Jump to content




Photo

Greenville, SC (GRV) to be Unstaffed Effective June 15, 2017


  • Please log in to reply
62 replies to this topic

#1 KnightRail

KnightRail

    OBS Chief

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 260 posts

Posted 01 June 2017 - 06:19 PM

Caretaker will open/close around train time. The trend continues.

#2 A Voice

A Voice

    Conductor

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 685 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 01 June 2017 - 07:37 PM

The trend continues, but where does it end?  The Megabus service model has some positive attributes, but I'm not sure very many of them translate to passenger rail.  



#3 Lonestar648

Lonestar648

    Engineer

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,343 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Texas

Posted 01 June 2017 - 10:04 PM

What is the business model to keep a station staffed? It would be good to know so we know what the future Amtrak will look like.


Trains Traveled On:
Texas Eagle                                      Sunset Limited                            California Zephyr                                Southwest Chief                Empire Builder            Capitol Limited           Lake Shore limited (NYP & BOS)      Crescent
Kentucky Cardinal                             Cardinal                                       Pere Marquette                                  Wolverines                        Lincoln Service            Empire Service          Keystone Service                               Acelas
NE Regionals                                    Pioneer                                        Desert Wind                                       Broadway Limited             Three Rivers                Southwest Chief        Coast Starlight                                    Empire Service
 
Amtrak Miles Logged: over 206,000


#4 west point

west point

    Engineer

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,082 posts

Posted 01 June 2017 - 10:40 PM

This reminds me what ancestors mentioned when catching a bus or train. You had to wave them down.

#5 john small berries

john small berries

    Train Attendant

  • Newbie
  • Pip
  • 13 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 02 June 2017 - 02:12 AM

What is the business model to keep a station staffed? It would be good to know so we know what the future Amtrak will look like.

 

Probably generate enough revenue to justify keeping someone on the payroll for a couple of hour window every day.  



#6 tricia

tricia

    OBS Chief

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 485 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:Spring Creek, NC

Posted 02 June 2017 - 06:21 AM

GRV, despite awful calling times and only one train, is actually a pretty busy station. And when I've been there, I've seen quite a few folks checking baggage. Any word on whether baggage will be checked trainside at GRV?

 

I rarely check baggage, but when I do it's really needed--so little space for bags on Viewliners. And why the heck do they run baggage cars, if Amtrak's "trend" is to elminate checked baggage at more and more stations? 



#7 Lonestar648

Lonestar648

    Engineer

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,343 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Texas

Posted 02 June 2017 - 12:32 PM

Amtrak must look only at the number of tickets sold and the revenue generated, without regard to number of passengers boarding and the number of bags checked.  They know how many passengers, but there is no way to track the baggage traffic by the bean counters.  


Trains Traveled On:
Texas Eagle                                      Sunset Limited                            California Zephyr                                Southwest Chief                Empire Builder            Capitol Limited           Lake Shore limited (NYP & BOS)      Crescent
Kentucky Cardinal                             Cardinal                                       Pere Marquette                                  Wolverines                        Lincoln Service            Empire Service          Keystone Service                               Acelas
NE Regionals                                    Pioneer                                        Desert Wind                                       Broadway Limited             Three Rivers                Southwest Chief        Coast Starlight                                    Empire Service
 
Amtrak Miles Logged: over 206,000


#8 VentureForth

VentureForth

    Engineer

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 5,442 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Richmond Hill, GA

Posted 02 June 2017 - 03:11 PM

Aren't all checked bags tagged with a computer barcode like the airlines? If so, it's all trackable.

Edited by VentureForth, 02 June 2017 - 03:12 PM.

14,223 Amtrak Miles. Many more to go.
Completed Routes: Capitol Limited, Palmetto
Also Ridden: Carolinian, Crescent, Pacific Surfliner, Piedmont, Southwest Chief, Silver Meteor, Silver Star, Texas Eagle


#9 CCC1007

CCC1007

    Engineer

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,497 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 02 June 2017 - 03:56 PM

Aren't all checked bags tagged with a computer barcode like the airlines? If so, it's all trackable.

