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Old July 25th, 2012, 04:05 AM   #2361
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Perception ≠ Truth

In addition: Bad ≠ Poor
I have no idea what you're insinuating with the second statement, but I agree with the first one. However, if you look at the evidence and the numerous studies that have been done on child behavior and development in conjunction with the quality of parenting, there is definitely a relationship between the two. A lot of behavior that individuals exhibit once they are older is a direct result of the nurture that they receive when they're very young children. You will be hard pressed to disagree with me on that one I'm willing to bet
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Old July 27th, 2012, 07:51 AM   #2362
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Really who cares? You guys debating the fairness of FanRailer's use of adjectives is exactly why those kids in the video and the parent is getting away with being a nuisance. Nobody can say anything or deal with the situation because they'd get sued or attacked for trying to help.

Oh well, years of shitty part time retail jobs to make it through college have made me a little more extroverted and outspoken in dealing with shit in public places. Sorry to offend.

Trains seem to benefit from a big undeserved positive image bias compared to buses. But if Amtrak began to have real issues with passenger disturbances, that reputation could be questioned and that would be a very big problem.

Good for you uploading that video. Maybe someone from Amtrak will see it, and compare it to the viral videos from the TTC, SEPTA and MARTA showing despicable passenger behavior, worthless employees, and trashy conditions and wonder if it's worth the PR.

Last edited by zaphod; July 27th, 2012 at 08:13 AM.
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Old July 28th, 2012, 09:27 PM   #2363
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This is the finalized CAD drawing for the new Siemens Amtrak Cities Sprinter 125 mph (135 mph design) locomotive that will be rolling down the NEC for the foreseeable future starting in 2 years or so:

I think it looks very atypical, but that's my opinion.
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Old July 28th, 2012, 10:21 PM   #2364
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This is the finalized CAD drawing for the new Siemens Amtrak Cities Sprinter 125 mph (135 mph design) locomotive that will be rolling down the NEC for the foreseeable future starting in 2 years or so:

I think it looks very atypical, but that's my opinion.
Looks liek a pretty standard electric loco to me.
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Old July 29th, 2012, 05:34 AM   #2365
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Originally Posted by Fan Railer View Post
This is the finalized CAD drawing for the new Siemens Amtrak Cities Sprinter 125 mph (135 mph design) locomotive that will be rolling down the NEC for the foreseeable future starting in 2 years or so:

I think it looks very atypical, but that's my opinion.
It looks very European, unless the knuckle coupler gave the American looks.
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Old August 3rd, 2012, 08:26 PM   #2366
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New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/03/us...dit-finds.html

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Amtrak Losing Millions Each Year on Food Sales
By RON NIXON
Published: August 2, 2012

WASHINGTON — Amtrak lost more than $800 million on its food and beverage services over the last 10 years, largely because of waste, employee theft and lack of proper oversight, government auditors have found.

The railroad’s food and beverage service has never broken even since it was required by Congress to do so in 1981. The losses were the focus of a House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee hearing on Thursday that reflected partisan views over how Amtrak should be run. Republican lawmakers suggested that food services should be privatized. Democrats questioned the need for the hearing, saying the railroad was dealing with the losses.

Joseph H. Boardman, president and chief executive of Amtrak, confirmed the losses but said the railroad was taking steps to address the problem. “We are still looking for ways to improve our cost recovery,” he said.

According to audits by the Government Accountability Office, an investigative arm of Congress, and the railroad’s own inspector general, Amtrak loses about $80 million a year selling food. Since 2002, Amtrak’s food service has lost $834 million.

Amtrak said it was increasing the use of credit cards for food sales to cut down on cash thefts by employees, reducing staff, creating a better system to track inventory and to collect revenue. It has also set up a three-person loss-prevention unit.

Ted Alves, the Amtrak inspector general, testified that the bulk of the losses were on Amtrak’s long-distance routes, which account for 87 percent of the deficit. Last year, Amtrak spent $206 million in providing food services but collected only about $121 million. Long-haul routes do not include the Northeast Corridor between Boston and Washington.

“It’s an outrageous cost to taxpayers,” said John L. Mica, a Florida Republican and chairman of the House committee. “There has to be a better way. We can’t keep on paying this subsidy.”

Mr. Mica has been a frequent Amtrak critic who sponsored a bill last year that would have allowed private companies to develop a high-speed rail project on the Northeast Corridor and would have allowed competitive bids for Amtrak’s long-distance routes. He later withdrew the proposal. Amtrak’s money-losing food service has long been the focus of government studies and management vows to do better. The G.A.O. report, in 2005, said that poor management, lack of planning and enforcement of its food and beverage contract were likely causes of losses. Amtrak officials at the time acknowledged the problems and said they were making steady improvements in addressing them.

Seven years later, Mr. Alves said, part of the problem with the food service is that supervision of the business is split between two different Amtrak departments and carried out in an uncoordinated manner. Neither has established goals to reduce costs.

