Crossing America By Rail?

BarstowRick Mar 22, 2019

  1. Point353

    Point353 TrainBoard Member

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    Illinois Transit Assembly Corp. is now known as Gateway Rail Services and many of the old hi-level cars are still there, visible from the adjacent highway on google streetview.
    http://www.rtabern.com/ppc/soldoff.html
     
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  2. BarstowRick

    BarstowRick TrainBoard Supporter

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    Good to see the Hi-level cars at least a few of them still exist. I would think these would be in high demand by the PV crowd. That is if they are available.

    I'm watching LaPlata's live rail cam. Amtrak is due in and I think I can hear it's horn. Passengers are out on the platform and nope it's a BNSF fake out. UPS piggy back train.

    Amtrak is next. Always put off by some other train. Horn can be heard way off in the distance.
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2019
  3. BarstowRick

    BarstowRick TrainBoard Supporter

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    Thursday morning 8/15/19 at approximately 11:42 a.m. ID Mtn DS time. Amtrak #3 went through Barstow, Ca. 10:02 a.m. CA PT DS time. Better then 6 hours late. #4 headed for LaPlata, MO is over three hours late. Or so goes the Track Your Train provided by Amtrak. Which itself is often as much as ten minutes behind real time.

    I wish I could do business that way.
     
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2019
  4. Point353

    Point353 TrainBoard Member

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    Amtrak having to run its passenger trains on tracks owned by freight railroads seems analogous to only being able to use your neighbor's bathroom.
    In other words, you have to do your business on their schedule.
     
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  5. BarstowRick

    BarstowRick TrainBoard Supporter

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    Friday P.M. in Idaho. I'm watching for both Flagstaff's #3 and Barstow's #4 to come in. They will be getting in to either station at about the same time.
    #3 is running better then 2 hours late and#4 appears to be coming in on time. If it does, I may have to call the paramedic's. LOL

    I wondered if you were getting tired of these reports. The visitor or readership numbers indicate your hanging in here with me.

    It's obvious there isn't much we can do to help Amtrak. Wouldn't that be nice.

    Just look at all the fun we are having.

    Must set computer screen to Barstow West Live Railcam. I already have my smarter then me phone set to Flagstaff. A BNSF fake out, as described by another of our favorite participants, just a few minutes ago.

    Right now #3 SWC westbound is about 30 minutes out. Last time I checked it was leaving Winslow.
    #4 SWC was eastbound at Victorville, Ca.

    Looks to be a good night for train watching.

    If you already know then this won't be news. To those who don't you can visit Virtual Railfan courtesy of You Tube. They seem to have an open door policy, everyone welcome.

    You won't believe the live chatter box... chat's that go on. Very few of us are actually there to watch and talk trains. More like a mutual admiration society.

    Here again, look at all the fun we are having.
     
  6. BarstowRick

    BarstowRick TrainBoard Supporter

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    It is finally, Monday a.m., August 19, 2019. Don't ask why Monday is so important. Just another day.
    Here's the news with the news...

    Barstow, CA. On Virtual Rail Fan you will be able to catch #3 SWC, running 8 hrs 4 min's LATE, ETA 11:44 a.m. and you can expect that to be later. When I checked in to see where #3 is? It's just outside of Kingman, AZ, Westbound. Traveling at 16 mph. Kind of slow for a downhill run.

    This could be one of those times you see a BNSF unit on the front pulling the cripple in.

    LaPlata, MO. Again Virtual Rail Fan. #4 SWC Eastbound, due to arrive 1 hour and 23 min's late. ETA 10:54 a.m., and you can expect that to be later.

    Yesterday, p.m., I checked in with Track Your Train and discovered "Due to service disruption we are unable to give you details of this train's ETA arrival times." I had to fish around to find other resources.

    Once they start running late it just gets worse.

    Come ride with Amtrak, it's an adventure as we never know what's going to happen next.

    As a rider I don't mind riding a train and get more out of the ride then expected. My concern is are the passengers being fed, plenty of water for showers and are the toilets overflowing? Should any of these things happen the trip suddenly turns miserable. Horrifying as a female friend of mine would describe it.

    Catch your passenger trains while you can.

    Have fun?
     
  7. BarstowRick

    BarstowRick TrainBoard Supporter

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    It's time for a video report, trip ticket, Chicago to Seattle on Amtrak.
    This is about as fair a presentation as I've seen. I thought you might like it.




    Riding AMTRAK's "Empire Builder" - Chicago to Seattle

    [​IMG] youtuuba
    Published on Jan 7, 2018

    This is a rather long documentary of (one of) my trip(s) from Chicago to Seattle on the AMTRAK train called the "Empire Builder". I start with a brief trip on the Chicago area METRA commuter train, then have the Empire Builder video, and finally end with a brief trip on the Seattle area LINK commuter train to SeaTac airport.
     
