Crossing America By Rail?

BarstowRick Mar 22, 2019

  1. Point353

    Point353 TrainBoard Member

    1,843
    564
    31
    Those Amtrak locos are over 20 years old.
    They are likely run for over 1,000 miles per day.
    If they are used for at least 250 days out of the year, then that's 250,000 miles/year.
    So, the locos have probably accumulated over 5 million miles of operation.

    Suppose you had a 20-year-old vehicle with 5 million miles on the clock, regardless of how well it was maintained, how faultless would you expect it to be in day-to-day use?
     
    Kurt Moose likes this.
  2. BarstowRick

    BarstowRick TrainBoard Supporter

    7,683
    639
    98
    I had a vehicle that lasted me 24 years before it barfed the engine up all over the highway. I fully expect these hoover vacuum looking Genesis type diseasls (sp intended) or motor units to do the same thing.

    Announced earlier in this thread was the fact a Amtrak, CFO was thinking of terminating all the long distance trains because of operational problems. Do you think?

    Either they need to get some new equipment or see some shops for possible rebuilds. Contractually speaking

    By the way, #3 finally made it to Barstow, Ca. 15 hours and 23 minutes late. A BNSF unit was pulling a single unit Amtrak motor. I could of sworn it looked like it was limping in.

    Barstow sure is pretty just before sunset. The color of the ground shows hues of burgundy, the oranges get oranger, the rust rustier and you will notice in the hillsides some pink. Can't be beat.

    Thanks for your input.
     
    Kurt Moose and Hardcoaler like this.
  3. Point353

    Point353 TrainBoard Member

    1,843
    564
    31
    Can't see that happening if Amtrak expects Congress to approve its $1.8B funding request for 2020.
    https://www.amtrak.com/content/dam/...lative-Annual-Report-FY2020-Grant-Request.pdf

    However, the White House budget proposal for 2020 is also recommending reduction of service on long distance routes.
    http://trn.trains.com/news/news-wir...-long-distance-amtrak-trains-cut-dot-spending
     
  4. BarstowRick

    BarstowRick TrainBoard Supporter

    7,683
    639
    98
  5. BarstowRick

    BarstowRick TrainBoard Supporter

    7,683
    639
    98
    Over the weekend I haphazardly monitored the Amtrak Long Distance Trains.
    So far they are still running and ridership looks to be good.
    On time? Hardly ever!
    They will get you across the mid-west and into what I've always none of as being the true west, as in west coast, aka Pacific Region and back.
    Front end, power problems seems to still be an issue. I didn't hear of any BNSF or Other road engine substitutes.

    Amtrak keep us moving.
     
  6. BarstowRick

    BarstowRick TrainBoard Supporter

    7,683
    639
    98
    Watching for #4 SWC east bound at LaPlata, Missouri. Due in at 9:24 a.m. which translated is 10:24 Idaho MT time. Courtesy of Virtual Rail Fan.


    Noting the work on the platform is coming along nicely. Those workers have had their hands full with trains passing by with a intermittent 15 minute frequency. Then the Amtrak stops with passengers boarding and de-boarding. Lot's of different odd working conditions to deal with. Not sure I'd have the patience to deal with it.

    Otherwise, the guys and gals on the chatter box have found how to track Amtrak as well as the freight trains. Often giving each other reports on what they see. Then there's those that are there just to visit. Over the weekend we were treated to a trumpet solo. That guy is good, outstanding in his own field but needs to learn some new songs. Nice treat! Not expected. Hope he does it again.

    This morning a rider on Amtrak is reporting to the chatter box where he is. Lot's of chatter between him and others. He too is keeping us advised at to where #4 is. Not sure but I think one of the engineers on a BNSF tank train, was also giving a verbal wave to everyone. Keeping the chatties aware of the location of his train. Since he's sitting on the right side of the motor/diesel headed eastbound we didn't get to see him wave. A guy in a pick-up did the honors.

    So, if you are board out of your skull and want to get in on the fun feel free uhh...err you are invited to join in the fun. Virtual Railfan. Just do an oogle google or duck duck go search.