Nope, just a tag with the station code of the destination of the bag.

#10 Lonestar648

Lonestar648

    Engineer

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,343 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Texas

Posted 02 June 2017 - 05:22 PM

Amtrak has never added the computer technology and bar code equipment to all its stations and to all its trains.

Trains Traveled On:
Texas Eagle                                      Sunset Limited                            California Zephyr                                Southwest Chief                Empire Builder            Capitol Limited           Lake Shore limited (NYP & BOS)      Crescent
Kentucky Cardinal                             Cardinal                                       Pere Marquette                                  Wolverines                        Lincoln Service            Empire Service          Keystone Service                               Acelas
NE Regionals                                    Pioneer                                        Desert Wind                                       Broadway Limited             Three Rivers                Southwest Chief        Coast Starlight                                    Empire Service
 
Amtrak Miles Logged: over 206,000


#11 KnightRail

KnightRail

    OBS Chief

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 260 posts

Posted 02 June 2017 - 05:34 PM

Any word on whether baggage will be checked trainside at GRV?


At least for the time being, no checked baggage.

#12 Blackwolf

Blackwolf

    Engineer

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,355 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:CIC
  • Interests:Public Safety, passenger rail, travel, hunting, fishing

Posted 02 June 2017 - 06:39 PM

Train-side baggage check needs to be implemented, and without delay, on every train with a baggage car.  There is no reason this cannot be done at virtually every station.  And to better streamline this, having the ability to declare the number of bags being checked when making a reservation so as to expect the number of bags to be taken aboard as well as their intended destinations seems a no-brainer.

 

And yet, here we are.  :rolleyes:


Amtrak
Capitol Corridor (too many times to count!); Coast Starlight (x21); California Zephyr (x6); Empire Builder (x2); Lake Shore Limited (x3); Maple Leaf (x1); Adirondack (x2); Cascades (x1); Pacific Surfliner (x6); San Joaquin (x8); Capitol Limited (x1); Cardinal (x2); Acela (x1)

VIA Rail
Ocean (x4); Windsor Corridor (x2); The Canadian (x1)


#13 Lonestar648

Lonestar648

    Engineer

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,343 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Texas

Posted 02 June 2017 - 07:43 PM

How about 24 hour on line check in for trains, especially those from un staffed stations, with a baggage to be checked section. This would give the Conductors a bag on/off count on their manifest and the bean counters true information of the number of checked bags passengers are traveling with.


Trains Traveled On:
Texas Eagle                                      Sunset Limited                            California Zephyr                                Southwest Chief                Empire Builder            Capitol Limited           Lake Shore limited (NYP & BOS)      Crescent
Kentucky Cardinal                             Cardinal                                       Pere Marquette                                  Wolverines                        Lincoln Service            Empire Service          Keystone Service                               Acelas
NE Regionals                                    Pioneer                                        Desert Wind                                       Broadway Limited             Three Rivers                Southwest Chief        Coast Starlight                                    Empire Service
 
Amtrak Miles Logged: over 206,000


#14 jpfrmks

jpfrmks

    Train Attendant

  • Newbie
  • Pip
  • 5 posts

Posted 02 June 2017 - 08:10 PM

Hmm, I'm catching the train to New Orleans at GRV next month. I hope I can check my bags.

#15 AmtrakLKL

AmtrakLKL

    OBS Chief

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 259 posts

Posted 04 June 2017 - 10:28 PM

Train-side baggage check needs to be implemented, and without delay, on every train with a baggage car.  There is no reason this cannot be done at virtually every station.  And to better streamline this, having the ability to declare the number of bags being checked when making a reservation so as to expect the number of bags to be taken aboard as well as their intended destinations seems a no-brainer.

 

And yet, here we are.  :rolleyes:

 

There are plenty of reasons, #1 being my back.



