Jump to content
dlagrua

A Major Expansion Could Occur if Amtrak only did this.

Recommended Posts

Remember that for any LD trip with 10 - 15 or more stops it only takes one leg sold out for the train to be sold out for your originations or arrivals. With more total spaces available the possibility of sell outs decreases. Get more capacity,

That's very true....but I believe the Space and Equipment Controller is supposed to monitor long haul trains, and close off sales in legs that could prevent longer trips being booked...they have some kind of algorithm to know when they can open up those segments on closer dates to departure...the end goal is to get the entire route fully booked if at all possible....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Not sure how many wrecked units are at Beech Grove that can be essentially re-manufactured to go back in service. I think they had 8 on their 2017 plan. Any quantity is a help short term.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

 

I agree with what others have said.

 

There may be planes with 16" wide seats and 28" pitch, but I've never seen them. I just booked a cross country flight utilizing 2 planes. The first on has 18.1" width seats and 30-31" pitch (I upgraded so I have 34" pitch, but I would have been ok with the 30-31". The second plane as a little narrower seat - 18" :o and same pitch.

 

Oh - there are planes with seating like that. They're called fighter jets.

Actually I'm pretty sure you get more space in your average high performance jet than you do on Spirit. I don't know the exact numbers, but that's how I remember it from back when I flew those.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Not sure how many wrecked units are at Beech Grove that can be essentially re-manufactured to go back in service. I think they had 8 on their 2017 plan. Any quantity is a help short term.

 

Here are the rebuilds at the locations from the May MPR.

1. Bear ---- 2 cars rebuilds scheduled and 1 complete.

2. Wilmington 0 locos 0

3. Beech 5 cars 4

5 locos 3 Complete

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Aside from my factitious remarks about air travel that are often taken literally; marketing and promotion is key to the success of any business. If we go back to the golden days of passenger rail there were billboard ads that said " relax in comfort, travel by train" .

My point is that very few people that I come in contact with, know anything about train travel. Most don't even know that it exists. Advertising usually results in a positive R.O.I. but if the trains are full as Ryan claims, then Amtrak doesn't need more business. I believe this claim is debatable.

Getting back to the seat size on aircraft vs Amtrak ; its obvious that train seats are wider and you have more legroom. Irrespective of of comfort level, you read online there is a lot of discussion about the relationship of seat size and the time it takes to evacuate in case of emergencies. I believe that this will continue to be a point of ongoing discussion.

Edited by dlagrua

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Any assumption that change can happen on a massive scale anywhere if you only do one simple thing is a logical falsehood. The world is a complicated place and Amtrak in particular has a number of problems that are positively Byzantine. Friedman's Law of Unintended Consequences, Hofstadter's law, and Murphy's law are almost always guarenteed to apply to anything of this type.

 

Related:

Here's Why So Many Asinine Articles Start With Here's Why

Top Ten Reasons For Top Ten Lists

Eight Reasons For Click Bait Lists With A Number Other Than Ten

Seven Ways To Detect Click Bait

Clicking This Link Will Restore My Faith In Click Bait.

Scientists Baffled How Click Bait Successfully Changed Jounalisms Mantra To Not Bury The Lede

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Not something that Cruz clicked on hopefully

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Amtrak Forum

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Aside from my factitious remarks about air travel that are often taken literally; marketing and promotion is key to the success of any business. If we go back to the golden days of passenger rail there were billboard ads that said " relax in comfort, travel by train" .

My point is that very few people that I come in contact with, know anything about train travel. Most don't even know that it exists. Advertising usually results in a positive R.O.I. but if the trains are full as Ryan claims, then Amtrak doesn't need more business. I believe this claim is debatable.

Getting back to the seat size on aircraft vs Amtrak ; its obvious that train seats are wider and you have more legroom. Irrespective of of comfort level, you read online there is a lot of discussion about the relationship of seat size and the time it takes to evacuate in case of emergencies. I believe that this will continue to be a point of ongoing discussion.

Seat size is a red herring on evacuation times. The overheads popping open and spilling contents everywhere, combined with all the electronics in the overheads basically dropping nets on people is what does it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

True, but having just made a long trip on several trains, hearing the Conductors repeatedly asking Coach passengers not to spread out even though several people got off, they had every seat sold for departure, I am thinking that many of these trains are sold out for at least 50% of their departure stops, or like Reno there were a lot who got off, but a big crowd was waiting at the next stop.

