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lordsigma

Checked baggage being cut from Boston Section of Lake Shore?

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A possible option is a NY sleeper to/from ALB, then change to BC or Coach ALB to/from BOS if it doesn't screw up pricing to any great degree. For most people, the ALB to BOS stretch is not during sleeping hours, of course, that is an individual factor.

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But then, if I had a crystal ball, I'd put my money on Anderson cancelling the bag/dorm cars as well as the sleepers and getting a refund from CAF.  THAT would be the second 'big step' in cancelling LD trains...ancient sleeping cars with minimal maintenance and new baggage cars being used as 'axle count'.  Unhappy passengers don't come back!


It doesn't work like that, he just can't go and cancel the order and expect a full refund. There is a contract in place... Blow money on this, and Amtrak will NEVER receive funding for equipment again...

And please don't say "Well isn't that the goal?" I don't like the guy either, but give the guy some credit, he's not trying to kill the entire company.

Baggage-dorms, or some other sort of half-baggage-half-revenue-space car, make a great deal of sense, on almost every route except the few with heaviest baggage usage. Combines were used 150 years ago on light-load trips, and Amtrak made good use of Coach-Baggage cars when Superliner I came out. I am a little surprised that full baggage cars and transition sleepers are still a thing out west, actually... if I had been king, those would have been baggage-sleepers. 
 


If a transition to Superliner bag/sleepers were made, express service would be lost, since pallets wouldn't be able to be loaded, assuming the setup would be similar to a bag/coach.


Always thought the old Night Owl could have been rerouted via the inland route and that would have generated more baggage and express business than the shoreline.
 


Providence is a pretty large stop to lose out... they'd generate a lot more baggage, express shipments, and passengers, than would be shifting 67/66 over the inland route. On weekdays some 100-150 people board in Providence to commute to Boston, in addition to another 50 or so at other shoreline stops. (A monthly between Providence and Boston is $425, so estimate that 2/3rds of them have a monthly, that's ~$28000-$42000 in guaranteed revenue generated because of the train's existence there.

I’m planning a transcon trip for February using points and I was looking at doing SEA-CHI-BOS, but I absolutely hate being right next to the engines. I like hearing the horn blow, but from a bit of a distance, not close enough where you have to wear ear plugs. Riding in the dorm car on the CONO is very loud - can’t imagine this would be any better.


Imagine what it's like to be on the few side! :P. I had a real hard time sleeping the one diner trip I worked. I got to Chicago, face planted my bed even with my shoes and jacket still on, and passed out for an hour and a half, before getting up for dinner and going back to bed.

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6 minutes ago, Triley said:

It doesn't work like that, he just can't go and cancel the order and expect a full refund. There is a contract in place... Blow money on this, and Amtrak will NEVER receive funding for equipment again...And please don't say "Well isn't that the goal?" I don't like the guy either, but give the guy some credit, he's not trying to kill the entire company.

I don't think anyone is seriously saying Anderson is trying to kill the entire company.  For instance, I've yet to see anything that implies he's willing to abandon the Northeastern Corridor.  That being said it does seem that he couldn't care less what happens to the current long distance network so long as Amtrak's fuzzy bean counting math looks good.

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I don't think anyone is seriously saying Anderson is trying to kill the entire company.  For instance, I've yet to see anything that implies he's willing to abandon the Northeastern Corridor.  That being said it does seem that he couldn't care less what happens to the current long distance network so long as Amtrak's fuzzy bean counting math looks good.

Oh I agree with you completely. It's just that a lot of people blame him for and accuse him of everything negative that's happened recently, even when many of those things he had no involvement in.

 

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3 hours ago, NativeSon5859 said:

I’m planning a transcon trip for February using points and I was looking at doing SEA-CHI-BOS, but I absolutely hate being right next to the engines. I like hearing the horn blow, but from a bit of a distance, not close enough where you have to wear ear plugs. Riding in the dorm car on the CONO is very loud - can’t imagine this would be any better.

As PVD indcated above, book the 48, not 448 sleeper CHI-ALB then ride coach in 448 ALB-CHI.  I do exactly that when I ride 448/449-48/49 from Springfield MA.  I'm far away from the horns and at most 1 car away from the FKA diner and cafe car.  It also gives the benefit of riding coach (not business class!) for the extra legroom (more than BC unless they've substituted a NEC full BC car for regular coach which they did to me in September!) and the ability to enjoy both sides of the train while going through the Berkshire Mtns between ALB and SPG.

 

As a side note: Amtrak (Julie) just called me to advise me that my April trip on 448 will NOT have a baggage car!  Surprise,  surprise, surprise! (with apologies to Gomer Pyle aka Jim Nabors)

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This really is a shame. I had been planning on getting a Roomette from BOS to CHI at some point, but I don't know how I'd make it work with that much noise. Death by a thousand small cuts.

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18 minutes ago, Thirdrail7 said:

Look at the bright side. At least you still have your contemporary dining service to look forward to. 

I think that should be a slogan. Amtrak's Contemporary Dining! It's better than the stew!!!

How about "Contemporary dining: Food so bad you won't even think about the horn!" :D

Edited by cpotisch

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5 hours ago, Thirdrail7 said:

Look at the bright side. At least you still have your contemporary dining service to look forward to. 

