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No more charters & special moves: 3/28 Memo fr Anderson


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#21 Mystic River Dragon

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Posted 28 March 2018 - 03:21 PM

Also before we lament completely the loss of private cars, steam excursions, and the like. Please remember people like me and my colleagues because special ops contribute the largest part of our yearly income.

There has to be an alternative to Amtrak hauling the PVs, etc. After the shock wears off, I think the owners will start figuring out how to keep going without Amtrak.

 

My personal feeling is that Anderson is following in the footsteps of the first Amtrak CEO, another airline person whose "job" was to try to destroy Amtrak before it even got started. I don't understand his boneheaded moves, otherwise. If I give him the benefit of the doubt, it may simply be that, with the airline culture that he comes from, he truly doesn't see any of his changes as being destructive.



#22 crescent-zephyr

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Posted 28 March 2018 - 03:25 PM

Well... that's not good news. If the #261 trip is still on for the summer (it was already approved so it should be?) we should make sure to ride it while we can. After that it's gonna be Union Pacific Steam only on the mainlines until someone wants to try to raise an absurd amount of money to cover the cost of insurance for rail excursions that usually barely break even with majority volunteer help. 

 

It seems like a very strange business decision to turn down ALL charters... since chartering a train is not a cheap thing to do. Any delays that Private cars may have added to amtrak trains (and really... amtrak is blaming the private cars for delays? that's a bit of a joke. While I have been on amtrak trains delayed by adding private cars... that happens so rarely and it's usually a 10-20 min. delay at the most. I'm sure the private car rental more than makes up for that 10 minutes.) 


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#23 bretton88

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Posted 28 March 2018 - 05:21 PM

 

Also before we lament completely the loss of private cars, steam excursions, and the like. Please remember people like me and my colleagues because special ops contribute the largest part of our yearly income.

There has to be an alternative to Amtrak hauling the PVs, etc. After the shock wears off, I think the owners will start figuring out how to keep going without Amtrak.

 

My personal feeling is that Anderson is following in the footsteps of the first Amtrak CEO, another airline person whose "job" was to try to destroy Amtrak before it even got started. I don't understand his boneheaded moves, otherwise. If I give him the benefit of the doubt, it may simply be that, with the airline culture that he comes from, he truly doesn't see any of his changes as being destructive.

 

Anderson did this same thing at Delta/Northwest when it was a complete operational mess, he killed off charters until they got their house in order. Eventually the charters came back, but only after the mess was cleaned up. The goal is to try to turn Amtrak into reliable transportation, so I suspect Anderson has a similar mindset with Amtrak. To note, VIA rail has basically become impossible to do any charters/PV haulage on.


Edited by bretton88, 28 March 2018 - 05:24 PM.

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#24 SP&S

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Posted 28 March 2018 - 05:57 PM

I can see where changes need to be made in this area.  I've been on the CS when it was seriously delayed adding or dropping PV's from the consist.  When you're running late, an extra hour delay is never appreciated.  Hopefully somebody ends up realizing that we need changes made with a surgeon's scalpel rather than a meat cleaver.



#25 Seaboard92

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Posted 28 March 2018 - 06:06 PM

Most of the time we don't delay the train adding or dropping cars because they already allow so few places in the network to us. And generally there is already a switch crew in place to cut us in or out. The issue in that case is likely mechanical.

Or could be a track space issue if you are referring to the Bay Area. Honestly a lot of delays are attributed to us that aren't our direct fault. When we switch in at HUN on 50/51 we can generally switch in rapidly. Less then five minutes. We cut in last year twenty odd cars, and two engines. Lost ten minutes total.

I'm DC again it's a fairly easy move as long as there is track space to accommodate it and a switch crew on duty. We bring four million a year to amtraks bottom line, and cost them no money. Every service we get we pay a pretty penny for.
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#26 Thirdrail7

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Posted 28 March 2018 - 06:30 PM

 

It's confirmed guys. Just got off the phone with two sources.

 

Yep. I usually confirm things with 4-5 sources before posting here.  Can't say I have never been wrong and had to "eat crow" (news about the dome in particular one time!) --- but I would say my info has been right 97-99% of the time when confirmed with 4-5 independent sources who would know the information.

