W Palm Beach Safety Patrol Trains 2018?

Discussion in 'Amtrak Rail Discussion' started by Just-Thinking-51, May 29, 2017.

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  1. Jun 3, 2017 #51

    railiner

    railiner

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    The status of the Silver Meteor versus the Silver Star probably goes back all the way to the Seaboard Air Line RR era, which started those trains....one memorable difference were the unique "sun lounge", glass top sleeper lounge cars only on the Meteor....
     
  2. Jun 3, 2017 #52

    jis

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    Speaking of the SS not being used by members here, these days I almost exclusively use the SS. This year I have already used it four times and will use it at least another four times, and don't have any plans to use the SM.
     
  3. Jun 3, 2017 #53

    Seaboard92

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    I almost exclusively use the Star so far I'm up to trip three on it vs two on the Meteor. And who knows where the year will end.
     
  4. Jun 3, 2017 #54

    brianpmcdonnell17

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    Part of the reason it appears that many more members ride the SM may be that they are simply more vocal about it; I have never seen either of you post in the upcoming trip threads. Although I generally prefer the SM schedules, I almost always use the SS to avoid the bus ride from Tampa to Orlando. In fact, I have never ridden the SM southbound. The three times I took it north were to make same-day connections to Niagara Falls and Chicago, plus one trip where I was going with my dad to New York and the schedule allowed to him to pay for one less night in a hotel. I will likely ride it again in December for my first cross-country trip. In comparison, I have been on the SS 15 times and have 4 more trips planned in the next 8 weeks. If the SS ever gains a guaranteed connection with the Capitol Limited, I may never ride the SM again. The diner would be nice to have back, but in reality I would rarely use it, at least for the next few years until I graduate college. What are your reasons for choosing the SS?
     
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  5. Jun 3, 2017 #55

    Seaboard92

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    My reasons for the Silver Star is mostly because it's close to my house. Coming south I can be in my bed if on time no later then 115 am. And on the Meteor it's more like 445 before I can be in bed.

    I also really like some of the SCAs because they are pretty amazing to hang out with. And Flory the LsA is amazing too.

    Other then the convenience issue I don't really care which one I use. When connecting to the westbound Capitol Limited I take the Meteor. Also when going to Washington-New York because I can get there in the morning for a full day of fun wherever.
     
  6. Jun 3, 2017 #56

    jis

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    The Sleepers are cheaper. I seldom make full use of the Diner anyway. Too much food that I pay for on SM that I use less than half of. The late in the day departure from Florida northbound and earlier arrival in Florida southbound also is attractive since it allows me to work most of the day back home.
     
  7. Oct 8, 2017 #57

    Thirdrail7

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  8. Oct 9, 2017 #58

    neroden

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    While this is true, I think the class I freights overestimate their financial and political clout substantially, particularly when they're picking fights with Amtrak -- they've made a lot of powerful enemies. There are definitely states where Amtrak has far more political clout than the Class Is -- Massachusetts is the most obvious one, but I submit that California and Washington probably qualify too. Unfortunately I'm quite sure Florida, Georgia, or South Carolina do not fall into that category, so it's a bad place to pick a fight with CSX.
    Put it this way: when CSX reduced Amtrak service for trackwork in upstate NY, you got complaints from state legislators, pretty much immediately. That's sort of a minimum requirement for whether Amtrak might be able to fight over an issue. (In the case of NY, the state rarely puts its money where its mouth is, so it's not as good for Amtrak as Massachusetts, which does.) I've never heard a state legislator complain about the cancellations in Georgia, South Carolina, or Florida.
     
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  9. Oct 9, 2017 #59

    jis

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    Actually the Class I freights have their clout for the same reason that the highway lobby has its clout. More people depend on them than depend on Amtrak, and hence they have a larger set of stakeholders. There is just no getting past that reality, except in our fantasies and delusions.
     
  10. Oct 9, 2017 #60

    neroden

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    Very few people depend on them, that's the thing. They overestimate their clout badly. "Switching to the highways" is a thing, and it happens every time they act like idiots.

    They have a TINY set of stakeholders. Mining (including coal, which is dying), bulk agriculture, chemicals, and a few large trucking companies. Many of those stakeholders (particularly the ag and chemical groups) actively hate them and are campaigning for rate regulation. There are also small shippers, but they *really* detest the way the Class Is act. The trucking companies will use the Class Is if it's convenient but obviously have no loyalty at all.

    I follow the industry, you know.

