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Old June 29th, 2007, 05:32 AM   #121
Electrify
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Police: Diabetic Man Missing After Being Kicked Off Train

Police: Diabetic Man Missing After Being Kicked Off Train

PHOENIX -- A 65-year-old St. Louis man is missing after Amtrak personnel, mistaking his diabetic shock for drunk and disorderly behavior, kicked him off a train in the middle of a national forest, according to police in Williams, Ariz.

# SURVEY: Did Amtrak Do The Right Thing?

Police said Roosevelt Sims was headed to Los Angeles but was asked to leave the train shortly before 10 p.m. Sunday at a railroad crossing five miles outside Williams.

"He was let off in the middle of a national forest, which is about 800,000 acres of beautiful pine trees," Lt. Mike Graham said.

Police said there is no train station or running water at the crossing, which is about two miles from the nearest road, at an elevation of about 8,000 feet.

Amtrak personnel told police dispatchers that Sims was drunk and unruly.

The Sims family said Sims is diabetic and was going into shock.

Sims' brother, Brian Mason, said his family tried to call Sims on his cell phone that night, but Sims was incoherent.

When officers arrived at the crossing, police said, Sims ran into the woods, leaving his luggage and medication behind.

Cell phone records show that Sims' phone was last used in Litchfield Park, Ariz., 180 miles from Williams.

Williams police told CBS 5 that Amtrak has used the abandoned crossing as a drop-off site in the past. Graham said that whether drunk or not, no one should be dropped off there.

"You don't put anyone off in an area like that," Graham said.

Amtrak said the company is looking into the matter.

"I just want to find him," Mason said. "I'm not mad at anybody."

"I want to find a way to make sure he's OK," Mason added.

"Our thoughts and prayers are that there's no way he's out there in those woods," Graham said.


Wow... someone is gonna get sued, if not charged criminally. Hope the guy is okay.
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Old June 29th, 2007, 11:52 PM   #122
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I think it's ridiculous that Amtrak is late so often. Today I looked at the train status and it was late about 4 hours in Arkansas coming from Chicago. I was about 2.5 hours late arriving into Chicago back in January. Now if I plan any trips on Amtrak I'll know to leave about 8 hours space in between trains.

I was upset if the train was late 10 minutes in Korea. In Japan, forget about it. Always on time.

Speaking of terrible train service in the west I was appalled to learn that TxDOT destroyed 20 miles of track in Houston that could have been used for commuters.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Houston...y_Construction
"In 1992, Union Pacific agreed to sell the 20-mile strip of rail for roughly $75 million to TxDOT. Over time, the freight railway running beside the freeway was demolished, providing extra space for future construction."

Last edited by goldbough; June 29th, 2007 at 11:53 PM. Reason: added more commentary
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Old June 30th, 2007, 12:09 PM   #123
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What I can't understand is that the US has (or had) numerous competing rail networks ... and hence should, even today, have alternate routes available, at least, say along your Eastern seaboard, and, I'd think between New York & Chicago. We don't have that luxury here in Australia, since, with about 1/15th of your population in an area equivalent to your forty-eight contiguous states, allowing multiple private companies to build competing parallel lines was not a luxury we could afford (someone will call me a commo here, but never mind).

Now, my question is: you have all these easements ... and tracks, which I understand are often not all very-well maintained. How many alternate routes are there, say, from NYC to Chicago, or NYC to Boston ?



Isn't it possible to find one route for high speed traffic (and maybe upgrade it!) and one (or more) for freight ? At least out of Melbourne here, long-distance freight runs on separate tracks from regional fast rail. Someone above quoted trains being 7- 8 hours late between Chicago & NYC. We have similar services (I suppose) between Sydney & Melbourne, but the expectation is, that if you take the overnight train, you'll get there in the morning.
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Old June 30th, 2007, 08:26 PM   #124
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i once tried to take amtrak from oakland, jack london square, ca to san luis obispo - prob. a dist of about 250-300 miles. when i got to the station, they told me the train was 9 hours late (the trip itself was about 5 hours). i told them, fuck it, ill drive.
everytime after that, i took the amtrak BUS. travel time was cut by OVER AN HOUR, and in the half dozen times i made the trip, it was never late.

