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amtrak crescent delays

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Seriously though, there's a couple of reasons.

 

1) The two trains meet at Tuscaloosa; one of them has to go "in the hole" for a little bit while the other occupies the station track.

2) Telford/Inman Yard just west of the Atlanta station is a notorious place to lose lots of time - The NS tracks the Amtrak uses crosses the CSX tracks leading into the yard there, and the CSX tracks have right-of-way. So you often end up waiting for long, slow yard drags.

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NS seems to be having a meltdown between Tuscaloosa and Birmingham and to a lesser extent, Atlanta. At one point they transferred 50 crews from elsewhere just to move dead, tied-down trains across this district. I think the current going theory is shutting down the Chattanooga hump has caused most of these problems.

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MattW has it right. Unless NS rethinks its recent decisions, this situation is likely to persist... the new normal. It would take time to increase track capacity between Meridian and Birmingham, even if NS were so inclined (and there's no indication that they are). ALDOT doesn't care, either.

 

My guess? NS would like to see the Crescent shortened to NY-Atlanta or at most NY-Birmingham.

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Norfolk Southern supposedly started moving freight traffic across the Central of Georgia district again, which is Birmingham-Columbus-Macon. But it doesn't seem to be helping the congestion. 19 and 20 have terrible timekeeping and I stopped taking the train ATL-WAS for work because it's too unreliable. I rode BHM-ATL last week and we were delayed 2 hours into Atlanta. The southbound train that day was even worse, 3 or 4 hours late into BHM.

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It sounds like NS is implementing changes they learned from the wonderful improvements CSX made!

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Norfolk Southern supposedly started moving freight traffic across the Central of Georgia district again, which is Birmingham-Columbus-Macon. But it doesn't seem to be helping the congestion. 19 and 20 have terrible timekeeping and I stopped taking the train ATL-WAS for work because it's too unreliable. I rode BHM-ATL last week and we were delayed 2 hours into Atlanta. The southbound train that day was even worse, 3 or 4 hours late into BHM.

 

I believe the ex-CofG B'ham-Columbus is clearance-limited because of tunnels and cannot take double-stack trains. And it has grades, too. Traditionally this was the route for empty coal trains going north.

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Most of the delays are between Meridian and Tuscaloosa. NS is having a hard time running the long intermodal trains due to lack of useable long sidings. Trains are having to "saw" by. There are two long sidings but when used by an intermodal train, it blocks too many crossings and cuts the towns in two. They are in the process of extending the double track north out of Meridian from MP292.7, Breyer to MP 282.2, Toomsuba. They would extend the double track from Meridian, 27th Ave, MP 295.4 to Smith, MP 280.7. This will help but not eliminate the delays. Another thing that is going to help the the NS is eliminating one of the KCS through trains due to delays on the KCS.

 

To give you an idea of the delays - here is the delay so far today (250pm):

 

19 has been sitting at Fleming since 140pm, over an hour so far. It is waiting on 20 which was about Boligee at that time.

19 could not go any further as the siding at Crabtree was out of service or had cars in it, the sidings at Moundville, Akron and Eutaw had trains in them. So 20 is going to have to go to Fleming to meet 19. Also, siding at Woodstock is occupied and the siding at Mercedes is out of service.

20 is running late due to delayed meeting trains between Laurel and Meridian.

 

So goes today in the "Black Hole".


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Most of the delays are between Meridian and Tuscaloosa. NS is having a hard time running the long intermodal trains due to lack of useable long sidings. Trains are having to "saw" by. There are two long sidings but when used by an intermodal train, it blocks too many crossings and cuts the towns in two.

 

 

 

 

This ties into what I was saying about the trains seeming longer. Quite often, the Crescent will have to tuck into a siding, behind a freight train. When the traffic clears, it will have to back out of the siding and proceed around the traffic.

 

 

My question is, when did NS start running these mammoth freight trains that don't seem to fit anywhere?

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Most of the delays are between Meridian and Tuscaloosa. NS is having a hard time running the long intermodal trains due to lack of useable long sidings. Trains are having to "saw" by. There are two long sidings but when used by an intermodal train, it blocks too many crossings and cuts the towns in two.

 

 

 

 

This ties into what I was saying about the trains seeming longer. Quite often, the Crescent will have to tuck into a siding, behind a freight train. When the traffic clears, it will have to back out of the siding and proceed around the traffic.

 

 

My question is, when did NS start running these mammoth freight trains that don't seem to fit anywhere?

 

Sounds like "precision railroading" has found a new convert.

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Later reports seem to indicate Crescent now loosing time between CLT and Atlanta

 

Perhaps because freights are parked, waiting for a chance to get into Inman or continue beyond toward Birmingham. There are anecdotes of trains parked in NC due to backups farther south.

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Precision(less) Railroading at it's best.

 

Recently 20 was delayed near Tuscaloosa because NS 198 had gone on the law - on the mainline. (this would be in the early afternoon) The next day 19 was delayed meeting 198 outside of Atlanta (early morning). Not much precision running their own trains like that.

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Today, 20 was delayed south of Meridian meet NS 355. Then held at Boligee due to 393 on the law on the mainline at Eutaw waiting for a relief crew. Also, 20 held at Boligee to meet 3 NS trains.

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It's not always Amtrak that gets stuck. Recently the NS executive train was running in South Carolina. It took a six hour hit meeting a freight because it had lawed out on the main ahead of it. I'm sure some heads rolled.

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It is unfortunate but what was once train with reasonable OTP, is now one of the worst calendar day performers. These kinds of routine delays are what makes people wonder "for the amount of riders between these points, is this worth it?"

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In seeing all the delays that 19 & 20 are taking in the past 5-6 months, it bodes ill for the first overnight leg of my 10 night Amtrak joyride on AGR points starting next Monday. Hopefully, they stock the diner on #19 for two nights of serving dinner.

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In seeing all the delays that 19 & 20 are taking in the past 5-6 months, it bodes ill for the first overnight leg of my 10 night Amtrak joyride on AGR points starting next Monday. Hopefully, they stock the diner on #19 for two nights of serving dinner.

They always offer dinner prior to NOL. It is an "Express" meal with fewer selections.

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It is unfortunate but what was once train with reasonable OTP, is now one of the worst calendar day performers. These kinds of routine delays are what makes people wonder "for the amount of riders between these points, is this worth it?"

That and people that might be thinking about a trip, won't take it due to the delays. With my raise this year, I was considering a trip to New York from Atlanta, but with the Crescent's poor performance, I'm not even considering it.

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I am taking the Crescent for the first lime later this month and, after looking at ASMAD, changed my Boston connection at New York to the 7pm train. It mostly makes that.

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Dinty Moore!

No, they are actual meals. Just less of a selection. The pasta meal is always one of the choices.

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