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SWC Delays


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#1 PaTrainFan

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Posted 19 May 2017 - 04:54 PM

Please pardon if this is a repeated topic. I have not been following with scientific precision, while I am sure some of you have, but it appears to me that the SWC not infrequently falls hours behind schedule on track that was rehabilitated solely for its use. If there is no freight interference why would it lose time so much during that stretch of the run? Maybe I have it all wrong, but curious about the viewpoint here.



#2 KmH

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Posted 19 May 2017 - 05:07 PM

Track maintenance ramps up in the fall, plus weather and equipment issues can delay the train.

From just south of Santa Fe to Los Lunas south of ABQ the SWC shares the rails, and is dispatched by, New Mexico's Rail Runner line. 


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#3 Chas

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Posted 20 May 2017 - 11:36 AM

I have been watching the SW Chief too, because I will take a short trip on it next week from La Junta, Colo., to Lawrence, Kan., returning the week following. It does seem that the trains have been losing a lot of time between Albuquerque and Raton, N.M. Only part of that is shared with the Rail Runner. Apache Canyon-to-Las Vegas, N.M., is always the trouble area for weather-related track problems, it looks like.



#4 neroden

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Posted 20 May 2017 - 01:00 PM

A one-time rehabilitiation (which is what the funds paid for) does not keep the track maintained.  Which is what I warned about when the bailout happened.  If it were running through Amarillo now, the tracks would be maintained.


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#5 PaTrainFan

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Posted 20 May 2017 - 01:06 PM

A one-time rehabilitiation (which is what the funds paid for) does not keep the track maintained.  Which is what I warned about when the bailout happened.  If it were running through Amarillo now, the tracks would be maintained.

Yeah, I wondered about that fact. At what level is BNSF maintaining the roadbed? Who is paying for it? I know the states banded together to pay for the capital upgrade but I don't recall anything said about ongoing maintenance.



#6 bretton88

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Posted 20 May 2017 - 08:13 PM

A one-time rehabilitiation (which is what the funds paid for) does not keep the track maintained.  Which is what I warned about when the bailout happened.  If it were running through Amarillo now, the tracks would be maintained.

Yeah, I wondered about that fact. At what level is BNSF maintaining the roadbed? Who is paying for it? I know the states banded together to pay for the capital upgrade but I don't recall anything said about ongoing maintenance.
Amtrak has an agreement with BNSF to take care of the track for so many years to that standard agreed upon. So BNSF will eventually come and fix up the track. Just this is the season where slow orders come up everywhere so the Raton route probably isn't highest on the priority list.

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#7 acelafan

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Posted 20 May 2017 - 08:53 PM

I was curious about the delays and New Mexico is definitely a sticky spot for #3 especially.  #4 doesn't fare too much better, either.

 

3 delays:  https://juckins.net/...rtsize=2&dfon=1

 

4 delays:  https://juckins.net/...rtsize=2&dfon=1

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#8 dogbert617

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Posted 01 June 2017 - 02:37 AM

Good thing I saw this topic, it's nice to know that New Mexico is(sadly) a sticky spot for #3 SWC train delays. :( Sure seems like it wouldn't be a good idea to plan on a San Diego southbound Pacific Surfliner trip, the day I arrive in LA. And that maybe I should wait for a day or 2 later, to do that with a 15 day USA Rail Pass.



#9 ehbowen

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Posted 01 June 2017 - 05:39 AM

Good thing I saw this topic, it's nice to know that New Mexico is(sadly) a sticky spot for #3 SWC train delays. :( Sure seems like it wouldn't be a good idea to plan on a San Diego southbound Pacific Surfliner trip, the day I arrive in LA. And that maybe I should wait for a day or 2 later, to do that with a 15 day USA Rail Pass.