    Chatter box and chatties is the live chat provided by and monitored by moderators of Virtual RailFan. They are quick to act if you don't follow the rules. Sound familiar?
     
  7. Point353

    Point353 TrainBoard Member

    1,843
    564
    31
    A new video from the Wall Street Journal entitled "Inside Amtrak’s Dying Long-Distance Trains":

     
    BarstowRick and BoxcabE50 like this.
  8. BarstowRick

    BarstowRick TrainBoard Supporter

    7,683
    639
    98
    First off thanks for bringing that video here.

    Humm! I wonder? This video covers a number of issues but doesn't really solve any of them.

    Typically, the congressional districts these trains run through are funded largely because Congress men and women want them to. We shall see if that mindset has changed.
     
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2019
  9. BarstowRick

    BarstowRick TrainBoard Supporter

    7,683
    639
    98
    After getting chores done, a quick shower and some shopping done. Thinking all the while about these Amtrak train routes. The following is what came to mind.

    The thing is some of these routes cover areas where tourist might be inclined to ride the train to get there. The question would be how many and what impact might that have on the various tourist destinations. For example: The Grand Canyon to ride the Grand Canyon Train, Glennwood Springs, Denver, Salt Lake City, Reno, Winnemucca (okay, that last one may be questionable). Take a minute and think about it. There are tourist destinations on all the lines served. Portland, Seattle, Glacier Park, San Francisco, SCRM in Sacramento, Ca., (you don't think I'd miss that one do you?) Washington DC, Baltimore, Florida and more. Take the train away and what happens?

    Nothing! Is that the real answer. Tourist will still find a way to get there?

    It didn't seem to harm Yosemite or Yellowstone. Yes, once upon a time they had trains arriving at their gates of entry.

    In the video they were talking about replacing the trains with bus's. Let's see you will need a coach bus, dining bus, a sleeper bus, and a lounge bus. All equipped with personal showers, toilets and a sink area to shave, comb one's hair and get into a fresh change of clothes. Oh and the ability to get from one bus to the other while in transit. They will have to come up with a trailer system to make that work. Bus's? LOL I don't think so.

    Next thing to think about is which mode of transportation bus or train is the most efficient way to move people. Is that like comparing trucks to freight trains?

    Of course the freight railroads gave up passenger service because it wasn't profitable so that kind of gives us a heads up as to where Congress might be going.

    You are looking at the dinosaurs of tomorrow. Something our kids will be talking about with questions like. What was it like grandpa in the olden days. Did you know George Washington? I doubt they will even be asking that question with what they aren't taught in school... anymore.

    You know, tugging on your shirt, what was it like when you could ride a train? Was it fun? Were the beds comfortable and could you watch TV till midnight? Did the showers work, did people play games on the trains, did they have movies, could you play computer games, did they have the internet, did cell phones work and could you drink beer? Did the toilets back-up? Did they smell like out houses? How would they know what an outhouse smells like? Oh those treats and delightful places you could go to, just to go...don't forget the Sears & Roebuck pages. The job isn't done until the paper work is complete. All from yesterday!!

    My answer: I don't know. I never got to ride one. And that's the truth!

    I guess the ultimate question is: What are we willing to subsidize? You know, us, you and I...the taxpayers what are we willing to pay for? We pay for roads, airports, stadiums, low income housing, tunnels built, water storage and irrigation and trips to the moon... just to name a few.

    What will be the future for passenger trains?

    I wouldn't be so concerned or at least not as concerned, as I was when I heard Amtrak was taking over Santa Fe's, finest passenger trains. I resented the hell out of that. Still do.

    So? What's next ???
     
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2019
  10. BarstowRick

    BarstowRick TrainBoard Supporter

    7,683
    639
    98
    If running late is the key to Amtrak's success. If you haven't already... then here me out.

    Tonight's ETA for train arrivals on the old Santa Fe Route.
    LaPlata, MO., 11:04 pm. CT or mid-western time.. 3 hrs 27 mins late.
    Flagstaff, AZ., 12:19 p.m. AZ Mtn. Standard Time 3 hrs 47 mins late.
    Barstow, CA., 10:17 p.m. PT Daylight Savings Time 39 mins late.

