Anderson Speaks on Long Distance Trains

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  1. May 10, 2018 #251

    Thirdrail7

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    I see you believe the hype so let's turn it around. What was the most successful service BEFORE the Acela sets? They were call METROLINERS!!! What was the real difference between the locomotive hauled Mets and the regular service? Umm, Amtrak allowed the former to operate at 125mph while holding the other equipment to 110mph, and the Mets had 60 seats per coach vs 84 seats per coach. Other than that, one had a 53 seat café vs an all table café and purty little curtains.

    That's it.

    Amtrak charged a premium price for the service and it was successful since it brought in higher revenue.

    If we benched the Acelas, (which they did...twice) they could STILL bring in higher revenue with a little fluff and fu-fu marketing. A fancy set isn't really necessary. It is just eye catching. the Acelas may be successful but how mush more successful would they be if you could...you know...add more cars to it without spending MILLIONS! Remember, the Metroliners between NYP-WAS held MORE passengers on certain trains since they could ADD cars as necessary. 104, 108, 119 and 123 were 8 car sets prior to the Acela and they SOLD OUT! The rest of them were up to 7 cars....and we replaced them with 6 cars sets...and then years later, wonder why they can't handle the crowd.

    Very simple. When you have daily grade crossing incidents and other malfunctions, hosts can easily help us out. do you know how many times Amtrak has utilized host facilities to make equipment road worthy? Additionally, it is easier to set out an individual piece of equipment than it is multiple pieces. This is key. if a locomotive needs to be set out after a collision, we can simply add ahead. If the engine fails, we can simply add ahead and any host piece of equipment can be utilized. When Acela sets are benched...the ENTIRE set is benched. How much are you going to spend to put facilities that can handle specialized equipment at EVERY conceivable turn around point or layover facility? An Acela slid on leaves(thank you, pic) and developed flat spots. It limped to PVD, where they could set out the equipment. It sat there for almost two weeks, until they could ship everything to change the wheels on the train. A standard locomotive hauled consist would have had the unaffected equipment back on the road THAT DAY.

    It is about operational flexibility. Right now, a keystone can become an Empire by swapping a cab car for a split club. We can take that same Amfleet and make this second Amtrak train:

    Amtrak #974 Monster Train - 4/15/11

    Try doing that with a DMUs and how many mechanical personnel will you need to perform all the Locomotive Calendar Day inspections? How would you even MAKE a train like that to accommodate growth or movements of that type with your, confined DMUs.

    You couldn't be more wrong. That totally depends on who is operating the company. After equipment became available, the Boardman regime went to variable consists. It made all of the difference in the world. that is the reason you are seeing record ridership and record revenue. As for adding trailers, if they aren't being purchased from the onset (and from being on calls, I'm getting the impression that we're talking a fixed, semi permanent attached DMU/EMU similar to the ACELA), where will the money come from in the future? They will have the same problem they have with the current Acela sets.

    Hey look! Ridership!

    Let's capture it!

    How?

    Order more coaches!

    (reaches in pocket) Umm...how?

    Good point!

    That was the mistake made with Acelas. I'd hate to see it repeated because years later, they are paying the price for their lack of vision. I realize that a lot of that has to do with financing and you have to take what you can get. However, someone needs to make sure there is flexibility in the future and when you put flash over substance, I suspect that has the potential to be an issue....once the luster wears off.
     
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  2. May 10, 2018 #252

    jis

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  3. May 10, 2018 #253

    jis

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    On the matter of DMUs, I am still waiting for someone to inform me about what is meant by DMU in these discussions. I think part of the problem is that each has his or her own idea of what a DMU is to the exclusion of use of the term tor refer to anything else. That is why very early on I had posed the question as to what operational characteristics are we (or Anderson or whoever) is looking for, and then take the discussion from there.

    This is going to be a longish post as I try to explain where I am coming from to this discussion, and hopefully you will start seeing that we may be talking past each other a lot simply because we are using terms in discussions without precisely defining their meaning,

    What we have now as standard practice on the NER is a locomotive pulling, and occasionally pushing a bunch of trailers. Let us just bench the term D/EMU for now just for the sake of sanity of this discussion.

    Now if it is a push pull set like the Keystone, it is clear that it is possible to add or remove a trailer from it exactly as easily as it is from a simple loco hauled train. The only difference is that it has a cab car at the other end. What that gives us is that the consist need not be turned at each end of its run. That is arguably a desirable feature and saves on resources and time at each end of a short/medium run. Do we agree?

