Jump to content




Help Support AmtrakTrains.com by donating using the link above or becoming a Supporting Member.

Photo

Southwest Chief News & Future Operations


  • Please log in to reply
796 replies to this topic

#781 Ryan

Ryan

    Engineer

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 16,450 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:OTN
  • Interests:a fact checker combined with a ferret

Posted 13 September 2018 - 05:35 PM

Well, "extremely dangerous" has to do with one's perception.  Personally, I think they are dangerous especially with so many big trucks.


No, it doesn't. We live in a world of facts and statistics. Do you have any statistics comparing bus safety to train safety?

Feelings don't hurt you. Go where the data takes you.
  • railiner, jebr and cpotisch like this
Posted Image

Disclaimer: Any images or links you see in my post may in fact be invasive advertising or even fraudulent phishing attacks silently injected into my post by our spam based hosting service. If anything looks suspicious or inappropriate or you have any doubt whatsoever then do not click any links (particularly those appearing in green and/or with a double underline) or interact with the spam in any way. You may also want to consider using ad-blocking plugins such as Adblock Plus and/or Ghostery)to help reduce the number and severity of advertising scams directed at you.

#782 bretton88

bretton88

    Conductor

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 879 posts

Posted 13 September 2018 - 06:06 PM

Lets focus on the story not the link.

https://amp.detroitn...om/amp/37801999

About 4.5 million people rode the Chief in 2016, according to a June presentation by Richard Anderson, the passenger railroads president and chief executive officer. It costs more than $1 billion a year, yet brings in less than $600 million, he said.

The math is off, is this a attack on the entire network?
This sounds like numbers for the LD network as a whole.

If I won the lottery, I'd probably build a passenger from nowhere to nowhere.


#783 desertflyer

desertflyer

    Lead Service Attendant

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 143 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:San Francisco

Posted 13 September 2018 - 08:00 PM

I wrote Diane Feinstein and Kamala Harris around the proposed changes to Amtrak and the Southwest Chief. Feinstein got back to me today with a form letter, but at least it shows that her office has some understanding of what is going on - though it's not really the California senators that need to be convinced.
  

Thank you for writing to share your thoughts regarding recent and proposed changes to Amtrak service. I appreciate hearing from you, and I welcome the opportunity to respond.

I understand you are concerned about Amtrak service changes under the leadership of Amtrak CEO Richard Anderson because you believe those changes will reduce ridership, deteriorate customer service, and erode the overall comfort of the passenger rail experience.

As you know, Amtrak made several changes to long-distance routes in early 2018, citing the need to cut costs. Amtrak eliminated station agents and checked luggage services at a number of stops with lighter traffic, replaced the traditional dining car with pre-made boxed meals on certain long-distance routes, announced it would no longer operate special or charter trains, and discontinued towing private rail cars along many routes. Amtrak is reportedly considering reducing the frequency of daily trains along certain long-distance routes and breaking up other routes into shorter segments while asking for more financial support from the states serviced by each route.

As a federally-owned corporation and the United States’ principal intercity passenger rail service, Amtrak has a duty to provide reliable transportation access to the public. Many of these destinations would not otherwise be profitable for a private passenger rail operator to serve. In the absence of Amtrak service, many Americans—particularly those in rural communities—would lose access to long distance ground transportation.

I am concerned that some of Amtrak’s proposed changes could negatively impact the quality of passenger rail service along routes servicing California. Amtrak proposed suspending train service for a segment of the Southwest Chief, which runs daily from Chicago to Los Angeles. Train service along the route from Dodge City, Kansas, to Albuquerque, New Mexico, would be replaced instead with motor coaches. Amtrak cited the capital costs required to upgrade the current route as a reason for the proposal. In response to this news, I joined a bipartisan group of Senators on the attached letter to Richard Anderson urging Amtrak to continue full rail service and to seek available federal grants to help pay for the costs of capital upgrades along the route.

In addition, I cosponsored an amendment to the Senate Minibus Appropriations bill (H.R. 6147) that expresses the sense of the Senate in support of Amtrak’s long distance routes. The Senate adopted this amendment by a vote of 95-4 and passed its version of H.R. 6147 by a vote of 92-6 on August 1, 2018.

I have long supported funding for Amtrak and other critical rail transportation projects. Improving and expanding our nation’s passenger rail infrastructure is critical to providing alternative modes of transportation for millions of Americans, reducing congestion on our roads, decreasing greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles, and curbing our dependence on oil. I have made careful note of your concerns, and I will be sure to keep them in mind should related legislation be considered by the Senate.


