Can Amtrak skip a routine, major station if no one is scheduled to get on or off

Discussion in 'Amtrak Rail Discussion' started by Mystic River Dragon, Dec 28, 2018.

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  1. Dec 28, 2018 #1

    Mystic River Dragon

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    I was on 173 today, and I'm nearly sure we did not stop at Trenton, which is a regular stop. It was possible I was daydreaming and missed it, but another lady getting off at Philly didn't think we stopped at TRE either. Now that the conductors have a computer listing of passengers, is it possible that a major station can be passed if there will be no passengers boarding or detraining for sure?

    (Not that I'm complaining--the less time anywhere near TRE, the better.) :p
     
  2. Dec 28, 2018 #2

    cpotisch

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    According to the “Northeast Corridor 1” timetable, 173 doesn’t stop at Trenton.

    By the way though, what you are talking about–a station that a train only stops at if someone is ticketed to or from it–is called a “flag stop”. Certain stations are designated as flag stops on timetables, and may be such due to low ridership at the station or in some cases inconvenient timing. But Trenton is not one.  :)
     
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  3. Dec 28, 2018 #3

    Thirdrail7

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    173 hasn’t made TRE in years.   That being said, the answer is yes depending on certain criteria .
     
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  4. Dec 28, 2018 #4

    Mystic River Dragon

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    Thanks, Thirdrail7--

    I never looked at a schedule for it, just booked to Philly.

    Which leads to another question--I assumed all Regionals stopped at TRE as a matter of course. Why did they decide to have this one skip it?
     
  5. Dec 28, 2018 #5

    the_traveler

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    Perhaps the train was behind schedule and just slowed down, but did not fully stop.

    Unless it is behind schedule, an A stop, a D stop or an L stop, all trains can not depart prior to the scheduled departure time. Even at flag stops, they slow down to verify n9body is waiting there.
     
  6. Dec 28, 2018 #6

    jis

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    Unless there is a rule requiring notification 24 hours ahead of arrival, as is the case in some places with Flag Stops. For example I don't believe the Canadian slows down at each of its zillion Flag Stops.
     
  7. Dec 28, 2018 #7

    the_traveler

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    But. we’re only talking of Amtrak here.
     
  8. Dec 28, 2018 #8

    jis

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    I have not paid attention to what Amtrak does at flag stops. But I thought that Amtrak also in general required " flagstop - with sufficient notice being given to the agent or conductor". Frankly, when trains are mostly reserved and the Conductor has the manifest handy, it would be kind of silly to keep slowing down at every flagstop. It would be better to stop accepting reservations from flagstops a certain time ahead of scheduled arrival allowing notification to the Conductor.
     
  9. Dec 28, 2018 #9

    Thirdrail7

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    There are a couple of regionals in each direction that skip TRE. 173 started doing this when a large number of track projects began and they expressed it NWK-PHL to keep it ahead of the Acela.

    You can also be authorized by bulletin, dispatcher and other forms of paperwork to skip a stop or depart early.
     
  10. Dec 28, 2018 #10

    Mystic River Dragon

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    Thanks to all of you--all very interesting information :) --but Thirdrail7's answer is the specific information I was looking for here.
     
  11. Dec 28, 2018 #11

    AmtrakBlue

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    Does 89 stop at NRK or just whiz on by?  ;)
     
  12. Dec 28, 2018 #12

    OlympianHiawatha

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    I am curious but do any flag stops still keep the flag on the platform?
     
  13. Dec 28, 2018 #13

    the_traveler

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    Not that I know of. Most people wouldn’t even know what they are for.
     
  14. Dec 28, 2018 #14

    twropr

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    Once back in the early 1990s I was riding on the PENNSYLVANIAN when the conductor advised the engineer that he had no passengers to discharge at Tyrone, PA, which was a scheduled stop (not flag stop).  At that time the train did not have reserved seating.  Running a bit behind schedule, we approached the platform at reduced speed.  Seeing that there were no passengers to board, the conductor highballed the train and we resumed speed.  The train never came to a complete stop in Tyrone.

    Andy
     
  15. Dec 28, 2018 #15

    Anderson

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    This is VIA's policy on its "rural service" trains, for the most part (the Canadian included): Reservations need to be made by X amount of time (I think 45 minutes) before the train is scheduled to a given station (for example, Winnipeg and I think Capreol for rural Ontario) so a manifest update can be handed to the crew.
     
