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A proposal to restructure Amtrak


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#41 Tarm

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Posted 07 July 2017 - 05:40 AM

 

 

You are aware that members of the public live in all of those places, right?

Yep, like me. I live in Northern Wisconsin, 3 hours from the nearest Amtrak station.
Very Interesting.Your ideas area wrong as other members are pointing out with facts, but you're certainly entitled to them.

And did you support killing the Madison Train, and also Vote for the Con Man Governor that Wisconsin has?

 

I supported the Madison train. To this day I am angry at Gov. Doyle. True, Walker had just won election but Doyle was still in office. The fed's had approved the grant and Doyle could have signed the contracts to get construction started. Instead he wimped out and punted to Walker who kill it. A POX ON BOTH THEIR HOUSES. 



#42 Tarm

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Posted 07 July 2017 - 05:47 AM


 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

State supported trains do not add to Amtrak's losses 

 

A Voice said: Amtrak's proposed federal budget includes money for operating state supported services.  

 

You are right. I stand corrected. But it is better to run a service and get reimbursed for some of the losses than none.


Edited by Tarm, 07 July 2017 - 06:25 AM.


#43 Tarm

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Posted 07 July 2017 - 05:59 AM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Secondly, Amtrak's real market and true potential lies in travel to and from intermediate points, smaller communities  (which combined form a larger market base) that lack frequent and inexpensive air service - if they even have air service at all.  Passengers travelling from Chicago to Denver may well fly, which is fine, because the one train a day can easily be filled with people going other places.  In fact, when you suggest passenger rail is well suited to moderate distance travel of 400 miles or thereabout, you are actually on the right track (pardon the pun), for this is exactly how the long-distance trains - the ones you propose eliminating - are being used.  Chicago to Denver (or to California) aren't the primary markets; Rather, passengers are travelling from Chicago to Osceola, Burlington to Omaha, Lincoln to Denver, and so on.  

 

Thank you, you have made my point. Most passengers riding on those 100 to 400 mile corridor trains are not going the entire distance. They are getting on and off at intermediate points. Now what provides the most transportation options, one train a day or multiple trains a day? A family is much more likely to go visit Grandma on the train if they can leave on the 7 AM train and return on the 5 PM train.

 


 

 



#44 Tarm

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Posted 07 July 2017 - 06:17 AM

I will conclude my replies on this subject with a summary.

 

1. I fear that Amtrak's future funding is at risk.

 

2. The responsible action by Amtrak to deal with this risk is to lower it's need for an operational subsidy.

 

3. The best way to achieve that and still provide the greatest good to the greatest number is to restructure single frequency LD type trains to multiple frequency corridor type trains.

 

You may agree or disagree with me but that is why we have this discussion forum.

 

I wish all of you a good day.

 

Tarm



#45 neroden

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Posted 08 July 2017 - 01:52 PM


From a cost perspective, if you can't run 3-4 trains between CHI-MSP for the cost to run one EB, I must be missing something here. 

One of the *several* things you are missing is freight railroad demands.  They really, really, really dislike giving up additional slots.  The operations costs are part of it.  More is the capital demands.

 

I'd say, at an guess, that CP would require full double tracking of the entire route from St. Paul to Chicago, and triple tracking in several places.  At that point it makes more sense to buy the track so that Amtrak can *secure* the benefits of double tracking *permanently*.  After certain cheaty-cheaty behavior by CSX and UP in the past, where they took government money to upgrade tracks for passenger service and then used the capacity for freight service and hosed the passengers, this is the only sane thing to do.

 

Do you really think that cutting service on a line which BREAKS EVEN is going to pay for BUYING THE ENTIRE ROUTE FROM MSP TO CHI AND DOUBLE TRACKING IT?  If so, you are wrong.

 

I have emphasized over and over again the importance of the passenger rail operator controlling the tracks.  Would I be willing to give up a long-distance train service if it meant that Amtrak got its own, wholly-owned tracks from Chicago to Porter, Indiana (where the Amtrak-owned Michigan line branches off)?  Well, yeah, actually, I would.  That would have huge massive long-term payback.  In addition to the Michigan services, the LSL and CL would start running more reliably on time.

 

But those two things aren't even the same order of magnitude.  Cancelling the Sunset Limited gets you, about $14 million dollars per year. (Less for all the others.)  Buying South of the Lake costs $510 million dollars.  In 2002 dollars.  You'd have to cancel the Sunset Limited for 37 years to accumulate enough money, if there's no inflation since 2002, which there is.  So this is nonsense.