 

I have had many, many long-distance, cross country trips over the years and I can also say from experience that what you're saying it completely TRUE ! Just see if you can find sleeping car space between Memorial Day and Labor Day or in November or December ! The "slow months" are only slightly better!

 

Why is it that these facts never seems to make it to the politicians in Congress? Too many of them STILL believe that the long-distance business should be dispensed with 'cause "no one uses it". HUH? How can we as a nation have such a huge disconnect? Or, do they know what the truth is but reject it 'cause it's not in line with their own political agenda?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Why is it that these facts never seems to make it to the politicians in Congress? Too many of them STILL believe that the long-distance business should be dispensed with 'cause "no one uses it". HUH? How can we as a nation have such a huge disconnect? Or, do they know what the truth is but reject it 'cause it's not in line with their own political agenda?

To be fair to Congress, nearly all of the Democrats and at least a third of the Republicans understand that Amtrak's so-called long-distance services are heavily used, which is why Amtrak's budget continues to be funded year after year.

 

As for the the Republicans who still don't understand this, facts of any sort seem unable to penetrate their brains. On any subject. These include people who think you can cut taxes, raise spending, and balance the budget simultaneously. You'll have to try something other than facts to influence these people, since they are essentially crazy. GML may have some ideas on how to manipulate them; the manipulation of the weak-minded ideologue is not my area of expertise.

 

Where facts would actually help is with a different group of Congresspeople. There are a number of Congressmen who recognize that Amtrak is heavily used but think that the trains are "losing lots of money" and that if they cut them it would "cost less money". This is simply untrue for the Eastern long-distance trains: it's clear that all of them are breakeven or better, and cancelling them would cost money. What Congress is funding is basically the fixed overhead costs of having any trains in the US at *all*.

 

However, Amtrak has *not* made this clear to Congress most of the time, with the honorable exception of one presentation by Boardman. Amtrak is not presenting its accounting in a way which makes the real situation clear. "Fully allocated" nonsense is obscuring this fact and confusing Congresspeople. It would be valuable for this group of Congresspeople to point out, very clearly, that the trains themselves make money but not enough to cover the overhead of the national reservations system, backshops, etc.

 

This seems to be an extremely difficult idea to get through the heads of idiots. There are a lot of people who think Tesla is "losing money on every car they sell". It's the same situation exactly, of course. They're making money on every car they sell, but not enough to cover fixed overhead. They need more volume to cover overhead. However, the vast majority of people seem totally unable to understand the concept.

Edited by neroden

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Getting the average American, who can barely perform arrithmetic 2 years after finishing College or Algebra, to understand things like operating, capital, avoidable, and fully allocated costs is a laughable concept

 

Almost every person who was not in retail that Ive told that the basis of standard profit (I actually call less than this a loss) is a keystone (100% markup- I pay $5 and sell for $10) thinks Im ripping them off somehow. Or that me doing $700 in sales in a day is me getting rich ($270 in expenses means I need to sell $540 just to break even, so $700 is $160 over break even or $80 for a 12 hours- I could make more flipping burgers at Hardees.)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Maybe NARP should make a video of charts and cartoons, to try to explain stuff and make the case for more Amtrak, lots more. It could play on YouTube and reach a good-sized audience.

Edited by WoodyinNYC

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Getting the average American, who can barely perform arrithmetic 2 years after finishing College or Algebra, to understand things like operating, capital, avoidable, and fully allocated costs is a laughable concept

What's sad is that the average Congressman appears to be no more numerate than the average American.

 

I've met *good* Congresspeople who are significantly more numerate than the average American. It would be nice if they had a majority.

Edited by neroden

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would also rather have NARP work towards advocating funding for passenger rail service of all sorts rather than act merely as an additional marketing outfit for Amtrak. Amtrak is the one that should produce the kind of material suggested above.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Most congress persons and all POLs in general cannot understand numbers/ Instead they understand how to convince many voters that their rhetoric is all true and then cannot deliver. Any examples ?

Edited by west point

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Most congress persons and all POLs in general cannot understand numbers/ Instead they understand how to convince many voters that their rhetoric is all true and then cannot deliver. Any examples ?