    Keep in mind. Once late they only get later.

    Courtesy of Virtual Railfan.
    You might remember they are quick to moderate, if you are participating on live chat.
     
  11. Point353

    Point353 TrainBoard Member

    1,843
    564
    31
    All is not lost.
    According to the Amtrak tracker, tonight's #3 out of Chicago, now running 4 hrs 3 mins late, is predicted to arrive at LAX 13 min early!
    Update: Amtrak snatches defeat from the jaws of victory.
    #3 now running 5+ hrs late and due into LAX over an hour late.


    How might you know that?
    Did you run afoul of the dreaded Nightbot?
    They're not big fans of liberal use of smilies/emojis in the VR chats.
     
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2019
  12. BarstowRick

    BarstowRick TrainBoard Supporter

    7,683
    639
    98
    How did you know? I used a series of ZZZZ's to indicate I had fallen asleep and was snoring... while waiting for Amtrak to come in to Barstow, Ca. He didn't much like that. Now if I had written something with a four letter word that rhymes with truck I could see him being upset.

    ZZZZ's have been used in cartoon's, editorials and much, much more going back to when I can first remember reading the funny paper's. You'd of thunk he'd of known that.



    The next night, I was in the middle of shooting the bull and I got dropped off. Error came up but I did note later it was all there. I have no idea what happened. I got completely cut off from the chatter box and the rolling video.

    Truth is people get upset at me no matter what comes out of my mouth or what I type. You know those religious or political issues. The ones I usually manage to avoid. But, Nightbot wasn't reacting to anything like that. In such cases: I've basically taken on the DGAS attitude and wave it off. No need for me to take it on. After it was all said and done I LMAO.

    Of course I'm a bit one sided when it comes to model train equipment and How-To's. Most of you already know that and it's basically a none or mute issue. I've said more on this and you might recognize my favorite by line, "It's your railroad, you set..." I thought so.

    Reading where you wrote LAX and I know why. However, being from Southern California there is only one LAX and it's an airport. So named, with thousands flying into it on a daily basis. I don't know of any flight Amtrak uses to get into LAX. I thought I'd be severally hand slapped when I pointed that out but that slipped right on by. Go figure.

    Well, if we aren't getting later we aren't running. Should this be Amtrak's new slogan? #3 went through Barstow, sometime this morning. I missed it as I was feeding my colony of cat's. That wouldn't be the first time and won't be the last time. Two mornings in a row they came through with BNSF power on the point. What used to be unusual enough to be a treat but has me wondering. Is this a sign of what's coming next? You know, those rumors running about.

    For now, everybody out we've got to push the train over the next pass. Will it come to that?
     
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2019
  13. BarstowRick

    BarstowRick TrainBoard Supporter

    7,683
    639
    98
    Friday night, July 19, Tonight's ETA is lining up to be interesting.

    Flagstaff AZ. Remember last night, #3 that was running three hours late getting into LaPlata, MO. Well, it hasn't gotten to Raton, CO., as I write. For Raton, CO., showing as being over 8 hours late. They still have Albuquerque to go before they get into Flagstaff, AZ. ETA Flagstaff 3:24 a.m. Which means they are expecting a 6 hour late arrival. Does someone think they will make up the two hour difference? I'll have to set my alarm clock. Certain passengers wishing to board at Flagstaff, Az., will be waiting for a while. I'd bet, it will even be later.

    We might get a chance to see #3 as it comes through Barstow, CA. tomorrow mid-morning.

    LaPlata, MO ETA 8:20 p.m. 43 mins., late.

    Barstow, CA ETA 9:38 which is on time. Does anyone want to start a pool?

    So, is this news or is it getting to be old news and the new standard?

    If we aren't running late, we aren't running, new Amtrak catch phrase.
    A late arrival is better then no arrival.
    Better late then never.

    You figure it out.