 

On The Other Hand, there are enough daily Surfliner frequencies that, even if you do miss the one you originally intended to catch, you can transfer to another sometime that same day. And the Surfliners are unreserved, so bumping to a later one is not a big hassle. You can even bail from the SWC at Fullerton and connect there, if you don't mind arriving ahead of your baggage. That's what I did in 2015. I'd use your time cushion somewhere else.


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#10 gwschenk

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Posted 02 June 2017 - 09:43 AM

I've taken the SWC many times for the last few decades. Somehow, no matter how late it might be, it always seems to arrive in LA and Kansas City on time. More or less.



#11 acelafan

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Posted 02 June 2017 - 09:51 AM

But the problem is, #3 into LAX really isn't reliable.  The past 2 months shows a zig-zag of arrival times...1, 2, or 3 hours late.  

 

(edit to add chart)


Edited by acelafan, 02 June 2017 - 09:52 AM.

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#12 nshvlcat

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Posted 02 June 2017 - 10:48 AM

Good thing I saw this topic, it's nice to know that New Mexico is(sadly) a sticky spot for #3 SWC train delays. :(

 

On my recent trip to LA, the SW Chief  (#3) was held up twice by the Railrunner.  Each time we were placed on the side to wait for up to 30 minutes. Oddly, we were not sidelined that often by freight traffic.  We were 2 hours late arriving into LAUS.


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#13 Rail Freak

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Posted 02 June 2017 - 10:57 AM

In October of 2015, we didn't arrive into LAX til 4pm! I had a reservation on the TE that evening so all was well!


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#14 ehbowen

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Posted 02 June 2017 - 11:39 AM

But the problem is, #3 into LAX really isn't reliable.  The past 2 months shows a zig-zag of arrival times...1, 2, or 3 hours late.  
 
(edit to add chart)


Even so, I only see a couple of days when making a same-day connection south to San Diego might be a problem.
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#15 KmH

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Posted 02 June 2017 - 11:42 AM

 

Good thing I saw this topic, it's nice to know that New Mexico is(sadly) a sticky spot for #3 SWC train delays. :(

 

On my recent trip to LA, the SW Chief  (#3) was held up twice by the Railrunner.  Each time we were placed on the side to wait for up to 30 minutes. Oddly, we were not sidelined that often by freight traffic.  We were 2 hours late arriving into LAUS.

 

There is zero freight traffic on the Raton sub and the Glorietta sub between La Junta and Albuquerque.

 

The Southwest Chief leaves BNSF's Southern Transcon about 14 miles west of Emporia, KS and doesn't re-join the Transcon until the Dalies Junction some 24 miles south of Albuquerque.


1963U. S. Congress - underground trolley system • Disneyland train (1968/various other dates) • Old Tucson steam train (1969)

Amtrak: California Zephyr Coast Starlight •  Southwest ChiefSunset LimitedTexas Eagle • Illinois Zephyr

. . . . . . . Amtrak miles - 16,383, so far.

 

 

 

 

 


#16 dogbert617

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Posted 16 June 2017 - 06:43 AM

 

 

Good thing I saw this topic, it's nice to know that New Mexico is(sadly) a sticky spot for #3 SWC train delays. :(

 

On my recent trip to LA, the SW Chief  (#3) was held up twice by the Railrunner.  Each time we were placed on the side to wait for up to 30 minutes. Oddly, we were not sidelined that often by freight traffic.  We were 2 hours late arriving into LAUS.

 

There is zero freight traffic on the Raton sub and the Glorietta sub between La Junta and Albuquerque.

 

The Southwest Chief leaves BNSF's Southern Transcon about 14 miles west of Emporia, KS and doesn't re-join the Transcon until the Dalies Junction some 24 miles south of Albuquerque.

 

So I take it that most of the BNSF related delays that the SWC might occasionally face, would be from the part just west of Emporia where it joins/splits from the transcon to the east, and the part to the west of Albuquerque? That'd make sense to me. I know BNSF also threatened to not upgrade the tracks on the northern New Mexico/southeast Colorado/western Kansas part a year or 2 ago, until all those cities and towns banded together to fund track repairs to save the SWC from being moved from the Raton/La Junta/western KS part.

