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Amtrak no longer allowing standing passengers on unreserved trains?

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14 hours ago, cpotisch said:

But if Amtrak doesn’t have any additional cars, they can’t just make that offer.

Oh, but it does.

There's no legal or contract requirement for consist lengths on the fully-reserved Northeast Regionals.  Move some cars over to the Connecticut line, *as required by contract*, and raise the prices on the Regionals to reflect the reduced supply of seats.  That appears to be their legal obligation, if I've been informed correctly about all the contracts.

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Article about this.  And IMO the important thing to note is the mood at the Connecticut state government:

https://www.courant.com/business/hc-biz-amtrak-new-haven-springfield-20181228-xpycq4yn6vfzvkvhsorileu2ri-story.html

Quote

The problems, he said, “are candidly the result of an Amtrak-centered approach.”

 

Amtrak is making enemies here.  Graham Claytor would have done what it took to get the state government back on his side.

 

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said Thursday while traveling by rail to Springfield from Hartford that Amtrak is violating its agreement with Connecticut by refusing to honor CTrail ticket holders when trains are crowded. He said Amtrak needs to add cars to relieve crowding.

“They have chosen to make decisions about which ticket you have if there’s a shortage of space,” he said. “That’s a violation of the agreement.”

Edited by neroden

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Oh, but it does.
There's no legal or contract requirement for consist lengths on the fully-reserved Northeast Regionals.  Move some cars over to the Connecticut line, *as required by contract*, and raise the prices on the Regionals to reflect the reduced supply of seats.  That appears to be their legal obligation, if I've been informed correctly about all the contracts.

Has anyone here seen what the contract actually says. Or are we running based on hearsay and assumptions or newspaper report or politician utterance. Just curious.

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We seem to be running on hearsay and assumptions.

The state government has a pretty good case that Amtrak isn't honoring the contract regarding the ticketing, though.

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5 minutes ago, neroden said:

We seem to be running on hearsay and assumptions.

The state government has a pretty good case that Amtrak isn't honoring the contract regarding the ticketing, though.

It all depends on what that agreement says. I'd be truly surprised if the agreement didn't have a clause that allowed Amtrak to refuse boarding for safety reasons. Amtrak could argue this applies if the train has no seating left and they believe it's unsafe to let on standees (or standees above a certain number.) At that point, it depends on whether the agreement says that Amtrak will operate trains with x capacity or x number of coach cars (with x capacity) or if the agreement states that Amtrak must operate with enough capacity to handle demand. My guess is that it's the former; if that's the case, Amtrak probably is honoring the contract despite CT's posturing.

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On 12/29/2018 at 1:59 PM, west point said:

MARC three to four times a week has to limit passengers boarding for various reasons.  They will even bypass some stations inbound to WASH and also limit boarding at WASH outbound.  MARC even posts and alerts passengers the trains that are in such a problem.

In what alternative universe is this happening? I suggest riding the 510 pm to Perryville.  Lots and lots of standees. The 520, which I usually ride, used to be far worse until they rejiggered the schedules by adding the 510 to Perryville and terminating the 520 in  Baltimore.

 

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Boy Amtrak has sure changed from the good old days of 1975, when SRO on the NEC was pretty common.  All coach was unreserved, except for the Florida trains.


The practice went at least into the early 1980s, when I took trains from home in Baltimore to Boston for college. Thanksgiving trains were regularly standing-room-only. It frankly turned me off trains for years.

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Whoever the blame is really on, it's unfortunate the situation hasn't really changed much from a few months ago when this issue first surfaced. Someone needs to do something. I do know that using more Amfleets is probably out of the question since Amtrak is so low on spares, so I would agree that someone should foot the bill for borrowing MARC cars.

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three or four more cars would solve the problem. I'm sure extra Amfleets could be found somewhere.  If not , those MARC cars  seem readily available.

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What about the stored Metroliners?  Sorry to keep bringing up old Amtrak junk but if there is a will there is a way.

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One of our groupe postulated that maybe Amtrak is causing all these problems to get congress to fund Amtrak properly.  Find that unlikely but 2 or 4 more Amfleets ?

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21 hours ago, DivMiler said:

 


The practice went at least into the early 1980s, when I took trains from home in Baltimore to Boston for college. Thanksgiving trains were regularly standing-room-only. It frankly turned me off trains for years.

