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Date: 09/08/19 06:49
An "Amtrak long distance company"?
Author: Lackawanna484

If Amtrak's NEC was spun off, what would the remaining long distance company look like?

What would be in it, other than shops, hundreds of locomotives, thousands of cars, etc? A huge central office to administer the needs of 10 thousand employees.

Managing relations with host railroads, etc.

Posted from Android



Date: 09/08/19 09:07
Re: An "Amtrak long distance company"?
Author: joemvcnj

Much like Amtrak was May 1, 1971 - March 31, 1976.
Amtrak was merely a convenient place to dump the NEC and force its public ownership over the formation of Conrail. 



Date: 09/08/19 09:36
Re: An "Amtrak long distance company"?
Author: njfrn

Why saddle Amtrak America with shops and terminals? Transfer ownership to private sector terminal operating companies, existing transit agencies (Metra, MTA), etc. Amtrak can pay for access and maintenance services along with other terminal tenants, allowing a slimmed-down management team to focus on their core business of operations, and streamlining their messy accounting. This would also ease the process of bidding out state-subsidized regional corridor operations to the private sector, which will be inevitable outcome of Anderson/Gardner proving that they are ‘profitable’.

An outcome I’d like to see? Not really, but that’s what a focus on profitability vs. public utility could lead to.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/08/19 09:37 by njfrn.



Date: 09/08/19 11:05
Re: An "Amtrak long distance company"?
Author: 79mph

No different than airline companies operate today, with significant corporate welfare funding by taxpayers.
Huge operating subsidies of up to $600 per passenger per flight, mostly from state and federal general funds maintaining the infrastructure, handling dispatching, weather briefings, passenger safety and security.
Perhaps a few state and regional income, property, sales and excise taxes, dedicated to rail transit.
No different than today, except most state and regional surcharges go to road repair and potholes, and "economic development" money goes to entice travel to and from their states and cities.
Why does rail transit have to be treated any differently than streets, roads, and airlines?



Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 09/08/19 11:08 by 79mph.



Date: 09/08/19 11:26
Re: An "Amtrak long distance company"?
Author: ts1457

Lackawanna484 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> If Amtrak's NEC was spun off, what would the
> remaining long distance company look like?

I'd spin off most of the regional corridors, too, and make Amtrak primarily an LDT operator. Then I would make the organization as lean as possible



Date: 09/08/19 11:38
Re: An "Amtrak long distance company"?
Author: joemvcnj

That is exactly how Senator Moran interprets what Amtrak's roll is and what they were created to do - run LD trains that do not make a traditional profit. 



Date: 09/08/19 11:56
Re: An "Amtrak long distance company"?
Author: ts1457

joemvcnj Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> That is exactly how Senator Moran interprets what
> Amtrak's roll is and what they were created to do
> - run LD trains that do not make a traditional
> profit. 

If you were able to double the average passengers per train for the LDTs without greatly changing the rate structure, economics would be no problem.

How do you go about accomplishing that? Instead of taking a bunch of lines and calling it a "national network", maybe design a new network which is truly national in the connections it makes and the place it serves.



Date: 09/08/19 12:00
Re: An "Amtrak long distance company"?
Author: joemvcnj

The route cuts in 1979 and 1997 make that very difficult, and in most all cases, they cannot come back. 



Date: 09/08/19 12:08
Re: An "Amtrak long distance company"?
Author: ts1457

joemvcnj Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> The route cuts in 1979 and 1997 make that very
> difficult, and in most all cases, they cannot come
> back. 

Just need a new approach to get them back.

Rocky Mountaineer was able to get on both CP and CN without any legislative mandate.



