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2016 NARP Meeting News?


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#21 Palmetto

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Posted 23 October 2016 - 03:16 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 like some service in the Rio Grande Valley.  TxDot has a plan, but the local MPO is clueless about it.



#22 Palmetto

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Posted 23 October 2016 - 03:24 PM

Perhaps a visual aid would help spark further dialog?

 

attachicon.gifSAS-ONG-EXL.png

 

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.

Parking at the station would help, don't you think?  It's pretty amazing to me that there isn't any, although someone on here stated they're planning to move the station and have parking at it.  Any updates on that?



#23 bretton88

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Posted 24 October 2016 - 10:47 PM

Was there any news about Amtrak's proposed customer amenity improvements to the SL route?

If I won the lottery, I'd probably build a passenger from nowhere to nowhere.


#24 CCC1007

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Posted 24 October 2016 - 10:56 PM

Was there any news about Amtrak's proposed customer amenity improvements to the SL route?

Could you please elaborate for those of us that haven't the slightest idea about what you mean by this?

#25 Palmetto

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Posted 25 October 2016 - 06:47 AM

A quote from Gene Poon on Trainorders gives the details:

 

This comes from NARP Houston:

NARP Friends -

Amtrak has just released SUNSET LIMITED plans to

1. Add Just-For-You boxed meal service at your seat priced between dining car
and snack car.

2. Discussion of possible move to THE Sunset Station in San Antonio.

3. Discussion of possible stop in Flatonia (I would suggest we begin planning
a trip there or invite them to join us for a meeting, with hope to continue
dialog. Their earlier request for a stop was met with impossible $ quotation from U.P.)

4. Breakfast-bags-to-go given to Los Angeles departing sleeper passengers.

5. Los Angeles early boarding for all at 8:00pm on Train 2 including café car
access, plus dining car dinner for sleeping car passengers.

6. Adding stop in Benson Arizona next year.

 

Someone pointed out that the San Antonio station relocation is not the Sunset station but rather the former MoPac station further west, and that was pointed out here earlier.  I think the MoPac station is located just west of W. Commerce St.   Devil's Advocate?

 

Another piece of misinformation:  Benzon, AZ is already a stop on the route.


Edited by Palmetto, 25 October 2016 - 06:52 AM.


#26 Devil's Advocate

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Posted 25 October 2016 - 07:48 AM

Someone pointed out that the San Antonio station relocation is not the Sunset station but rather the former MoPac station further west, and that was pointed out here earlier.  I think the MoPac station is located just west of W. Commerce St.   Devil's Advocate?

 

The former MoPac station is now managed by VIA Metropolitan Transit and is located at 123 North Medina Street, San Antonio, TX 78207.  If you look at Sunset Station on a map and follow Commerce Street west for about two miles you'll find the former MoPac station.  I haven't seen anything recently about moving Amtrak in the near future.  The old MoPac station is right across from the county jail and the area looks and feels a lot more sketchy to me than Sunset Station, especially late at night and early in the morning when Amtrak is active in San Antonio.  It's also hard to see the benefit of moving to a multi-modal station if your trains arrive so late and depart so early that there are few if any buses with which to connect.

 

missouri-pacific-01.jpg

 

Attached File  San Antonio Stations.png   319.15KB   8 downloads


Edited by Devil's Advocate, 25 October 2016 - 07:52 AM.

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#27 Bob Dylan

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Posted 25 October 2016 - 07:57 AM

Chris is correct about the great old Mopac Station being in a sketchy area, especially during the bad calling times of the Eagle and the Sunset.

Also the current Mayor is anti-rail and against any transportation improvements that don't involve roads.

As for moving back to the Sunset Station (ex-SP), the Amtrak Agent told me this weekend that it wasn't going to happen due to the high cost involved. ( the Complex is Investor owned and Rented out for Special Events).

Edited by Bob Dylan, 25 October 2016 - 08:01 AM.

 
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".. I ride on a Mail Train Baby, can't buy a thrill.."--I said that!
 
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Yet there isn't a train I wouldn't take,No matter where its going!.." -Edna St. Vincent Millay

#28 Bob Dylan

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Posted 25 October 2016 - 08:14 AM

#1 is already in place on the Sunset.

While riding #2 from ELP-AUS this past weekend Coach Only passengers were offered a Served at your Seat Chicken Dinner for $12.

#3,4,and 5 are excellent ideas! The question is who will pay for them?

