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Railroaders' Nostalgia > Before "freight railroads" and what Amtrak can't do


Date: 12/15/22 10:59
Before "freight railroads" and what Amtrak can't do
Author: TAW

It is interesting (depressing is more accurate, actually) to see over and over that Amtrak can't originate a train because the opposite direction train is late. Then there is the fantastical 58 can't leave New Orleans because 59 is canceled because of a bridge project 700 miles away from New Orleans / 270 miles from Chicago.

Back in the pre "freight rialroad" days, working/living in Chicago, it was normal to see passenger trains displaying green on the Q, Santa Fe and GM&O. That pretty much indicates there were enough cars for another train.

The best, was the day at McCook Tower when the towerman at Nerska (BRC crossing, aka LeMoyne) reported

First 19
Second one at Corwith
Third one Ash Street
Fourth one the bridge (Bridgeport)
Fifth one Stewart (Steward Ave on Santa Fe, 21st on PRR and CWI)
Sixth one leaving HF (Dearborn Station).

But that was before Amtrak "fixed" rail passenger travel.

(and of course, there are the experts who will declare that the things we did 50 years ago never hapened, let alone the things the generation before us did 80 years ago.

TAW



Date: 12/15/22 12:19
Re: Before "freight railroads" and what Amtrak can't do
Author: PHall

Amtrak was never a "fix" for passenger rail travel. It was a last desperate grasp.



Date: 12/15/22 13:48
Re: Before "freight railroads" and what Amtrak can't do
Author: warren100

Amtrak in my opinion, for what that is worth has always been an expensive joke. Unfortunately the joke is on us the traveling public and taxpayers.



Date: 12/15/22 14:04
Re: Before "freight railroads" and what Amtrak can't do
Author: TomG

I always thought the railroad did a good job running passenger service but like the WP were tired of the losses and the prospect of equipment replacement when thy weren't making money. Seems to me instead of reinventing the wheel if the gov had chose which trains to keep and pay for and funded the railroad operating the service we could have had a system that worked and not wasting vast amounts of money on supporting a stand alone company. Even WP which was soured on CZ losses would have stayed on board if operations were paid for and had the pot sweetened a little. They would have been proud to get blood out of a turnip. Profit is profit.

Tom
Weaverville, CA



Date: 12/15/22 14:18
Re: Before "freight railroads" and what Amtrak can't do
Author: Notch7

TAW Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> (and of course, there are the experts who will
> declare that the things we did 50 years ago never
> hapened, let alone the things the generation
> before us did 80 years ago.

Yes, I believe that.  Perhaps the "experts" cannot imagine railroads of the past doing things because - they could, and because the railroad had the stubborn pride in doing it.  On the Southern Railway you did not say "can't".   The Southern phrase was - "We can always do anything - once".  In the years when Graham Claytor  ran the Southern, his railroad stayed out of Amtrak.  During that time, Southern continued to refurbish passenger cars - both streamlined and heavyweight.  When the Southern was short on coaches, they leased more from N&W and borrowed back a few from museums.  Sometimes the  lengthy "School Boy Patrol" passenger specials got pulled by freights engines with boiler cars.  On Christmas Eve of 1976, I watched Southern FP7's being pulled from cold storage to run a third section of our flagship - the Southern Crescent that night.  I was proud to work for two railroads that could do things - Seaboard Coast Line and Southern Railway.



Date: 12/15/22 15:46
Re: Before "freight railroads" and what Amtrak can't do
Author: Topfuel

TAW Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> It is interesting (depressing is more accurate,
> actually) to see over and over that Amtrak can't
> originate a train because the opposite direction
> train is late. Then there is the fantastical 58
> can't leave New Orleans because 59 is canceled
> because of a bridge project 700 miles away from
> New Orleans / 270 miles from Chicago.

There were times in the '70's, '80's, and '90's when Amtrak was well able to put together a make-up train of protection cars sitting in the various terminals if an inbound train was late.  Almost unheard back then to cancel a train, even for Amtrak.  But the people who knew how to do that (like you) are long retired or gone, and now we have the Snowflake Generation running the show.  These people who are running things now are frequently a problem that is not unique to 2022 railroading, either. It is pervasive throughout American industries today.

