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Grand Canyon Railway to discontinue Amtrak shuttle service


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#1 CHamilton

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Posted 26 September 2017 - 06:49 PM

Grand Canyon Railway to discontinue Amtrak shuttle service

https://www.williams...rak-shuttle-se/


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#2 crescent-zephyr

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Posted 26 September 2017 - 07:25 PM

As someone who has used the shuttle and stayed at their hotel multiple times I can say that #1 I can understand the issue with guests lounging in the lobby waiting for the shuttle.

But #2, I was a guest of the hotel as well, and used the service. I don't find it more convenient to go to flagstaff, and think this "director" is very out of touch with his hotel guests.

I'm shocked they don't want to continue the service for their own hotel guests / train riders.

Edited by crescent-zephyr, 26 September 2017 - 07:25 PM.

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#3 Train2104

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Posted 26 September 2017 - 07:58 PM

Since there's no private access to Williams Junction, I guess the station will no longer be a regular stop after 1/1/2018.



#4 zepherdude

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Posted 26 September 2017 - 08:01 PM

Is this a paid service? I am not familiar with the shuttle service.


Edited by zepherdude, 26 September 2017 - 08:01 PM.

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#5 greatcats

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Posted 26 September 2017 - 08:19 PM

As I understand it, the hotel is under contract with Amtrak to provide the van ( or full size bus, if there is a large crowd) and to keep the Forest Service road plowed in the winter. The cost of the van service is included in the Amtrak ticket. I can see some of their points, but feel this is regressive. I have used the service before and I was not a hotel guest or Grand Canyon railway passenger. It is a good place to park One's car. ( the hotel that is, not the station stop location.


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I was a commuter railroad employee in NJ for many years until 2002, and have since been a tour guide at Grand Canyon National Park and Ketchikan, Alaska. Also, have been a National Park Volunteer at Hawaii Volcanoes and now Sunset Crater Volcano near my home. If not on Amtrak, also like long road trips, camping some of the time.

#6 FrensicPic

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Posted 26 September 2017 - 08:36 PM

Probably means no more stop at WMJ. Can't help wonder if Amtrak was behind this.

 

We used it a few years ago SWC from Los Angeles, GCRY to the South Rim for a couple of nights and back Even though the arrival from LA was at "oh-dark-thirty", we had a good experience and I'd do it again. I'd prefer that to the Flagstaff option. I'd still do it if they (or someone) charged for the service.

 

In the article they state, "deal with wear and tear on the vehicles.” Three miles each way; two round trips a day. How much wear and tear is that? I'm sure those same vans get a lot more use by the hotel during the day!

 

FYI... According to NARP, WMJ had slightly more than 8,000 passenger arrivals/departures in 2016.

https://www.narprail...es/2634/wmj.pdf


John...

29,076 miles on the Coast Starlight, Sunset Limited, Texas Eagle, Southwest Chief, Empire Builder, California Zephyr and Capitol Limited.

More miles on the Pacific Surfliner, Metrolink, White Pass and Yukon Route, Grand Canyon Railway, Napa Valley Wine Train, Fillmore and Western and private railcars with LARail.com

 

Photos: http://www.flickr.co...rensicpic/sets/&lt;p&gt; 


#7 greatcats

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Posted 26 September 2017 - 08:39 PM

The full size bus they were using a few years ago was one that I used to drive at Grand Canyon. It was pretty old. I agree that if this goes through it will probably end Amtrak service to Williams. I stopped there early this morning in the way from Flagstaff to LA.
I was a commuter railroad employee in NJ for many years until 2002, and have since been a tour guide at Grand Canyon National Park and Ketchikan, Alaska. Also, have been a National Park Volunteer at Hawaii Volcanoes and now Sunset Crater Volcano near my home. If not on Amtrak, also like long road trips, camping some of the time.

#8 Dave Van

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Posted 26 September 2017 - 08:42 PM

I heard that was going to happen while I was on the SWC this month. Another reason that was given is the SWC not being able to maintain any kind of 'on time' service.....this causes the hotel to be on call 7/24. No surprise here. 