    Update: Every-train noted above arrived (so far) later then originally published. #3 hasn't gotten in to Flagstaff and guessing it will be later then 3:24 a.m. AZ MTn Standard Time, as projected by Amtrak's Track Your Train. I won't be staying up to see it in, unless my shoulder does like it did last night and keeps me awake.
     
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2019
  14. BarstowRick

    BarstowRick TrainBoard Supporter

    7,683
    639
    98
    It crossed my mind that Amtrak may be doing something similar to what many railroads did to discourage use of the passenger service. Many of the trains were delayed purposely. Now this can either be done at the wish of the host freight railroads or held up at station stops by Amtrak's own crews. Hard to know for sure what's actually going on here.

    Noted the number of freight trains is up substantially. Not sure why!
    Also, noted older diesels seem to be showing up, back in service.
    Just a thought.

    Keep in mind I'm no expert on railroads, just an interested bystander. Taking notes.
     
  15. BarstowRick

    BarstowRick TrainBoard Supporter

    7,683
    639
    98
    Here's an update as to the #3 I've been following here. It arrived in Flagstaff, AZ. Running over 10 hours late and showing up sometime after 7:00 a.m. AZ MTn Standard Time. Due into Barstow, sometime after 2:00 p.m. this afternoon. Over 10 hours late.

    I'm not here to put down or as some would say smurf (whatever that means) Amtrak and their service.

    From it's inception there was things wrong with the whole idea. Freight and Passengers on the same tracks. It's a bad combination to start with and has never been a win, win for Amtrak. Losing their first class priority over other trains was the first domino to fall and has led to what you see today.

    The only solution is to find it's own rails and track but at what cost.

    The romance of riding the rails today is being able to cross through some of the most beautiful scenic country in America. The same can be said of Canada. If we put in high-speed long distance trains we will loose all of that. You might as well fly.

    So, the questions go unanswered and we only swap ideas here. What is the answer? I'm afraid we are about to find out and a history of passenger train travel will be come a thing of the past. I hope not. There's still people riding the rails and their trains are not running empty. Downside they aren't packed either.

    So, what would you do if you were in charge and had to answer to someone about the profitability of passenger trains?
     
  16. Point353

    Point353 TrainBoard Member

    1,843
    564
    31
    [​IMG]
     
    BarstowRick likes this.
  17. BarstowRick

    BarstowRick TrainBoard Supporter

    7,683
    639
    98
    Point 353, good one and well played.
    You won't get me into one of those. I'd rather stay home.
    I said not LOL'ing to loud.
     
  18. BarstowRick

    BarstowRick TrainBoard Supporter

    7,683
    639
    98
    Did I miss something?
    Do you want to tell me how this works?
    LAX? I know, I know. But the math! Huunhh?
     
  19. C&O Railfan

    C&O Railfan TrainBoard Member

    118
    10
    11
    Every flight would be delayed though[​IMG]

    Sent from my SM-G930V using Tapatalk
     
    BarstowRick and Kurt Moose like this.
  20. Point353

    Point353 TrainBoard Member

    1,843
    564
    31
    Just quoting the info from the track-a-train map: https://www.amtrak.com/track-your-train.html

    If you click on one of the arrows that represents a train, a little box pops up which shows (among other things) the next station and how close to (or far behind) schedule that train is running.
    Click on "Detailed Train Status" - in the lower left-hand corner of the pop-up box - to see the times that train arrived at previous stations and estimates of the arrival times at upcoming stops.

    When I first wrote the post, that night's #3 out of Chicago was shown as running 4 hrs 3 mins late, and was predicted to arrive at LAX 13 min early.
    When I checked sometime later, #3 was then shown as running 5+ hrs late and was predicted to arrive at LAX over an hour late, so I posted an update.

    Sorry, but LAUPT (or LAUS) is LAX in current Amtrak-speak.
    https://www.amtrak.com/content/amtrak/en-us/stations/lax.html
    Don't like it? Complain to this former airline executive:
    https://www.amtrak.com/about-amtrak/board-of-directors/richard-anderson.html
     
    BarstowRick likes this.

Share This Page