Mr. Alves, who issued a report on the problem last year, estimated that theft by Amtrak food service employees could cost the agency $4 million to $7 million annually. According to charts shown by Republican committee staff members during the hearing, Amtrak charges about $2 for a soft drink, but the cost to taxpayers is about $3.40 when labor is included. A $9.50 hamburger on the train costs taxpayers $16, the charts showed. Labor adds nearly 60 percent to food and beverage costs.

Dwayne Bateman, an Amtrak food service employee who testified at the hearing, called the analysis misleading. Mr. Bateman said food service workers also helped in other areas onboard, including passenger safety. “You may just see us handing out hamburgers, but we do other things,” he said.

Representative Nick J. Rahall II, Democrat of West Virginia and the ranking member on the committee, said the hearing was a not-so-veiled attempt by Republicans to get rid of Amtrak food service workers, who number about 1,200.

“It’s a whopper of an idea, trading good-paying jobs for cheaper hamburgers,” Mr. Rahall said.
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Old August 3rd, 2012, 10:46 PM   #2367
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Hmmm , funny thing is everytime Amtrak tried to Privatize the food , Republicans cried foul....there such big hypocrites. Same with dumping the small stations no one uses...
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Old August 6th, 2012, 07:03 AM   #2368
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Hmmm , funny thing is everytime Amtrak tried to Privatize the food , Republicans cried foul....there such big hypocrites. Same with dumping the small stations no one uses...
HAH... if those sniveling republicans had their way, all of Amtrak would be privatized. Heaven knows how long it would last after that.....
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Old August 7th, 2012, 03:21 PM   #2369
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HAH... if those sniveling republicans had their way, all of Amtrak would be privatized. Heaven knows how long it would last after that.....
Ya got that right!
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Old August 7th, 2012, 04:26 PM   #2370
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(Defunct) Ski Train

Apparently (claims from the own company) this train was the "largest (sic - longest maybe?) passenger train in US" for 20 years until it was withdrawn in 2009 due to low ridership and massive delays caused by conflicts with UP (owner of the tracks). In the video below it has 3 locos and 17 passenger cars, but I'm not sure they all formed a single train.

Some people took shoots of the train while CN was moving it to Canada in 2009.

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Old August 9th, 2012, 01:05 AM   #2371
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The critics are freaking idiots.

Food service is obviously a loss leader. It you removed it or downgraded it further it would probably cause Amtrak to loose even more money. Without food nobody would use long distance trains.

To that end, I think they should go the other way. Upgrade most long distance routes to have amenities like wifi, flat screens, plugs, nice interiors, more plush seats and beds, and most importantly high end food service. Instead of fast food they ought to do things characteristic of each route and have a certain theme. Relative to other costs this would be chump change and it would make the expensive journey actually worth the money and attract more riders.

For example, anyone stayed in a Holiday Inn or La Quinta lately? Some of them have gotten all fancy with suite-style rooms, good breakfast food, and nice comfortable features and design. If a motel chain can be nice why can't Amtrak?

Quote:
HAH... if those sniveling republicans had their way, all of Amtrak would be privatized. Heaven knows how long it would last after that.....
Exactly, it wouldn't.

The NEC and it's branches, Amtrak California, Chicago/Midwest lines, and Cascades services would probably be rescued by the states they run through. Instead of Amtrak as the operator, Class I railroad train crews and plus some kind of private contractor for onboard services.

I imagine some tourist excursion trains would start running on scenic sections of the routes used by the Builder, Zephyr, Starlight, and Chief now. But it would probably be seasonal service and not regularly scheduled public transportation.

Last edited by zaphod; August 9th, 2012 at 01:28 AM.
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Old August 9th, 2012, 10:44 AM   #2372
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To that end, I think they should go the other way. Upgrade most long distance routes to have amenities like wifi, flat screens, plugs, nice interiors, more plush seats and beds, and most importantly high end food service. Instead of fast food they ought to do things characteristic of each route and have a certain theme. Relative to other costs this would be chump change and it would make the expensive journey actually worth the money and attract more riders.
But, then, it brings a more fundamental question: is the government in the business of managing, directly, what are essentially tourist enterprises? A case might, or might not, exist for direct management of public transportation as in the NEC or other routes.

However, what you are proposing is essentially a leisure scenic train with high-end amenities. Which is totally fine, but I don't think it should be a priority for government funds to provide such vacations.

Moreover, customer orientation and pretty much the whole philosophy of the business of hauling dozens of thousands from NYC to Washington successfully , on a daily basis, are different than those of catering for holiday makers taking 3 nights to travel between Chicago and the West Coast.

Those long-distance trains are huge money-losers, and they have the lowest of Amtrak's farebox recover ratios. It's abysmal, doesn't reach 30% on trains like the Sunset Limited.

So maybe Amtrak should get out of the tourist business and focus on mass transportation, even if it leaves railfans screaming for not having trains going through the Rockies.

The NEC and it's branches, Amtrak California, Chicago/Midwest lines, and Cascades services would probably be rescued by the states they run through. Instead of Amtrak as the operator, Class I railroad train crews and plus some kind of private contractor for onboard services.