Edited by neroden, 08 July 2017 - 02:00 PM.

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#46 neroden

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Posted 08 July 2017 - 02:05 PM

The justification for subsidies is that trains provide a necessary transportation service. Corridor trains do a good job of that. By comparison, long distance trains don't.

False.  Ask anyone on the "High Line" section of the Empire Builder, where the alternative is driving for hundreds of miles on two-lane roads.  (The airplane service is minimal and ultra-expensive.)  That long distance train sure provides a necessary transportation service.

 

Of course, as I've said, the Empire Builder breaks even.

 

One point which is repeatedly missed by almost everyone is that the subsidies for Amtrak are essentially *system* subsidies at this point -- they pay for the national reservations system, the central backshops at Beech Grove, the Amtrak Police, etc. etc.  They pay for overhead. 

 

Just like paying for the state police to patrol the roadways, or paying for the snowplows to clear the roads in the winter, or paying for Air Traffic Control.

 

The individual routes are largely profitable.  Many people, including Tarm, are still acting as if they aren't.  This is, to put it bluntly "seeing the world as they want to see it, and not as it actually is".


Edited by neroden, 08 July 2017 - 02:08 PM.

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#47 neroden

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Posted 08 July 2017 - 02:13 PM

The Capitol Corridor and Surfliner have excellent on time performance, clean cars, decent food (and good beer) in the cafe, and invariably courteous, hardworking staff. The Coast Starlight does not.

The Coast Starlight is, of course, breaking even.
 

California would be better served by a state-run Coast Daylight between LA and San Jose, and a daytime extension of the Capitol Corridor north of Sacramento.

And California is free to pay for these at any time. If you think the Feds will pay for them, where have you *been*?

A crucial point: All of these would require MORE subsidy than the Coast Starlight. I think many people here do not understand how badly the corridor trains do financially. It's a little hard to tell now that they don't report the numbers "before state subsidy". Back when they did, it was obvious.

In general, the long-distance trains have *much better* underlying (pre-subsidy, pre-overhead) financial performance than the corridor trains. This was readily apparent from all the reports until a couple of years ago when the PRIIA cost-sharing rules kicked in and numbers stopped being coherently reported; but it's probably possible to back-calculate the numbers to show that this is still true. This has ALWAYS been true -- the longer-distance runs were more profitable for the entire history of railroading back to the 1830s.

(Obviously, the idiotic three-a-week trains are an exception, but that's because they're three-a-week. Daily or nothing, I say.)
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#48 neroden

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Posted 08 July 2017 - 02:16 PM

It is often cheaper to keep the train moving to one location than to have numerous outlying and turnaround points in the middle of nowhere.

This is one example of the many, many economies of scale in railroading. It is really a "go big or go home" business. This was understood very early and resulted in both expansion mania and merger mania in the 19th century. It is still true today.

Everything which is "wrong" with the long distance trains could be fixed by running them twice as often. (Well, 7/3 as often in the case of the three-a-week trains.)

Edited by neroden, 08 July 2017 - 02:17 PM.

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#49 neroden

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Posted 08 July 2017 - 02:25 PM

Go ask NS. Go ask CSX. Go ask UP. What would they give us for $500 million? How many more trains would they let us run? Where? At what times? At what speeds?  Let's make a deal. Are the host railroads just going to let us "take over" their railroads and actually put passenger service first? They might as well just sell us the tracks then (which we'd all love of course).You make it seem like begging the host railroads for any new service or even rescheduled service to better serve major markets is like pulling teeth


It absolutely is. Long record of that. Even the commuter rail agencies complain. A lot. CSX was so obstructionist about expanded service on the Framingham/Worcester line that it involved Massachusetts's US senators, who started threatening to *change federal law* specifically to make it easier for Massachusetts to seize CSX tracks by eminent domain! (CSX eventually backed down.)

There was a three month delay of work at St. Paul Union Depot due to difficulty getting Union Pacific to sign over a sliver of land which it owned from a precedessor and wasn't even *using*. San Diego Trolley had the same delay with Union Pacific; UP doesn't even have any tracks in the *county* but they couldn't get them to hand over old pieces of property (adjacent to the existing lines) which they needed for substations.