 

 

 

Good thing I saw this topic, it's nice to know that New Mexico is(sadly) a sticky spot for #3 SWC train delays. :( Sure seems like it wouldn't be a good idea to plan on a San Diego southbound Pacific Surfliner trip, the day I arrive in LA. And that maybe I should wait for a day or 2 later, to do that with a 15 day USA Rail Pass.

 

On The Other Hand, there are enough daily Surfliner frequencies that, even if you do miss the one you originally intended to catch, you can transfer to another sometime that same day. And the Surfliners are unreserved, so bumping to a later one is not a big hassle. You can even bail from the SWC at Fullerton and connect there, if you don't mind arriving ahead of your baggage. That's what I did in 2015. I'd use your time cushion somewhere else.

 

That's good to know that theoretically, I could transfer to the Surfliner from Fullerton, CA. I didn't realize it was one of those stations where both the SWC and the Pacific Surliner served. Honestly I'm still researching train service(both local commuter rail, Amtrak, and LA light rail/SD's trolley system) in southern California, to figure out how I'd do such a SWC-CS-EB trip with one of the USA Rail Passes. And potentially also doing a Pac. Surfliner trip to SD and back, as well. Maybe I'd purchase the Surfliner train trips outside of the USA Rail Pass, since I suspect a one way trip from LA to SD is less than $58? And  it'd allow me to save an Amtrak rail pass travel segment, for going to somewhere else.



#17 Dave Van

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Posted 16 June 2017 - 09:27 AM

SWC 3 is 5 hours late today (Friday).  We were over 6 hours late in Jan 2015 due to locomotive failure outside Chicago.  We were then led by a BNSF loco which slowed the entire trip. Will be on SWC 3 in Aug...hope we are not bad late AGAIN.


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#18 west point

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Posted 16 June 2017 - 04:41 PM

I was curious about the delays and New Mexico is definitely a sticky spot for #3 especially.  #4 doesn't fare too much better, either.
 
3 delays:  https://juckins.net/...rtsize=2&dfon=1
 
4 delays:  https://juckins.net/...rtsize=2&dfon=1


Acela fan if you have time could you do the same bar chart for the Crescent. South of Atlanta is getting very bad.

#19 acelafan

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Posted 16 June 2017 - 08:40 PM

west point,

 

I didn't realize it, but #20 is actually much worse than 19.  The median delay north of ATL approaches 2 hours.  The average is even worse, since it keeps the highest delays in the statistics.

 

Here are some graphs for mid-May to mid-June:

 

#19 median delays

 

#19 arrival delays into NOL

 

#20 median delays

 

20 arrival delays into NYP

 

I used to ride ATL>WAS for work but I haven't for awhile, it seemed like every time I rode I was 3 hours late on either end and it just became too unreliable, not to mention the Atlanta station just stinks.  (Yes, I have contacted A DOT and city of Atlanta.)

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Amtrak Timetable Archives - PDFs since 2009


#20 Thirdrail7

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Posted 16 June 2017 - 10:25 PM

west point,

 

I didn't realize it, but #20 is actually much worse than 19.  The median delay north of ATL approaches 2 hours.  The average is even worse, since it keeps the highest delays in the statistics.

 

Here are some graphs for mid-May to mid-June:

 

#19 median delays

 

#19 arrival delays into NOL

 

#20 median delays

 

20 arrival delays into NYP

 

I used to ride ATL>WAS for work but I haven't for awhile, it seemed like every time I rode I was 3 hours late on either end and it just became too unreliable, not to mention the Atlanta station just stinks.  (Yes, I have contacted A DOT and city of Atlanta.)

 

 

This should be required reading for those who question the logic of turning the Crescent in WAS during the NYP track renewal project.  I just hope it arrives with enough time to make a reliable same day turn.


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