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Guest Henry Kisor

Service disruptions

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I hope the folks who keep claiming Amtrak isn't seriously affected by bad weather will take a moment to read this and similar threads. I don't blame Amtrak for being essentially helpless in the face of bad weather, but I also don't understand why a few vocal members take it upon themselves to rewrite history over and over again in order to build up a rather unrealistic image of what is in reality a surprisingly fragile passenger rail network. If the airlines won't get you there and the buses won't get you there then Amtrak probably won't get you there either. Simple to understand, hard to repeat apparently.

The severe weather that has halted the trains right now is a once in 20+ year experience. In the majority of the instances, Amtrak runs when the roads and planes are not.

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The Eagle#21, along with Most other LD Trains, Did NOT Leave Chicago for the Past Two Days! #22, the NB Eagle has Been Running ( Hours Late) so it will be Up to the Chicago Yard Crews to Get the Equipment Ready for Service! I Understand that most of the Equipment is Frozen including the Engines! A Warm Up is On the Way but Everywhere is a Mess for Transportation Right Now! I'd keep Checking all the Train and travel Sites, Call Amtrak etc. etc. Good Luck, its Suynny Down Here in Central Texas and Warmed up into the 40s today, 50s Tomorrow and 70s with Rain for the End of the Week so perhaps the Eagles will start Flying again Soon! Good Luck, keep us Posted! ;)

 

 

Thanks for the info, jim. The local paper here said "one of the 5 scheduled daily round-trips got through yesterday" but they did not say which one. (My parents' house is perhaps 3 miles from the tracks and I heard what MIGHT have been an Amtrak whistle, followed about 10 minutes later by a freight, at about 8:35 pm last night here in BNL.)

 

Amtrak Website is saying that today's Eagles are scheduled to run. I'm really hoping that today will be what it takes for the system to mostly right itself.

 

I agree with the folks who are saying "we need other hubs to the West than Chicago, and we need more equipment" but I don't see that happening any time soon. (I would say I'd also like to have Amtrak give more clarification on their website - if the train's cancelled, SAY it's cancelled, not "service disruption." If you're bustituting, say that.)

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I agree with the folks who are saying "we need other hubs to the West than Chicago, and we need more equipment" but I don't see that happening any time soon. (I would say I'd also like to have Amtrak give more clarification on their website - if the train's cancelled, SAY it's cancelled, not "service disruption." If you're bustituting, say that.)

I personally think the website people, including ARROW, deserve some thanks, too. They've been churning up the schedules like crazy for the last few days. Normally, they might be able to go home after work and put their feet up - but not lately. The reservations system (et al) has become a central part of operations, even when the operations goes to hell.

 

jb

 

Edit: The Amtrak website folks, I mean.

Edited by John Bobinyec

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John, I agree. The train trackers (both Amtrak's and yours) seem to have been displaying what information was pretty accurately. It was really helpful to know how late the Cardinal was running during Anderson's drive to IND to catch the train last night. So thanks again for all your work.

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Things are looking up. 5 (8) and 3 (8) departed Chicago on time this afternoon. 7 (8), however, is showing a service disruption.

 

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Things are looking up. 5 (8) and 3 (8) departed Chicago on time this afternoon. 7 (8), however, is showing a service disruption.

 

 

Good for #3 and #5 -- the Empire Builder however -- both #8 and #7 from Jan 8 seem to be cancelled. #8 that departed SEA on Jan 7 may be in NoDak. #7 that departed CHI yesterday Jan 7 seems to have disappeared just west of Fargo while running almost 8 hours late.

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The severe weather that has halted the trains right now is a once in 20+ year experience.

So the last time Amtrak had to cancel service due to bad weather was 20+ years ago? I think not.

 

 

In the majority of the instances, Amtrak runs when the roads and planes are not.

Source?

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In the majority of the instances, Amtrak runs when the roads and planes are not.

Source?

 

I am truly curious about that one too. Having personally experienced the need to substitute a planned Amtrak ride by an airplane ride on at least three occasions due to Amtrak cancellations, I just wonder about the veracity of that claim.

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Whereas June's comment may perhaps not be completely accurate, I believe that for the most part, Amtrak CAN operate in conditions that generally paralyzes auto and air transport. However, as has been made pretty obvious this week, some weather can paralyze everything.

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I was just reading that according to FAA records, overall US Airlines canceled only 1.65% of ALL flights in 2013. I wonder how that stacks up against Amtrak's cancelation record? Does anyone have any stats in this regard?

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I was just reading that according to FAA records, overall US Airlines canceled only 1.65% of ALL flights in 2013. I wonder how that stacks up against Amtrak's cancelation record? Does anyone have any stats in this regard?

I've had flights cancelled on me and still managed to arrive at my final destination on time. If Amtrak cancels a single Texas Eagle trip I'm already a day late. Amtrak cancels one Sunset Limited trip and I'm already two days late before leaving the station to return home. Not to mention that my sleeper compartment is long gone.