 

Now the question is WHAT does the memo apply to?

 

A)  New River Train

 

B)  All PV moves

 

C) Amtrak Ski Train

 

D) Leavenworth Snow Train

 

E) Reno Fun Train

 

F) Amtrak Autumn Express

 

G) Steam trips that would require an Amtrak engine normally

 

H) Groups that charter one car of a regularly scheduled train (like the 20th Century RR Club)

 

or... gosh forbid all of the above

 

 

 

I hate to point this out, but you've been wrong quite a few times. Additionally, if you REALLY knew what you were talking about, you wouldn't have to post these questions because you'd know the intent and application of the memo.

 

Upon further thought, I actually don't hate pointing it out! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!

 

Curious...you didn't blurt out the rest of the memo.


Edited by Thirdrail7, 28 March 2018 - 06:33 PM.

They say laughter is the best medicine. Obviously they never posted on AU.


#27 Just-Thinking-51

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Posted 28 March 2018 - 06:59 PM

So what is the intent and application?

I get the Trolling part, but lets add clarification to this situation. What is the purpose and how does it impact?

#28 Anderson

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Posted 28 March 2018 - 07:01 PM

You know, some of this is making me wonder if Richard Anderson somehow has not managed to tell the difference between cost accounting and incremental costs...


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#29 TiBike

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Posted 28 March 2018 - 07:46 PM

OK, here's the whole memo:

 

 

special employee advisory

March 28, 2018 • Page 1 of 1
 
Policy Changes
 
To all Amtrak employees:
 
Amtrak must operate a safe and reliable schedule for our customers. Our mission from Congress is clear: safely and efficiently operate our trains on schedule while minimizing federal subsidies. Therefore, we have implemented two significant changes in our business lines that are consistent with these two principles.
 
Charters and Special Trains
 
Generally. Amtrak will no longer operate charter services or special trains. These operations caused significant operational distraction, failed to capture fully allocated profitable margins and sometimes delayed our paying customers on our scheduled trains.
 
There may be a few narrow exceptions to this policy in order to support specific strategic initiatives, for example trial service in support of growing new scheduled service. Otherwise, one-time trips and charters are immediately discontinued. We must narrow our focus to running a great core railroad: safe, on time, clean cars, friendly service and great customer-facing technology.
 
Automatic Discounts
 
Amtrak has eliminated distribution agreements with private company membership clubs which obtain significant discounts for free from Amtrak and then charge fees to their members for use of the Amtrak discount rates. Instead, we will use our revenue management system to sell targeted discounts to our customers throughout the year. This week we are running a big Spring Sale to drive ridership through Amtrak.com. Please note that we continue our statutory discount programs for the disabled and seniors; we also have a generous discount program for active duty military members and their families.
 
Thank you, and please be safe.
 
Richard Anderson

 

He seems to be doing what a lot of successful turn-around CEOs have done: define the core business – "safe, on time, clean cars, friendly service and great customer-facing technology" – then ruthlessly pursue it. He's running a 21st century transportation business, not a 19th century museum piece.


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#30 Seaboard92

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Posted 28 March 2018 - 08:01 PM

I find it interesting he refers to passengers as customers. Which they are but definitely an interesting choice of words because a customer in my opinion has a higher stature then a passenger. Just like a guest has a better connotation then a customer.
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#31 Thirdrail7

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Posted 28 March 2018 - 08:02 PM

So what is the intent and application?

I get the Trolling part, but lets add clarification to this situation. What is the purpose and how does it impact?

 

 

Ahh. Now that Tbike has posted the memo that was put out (which may not be the ones other people have seen), read it carefully. How it was explained (prior to the memo) was nothing as draconian as the sky is falling post the Rtbern made.

 

For an example, is the Ski train a "one time operation or a collaboration with a state partner?"  Are the Philadelphia Orchestra and sport charters a "one time" operation or do they have a long standing operational agreement?

