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fredmcain

Southwest Chief News & Future Operations

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Watching a replay of Wednesdays Senate Commerce Committee hearing on PTC and am impressed with Senators Udalls (NM), Morans (KS), and Gardners (CO) firm pressure on Amtraks VP Naparstek for answers regarding maintaining the SWC in its current configuration and the hold up in the release of the $3 million Tiger grant funds.

 

What is amazing to me as a relative novice on these matters, is how seemingly unprepared, evasive, and almost irritated Amtrak VP Naparstek is. The FRA administrator, Batory, seems so much more informed and clear spoken. Unlike Naparstek, Batorys affect reflects a deep understanding and love of what he does. The only interactions in which VP Naparstek perked up and seemed engaged was with Senator Baldwin about her bill about violence prevention on the rails (didnt catch the exact name) and new Lactation Stations and also when asked about if additional funding would help resolve some of the critical issues facing Amtrak.

 

Having never watched a Congressional committee hearing envolving Amtrak, Im curious if Naparsteks performance is typical of Amtrak representatives testimony?

 

p.s. Totally off subject, but does anyone know why apostrophes are not appearing as typed? I am posting using an iPhone X, iOS 12. (FYIW, I just got this phone and am new to iPhone/Apple.)

 

🔴So the Amtrak Bosses have totally screwed up lately, and have lost a lot of credibility. So they sent in the B team.

 

🔴NARP/RPA was heavily involved make sure the Senator had the right question to ask.

 

🔴FRA Administration is a professional. Or as the DC crowd will say a swamp member.

 

🔴This web site got issues, trying to fix them by not allowing apostrophes.

 

 

🔵It should be noted however a big wig will be in Miami at the NARP/RPA meeting. He is not going to enjoy his visit. Totally interesting that the same big wig did not report to Congress, and allowed the B team to testify. One thinks anything said to the Congress will be denied, claiming he didnt have the authority or knowledge to say that. No proof just that feeling thing again.🧐

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What is the deal regarding the $3 million that the AMTRAK representative refused to commit to the TIGER grant? (at the above referred to hearings)

Amtrak had a agreement to help fund the SWC Route. Amtrak contribution was to be 3 Million. With the state funds and Amtrak funds, the Federal Government was going add more money in the form of a TIGER Grant.

 

Amtrak has back off from giving it share of money. So no TIGER Grant.

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Scott Neparstek, Amtrak's executive vice president and chief operating officer, told a senate committee last week that it is committed to keeping the train (the SWC) going at least through September 2019.

 

After almost 800 posts with no information, this quote from a blurb in the Quincy Herald-Whig indicates that maybe there is some movement.

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Scott Neparstek, Amtrak's executive vice president and chief operating officer, told a senate committee last week that it is committed to keeping the train (the SWC) going at least through September 2019.

After almost 800 posts with no information, this quote from a blurb in the Quincy Herald-Whig indicates that maybe there is some movement.

I guess you did not bother to read the 800 messages before erroneously claiming that the info that you so graciously provide was already presented in this thread a few posts before yours.

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Actually he was nice to highlight that Amtrak is only planning to continue the SWC into the end of this fiscal year. September 2019. 1 October 2019 is next years budget, so with out wording or funds for the SWC the train will cease. This battle that everyone thinks is over, is not.

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Scott Neparstek, Amtrak's executive vice president and chief operating officer, told a senate committee last week that it is committed to keeping the train (the SWC) going at least through September 2019.

After almost 800 posts with no information, this quote from a blurb in the Quincy Herald-Whig indicates that maybe there is some movement.

I guess you did not bother to read the 800 messages before erroneously claiming that the info that you so graciously provide was already presented in this thread a few posts before yours.

 

You got me there!