#16 Blackwolf

Blackwolf

    Engineer

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,355 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:CIC
  • Interests:Public Safety, passenger rail, travel, hunting, fishing

Posted 05 June 2017 - 10:37 AM

 

Train-side baggage check needs to be implemented, and without delay, on every train with a baggage car.  There is no reason this cannot be done at virtually every station.  And to better streamline this, having the ability to declare the number of bags being checked when making a reservation so as to expect the number of bags to be taken aboard as well as their intended destinations seems a no-brainer.

 

And yet, here we are.  :rolleyes:

 

There are plenty of reasons, #1 being my back.

 

There are plenty of ways to address that concern.  You would advocate the elimination of checked baggage completely, then?  Saving oneself from injury is absolutely not what I am against, but in realistic terms, is moving baggage/heavy items not part of the job in the first place?  In my line of work I routinely wear 50+ pounds of gear, then carry awkward and very heavy things like ladders (80-100+ lbs) and charged fire hoses hoses, all while moving through uneven terrain and/or tight areas as well as stairs.  I expect someone to point out "That is your job, you signed up for it."  Which would be my point.

 

Amtrak, and its employees, exists to move people -and- their belongings.  Safely, efficiently, and in comfort.  Providing a means, at every opportunity, includes the ability to check larger pieces of luggage.  Unstaffing stations appears to be the new normal, but service like checked luggage must remain or else whats the point?


Amtrak
Capitol Corridor (too many times to count!); Coast Starlight (x21); California Zephyr (x6); Empire Builder (x2); Lake Shore Limited (x3); Maple Leaf (x1); Adirondack (x2); Cascades (x1); Pacific Surfliner (x6); San Joaquin (x8); Capitol Limited (x1); Cardinal (x2); Acela (x1)

VIA Rail
Ocean (x4); Windsor Corridor (x2); The Canadian (x1)


#17 AmtrakLKL

AmtrakLKL

    OBS Chief

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 259 posts

Posted 05 June 2017 - 01:54 PM

 

 

Train-side baggage check needs to be implemented, and without delay, on every train with a baggage car.  There is no reason this cannot be done at virtually every station.  And to better streamline this, having the ability to declare the number of bags being checked when making a reservation so as to expect the number of bags to be taken aboard as well as their intended destinations seems a no-brainer.

 

And yet, here we are.  :rolleyes:

 

There are plenty of reasons, #1 being my back.

 

There are plenty of ways to address that concern.  You would advocate the elimination of checked baggage completely, then?  Saving oneself from injury is absolutely not what I am against, but in realistic terms, is moving baggage/heavy items not part of the job in the first place?  In my line of work I routinely wear 50+ pounds of gear, then carry awkward and very heavy things like ladders (80-100+ lbs) and charged fire hoses hoses, all while moving through uneven terrain and/or tight areas as well as stairs.  I expect someone to point out "That is your job, you signed up for it."  Which would be my point.

 

Amtrak, and its employees, exists to move people -and- their belongings.  Safely, efficiently, and in comfort.  Providing a means, at every opportunity, includes the ability to check larger pieces of luggage.  Unstaffing stations appears to be the new normal, but service like checked luggage must remain or else whats the point?

 

 

It sounds so simple to "just put the bag on the train". Well, exactly where do you want to put those bags? We could certainly add checked baggage service at every unstaffed station by lengthening dwell times an extra 5-10 minutes. It'll "only" add an hour running time between MIA-NYP.

 

I assume you want the bags in the baggage car so they aren't taking up your valuable carry-on space, but the baggage car is usually not conveniently located to the coach boarding locations. How do you get passengers to be in the correct place for self-checked baggage? If you put signs up, 80% of the passengers will not comply with the signage. So now you have passengers being sent from the coaches to the baggage car, sometimes 4, 5, 6 cars away. Now they get down there but can't lift the bags up to the conductor, the bag weighs more than 50lbs, they didn't tag the bags, don't have identification on the bags, etc. 

