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weather cancellations for Midwest Jan 28-31, 2019

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11 minutes ago, MARC Rider said:

Oh come on, you're not being fair to the USPS.  Many years ago, I  dated a woman from South America. One night she came over and found me putting various bills with checks in envelopes, and affixing stamps in preparation for dropping them in the corner mailbox.

A shocked look came over her face.  "You pay your bills by mail?!!  In my country we'd never think of doing that, if we expected the payment to be delivered.  We either pay in person or hire a courier to deliver the payment."

Thirty years later, I'm still paying bills by mail, and have never had any problems, so maybe USPS isn't as bad as a lot of people think it is.

I'm going to resist the urge to go on a multi-page tirade about it, but I can assure you that you would not singing the same tune if your post office were anything even remotely like ours. :ohboy::help:

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Regarding the Horizon coach's inability to withstand extreme cold, would the Siemens cars that are to replace them be any better?

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21 minutes ago, AGM.12 said:

Regarding the Horizon coach's inability to withstand extreme cold, would the Siemens cars that are to replace them be any better?

Should be.  It take a few years to find out.

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1 hour ago, Thirdrail7 said:

 

Being out there without support (and possibly running low on fuel and other services) when the host has basically said they'll get to you when they get to you is a recipe for an issue.

 

Sure is, good thing the host railroad is not the only game in town.

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4 hours ago, MARC Rider said:

Oh come on, you're not being fair to the USPS.  Many years ago, I  dated a woman from South America. One night she came over and found me putting various bills with checks in envelopes, and affixing stamps in preparation for dropping them in the corner mailbox.

A shocked look came over her face.  "You pay your bills by mail?!!  In my country we'd never think of doing that, if we expected the payment to be delivered.  We either pay in person or hire a courier to deliver the payment."

I wish I could still pay my bills in person.  And get rewarded with light bulbs.

 

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4 hours ago, MARC Rider said:

Thirty years later, I'm still paying bills by mail, and have never had any problems, so maybe USPS isn't as bad as a lot of people think it is.

I haven't put a bill in an envelope in many years. I pay all my bills online, or, I use the bank's "Bill Pay" service, where I tell them who and where to send a check, and that is done at no charge to me. That's worked like a charm for years now.

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16 hours ago, iplaybass said:
17 hours ago, Metra Electric Rider said:
Apparently it does say that on their website, I just didn't notice it. I don't remember service being cancelled before. I mean, Russians and Swedes don't cancel their services in similar conditions....

Ice forms on catenary lines in extreme cold. Not sure how Nordic services deal with it.

Special trains scrap the frost on the catenary. A French one: train-racleur-lig%C3%A9rien.jpg

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The trick is to keep running trains to keep the catenary clean. Similar to what LIRR and MNRR do to keep their third rails clean too.

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13 hours ago, AGM.12 said:

Regarding the Horizon coach's inability to withstand extreme cold, would the Siemens cars that are to replace them be any better?

Since the Siemens design is proven and been in service in climates just as harsh or worse, I would say yes to that question.

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15 hours ago, Thirdrail7 said:

Do you? A lot of this is also contingent on the host. In the case of the LSL, CSX has basically straight railed a humongous portion of the route and basically stated they aren't sending anyone if there is trouble.  In this sort of cold, things are happening to the physical plant (broken rails, switch failures, signal failures) and the equipment, particularly at speed. Aside from the usual toilet, door and HVAC problems, locomotive horn failure crops up once the temperature plummets. Even the electric horns have failed in cold weather.  Now, you have to stop and warn at EVERY grade crossing until you can get in thawed. On Amtrak territory, it is even worse as you are limited to 30mph.

Being out there without support (and possibly running low on fuel and other services) when the host has basically said they'll get to you when they get to you is a recipe for an issue.

 

I wish in these cases Amtrak was better at communicating the cause. Simply saying “trains are canceled due to temperatures” leaves so much open to interpretation that it invites people to leap to whatever conclusion they want, often directing their ire at parties who don’t necessarily deserve it. 

