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


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#121 Thirdrail7

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Posted 16 April 2018 - 09:39 PM

They weren't really cut off.  The current regime doesn't have the desire for jumping though hoops to pick them up and drop them off at outlying locations. Contrary to Rtbern's proclamation, adding and dropping equipment in areas without time allotted in the timetable and scheduled personnel on hand adds to delays....even IF the private car owners pick up the tab.


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


#122 cirdan

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Posted 17 April 2018 - 04:08 AM

 

Looks like all this is the unintended consequence of PRIIA requirement to meet break even bottom line. I was wondering what is it that was driving all this at this specific time. Apparently the deadline grows near.
 
The ways to meet that goal are:
 
First, try to move as much as you can out of what should reasonably be included as operating expense by defining items to be not operating expense. We appear to be past this point
 
When you reach a point of incredulity doing that, then ...
Second step, identify and remove all cost items that are considered to be nonessential to the core system. This is where we may be at the present time. If that does not work then ....
 
Third step ... Go into slash and burn mode. Hope we don;t get there, but we have heard rumblings of internal discussions about LD trains reorganization. Frankly, between LD trains getting reorganized and a whole host of other things, I'd prefer most of the whole host of other things at this time.


These are not the ways to meet that goal. These are the ways to be a complete blithering idiot who doesn't understand economies-of-scale businesses.

Is Mr. Anderson a complete blithering idiot? We know Thomas Downs was. I didn't think Mr. Anderson was.

The way you break even in an economies-of-scale business is to expand revenue. Never to cut costs. If you cut costs you lose economies of scale. The only time it makes sense to cut costs is if you're not getting any economies of scale out of them (so, bye bye PPCs).

Even Warrington the much-maligned understood this. I still think Anderson understnds it, but we'll see.

 

 

The problem is, to leverage economies of scale you need to expand service.

 

But if you want to expand you need

 

1) more equipment, a lot of it.

2) cooperation from railroads

3) preferably strong political backing so these things actually happen rather than just turn into money being spent on studies and yet more studies.

 

I don't really see the stars aligning to make any of this happen soon.

 

As we don't want slash and burn, the best we can hope for is to cling onto what we have and hope it flies below the radar.



#123 brianpmcdonnell17

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Posted 17 April 2018 - 04:56 AM


 

The Autumn Express usually occurs around late OCT/early NOV and occurs while other specials are running. While it may not be the actually busiest times, you are approaching THE busiest time of year.  We've lost quite a few Amfleets since this first special operated. The equipment has to be positioned and prepped for the bare bones shop count tolerance for Thanksgiving.

So do it during a different time period with lower demand. Given the people who routinely fill up the Autumn Express, I feel certain they could sell out a "Valentine's Day Express" just as well, and that really is the least busy time of year. That's if the host railroads can get a handle on their weather problems. :-( And if Amtrak could manage to fix the snow infiltration problem on certain Amfleets (why doesn't this get fixed when they go into the shop?!? it is only some of them so it is a defect)
 
Except you don't have the autumn leaves to sell as the reason for the train. Usually you don't run a special train because you feel like it. I would think patronage would drop significantly in the winter vs the fall.
I think it still has the potential to be successful if it is deemed worthy of the effort. In past years, the Autumn Express often sold out easily for two days. While it only operated in the Northeast, a similar operation in California or Florida would have the same scenery every season, while some mountainous and far northern routes could be advertised for their snowy scenery. Although it may not be as popular as the Autumn trains, I think they could sell out at least one day a year this way.
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#124 Palmetto

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Posted 17 April 2018 - 07:06 AM

 

I see an Amtrak Tip Toe Through The Tulips is an allowed exceptions. There are specials running in May. Additionally, there are trains assisting a tournament involving the PGA.
 
 I see quite a bit of forthcoming private car movements being confirmed.
 
However, I did see a long time charter group asking for a long, drawn out move involving a special movement, another railroad and various reverse moves or complete run arounds on said territory.  A counter proposal was made to eliminate some of those moves and the charter group didn't think it could work. So, that particular charter did not operate.  A few months ago, the railroad may have bitten the bullet.  This is why I suggested taking our time and seeing how things evolve on a case by case basis. A lot of it will be determined by the impact on operations.


I think I know exactly which group that is too. Sounds like things are getting ever better for the industry I've devoted some years to. Hopefully things will keep getting better. Despite the fact I'm quitting as soon as I can find a better gig.

 

I guess this means you've abandoned plans to get your own PV?


Edited by Palmetto, 17 April 2018 - 07:09 AM.