    If we don't agree why not. If we agree, then an issue that has been raised is, what happens at grade crossings. Clearly the locomotive end of this consists can't get any better than what it is today. So we have the cab end to deal with. The cab end could be something like what the Brits call a Driving Van Trailer, which has an appropriately armored cab and typically the rest of the car is a baggage plus auxiliary stuff car. That should address the grade crossing issue.

    Now if we want a somewhat more sprightly performance then one could replace the DVT by another loco. This gives the Heartland Flyer kind of setup. You can still freely add or remove trailers. The only power units are the two powerheads. Note that I intentionally did not say that this is like Brightline or Acela because I am trying to stay away from semi-permanent coupling to continue to provide the freedom of adding or subtracting trailers as in Keystone as the example given by Thirdrail.

    Now this should work well for shortish trains as far as performance goes. When you start getting to ten or twelve cars things start getting sluggish, specially for frequent start-stop service, as NJT has learned over the years.

    At that point you start wondering, how can we add more power to it with the specific goal of improving performance. The typical method used is to create power cars that can be placed within the consist but is controlled from the cab units. The cab units can still continue to be powerheads or not depending on various other factors. But you add these power cars within the consist. This creates a so called distributed power consist which is typically known to perform better on services that require rapid acceleration/deceleration.

    At this point we acknowledge the fact that each power car is equivalent to a locomotive as far as inspection/maintenance cycles are concerned, so it is important to not go overboard with adding too many of those to a consist. Notice that we have not yet lost the flexibility of marshaling cars into and out of the consist since we have not given up on the Tightlock AAR couplers and standard connectors.

    Just as an aside, if such a five car consist with two powerheads, one at each end has control connectors at each end that allows two such units to be hooked up together, would this start resembling a D/EMU? Would it do so if it had three cars with some seats at the train end of each power + cab car? This i primarily the genesis of my question about what exactly is meant by a DMU. But setting it aside again, since it is not important to understand this progression to more integrated consists....

    MInd you what follows is something that need not be pursued at all except for increasing capacity and passenger comfort in a given limited length of a consist.... You can get bi-directional operation, and flexibility in distributing power with the constructs that we have discussed so far.

    The next step that Siemens has taken with the California order is to have semi-permanently coupled trailers which allows them to provide a better passenger experience and somewhat higher capacity and facilities. Several such pairs are then coupled together to form a consist. In the past there have been limited use of such in the PRR two car Diner sets etc. One of the things that you can do with semi-permanently coupled cars is provide a wider gangway. Anyhow, this still does not remove flexibility, and potentially you can still stick in power units in the middle of the train as needed. All of the caveats discussed earlier still apply. The only difference is you add/remove cars in units of two.

    It turns out that such two, and on occasion three semi-permanently coupled cars with anywhere between one to all three cars powered have formed units of EMU around the New York area. Again the issue of cab strength still remains in those, but they operate widely in the NY area even on tracks with many grade crossings, and occasionally really bad stuff happens at grade crossings (Ref: MNRR at Valhalla).

    Then an outfit like Brightline which has a very fixed operating plan with very well defined service levels and hard product needs comes in and says we will exclusively use semi-permanently coupled sets so that we can provide uniform passenger experience with sealed gangways etc. etc. Thus you get a Brightline set. In principle you also have the Acela I sets that follow the same architecture. Yes, now you have to deal with the entire train set as an unit as far as maintenance/outage goes, and you do lose some level of flexibility. It appears that a very significant group of large passenger operators have taken this route.

    Question: Should Amtrak take this route across the Board? Answer it could, but it need not, and yet reap the advantages of the core architecture of having double ended trains that do not need to be turned at each end, and have the flexibility of distributed power even. Now do we want to bicker about whether that should be called a D/EMU or not? Some might find that argument interesting. Frankly I don't.

    Proceeding along the path of greater integration - the French went one step further with the TGV and articulated the cars together using shared trucks (Jacobs bogies) using shorter cars. they decided that this architecture give a more stable train for operation at very high speed. That theory has been verified several times including in a derailment at almost full speed in which there were no casualties on the train. There were injuries to passengers waiting for another train at a station from flying ballast. This is the design that Amtrak is getting in Acela IIs. That is pretty much the complete other end of the spectrum between individual cars coupled together using standard couplers at one and and permanently articulated cars at the other end.

    Now for a few quick case studies....

    LIRR and MNRR use EMUs which consist of two or three car units. SEPTA uses 2 car units of late. NJT Arrows are one or two car units. All are powered, which of course makes them all have to follow the locomotive maintenance/inspection cycles.

