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Passenger Trains > #14(29) trip report


Date: 12/01/19 08:21
#14(29) trip report
Author: dendroica

Had a good trip on #14, actually starting on #1 in Tucson Thursday night.  Our annual Guest Rewards points travel, and our first time in a bedroom vs. roomette.  This is the same train SPgoletablock posted on the Western thread yesterday.

Food was delicious, crew was friendly, ride was smooth and comfortable in our old Superliner I room, and everything worked including the temperature control.

We got into Albany four hours behind, which was not a problem for us - we enjoyed seeing the area around Redding and north to Dunsmuir in daylight for once - but we did meet some unhappy passengers with missed connections or foiled plans ahead.

From listening to the radio, an approximate breakdown of our delays would be:

Late start (Amtrak's "official" delay explanation was a late turn of equipment): 15 min
Coast sub slow orders (at least ten 30 mph segments given on track warrants): 15 min
Coast sub signal problems (flagged past red signals at 15 mph on three occasions, sometimes for two blocks until we got a clear): 60 min
Inattentive dispatching? (stopped in a siding on Cuesta grade for meet with #11, despite meet location having been moved 20 miles farther on): 15 min
Slow meet with #11 at Templeton (hand throw switches, dropping off dogcatch crew and also exchanging food between diners): 30 min
(also too many of the Coast sub sidings have stored cars, so there are limited passing opportunities)
Some equipment issue south of San Jose (seemed to be PTC related): 30 min
Freight traffic (Chico to Dunsmuir, including a 115-well stack train waiting on the main at Dunsmuir for our arrival): 45 min
Car on tracks in Yuba City, tracks closed for investigation: ~2 hr
Extended station dwell times due to holiday passenger loads and extra length (four sleepers): ~1.5 hr

Total delays: ~7 hrs, minus schedule padding equals around four hours late into Eugene and Albany

The UP dispatcher kindly gave us a clear path from Dunsmuir to Klamath Falls - incurring around an hour of delay to a southbound freight - so that our crew could make it in with 10 minutes left on their hours of service.  Overall I feel like "freight interference" is unfairly scapegoated as a reason for delays, especially out west.  Both UP and BNSF dispatchers do a good job at prioritizing Amtrak while also keeping their own trains moving.

 



Date: 12/01/19 10:03
Re: #14(29) trip report
Author: walstib

That was a very detailed and informative report, good job.

TYhanks you.



Date: 12/01/19 11:22
Re: #14(29) trip report
Author: coach

Please don''t apologize for UP dispatching.  The Capitol Corridor has TONS of freight interference issues, all UP dispatched.  The RR's have simply forgotten how to run a fast, tightly managed operation with multiple meets, overtakes, switcher needs and re-crews.  They just want endless time to do way less tasks.  The UP just chafes at having to do things like the old days when RR's were way busier with both freight and passenger trains.



Date: 12/01/19 11:38
Re: #14(29) trip report
Author: D0wnt1me

Excellent Summary!



Date: 12/01/19 11:56
Re: #14(29) trip report
Author: ExSPCondr

An excellent report, thank you!

From figuring all of the delays you have listed, it appears that the #11 you met at Templeton was at least 2 1/2 late also.

The dispatcher taking you all the way with 10 min left was just a choice of the lesser of the evils.  He or she would have a lot of explaining to do, not to mention having a dead Atk on the district while they called a patch crew, and having to wait at least two hours if they had a qualified crew available.
G



Date: 12/01/19 12:12
Re: #14(29) trip report
Author: dendroica

In my experience riding Amtrak, it seems that both BNSF and UP dispatchers use something like a 2:1 rule when making decisions.  If a particular decision/meet location/move will delay freight and Amtrak equally, then freight takes the hit.  If it will delay freight more than twice as long - or cause equal delays to two or more trains, then Amtrak takes the hit.  That might not be ideal, but it seems fair especially considering that Amtrak contributes at least as much to delays through late-out-of-the-gate trains, unreliable engines, extended station dwell times, etc.

I think BNSF does a little better job overall handing Amtrak on single-track railroad, though I would attribute that more to having fewer sidings out of service, more/longer sidings, and fewer overlength trains, rather than dispatching ability.

coach Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Please don''t apologize for UP dispatching.  The
> Capitol Corridor has TONS of freight interference
> issues, all UP dispatched.  The RR's have simply
> forgotten how to run a fast, tightly managed
> operation with multiple meets, overtakes, switcher
> needs and re-crews.  They just want endless time
> to do way less tasks.  The UP just chafes at
> having to do things like the old days when RR's
> were way busier with both freight and passenger
> trains.



Date: 12/01/19 12:29
Re: #14(29) trip report
Author: dendroica

That did surprise me.  #11 was just under 3 hrs late when they stopped at Templeton, and they said their crew had been "dead" 40 minutes when we arrived around 6 pm.  With a 7:23 am departure from Sacramento I would have thought they would have enough time to make it to SLO, but for some reason they must have been on duty well ahead of SAC departure.

Does Amtrak use a 10 hr limit rather than 12 hrs?  Our crew that made it to Klamath with 10 minutes to spare at 12:20 pm couldn't have been on duty ahead of 2:27 am when the train arrived in SAC - or is there substantial administrative "on-duty" time ahead of boarding the train?

ExSPCondr Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> An excellent report, thank you!
>
> From figuring all of the delays you have listed,
> it appears that the #11 you met at Templeton was
> at least 2 1/2 late also.
>
> The dispatcher taking you all the way with 10 min
> left was just a choice of the lesser of the
> evils.  He or she would have a lot of explaining
> to do, not to mention having a dead Atk on the
> district while they called a patch crew, and
> having to wait at least two hours if they had a
> qualified crew available.
> G



Date: 12/01/19 15:23
Re: #14(29) trip report
Author: stash

How many Capitol Corridor delays are caused by trespasser strikes, grade crossing collisions, trackside fires from resident campers, mechanical problems, and bridge openings?