  • railiner, Devil's Advocate and FrensicPic like this

#784 railiner

railiner

    Engineer

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 6,537 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Queens, NY
  • Interests:All public transportation....land, sea, and air

Posted 13 September 2018 - 10:02 PM

That's a pretty nice response considering what could have been...


metroblue?

okay on the blue!

#785 jis

jis

    Engineer

  • Gathering Team Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 22,526 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Space Coast, Florida, Area code 3-2-1
  • Interests:Trains, Planes and Travel

Posted 14 September 2018 - 12:39 AM

NARP/RPA

https://www.railpass...n-on-january-1/

Statement from Amtraks Executive Vice President and CEO Scot Naparstek

The trains are still under threat, as there is a lack of detail of what there going to do. A bus bridge is a valid solution to some of these questions that Amtrak has. No solid answer today.

So you think “trains will continue to run” has a plausible interpretation that they will run as buses? OK.

I think the danger that exists and is independent of the PTC issue is that some through trains may get segmented into multiple shorter trains. But that had gotten buried in the Buses and PTC noise.

Edited by jis, 14 September 2018 - 12:42 AM.


#786 Just-Thinking-51

Just-Thinking-51

    Engineer

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,499 posts
  • Gender:Not Telling
  • Location:USA

Posted 14 September 2018 - 03:44 AM

So you think trains will continue to run has a plausible interpretation that they will run as buses? OK.

I think the danger that exists and is independent of the PTC issue is that some through trains may get segmented into multiple shorter trains. But that had gotten buried in the Buses and PTC noise.


What I think is Amtrak failed to answer the question clearly. Had the chance but chose not to. Amtrak needs to be provided Congress and the people there vision of the future.

Edited by Just-Thinking-51, 14 September 2018 - 01:12 PM.

  • Devil's Advocate, neroden and cpotisch like this

#787 fredmcain

fredmcain

    Lead Service Attendant

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 113 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Northeastern Indiana
  • Interests:Trains, Gardening, older U.S. Numbered Highways (Like Route 66) & Piano Ragtime

Posted 14 September 2018 - 10:20 AM

 

So you think trains will continue to run has a plausible interpretation that they will run as buses? OK.

I think the danger that exists and is independent of the PTC issue is that some through trains may get segmented into multiple shorter trains. But that had gotten buried in the Buses and PTC noise.



What I think is Amtrak failed to answer the question clearly. Had the chance but chose not to. Amtrak needs to be provided Congress and the people there vision of the future.

 

Well, let's be clear here.  The LD trains and ESPECIALLY the Chief are not out of the woods yet but I still regard this new development as a major "back pedaling".  I mean, Anderson has repeatedly stated in no uncertain terms that he will NOT operate trains on tracks without PTC after December 31st.  This announcement is clearly a retreat from that.  So, is the Chief safe for now?  NO.  But I still feel better about this than I did yesterday.

 

Many thanks to all of you who have written either to your congressman or to the Amtrak board and complained.  

 

Regards,

Fred M. Cain who has reason today to be more optimistic.


  • Devil's Advocate likes this

​Regards,

Fred M. Cain


#788 fredmcain

fredmcain

    Lead Service Attendant

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 113 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Northeastern Indiana
  • Interests:Trains, Gardening, older U.S. Numbered Highways (Like Route 66) & Piano Ragtime

Posted 14 September 2018 - 12:31 PM

 

Well, "extremely dangerous" has to do with one's perception.  Personally, I think they are dangerous especially with so many big trucks.


No, it doesn't. We live in a world of facts and statistics. Do you have any statistics comparing bus safety to train safety?

Feelings don't hurt you. Go where the data takes you.

 

Well, for me personally, and speaking only for myself, I no longer feel as safe as I once did traveling by Interstate highways. Period.  Statistics are not going to reassure me even if they prove that my perception is unwarranted.  Irrational?  Maybe.  But surely there are more people who feel the way I do.  Would a bus bridge really be more dangerous than the train?  Perhaps not but I still feel like the rail option should remain open and there are plenty others who agree with.  Just look at the overwhelming response we've gotten in opposition to this truncation.  I really don't feel I have anything else to say about this.

 

Regards,

FMC


  • neroden likes this

​Regards,

Fred M. Cain


#789 cpotisch

cpotisch

    Engineer

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 4,198 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Brooklyn, NY
  • Interests:Planes, Trains, Cooking, Politics

Posted 14 September 2018 - 04:35 PM

 

 

Well, "extremely dangerous" has to do with one's perception.  Personally, I think they are dangerous especially with so many big trucks.