#125 Trogdor

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Posted 17 April 2018 - 08:33 AM

I think it still has the potential to be successful if it is deemed worthy of the effort. In past years, the Autumn Express often sold out easily for two days. While it only operated in the Northeast, a similar operation in California or Florida would have the same scenery every season, while some mountainous and far northern routes could be advertised for their snowy scenery. Although it may not be as popular as the Autumn trains, I think they could sell out at least one day a year this way.


But a similar operation in Florida or California would require deadheading equipment there and back, taking it out of service for a week or more. In theory, the Northeast train could operate with minimal equipment shifting (though, for some unknown reason, the first year they ran it they decided to deadhead those godawful Horizon cars from Chicago to run it, but later on it was just Amfleets), and the weekend schedule has lower equipment needs than weekdays anyway. I can’t speak to equipment maintenance and inspection needs, but in basic numbers, the Autumn Express is basically two regional consists joined together (plus a couple special cars such as the 9800, and whatever else they have laying around).

Florida doesn’t have any spare equipment other than what’s needed to protect the Silvers (which don’t have a weekday/weekend variation in schedules, so you can’t just use an idle consist or two) and California doesn’t have enough (and the equipment is mostly California-owned or leased, so Amtrak can’t just use it as they want). In fact, I think Capitol Corridor is the only non-Northeast route that runs less service on weekends than weekdays (well, there’s the early morning Hiawatha that doesn’t run on Sundays). Even routes that have weekend vs weekday schedules run essentially the same service, just in different time slots. So, there might not even be any spare equipment to do this in California either, even if Caltrans was agreeable to it.
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#126 Seaboard92

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Posted 17 April 2018 - 10:27 AM

 

I see an Amtrak Tip Toe Through The Tulips is an allowed exceptions. There are specials running in May. Additionally, there are trains assisting a tournament involving the PGA.
 
 I see quite a bit of forthcoming private car movements being confirmed.
 
However, I did see a long time charter group asking for a long, drawn out move involving a special movement, another railroad and various reverse moves or complete run arounds on said territory.  A counter proposal was made to eliminate some of those moves and the charter group didn't think it could work. So, that particular charter did not operate.  A few months ago, the railroad may have bitten the bullet.  This is why I suggested taking our time and seeing how things evolve on a case by case basis. A lot of it will be determined by the impact on operations.

I think I know exactly which group that is too. Sounds like things are getting ever better for the industry I've devoted some years to. Hopefully things will keep getting better. Despite the fact I'm quitting as soon as I can find a better gig.
 
I guess this means you've abandoned plans to get your own PV?
Nope I'm still in the market. It's about to be a buyers market so I'm all in. I have other uses for a PV mainly being my mobile home without the stigma that comes from it. As much as I travel and am on the road it would be nice to take my home with me. Best of both worlds.

Edited by Seaboard92, 17 April 2018 - 10:28 AM.

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#127 Skyline

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Posted 17 April 2018 - 10:51 AM

Maybe the PV owners should start looking into running their cars only on tourist railroads (compatible gauge of course). That would be a more "natural" fit than regular Amtrak service. There could be a win-win here if smart minds combine.



#128 Seaboard92

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Posted 17 April 2018 - 12:36 PM

Or we can do what I've been doing and meeting on the hill. One operator has some serious heavyweight pulling for him. I'm not sure if I'm allowed to post the pictures of the meeting. But I think we shall see some improvements.
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#129 Thirdrail7

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Posted 17 April 2018 - 02:33 PM

 

I think it still has the potential to be successful if it is deemed worthy of the effort. In past years, the Autumn Express often sold out easily for two days. While it only operated in the Northeast, a similar operation in California or Florida would have the same scenery every season, while some mountainous and far northern routes could be advertised for their snowy scenery. Although it may not be as popular as the Autumn trains, I think they could sell out at least one day a year this way.


But a similar operation in Florida or California would require deadheading equipment there and back, taking it out of service for a week or more. In theory, the Northeast train could operate with minimal equipment shifting (though, for some unknown reason, the first year they ran it they decided to deadhead those godawful Horizon cars from Chicago to run it, but later on it was just Amfleets), and the weekend schedule has lower equipment needs than weekdays anyway. I can’t speak to equipment maintenance and inspection needs, but in basic numbers, the Autumn Express is basically two regional consists joined together (plus a couple special cars such as the 9800, and whatever else they have laying around).

Florida doesn’t have any spare equipment other than what’s needed to protect the Silvers (which don’t have a weekday/weekend variation in schedules, so you can’t just use an idle consist or two) and California doesn’t have enough (and the equipment is mostly California-owned or leased, so Amtrak can’t just use it as they want). In fact, I think Capitol Corridor is the only non-Northeast route that runs less service on weekends than weekdays (well, there’s the early morning Hiawatha that doesn’t run on Sundays). Even routes that have weekend vs weekday schedules run essentially the same service, just in different time slots. So, there might not even be any spare equipment to do this in California either, even if Caltrans was agreeable to it.

