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lordsigma

Checked baggage being cut from Boston Section of Lake Shore?

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The new baggage cars have a pretty efficient layout, but you'd need a full baggage car for the Thanksgiving load on the LSL, period.  Also for the mid-june load.  Syracuse baggage alone occupies about 1/8 of a baggage car on a peak day.  By contrast, on a non-peak day in January, you probably wouldn't even fill a half-bag.

 

I think there's something non-obvious happening.  Off-peak-season travellers take substantially less baggage than peak-season travellers.  So the baggage load is even more peaky than the passenger load.

 

This raises an interesting commercial possibility: "checked baggage for the holidays".  That didn't make sense with dedicated baggage employees (who would be doing nothing most of the year), but with trainside baggage handing done by conductors, it actually might make sense.  During the peaks, with the carry-on space crammed full, add a baggage car and offer what airlines used to call "checked carry-ons" or "gate-checked" bags.

Edited by neroden

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This raises an interesting commercial possibility: "checked baggage for the holidays".  That didn't make sense with dedicated baggage employees (who would be doing nothing most of the year), but with trainside baggage handing done by conductors, it actually might make sense. 

 

I wish they would consider running it seasonally on the Boston section rather than permanent removal. In off season run a single bag dorm on the New York only. On peak season run the regular bag on New York and bag dorm on Boston. Boston will still have its baggage service via 65/67 so it doesn’t require modifying anything there, Springfield doesn’t have dedicated baggage personnel the regular agents did the baggage, and Worcester and Pittsfield did trackside baggage so operationally it would be no big deal. But seems unlikely. It should be noted that many stations don’t have dedicated baggage personnel, only really the major ones do.

 

At manned stations not big enough to warrant checked baggage personnel and red caps, the regular agents that work the counter also do checked baggage, baggage assistance, and helping passengers with wheelchairs, etc.

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5 hours ago, lordsigma said:

I wish they would consider running it seasonally on the Boston section rather than permanent removal. In off season run a single bag dorm on the New York only. On peak season run the regular bag on New York and bag dorm on Boston. Boston will still have its baggage service via 65/67 so it doesn’t require modifying anything there, Springfield doesn’t have dedicated baggage personnel the regular agents did the baggage, and Worcester and Pittsfield did trackside baggage so operationally it would be no big deal. But seems unlikely. It should be noted that many stations don’t have dedicated baggage personnel, only really the major ones do.

 

At manned stations not big enough to warrant checked baggage personnel and red caps, the regular agents that work the counter also do checked baggage, baggage assistance, and helping passengers with wheelchairs, etc.

Perhaps this is a long term plan....when the bag dorms enter service. In the meantime, you have two FULL baggage cars on the LSL, meaning you need 6 bags...now.  As I indicated, I can think of better uses for those baggage cars.

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Somehow, I don't see 'peak season' baggage cars on 448/449.  Exactly HOW would they make that known to potential passengers?  And, as mentioned above, WHO would be handling the baggage at Springfield?  (I suspect they'll cut at least one position there).  Adding a coach or even a sleeper to a train isn't something a passenger would be aware of (other than railfans noticing an extra coach or sleeper).  Most passengers have no idea whatsoever if there will be 3 coaches or 4 or even 5 on a train.  So why would Amtrak management want to potentially confuse passengers by 'advertising'/publishing/changing the online booking process to show that checked baggage available on certain dates only?

I think the reason for the end of the BOS baggage car is strictly a numbers game.  All following numbers are 'reasonable guesstimates'  on my part:

Let's assume the extra fuel needed to haul an empty baggage car is 30 gallons (what's that 1 ton goes how many miles on 1 gallon of fuel?  How heavy is a V2 baggage car?  Do the math for 200 miles BOS-ALB)  Wear and tear, miscellaneous, and general maintenance adds perhaps $10 per trip on said baggage car...inspections...maintenance...cleaning?  Don't forget insurance costs in case it gets damaged in a wreck (I know, Amtrak is self-insured).  30 gals x $3.00/gal = $90 + 10 = $100 x 2 trips per day = $200/day x 365 = $73,000.

Now throw in the cost of one full time position at SPG whose primary job is baggage handler and that position can be eliminated.  I've seen as many as 3 on-duty Amtrak ticket clerks/baggage handlers at Springfield.  It might have even been 4 every now and then.  Eliminating one position works out to: $50/hr (30/hr + benefits + corporate RRR matching, etc) or about $100,000/year total cost to Amtrak.

Grand total 'savings' per year: $173,000 per year

Loss of 1 roomette per trip for sleeper passenger baggage:  $345/trip BOS-CHI (low-bucket fare just checked with Amsnag.  There will be one less low-bucket fare in the BOS sleeper from now on!)   x 2 trips/day x 365 days = $251,850!!!

Obviously, the loss of revenue is of ZERO concern to Amtrak HQ!!!  All they care about these days is 'savings', and NOT growing the business!!!!

As has been said in various forums and magazines by various people: "Ride  'em' while you can!!!

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From the response I got from the RPA, no job cuts are planned as far as they know this is about equipment, fuel, etc. I am at Springfield often and it’s usually one or two on duty. If you saw 3 or more it may have been near shift change time in the middle of the day.