Quote:
I imagine some tourist excursion trains would start running on scenic sections of the routes used by the Builder, Zephyr, Starlight, and Chief now. But it would probably be seasonal service and not regularly scheduled public transportation.
The transcontinental routes are operated in a very inefficient way. Too many stops in the middle of nowhere, too little comfort for passengers who are travelling for the scenery/thrills and not for speed/convenience.

Australia did away with its long-distance trains and now they are operated as premium tourist leisure rides costing a lot, but providing a more tourist-oriented service. They could do the same in US.
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Old August 11th, 2012, 10:31 PM   #2373
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But, then, it brings a more fundamental question: is the government in the business of managing, directly, what are essentially tourist enterprises?
I actually agree with your stance that Amtrak should re-focus on regional rail and private tourism companies would run the popular routes out west.

But I'm not asking fundamental questions here, just thinking of what Amtrak's management could do with respect to the status quo. They'd probably loose less money in meantime if they spent a little to upgrade the riding experience, to increase ridership and justify ticket price increases. Also, a more regional Amtrak would still need to do this to remain competitive with bus service and private automobiles.

Of course that's not really the political goal. The goal is to make Amtrak so shitty that it becomes unpopular and easy to put out of it's misery.

Last edited by zaphod; August 11th, 2012 at 11:02 PM.
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Old August 14th, 2012, 02:03 AM   #2374
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new passenger platforms opened today in Sacramento



http://www.cityofsacramento.org/pathtoprogress/
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Old August 15th, 2012, 04:11 AM   #2375
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new passenger platforms opened today in Sacramento



http://www.cityofsacramento.org/pathtoprogress/
That was fast.... they were still doing some major work about a month ago when I passed through on the Zephyr.
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Old August 15th, 2012, 09:37 PM   #2376
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Not really, its very elements appear barely the essentials ...
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Old August 15th, 2012, 10:36 PM   #2377
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I actually agree with your stance that Amtrak should re-focus on regional rail and private tourism companies would run the popular routes out west.

But I'm not asking fundamental questions here, just thinking of what Amtrak's management could do with respect to the status quo. They'd probably loose less money in meantime if they spent a little to upgrade the riding experience, to increase ridership and justify ticket price increases. Also, a more regional Amtrak would still need to do this to remain competitive with bus service and private automobiles.
The West routes are not merely touristic. They are strategic. They keep transportation available even in events such as the 11/9 attacks and would also keep in a event such as the vulcano that disrupted flights all over Europe 2 years ago. And for the cost of 1 billion per year I think that the strategic value given by Amtrak way pays over it's cost.

It is surely 1000 times more productive then the 1 trillion invested in stupid wars in the Middle East such as Bush's 2 wars and Obama's recent war in Lybia.

Regional rail is also deficitary and I really don't see how it would be possible to refocus on it for Amtrak. Regional rail investment depends largely in the will and funds from state governments, not on Amtrak. In Europe rail is usually profitable only in intercity and HSR lines, and that is largely because the continuation of the trip is effective with great regional rail, trams, buses, etc. In the USA I suppose that Intercity rail would not be able to be profitable because of the lack of local transportation options and the hugh sprawl. I think that in the USA only High Speed Rail would be profitable.

So in short I would keep all the long routes exactly as they are now, and invest in HSR as a solution to make Amtrak have a higher profitability. Sad that profitable projects such as the Florida HSR are cancelled for no rational reason. With it's profits Amtrak could depend less in federal funds.
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Old August 15th, 2012, 11:12 PM   #2378
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Strategic? Speedier travel's got on American autoroutes compared to their railways ...
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Old August 16th, 2012, 08:56 AM   #2379
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Isn't the oil from the cars and trucks running over those Autoroutes the ones that fuel trillions of dollars to rich Saudi billionairs that fund Al Qaeda!?!? Doesn't look like a very clever thing to do to me =D At least I would not want to fund my worse enemy.

Anyway, since the topic is the transcontinental routes, I just found a great story about someone who did many of them and shared the account in details. I think it is a great reading, and many others might find also:

http://www.amtrak.com/whistle-stop/c...about-the-trip
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Old August 16th, 2012, 11:21 AM   #2380
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The West routes are not merely touristic. They are strategic. They keep transportation available even in events such as the 11/9 attacks and would also keep in a event such as the vulcano that disrupted flights all over Europe 2 years ago. And for the cost of 1 billion per year I think that the strategic value given by Amtrak way pays over it's cost.
Completely non-sense.

They are leisure routes with a daily intercontinental capacity below 4000 passengers, totally irrelevant for the transportation market in the area. And they are all diesel routes.

130 buses would carry more people than all Amtrak trains...

Only fanboys whose main concern is that a network looks "nice" in a map and politicians wanting a gold-plated service in their counties support the "strategic" need of these routes.

I remember once reading some b.s. about how vital the Colorado River route would be for national transportation between Denver and Salt Lake City, except that the fastest route between two cities would not be the "scenic journey" along the river but using the main UP link via Cheyenne and then west through Wyoming - a route Amtrak abandoned in 1997.
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