I strongly believe the solution is to buy the tracks. Ontario's "Metrolinx" agrees and has bought everything it can; it is building its own parallel lines for the parts where it can't. VIA Rail in Canada agrees and is snapping up track where it can, and campaigning to have its own passenger corridor funded. Metrolink in LA agrees and has commented repeatedly that they wish they'd been able to buy more track cheaply. UTA in Utah agrees and built its own entire track parallel to the UP track for their commuter rail service. So did Denver. After much pressure, New York finally purchased (OK, leased, but indefinitely) the Albany-Poughkeepsie line from CSX. Michigan agrees, and purchased the Michigan line from NS when NS deliberately degraded service. New Mexico agrees, and bought track from BNSF around Albuquerque. *Wick Moorman* agrees and suggested that passenger operators should own the tracks and freight operators should be guests.
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#50 neroden

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Posted 08 July 2017 - 02:28 PM

I will conclude my replies on this subject with a summary.
 
1. I fear that Amtrak's future funding is at risk.

Always has been.
 

2. The responsible action by Amtrak to deal with this risk is to lower it's need for an operational subsidy.

Certainly true.
 

3. The best way to achieve that and still provide the greatest good to the greatest number is to restructure single frequency LD type trains to multiple frequency corridor type trains.

Absolutely incorrect. Several people have explained to you a substantial number of different reasons why you're wrong. If you choose to stick your fingers in your ears and go "nyah nyah nyah", well, we can't do anything about that.

Edited by neroden, 08 July 2017 - 02:37 PM.

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#51 Thirdrail7

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Posted 08 July 2017 - 02:43 PM


 

Go ask NS. Go ask CSX. Go ask UP. What would they give us for $500 million? How many more trains would they let us run? Where? At what times? At what speeds?  Let's make a deal. Are the host railroads just going to let us "take over" their railroads and actually put passenger service first? They might as well just sell us the tracks then (which we'd all love of course).

 

By CSX's estimate, $500 million is 1/4 of the Gulf Coast train even though it wouldn't meet the OTP standards.  However, that would restore service to areas that do not currently have it.  It is 1/4 of what CSX wanted to add additional service to the inland route before the service was killed. Again, this would have preserved direct service to FRA, WOR from the NEC and the SPG line. It would have also paved the way for additional service from ALB and points west.

 

The same $500 is shaving 2-3 minutes off an existing route (although it is upgrade existing infrastructure) and adds no additional service.

 

 

 

 

 

Who's NOT in favor of keeping the NEC?

 

Anyone that carps about the "costs" of operating trains. The NEC costs a fortune to operate and maintain. If everyone is so concerned about the finances, let's start with the the Faberge Egg! The numbers look good when it comes to the amount of travel it accommodates but the billions it takes to achieve somehow doesn't even raise an eyebrow....except to Congress.   If you made the NEC state supported service, took the associated money and placed it into long distance service with additional corridor frequencies, there would likely be more service and less losses.

 

 

 

You make it seem like begging the host railroads for any new service or even rescheduled service to better serve major markets is like pulling teeth (or at least any service additions/changes I would want)

 

If you're not aware of what it takes to add trains and the struggles that occur with the hosts when service changes are requested, then you're really not paying attention to anything other than your own posts.

 

 



 

 

 

Who's NOT in favor of keeping the NEC?

 

 

. If I'm Congress, why shouldn't I spend money on my own tracks that I have more control over vs. paying "more rent" to CSX and getting little if anything of value for it? Why shouldn't I spend money on trainsets that I can use on my own tracks vs. extra trainsets that I have to beg UP to let me run at all?

 

 

 

 

If you're Congress, you don't really want to spend money on any of this.  However, you left avenues in place where the hosts can make it difficult for Amtraku (or others) to add service but it protects existing services.  Therefore, you can get bang for your buck if you order standard coaches that can be used anywhere, at anytime on any service as opposed to a specialized train set that can only be used in a few locations that require "billions" to implement.


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#52 Tarm

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Posted 08 July 2017 - 03:45 PM

 


From a cost perspective, if you can't run 3-4 trains between CHI-MSP for the cost to run one EB, I must be missing something here. 

One of the *several* things you are missing is freight railroad demands.  They really, really, really dislike giving up additional slots.  The operations costs are part of it.  More is the capital demands.

 

 

 

I have emphasized over and over again the importance of the passenger rail operator controlling the tracks.  Would I be willing to give up a long-distance train service if it meant that Amtrak got its own, wholly-owned tracks from Chicago to Porter, Indiana (where the Amtrak-owned Michigan line branches off)?  Well, yeah, actually, I would.  That would have huge massive long-term payback.  In addition to the Michigan services, the LSL and CL would start running more reliably on time.

