP 3. Then watch. Investors are happy, passenger trains no longer have to fight freight for priority, speeds of 125mph + are now possible with no risk of freight collision, freight railroads have higher track capacity than before without having to conduct a single environmental impact study, and AU forums have far less to complain about.

 


#20 jis

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Posted 19 October 2016 - 07:03 PM

TC plans to have stop near College Station, 20 miles away as I recall, where possibly alternate or fewer trains will stop.

Also, in side conversation with the AAF folks I learned that they are getting close to finalizing a site selection in Brevard County from among the three choices submitted by the county for a possible future station. Nothing is determined yet but I got the impression that the Rockledge site may have the inside track.




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