    I guess based on what I know of the history that they've been overestimating their clout since the 1950s, so it's a business culture thing. The younger leaders seem to understand the situation better than old fossils like Hunter Harrison; I haven't seen BNSF or (post-Harrison) CP trying to throw its weight around in the sort of stupid way that CSX has been doing. Nor has UP since the Sunset Limited hissy fit, which never made it to the attention of legislators or the general public anyway. Cooperative, cooperative, cooperative, "but we need to be compensated", is the pitch from those railroads, and it works better.

    CSX, though, ye gods, attitude problems everywhere. They have much less clout than they think.
     
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  11. Oct 9, 2017 #61

    jis

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    If what you say is true then Amtrak should have been doing phenomenally well already. The fact that it is not strongly suggest that you have rose colored glasses on. :) Not that I am against being an optimist, mind you. ;)

    in my view not much has really changed from the norm. There are relatively minor variations around the norm.
     
  12. Oct 9, 2017 #62

    neroden

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    Thing is, the lack of clout by the Class Is mainly rebounds to the benefit of the highway interests.

    Amtrak has even less clout, except (as I say) in certain states -- even there it's really the state government which has the clout, it just *uses* it on behalf of Amtrak passengers.

    I believe the smarter CEOs recognize that visibly supporting Amtrak (even if they're unhelpful when it's outside the public eye) gets them sympathy and therefore *more* clout as versus the highway interests. But the dumber ones still act like it's the 1950s or 1920s, as if they have independent clout.

    It really doesn't help that they've been in an adversarial relationship with freight shippers. Normally a freight shipper will step up and campaign for public support for "their" railway line... and they still do so for shortlines... but since most of the Class Is have spent most of the last several decades mercilessly removing lines and cutting service, the shippers get pretty hostile. UP and BNSF have largely stopped the cutbacks but CSX is doing it again.

    I don't think you could call my point of view "optimistic" here.
     
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  13. Oct 9, 2017 #63

    west point

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    Amtrak does not have the clout mainly because of a chicken and egg situation Not enough service to get a loyal following except in the NEC especially when Amtrak does not have enough equipment for holidays. Not enough loyal following to demand more equipment on present trains and more trains and destinations.. Big example is not enough trains on a route to justify more food catering locations. That way food service could be vastly improved and more persons served with more restocking locations.
     
  14. Oct 12, 2017 #64

    neroden

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    Exactly! Thanks for putting it clearly.

    Now, consider a state with relatively little Class I freight presence, but enough Amtrak to have a loyal ridership of meaningful size:

    -- Vermont

    -- Maine

    -- Massachusetts

    In these states Amtrak has more clout than a Class I. (Honestly I wouldn't be surprised if Michigan were in this category too.)

    Consider a state where half the population is openly fighting the Class I over coal service and the other half is angry about poor agricultural service, again with enough Amtrak to have a loyal ridership of meaningful size:

    -- Washington

    Or a state where half the population is complaining about railyard pollution, again with enough Amtrak to have a loyal ridership of meaningful size:

    -- California

    Here... it's not obvious to me who has more clout.

    Then, consider a state where there is no significant loyal Amtrak patronage and lots of Class I service without too many local complaints:

    -- Georgia

    -- South Carolina

    Yeah, here Amtrak has no clout whatsoever and the Class Is have a lot.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 12, 2017
  15. Feb 10, 2018 #65

    Thirdrail7

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    The first set of 2018 Safety Patrol specials operated this week. 98(8) and 97(11) will operate with 17 cars and operate as the WPB special.
     
  16. Feb 12, 2018 #66

    VentureForth

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    What's the future hold so we can look for it?

    You know what? I saw this train this morning at 7:30 AM South of Savannah. I only caught the tail end, so I couldn't see it in it's full length glory.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 12, 2018
  17. Feb 12, 2018 #67

    JRR

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    It appears to be on time today for a change!

    Sent from my iPhone using Amtrak Forum
     
  18. Feb 15, 2018 #68

    Anderson

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    Yep, I found out about the Safety Patrol trains when I tried to book my usual roomette home from Washington (well, Baltimore) this past weekend and the Meteor was mysteriously "blocked out" on Sunday (and the train schedule put it at a very odd time on Friday). TBH my first instinct was that they'd been somehow forced to knock the train off the card for a day due to some sort of fallout from the Star's collision.
     
  19. Feb 16, 2018 #69

    Carolyn Jane

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    It was on an odd time today, too. Scheduled into Jesup @ 8:48pm, instead of 6:29pm. CJ
     
  20. Feb 16, 2018 #70

    VentureForth

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    Maybe instead of West Palm, Boca Raton should start a Safety Patrol sponsored by Brightline.
     
  21. Feb 16, 2018 #71

    JRR

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  22. Feb 16, 2018 #72

    JRR

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    I’m afraid Boca is hopeless. Perhaps a School Crossing Guard at each RR Crossing!

    Mods -Pardon for being off topic

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