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I'm not sure where this goes, but this seems to be one of two places. So, we'll start here. Hoew much more is needed to complete PTC for this route? Is this enough to turn the tide (track investments aside?):

FRA: PTC round two grants total $46.3 million

https://www.railwayage.com/cs/ptc/fra-ptc-round-two-grants-total-46-3-million/?RAchannel=safety

Quote

The awards will fund many aspects of PTC system implementation for intercity passenger or commuter rail and freight rail transportation, including back office PTC systems; wayside, communications, and onboard PTC system equipment; personnel training; PTC system testing; and interoperability.

FRA awarded grants in the approximate amounts below to the following programs and entities:

CO – PTC Installation for the Amtrak Southwest Chief on BNSF Railway Through Colorado and Kansas (Up to $9,157,600); Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT). This rural project from CDOT, in collaboration with the Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT) and BNSF, includes the design, installation, andtesting of I-ETMS PTC wayside technology on approximately 179 miles of a predominantly single-track route between Dodge City, Kan., and Las Animas, Colo.

NM – New Mexico Rail Runner Express PTC/Wi-Fi Integration Project (Up to $2,496,842); Rio Metro Regional Transit District (Rio Metro). This rural project will restore the New Mexico Rail Runner Express (NMRX) system’s Wi-Fi network from an end-of-life, proprietary WiMAX system to a cross-compatible Long-Term Evolution (LTE) system, providing a redundant path of communication for its I-ETMS PTC system. The project will install 26 towers along the 96 miles of the NMRX system between Belen, N.M. and Santa Fe, N.M., including approximately 74 miles of the Albuquerque Subdivision and 22 miles of the Santa Fe Subdivision. Nine NMRX cab cars, 13 coach cars, and 15 NMRX stations will be equipped with the Wi-Fi technology necessary for its PTC system.

 

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I'm not sure where this goes, but this seems to be one of two places. So, we'll start here. Hoew much more is needed to complete PTC for this route? Is this enough to turn the tide (track investments aside?):
FRA: PTC round two grants total $46.3 million
https://www.railwayage.com/cs/ptc/fra-ptc-round-two-grants-total-46-3-million/?RAchannel=safety
The awards will fund many aspects of PTC system implementation for intercity passenger or commuter rail and freight rail transportation, including back office PTC systems; wayside, communications, and onboard PTC system equipment; personnel training; PTC system testing; and interoperability.
FRA awarded grants in the approximate amounts below to the following programs and entities:
CO – PTC Installation for the Amtrak Southwest Chief on BNSF Railway Through Colorado and Kansas (Up to $9,157,600); Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT). This rural project from CDOT, in collaboration with the Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT) and BNSF, includes the design, installation, andtesting of I-ETMS PTC wayside technology on approximately 179 miles of a predominantly single-track route between Dodge City, Kan., and Las Animas, Colo.
NM – New Mexico Rail Runner Express PTC/Wi-Fi Integration Project (Up to $2,496,842); Rio Metro Regional Transit District (Rio Metro). This rural project will restore the New Mexico Rail Runner Express (NMRX) system’s Wi-Fi network from an end-of-life, proprietary WiMAX system to a cross-compatible Long-Term Evolution (LTE) system, providing a redundant path of communication for its I-ETMS PTC system. The project will install 26 towers along the 96 miles of the NMRX system between Belen, N.M. and Santa Fe, N.M., including approximately 74 miles of the Albuquerque Subdivision and 22 miles of the Santa Fe Subdivision. Nine NMRX cab cars, 13 coach cars, and 15 NMRX stations will be equipped with the Wi-Fi technology necessary for its PTC system.
 
This seems to leave out the territory from Las Animas to the NMRX trackage. So there's still that.

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It looks like the section between  Las Animas and La Junta may already have PTC per the BNSF PTC Map and then would the section between La Junta and the NMRX be exempt based on only #3 and #4 traveling over the route?

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32 minutes ago, illinoisandy said:

It looks like the section between  Las Animas and La Junta may already have PTC per the BNSF PTC Map and then would the section between La Junta and the NMRX be exempt based on only #3 and #4 traveling over the route?