 

 

 

They deadheaded the horizon fleet because they were headed east for Thanksgiving. After the special, the Amfleets headed west for another special. That is the point that most people seem to miss. The Autumn Express operates since the equipment is gathered for other specials that are running around the same time period.  To gather the equipment and remove it from daily use for a one off special is EXACTLY what our new CEO wishes to avoid. Using it on three specials in close proximity has a bit more merit.


Edited by Thirdrail7, 17 April 2018 - 02:44 PM.

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


#130 CHvision

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Posted 18 April 2018 - 11:28 PM

http://www.dearingra....com/index.html
Dearing is back on track

Edited by PRR 60, 19 April 2018 - 11:09 AM.
Fixed link,


#131 Ryan

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Posted 19 April 2018 - 04:24 AM

You have a colon at the end of your link that breaks it.
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#132 PRR 60

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Posted 19 April 2018 - 11:09 AM

You have a colon at the end of your link that breaks it.

 

Fixed it. Good catch!


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#133 Seaboard92

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Posted 19 April 2018 - 11:12 AM

Amtrak has just posted their guidelines for private cars and charters. I'm not at my computer so hopefully someone else can link to it.

It isn't as bad as we thought but it still needs work. Hopefully we can still get some changes.
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#134 cpotisch

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Posted 19 April 2018 - 11:16 AM

Amtrak has just posted their guidelines for private cars and charters. I'm not at my computer so hopefully someone else can link to it.

It isn't as bad as we thought but it still needs work. Hopefully we can still get some changes.

Fingers crossed.


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#135 CHvision

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Posted 19 April 2018 - 11:38 AM

*Fixing the error of the article: Dearing PV

 

 

Guidelines

https://www.amtrak.c...ines-041818.pdf


Edited by CHvision, 19 April 2018 - 11:39 AM.


#136 Ryan

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Posted 19 April 2018 - 11:50 AM

The staff already fixed it in your first post.
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#137 seat38a

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Posted 19 April 2018 - 11:50 AM

Well looks like special trains to Santa Barbara our gone. Only Surfliner trains that private cars are allowed on are 562 and 565 which are LA-SAN train. These two trains have the train consist sitting over night in LA and SD so makes sense.



#138 CHvision

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Posted 19 April 2018 - 12:05 PM

The staff already fixed it in your first post.

I saw the edit and gave a check mark, 

 

(The colon was suppose to be by Dearing but made a typo out of it)

 

Thanks 


Edited by CHvision, 19 April 2018 - 12:07 PM.


#139 jis

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Posted 19 April 2018 - 02:00 PM

There is one bit of possible ambiguity that needs to be clarified.
 
The Amtrak document says that cars can only be added or removed at those designated stations. There are certain possibilities of doing a round trip where the car is neither adde3d, not removed at the away destination. Are those going to be allowed?
 
For example, if a car is attached at Emeryville to a train to Bakersfield, and it  just stays with the consist at Bakersfield and returns to Emeryville on the same consist, is that allowed, even though Bakersfield is not listed as an originating/terminating point?

Strict reading would suggest this is not allowed. Logic does not dictate that such restriction makes much sense.
 
maybe it is time for the West Virginia Congressman and Senator to do a little more squeezing of appropriate body part(s) to get a WV location added to the car add/drop list. :)
 
BTW, the Charter Train Guidelines specifically excludes Amtrak specials, so at least in theory things like the Autumn Express are not covered by these Guidelines.



#140 Seaboard92

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Posted 19 April 2018 - 02:09 PM

There is one bit of possible ambiguity that needs to be clarified.
 
The Amtrak document says that cars can only be added or removed at those designated stations. There are certain possibilities of doing a round trip where the car is neither adde3d, not removed at the away destination. Are those going to be allowed?
 
For example, if a car is attached at Emeryville to a train to Bakersfield, and it  just stays with the consist at Bakersfield and returns to Emeryville on the same consist, is that allowed, even though Bakersfield is not listed as an originating/terminating point?

Strict reading would suggest this is not allowed. Logic does not dictate that such restriction makes much sense.
 
maybe it is time for the West Virginia Congressman and Senator to do a little more squeezing of appropriate body part(s) to get a WV location added to the car add/drop list. :)
 
BTW, the Charter Train Guidelines specifically excludes Amtrak specials, so at least in theory things like the Autumn Express are not covered by these Guidelines.


It also doesn't cover Oregon and I can tell you those congressmen are quite perturbed about it. Anderson likely will be on really thin ice congressionally speaking.
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