    NJT came finally to the conclusion that the performance of their MLV push pulls suck, which of course everyone else knew for years, but they could not admit it since it became a face saving issue for several generations of MMC managers. But they have finally come around to acquiring MLV power cars that can be used with their existing MLV trailer and cabs to create EMU units, that can then be strung together to create trains that are better performers and yet continue to have the flexibility of reconfiguration. Only the power and the cab units will have to follow the locomotive maintenance/inspection cycle.

    Indian Railways uses typical 4 car units in their EMUs with one power car and three trailers, two of which are cab cars. Typically three such units are strung together to form 12 car trains which for all practical purposes are kept together and maintained together as a single unit. The 4 car units are semi-permanently coupled, but two such units are coupled together using standard couplers. So each four car unit has to be maintained as a single unit. OTOH, for things called MEMUs (Mainline EMUs) and DMUs, they follow the pull pull model. Each train consists of two powerheads, one at each end and a bunch of trailers that are coupled together using standard couplers, thus being quite flexible.

    The Brits have used the flexible model pull-pull sets in the world's most successful 125mph diesel service using their HSTs. OTOH they used the flexible push-pull model with powerhead at one and and a DVT at the other for their higher speed electric service to Scotland until recently. At present they are in the process of converting everything to semi-permanently couple E/DMUs. We discussed the Hitachi Class 80x in this context further up thread.

    The Germans in their ICE chose to go the route that is similar to Acelas and Brightlines in the first gen, but have moved progressively to extremely distributed power and hence more permanently coupled sets with each new generation. But still they certainly do not seem to derail as cleanly as the TGVs.

    The Japanese have been proponents of very distributed power from the getgo and continue to be so, and hence also relatively closely coupled sets that operate and are maintained as an unit.

    If you have managed to last through this flow of thoughts, maybe you understand a bit better where I am coming from and why I am at a loss to respond to some of the criticism that has been leveled at my stance earlier in the thread.

    One thing I will grant is a reality that Amtrak faces that most of the other major passenger operators do not face, is poverty of availability of capital, and hence fleet size. You can afford to do all sorts of things when your fleet size is 60,000 cars, that you cannot when your fleet size is a few thousand cars. You do need more flexibility at unit level when you have a small fleet and no guarantee that you will be able to do fleet replacement in any reasonable manner and time. When you can barely add even a hundred cars a year, and usually many fewer as replacement and growth, that is a very different ballgame from one where you add 5,000 cars per year.

    TAFN. Maybe more later if I can marshal additional thoughts in a presentable form.
     
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  4. May 10, 2018 #254

    frequentflyer

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    Very informative post and I share one of your concerns, namely what happens when a DMU meets a truck at a crossing. but.........

    1. Wrong, the Acela customer pays the premium because of the equipment Riding in well maintained Acela is a different experience than Amfleet with a Metorliner decal stuck on the side, even if its only 5-10 minutes difference in time between Metro and Acela. And you are right Amtrak did not make the Acela long enough because even they were surprised by its success. You do need "fu fu" to charge higher prices than Metroliner, wreck what was a cash cow for airlines, the "Shuttle", and become the defacto standard for traveling between WAS-NYC.

    2. Regarding DMUs, railroads that have higher operating standards than Amtrak run DMUs everyday with excellent reliability. It doesn't matter how bad the SPV2000 , French or Rohr Turboliners or the RDC sucked. We are so many generations beyond that equipment its not even worth mentioning.

    We can consult and buy imitation equipment from the Europeans for Acela IIs, but think their equipment is backwards for corridor trains?

    3. Will having DMUs require a change of SOPs for mx, Yes, Will they be any less reliable, if the rest of the world is any guide, No. Its been 40 years since the," F40 and four Amfleets makes a corridor train" manual has been used, maybe its time to throw it away. There may be....., just may be a better and more efficient way to run a corridor train with different equipment.
     
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  5. May 10, 2018 #255

    frequentflyer

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    @JIS,

    You nailed it when stating we are not sure what Anderson's definition of DMUs are. Didn't he state the RFP will be out around July? Hopefully around that time we will have a framework of how or why CEO Anderson thinks DMUs will be be operationally and financially beneficial to Amtrak.