of course rail COULD work in the usa, even long distance lines. but it would require way way too much $$ to bring everything up to standards. cmon, guys, we got to spend our $ on more important things, like iraq.
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Old June 30th, 2007, 11:22 PM   #125
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Pretty bad. But it could be fixed for a fraction of the cost of your Iraq War.
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Old July 2nd, 2007, 10:39 PM   #126
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Amtrak schedules

Why does Amtrak sit in Dallas and Fort Worth for less than an hour each? They're supposed to arrive in Dallas at 12pm and leave at 12:20. Then they arrive in FTW at 1:55pm and leave at 2:40. Is it to change crews? Or to magically catch up when they're behind schedule? It seems odd that they have breaks 2 cities in a row. I haven't ridden Amtrak at these stops, so is it possible that there's so many people that want to get on and off that it takes that long?
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Old July 3rd, 2007, 12:13 AM   #127
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Wouldn't happen in Europe.
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Old July 3rd, 2007, 05:42 PM   #128
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Upscale rail -- on Amtrak

http://www.suntimes.com/business/453...trak03.article

Upscale rail -- on Amtrak
TRAIN TRAVEL | Luxury service rolls out in Nov.


July 3, 2007
BY SARAH KARUSH

Mahogany interiors, five-course meals and personal butler service will be available on several Amtrak routes starting this fall, as the national passenger railroad embarks on a new partnership with GrandLuxe Rail Journeys.

The companies have teamed up to attach seven special GrandLuxe cars to regularly scheduled Amtrak trains. More than 90 departures are scheduled from November to early January.

• The new service, dubbed GrandLuxe Limited, will be available between Chicago and the San Francisco Bay area, Chicago and Los Angeles and Washington and Miami.

Limited trips are also scheduled between Washington and Chicago, from Denver to San Francisco, from Denver to Chicago and from Chicago to Albuquerque.
For Amtrak, the partnership will be a moneymaker, company spokesman Cliff Black said. He declined to say exactly how much privately held GrandLuxe is paying the government-owned corporation.

The project marks the first time Amtrak is providing regularly scheduled private rail services.

''We like the opportunity to experiment with creative marketing approaches,'' Black said. ''Anything that elevates the profile of passenger-train service is beneficial to Amtrak.''

The arrangement allows Evergreen, Colo.-based GrandLuxe, formerly known as American Orient Express, to bring its brand of luxury to a wider group of potential customers in a more affordable format.

Tickets for the two- and three-day GrandLuxe Limited trips will range in price from $789 to $2,499. In contrast, GrandLuxe's regular tours take seven to 10 days and range in price from about $4,000 to $8,000 per person.

For its longer trips, GrandLuxe operates one 21-car train that consists of old passenger cars from the 1940s and 1950s -- a time when train travel had not yet been overshadowed by the rise of the interstate highway system and commercial aviation. The cars have been refurbished to conform to modern standards and to add ''a level of luxury that never existed,'' said Christina Messa, vice president of marketing for GrandLuxe.

For the Amtrak partnership, GrandLuxe will split its train in three. Each segment will have a dining car and a lounge car and have room for 47 passengers, Messa said. It will operate completely separately from the Amtrak portion of the train.

GrandLuxe passengers will not be able to get off at intermediate stops because of limitations such as platform length, though the companies said that could change.

Amtrak will operate the same number of cars it normally would, but in some cases it might have to add an extra locomotive, Black said. The companies said they could expand the partnership if it is successful.

GrandLuxe trains tend to appeal to older travelers, and Messa said she expected the new Amtrak routes to do the same.

Tom Weakley, 64, has ridden GrandLuxe trains 16 times since retiring from a job in the drug wholesaling industry. He said he relishes being pampered on board the train. A butler brings coffee in the morning. In the afternoon, there are cocktails in the lounge car.

The lounge cars themselves vary: One features a baby grand piano; another, used for particularly scenic routes, is surrounded by glass.

Dinners are long and unhurried -- an opportunity to make friends with fellow passengers, said Weakley, of Indianapolis.

''Did I mention the complimentary wine?'' he added. ''And they don't limit you to one glass.''