 

Once the baggage is tagged and in the baggage car, the passengers now have to walk all the way back down the platform to board. This is taking up lots and lots of time. 

 

There are stations where the platform condition is marginal at best. Sebring, FL is the perfect example. The platform is low and uneven and the baggage car doors are at the height of my head. I didn't sign up for that, our job description says nothing about lifting 50lbs over our head. What if the bag is 54 lbs and I get hurt? Them I'm at fault because I picked up a bag over 50lbs even though accurate and reliable scales won't be available at unstaffed stations.

 

The platform also floods at Sebring, but we'll still do self-checked baggage and make passengers walk through the long/deep puddle to get to/from the baggage car during driving rain storms.



#18 tricia

tricia

    OBS Chief

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 485 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:Spring Creek, NC

Posted 05 June 2017 - 03:46 PM

 

 

 

Train-side baggage check needs to be implemented, and without delay, on every train with a baggage car.  There is no reason this cannot be done at virtually every station.  And to better streamline this, having the ability to declare the number of bags being checked when making a reservation so as to expect the number of bags to be taken aboard as well as their intended destinations seems a no-brainer.

 

And yet, here we are.  :rolleyes:

 

There are plenty of reasons, #1 being my back.

 

There are plenty of ways to address that concern.  You would advocate the elimination of checked baggage completely, then?  Saving oneself from injury is absolutely not what I am against, but in realistic terms, is moving baggage/heavy items not part of the job in the first place?  In my line of work I routinely wear 50+ pounds of gear, then carry awkward and very heavy things like ladders (80-100+ lbs) and charged fire hoses hoses, all while moving through uneven terrain and/or tight areas as well as stairs.  I expect someone to point out "That is your job, you signed up for it."  Which would be my point.

 

Amtrak, and its employees, exists to move people -and- their belongings.  Safely, efficiently, and in comfort.  Providing a means, at every opportunity, includes the ability to check larger pieces of luggage.  Unstaffing stations appears to be the new normal, but service like checked luggage must remain or else whats the point?

 

 

It sounds so simple to "just put the bag on the train". Well, exactly where do you want to put those bags? We could certainly add checked baggage service at every unstaffed station by lengthening dwell times an extra 5-10 minutes. It'll "only" add an hour running time between MIA-NYP.

 

I assume you want the bags in the baggage car so they aren't taking up your valuable carry-on space, but the baggage car is usually not conveniently located to the coach boarding locations. How do you get passengers to be in the correct place for self-checked baggage? If you put signs up, 80% of the passengers will not comply with the signage. So now you have passengers being sent from the coaches to the baggage car, sometimes 4, 5, 6 cars away. Now they get down there but can't lift the bags up to the conductor, the bag weighs more than 50lbs, they didn't tag the bags, don't have identification on the bags, etc. 

 

Once the baggage is tagged and in the baggage car, the passengers now have to walk all the way back down the platform to board. This is taking up lots and lots of time. 

 

There are stations where the platform condition is marginal at best. Sebring, FL is the perfect example. The platform is low and uneven and the baggage car doors are at the height of my head. I didn't sign up for that, our job description says nothing about lifting 50lbs over our head. What if the bag is 54 lbs and I get hurt? Them I'm at fault because I picked up a bag over 50lbs even though accurate and reliable scales won't be available at unstaffed stations.

 

The platform also floods at Sebring, but we'll still do self-checked baggage and make passengers walk through the long/deep puddle to get to/from the baggage car during driving rain storms.

 

 

Why does Amtrak have baggage cars then? Heck, they're just now taking delivery on NEW baggage cars for Viewliners, presumably including this route. If it's impossible to use them, why have them?

 

I'm with Blackwolf on this. It's really NOT unreasonable for customers of any long-distance transportation service to expect to be able to check baggage. At some level, Amtrak realizes this (long history of carrying checked baggage, new baggage cars....) At other levels, they don't seem to get it (more and more stations losing baggage service, and perhaps staff resistance to providing this service). 