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#9 FrensicPic

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Posted 26 September 2017 - 09:49 PM

January 10, 2012

Arrival at from Los Angeles at WMJ

6784106341_690a90feb2_z.jpgIMG_3947 by John, on Flickr

 

January 13, 2012. My wife and I were the only passengers headed back to LA.

The temperature was something below 20°F.

6784743919_ff71605f90_z.jpgIMG_5703 by John, on Flickr


Edited by FrensicPic, 26 September 2017 - 09:51 PM.

John...

29,076 miles on the Coast Starlight, Sunset Limited, Texas Eagle, Southwest Chief, Empire Builder, California Zephyr and Capitol Limited.

More miles on the Pacific Surfliner, Metrolink, White Pass and Yukon Route, Grand Canyon Railway, Napa Valley Wine Train, Fillmore and Western and private railcars with LARail.com

 

Photos: http://www.flickr.co...rensicpic/sets/&lt;p&gt; 


#10 amtrakpass

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Posted 26 September 2017 - 09:58 PM

I also used this service a few years back coming from the midwest, stayed at the hotel, took their train to the Grand Canyon and back the next day and then continued on to Los Angeles. I told a friend how much I enjoyed the trip and he was able to do a similar trip with his wife after that. I was planning on going back again someday. A shame.

#11 BCL

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Posted 26 September 2017 - 10:45 PM

In the article they state, "deal with wear and tear on the vehicles.” Three miles each way; two round trips a day. How much wear and tear is that? I'm sure those same vans get a lot more use by the hotel during the day!

 

 

Short trips aren't known for being very good for engines.  There's condensation after shutdown if the engine doesn't reach full operating temperature - especially when the outside temps are cold.  Theoretically they could keep the engine running to allow for the engine to reach full operating temperatures, but then that would create other issues like wasting fuel as well as excessive idling being tough on an engine - although maybe not as bad with modern engines controls.



#12 FrensicPic

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Posted 26 September 2017 - 10:54 PM

 

In the article they state, "deal with wear and tear on the vehicles.” Three miles each way; two round trips a day. How much wear and tear is that? I'm sure those same vans get a lot more use by the hotel during the day!

 

 

Short trips aren't known for being very good for engines.  There's condensation after shutdown if the engine doesn't reach full operating temperature - especially when the outside temps are cold.  Theoretically they could keep the engine running to allow for the engine to reach full operating temperatures, but then that would create other issues like wasting fuel as well as excessive idling being tough on an engine - although maybe not as bad with modern engines controls.

 

Well yes, the kept the engine running for us while there at the platform!


John...

29,076 miles on the Coast Starlight, Sunset Limited, Texas Eagle, Southwest Chief, Empire Builder, California Zephyr and Capitol Limited.

More miles on the Pacific Surfliner, Metrolink, White Pass and Yukon Route, Grand Canyon Railway, Napa Valley Wine Train, Fillmore and Western and private railcars with LARail.com

 

Photos: http://www.flickr.co...rensicpic/sets/&lt;p&gt; 


#13 BCL

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Posted 26 September 2017 - 11:14 PM

 

 

In the article they state, "deal with wear and tear on the vehicles.” Three miles each way; two round trips a day. How much wear and tear is that? I'm sure those same vans get a lot more use by the hotel during the day!

 

 

Short trips aren't known for being very good for engines.  There's condensation after shutdown if the engine doesn't reach full operating temperature - especially when the outside temps are cold.  Theoretically they could keep the engine running to allow for the engine to reach full operating temperatures, but then that would create other issues like wasting fuel as well as excessive idling being tough on an engine - although maybe not as bad with modern engines controls.

 

Well yes, the kept the engine running for us while there at the platform!

 

 

That's pretty typical to maintain the heat in winter.  I mean - the driver probably isn't going to enjoy sitting in a cold bus waiting, and of course the passengers would sure appreciate it being warm.



#14 crescent-zephyr

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Posted 26 September 2017 - 11:19 PM

I'm sure the #1 problem is non-hotel guests hanging in the lobby waiting at such odd hours. As was said... non-guests sleeping on lobby couches and making hotel staff uncomfortable. I can see that being an issue. But I wish there was a way to keep the service and fix the problem. 

