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

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Politically upper class service can be and is justified elsewhere after standard class service is provided adequately. Unfortunately in the extremely limited budgetary situation with a zero sum game that is something that will be hard to pull off. We are lucky to have the Sleeper service that we do have, politically speaking that is.

For example, in India, in order to justify operating the Rajdhani Expresses, of which many make money hand over fist, and a few lose money like there is no tomorrow too, trains on close to equivalent schedule for the not so well to do have to be operated, even though most of the accommodation on Rajdhanis is 3 Tier Sleeper. So there are plethora of other trains like the Garib Rath (literally "poor man's chariot" carrying only dense pack 3 tier sleepers), Humsafar (non reserved second class AC) and what not  - expresses, in addition to the classic mail/express trains. Any non-AC train is restricted to 120kph in general, with very few exceptions, but even for AC trains the poor man's version has more crowded layout and such to basically try to collect the same net net in fares as from the rich man's train. One thing interesting though - a Chair Car is not considered an acceptable substitute for a Sleeper. Consequently they have designed Sleepers that will hold as many as a Chair Car. Crowded? Yes. But it is a flat surface to sleep on, and not a chair in which to go through weird contortions to try to sleep. Chair Cars are offered as an even cheaper alternative, even though they do not hold any more people.

While details may vary, the politics may be quite similar elsewhere, and places where the Rail Budget does not make or break a government, it is harder to come by the overall funding needed for infrastructure and rolling stock to pull such off. In the US an equivalent situation exists in highway funding, but alas not for passenger rail.

Edited by jis

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On 2/9/2019 at 11:59 PM, crescent-zephyr said:

I wasn't referencing if PV's do or do not bring in revenue for Amtrak. I've ridden PV's... I get it. 

But Amtrak still takes private cars on routes that it makes sense for them operationally. So they are still making money with private cars (in theory). 

But what annoys me is all the railfans whining because they can't piggy-back on Amtrak's insurance anymore. That was a pretty strange loop hole from the start, and I'm really surprised it lasted as long as it did. 

Yes... if you want to run a passenger train on a mainline railroad in the USA you'll have to pay for the insurance. It's not a right to be able to use Amtrak's insurance, that's not why they exist

The fundamental problem, I am told, is that you can't purchase the insurance for any price whatsoever. 

 

It's basically piggyback on Amtrak's insurance or give up.  Amtrak should absolutely *charge money* to piggyback on Amtrak's insurance, but given that the private insurance companies are simply avoiding the market entirely, it makes sense for Amtrak to step in and offer the insurance. (I believe Amtrak has a captive insurance company.)

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5 hours ago, neroden said:

The fundamental problem, I am told, is that you can't purchase the insurance for any price whatsoever. 

 

It's basically piggyback on Amtrak's insurance or give up.  Amtrak should absolutely *charge money* to piggyback on Amtrak's insurance, but given that the private insurance companies are simply avoiding the market entirely, it makes sense for Amtrak to step in and offer the insurance. (I believe Amtrak has a captive insurance company.)

Well, because by law, Amtrak must carry insurance. Other carriers aren't necessarily required to carry insurance by law

As such, Amtrak is forced to carry it but that does that mean the can sell it to someone else?

 

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Amtrak uses "Passenger Railroad Insurance, Limited", a Bermuda company which it owns entirely, to provide its insurance.

Where do other operators go to get insurance?  I've never shopped for it.  I really was told you couldn't buy it.  Maybe I'm wrong.

I mean, *almost everyone in the railroad business self-insures*.  What insurance company actually offers these insurance policies?

Edited by neroden

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I was under the impression that the Bermuda outfit is a conduit for Swiss Re or some such re-insurer to provide excess insurance beyond some very high amount upto which Amtrak is self-insured. But I could be wrong since this is a recollection from several years back.

Clearly Amtrak cannot just sell bare insurance policies. It can insure trains or equipment in train that it operates commercially or under contract, and I suppose include an imputed cost of it as part of the contract price. Apparently freight railroads don't want to be as charitable, assuming the issues of rough handling etc. are somehow mitigated for PVs.

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Union Pacific and Norfolk Southern have operated public excursions in the past few years on their tracks without Amtrak involvement.  Naturally they have $$$ to spend and can probably just add on to their existing insurance.  

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Operating an entire Chartered train may be less complicated to handle than attaching a PV or two to a freight train, like is the more common usage on Amtrak trains. Our friends Seaboard once mentioned that there are significant rough handling issue when attached to a freight train.

Of course, in either case the exposure has to be covered somehow, and when transporting people, the financial exposure is probably an or der or two magnitude greater than when conveying freight.

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I wish I still had the after affects of a Budd diner that road a freight train after New River that we had to do a renovation on.

There is one company offering insurance now to the operators that claims to be at Amtrak levels. And that is United Shortline. I do not know however what the cost of it is.

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