Date: 09/08/19 12:10
Re: An "Amtrak long distance company"?
Author: goneon66

79mph Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> No different than airline companies operate today,
> with significant corporate welfare funding by
> taxpayers.
> Huge operating subsidies of up to $600 per
> passenger per flight, mostly from state and
> federal general funds maintaining the
> infrastructure, handling dispatching, weather
> briefings, passenger safety and security.
> Perhaps a few state and regional income, property,
> sales and excise taxes, dedicated to rail
> transit.
> No different than today, except most state and
> regional surcharges go to road repair and
> potholes, and "economic development" money goes to
> entice travel to and from their states and
> cities.
> Why does rail transit have to be treated any
> differently than streets, roads, and airlines?

streets, roads, and the airlines are the backbone of a good economy in America.  it's how the MAJORITY of Americans fund, sustain, and have the chance to grow our economy.  

as far as rail transit being treated differently, i think it is because the voters don't demand that that it NOT be treated differently..........

66

 



Date: 09/08/19 13:32
Re: An "Amtrak long distance company"?
Author: ATSF3751

I hadnt79mph Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> No different than airline companies operate today,
> with significant corporate welfare funding by
> taxpayers.
> Huge operating subsidies of up to $600 per
> passenger per flight, mostly from state and
> federal general funds maintaining the
> infrastructure, handling dispatching, weather
> briefings, passenger safety and security.
> Perhaps a few state and regional income, property,
> sales and excise taxes, dedicated to rail
> transit.
> No different than today, except most state and
> regional surcharges go to road repair and
> potholes, and "economic development" money goes to
> entice travel to and from their states and
> cities.
> Why does rail transit have to be treated any
> differently than streets, roads, and airlines?

i had not realized that all those ticket fees had been done away with. Where is all that money going now?
From which planet did you receive that $600 subsidy number?
 



Date: 09/08/19 14:00
Re: An "Amtrak long distance company"?
Author: UP951West

I have long wanted to see the NEC corridor be a stand alone operation. 
After three years of operation , the reality of NEC costs would be clarified for all to see . The same would be true of a separately operated LD system. Then better decisions on routes and frequency could be  made . 



Date: 09/08/19 14:42
Re: An "Amtrak long distance company"?
Author: ProAmtrak

It be a lot easier, but the thing is never do the states route, everyone knows if the NEC goes to the states, a meltdown is bound to happen!



Date: 09/08/19 15:53
Re: An "Amtrak long distance company"?
Author: abyler

79mph Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> No different than airline companies operate today,
> with significant corporate welfare funding by
> taxpayers.
> Huge operating subsidies of up to $600 per
> passenger per flight, mostly from state and

$600 per passenger * 1 billion boardings = $600 billion budget line item.  This would be almost as big as the department of defense.  I think you are off by about two orders of magnitude on government funding.



Date: 09/08/19 16:20
Re: An "Amtrak long distance company"?
Author: abyler

ts1457 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> joemvcnj Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
>
> If you were able to double the average passengers
> per train for the LDTs without greatly changing
> the rate structure, economics would be no
> problem.

You can't.  There's not that many people who want to ride a single frequency train per day from A to all points along the line to B, plus costs would go up dramatically when you double the number of cars and engines on the train to haul twice the passengers and thus also the on-board staff, maintenance and equipment costs and much more.

> How do you go about accomplishing that? Instead of
> taking a bunch of lines and calling it a "national
> network", maybe design a new network which is
> truly national in the connections it makes and the
> place it serves.

It would make more sense to marginally increase ridership in a way that fills in natural non-revenue space on the train and to operte additional frequencies to reduce the per train cost of any costs attributable to the route.  Then you need to look at cost cutting by reducing consists per frequency and reducing on-board costs of operating the train, and increasing revenue by upselling space by converting coach passengers to business class, slumber coach type accomodations and sleepers that provide more revenue per passenger per car or selling new services such as transport of vehicles like on Auto-Train.

Something that has never been done on Amtrak is rightsizing consists to optomize costs and then increasing frequencies of these optomized consists to develop and match ridership demand.  This is what the airlines do all the time, they don't try to fly 747's once a day on every route, instead they fly a lot of 737's and even little 50 seat Bombardier and Embraer jets on many frequencies.  Maybe the right consist size is one engine and 5 or 6 superliners.  What if instead of trying to fill out a larger Capitol Limited consist and make it do everything consist you were instead running a day train on the route, and three overnight trains, one that is a day train Chicago-Pittsburgh and arrives DC early, one that is overnight between Toledo and Cumberland lke today and one that is overnight Chicago-Pittsburgh a a day train to DC.  You'd probably fill every train like that and the operating costs could be much less with maybe just 5 or 6 man crews and each train could be turned for any other train, lowering the consist requirements.  I've never seen any sort of rigorous cost and revenue analysis done of any route to move towards a model resembling this.