 

When I arrived this past February at 4 something AM I asked about an early check-in (I was staying in the hotel the next 2 nights) and they let me check in no problem (I've never had a hotel deny me an early check in if they have the room available). I raved to my friends about the easy door to door service and how convenient it was. 


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#15 FrensicPic

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Posted 27 September 2017 - 06:12 AM

I'm sure the #1 problem is non-hotel guests hanging in the lobby waiting at such odd hours. As was said... non-guests sleeping on lobby couches and making hotel staff uncomfortable. I can see that being an issue. But I wish there was a way to keep the service and fix the problem. 

 

When I arrived this past February at 4 something AM I asked about an early check-in (I was staying in the hotel the next 2 nights) and they let me check in no problem (I've never had a hotel deny me an early check in if they have the room available). I raved to my friends about the easy door to door service and how convenient it was. 

In our trip a few years ago, we also got an early check-in. We weren't' going to ride the GCRY until the next day. Those going out on GCRY the same day are the ones in the lobby. On our return, we spent several hours in the lobby waiting for Amtrak's 10 pm or so westbound arrival/departure.


John...

29,076 miles on the Coast Starlight, Sunset Limited, Texas Eagle, Southwest Chief, Empire Builder, California Zephyr and Capitol Limited.

More miles on the Pacific Surfliner, Metrolink, White Pass and Yukon Route, Grand Canyon Railway, Napa Valley Wine Train, Fillmore and Western and private railcars with LARail.com

 

Photos: http://www.flickr.co...rensicpic/sets/&lt;p&gt; 


#16 neroden

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Posted 27 September 2017 - 06:43 AM

Supposedly they're going to try to rely on the shuttles which run from Flagstaff to Williams.

 

I still suspect this is going to kill Grand Canyon Railway ridership, unless they contract with one of the Flagstaff-Williams shuttle operators to be on-call 24/7.


Edited by neroden, 27 September 2017 - 06:45 AM.

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#17 jebr

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Posted 27 September 2017 - 06:57 AM

Based on the article, I doubt they'll be picking people up when the train arrives in Flagstaff - it wouldn't resolve most of the issues they're claiming they want to resolve. People will instead wait at the Amtrak station in Flagstaff, from the sounds of it, until morning.

#18 neroden

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Posted 27 September 2017 - 07:06 AM

So their plan is to kill their ridership?  I checked: there is no van service from Flagstaff to Williams which arrives before the departure of the Grand Canyon Railway train.  They'd have to specifically contract for one, in which case I don't see them saving money.  If they don't specifically charter one, they're just setting fire to their ridership.

 

I guess I'd better take the Grand Canyon Railway before they shut down completely.  Throwing away 11 passengers per day is significant to a tourist railway -- and probably even more significant for the hotel.


Edited by neroden, 27 September 2017 - 07:11 AM.

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#19 MikefromCrete

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Posted 27 September 2017 - 09:13 AM

So their plan is to kill their ridership?  I checked: there is no van service from Flagstaff to Williams which arrives before the departure of the Grand Canyon Railway train.  They'd have to specifically contract for one, in which case I don't see them saving money.  If they don't specifically charter one, they're just setting fire to their ridership.

 

I guess I'd better take the Grand Canyon Railway before they shut down completely.  Throwing away 11 passengers per day is significant to a tourist railway -- and probably even more significant for the hotel.

I would imagine more than 95 percent of their passengers arrive by car. The loss of eleven passengers per day won't even be a blip on their total ridership. Nevertheless, loss of the connection to Williams Jct. is a  setback. Is the operation of the shuttle bus/van that expensive? Since a large percentage of the bus ridership will be riding the train and staying at the hotel, this seems like a foolish move on Grand Canyon Railway's part. 


Edited by MikefromCrete, 27 September 2017 - 01:10 PM.


#20 jis

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Posted 27 September 2017 - 10:45 AM

It would be nice to know what numbers GCR is looking at in terms of actual usage and actual costs and revenues. I doubt that a huge proportion of the clientele of GCR actually arrives and departs by Amtrak. Indeed it is probably a rather small to negligible proportion. For example, I have never arrived or departed by Amtrak to ride the GCR. I have ridden it several times, and each time the train was fairly full.






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