I like when Amtrak trains are now routinely cancelled days in advance based on a weather forecast.  This would have NEVER happened even 15 to 20 years ago.  Trains would always run, even if they were hours late.  The All-Weather mode, indeed.



Date: 12/15/22 17:50
Re: Before "freight railroads" and what Amtrak can't do
Author: irhoghead

To call the bozos running Amtrak today part of the Snowflake Generation is an insult to the Snowflake Generation. They could never attain such lofty status.



Date: 12/19/22 06:08
Re: Before "freight railroads" and what Amtrak can't do
Author: dragoon

TomG Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Even WP which was soured on CZ losses
> would have stayed on board if operations were paid
> for and had the pot sweetened a little. They would
> have been proud to get blood out of a turnip.
> Profit is profit.

well stated, who wants to lose just to keep a thing in place? however, giving subsidies to freight railroads from the public to keep those things going doesn't make sense either. It's nuts, but that is precisely what's happened with Amtrak.



Date: 12/20/22 13:00
Re: Before "freight railroads" and what Amtrak can't do
Author: Drknow

TomG Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I always thought the railroad did a good job
> running passenger service but like the WP were
> tired of the losses and the prospect of equipment
> replacement when thy weren't making money. Seems
> to me instead of reinventing the wheel if the gov
> had chose which trains to keep and pay for and
> funded the railroad operating the service we could
> have had a system that worked and not wasting vast
> amounts of money on supporting a stand alone
> company. Even WP which was soured on CZ losses
> would have stayed on board if operations were paid
> for and had the pot sweetened a little. They would
> have been proud to get blood out of a turnip.
> Profit is profit.


Agree 100%. My thoughts exactly.

The Government killing the RPO led to the demise of the headend business which kept a lot of traffic afloat at the time. It became a vicious cycle (from what I was told), but that makes sense.

The loss of institutional knowledge in North American Railroading is almost frightening.
Ask me how I know.

So many “Wrong turns at Albuquerque” as my hero B. Bunny would say.

TAW speaks the truth, I was fortunate to be able to work with and for the Old Heads before they were run off/out or pulled the pin.

Those that can are pretty much just phoning it in anymore, the only way to preserve your sanity or job.

DILLIGAF has become the standard rallied around by the chronically disenfranchised employees that have skull fractures from 20+ yrs of beating our heads against the wall of stupidity.

We still want this industry to survive and thrive but fighting city hall every day beats the hell out of a man.

I’m proud to say I, and many where I work, still summon the energy to scream into the vacuum whenever we can; but we are out numbered and out gunned…

I can only imagine what my brothers and sisters at Amjoke go through every day.

Regards

Posted from iPhone



Date: 12/28/22 06:33
Re: Before "freight railroads" and what Amtrak can't do
Author: DJ-12

Respectfully, the folks at the top C suite levels of class 1 railroad and Amtrak management that have made the decisions over the past 20 years who made the drastic cuts in manpower that hamstring the industry today were/are mostly baby boomers. Some folks here should really stop with the derogatory nicknames for younger generations that are stuck doing their best trying to run what’s been left behind and take a good look in the mirror and at their peers who put short term shareholder equity ahead of the long term health of the industry. Those “snowflakes” that some of you are ripping are out there busy trying to run 2-3 mile long freight trains in the snow today with a support system that is a shadow of what it was 15 years ago, let along in 1980. Show a little respect for the current day railroaders that are trying very hard in very difficult circumstances, today, while you throw slings and arrows from the comfort of your recliners. (I’m a grumpy gen x’er)

Posted from iPhone



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 12/28/22 06:46 by DJ-12.



Date: 12/29/22 18:02
Re: Before "freight railroads" and what Amtrak can't do
Author: wabash2800

Amtrak was signed into law by a Republican president to get the passenger trains off the railroad's backs. I can't imagine they thought it would last.

Victor Baird



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/30/22 16:46 by wabash2800.



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