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2019
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  8. BarstowRick

    BarstowRick TrainBoard Supporter

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    I went back through this thread and noted some videos have been removed by the owners. One of the frustrations and difficulties of using You Tube Videos. You never know when a owner of such will remove it for whatever reasons. I can't apologize for that as I'm not responsible.

    What will happen with Amtrak?

    They'll continue to run status quo.
     
  9. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Wow. I don't recall ever seeing anyone document a trip in such a fashion.

    The outside observer might lay some blame for troubles on Amtrak. In several instances, they would be correct. Such as the freezing problems. It gets very cold out there, every year, so they should be better prepared. Possibly a design issue with those cars as well.

    The confusing announcement about meal time was a crew failure. It's their job to be clear enough that all aboard understand. Some of the other announcements came across in a rather bored tone. That was not a good thing to hear.

    Delays for other trains, failures such as the crossing gates, are weather related and the responsibility of BNSF, not Amtrak.
     
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  10. Point353

    Point353 TrainBoard Member

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    Well, that really uplifted my spirits.
    Clearly, the narrator would have been made ever so much happier by instead undergoing a root canal.

    For comparison, have a look at this recent video of an Empire Builder trip taken in the opposite direction:

     
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  11. BarstowRick

    BarstowRick TrainBoard Supporter

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    A root canal? LOL
    At least with a root canal they give you Novocaine to ease the pain.

    One of the problems with riding Amtrak, once out in the prairies and big sky country, you can't just jump off the train and wait for the next one.
    Did you catch where the toilets didn't work in the previous video? That alone would put me over the top.
     
  12. BarstowRick

    BarstowRick TrainBoard Supporter

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    I had also referred to unusual delays elsewhere on the Amtrak net-work. Allegedly and I have no proof. There was a derailment somewhere outside of or in Chicago that caused many of Amtrak's trains to detour. If so, it's easy to understand the delays.

    The other delays for both the California Zephyr and the Southwest Chief, is the swinging bridge at Fort Madison. They can end up waiting for the barges to clear before the bridge is swung back and re-set.

    Going back to the first video of of the last two. The gentleman reporting is from Europe and is most likely comparing unintentionally european trains to the U. S. of A. trains. Noted right off the bat is he was riding in an older sleeper. He assumes it's most likely because of passenger demands. Also noting the train is booked solid.

    I once asked here how much maintenance do these cars get and who's responsible for putting them out in less then condition for operational purposes? That's still spinning around in my head. I also said, I wish I could have run my business in this fashion.

    Just realities, recognized.
     
  13. Point353

    Point353 TrainBoard Member

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    Doesn't the CZ cross the mighty Mississippi at Gulf Port IL/Burlington IA?

    Maybe the new toll collection scheme for road vehicles crossing the bridge at Ft Madison will make an improvement: https://wgem.com/2019/05/23/bnsf-changing-toll-collections-on-fort-madison-bridge/
     
  14. BarstowRick

    BarstowRick TrainBoard Supporter

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    Go to Track Your Train by Amtrak and look at the railroad map they provide. It appears both the CZ and the SWC run on the old Santa Fe until they get to a location west of Fort Madison. The CZ splits northerly to connect with the old BN. See if that isn't what your seeing.
     
  15. Point353

    Point353 TrainBoard Member

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    Not what I'm seeing.

    Zoom in using the '+' button in the lower right-hand corner of the track-your-train map.
    Looks to me as though the routes for the CZ and the SWC diverge just west of Galesburg at Cameron IL.
    Then, the CZ route heads approximately WSW to Burlington, while the SWC route heads approximately SW to Ft Madison.
     
  16. BarstowRick

    BarstowRick TrainBoard Supporter

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    My bad. When I'm wrong I'm wrong. I'm seeing what you are seeing after zooming the map up. They clearly separate as you described.
     
  17. Hardcoaler

    Hardcoaler TrainBoard Member

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    Last edited: Aug 23, 2019
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  18. Point353

    Point353 TrainBoard Member

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    Is this show on the National Geographic channel or the Smithsonian channel?
    I see it listed on the schedule for the Smithsonian channel, which I don't get, but not on the schedule for the National Geographic channel, which I do get.
     
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  19. Hardcoaler

    Hardcoaler TrainBoard Member

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    Oops, yep -- it's the Smithsonian Channel. I often get the two confused. :oops:
     
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  20. BNSF FAN

    BNSF FAN TrainBoard Supporter

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    I missed season one but have been watching season two. They do show some neat stuff but I think they could tune down the attempt at drama and it would be even better.

    Wonder if they have done an episode on Amtrak yet?
     
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