 

But those two things aren't even the same order of magnitude.  Cancelling the Sunset Limited gets you, about $14 million dollars per year. (Less for all the others.)  Buying South of the Lake costs $510 million dollars.  In 2002 dollars.  You'd have to cancel the Sunset Limited for 37 years to accumulate enough money, if there's no inflation since 2002, which there is.  So this is nonsense.

 

Neroden: I could not agree with you more on the need of Amtrak to own or at least control the tracks it runs on so you have given me an idea, (you'll hate it.)

 

The SL host railroad wanted $750 million in capital payments to increase the SL from 3X to daily or $187.5 million a day. They have now set the market. So they should be willing to pay 3 X $187.5 million or $562.5 million to get rid of it. THAT'S how you pay for the South of the Lake track. Put the four western LD train routes up for auction. See what the host railroads would pay to get rid of one of them. Highest bidder per route mile is forever free of Amtrak trains. If you don't ask no one will ever know. It might be a billion dollars. Amtrak could do a lot of great things with a billion dollars. Then we will have to ask ourselves "Is it really worth 500 million dollars so passengers in Montana can ride a train instead of a bus?


Edited by Tarm, 08 July 2017 - 03:49 PM.


#53 Bob Dylan

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Posted 09 July 2017 - 12:03 AM

Youre right Tarm, most of us hate your idea, just like we dislike all Train-Off proposals!( See Philly Amtrak Fan and the Cardinal!)
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#54 ehbowen

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Posted 09 July 2017 - 04:54 AM

Youre right Tarm, most of us hate your idea, just like we dislike all Train-Off proposals!( See Philly Amtrak Fan and the Cardinal!)

 

Actually, I kind of like it as a negotiating tactic; when UP says they want $500M for a daily Sunset then sit down across the table from them and say, "Okay, you have 90 days to pay us $426M, in cash, and we stop running the Sunset Limited for good. Otherwise, we start running it daily at no additional charge. Dealer's choice."

 

The danger is that they just might hate passenger service so much that they would cut their nose off to spite their face. Still, if that happened we would be no worse off than if the LD critic congresscritters had their way right now. And, if Congress was ever to implement my own proposal...a complete exemption on state and local ad valorem taxation for any railroad line which hosts a qualifying passenger service, plus equalization and incentive subsidies for passenger seats provided and used...I think that UP would either be on the phone begging Amtrak to come back, or else spray painting some new passenger equipment Armour Yellow.


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#55 CCC1007

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Posted 09 July 2017 - 05:16 AM

 

From a cost perspective, if you can't run 3-4 trains between CHI-MSP for the cost to run one EB, I must be missing something here. 

One of the *several* things you are missing is freight railroad demands.  They really, really, really dislike giving up additional slots.  The operations costs are part of it.  More is the capital demands.
 
 
 
I have emphasized over and over again the importance of the passenger rail operator controlling the tracks.  Would I be willing to give up a long-distance train service if it meant that Amtrak got its own, wholly-owned tracks from Chicago to Porter, Indiana (where the Amtrak-owned Michigan line branches off)?  Well, yeah, actually, I would.  That would have huge massive long-term payback.  In addition to the Michigan services, the LSL and CL would start running more reliably on time.
 
But those two things aren't even the same order of magnitude.  Cancelling the Sunset Limited gets you, about $14 million dollars per year. (Less for all the others.)  Buying South of the Lake costs $510 million dollars.  In 2002 dollars.  You'd have to cancel the Sunset Limited for 37 years to accumulate enough money, if there's no inflation since 2002, which there is.  So this is nonsense.
 
Neroden: I could not agree with you more on the need of Amtrak to own or at least control the tracks it runs on so you have given me an idea, (you'll hate it.)
 
The SL host railroad wanted $750 million in capital payments to increase the SL from 3X to daily or $187.5 million a day. They have now set the market. So they should be willing to pay 3 X $187.5 million or $562.5 million to get rid of it. THAT'S how you pay for the South of the Lake track. Put the four western LD train routes up for auction. See what the host railroads would pay to get rid of one of them. Highest bidder per route mile is forever free of Amtrak trains. If you don't ask no one will ever know. It might be a billion dollars. Amtrak could do a lot of great things with a billion dollars. Then we will have to ask ourselves "Is it really worth 500 million dollars so passengers in Montana can ride a train instead of a bus?
Have you ever been to the communities you are proposing eliminating service to, at least those under 10000 population, for any length of time? Have you ever visited those of us whom you are proposing a complete elimination for? Have you ever spent any time in an area where it is 150+ miles to the nearest controlled access highway? Have you tried to fly into a place like Malta, Montana? Please actually do some of these things before trying to eliminate the Empire Builder, as that is one of the roles it has, an essential transportation option for east west travel in northern Montana and North Dakota.