No, it doesn't. We live in a world of facts and statistics. Do you have any statistics comparing bus safety to train safety?

Feelings don't hurt you. Go where the data takes you.

Well, for me personally, and speaking only for myself, I no longer feel as safe as I once did traveling by Interstate highways. Period.  Statistics are not going to reassure me even if they prove that my perception is unwarranted.  Irrational?  Maybe.  But surely there are more people who feel the way I do.  Would a bus bridge really be more dangerous than the train?  Perhaps not but I still feel like the rail option should remain open and there are plenty others who agree with.  Just look at the overwhelming response we've gotten in opposition to this truncation.  I really don't feel I have anything else to say about this.

 

Regards,

FMC

Seriously? You're admitting that what you're saying has no factual basis and is "maybe" irrational, yet you still claim that it's a sound argument? And the fact that there has been overwhelming opposing to this truncation doesn't tell you anything about how many people are afraid of taking a bus over a train. 


Edited by cpotisch, 15 September 2018 - 08:11 PM.

  • daybeers likes this

Routes Traveled: Silver Meteor, Silver Star, CrescentLake Shore LimitedCalifornia Zephyr, Sunset Limited, Texas EagleEthan Allen Express, Empire Service, Maple Leaf, AdirondackAcela Express, Northeast RegionalKeystone Service, Downeaster w/ Great Dome
 
Wish List: Auto Train, Cardinal, CONO, Empire Builder, Southwest Chief, Crescent (overnight), Adirondack w/ Great Dome


#790 ehbowen

ehbowen

    Engineer

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,406 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Houston, Texas

Posted 14 September 2018 - 08:52 PM

 

 

 

Well, "extremely dangerous" has to do with one's perception.  Personally, I think they are dangerous especially with so many big trucks.


No, it doesn't. We live in a world of facts and statistics. Do you have any statistics comparing bus safety to train safety?

Feelings don't hurt you. Go where the data takes you.

Well, for me personally, and speaking only for myself, I no longer feel as safe as I once did traveling by Interstate highways. Period.  Statistics are not going to reassure me even if they prove that my perception is unwarranted.  Irrational?  Maybe.  But surely there are more people who feel the way I do.  Would a bus bridge really be more dangerous than the train?  Perhaps not but I still feel like the rail option should remain open and there are plenty others who agree with.  Just look at the overwhelming response we've gotten in opposition to this truncation.  I really don't feel I have anything else to say about this.

 

Regards,

FMC

Seriously? You're admitting that what you're saying has no factual basis and is "maybe" irrational, yet you still claim that it's a sound argument? And the fact that there has been overwhelming opposing to this truncation doesn't tell you anything about how many people are afraid of taking a bus over a train. 

 

 

This bridge carried 140,000 vehicles a day and lasted 40 years...before it collapsed due to a design flaw. So you're telling us that, statistically, it was safe?


broadside-1.jpg 16 inch Armor Piercing...When you care enough to send the very, VERY best!
Visit Streamliner Schedules - Historic timetables from the Streamliner era.


#791 jebr

jebr

    Engineer

  • Forum Manager
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 3,136 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:"The Last Great City of the East," St. Paul, MN

Posted 14 September 2018 - 09:32 PM

This bridge carried 140,000 vehicles a day and lasted 40 years...before it collapsed due to a design flaw. So you're telling us that, statistically, it was safe?

 

I honestly have no clue what point you're trying to make. The bridge was deemed structurally deficient, but thanks to a GOP governor who made his lieutenant governor the head of MnDOT (and thus, to try and keep taxes low and score political points, wouldn't properly advocate for needed infrastructure repairs,) the funding for a replacement bridge was kicked far enough down the road that the bridge collapsed from that failure instead of being properly repaired/replaced.

 

We could throw around incidents of deadly failures for all sorts of modes of transportation. Is walking unsafe, because of this? Is taking the train unsafe because of derailments? Anecdotes and individual incidents can scare us, but can also lead us to make decisions that are less safe because we weigh the few flashy incidents instead of looking at the total span and actual risk for each mode of transport.


  • cpotisch likes this

#792 ehbowen

ehbowen

    Engineer

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,406 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Houston, Texas

Posted 14 September 2018 - 09:46 PM

 

This bridge carried 140,000 vehicles a day and lasted 40 years...before it collapsed due to a design flaw. So you're telling us that, statistically, it was safe?

