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lordsigma

Checked baggage being cut from Boston Section of Lake Shore?

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Spokane switching westbound is the easiest thing in the world:

Combined train stops alongside the platform. Lead unit pulls ahead and out of the way. Uncouple just ahead of the lounge car. The former 2nd unit remains in place, becomes the Seattle section's engine, and departs. The original lead unit backs onto the lounge car and departs for Portland ~20 minutes later.  HEP is off for 10ish minutes in the Portland section.

Eastbound I have been asleep. Portland section still arrives first, and the end result is still the Portland engine being on the point after departure. But it must require at least one extra move-- I don't know if that extra move is the Seattle section going past the parked Portland section and backing into the platform ahead of it, or something else. Nor do I know if the Portland engine "hides" east or west of the station while waiting for the Seattle section to pass it.

I doubt that the combined Builder has ever *needed* 3 units. It routinely ran with 2 F40s in the 80s and early 90s, and routinely runs with 2 P42s now, summer and winter. In seven trips and several dozen sightings, the only time I've ever seen a 3rd unit, it was a BNSF freight unit leading a 4-hours-late westbound, presumably after a failure somewhere west of Spokane.

There was a gap of several years when I neither saw nor rode it -- approximately 2005-2013. Were there times when the Seattle section was heavy enough to need 2 units? Do not know. If it had 2 seattle sleepers and 3 seattle coaches, perhaps it would.  I don't recall ever seeing 3 seattle coaches, either - it would be a rarity to need them, since there are always 2 portland coaches which tend to have lots of extra capacity, and anyone not actually going past Spokane on the Seattle section is likely to get placed in them.

 

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3 hours ago, bmjhagen9426 said:

The EB runs (at least in the past) with 3 engines east of SPK. Where do they get the 3rd engine in that case? And when the EB runs with only 2 engines east of SPK, where do the third engine (either one of the SEA engine or the PDX engine) go to? And how do the switching work at SPK (I've seen the ALB switching, but slept thru the SPK switching)?

The EB actually runs with two engines east of SPK, not three. As to the switching operations in SPK, it’s relatively simple. On the westbound, it goes as follows:

  1. The leading locomotive uncouples from the rest of the train
  2. The Seattle section, pulled by what was the trailing locomotive, uncouples from the Portland section
  3. That first locomotive backs in and attaches to the Portland section
  4. Both sections go on their way

And of course, on the eastbound:

  1. The Portland section locomotive uncouples
  2. The Seattle section backs onto the Portland section
  3. What was the Portland section locomotive, couples to the front of the combined train
  4. Off to Chicago

EDIT: Darn it. Didn’t see Siegmund’s reply when I posted.

Edited by cpotisch

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3 hours ago, Siegmund said:
22 hours ago, caravanman said:

I thought that the two loco's on Amtrak trains were to have backup if one failed, rather than for motive power?

I'm not aware of cases were Amtrak, of its own free will, ran backup engines. There are certainly cases where the host railroad insists upon it.

Amtrak does actually have certain locomotives designated as “pair only”, meaning that they are considered unreliable enough that they can only run together. But as I understand it, for the most part Amtrak only runs multiple locos for the motive power, and not simply so that there is a back up.

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2 units on 448/9 to/from Boston is totally unnecessary, Albany to Chicago is a different story.

Edited by PVD

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Amtrak has run, and continues to run LD trains with a single locomotive, especially those that are 'flat land' running.  They've run the LSL multiple times ALB-CHI with one locomotive.  After all, it IS the famed Water Level Route of the New York Central!   It's a Catch-22 to run with a single loco.  In particular, it all comes down to numbers:  How much is saved every day in fuel and maintenance costs if the 2nd locomotive is not used.  And how much is the cost in dollars if the one unit fails enroute?  Unfortunately, it would seem that passengers are not a major consideration in the latter calculation...especially if your name is Anderson.

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9 hours ago, Siegmund said:

I doubt that the combined Builder has ever *needed* 3 units. It routinely ran with 2 F40s in the 80s and early 90s, and routinely runs with 2 P42s now, summer and winter. In seven trips and several dozen sightings, the only time I've ever seen a 3rd unit, it was a BNSF freight unit leading a 4-hours-late westbound, presumably after a failure somewhere west of Spokane.

In December 2016 I was on the eastbound EB that had three P42s that left Portland and Seattle on December 10, 2016. After the merger in SPK, it was of the following consist, as I recall: 3 P42's, Viewliner baggage car, Trans dorm, 2 Seattle sleepers, Diner (Seattle), 2 Seattle coaches, Lounge (Portland), Portland coach-bag, Portland coach, Portland sleeper (in that order). It was particularly snowy during my trip.

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I don't recall ever seeing 3 seattle coaches, either - it would be a rarity to need them, since there are always 2 portland coaches which tend to have lots of extra capacity, and anyone not actually going past Spokane on the Seattle section is likely to get placed in them.
 


This part isn't true at all, as that's not how the ticketing works on this train. Since according to Amtrak there are two trains that operate Chicago to Seattle (7 and 27), you must go in the coaches for the side of the train you purchased your ticket for.



Amtrak does actually have certain locomotives designated as “pair only”, meaning that they are considered unreliable enough that they can only run together. But as I understand it, for the most part Amtrak only runs multiple locos for the motive power, and not simply so that there is a back up.


Yes. It can happen to the electrics too.

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I was under the impression that electrics were run in pair for a little while when one of them had just come out of a major maintenance.

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11 hours ago, jis said:

I was under the impression that electrics were run in pair for a little while when one of them had just come out of a major maintenance.