    But lets say for the sake of argument, how trans formative such an order would be to Amtrak. The NEC and all short corridors will be a different experience. The argument regarding capacity would be a moot point in the NEC, since if necessary Amtrak could order bilevel EMUs for the NEC or double head them (the whole train need not need stop at the platform). Amtrak's oldest and largest fleet of cars will have been replaced along with the need to replace the majority of the 220 or so Genesis.

    As regards LD equipment, well apparently Amtrak is paying for the DMUs with its own money. Amtrak would be willing to pony up for replacement of LD equipment if congress pays for it. I mean with a bump in funding as Amtrak received this year. Congress love "job creating" programs as Schumer has proven with the VII order.
     
  6. May 10, 2018 #256

    Thirdrail7

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    This is funny, Allow me to PROVE how incorrect you are. Passengers paid the same premium for YEARS prior to the Acela. Indeed, if the Acela didn't exist, they'd STILL pay the the premium for Metroliner....just as they did before. When they BENCHED the Acelas, Amtrak brought back the Metroliners and targeted the passengers with a nice little slogan: "They're baaaack!" like it was some big deal. Guess what? The people paid! If it fit, we could probably bring a Talgo train to the NEC, call it an Acela and people would board it and pay!

    If you need further proof, look no further than the much criticized cash cow, BUSINESS CLASS!

    I've seen business class damn near sold out on NEC trains that have plenty of space. But, it has a fancy name and people will pay premium. What is the REAL difference between a standard, corridor business class and coach? A little more leg room, curtains and two sodas!! This is a far cry from what it USED to mean. It was formally known as Custom Class and you had unlimited soda, a coffee/tea section in your own car, more legroom, curtains, your own attendant, a newspaper and most importantly, guaranteed seating. You see, prior to custom/business class, the only way to avoid possible standing room conditions was First Class (which included meals and the split club/full club seating) or custom/business class.

    Little by little, they've stripped every advantage away from the standard business class experience, yet people still pay the "premium price for it". It is no wonder that someone said "Let's see if we can get away with this on the Long Distance trains!!"

    So, as I said, FU-FU is not needed and hasn't really been provided for years. Look at how bare bones the Acela experience is. Where are the newspapers? Where are the videos? What happened to the "fresh bagels"? What happened to the "fresh bistro" experience with "beer on tap?" All of that stuff disappeared and people pay. You skip a few stops (which the Metroliners managed to make and maintain 2:59 NYP-WAS schedule) As for well maintained, I'll forgive you for not knowing often these things break down, cancelled or short turned to make service. However, I won't forgive you for not knowing this thread from last month [​IMG] : What happened to Acela?.

    They are not aging well, not performing well, and they are half the age of most of the rest of th equipment in the fleet. Yet, with less miles, less wear and tear and less as well as less responsibility (you've never seen Acela power cars pulling a work train or the circus train on their days off) , are being retired in a few years. I'll bet the Amfleets, Cab Cars (from the 60's), and Superliners wish they could go soon!

    I'll wrap this up by tying these two together. You are talking about corridor service in a long distance thread. I'm speak from an operational SYSTEM perspective because the purchases that are made under this regime may have to last DECADES. What if the next CEO has a different definition of corridor? What IS a corridor and how will they be managed in the future? Look at how many extensions there have been in the last twenty years. The difference between the BOS-NFK being classified as a Short Distance intercity train instead of a Long Distance Intercity train (and their associated regulations/inspections) is a scant 12 miles...and that is between RVR-NFK. Let's not forget, operationally (inspections etc) the Pennsylvanian and the Vermonter are not considered Short Distance Intercity trains. They fall into Long Distance Intercity Trains. Additionally, look at the video I posted above. What if the next CEO says "bring on ALL charters" and wants to mix and mingle? A standard locomotive/coach consist is can go most places and can be handles by most facilities. We can mix Amfleets with Superliners, Cab cars with horizons and drill NJT/MARC cars into out equipment. Additionally, we can borrow VIA equipment.

    That sort of flexibility should not be overlooked.
     
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  7. May 10, 2018 #257

    Thirdrail7

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    I'll tackle Jis's post with yours. Indeed, until a RFI appears, we won't know exactly what we're dealing. However, I've BEEN on the calls and heard with my own ears that locomotive hauled equipment will not appeal to modern thinking millennials and how we need something futuristic and modern to appeal to them for the long term. Granted, I lost focus when he said that these fixed vehicles would have an engine on both ends so you could" drive them from either end." When he said "drive them from both ends," I lost about two minutes of his dialogue because I wasn't alone and side banter occurred when he said "drive them from either end."