AP
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Old July 4th, 2007, 10:48 PM   #129
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$789 to $2,499 ? for one to two day trip?
What a joke, just a rip off. For the wealthy traveller only! Plus no doubt the obligatory $100 tip.
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Old July 5th, 2007, 04:13 AM   #130
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I still don't see how they are going to cope with poor routes, long delays and cancellations, and Amtrak equipment breakdowns. Will they be using head-end power?
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Old July 6th, 2007, 05:33 AM   #131
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Amtrak isn't that great.

I took it the Acela from New York to Boston. Supposedly, while in Connecticut, the speed goes as low as 150 km/h. And, we spent more time in New Haven than expected, so it took almost 5-6 hours.

I'm never taking Amtrak again, this was not the only time I had a bad time with it. If it's in it's current form, I'll either take the cheaper bus or the faster plane.
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Old July 7th, 2007, 07:51 PM   #132
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The US is not Europe. Cities are far apart and the country is huge. The focus should be improving air travel and having regional hubs to develop comprehensive highway connections (which is already there with the Interstate).
US is not Europe yes, but you have several considerable regions that would be very well suited for a good and tight railservice. The east coast and Chicago area being just examples. A considerable part of your overall population lives in those regions.

Railways offer an energy efficiency when being properly run cars can only dream of. This argument alone will soon force you to get something done. Or do you think you will continue to have the means of wasting rescources for many decades to come?
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Old July 7th, 2007, 11:42 PM   #133
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Slartibartfas View Post
US is not Europe yes, but you have several considerable regions that would be very well suited for a good and tight railservice. The east coast and Chicago area being just examples. A considerable part of your overall population lives in those regions.

Railways offer an energy efficiency when being properly run cars can only dream of. This argument alone will soon force you to get something done. Or do you think you will continue to have the means of wasting rescources for many decades to come?
For many years I have agreed with you, and you are completely correct.

However you are suggesting a simplistic solution to almost 100 years of very bitter political debate about national transportation politics.
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Old July 10th, 2007, 05:46 PM   #134
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The easiest way for Amtrak to get more revenue is by putting a connection from Los Angeles to Bakersfield and from Los Angeles to Las Vegas. Right now, if I wanted to go to Sacramento from Las Angeles, I could either take a 24 HOUR trip along the coast, or take a bus to Bakersfield and have about a 2 hour trip. I don't want to take a bus or drive to Bakersfield, so a train trip for me is out of the question. The sad part is, this is true for the Bay Area cities as well. LAX does not require a bus, so even though it is crowded, people still go there. There is no reason to not build that extension.

As for Las Vegas, there are currently only 2 ways to get there, plane and car. There is always traffic on the I-15 and the plane is expensive. Amtrak really needs to extend to Las Vegas, imagine the ridership that they would get from there.

If Schwarzenegger would stop being such a pain and give California High Speed Rail a chance, then it would show that passenger rail works in this country. The state needs it badly the way the airports are overcrowding. I'm tired of driving through I-5 with all the trucks through the valley because I don't want to pay for airfare, we need a train with reasonable times already.

I agree that train travel does not work in all parts of the country, but it would work in areas where cities are close together and people go between all the time. SF-LA, LA-SD, LA-Phoenix, Dallas-Houston, NY-Boston, etc.
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Old July 10th, 2007, 09:08 PM   #135
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Originally Posted by phattonez View Post
The easiest way for Amtrak to get more revenue is by putting a connection from Los Angeles to Bakersfield and from Los Angeles to Las Vegas. Right now, if I wanted to go to Sacramento from Las Angeles, I could either take a 24 HOUR trip along the coast, or take a bus to Bakersfield and have about a 2 hour trip. I don't want to take a bus or drive to Bakersfield, so a train trip for me is out of the question. The sad part is, this is true for the Bay Area cities as well. LAX does not require a bus, so even though it is crowded, people still go there. There is no reason to not build that extension.

As for Las Vegas, there are currently only 2 ways to get there, plane and car. There is always traffic on the I-15 and the plane is expensive. Amtrak really needs to extend to Las Vegas, imagine the ridership that they would get from there.

