Is RPA Advocating for the Rail Passenger, Amtrak or both?

Discussion in 'Rail Advocacy Forum' started by dlagrua, Jun 3, 2019.

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  1. Jun 3, 2019 #1

    dlagrua

    dlagrua

    dlagrua

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    On a trip to Chicago on the CL, (5/14/19) we had the pleasure of sitting with Jonsie Stone and Jim Mathews of the Rail Passengers Association and enjoying some great conversation. We found them to be extremely nice people and their knowledge of passenger rail and working within the political system is quite amazing. I am convinced that RPA under Jim's leadership is working in the best interest of the rail passenger. What is surprising though is that I read that the association has been given a contract by Amtrak to act as one of their marketing venues. This is probably why Jim was diplomatic in defending Richard Anderson when I brought up the now dead SW Chief bus bridge proposal and our discussion about the terrible box meals.
    As our only voice in Washington on the advocacy of passenger rail; RPA is a beneficial association and everyone should be encouraged to join. Their existence apparently depends on representing the passenger and Amtrak itself so while still working for improved passenger rail, their public statements must be guarded. Such is life in the political world.
     
  2. Jun 3, 2019 #2

    dogbert617

    d

    dogbert617

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    Did you mention anything about other controversial moves Anderson has done, such as eliminate Pacific Parlour Cars on Starlight? And supposedly, the rumor I've heard that the Great Dome Car may not last much longer in service?

    Sigh, I see Jim Mathews' perspective, that he doesn't want to annoy Richard Anderson with any comments he makes. I just wish Anderson wouldn't propose things as stupid as doing the bus bridge in the middle of the SW Chief route, over instead(if it can't use that KS/CO/NM section anymore) rerouting the train through Wichita and Amarillo. Or say (as the rumor I once heard), doing the same 'contemporary' dining car food downgrade on the Capitol and Lake Shore to all other long distance trains. :(
     
  3. Jun 6, 2019 #3

    dlagrua

    dlagrua

    dlagrua

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    I am always careful when I quote people but will say that Jim Mathews did state that Richard Anderson does not want to discontinue the long distance routes. The 'bus bridge" proposal was apparently a ploy to see if congress would kick in more money to keep the route going. As for the dining service, I gathered that the plan is to serve Cardinal style preheated meals on the Eastern Routes to Chicago as soon as the large convection ovens are installed on Viewliner and CL diners. I do not believe that the diner service on the LD routes West is in jeopardy right now. Didn't get to discuss the Parlor and Dome cars but gather that Amtrak does not wish to bear the cost of refurbishment.
     
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  4. Jun 6, 2019 #4

    bretton88

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    bretton88

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    Amtrak has said they do see a difference between the one night Eastern trains and the 2 night Western trains. So what occurs in the East may not occur in the West.
     
  5. Jun 26, 2019 #5

    dogbert617

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    dogbert617

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    Thanks, for all this inside info. Maybe full dining car service isn't in jeopardy on certain routes(i.e. Sunset Limited), unlike the speculation I sometimes read on this board. Also glad to hear the bus bridge was only a ploy for increased SWC funding, and not to eliminate service in NM/CO/KS. I wish there was a way that Amtrak could figure out for funding refurbishment of the Pacific Parlour Cars, and also the dome car too.
     
  6. Jun 27, 2019 #6

    Devil's Advocate

    Devil's Advocate

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    &
    Yes, when it comes to defending passenger rail from a myriad of threats what really matters is that nobody annoys Richard Anderson with criticism or contrary opinions.

    &
    No, we wouldn't want to do anything that might ruffle Anderson's feathers as we watch him risk our national network by bluffing his way through a game of chicken with Amtrak's chief benefactor.
     
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2019
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  7. Jun 27, 2019 #7

    jis

    jis

    jis

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    I somehow suspect that Andreson's feathers don't feel anything that we say or do here. OTOH, getting Congress to act on putting language in relevant bills to force Anderson to act differently at least gets us what we want. Jim is very good at that and is in a position from where he and his staff can make that happen more effectively than any of us on AU can achieve. In Washington it is all a political game, and to be effective you have to play along to some extent. But there is plenty that is getting done now in terms of forcing changes on Amtrak. How Anderson feels about it is somewhat irrelevant, since no one is really asking for his permission.

    Here is some relevant material from RPA:
     
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  8. Jun 28, 2019 #8

    acelafan

    acelafan

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    In the hearing on June 26, Anderson said something about the Hoosier state and "running with extra empty cars to fix the problem". I didn't understand his answer. It was in reference from a Senator's question about "short shunting", I think. Did anyone catch that exchange and know what he meant? I guess it's moot anyways since the Hoosier is no more and the Cardinal wasn't mentioned as having this particular problem.
     
  9. Jun 29, 2019 #9

    jis

    jis

    jis

    Conductor AU Lifetime Supporter Gathering Team Member

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    Some railroads have inferior track circuits that cannot detect a train with less than 6 cars or some such. CN is the biggest culprit. The workaround that, which was characterized correctly as "Goofy" by Anderson, is to run a bunch of additional empty cars in a train to trigger the inferior track circuits. As mentioned in the hearing, the worst affected is the Saluki.

    The real fix is to replace the broken track circuits with world class 21st century track circuits that can detect a single locomotive.

    BTW, if you have not seen the hearing, it is worth taking a look through it. There were some very revealing discussions and disclosures. It is available in the archive at:

    https://www.commerce.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/hearings?ID=9D28DFD1-2E72-4460-B7AD-46DC06C21477
     
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