People told me it was tasty and that it was worth what they paid in comparison to the overpriced Diner and Cafe food.
 
"There's Something About a Train! It's Magic!"-- 1970s Amtrak Ad
 
".. I ride on a Mail Train Baby, can't buy a thrill.."--I said that!
 
"..My heart is warm with the friends I make,and better friends I'll not be knowing,
Yet there isn't a train I wouldn't take,No matter where its going!.." -Edna St. Vincent Millay

#29 jis

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Posted 25 October 2016 - 08:35 AM

Wasn't Benson a stop for the Sunset that was discontinued a while back? So this would be reinstatement of a stop.

 

#1 is already in place on the Sunset.

While riding #2 from ELP-AUS this past weekend Coach Only passengers were offered a Served at your Seat Chicken Dinner for $12.

#3,4,and 5 are excellent ideas! The question is who will pay for them?
 

Dunno about 3, but 4 and 5 presumably the passengers will pay for them through slightly higher ticket prices.

 

I think 3 and 6 would have the same issue as to who pays for setting up and maintaining the assets associated with the stop.



#30 Just-Thinking-51

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Posted 25 October 2016 - 12:32 PM

5. Los Angeles early boarding for all at 8:00pm on Train 2 including café car
access, plus dining car dinner for sleeping car passengers.



All for the early boarding, access to the cafe good idea.

One thinks LA has better food choices than a dinning car. So I would skip that expense of having the dinning crew report earlier in case anyone want to eat. Cafe car open at the early boarding time would be fine.

#31 Palmetto

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Posted 25 October 2016 - 12:56 PM

Thanks to the Texans for the great info, and the map!  Too bad the station is in a sketchy area.  There seems to be parking at it though, the lack of which at the current station was a complaint I voiced on the forum a few months ago.

 

Does "sketchy" translate into vagrants hanging out?  Kinda doubtful, given that there's a law enforcement "residence" across the street!

 

Or is it simply that the jail is there?



#32 JayPea

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Posted 26 October 2016 - 02:44 AM

I too am  puzzled about the "addition" of Benson as a stop.  It is a current stop and so far as I know has always been a stop on the SL route.


Amtrak Routes Traveled: City of New Orleans, State House/Lincoln Service, Empire Builder, California Zephyr, Southwest Chief, Cascades, Crescent, Capitol Limited, Coast Starlight, Texas Eagle/Sunset Limited, Silver Meteor, Lake Shore Limited, Pacific Surfliner, Cardinal. 
Pre-Amtrak Routes Traveled: Empire Builder (Great Northern), North Coast Limited (Northern Pacific), Abraham Lincoln (Gulf, Mobile, and Ohio), City of Hinkle  (Union Pacific) Panama Limited (Illinois Central)
Bustitutions: Portland-Spokane (EB),Galesburg-Bloomington (CZ/Lincoln Service ) 
Amtrak Miles: 77509

Pre-Amtrak Miles: 8478
Bustitution Miles: 450
Excursion trains ridden:  Centralia and Chehalis Railroad, Mt. Hood Scenic Railroad, Alaska Railroad, 1880 Train (Black Hills Central RR) and trains at the Illinois Railway Museum, California Railway Museum, and the Monticello (IL) Railroad Museum.


#33 Bob Dylan

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Posted 26 October 2016 - 08:48 AM

I too am  puzzled about the "addition" of Benson as a stop.  It is a current stop and so far as I know has always been a stop on the SL route.

As has been said, it was a Flagstop for many years on Amtrak. When SP ran the Route it was a Regular stop back when Steam Ruled the Rails and Benson was Booming.
 
"There's Something About a Train! It's Magic!"-- 1970s Amtrak Ad
 
".. I ride on a Mail Train Baby, can't buy a thrill.."--I said that!
 
"..My heart is warm with the friends I make,and better friends I'll not be knowing,
Yet there isn't a train I wouldn't take,No matter where its going!.." -Edna St. Vincent Millay

#34 Bob Dylan

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Posted 26 October 2016 - 08:53 AM

Thanks to the Texans for the great info, and the map!  Too bad the station is in a sketchy area.  There seems to be parking at it though, the lack of which at the current station was a complaint I voiced on the forum a few months ago.
 
Does "sketchy" translate into vagrants hanging out?  Kinda doubtful, given that there's a law enforcement "residence" across the street!
 
Or is it simply that the jail is there?