These delays are routine now. They affect UP trains as well which in turn affect Amtrak.



coach Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Please don''t apologize for UP dispatching.  The
> Capitol Corridor has TONS of freight interference
> issues, all UP dispatched.  The RR's have simply
> forgotten how to run a fast, tightly managed
> operation with multiple meets, overtakes, switcher
> needs and re-crews.  They just want endless time
> to do way less tasks.  The UP just chafes at
> having to do things like the old days when RR's
> were way busier with both freight and passenger
> trains.

Posted from Android



Date: 12/01/19 15:30
Re: #14(29) trip report
Author: PHall

Don't confuse him with facts.

stash Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> How many Capitol Corridor delays are caused by
> trespasser strikes, grade crossing collisions,
> trackside fires from resident campers, mechanical
> problems, and bridge openings?
>
> These delays are routine now. They affect UP
> trains as well which in turn affect Amtrak.
>
>
>
> coach Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > Please don''t apologize for UP dispatching.
>  The
> > Capitol Corridor has TONS of freight
> interference
> > issues, all UP dispatched.  The RR's have
> simply
> > forgotten how to run a fast, tightly managed
> > operation with multiple meets, overtakes,
> switcher
> > needs and re-crews.  They just want endless
> time
> > to do way less tasks.  The UP just chafes at
> > having to do things like the old days when RR's
> > were way busier with both freight and passenger
> > trains.
>
> Posted from Android



Date: 12/01/19 16:21
Re: #14(29) trip report
Author: dancollins3

Very Good Report!



Date: 12/01/19 16:26
Re: #14(29) trip report
Author: ExSPCondr

dendroica Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> That did surprise me.  #11 was just under 3 hrs
> late when they stopped at Templeton, and they said
> their crew had been "dead" 40 minutes when we
> arrived around 6 pm.  With a 7:23 am departure
> from Sacramento I would have thought they would
> have enough time to make it to SLO, but for some
> reason they must have been on duty well ahead of
> SAC departure.
>
> Does Amtrak use a 10 hr limit rather than 12
> hrs?  Our crew that made it to Klamath with 10
> minutes to spare at 12:20 pm couldn't have been on
> duty ahead of 2:27 am when the train arrived in
> SAC - or is there substantial administrative
> "on-duty" time ahead of boarding the train?
>
Atk is governed by the 12 hour law just the same as the freight railroads, so that wouldn't have been the issue.  Administrative time on duty previous to departure is only a few minutes, so that isn't it either.

A couple of thoughts:  Atk can only work their engineers 6 scheduled hours alone in the cab by labor agreement.  The engineer can work more than 6 hours without 'going dead,' he or she gets a penalty payment if they have to work more than the six due to delays.

How does the engineer get to the intermediate point?  Probably by working down on the opposite half of the schedule, so if the other half of the schedule was LATE yesterday, the engineer didn't get eight hours off to reset his or her rest.  IF the engineer got more than four hours off, but less than eight, he would only have 12 hours minus the amount of time he was on duty on the previous trip to work.  That could be six or eight hours?  The other thought was delay happening to your train after the crew was called on duty, in that case, the crew could only sit in the depot and wait, with the clock running...
G



Date: 12/01/19 16:30
Re: #14(29) trip report
Author: prrmpup

coach Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Please don''t apologize for UP dispatching.  The
> Capitol Corridor has TONS of freight interference
> issues, all UP dispatched.  The RR's have simply
> forgotten how to run a fast, tightly managed
> operation with multiple meets, overtakes, switcher
> needs and re-crews.  They just want endless time
> to do way less tasks.  The UP just chafes at
> having to do things like the old days when RR's
> were way busier with both freight and passenger
> trains.

The last Amtrak performance report I can find shows Capital Corridor at 89% OTP.
 



Date: 12/01/19 19:00
Re: #14(29) trip report
Author: ProAmtrak

Actually that corridor used to be worse and that was because of the habit on UP Dispatching when Davidson was CEO, Joint Powers cracked down on that and 89% is pretty good considering the trespasser strikes and every other disaster that can screw up the railroad!



Date: 12/01/19 23:48
Re: #14(29) trip report
Author: John

Yes, there are open bridge delays, trespasser strikes, various trackside problems, police actions, etc.  However, there also are multiple traffic congestion and signal issue delays on a daily basis.  Granted, signal problems manifest themselves during rainy weather, but signal delay reports have been going on long before the rains came.  And, it is pretty hard to imagine traffic congestion delays with the number of freight trains UP operates in the Bay Area.  If you look back a couple of years, I don't think that you will find the same big numbers for either signal or traffic congestion delays.
PHall Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Don't confuse him with facts.
>
> stash Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > How many Capitol Corridor delays are caused by
> > trespasser strikes, grade crossing collisions,
> > trackside fires from resident campers,
> mechanical
> > problems, and bridge openings?
> >
> > These delays are routine now. They affect UP
> > trains as well which in turn affect Amtrak.
> >
> >
> >
> > coach Wrote:
> >
> --------------------------------------------------
>
> > -----
> > > Please don''t apologize for UP dispatching.
> >  The
> > > Capitol Corridor has TONS of freight
> > interference
> > > issues, all UP dispatched.  The RR's have
> > simply
> > > forgotten how to run a fast, tightly managed
> > > operation with multiple meets, overtakes,
> > switcher
> > > needs and re-crews.  They just want endless
> > time
> > > to do way less tasks.  The UP just chafes at
> > > having to do things like the old days when
> RR's
> > > were way busier with both freight and
> passenger
> > > trains.
> >
> > Posted from Android



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