If Schwarzenegger would stop being such a pain and give California High Speed Rail a chance, then it would show that passenger rail works in this country. The state needs it badly the way the airports are overcrowding. I'm tired of driving through I-5 with all the trucks through the valley because I don't want to pay for airfare, we need a train with reasonable times already.

I agree that train travel does not work in all parts of the country, but it would work in areas where cities are close together and people go between all the time. SF-LA, LA-SD, LA-Phoenix, Dallas-Houston, NY-Boston, etc.
Just a few minor obstacles : the Tehachapi mountains, the San Bernardino mountains and the San Andreas fault.

One of the major reasons for California High Speed rail delays is percieved cost of building tunnels through both sets of mountains and across the San Andreas fault. Both technically feasible from the engineering point of view but business case is daunting.

By the way don't expect any more space on the existing tracks for passengers as both passes, Cajon and Tehachapi, are already over crowded.
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Old July 10th, 2007, 09:34 PM   #136
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I suggest that anyone interested in the future of AMtrak should read Dan Phillips column in "the August 2007 issue of Trans Magasine". I have enjoyed Don's long term commentary on both passenger an freight iissues but this month I found his comment particularilly disturbing and challenging.

I think that we should take his comments to heart and search "doable solutions" to improving our railraods and in particular we need to start proding our elected leaders to start to lead and develope a real, integrated national transportation policy. In particular we should integrate passenger railroad funding with all other forms of transport funding, roads, air traffic and transit, to eliminate all the "rice bowls" which are fighting for a piece of the pie.
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Old July 11th, 2007, 03:52 AM   #137
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The main problem is that Amtrak sucks miserably, but at the moment there's nothing viable to replace it with. If Amtrak's assets were put on the auction block, Canadian and Mexican railroads would buy everything up for a pittance and leave the country with a generation's worth of rolling stock paid for by American taxpayers. Amtrak can't be allowed to go under until at least two or three large states have viable regional rail systems of their own that would be both interested and able to buy Amtrak's assets so they'd at least remain in the US after the sale. Florida seems to be making its way towards becoming one of those states. Michigan seems to be another. If Michigan, Illinois, and possibly Indiana, Ohio, and/or Wisconsin manage to pull off the creation of a regional intermediate-speed rail network along with Florida, Amtrak will be as good as dead the next time it has a financial crisis.

Alternatively, someone might form a new company to buy Amtrak's assets and continue running their long-distance trains, but eliminate all the small-town stops along the way and run the whole thing more like a cruise ship. In other words, you could still take a train from Chicago to San Francisco along the historic route, but the train might only stop in Denver and Salt Lake City along the way. Or from Boston to Miami, with stops only at New York, Philly, DC, Orlando, and Miami (relying on Florida's own rail network to get anywhere else in the state)
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Old July 11th, 2007, 06:19 AM   #138
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trainman Dave View Post
Just a few minor obstacles : the Tehachapi mountains, the San Bernardino mountains and the San Andreas fault.

One of the major reasons for California High Speed rail delays is percieved cost of building tunnels through both sets of mountains and across the San Andreas fault. Both technically feasible from the engineering point of view but business case is daunting.

By the way don't expect any more space on the existing tracks for passengers as both passes, Cajon and Tehachapi, are already over crowded.
Even though that's all true, my points are still valid and it's a major reason why ridership remains at its current level in California. It may be expensive, but something needs to be done.
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Old July 11th, 2007, 07:46 AM   #139
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I agree amtrak is often late, but I find it is predicatbly late. I use this site to figure out how late my train is likely to be:

http://www.amtrakdelays.com

plus you can always check the status of a train through their website.
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Old July 11th, 2007, 05:57 PM   #140
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Even though that's all true, my points are still valid and it's a major reason why ridership remains at its current level in California. It may be expensive, but something needs to be done.
The last time I visited California, I was stunned by the extent to which travel to and from the Los Angeles basin was becoming seriously constrained by the states failure to invest in both highways and railroads across the mountains. California needs to prepare for some serious investment in new railroads and new highways between the Central Valley and the Los Angeles basin. The California HSR is only a start. The state needs at least one if not two new double track freight railroads as well.
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Last edited by Trainman Dave; July 11th, 2007 at 08:26 PM.
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