 

And the flip side of the injury issue, Amtrak KL, is that in order to save your own back you're expecting roomette customers, regardless of physical condition, to hoist their bags up overhead and into the awkwardly placed cubby above the sleeper hallway. At least the baggage cars have presumably been designed with ergonomics in mind. Those cubbys certainly weren't. I don't remember whether the Viewliner coaches have the same problem, but the Viewliner sleepers certainly don't have any other place to stow baggage.



#19 xyzzy

xyzzy

    Engineer

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,077 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:NC

Posted 05 June 2017 - 05:02 PM

Eliminating checked baggage entirely might make sense if all stations had platforms at the same level as the car doors. But most stations for LD trains do not. Europeans and Asians seem to get along without checked baggage.



#20 Blackwolf

Blackwolf

    Engineer

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,355 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:CIC
  • Interests:Public Safety, passenger rail, travel, hunting, fishing

Posted 05 June 2017 - 09:22 PM

Understanding the complexities and the hurdles when it comes to the things mentioned: poorly designed/maintained platforms, weather woes, placement of passenger coaches in relation to baggage cars, and of course the common intelligence factor of most people when it comes to instructions.  Trust me, I know all too well how that last one plays out.  I still do not believe providing train-side checked baggage service is asking too much.  Comparing Asian or European systems with the Long Distance network of Amtrak is not even remotely applicable, either.  The clientele are two totally different groups, and generally overnight/multi-day journeys are the exception in those places where they're more often the rule here.  People in the US have baggage (often in more ways than one) and they're going to factor the availability of taking said belongings along with them.  The single-level trains are woefully under-equipped for luggage bigger than carry-on, sometimes causing revenue passenger seats to be pushed into the role of a luggage rack.  And the Viewliner roomette, with its cubby hole, is absurd for taking a full-sized suitcase.  Talk about lifting weight above one's head...

 

At least the Superliner trains have better options.  The luggage racks are bigger (though often are filled up as well) and then there's the bag-coach.  Too bad Amtrak lost much interest in them some time back; their use would be exceptional in this role since they're so much lower to the ground.  Self-checked luggage in the bag-coach; staffed-station-checked luggage in the traditional baggage car.  Its possible, even if there's a million reasons people could figure to say it won't work.

 

Something must be addressed here.  My closest station, CIC, is unstaffed.  Going north, the next staffed station is some 300 miles away in Klammath Falls. Going south, its Sacramento at 100 miles.  The answer cannot be to fold one's arms and shrug, then state that it can't be helped that you spent $1200+ on that cross-country sleeper ticket but that the bags have no place to go.  That's how you loose customers, not exactly the direction an organization like Amtrak can afford to do in any circumstance.  There are logistical problems, absolutely.  That's why there are well-paid people at company HQ who's job it is to figure these things out.  And some stations, maybe like your cited Sebring Florida, just cannot provide the service for safety reasons.  In those cases actually telling people why in signage that points out the problem or through professional explanation could both educate those traveling.  As well as potentially place some pressure on the owners of the facility to improve its condition so as to allow the service at a future date.

 

And I'll finish with the fact that train-side baggage checking is not a new concept.  Our neighbors to the north do it on a daily basis, without too much trouble.  And it used to be a very common practice with the railroads pre-Amtrak.  Just my $0.02.


Amtrak
Capitol Corridor (too many times to count!); Coast Starlight (x21); California Zephyr (x6); Empire Builder (x2); Lake Shore Limited (x3); Maple Leaf (x1); Adirondack (x2); Cascades (x1); Pacific Surfliner (x6); San Joaquin (x8); Capitol Limited (x1); Cardinal (x2); Acela (x1)

VIA Rail
Ocean (x4); Windsor Corridor (x2); The Canadian (x1)





0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users