    That being said, I give him leeway since as I've mentioned before, I've noticed that how he articulates something doesn't necessarily mean it how it will turn out. His railroad terminology and understanding is unrefined so you have to wait for the follow up since he tends to shoot from the hips...which I like. However, as I've stated many times: Summer is just around the corner. Answers should start appearing, hopefully in the not too distant future.

    I will bring this back to what I previously stated. The equipment he has mentioned would need waivers or a change in regulations to operate. If that is the case and there is no additional change in regulations for calendar day inspections, locomotive inspections, etc, then efficiency and the DMUs don't even belong in the same sentence.
     
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  8. May 10, 2018 #258

    jis

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    I don't think a run of the mill modern thinking (or even not so modern thinking coming to think of it) millennial (or X or Y or Boomers or the Great gen for that matter) know the difference between a locomotive a cab car and a trailer anyway, so that is a completely ridiculous reason for doing anything. I tried to categorize the complexities of the issues and what considerations need to go into the decision making process. Millennial or any other customers would be interested in the appointment of the interior, the noise level, smoothness of ride, AC working adequately, clearly understandable annunciators and announcements, not falling through gaps between platform and train, clean toilets and such mundane matters. They could not tell a power car in the consist vs a trailer if both came and sat beside them and had a long chat with them.
     
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  9. May 10, 2018 #259

    keelhauled

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    Speaking as a millennial, and strictly using that to mean "born in the 80s or 90s," what appeals to me is the product provided--the on board services, the schedule, the reliability, the price, etc. *How* that is provided is immaterial--and that doesn't stop at within Amtrak, I'm perfectly willing to travel by bus or air if I see better value. So if multiple units can enhance the product in some way, say if they are more efficient and decrease prices marginally (<he said with hopeless optimism>), I'm all for it. But the equipment in and of itself makes no difference, and it's not what any passenger sees except for two minutes max as they're on the platform, and of those how many care? If the train shows up half an hour late, NO ONE, from millennials to the infirm, is going to give a damn whether it was a locomotive and conventional equipment, multiple units, maglev, dragon hauled chariot or anything. Service is what sells, and providing reliable service has to be the priority. I don't think I'm in the minority in saying that.

    What address can I send my consulting invoice to?
     
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  10. May 10, 2018 #260

    chrsjrcj

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    I'm not familiar with Anderson's tenure at Delta (although I've taken multiple flights with Delta over the last decade), but did he make any fleet acquisitions based off what he thought millennials (I too classify as one) wanted? In reality, I prefer JetBlue over Delta and I know other friends in my group do too, and it's not because they like the Airbus over a Boeing. JetBlue flights have free WiFi, movies and live TV, leg room equivalent to Delta's ComfortPlus seats, and arguably better snacks.
     
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  11. May 11, 2018 #261

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    Having worked in the airline/airport business for the last 15 years, I can honestly say that 99% of passengers couldn't tell a 747 from a Piper Cub. Heck most passengers couldn't tell what type of plane they are on without looking at the safety card. As for Anderson's tenure at Northwest and Delta, at both airlines he used a strategy of buying used airplanes or refurbishing existing fleet. At Northwest in the early 90s they acquired DC-10-30s to expand international flying and refurbished the DC-9 fleet instead of buying new aircraft. At Delta they acquired basically every MD-90 they could get their hands on and picked up AirTran's 717 fleet when Southwest took them over. So it is safe to say that when it comes to equipment purchases he is driven more by numbers than by image.
     
  12. May 11, 2018 #262

    cpotisch

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    Yes! jetBlue is WAY better than Delta, American, or United. It's almost always the cheapest option for me, and just does pretty much everything better. But despite the free and fast WiFi, the movies, legroom, snacks, and low prices, which arguably haven't degraded at all over the years, they are still a thriving airline. Having such a great and consistent product guarantees people like my family flying and buying.

    Amtrak, on the other hand, in recent years has done just the opposite. Prices have risen, a wide variety of amenities have been dropped, and the product is anything but consistent (there are at least 10 different types of "Business Class"). This alienates new customers, frustrates old customers, and makes Amtrak that much less credible when asking Congress for funding. The course we're on is not a good one.
     
  13. May 11, 2018 #263

    keelhauled

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    And yet ridership and revenue continue to hit record highs.
     
  14. May 11, 2018 #264

    cpotisch

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    Yes, but that doesn't mean this sustainable. Someone can start a marathon with a sprint, and take the lead, but it doesn't take long before they run out of energy and slow to a crawl.
     