“CSX Transportation, over whose tracks the Lake Shore Limited operates, has informed Amtrak that as a result of extreme weather they plan to limit capacity on their network and reduce the number of personnel available to respond to en route events. As a result, in order to ensure the safety of our passengers and crew and to maintain acceptable timekeeping, the Lake Shore Limited trains departing Chicago on January 30 and 31 have been canceled.  We regret the inconvenience etc etc etc.”

There, I don’t think that’s too esoteric for most passengers to follow, gives them a better explanation, and perhaps most importantly punts blame away from Amtrak directly. If someone in DC is reading this, I can be hired as a freelance writer...

Most conductor crews I’ve had recently take great care to drop the name of the host railroad as often as possibly when train/trackage/signal/whatever problems delay us; it’d be nice if the corporate communications staff would follow their lead. 

Edited by keelhauled

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Have a story from Wendesday that I’ve been meaning to post about Amtrak’s handeling winter service suspensions. 

I was trying to help a friend who was supposed to fly SBN-ORD (yes United Airlines operates those short flights) connecting to Tucson.

All SBN-ORD flights were canceled on Wednesday, but United rebooked then on a Wednesday evening flight so they were still trying . The South Shore Line canceled all service because of catenary issues and all Coach USA Airport Supersavor buses from South Bend to O’Hare were also canceled.

We saw their plea on Facebook around Noon, when the Lake Shore Limited was due into South Bend at about 1:30pm. I knew that online ticketing stops at the trains scheduled departure time, and after they attempted to reach a human on the phone I told them just to go to the manned  SBN station and buy a ticket. I know I’ve purchased tickets at the station for late trains before after their scheduled times. The agent wouldn’t sell them a ticket on the not yet arrived LSL saying “We’re not allowed to sell tickets on trains more than 4 hours late.”

Friend ended up with an expensive Lyft ride to O’Hare to make there flight that did operate.

Anyone know why Amtrak would have this policy? The LSL still operated through to Chicago.

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Surprised there hasn't been mention of this (or if there was, I missed it), but the Chicago operation was pretty much a mess yesterday.  More or less everything left extremely late, including several LDs (21, 3 and 48) leaving well after midnight.

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5 hours ago, Trogdor said:

Surprised there hasn't been mention of this (or if there was, I missed it), but the Chicago operation was pretty much a mess yesterday.  More or less everything left extremely late, including several LDs (21, 3 and 48) leaving well after midnight.

I was afraid that would happen. I'm sure plenty of frozen equipment...

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Have a story from Wendesday that I’ve been meaning to post about Amtrak’s handeling winter service suspensions. 
I was trying to help a friend who was supposed to fly SBN-ORD (yes United Airlines operates those short flights) connecting to Tucson.
All SBN-ORD flights were canceled on Wednesday, but United rebooked then on a Wednesday evening flight so they were still trying . The South Shore Line canceled all service because of catenary issues and all Coach USA Airport Supersavor buses from South Bend to O’Hare were also canceled.
We saw their plea on Facebook around Noon, when the Lake Shore Limited was due into South Bend at about 1:30pm. I knew that online ticketing stops at the trains scheduled departure time, and after they attempted to reach a human on the phone I told them just to go to the manned  SBN station and buy a ticket. I know I’ve purchased tickets at the station for late trains before after their scheduled times. The agent wouldn’t sell them a ticket on the not yet arrived LSL saying “We’re not allowed to sell tickets on trains more than 4 hours late.”
Friend ended up with an expensive Lyft ride to O’Hare to make there flight that did operate.
Anyone know why Amtrak would have this policy? The LSL still operated through to Chicago.


Why not just board the train without a ticket and purchase from the conductor? Or would the conductor be enough of a curmudgeon to refuse to sell your f riend a ticket and instead kick him/her off at the next grade crossing?

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