Travel between PAO and NYP Business Travelers Edition

Discussion in 'Amtrak Rail Discussion' started by Acela150, Sep 10, 2019 at 9:03 AM.

Amtrak Unlimited Discussion Forum

Help Support Amtrak Unlimited Discussion Forum:

  1. Sep 10, 2019 at 9:03 AM #1

    Acela150

    Acela150

    Acela150

    Conductor

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2008
    Messages:
    8,439
    Location:
    In a Sea of Foam
    As some of you are aware I drive part time for Uber.

    Yesterday (9/9) morning I picked up a gentleman and took him to Paoli. During the trip I asked him if he was going to NYC, Harrisburg, or catching Septa. He replied that he was going to NYC. It also came up that he was going to connect to an Acela in PHL. He seemed to complain about the fact that people tend to spread out on the Keystone Trains and made it seem like people that ride the Keystone trains are nothing but the lowest of the low.

    This is the second or third time that I've picked someone up at taken them to Paoli and they've said they're connecting to an Acela at PHL.

    Now here it what I find interesting. Keystone trains obviously goto NYP. I'm mind blown that people will go out of their way to wait an extra 30-60 minutes at PHL just to get on Acela. In this day and age of "time is money" you'd think they would stay on the Keystone train straight to NYP.

    I'm curious to see what others think of this. The two times I've boarded at PAO and connected in PHL it was cause I was going to BOS or WAS.
     
  2. Sep 10, 2019 at 9:20 AM #2

    Anderson

    A

    Anderson

    Conductor

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2010
    Messages:
    9,126
    Location:
    Virginia
    If he's in First (particularly with an upgrade card), it would make sense. Paying the upcharge for Acela Business (vs the Regional) for a relatively close-in trip and then burning a card makes absolute sense to me. Remember, no F&B on the Keystones.

    It also makes sense if somebody else is paying and is willing to pay for the Acela. NB Amtrak prompts for Keystone-Acela connections.

    Finally, on some of the tighter connections (e.g. 652/2172) there's little or no time difference (the Acela arrives one minute after the Keystone), so I suspect it might be fair to say that a 25-30 minute connection is a wash rather than being "extra" time.
     
  3. Sep 10, 2019 at 1:34 PM #3

    MARC Rider

    M

    MARC Rider

    Conductor

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2011
    Messages:
    1,233
    Location:
    Baltimore. MD
    You know, it's a commonplace for people to say "time is money," but a lot of times, that's not a clear motivation in all cases. In your case, your customer even pointed out that he thought that Keystone customers were riffraff (especially as compared to Acela customers.) It may be more important for him psychologically to ride with the higher class Acela customers than arrive a few minutes early on the Keystone. This also applies on the corridor, too. Why should people ride from, say, Baltimore to Philly on the Acela when they can get there in about the same time riding the Regional? From Baltimore to New York, the Acela is maybe 15 minutes faster. It's not until you ride from Baltimore to Boston that taking the Acela saves considerable time (about an hour) over the Regional. And Acela fares are 2-3 times Regional fares in most cases. Clearly, a good part of the Acela market is passengers who want to ride a "prestige" train, not saving 15 minutes on the ride. Incidentally, Amtrak NEC service has been very successful at taking passengers from the air shuttle services, even though flying, even with going to the airport, dealing with check-in, etc., is still a little faster, Obviously raw point to point timing isn't as important as some think.

    By the way, do you know if your rider was taking a Keystone to Philly or SEPTA?
     
  4. Sep 11, 2019 at 4:00 AM #4

    railiner

    railiner

    railiner

    Conductor

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2009
    Messages:
    7,180
    Location:
    South Florida
    What that line needs is one daily train timed for commuter's that runs on the old "Valley Forge" schedule, IIRC...it ran via the NY&Pittsburgh 'subway', and saved about a half hour over going thru or changing at 30th Street Station.
     
  5. Sep 11, 2019 at 4:54 AM #5

    Acela150

    Acela150

    Acela150

    Conductor

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2008
    Messages:
    8,439
    Location:
    In a Sea of Foam
    Keystone.

    Those trains used to stop at North Philadelphia. And I can tell you haven't been there as of late. NOT a good neighborhood.
     
  6. Sep 11, 2019 at 6:14 AM #6

    bratkinson

    bratkinson

    bratkinson

    OBS Chief

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2004
    Messages:
    648
    Location:
    QB 101
    I tend to switch off between taking 141 (regional) or shuttle from Windsor Locks CT to New Haven and switch to an Acela. Other times, I ride a regional or regional/shuttle combination to from various NEC destinations when money's tight. Using Amsnag, I've found Acela BC within $25 of a regional BC a couple of times. That's a no-brainer upgrade. Sometimes, when connecting to/from the Silver Meteor, Silver Star and Crescent at NYP, or even the Cardinal with an overnight in WAS or BWI, regional wins, as the total trip cost is a consideration.