  15. May 11, 2018 #265

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  16. May 11, 2018 #266

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    I wander if Anderson had a hand in this 5 year plan.

    Under the Long Distance Train chapter.

    p.69 • Last bullet point- Acquire new and Improve existing fleet.

    Notice this tidbit about LD trains in "Mr. Anderson's" Fiscal report and Grant request- Page 31

    Why Do We Want/Need to Fund the Program at the Requested Level? Long Distance and State Supported trains are a critical part of Amtrak’s intercity passenger rail network. Capital projects designed to support the National Network are a vital component of a safe and efficient operation. These projects will help to improve the integration and efficiency of the business, and ensure that Amtrak continues to offer a safe, efficient, and effective train operation on its national system that fulfills customer expectations. A frequently overlooked aspect of Amtrak Long Distance trains is that under the current cost allocation scheme, a significant portion of the costs associated with these trains are fixed costs driven by the operation of the whole network. Should the Long Distance trains be eliminated en masse or without sufficient time for planning and adjustments to Amtrak’s cost structure, those fixed costs would remain and would then be spread to the remaining NEC and State Supported routes. Thus, the shutdown of Long Distance train service would save less than might be imagined while imposing significant burdens on to the remaining routes.

    Now back to our regularly scheduled posts......." Anderson is devil"......"Anderson has to go"........"Anderson is trying to kill LD trains".
     
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  17. May 11, 2018 #267

    jis

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    Since the Introductory sections contains blurb about DMUs and DEMUs and a paragraph that is almost verbatim of what he has been saying everywhere about equipment acquisition, I suspect that even if he has not had a hand in putting it together he certainly buys into significant parts of it as his own.
     
  18. May 11, 2018 #268

    railiner

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    Wow...wonder what it cost just to produce those documents....
     
  19. May 11, 2018 #269

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    Anderson is the devil? Does shoving words in other people's mouths make you feel better about your own position? You've already admitted that you believe some LD routes are likely to be abandoned in the near future. You've also stated that you're perfectly fine with that, but not everyone feels the same way. Your quote isn't attributed to any specific person and doesn't define what qualifies as Long Distance or explain how much the National Network can be cut back before it ceases to accomplish it's intended purpose. Thus, it is more akin to hoping for happenstance rather than planning for a strong policy.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 11, 2018
  20. May 11, 2018 #270

    Ryan

    Ryan

    Ryan

    Conductor

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    He's been called the devil and much worse in the scores of posts on Facebook.
     
  21. May 11, 2018 #271

    Lonestar648

    L

    Lonestar648

    Conductor AU Supporter

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    I wonder what the ridership and revenue would be had the amenities been kept and maybe expanded.
     
    tricia and cpotisch like this.
  22. May 11, 2018 #272

    ainamkartma

    a

    ainamkartma

    Service Attendant

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    137
    Thanks for posting these.

    It's interesting, that given the recent intense focus on F&B profitability, the Service Line Plans document does not include numbers for F&B expenditures.

    One can extract some numbers, though, from the text on page 68. For the long distance trains, in FY17, the F&B revenue was 69.7 M. All on board service costs were 122.3 M. So for F&B to be running at a loss, more than 69.7/122.3 = 57% of all on board service costs must be allocated to F&B. I guess that's remotely possible, but it does seem to strain the bounds of credibility. Is actual data on this topic available anywhere?

    I wonder if Hampton Inn or other hospitality servicers that _give food away for free to their customers_ also insist that their F&B lines show a profit. It's hard to see how that's possible for a business like Hampton Inn that presumably has zero F&B revenue.

    Ainamkartma
     
  23. May 11, 2018 #273

    bretton88

    b

    bretton88

    Conductor

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    Hampton Inn also doesn't have a law that requires no losses on F&B services, so they can use it as a loss leader (as as been done for ages on railroads). I can believe the 57% number as a ballpark number especially since dining car staff is almost half the OBS staff on the train.
     
  24. May 11, 2018 #274

    Lonestar648

    L

    Lonestar648

    Conductor AU Supporter

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    The Hampton builds the F&B costs into the overhead, thus it is part of the room cost. Now others like HGI, charge for Breakfast, but give it away to to special members, special groups as part of their package, so do they break even with breakfast? We don't know, but we do know that breakfast is a critical offering in attracting business paid or free.
     
  25. May 11, 2018 #275

    bretton88

    b

    bretton88

    Conductor

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    That 5 year plan sounds exactly what i expect from Anderson. A renewed focus on the product, especially fixing Amtrak's customer service issues.
     

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