 

It continued into the late 1990s. I remember I think in 1996 taking a non-reserved train home WAS-NYP just after Christmas with people sitting in all of the aisles after what must have New Carrollton. 

I remember the next time a few years later we took the train down to DC for Easter we were on a supposedly reserved Northeast Direct train (this would have been about 2000) and there were still people sitting in the aisles/vestibules that made my Mother quite upset. I remember returning on a nice empty Metroliner on Easter Sunday my parents paid the extra fare for so we could have reserved seats.

My most memorable unreserved train experience happened in 2001. I was taking the Friday Evening Ethan Allen to Rutland that leaves NYP at 5:45pm and was reserved only north of Albany, the train was dispatched with 3 coaches instead of 4 and apparently we left a bunch of Albany and points South passengers behind on the platform at Penn Station with the police needing to be called to avoid crush loads.They had luckily locked the door between the reserved and unreserved sections of the Train, but I remember a few standing passengers going beyond Albany didn’t get seats until after Rhinecliff and the conductor making a bunch of apologetic annoucements.

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Why is it suddenly news or surprising to people that Amtrak has an equipment shortage?  They've had an equipment shortage since practically forever, and pulled just about everything they could out of the equipment boneyard 10-15 years ago.  Meanwhile, service and capacity has been added on a number of short-distance routes (Midwest service practically doubled 10-12 years ago, for example, and consists are longer), while derailments have reduced the fleet availability.

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People should also realize that this problem has been seriously aggravated by the NS car fiasco. Amtrak would have had a fair number of cars freed up and returned to them from the states if that project had not failed.

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One thinks it about the money. 

Also the NS deal falling apart is not helpful, but most of those cars are Horizon  cars.  Those car never did well in the winter, and probably looking at the scrap yard.

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5 hours ago, PVD said:

People should also realize that this problem has been seriously aggravated by the NS car fiasco. Amtrak would have had a fair number of cars freed up and returned to them from the states if that project had not failed.

I'm out of the loop. What is this "NS car fiasco" you are referring to?

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A bunch of bi-level cars were ordered by California and a group of Midwest States. They would have replaced cars from Amtrak that they currently pay to use. The car design failed an important design test and after a bunch of review, the contractor basically threw in the towel and the states have reordered single level cars from Siemens. If the cars originally ordered were delivered on time, Amtrak would not have a shortage of coaches. You would have enough of a cushion to refurb more of them, including improving the cold weather performance of the Horizons, or reconfiguring them for use in less challenging climates. They are somewhat younger than the Amfleets, and with some TLC would have been a big help. You'd likely get back a small number of SL coaches, that wouldn't hurt either. Sorry about the confusion on the N-S abbreviation.

Edited by PVD

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1 minute ago, PVD said:

A bunch of bi-level cars were ordered by California and a group of Midwest States. They would have replaced cars from Amtrak that they currently pay to use. The car design failed an important design test and after a bunch of review, the contractor basically threw in the towel and the states have reordered single level cars from Siemens. If the cars originally ordered were delivered on time, Amtrak would not have a shortage of coaches. You would have enough of a cushion to refurb more of them, including improving the cold weather performance of the Horizons, or reconfiguring them for use in less challenging climates. They are somewhat younger than the Amfleets, and with some TLC would have been a big help. You'd likely get back a small number of SL coaches, that wouldn't hurt either.

Thanks for the clarification. I had heard of this delay in delivery before. I just got confused because I took the "NS" in your post to be referring to Norfolk Southern.

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1 minute ago, VTTrain said:
51 minutes ago, rspenmoll said:

I took the "NS" in your post to be referring to Norfolk Southern.

Me too.

Fine, you did. I personally understood that abbreviation just fine, as was also apparently the case for @Just-Thinking-51, and I imagine plenty other members who are also familiar with the order. Either way, he clarified in post #71, so I don't think this is worth continued discussion.

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I certainly intended no harm. The failure of the original order and the substitution has been an ongoing discussion here for more than 6 years on and off and has over 1100 posts. It is the second from the top thread in the rail discussion forum, lately the only activity has been the updates after committee reports on progress of the cars that are being substituted for the ones not showing up. Nippon-Sharyu has delivered 1000 + passenger cars in North America, never dawned on me "newer" members might have thought of NS the RR and gotten the wrong message.

Edited by PVD

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