    Being retired, time is not money, it's simply time to kill. Waiting 40 minutes or so between 141 and 2153 at NHV gives me time to 'people watch' in the station. 2153 catches/passes 141 just after PHL. Both are in PHL together every now and then, too. Going the other way, 2172 to 412 is a cross platform train change at NHV.

    Why do I prefer the Acela when I can handle the extra cost? The ride is so much better in an Acela than a regional. I'll admit to some 'snob appeal', although I'm wearing jeans and a casual shirt and sometimes a day or two away from a razor. These days, I prefer a table in the quiet car to First Class even though I have upgrade coupons. Although the food in First Class is "just OK" in my book, due to dietary restrictions and tastes, I often end up with the fruit, cheese and crackers plate at all meals. The portions are too small in my opinion, too. I'd rather get what I want at Dennys at 5:30 AM or something in one of the station food courts before boarding in the late afternoon. As for the upgrade coupons, I'm using them on #141 or #148 when I'm going to/from PHL, BAL or WAS when I have them.
     
  7. Sep 11, 2019 at 9:14 AM #7

    Anderson

    A

    Anderson

    Conductor

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2010
    Messages:
    9,126
    Location:
    Virginia
    Taking a bit of bait here, depending on the clientele involved, ridership, etc., if there were significant transferring ridership going through PHN it might behoove Amtrak to simply staff the station up and control platform access to ticket-holders only (and taking steps to time out/platform out some SEPTA trains to handle connections) might help. Moving the stop (even potentially building a new station) might also make sense.

    Of course, a practical question is "How strong is the turnover at PHL on the Keystones?" If the train is mostly clearing out and being re-filled, that justifies the extra time. If turnover is light, that would make skipping 30th Street make more sense.

    Edit: So, I'm not going to pull out string diagrams or anything else, but I have to wonder about the logistics and logic of doing this either by the Zoo or in Brewerytown. The former is obviously a "decent neighborhood" (and, if there were a not-through-downtown market to be had, might be a decent option for keeping some trains out of 30th Street if you have capacity crunches). Given the relatively slow speeds in the area due to the approach to PHL, the time lost would be relatively limited. I can't speak to how Brewerytown compares to the area around PHN, but it would seem to have less of a "physics problem".
     
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2019 at 9:19 AM
  8. Sep 11, 2019 at 11:15 AM #8

    railiner

    railiner

    railiner

    Conductor

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2009
    Messages:
    7,180
    Location:
    South Florida
    Not concerned about serving Philly (there are plenty of other trains for commuter's), but rather those from Paoli, and other points further out. They could just go from Paoli to Trenton, nonstop...
     
  9. Sep 12, 2019 at 1:10 AM #9

    Bob Dylan

    Bob Dylan

    Bob Dylan

    Conductor

    Joined:
    May 31, 2009
    Messages:
    18,155
    Location:
    Austin Texas
    Without a Stop @ North Philly like the Broadway Ltd. had!
     
  10. Sep 12, 2019 at 1:43 AM #10

    MARC Rider

    M

    MARC Rider

    Conductor

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2011
    Messages:
    1,233
    Location:
    Baltimore. MD
    Back in the 1970s, North Philly wasn't a good neighborhood. Yet that's where the Broadway Ltd. and Valley Forge stopped. Also, almost all the other NEC trains. I myself once waited there for the Broadway when I was in college. And a bunch of us in high school boarded there on a Penn Central train to Harrisburg. The neighborhood was sketchy, but I never felt unsafe in the station.
     
  11. Sep 12, 2019 at 2:05 AM #11

    Acela150

    Acela150

    Acela150

    Conductor

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2008
    Messages:
    8,439
    Location:
    In a Sea of Foam
    Very strong. Certain weekend trains have a decent amount of folks continuing on.

    You realize that PHL is the third busiest station on the Corridor? The turnover is very high and wouldn't justify use of the Pittsburgh Subway. It would also take jobs away from the PHL crew base.
     
  12. Sep 12, 2019 at 1:42 PM #12

    railiner

    railiner

    railiner

    Conductor

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2009
    Messages:
    7,180
    Location:
    South Florida
    Not disputing the traffic at Philly... between Amtrak and SEPTA/NJT, it is well served. I am just proposing that if they ran a fast thru train geared to serving the travelers fro Paoli thru Harrisburg, there might be enough to make using the “subway” viable.

    As for crews, Harrisburg or NY crews could go thru go thru, as they used to...
     
  13. Sep 12, 2019 at 2:32 PM #13

    jiml

    jiml

    jiml

    Lead Service Attendant

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2019
    Messages:
    263
    Location:
    Toronto area
    :)
     
    Bob Dylan likes this.

Share This Page

arrow_white