End of Mainline Charters?

fitz Mar 31, 2018

  1. fitz

    fitz Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    The new boss at Amtrak has issued a policy change basically banning any steam powered and other charter trips on Amtrak or Amtrak sponsorship (insurance). There is a lot of stuff on other boards about this. I guess I am just thankful for 27 years of enjoying steam on the mainline, and thank the Lord for places like the Oregon Coast Scenic, Mt. Rainier Scenic, Sumpter Valley and many other short lines where at least some steam can operate.

    OCSR09121.jpg
     
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  2. hoyden

    hoyden TrainBoard Supporter

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  3. BnOEngrRick

    BnOEngrRick TrainBoard Member

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    Be aware, change.org is a for-profit site that sells your e-mail address to others to make money! Expect your inbox to get flooded with spam! This petition will do nothing to change what is going on.
     
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  4. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Sad, but true.
     
  5. hoyden

    hoyden TrainBoard Supporter

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    Delete my post if appropriate. Sorry to hear the site is an exploit.
     
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  6. Eagle2

    Eagle2 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Shouldn't really be necessary to delete the post, but the caution is useful as well.
     
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  7. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Exactly.
     
  8. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    I posted about this on FB. But one DULLARD couldn't figure out what I was saying-

    Amtrak is the most geographically wide spread rail passenger carrier in the USA. They need to be doing what is possible, to help promote, to encourage, to tempt folks from the roadways to the rails. Amtrak IS the best hope in this regard. Such a move as discussed does just the opposite. It removes possibilities. It relies solely on the primary operation as being a magnet. At this point in time, Amtrak is NOT that magnetic, even after nearing fifty years!
     
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  9. Hytec

    Hytec TrainBoard Member

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    Sadly, its relevance as a magnet is getting worse if the Crescent's (19/20) timekeeping of the past 4-5 years is any indication. Before I retired I could set my watch by the Crescent's arrival in Alexandria, VA and Slidell, LA. Its arrival was within minutes of the advertised on the more than a dozen times I used it to commute to my Washington office. Today the Crescent is lucky to be only two hours down at either location, usually closer to four hours down.
     
  10. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Nancy- Don't worry about it.

    BTW- Are you heading to Lake Whatcom again this year? If so, hoping for pix and a report... :)
     
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  11. Hardcoaler

    Hardcoaler TrainBoard Member

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    Not to politicize the change, but I wonder if ATK loses money on providing excursion support? If not, it would be irresponsible for CEO Richard H. Anderson to turn his back on excursion profits while keeping his palm open for taxpayer support.

    I'm also wondering if there's another angle here. ATK's funding is facing cuts and perhaps their announcement might be a ploy to alarm riders, and motivate them to contact Congressmen and the President. CR worked this sort of thing to advantage during its early history.

    Just food for thought here; no debate from me. Peace. My wife and I haven't been able to afford mainline excursion prices in many years anyway.
     
  12. Hytec

    Hytec TrainBoard Member

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    This topic is interesting because the latest Federal budget apparently has a line item that offers grants to areas seeking train service in exchange for 50% matching funds. The following article is quoted from Sunday's MS Gulf Coast paper, The Biloxi/Gulfport Sun Herald.....


    "Sen. Thad Cochran had a parting gift for South Mississippi before he retires from the U.S. Senate on Sunday, one that could restore passenger trains from New Orleans to Mobile.

    "Tucked in the $1.3 trillion omnibus legislation passed by Congress to keep the federal government operating through September are grants to restore passenger rail service, particularly to areas like the Gulf Coast that once had trains but lost service.

    " “We have a unique opportunity Sen. Cochran and Sen. (Roger) Wicker put together for us,” said Knox Ross, vice chairman of the Southern Rail Commission.

    "The Republican senators from Mississippi have worked to get passenger train service restored. Two years ago, Wicker rode aboard the first Amtrak train to travel across the Coast since the service was discontinued before Hurricane Katrina.

    "This latest plan is for two trains a day, one in the morning and one in the afternoon, in each direction from Gulfport. That would let people from South Mississippi ride the train to New Orleans for a day of shopping, go to the museums in Mobile or take a train rather than a car to one of the local festivals. And residents and visitors from New Orleans and Mobile could ride to South Mississippi to visit the casinos or the aquarium, or watch a Biloxi Shuckers game, said Ross.

    "While the plan is still to one day provide passenger trains from New Orleans to Orlando, Ross said this shorter route has advantages for South Mississippi. It would provide more control to ensure that trains are on time, he said, and to add special event stops in Long Beach, Ocean Springs and Gautier — stations that aren’t among the regular stops on the route.

    "The two-year, $20 million grant comes with the requirement of a 50 percent match. Ross said it would cost Mississippi $20 million and could be spread out over four years. The funds possibly could come from Restore Act money directed to the Coast from the BP oil spill fine.

    "The track and bridges are ready to go — “You could run a train right now,” he said — but a second matching grant will pay for infrastructure needs for the track from New Orleans to South Mississippi.

    “If we apply for it, more than likely we’re going to get it,” a confident Ross told the Gulf Coast Business Council on Tuesday.

    " “This brings the people you need to you,” he told business owners, and said it also will help change the perception of South Mississippi.

    "Few places in the country have this kind of service, he said, such as the Amtrak Downeaster that runs between Boston and Portland, Maine. The base price for that trip is $58 for a round-trip ticket for the full route that is 2.5-hour trip each way, with 50 percent-off deals for seniors and children, multiride packages for frequent riders and other specials. The trains are wheelchair accessible and have free WiFi and a café.

    "Ross said he sees prices on a Gulf Coast line being competitive and a savings compared to the cost of gas and parking in New Orleans."
     
  13. YoHo

    YoHo TrainBoard Supporter

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    In the past, amtrak has said they made money on excursion services. They are actually obligated in their charter to do everything in their power to support these activities, so they have to have a justification for this.

    given the different way to allocate costs, that may not be so hard.

    Also, just to be clear, on Change.org, there's an opt in. The spam for different causes isn't your email being sold, that' s just the advertising model. They email sale happens if you click on "keep me updated on this petition" at that point, your email is sent on to the org that did the petition and they pay for it.
     
  14. hoyden

    hoyden TrainBoard Supporter

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    Hi Ken, My plan is to head west sometime late summer/early fall. I will put Lake Whatcom on the schedule along with a trip report.
     
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  15. fitz

    fitz Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Despite all the handwringing following this announcement, I just learned that SP 4449 is running out on the Columbia River Gorge on BNSF trackage, carrying only the steam crew and an IMAX camera crew. No passengers, just getting film for a future IMAX production. BNSF covering insurance?
     

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