That's true of any of the road power. After it comes out of major maintenance. software updates or overhaul, it will run with another unit as a test. There are other engines that may have a running repair that may operate as a pair.

Other than that, there are only a few trains that actually require multiple units for the terrain. Most of it is for the schedule.

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On 12/6/2018 at 7:45 PM, cpotisch said:

The EB actually runs with two engines east of SPK, not three. As to the switching operations in SPK, it’s relatively simple. On the westbound, it goes as follows:

  1. The leading locomotive uncouples from the rest of the train
  2. The Seattle section, pulled by what was the trailing locomotive, uncouples from the Portland section
  3. That first locomotive backs in and attaches to the Portland section
  4. Both sections go on their way

And of course, on the eastbound:

  1. The Portland section locomotive uncouples
  2. The Seattle section backs onto the Portland section
  3. What was the Portland section locomotive, couples to the front of the combined train
  4. Off to Chicago

EDIT: Darn it. Didn’t see Siegmund’s reply when I posted.

IINM, The engines that take the train from CHI to SEA stay on the train in SPK. And there is a unit for the train to Portland in SPK. No locomotive swapping needed. 

On 12/6/2018 at 9:56 PM, PVD said:

2 units on 448/9 to/from Boston is totally unnecessary, Albany to Chicago is a different story.

The main reason for 2 units on 448/449 is that the Boston section of the LSL is on the front of the train. And the two units will take the entire train from ALB. 

Overall for both the LSL and EB if they add a unit or remove a unit from a train it would dramatically extend the dwell time. 

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13 hours ago, Triley said:


 

 


This part isn't true at all, as that's not how the ticketing works on this train. Since according to Amtrak there are two trains that operate Chicago to Seattle (7 and 27), you must go in the coaches for the side of the train you purchased your ticket for.

 

In my experience, if not travelling west of Spokane the ticketed train number has no influence on the assigned car. For example, on my recent trip to Essex all coach passengers going to Essex were placed in the Portland section, while all on the return were placed in the Seattle section.

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It is clearly a time saver if you are sending 2 to Chicago, what I was trying to point out is that the choice of 1 or 2 to Chicago has a lot more points to debate than Albany to Boston. When it was temporarily a shuttle, it had no reason to use 2.

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There is a push for expanded Boston - Springfield service possibly extending out to Pittsfield. If they desired to go the Amtrak corridor route for this service I could see the Boston section being eliminated and converted to a Shuttle that would operate as part of that corridor and timed to meet 48/49 especially if it was decided to have Albany as the west end of the corridor.

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News.  On 448 today, checked luggage at Boston was "pick up at trainside".  Which worked.  Hopefully this means they are keeping checked baggage.

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I have always "picked up at trainside" at Boston, both LSL and  66. One of the smaller bags is mine. I agree there isn't much baggage on the ALB-BOS route, although this was an April trip, not peak travel season..

DSC00097.JPG

Edited by AG1
Added date

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There was an entire cart of transfer bags coming off 448 (presumably for 67?), so discontinuing checked bags at Boston would be a big mess.

 

Get the bag dorms delivered, Mr Anderson!

Edited by neroden

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4 hours ago, lordsigma said:

There is a push for expanded Boston - Springfield service possibly extending out to Pittsfield. If they desired to go the Amtrak corridor route for this service I could see the Boston section being eliminated and converted to a Shuttle that would operate as part of that corridor and timed to meet 48/49 especially if it was decided to have Albany as the west end of the corridor.

As long as they are going to Pittsfield, why not go all in and continue on to Albany? It’s not much further and you get connections two five other routes.

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As long as Massachusetts is funding service, it's in their interest to promote travel within the state, and to better integrate the western part of the state with the Boston MSA, instead of providing a route for people to spend money in New York.  Although the point is probably moot in all of our lifetimes anyway, given how long it will take to negotiate capacity increases from Worcester to Springfield with CSX, then to fund them, then to build them...then do the whole thing again to Pittsfield, except this time with more challenging topography.

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3 hours ago, lordsigma said:

According to website last day of checked baggage is 1/6

They still have bicycle and pet slots for sale, though. Probably a glitch, but it's been long enough that you'd think they would have caught it. Maybe it's real?

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5 hours ago, lordsigma said:

There is a push for expanded Boston - Springfield service possibly extending out to Pittsfield. If they desired to go the Amtrak corridor route for this service I could see the Boston section being eliminated and converted to a Shuttle that would operate as part of that corridor and timed to meet 48/49 especially if it was decided to have Albany as the west end of the corridor.

The expansion talk about Boston to Springfield is for MBTA commuter rail service , not Amtrak.

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The expansion talk about Boston to Springfield is for MBTA commuter rail service , not Amtrak.

I don’t think those details have been determined yet. Right now they are studying different options and nothing has been decided. MBTA has been talked about, as well as Amtrak converting some of the Springfield Shuttles into New Haven - Boston. The first determination will be the western terminus - either Springfield or Pittsfield and trip time. The method of operations and operator will surely be decided later after they determine station stops, trip time, etc.

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As long as they are going to Pittsfield, why not go all in and continue on to Albany? It’s not much further and you get connections two five other routes.

If they decided to go with Amtrak as the operator And wanted to go as far as Pittsfield I wouldn’t be surprised if they went all the way to Albany. But it may only terminate at Springfield and in that case they may do a New Haven - Boston option. They may also do neither and operate it as MBTA commuter service.

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Sorry, when you say “converting some of the New Haven-Springfield Shuttles to New Haven - Boston”, would that be via Springfield, or the standard route through Providence?

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