I think that should be a slogan. Amtrak's Contemporary Dining! It's better than the stew!!!

Actually, I LIKE Dinty Moore stew!

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I agree, the Stew is better than the Sugar and Starch Bombs served on the Lake Shore and Cap!

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10 hours ago, bratkinson said:

Actually, I LIKE Dinty Moore stew!

&

10 hours ago, Bob Dylan said:

I agree, the Stew is better than the Sugar and Starch Bombs served on the Lake Shore and Cap!

&

2 minutes ago, AKA said:

I concur

Even if you love the taste and texture of canned stew do you think it's a good value for a ticket that typically costs several hundred dollars and often exceeds first class airfare?

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On 12/12/2018 at 1:40 PM, lordsigma said:

I suppose for sleeper passengers having the "unused sleeper" open for baggage makes this less of an issue...for people that really don't want to deal with their bags they can ask for baggage assistance at the station and have the agent or red cap drop it in that roomette. This is ASSUMING they don't mess with staffing at the stations. And this would only help Springfield and Boston.

 

On 12/12/2018 at 1:48 PM, VTTrain said:

One less roomette won’t make the remaining roomettes any cheaper.   

I'm now wondering if this roomette will be unavailable from BOS-ALB or BOS-CHI.I'm thinking BOS-CHI although at Alb, there would be nothing from stopping them from loading any extra carry-on luggage into the baggage car and freeing up the sleeper for use.

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I hate to sound defeatist but I doubt there is anything you can really do unless the state of Massachusetts or the city of Springfield steps in. After all,  you can still ship bags from BOS-ALB, with a delay. You can still ship bags from BOS-CHI, with a delay.  PIT and BBY never had baggage service so you're only losing baggage lite at WOR and all baggage service at SPG.  Considering a large swath of the country has lost their baggage service (or never had it to begin with), it will be hard to justify the hard economics of keeping 3 baggage cars for the sole purpose of servicing SPG and checking bikes at PIT.

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One unfortunate thing is that a checked baggage area was included in the new Springfield station that will never get used. Amtrak still isn't using the new station although I heard an indication it may finally be happening sometime soon. The new high level platform should be done sometime in the spring.

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I sleep very well in the 448/449 sleeper, but then train horns put me to sleep almost instantly.

So, I went SYR-BOS recently.  The boiled eggs in the cafe car make a huge difference -- I can live without the dining car.  It would be *nice* to have the dining car, but I *don't have to bring my own food*.  I bought four packets of boiled eggs on one trip.  The cafe car menu is, in general, a very substantial improvement over what they had a year ago.  There's also a salad I can eat.  Again, neither eggs nor salad were available a year ago.  Another advantage: I have ingredients lists for everything in the cafe car.

I honestly think the way forward in the short term for food is to continue to improve the cafe car menu.  The cafe car was doing brisk business. Food needs to be supplied between Albany and NY, however. If Amtrak ever gets its accounting straightened out, they should try reinstating fresh-cooked food on the LSL (which was the most profitable of the dining cars on the eastern system, with over half its business from coach and lots of NY and Chicago passengers willing to buy lots of wine). 

I'm not sure what bicycle demand is like on the LSL route, but it may be significant enough to justify running a bag-dorm rather than a sleeper.  The Boston section of the sleeper is rarely full east of Albany... bicyclists are not interested in having their bicycle arrive later than they do to their destination, so diverting bikes via NY isn't an option.

 

But where the heck are the bag-dorms?!?

Edited by neroden

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Is the bag load light enough to permit use of the B-D on the NY section? I don't know, just throwing it out there.

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On 12/1/2018 at 7:43 PM, amtrakpass said:

Where exactly are these excess baggage cars going  to be assigned to add service too then? Or are they just going into axel count service or storage? My view if you are going to call a crew and run a train anyway shortening a consist by one car is is not a real savings and it is a reduction in quality of service which has greater long term implications than just adding or subtracting a car.

Another candidate for converting to a bus for the Southwest Chief. :giggle:

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16 minutes ago, PVD said:

Is the bag load light enough to permit use of the B-D on the NY section? I don't know, just throwing it out there.

Depends on time of year.  Jan-Feb, yes.  Thanksgiving or mid-June, no.

We did an analysis of seasonality of train routes a while back.  Amtrak really should be adjusting consists by season.

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24 minutes ago, PVD said:

Is the bag load light enough to permit use of the B-D on the NY section? I don't know, just throwing it out there.

I doubt it. In peak season, the NY section of the LSL alone can reach up to seven revenue cars, and with the loss of checked baggage on 448/449, all checked bags west of ALB will have to use it. On the really busy days, I have seen cases where the two sections of LSL totaled out at up to 12 revenue cars (four sleepers, seven coaches, and the split Business/Cafe car). That is of course very rare, with the typical combined consist being three sleepers, four coaches, and the BC car, but I still don't think a bag-dorm would be enough for even that. 

Edited by cpotisch

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The interesting thing is even being on a very crowded Lake, when my sleeper was next to the bag, looking in, it didn't seem like it was that full. Lots of bags in the overheads and piled up at the ends of the cars. That was only one trip so it is by no means defining, but I'd love to see actual counts.

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