But the Congress persons' staff are often very knowledgeable and do understand numbers and all that. What one has to do is work with their staff and construct a presentation of the issues in a way that the Congress person can use constructively at the appropriate venues. I actually have a lot of respect for many of the Congressional staffers having worked with them for several years now, even of those Congresspeople whose core positions are completely opposed to many aspects of funding passenger rail. Even those are reasonably amenable to an argument made using solid numbers that actually affect their constituents. The current problem is meeting that "affect their constituents bar" in areas where there isn't much passenger rail. it is a bit of a chicken and egg problem in addition to changing the auto-centric mindset problem.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

Most congress persons and all POLs in general cannot understand numbers ...

Even those are reasonably amenable to an argument made using solid numbers that actually affect their constituents. The current problem is meeting that "affect their constituents bar" in areas where there isn't much passenger rail. it is a bit of a chicken and egg problem ...

I don't know when was the last clear-cut up or down vote on keeping vs slashing Amtrak. But it would be fun to map out the national system to see if the nay votes actually do come from unserved districts.

 

Well, I recall Sen McCain said Arizona didn't have any Amtrak service. I'd maybe forgive him for saying that if the only route was 3-days-a-week to Maricopa. But Arizona has that AND the relatively successful Southwest Chief.

 

Without actually doing such a map and comparison, I'll hazard that new, restored, or added service including, say, NYC-Charleston-Cincinnati-CHI increased to daily along with New Orleans-Houston/San Antonio-El Paso-Tucson-Maricopa-L.A. Then New Orleans-Orlando, Atlanta-Meridien-Dallas-Ft Worth, Denver-Omaha-Des Moines-CHI, NYC-Philly-Pittsburgh-Cleveland-CHI, a day train NYC-D.C.-Richmond-Raleigh-Charlotte-Atlanta, CHI-St Paul-Fargo-Billings-Missoula-Spokane-Seattle, and perhaps several other routes would be viable.

 

(Numerous corridors such as Baton Rouge-New Orleans, New Orleans-Biloxi-Mobile, Columbus-Ft Wayne-Chicago, CHI-Indianapolis-Cincinnati/Louisville, CHI-Toledo-Cleveland, and CHI-Memphis would also be viable.

 

Yes, viable. In fact, set the barrier for added long distance trains as having a service plan that must meet or exceed Amtrak's average LD revenue-per-passenger and operating results before unallocated overhead. (Note that I admit to nothing in capital expenditures for these routes. We'll need another few Stimulus-sized appropriations at least.)

 

Such an expanded system would also decrease the number of voting critics as their districts gained service and Amtrak's revenues, passenger totals, and operating results improved.

Edited by WoodyinNYC

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think NARP at one point produced a map showing how Congresspeople voted on a pretty clear up-or-down Amtrak vote, by district. While I expected nothing from the Wyoming representatives, there really were a surprising number of doctrinaire anti-Amtrak votes who had well-used stations in their districts, and quite a few Amtrak supporters with no station anywhere near their district. I'd like to see a more recent version of that map, but it seems to be a lot of work to create (unless there's a tool online where you can plug in a particular Congressional vote and get a map to pop out -- there might be but I don't know of one).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The problem outside the traditional Amtrak support areas is that if one is lucky to have a representative who supports Amtrak for whatever reason that is great. OTOH, if there is a rep that does not support Amtrak for doctrinaire reason, there is not enough of a group of Amtrak customers in his/her district to have much of an effect on him/her. Just having a little station in district is not enough. Having significant salary or other commercial spend in the district helps much more. And there is a rather broadly believed doctrine among many Americans that government running anything (except their highways of course) is bad. Ergo Amtrak is bad. So there is ready fertile ground for the antis to establish credibility for themselves on the subject. That in a nutshell is the problem.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If I had to guess whether a Congress critter would support Amtrak or not the stereotypes would be...

 

a) Does Amtrak "serve" my state/district (when I say serve, it means frequency, time, to what cities)? Also, what other transportation options. Philly probably doesn't care as much about Amtrak while Amtrak means everything to Rugby, ND. I think it would make sense that Amtrak would have more support in rural areas with no airports nearby than urban areas.

 

b) Party lines when it comes to budget fights. I'm not saying it's right or makes sense but when do battles in Congress ever make sense. I know I'm treading the political lines here but you wonder if pro Amtrak vs. anti Amtrak is party lines. We do know of Republicans that do support Amtrak and I do guess they are in category a). Ironically, Republican support stereo-typically tends to be stronger in rural areas and Democratic support in urban areas.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×