  16. Dec 28, 2018 #16

    FrensicPic

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    Returning to LA on the Coast Starlight, we "skipped" Van Nuys and Burbank Airport which are "discharge only" stations. The manifest indicated no departing passengers...numerous announcements were made by the conductor to ensure there was indeed no one onboard needing to stop there at these two stations.
     
  17. Dec 28, 2018 #17

    bratkinson

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    About 35 years ago, I was on Trans Michigan Airlines (I think that's what they were called) on a plane that originated at Sault Ste Marie, with stops at Petosky, Traverse City, Midland, and terminated at Detroit.  About 10 minutes after leaving Traverse City, the pilot got on the speaker to confirm there was nobody getting off at Midland.  Nobody of the 8-10 aboard the 12-seater was getting off there.  He then radioed Midland to see if anybody was getting on.  Nope.  So we went straight to Detroit without stopping. 

    These days, the 'device' that all Amtrak conductors carry shows how many people on and off at each stop.  I don't think there would ever be a situation where any town over, say, population 5,000 would NOT have somebody on or off, so they're never shown as flag stops.  The problem, though, would seem to be someone who drives up at the last minute at a flag stop, and then gets on his/her cellphone to purchase their ticket, a minute or two ahead of train arrival.  I don't think Amtraks' computer could update the conductors' device in time to indicate they should stop at Podunkville.  Goes to show what too much dependency on computers can do.

    Compare that to the multiple flag stops on the South Shore between Gary and Michigan City.  The signs read "passengers must use light at night" or something similar.  Many years ago, one of the engineers I was riding with said that flaming newspapers were regularly used as a 'light at night'.  Nowadays, they have a simple on/off switch for a light on a pole. 
     
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  18. Dec 28, 2018 #18

    Thirdrail7

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    That's not what she asked and has nothing to do with what she is referring to. The TITLE of her thread is can Amtrak skip a routine, MAJOR stop if no one is scheduled to get on or off.

    Keyword: Routine....Major.

    She didn't ask anything about a flag stop which you indicated may be due to low ridership or inconvenient timing. How could that be construed as  MAJOR stop, which she listed in the title and the first post?
     
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  19. Dec 28, 2018 #19

    Thirdrail7

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    That is not necessary Jis, because of this:

    Yes, it can. It is pretty much real time. As soon as the transaction is completed, it shows on their EMD...as long as there is connectivity.

    That being said, none of this has to do with MAJOR stops....and the answer is yes...although Twropr's anecdote sounds more like a rules violation. :help:
     
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  20. Dec 28, 2018 #20

    Thirdrail7

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    I suppose it depends on who is on the platform. ^_^
     
  21. Dec 28, 2018 #21

    Anderson

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    My guess is that the only situation it would be allowed would be a late train scenario (where the computer has [idiotically, IMO] cut off sales for several hours and so nobody could have "just bought a ticket").
     
  22. Dec 28, 2018 #22

    ehbowen

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    My understanding (I tried to find something official to document, but couldn't) is that, even at flag stops, the train is supposed to slow down to a speed at which it can safely stop if a last-minute walk-up passenger "flags it down" from the platform and that it is not to pass that stop until the time point published in the timetable. The exception being, of course, stops which are coded as "D" (Discharge only) or "L" (Limited?). At stops with those codes, the train may leave early if its station work is complete.

    While at all regular stops the train is supposed to come to a full and complete stop, it wouldn't surprise me if some crews treat minor stops as a flag stop if running behind schedule. And I've personally seen several smaller station stops where a full and complete stop was made...for about two seconds before continuing on.
     
  23. Dec 28, 2018 #23

    NorthShore

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    Likewise, in the latter case.  Quite literally, a whistle stop!

    Otoh, there are some great stories from the old North Shore Line, including that of a top executive whose watch was fast and ordered a train to leave early against the conductor's best judgement.   (The motorman managed to slow run in order to get back on regular schedule and the executive called to compliment the conductor after having his watch checked.)

    Another favorite was how a motorman and conductor conspired to make an unscheduled stop at the military base late at night to allow a serviceman to get back where he had to be.  They accomplished this by faking train problems, which the conductor decided to jump off and check on/fix at the base stop, announcing his intent loudly to the motorman so passengers would not question the stop.  The serviceman was quickly and quietly allowed to jump off.
     
  24. Dec 28, 2018 #24

    jis

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    Never if AmtrakBue is on platform? :lol:
     
  25. Dec 28, 2018 #25

    AmtrakBlue

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