Jump to content


  • Content Count

  • Joined

  • Last visited


About rickycourtney

  • Rank

Profile Information

  • Gender
  • Location
    Seattle, WA
  1. While I’m happy to see that *something* is happening behind the scenes... it’s far from a perfect solution: • Single-level railcars inherently will have fewer seats than a similarly equipped bi-level car. Replacing 130 bi-level cars with 130 single-level cars will mean a reduction in capacity. Nippon Sharyo would need to deliver at least 30 more coach cars to match the passenger carrying capacity. • These single-level cars will not be compatible with California’s existing bi-level cars. Having two incompatible fleets will create complexity, which means additional costs. • Unless some sort of novel approach is developed these “high floor” cars will take additional time to load at low platforms. That will add time to the schedules and increase costs. None of these are deal breaking problems, but I hope that behind the scenes California is demanding some sort of compensation (like additional cars) to mitigate the impact of the switch. Sent from my iPhone using Amtrak Forum
  2. rickycourtney

    New Siemens Charger locomotive.

    No it’s the trestle.Coast Starlight can’t serve Tacoma Dome Station (Freighthouse Square) without double spotting until the trestle is finished. (The platform might also be too short for Cascades, but I’m not 100% sure.)
  3. rickycourtney

    New Greyhound Station in Seattle

    Sorry to bump an ancient thread... Well that didnt last long. The incredibly limited parking is now even more limited.The parking lot across the street appears to now be used as a staging lot for construction project. That said, in the 3 or so years since this station opened, Ive never once seen a taxi waiting in the cab stand and I only rarely saw people parked in that lot to pick up a passenger.
  4. rickycourtney

    Greyhound seats and fleet questions

    Greyhound has inked a contract for up to 360 Prevost X3-45 motorcoaches. The three-year deal specifies that Prevost deliver the first 60 coaches in 2017. Greyhound will then have the option to purchase the balance of the buses over a three-year period. http://www.pressrepublican.com/news/local_news/prevost-lands-biggest-contract-in-its-history/article_c7dcefdd-67e7-5422-9dde-95efbd3410fa.html
  5. rickycourtney

    SF and LA on SleepBus

    The pods really don't look any more claustrophobic than a bunk on an Amtrak roomette. In fact, it looks like there's quite a bit more room than the top bunk on a Superliner. It's regrettable that the reviewer failed to mention Amtrak... but this service has one *huge* advantage over the Coast Starlight: the schedule. The Coast Starlight is timed out to give passengers a fantastic view. That's great if the journey to your destination is part of the trip, but it's less than ideal if you just want to go somewhere for a one-day meeting or a quick weekend trip. This bus departs one city at 11pm and arrives at the other at 7am. That's the perfect schedule for a one-day/weekend trip because it avoids the traffic in LA & SF, allows passengers a good amount of sleep, and doesn't "waste" a day in transit. California could do something similar, but it's not a priority right now. There's been talk in the past of doing an overnight LA - SF San Joaquin run if the state could find a way to get passenger service over Tehachapi.
  6. rickycourtney

    Cascades Train Derailment - 07/02/17

    KING 5 News: Amtrak train derailed near safety device
  7. rickycourtney

    New Siemens Charger locomotive.

    Track construction from Lakewood to Nisqually is finished and has already been tested using Amtrak equipment traveling at full speeds. Construction on the new Tacoma station at Freighthouse Square appears to me to be progressing on schedule. The walls are up and the windows have been installed. (WSDOT has a construction camera so you can check the progress: http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/projects/Rail/pnwrc_PtDefiance/constructioncam/default.htm ) As to getting crews qualified... I don't know. I'm not sure how long that process normally takes. With the new locomotives coming online, Amtrak should be able to lash together a special train to get crews qualified on both the Chargers and the new territory. As to the startup date, I tend to be pessimistic when it comes to Amtrak and projects being done on time... but I think good progress is being made. If no major problems arise and nobody drags their heels... the trains should be able to start running Sept 23rd. That said, the schedule shakeup is set in stone. Even if Amtrak/WSDOT aren't ready... the new slots will be ready for them, and the current train schedule may need to be tweaked to accommodate their revised slots.
  8. rickycourtney

    New Siemens Charger locomotive.

