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Old 11-30-2014, 08:32 PM   #41
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I bet a lot of people could say this about their place of roots, but the scenery in this reminds me of the Midwest, especially Illinois from Quincy on down.

http://youtu.be/BEe9DF_mUEI
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Old 11-30-2014, 10:00 PM   #42
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I bet a lot of people could say this about their place of roots, but the scenery in this reminds me of the Midwest, especially Illinois from Quincy on down.

Arlo Guthrie City Of New Orleans.wmv - YouTube
It's beautiful. I love that song, too ("The City of New Orleans").
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Old 11-30-2014, 11:41 PM   #43
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We do too, but I keep seeing reviews/horror stories suggesting that they don't have a very good record of keeping to a schedule or giving much thought to the customer.

Like on another thread, I read of someone being dropped off late at a station at 3:00 AM, no busses running, no taxis, no rental car available, etc. So they sit on a bench for a few hours or walk a few miles.

Who is the braindead fool who would treat the customer that way? They would for sure never see another nickel of my money after pulling a stunt like that.
The problem with the US system is that freight trains have priority over passenger trains. This is not an issue in Europe.
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Old 12-01-2014, 04:25 AM   #44
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They do their best to schedule, but have to work around delays caused by freight trains. Keep in mind they share those tracks.
In many cases, not even that: For example, the Southern Service from DC to Miami is run on tracks owned by CSX. The Amtrak service is a secondary - by the terms of the agreement to use the tracks, Amtrak takes a back seat to the freight service.

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Just like for any other transporter.
Indeed. Like every other service, you get what you pay for, and taxpayer-subsidized services rarely if ever include such costly accommodations over and above the promised service.
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Old 12-01-2014, 09:13 AM   #45
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I bet a lot of people could say this about their place of roots, but the scenery in this reminds me of the Midwest, especially Illinois from Quincy on down.

Arlo Guthrie City Of New Orleans.wmv - YouTube
This made me miss the late great Steve Goodman
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Old 12-01-2014, 10:27 AM   #46
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This made me miss the late great Steve Goodman
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Old 12-01-2014, 11:30 AM   #47
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The problem with the US system is that freight trains have priority over passenger trains. This is not an issue in Europe.
The problem in the US is that passenger trains SHARE the same tracks as freight trains. It is also regrettable that major cross-USA tracks were decomissioned during the 60's and 70's.
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Old 12-01-2014, 01:18 PM   #48
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In many cases, not even that: For example, the Southern Service from DC to Miami is run on tracks owned by CSX. The Amtrak service is a secondary - by the terms of the agreement to use the tracks, Amtrak takes a back seat to the freight service.
Amusingly enough, there is actually a 1973 law that gives AMTRAK trains priority dispatch over freight trains. Total staffing for the Surface Transportation Board to enforce this is currently zero (0) persons. There was an attempt to actually apply the law via setting performance standards for AMTRAK, with enforcement by the Surface Transportation Board under a 2008 law which has been challenged, currently at the Supreme Court as Department of Transportation v. Association of American Railroads, 13-1080.

I imagine the matter will be finally resolved within the next 40-50 years. All aboard!
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Old 12-01-2014, 01:33 PM   #49
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Amusingly enough, there is actually a 1973 law that gives AMTRAK trains priority dispatch over freight trains. Total staffing for the Surface Transportation Board to enforce this is currently zero (0) persons. There was an attempt to actually apply the law via setting performance standards for AMTRAK, with enforcement by the Surface Transportation Board under a 2008 law which has been challenged, currently at the Supreme Court as Department of Transportation v. Association of American Railroads, 13-1080.

I imagine the matter will be finally resolved within the next 40-50 years. All aboard!
I do know from personal experience there was a time when this law actually was enforced, via fines to freight carriers. In the late 80's - early 90's, it was a business decision whether to deal with the fine (which could be offset in various ways) or actually delay freight trains.

I honestly do not believe AMTRACK had better performance in those days; but, I do not have the stats at my fingertips.
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Old 12-01-2014, 01:54 PM   #50
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They do their best to schedule, but have to work around delays caused by freight trains. Keep in mind they share those tracks.

Who is the brain dead fool that assumes all services will be available at 3am? Why would they be responsible for taxi, etc, once the customer gets off the train?
Because they told me they would arrive at a reasonable hour and the customer relied on that promise. I know they have to share the tracks. However, if their schedule says the train will arrive at 4:00 PM when services are available, and they don't arrive until 3:00 AM then they are responsible for coming up with alternatives for those services that are not available at the late hour.

If they don't, then they don't get any more of my money. It is called failure to meet expectations.
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Old 12-01-2014, 02:14 PM   #51
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Because they told me they would arrive at a reasonable hour and the customer relied on that promise. I know they have to share the tracks. However, if their schedule says the train will arrive at 4:00 PM when services are available, and they don't arrive until 3:00 AM then they are responsible for coming up with alternatives for those services that are not available at the late hour.

If they don't, then they don't get any more of my money. It is called failure to meet expectations.
Ah-I gotcha. Yes, something like hotel vouchers should be done if it wasn't scheduled to arrive so late.
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Old 12-01-2014, 02:22 PM   #52
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The House Transportation Appropriations Subcommittee voted in June to reduce spending on Amtrak for fiscal year 2014. Doubtful that they'll be inclined toward taking any action toward changing the current reality of freight trains priority over passenger trains, nor will that make it any more likely that Amtrak will add any new amenities, such as hotel vouchers at origins or destinations. (Incidentally, airlines don't intend to offer amenities at origins or destinations either anymore, regardless of what services may or may not be available at the time at the terminal - their stated policies are that they offer such amenities only at connection points.)
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Old 12-01-2014, 05:00 PM   #53
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On my awful trip home to NY from Indy on Amtrak's Cardinal train back in July, we were given some priority over freight trains between Indy and Washington DC, the stretch of tracks Amtrak shares with the freight lines. Fortunately, few freight trains ran on Sundays so the conflicts were rare. But I did recall passing by some stopped freight trains instead of us always being stopped to let a freight train pass.

It was amazing that there were more places open at 3 AM at Penn Station than there were places open at Washington DC's station at 11 PM. We had no problem getting something to eat as our odyssey kept us at Penn Station for 90 more minutes until we could get a LIRR train out of Penn and back to Long Island, nearly 36 hours after we first left for the bus trip from Louisville to Indy.
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