 

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7 hours ago, bratkinson said:

Let's assume the extra fuel needed to haul an empty baggage car is 30 gallons (what's that 1 ton goes how many miles on 1 gallon of fuel?  How heavy is a V2 baggage car?  Do the math for 200 miles BOS-ALB)  Wear and tear, miscellaneous, and general maintenance adds perhaps $10 per trip on said baggage car...inspections...maintenance...cleaning?  Don't forget insurance costs in case it gets damaged in a wreck (I know, Amtrak is self-insured).  30 gals x $3.00/gal = $90 + 10 = $100 x 2 trips per day = $200/day x 365 = $73,000.

Now throw in the cost of one full time position at SPG whose primary job is baggage handler and that position can be eliminated.  I've seen as many as 3 on-duty Amtrak ticket clerks/baggage handlers at Springfield.  It might have even been 4 every now and then.  Eliminating one position works out to: $50/hr (30/hr + benefits + corporate RRR matching, etc) or about $100,000/year total cost to Amtrak.

Grand total 'savings' per year: $173,000 per year

Loss of 1 roomette per trip for sleeper passenger baggage:  $345/trip BOS-CHI (low-bucket fare just checked with Amsnag.  There will be one less low-bucket fare in the BOS sleeper from now on!)   x 2 trips/day x 365 days = $251,850!!!

Obviously, the loss of revenue is of ZERO concern to Amtrak HQ!!!  All they care about these days is 'savings', and NOT growing the business!!!!

As has been said in various forums and magazines by various people: "Ride  'em' while you can!!!

Your numbers leave out a lot of details and are using assumptions that may be incorrect...such as:

1)We don't know if the sleeper car is only being used from BOS-ALB.  If that is the case, you're not really losing the revenue ALB-CHI and the ridership from BOS-ALB is marginal so you're not likely to use that space anyway.

2) The cost of keeping three lightly used bags on a train that already has a bag. These cars can be used to generate or stimulate revenue somewhere else in the system, leading to extra revenue..

3) Costs savings for crew consists (contractual). This is a biggie and I've noticed little subtleties that make it harder to claim these productivity savings. For one train, it may not seem like much, but throughout the system, it is indeed adding up.

4) In theory, if they bothered to enforce the carry on policy (while stripping you of the ability to check bags), that would also add revenue while cutting expenses.

5) There is no way that dragging a baggage car  across the roughly 1040 miles between BOS-ALB costs $10 is wear, tear and general maintenance.

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8 hours ago, bratkinson said:

Somehow, I don't see 'peak season' baggage cars on 448/449.  Exactly HOW would they make that known to potential passengers?  And, as mentioned above, WHO would be handling the baggage at Springfield?  (I suspect they'll cut at least one position there).  Adding a coach or even a sleeper to a train isn't something a passenger would be aware of (other than railfans noticing an extra coach or sleeper).  Most passengers have no idea whatsoever if there will be 3 coaches or 4 or even 5 on a train.  So why would Amtrak management want to potentially confuse passengers by 'advertising'/publishing/changing the online booking process to show that checked baggage available on certain dates only?

I think the reason for the end of the BOS baggage car is strictly a numbers game.  All following numbers are 'reasonable guesstimates'  on my part:

Let's assume the extra fuel needed to haul an empty baggage car is 30 gallons (what's that 1 ton goes how many miles on 1 gallon of fuel?  How heavy is a V2 baggage car?  Do the math for 200 miles BOS-ALB)  Wear and tear, miscellaneous, and general maintenance adds perhaps $10 per trip on said baggage car...inspections...maintenance...cleaning?  Don't forget insurance costs in case it gets damaged in a wreck (I know, Amtrak is self-insured).  30 gals x $3.00/gal = $90 + 10 = $100 x 2 trips per day = $200/day x 365 = $73,000.

Now throw in the cost of one full time position at SPG whose primary job is baggage handler and that position can be eliminated.  I've seen as many as 3 on-duty Amtrak ticket clerks/baggage handlers at Springfield.  It might have even been 4 every now and then.  Eliminating one position works out to: $50/hr (30/hr + benefits + corporate RRR matching, etc) or about $100,000/year total cost to Amtrak.

Grand total 'savings' per year: $173,000 per year

Loss of 1 roomette per trip for sleeper passenger baggage:  $345/trip BOS-CHI (low-bucket fare just checked with Amsnag.  There will be one less low-bucket fare in the BOS sleeper from now on!)   x 2 trips/day x 365 days = $251,850!!!

Obviously, the loss of revenue is of ZERO concern to Amtrak HQ!!!  All they care about these days is 'savings', and NOT growing the business!!!!

As has been said in various forums and magazines by various people: "Ride  'em' while you can!!!

How did you conclude that any of these numbers are correct? Sounds like you just pulled a bunch of numbers out of thin air and said “Yeah, that could be right”, and then posted it.

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One other interesting local development that may be a similar situation - it appears the Vermonter is running with only one engine this winter (normally they run two in the winter)

I guess they’re getting serious about saving fuel.

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Yeah, in the four or so trips I took since after the rerouting, I have never ahd two engines, and this is over several years and one trip in the depth of Winter.

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