In addition to the jail, it's an Industrial Area that is deserted at night, poorly lighted and San Antonio has real drug and petty crime problems in areas like this.

Also many gangs operate away from the well protected Riverwalk that is not far away from the Station.

Lots of graffiti on the buildings, broken windows and trash along the tracks and the police don't patrol this area at all.
 
"There's Something About a Train! It's Magic!"-- 1970s Amtrak Ad
 
".. I ride on a Mail Train Baby, can't buy a thrill.."--I said that!
 
"..My heart is warm with the friends I make,and better friends I'll not be knowing,
Yet there isn't a train I wouldn't take,No matter where its going!.." -Edna St. Vincent Millay

#35 Palmetto

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Posted 26 October 2016 - 09:05 AM

Here's the answer, then:  Flip the schedules by 12 hours!  :-)



#36 Carolina Special

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Posted 26 October 2016 - 10:58 AM

I'm taking the TE to Benson and from next month. It is the closest stop to Sierra Vista, which is where I'm actually going. So the train had better stop at Benson!

#37 Devil's Advocate

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Posted 27 October 2016 - 02:06 AM

Parking at the station would help, don't you think? It's pretty amazing to me that there isn't any, although someone on here stated they're planning to move the station and have parking at it. Any updates on that?


There is usually some method for securing overnight parking at the current location South of Sunset Station. The specifics can vary but last time I checked you could call Staybridge Suites hotel and reserve a spot in their gated parking area for $10 per night. The available parking is limited so if you didn't reserve ahead of time you risk not having anything when you arrive.

There are some unapproved locations where you can park for a day or two, but I probably wouldn't risk it since third party towing has become an absurdly expensive state sanctioned racket here in Texas. If your car was towed near the start of a one week trip you could find yourself paying thousands in towing fees to get your vehicle back. If your car was towed near the start of a two week vacation the total fees could potentially exceed the value of the vehicle itself. At which point the towing company could petition to take ownership of your vehicle in lieu of the exorbitant fees.


Edited by Devil's Advocate, 27 October 2016 - 09:07 AM.

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


#38 Palmetto

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Posted 27 October 2016 - 06:40 AM

Yes, I believe the Staybridge Suites is actually the best option, and at $10 per day would be considered a bargain compared to rates in many other places.  



#39 neroden

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Posted 16 November 2016 - 07:23 PM

I too am  puzzled about the "addition" of Benson as a stop.  It is a current stop and so far as I know has always been a stop on the SL route.

Amtrak is converting many of its flagstops into regular stops, after the ADA regulators pointed out that their flagstop designations made no sense.  The ADA exempts flagstops, but it was pointed out that many of the flagstops have someone getting on or off nearly every day, and that that wasn't really the intent of the flagstop exemption.  Benson might be one of those which is getting rationalized.


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#40 JayPea

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Posted 16 November 2016 - 07:41 PM


I too am  puzzled about the "addition" of Benson as a stop.  It is a current stop and so far as I know has always been a stop on the SL route.

Amtrak is converting many of its flagstops into regular stops, after the ADA regulators pointed out that their flagstop designations made no sense.  The ADA exempts flagstops, but it was pointed out that many of the flagstops have someone getting on or off nearly every day, and that that wasn't really the intent of the flagstop exemption.  Benson might be one of those which is getting rationalized.

That makes all sorts of sense. Thank you!

Amtrak Routes Traveled: City of New Orleans, State House/Lincoln Service, Empire Builder, California Zephyr, Southwest Chief, Cascades, Crescent, Capitol Limited, Coast Starlight, Texas Eagle/Sunset Limited, Silver Meteor, Lake Shore Limited, Pacific Surfliner, Cardinal. 
Pre-Amtrak Routes Traveled: Empire Builder (Great Northern), North Coast Limited (Northern Pacific), Abraham Lincoln (Gulf, Mobile, and Ohio), City of Hinkle  (Union Pacific) Panama Limited (Illinois Central)
Bustitutions: Portland-Spokane (EB),Galesburg-Bloomington (CZ/Lincoln Service ) 
Amtrak Miles: 77509

Pre-Amtrak Miles: 8478
Bustitution Miles: 450
Excursion trains ridden:  Centralia and Chehalis Railroad, Mt. Hood Scenic Railroad, Alaska Railroad, 1880 Train (Black Hills Central RR) and trains at the Illinois Railway Museum, California Railway Museum, and the Monticello (IL) Railroad Museum.





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