 

I honestly have no clue what point you're trying to make. The bridge was deemed structurally deficient, but thanks to a GOP governor who made his lieutenant governor the head of MnDOT (and thus, to try and keep taxes low and score political points, wouldn't properly advocate for needed infrastructure repairs,) the funding for a replacement bridge was kicked far enough down the road that the bridge collapsed from that failure instead of being properly repaired/replaced.

 

We could throw around incidents of deadly failures for all sorts of modes of transportation. Is walking unsafe, because of this? Is taking the train unsafe because of derailments? Anecdotes and individual incidents can scare us, but can also lead us to make decisions that are less safe because we weigh the few flashy incidents instead of looking at the total span and actual risk for each mode of transport.

 

 

I agree with you, but especially in questions of "safety" (which is often, frankly, a matter of blind luck) you need to be sure you are comparing apples to apples. There are just too many variables involved to say, "Trains are safer than buses" or, "Buses are safer than trains." All it takes is one bad break to make the "statistics" meaningless for everyone who actually is involved.

 

Now if we are comparing apples to apples, we can see some valid trends. Freeways are safer than surface streets. Rail safety is improved with block signals, CTC, and (presumably) PTC. Air travel is a lot safer if pilots wait out or divert around thunderstorms rather than try to penetrate them. But while Ryan is correct that facts are facts and statistics are real, you also need to consider that a lot of pertinent facts may not be in evidence. Such as a design flaw in a major bridge which (originally) wasn't scheduled to be corrected until 2020....


Edited by ehbowen, 14 September 2018 - 09:48 PM.

broadside-1.jpg 16 inch Armor Piercing...When you care enough to send the very, VERY best!
Visit Streamliner Schedules - Historic timetables from the Streamliner era.


#793 jebr

jebr

    Engineer

  • Forum Manager
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 3,136 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:"The Last Great City of the East," St. Paul, MN

Posted 14 September 2018 - 10:05 PM

I agree with you, but especially in questions of "safety" (which is often, frankly, a matter of blind luck) you need to be sure you are comparing apples to apples. There are just too many variables involved to say, "Trains are safer than buses" or, "Buses are safer than trains." All it takes is one bad break to make the "statistics" meaningless for everyone who actually is involved.

 

Now if we are comparing apples to apples, we can see some valid trends. Freeways are safer than surface streets. Rail safety is improved with block signals, CTC, and (presumably) PTC. Air travel is a lot safer if pilots wait out or divert around thunderstorms rather than try to penetrate them. But while Ryan is correct that facts are facts and statistics are real, you also need to consider that a lot of pertinent facts may not be in evidence. Such as a design flaw in a major bridge which (originally) wasn't scheduled to be corrected until 2020....

 

 

Simply because there's a lot of variables in what makes something safe doesn't mean that you can't state that x is safer than y, at least if there's some generally accepted idea of what's "safer." Having a catastrophic incident generally doesn't change the overall calculus significantly unless those catastrophic events keep happening. For example, it's very likely that the 8 killed on board Amtrak 188 when it crashed in 2015 would have lived had they driven themselves instead of taking the train. That doesn't mean that driving yourself suddenly becomes safer than taking the train, or that it's now disputable whether the train or driving yourself is safer. What it means is that, despite choosing the safer mode of transport, no mode of transport is 100% safe and sometimes fatal incidents will happen no matter which mode you choose.

 

We can look at current data and make determinations on what is safer. We don't know what the future holds, but that doesn't mean we have to hold off judgement on what's been shown to be safer so far because of some potential future unknown. I have no qualms saying that driving a private automobile is significantly more dangerous than taking a bus, plane, or train; the evidence is so strong that even with the few accidents on other modes it's still much safer to do...pretty much anything except drive yourself or be a passenger in a private automobile when trying to go somewhere.


  • cpotisch likes this

#794 neroden

neroden

    Engineer

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 6,712 posts
  • Gender:Not Telling
  • Location:Ithaca, NY
  • Interests:Please feel free to moderate my posts

Posted 15 September 2018 - 09:17 AM

The Bloomberg story reference above:

https://www.bloomber...-safety-upgrade

Does have different facts from June meeting:
 

About 363,000 people rode the Chief in 2017, according to a June presentation by Richard Anderson, the passenger railroads president and chief executive officer. Its one of the railroads biggest money losers compared to other long-distance routes, he said.

Someone is lying to Mr. Anderson, and I think it's whoever's preparing the "allocated" numbers.