#56 Ryan

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Posted 09 July 2017 - 06:30 AM

I’m not sure where a price for a one time capital upgrade to account for increased service in any way “sets the market” for the continued running of the current train. You’re comparing apples and spaceships at that point.

There is no way that anyone is going to be interested in paying anywhere near the amount of money you’re imagining to get rid of the trains.

Edited by Ryan, 09 July 2017 - 06:34 AM.

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#57 Philly Amtrak Fan

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Posted 09 July 2017 - 07:20 AM

 

Have you ever been to the communities you are proposing eliminating service to, at least those under 10000 population, for any length of time? Have you ever visited those of us whom you are proposing a complete elimination for? Have you ever spent any time in an area where it is 150+ miles to the nearest controlled access highway? Have you tried to fly into a place like Malta, Montana? Please actually do some of these things before trying to eliminate the Empire Builder, as that is one of the roles it has, an essential transportation option for east west travel in northern Montana and North Dakota.

 

 

Give me a reason for anyone to come to Malta, MT other than to meet people to feel sorry for them. You have a town where 2,000 people live there and virtually no one outside of the town wants to go there, that makes for a wasteful Amtrak destination. I'll bet the only person on AU that has ever gotten on or off Malta (not counting fresh air breaks) is you. You want to have trains where people live and where people want to visit. The more people ride, the more money they bring to Amtrak, the less it will cost taxpayers. You have to accept the lack of amenities the big cities have. Or fine, take all our benefits of living in big cities and we'll send you our crime, traffic, and higher taxes too. I wonder what it's like to feel safe walking out in the middle of the night. I thought people move to Malta, MT to get away from places like Chicago and New York, not to be able to travel there.

 

I'll gladly pay my taxes for Amtrak service in Montana the day you pay for Amtrak service in Harrisburg, Lancaster, Altoona, etc. We want a second Pennsylvanian, care to chip in? We want a direct train to Chicago, care to chip in? It doesn't help you? And service to Montana doesn't help me (or the taxpayers in Texas, Florida, and New York, where several other of our AU readers live). Care to chip in money to fund rail service in Michigan? If Michigan pulls the plug on Amtrak, they won't have any trains at all. If Amtrak ever does pull the plug on the EB, go to Helena and ask them to fund rail service in your state the way Pennsylvania, Michigan, Vermont, etc do. It's not like Montana has to pay a ton of money to fight crime. 


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#58 AmtrakBlue

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Posted 09 July 2017 - 07:53 AM

 

 

Have you ever been to the communities you are proposing eliminating service to, at least those under 10000 population, for any length of time? Have you ever visited those of us whom you are proposing a complete elimination for? Have you ever spent any time in an area where it is 150+ miles to the nearest controlled access highway? Have you tried to fly into a place like Malta, Montana? Please actually do some of these things before trying to eliminate the Empire Builder, as that is one of the roles it has, an essential transportation option for east west travel in northern Montana and North Dakota.

 

 

Give me a reason for anyone to come to Malta, MT other than to meet people to feel sorry for them. You have a town where 2,000 people live there and virtually no one outside of the town wants to go there, that makes for a wasteful Amtrak destination. I'll bet the only person on AU that has ever gotten on or off Malta (not counting fresh air breaks) is you. You want to have trains where people live and where people want to visit. The more people ride, the more money they bring to Amtrak, the less it will cost taxpayers. You have to accept the lack of amenities the big cities have. Or fine, take all our benefits of living in big cities and we'll send you our crime, traffic, and higher taxes too. I wonder what it's like to feel safe walking out in the middle of the night. I thought people move to Malta, MT to get away from places like Chicago and New York, not to be able to travel there.

 

I'll gladly pay my taxes for Amtrak service in Montana the day you pay for Amtrak service in Harrisburg, Lancaster, Altoona, etc. We want a second Pennsylvanian, care to chip in? We want a direct train to Chicago, care to chip in? It doesn't help you? And service to Montana doesn't help me (or the taxpayers in Texas, Florida, and New York, where several other of our AU readers live). Care to chip in money to fund rail service in Michigan? If Michigan pulls the plug on Amtrak, they won't have any trains at all. If Amtrak ever does pull the plug on the EB, go to Helena and ask them to fund rail service in your state the way Pennsylvania, Michigan, Vermont, etc do. It's not like Montana has to pay a ton of money to fight crime. 