Date: 09/08/19 16:21
Re: An "Amtrak long distance company"?
Author: abyler

ts1457 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> joemvcnj Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > The route cuts in 1979 and 1997 make that very
> > difficult, and in most all cases, they cannot
> come
> > back. 
>
> Just need a new approach to get them back.
>
> Rocky Mountaineer was able to get on both CP and
> CN without any legislative mandate.

The railroads obviously have capacity on all their routes to accomodate additional trains, its how they deal with daily and seasonal and yearly traffic fluctuations and growth.  The mindset that we "can't" do it makes it impossible.



Date: 09/08/19 16:39
Re: An "Amtrak long distance company"?
Author: PRSL-recall

UP951West Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I have long wanted to see the NEC corridor be a
> stand alone operation. 
> After three years of operation , the reality of
> NEC costs would be clarified for all to see . The
> same would be true of a separately operated LD
> system. Then better decisions on routes and
> frequency could be  made . 

I think you are right! As far as the NEC goes  I believe that's what the Airnet21 proposal is about. If this was a serious proposal how do you think Amtrak would respond? My belief is they would fight it as hard as they can because there would be too much exposure. Of course the likes of Coscia, Gardner and Anderson would disappear - willingly when the lights are turned on.  A separately-operated LD system would accomplish the same and expose what is truth and what is lie.  I really like your proposal and I'd love to know how to cause it to gain traction.



Date: 09/08/19 18:06
Re: An "Amtrak long distance company"?
Author: Lackawanna484

There's enough precedent for handling expenses on "terminal railroads" that a NEC facility originating and completing long distance runs like the Crescent, Meteor, Star, etc could be billed out in a transparent way.

There was a discussion a few months ago that mentioned wildly varying charges against the Crescent and Meteor for the haul out to Suunyside Yard, reprovisioning, and return to NYP. These very similar trains saw huge differences for what should be very similar tasks. In transparent pricing, that could be identified and reviewed quickly.

 



Date: 09/08/19 21:33
Re: An "Amtrak long distance company"?
Author: pdt

The big difference between the airways and roads and Railroads, is that most of the RR ROW is provately owned.   I have long advocated some govt owned/maintained  RR ROW's across the country, and access  available to all who had switches on to it, on a 1st come, 1st served basis.  
Kind of the way the MacArthur Bridge  in St Louis, which was owned by the city until 1989, was operated.  About a dozen different RR's used the bridge via different jcts, on a 1st come 1st served basis. (in 1989, the city traded the MacArthur Bridge to the TRRA for the Eads bridge, which now carries the Metrolink light rail)

There are indeed some state owned commuter ROW's, but they have little use by other potential RR's for overhead traffic.  Mostly, the commuter RR's just grant trackage rights to 1 or 2 RR's for local freight traffic.  And the commuter lines generally dont want any freight traffic on their lines.

But imagine a network of publicly owned/maintained. rail lines across the country.  It would be so much easier for a new pvt company to start up passenger (or freight, or mixed) service between 2 points.
As it is now, most of the RR lines in the country are owned by 6 private sector companies.    Imagine if the majority of interstates in the country were owned by trucking companies, and they could allow/refuse  use to any others as they wanted to......



Date: 09/08/19 21:52
Re: An "Amtrak long distance company"?
Author: ts1457

pdt Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> But imagine a network of publicly
> owned/maintained. rail lines across the country. 
> It would be so much easier for a new pvt company
> to start up passenger (or freight, or mixed)
> service between 2 points.
> As it is now, most of the RR lines in the country
> are owned by 6 private sector companies.   
> Imagine if the majority of interstates in the
> country were owned by trucking companies, and they
> could allow/refuse  use to any others as they
> wanted to......

Maybe a network of open-access railroads will be the new phoenix which arises from the ashes of the old PSR one.



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