 

The bottom line is something I've mentioned in the past. He is for profit.  Do these operations cover their costs? The ones that have a solid business case and do not hinder the operations will continue. If the Autumn Express still continues to perform, that is within the scope of the Congressional mandate to seek new/additional sources of revenue.  The ones that do not, will vanish.  If the Autumn Express drains impacts riders from other trains (Which I have always maintained it does)  and doesn't perform, it will vanish. The trains and services are being evaluated on a case by case basis. Will adding the private car en route cause a significant delay and necessitate costly personnel or can this private car travel end to end without impacting OTP.

 

After all, Amtrak (after a few years of wrangling) JUST changed train schedules on the NEC to accommodate end to end PV car operation.

 

Why not wait and see how this plays out since it will vary?


Edited by Thirdrail7, 28 March 2018 - 08:32 PM.

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They say laughter is the best medicine. Obviously they never posted on AU.


#32 Thirdrail7

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Posted 28 March 2018 - 08:06 PM

BTW, not to drive this too far off topic but since Tbike posted, what do you think of the reasoning for ending AAA discounts, etc?


They say laughter is the best medicine. Obviously they never posted on AU.


#33 Ryan

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Posted 28 March 2018 - 08:14 PM

Why not wait and see how this plays out since it will vary?


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#34 Seaboard92

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Posted 28 March 2018 - 08:25 PM

I'll come out and say this the New River Train is not running this next year and I have that straight from the source. It's impact on trains is very small just a crew, and three engines. The rest of it is made of private cars. But I'm waiting and seeing before I do anything because like I said I'm leaving the charter industry.
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#35 districtRich

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Posted 28 March 2018 - 08:33 PM

I barely post but people complaining about the loss of amenities and how things used to be whan Amtrak was bleeding money just frustrate me. Amtrak has record ridership and revenue and almost matches their operational expenses this year. Back then was the reason Congress hated Amtrak. It appears Amtrak knows what it's doing to stay alive and not the people that wish for the shoe-shines of the past that lost money
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#36 FrensicPic

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Posted 28 March 2018 - 08:46 PM

I can see where changes need to be made in this area.  I've been on the CS when it was seriously delayed adding or dropping PV's from the consist.  When you're running late, an extra hour delay is never appreciated.  Hopefully somebody ends up realizing that we need changes made with a surgeon's scalpel rather than a meat cleaver.

I boarded a 3.5+ hour late #11 at EMY last July. The train had three locomotives. We lost more than another half hour depositing the extra locomotive in the Oakland Amtrak Yard. No PV's involved.


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#37 Bob Dylan

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Posted 28 March 2018 - 08:47 PM

Thanks to Thirdrail! A person in the know, and as was said, let's wait and see how it actually plays out, there's lots of wiggle room in the memo!

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#38 CraigDK

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Posted 28 March 2018 - 08:59 PM

Thanks to Thirdrail! A person in the know, and as was said, let's wait and see how it actually plays out, there's lots of wiggle room in the memo!

Chicken Little can take a rest, the Sky isn't falling on Amtrak!

 

Well, at least there are fewer Chicken Littles on AU than elsewhere on the internets...


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#39 the_traveler

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Posted 28 March 2018 - 09:06 PM

BTW, not to drive this too far off topic but since Tbike posted, what do you think of the reasoning for ending AAA discounts, etc?


My take on the AAA is that it makes sense to get rid of it. After all, AAA is the American AUTOMOBILE Association, not the American TRAIN Association. What does AAA have to do with Amtrak, except to promote driving instead of taking the train.
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Take it easy .......

Take the train instead and enjoy the ride!

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#40 crescent-zephyr

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Posted 28 March 2018 - 09:28 PM

 

BTW, not to drive this too far off topic but since Tbike posted, what do you think of the reasoning for ending AAA discounts, etc?


My take on the AAA is that it makes sense to get rid of it. After all, AAA is the American AUTOMOBILE Association, not the American TRAIN Association. What does AAA have to do with Amtrak, except to promote driving instead of taking the train.

 

 

AAA promotes travel. That's why hotels, theme parks, tourist attractions etc. give a AAA discount. It was advertising... AAA members get a list of discounts. I'm not saying it makes sense to continue that arrangement...but I'm saying the arrangement made perfect sense. 


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