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Good point. Very few other timely options on Amtrak's LD trains when one is canceled. That is why is is so important to have at least a modest amount of redundancy in both human and equipment assets. Not a lot one can do when the "blizzard of the century" hits or massive flooding occurs, but if a train has to be canceled because of the lack of a crew or equipment, both of those are well within the ability of management to control.

It appears things are slowly creeping back to getting trains on the tracks today. Still some cancelations, but not as many as Monday. Temps throughout all of the Hi-Line are at or ABOVE normal now. In some places in MT they are 60 degrees warmer than just 4 days ago.

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In the majority of the instances, Amtrak runs when the roads and planes are not.

Source?

 

I am truly curious about that one too. Having personally experienced the need to substitute a planned Amtrak ride by an airplane ride on at least three occasions due to Amtrak cancellations, I just wonder about the veracity of that claim.

 

I got that from people here on this forum that said so. I just add that I have traveled myself thru winter storms on Amtrak and the airports have been closed. Also here in Boston area, the news is always mentioning that Amtrak and Acela are running when they say there are severe cancellations at the airports.

 

I also said in the majority of the instances, I did not say EVERY TIME, AND DID NOT SAY THAT THEY DON'T CANCEL.

 

edited to add: http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/amtrak-guest-rewards/1047820-amtrak-snow.html

Edited by June the Coach Rider

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Conversely I have many times traveled fine by air while Amtrak was dead in the water due to torrential rain or hurricane en route. So irrespective of all the capital letters in the world these are all just anecdotal and often emotional feelings. What I am looking for is some concrete data.

 

I think the point that Charlie made is probably close to the mark. Given enough resources a rail system can be more reliable than road or air. But today's Amtrak is nowhere near such a reliable system. So let us not kid ourselves. After all the most common rescue mechanism for Amtrak cancellations or disruptions is bustitutions. So clearly those are all examples where road was working fine while rail as in Amtrak was not.

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I think the point that Charlie made is probably close to the mark. Given enough resources a rail system can be more reliable than road or air. But today's Amtrak is nowhere near such a reliable system. So let us not kid ourselves. After all the most common rescue mechanism for Amtrak cancellations or disruptions is bustitutions. So clearly those are all examples where road was working fine while rail as in Amtrak was not.

I think many folks can agree that the potential is there for a highly robust and dependable system. Indeed in countries like Japan this potential has already been largely realized, even in the face of much higher expectations and more intense scrutiny. In the case of Amtrak the potential for a robust all-weather system remains but the realization of that potential that is still a long way off, assuming we ever get there. I'd like to see that goal come to fruition as much as anyone but I do not believe we're anywhere near such a goal at this time. Indeed we may be falling further and further behind over time, outside of a few high volume corridors.

Edited by Devil's Advocate

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Train travel is still messed up. Arrived 8 hours late on 29CL. Thought we had to rush to catch #7 EB, now that is delayed at least 1.5 hours for mechanical issues. And this is after an Amtrak sponsored night in DC. We may never make it home.

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If #7 leaves ONLY 1.5 hours late it will be the best departure time in quite a few days!

Update: #7 is still sitting in Union Station according to Amtrak and is now approaching 2 hours late.

Edited by montana mike

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Guest Henry Kisor

3 (9) has been showing a service disruption all day. Never got out of Chicago. Anyone know why? 3 (8) left on time yesterday. (I'm asking because I'm taking 3 (12) CHI-LAX and am getting a li'l nervous.

 

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Today's (10/09) #5 and #3 are Finally Underway Out of CHI! #5 is 4+ Hours Down and #3 is 5+ Hours Late! No Info on Whether it's Crew or Equipment Problems in CHI??? Looks like there are Still Problems out in the Boonies but Things seem to be Slowly getting Back to Normal on the Western Routes Except the Hi-Line!

Edited by jimhudson

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And here we sit just over 7hours late. At least they gave us 20 bucks for food,.

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I rode that Texas Eagle NB on Monday during the storm, getting off in Bloomington/Normal. I applaud the train crew for sitting down in the café car with everyone by connecting Train, since we were SOOOO late, we all knew that we had missed our connections. My problem was AFTER getting off at Normal, my Amtrak thruway service to Galesburg was ALSO cancelled, and stayed cancelled until Wednesday at 10 AM. I spent two days at the hotel ( a Marriott) across the street, since there were NO shuttle service or cabs running ON MY DIME. I did buy travel insurance through Allianz. Has anyone ever purchased that insurance and filed a claim? Will Amtrak settle in some way since my Thruway bus service didn't run for two days? I had a sleeper and we were given a "Charter bus ride" between San Antonio and Fort Worth" last Sunday morning too. Any compensation available for THAT? BTW, the guy in the roomette across the hall from me, was a UNITED AIR EXPRESS pilot on his way back to Chicago, AFTER his plane was grounded in Saint Louis!

 

Thanks for any answers...

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Looks like both the CL eastbound 30 and all LSLs are still running many hours behind schedule this evening. As of 11pm, they had not even left CHI yet.

I saw where today 30 did not make it to WAS in time to meet the southbound Silver Star. We are schedule to do 30 to 91 next week and sure hope they get Amtrak back on track by then. What a mess@

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