Correct.  Even Anderson can probably be convinced that safety can be established without PTC for a route section with one train each way.

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I would be amazed if their much vaunted SMS cannot figure that out. Afterall Delta does operate to several airports that are minimally equipped, let alone being equipped with Cat III and all.

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It all depends if the SMS has an agenda and how the results are interpreted. SMS has done wonders at the airlines but everything has risk in it. The safest time at my cargo airline is Saturday night when the planes are all parked. The rest of the week things are mitigated as best they can by sms policies and employees on all levels. The end result is everything still has a risk even if it’s minuscule.

I just don’t know if Anderson/Gardner/mgmt  are going to be straight shooters and blow something minuscule out of proportion with it. Hopefully they will be called out on it if they do. 

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So this is a good experiment to see if there is agenda or not. If the national network continues to operate as is at the end of 2019, it would be an indication that perhaps any agenda about discontinuance, even if it existed at one time, has at least receded for the time being.

 

Then again it may be running in a very curtailed state or not running at all due to other insane reasons beyond the control of Amtrak management. Who knows? There is always residual risk of such coming to pass this year a bit more than at other saner times.

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22 hours ago, Amtrakfflyer said:

It all depends if the SMS has an agenda and how the results are interpreted. SMS has done wonders at the airlines but everything has risk in it. The safest time at my cargo airline is Saturday night when the planes are all parked. The rest of the week things are mitigated as best they can by sms policies and employees on all levels. The end result is everything still has a risk even if it’s minuscule.

I just don’t know if Anderson/Gardner/mgmt  are going to be straight shooters and blow something minuscule out of proportion with it. Hopefully they will be called out on it if they do. 

This is my main concern. Sure, PTC may be available. However,  they can still claim diminished returns from their "right sized" trains, making the infrastructure investment not worth it. They've already mentioned that.

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11 hours ago, Just-Thinking-51 said:

Wow all that goodwill Amtrak created with this situation.:giggle:

They may have done damage or they may have drawn a line in the sand. If I'm reading this correctly, they will receive the money for PTC and they may receive money for other projects. Perhaps that is what they wanted. In other words, "if you want it, pay for it."

What do you think? Am I giving them too much credit and this was a fiasco all the way around or will this sort of ploy be the future?

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It certainly helps shore up sagging membership of RPA. :lol:

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7 hours ago, Thirdrail7 said:

They may have done damage or they may have drawn a line in the sand. If I'm reading this correctly, they will receive the money for PTC and they may receive money for other projects. Perhaps that is what they wanted. In other words, "if you want it, pay for it."

What do you think? Am I giving them too much credit and this was a fiasco all the way around or will this sort of ploy be the future?

Fiasco all the way around.  If this is a ploy for the future then the amount of angry politicians will increase to point were there is trains, but no more Amtrak.  Too many States are turn against Amtrak on the 750 miles services. Now the politicians are getting annoyed with Amtrak on the long distance trains too.  Record amount of funding last year, and Amtrak plays hardball for more money?

 

See New York State.

See Connecticut.

See California.

See Washington, Oregon.

See the recent buying of ever single railcar that Amtrak had for sale by a single organization.

 

No good will come from this.

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1 hour ago, Just-Thinking-51 said:

.

See the recent buying of ever single railcar that Amtrak had for sale by a single organization.

 

No good will come from this.

What organization is that?   And for what purpose?

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Yes I’m very curious as well. I’ve heard rumors of one buyer for everything including the Parlours. Leads me to believe it’s a scrap company. Pure speculation on my part.

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3 hours ago, railiner said:
4 hours ago, Just-Thinking-51 said:

.

See the recent buying of ever single railcar that Amtrak had for sale by a single organization.

 

No good will come from this.

What organization is that?   And for what purpose?

@Seaboard92 mentioned this in another thread, but can't who it actually is:

 

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