I suppose there's some leeway or vagueness in the words "one of" in the claim that that the SWC "one of Amtrak's biggest money-losers". But it's not really -- it's doing much better than the biggest money-losers.

If you use credible estimates for avoidable costs, the biggest money-losers are the Sunset Limited (~12 million), the Texas Eagle (~6 million), and the California Zephyr (~6 million), followed by the Capitol Limited (~5 million) and only then the Southwest Chief (~4 million).

If you use Amtrak's phony, dishonest, faked-up allocated costs numbers, the Empire Builder looks worst, the California Zephyr looks second-worst and the Southwest Chief looks third-worst, but those numbers are fake.

This is why it's critically important for someone to get through Mr. Anderson's head that those numbers are fraudulent.


There are people inside Amtrak who know the real situation; they wrote the Performance Improvement Plans.
--Nathanael--

Please feel free to moderate my posts.

#795 neroden

neroden

    Engineer

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 6,712 posts
  • Gender:Not Telling
  • Location:Ithaca, NY
  • Interests:Please feel free to moderate my posts

Posted 15 September 2018 - 09:20 AM

The burden of proof is on those claiming the bus option is safer, since they're the ones proposing a change in the name of safety. It's very hard to disprove since the necessary statistics aren't available, but that's immaterial since Anderson never proved it in the first place.

 
Here's what I found. Based on what I could find on the National Transportation Database, buses appear to have less fatalities per passenger mile than intercity trains do. It's plausible that Anderson sees something similar, and truly believes without PTC that trains will be more dangerous than they could be, and doesn't want to carry that liability/risk.
 
There's also plenty of people that are claiming that buses are more dangerous than trains. That also requires the burden of proof to be on the person making the "more dangerous" accusation, and so far I haven't seen any hard data, at least on the US side, to definitively prove that trains are significantly safer than buses. (Which, by the way, if we're going to take safety as the primary goal, then let's force everyone to fly. That's safer than both, based on what data seems to be available.)
 
For me, I'd rather focus on getting people out of their own vehicles and onto safer, more sustainable forms of transport. Buses serve as a vital link in many of those areas, and I fear the rhetoric around buses being more dangerous than trains will lead people to a (very false) conclusion that since there's no train on a particular route, they might as well just drive themselves since buses are (in their mind, fed by rhetoric that buses are more dangerous than trains) just as dangerous as driving. It may also lead to legislators not willing to fund those bus links in areas where we do need them, and where we can use them to either serve local needs that a train can't easily serve, or work as a feeder system into train routes.


I've been in buses which have collided with other vehicles; the standards for bus drivers in this country are *negligible*. In Europe, we *know* buses are less safe than trains, and in the US, the statistical collection is non-comparable, so I'm willing to go out on a limb and say that buses are in fact somewhat less safe than trains. That said, I think it does depend substantially on the bus companies; some have higher standards for drivers than others.

In addition, I'm certain it depends on the roads and the tracks; there are some roads I'd be comfortable on a bus, and then there's the Lincoln Tunnel approach where I've been in buses which sideswiped other vehicles in hit-and-runs.

Switching from train to bus to train is definitely less safe than staying on a train all the way through, because it's documented that there are higher chances of injury during the boarding/deboarding process on both trains and buses than while onboard.

That said, the fact that most people would say "to hell with this" to a train-bus-train trip, and would drive instead, which is *demonstrably much less safe*, is probably the strongest argument against such a stupid bus bridge idea.

Edited by neroden, 15 September 2018 - 09:24 AM.

  • ehbowen likes this
--Nathanael--

Please feel free to moderate my posts.

#796 Amtrakfflyer

Amtrakfflyer

    Train Attendant

  • Training
  • Pip
  • 49 posts

Posted 15 September 2018 - 09:46 AM

Thats exactly right. Elderly going down steps, out into the elements, plus any time waiting out in the elements (it wont be a 2 min walk train to bus), repeating in other side. All this in the middle of the night makes it unfeasible. Im sure an actuary could tell you how many people will trip, break ankles and etc. Thats not even considering truly handicap who wont be able to travel at all.
I wouldnt let an elderly family member do it thats for sure.

#797 me_little_me

me_little_me

    Engineer

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,566 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 17 September 2018 - 08:20 PM

Safety, shafety. I'll drive or fly before I take a long distance bus trip. Two hours on one of those things is more than my limit.


  • ehbowen and JRR like this




1 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 1 guests, 0 anonymous users