 

PAF, this is a new low for you. How more insulting can you get?  I hope we don't find out.


2011: Jun: WIL=>WAS=>WIL (NER) // Nov: WIL=>WAS=>CHI=>PRO (NER=>CL=>CZ)
2012: Apr: WIL=>WAS=>WIL (NER) // May(NTD): WIL=>PHL=>WIL (NER) / PHL=>PAO=>PHL (Keystone) // Aug: WIL=>WAS (NER) / BWI=>WIL (NER) // Oct(Gathering): PHL=>WIL (NER) / PHL=>HAR=>PHL (Keystone) / SEPTA, NJT, PATCO, River Line, Princeton Dinky
2013: May(NTD): WIL=>WAS=>WIL (NER)  // Oct (Gathering): WIL=>CHI (Card) / CHI=>MKE=>GLN=>CHI() / CHI=>JOL=>CHI () / CHI=>WIL(CL=>NER) / CTA, Metra. SEPTA (WIL=>NRK) // Nov:  PHL=>PHL (Autumn Express) 
2014: May(NTD):  WIL=>PHL=>WIL(NER) // May:  WIL=>BOS=>WIL(NER) day trip

2014: Oct(Gathering): WIL=>NYP=>TOL(pd-NER=>LSL) / TOL=>CHI=>LAX=>EMY(pts-LSL=>SWC=>CS) / EMY=>CHI=>TOL (pts-CZ-CL) / TOL=>WAS=>WIL(pd-CL=>NER)
2015: May: CHI=>CIN(pd-Card) / CIN=>WIL(pts Card)
2015;  Oct(Gathering):  WIL=>WAS(Acela) / ALX=>WAS(NER) / WAS=>BAL(Acela) / WAS=>WIL(NER)

2016: Mar: WIL=>WAS=>WIL (NER)  // Oct:  WIL=>NYP=>NYP=>WIL (Autumn Express) 


#59 Bob Dylan

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Posted 09 July 2017 - 07:59 AM

" United we stand, Divided we fall..."
Philly:
As I asked another poster, "Do you work for the Heritage Foundation or another Right Wing Fantasy Operation?"

Or do you just believe the drivel they put out?🤔

Edited by Bob Dylan, 09 July 2017 - 08:00 AM.

"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

#60 PRR 60

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Posted 09 July 2017 - 08:33 AM

 

 

Have you ever been to the communities you are proposing eliminating service to, at least those under 10000 population, for any length of time? Have you ever visited those of us whom you are proposing a complete elimination for? Have you ever spent any time in an area where it is 150+ miles to the nearest controlled access highway? Have you tried to fly into a place like Malta, Montana? Please actually do some of these things before trying to eliminate the Empire Builder, as that is one of the roles it has, an essential transportation option for east west travel in northern Montana and North Dakota.

 

 

Give me a reason for anyone to come to Malta, MT other than to meet people to feel sorry for them. You have a town where 2,000 people live there and virtually no one outside of the town wants to go there, that makes for a wasteful Amtrak destination. I'll bet the only person on AU that has ever gotten on or off Malta (not counting fresh air breaks) is you. You want to have trains where people live and where people want to visit. The more people ride, the more money they bring to Amtrak, the less it will cost taxpayers. You have to accept the lack of amenities the big cities have. Or fine, take all our benefits of living in big cities and we'll send you our crime, traffic, and higher taxes too. I wonder what it's like to feel safe walking out in the middle of the night. I thought people move to Malta, MT to get away from places like Chicago and New York, not to be able to travel there.

 

I'll gladly pay my taxes for Amtrak service in Montana the day you pay for Amtrak service in Harrisburg, Lancaster, Altoona, etc. We want a second Pennsylvanian, care to chip in? We want a direct train to Chicago, care to chip in? It doesn't help you? And service to Montana doesn't help me (or the taxpayers in Texas, Florida, and New York, where several other of our AU readers live). Care to chip in money to fund rail service in Michigan? If Michigan pulls the plug on Amtrak, they won't have any trains at all. If Amtrak ever does pull the plug on the EB, go to Helena and ask them to fund rail service in your state the way Pennsylvania, Michigan, Vermont, etc do. It's not like Montana has to pay a ton of money to fight crime. 

 

 

Our daughter lives in a small town in eastern Montana.  We visit there several times a year.






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