    I don't know if I'd say the startup is "delayed." Here's the situation... Sounder, the commuter rail service, is also adding two round trips between Seattle and Lakewood this fall. All of the transit authorities in this region do their service shakeups on the same day, twice a year. The next shakeup will take place September 23rd. That's when the new Sounder runs will be added and slots can be opened up for the Cascades trips without having to do special supplemental timetables for Sounder.
  9. rickycourtney

    Traxx Restaurant

    I've eaten there a few times and haven't been disappointed. It's certainly not a destination restaurant for me and it's not the cheapest option in the area, but if you want a nice meal inside Union Station (or the beautiful Union Station north patio) they're your best bet. Reviews, hours, and reservation info is available on OpenTable and Yelp. On a side note, it will be interesting to see how Traxx's business is impacted when the new restaurant opens in the old Harvey House space in the months to come.
  10. rickycourtney

    New Siemens Charger locomotive.

    Several Siemens Chargers related developments here in Seattle... The first two locomotives are now in Seattle. On Monday I spotted them parked at the end of the Sounder storage tracks at the Holgate Street Yard. They now appear to have moved inside the Amtrak maintenance building. WSDOT is holding a "rollout event" for the Chargers this Sunday, May 21st at 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. on the platform of King Street Station. There will be the standard speeches from elected officials, commemorative giveaways, opportunities to take photos in front of the train, and informational displays about the locomotives. What there won't be are cab tours. WSDOT says due to "safety restrictions," no one will be allowed on/in the locomotives. Here's a link to the Facebook post detailing the event. Also interesting, WSDOT has launched a new ad campaign for the Cascades... and the Chargers are the new "face of the service" on billboards around Seattle. Here's a tweet showing one of the billboards.
  11. True, but most passengers aren't riding all the way from San Diego to San Luis Obispo. I guess my point was... the snack packs are meant to be just that... a snack. The old packages had enough calories to almost be a meal.
  12. Smart. It's nice that the box has some branding ("train treats") and that the selections appear to be from local companies. For a while they were using the same snack packs used as "emergency food" on severely delayed trains... and they included a lot of food. It's nice to have a lot of snacks when you're on a train that has been delayed for 3+ hours, but it's overkill on a train where you're only riding for 3 hours.
  13. rickycourtney

    New Siemens Charger locomotive.

    This hang-up may explain why nobody has announced the post-delivery schedules for the big Stimulus-funded projects. We've heard that the Cascades will add an early morning train and an end-of-day train Seattle-Portland, trying to capture business riders. The Piedmonts will do something similar Raleigh-Charlotte. The Lincoln Service St Louis-CHI, the showpiece project, will add an unknown number of frequencies (probably 3, maybe 4). Michigan is doubtless eager to add one or more Wolverines frequencies Detroit-CHI, but with the route 'South of the Lake' thru Indiana still a mess, who knows if they can, and nothing has been announced. (In the East, largely unaffected by the new diesels, other projects still have us hanging. Considerable work around Albany (new station tracks n platforms, double-tracking, better signaling, etc) could take minutes out of the schedules for the Lake Shore Ltd, Adirondack, Ethan Allen, Maple Leaf, and Empire Corridor trains. Or maybe not. Maybe it will be enuff to see big gains in On Time Performance. Then the New Haven-Hartford-Springfield Shuttle may be FY2010 funds, not from the Stimulus, with the project aiming to finish in January, or at least early next year.) The Stimulus projects have a deadline this year, less than 6 months from now, with the end of this Fiscal Year 2016. But a practical deadline is less than 3 months from now, to allow time to complete invoicing, paying, and other paper shuffling. I thought we'd be seeing new timetables announced, already, but nothing yet. So maybe they are waiting to be sure they have the new locomotives ready before they announce any schedule changes. The other fly in the soup as far as the Cascades are concerned is the "Point Defiance Bypass". This is most likely the defining issue for additional Cascade trains. https://www.wsdot.wa.gov/projects/rail/pnwrc_ptdefiance/. This is currently "scheduled" for completion in November 2017, I don't expect to see new schedules until all parties are confident that adequate locomotives with trains, crews hired and trained, the Tacoma Freighthouse station, and the bypass are all in place and working. IMHO if everything falls in place new schedules will be early 2018. Actually many here in Washington believe the additional Cascades trains will be added on September 23, 2017. That's when all the local transit agencies here in Western WA change their schedules, including the Sounder commuter train (which will be also adding two round trips at the same time). The bypass is completed and testing of the tracks is done, station construction at Tacoma's Freighthouse Square is coming along nicely (even if it's not finished, the platform is still open and functioning during construction) and there there is already enough trainsets and locomotives in the fleet to run the service.
  14. rickycourtney

    NW mudslide season 2016-17

    There's actually been quite a few times this winter that Amtrak hasn't provided alternative service.