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Passenger Trains > Amtrak's daily long distance trains face cutbacks again


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Date: 01/13/22 22:24
Amtrak's daily long distance trains face cutbacks again
Author: IC_2024

Upon arriving OMF ( Oakland Mechanical Facility) tonight on Amtrak #5, coach yard foreman Michael Jordan— yes, that’s his name, and a helluva nice guy, too— told me that Amtrak daily long distance trains will be going to a 5-day a week schedule effective very soon in response to continued manpower shortages due to the ongoing Covid crisis.
That is all I have, but daily service on the LDT’s is in question. Stay tuned for more news ( maybe from Gene Poon?!?)…



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/14/22 10:26 by IC_2024.



Date: 01/14/22 00:25
Re: Amtrak officially announces 5-day a week service for all LDT'
Author: ChefBren

If they would stop driving away all the help, this wouldn't be necessary, now would it?  The fact is, if it's cheaper, they embrace it and implement it no matter its effect on anyone.  5 days is cheaper than daily, I guess, because crews won't be getting paid.  Managers and supervisors, however, will continue to collect as always.

I hope this proves to be a rumor, for the clients and the crews.  Clients and crews have been ripped off for long enough--and it began long before Covid, yes.



Date: 01/14/22 01:52
Re: Amtrak officially announces 5-day a week service for all LDT'
Author: IC_2024

ChefBren Wrote:

>
> I hope this proves to be a rumor, for the clients
> and the crews.  Clients and crews have been
> ripped off for long enough--and it began long
> before Covid, yes.

I don't report rumors, ChefBren...  I've been working for NRPC for over 36 years and was a news reporter for the Kenosha News back in the 80's.  This is real and will affect the whole system with missed connections and other untenable situations very soon.   Limited service doesn't work, plain and simple.  Yes, "B.C" before Covid, many problems were brewing, but things have been complicated by a confused vaccine mandate where employees left the company and a lack of employee hiring before 2020 Covid happened, too.
All transportation -- ship, air, bus, rail will take many years to recover, if ever...  This is truly an ongoing crisis with anyone's guess as to when the final act of this 3-act play in progress will ever take place.
 



Date: 01/14/22 02:21
Re: Amtrak officially announces 5-day a week service for all LDT'
Author: steamloco

Hate to say it but Amtrak  won't be missed in the southeast part of the country. They serve the south in the middle of the night. Most people are unaware of Amtrak's service because it's never seen unless it's late. I've been with people and if they see it they say " Oh look, I  didn't know they still ran a passenger train "



Date: 01/14/22 02:57
Re: Amtrak officially announces 5-day a week service for all LDT'
Author: 2904

Until the notices go out that my job is abolished it’s a rumor… so for now, it’s a rumor:

Posted from iPhone



Date: 01/14/22 03:40
Re: Amtrak officially announces 5-day a week service for all LDT'
Author: jp1822

2904 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Until the notices go out that my job is abolished
> it’s a rumor… so for now, it’s a rumor:
>
> Posted from iPhone

If this does come to be, why would Amtrak cut any staff? Hasn't it learned its lesson from that? You cut staff, you lose more institutional knowledge you won't get back, and people that will take longer to re-hire in the process of going back to daily operation.

Whatever frequency is adopted, Amtrak needs to retain all its staff, even if that means paying staff to be at home or join extra boards etc. Amtrak has basically a blank check to operate now. If they trot off to Congress and say - "to operate LED trains like you want us to, we need to retain current staff, hire additional staff, overstaff for shortages for the near term due to COVID constraints and build back from heavy matriculation that's been happening" etc. If they make the argument sound reasonable, they'd likely get the money if any is needed, as Congress still has the soft spot for these LD trains (it has to from a political perspective in order to stay alive).

BUT to get the money - there's consequences. Since Amtrak has also been a bit dumb in the way they've been operating recently, Congress could also do a tit for tat - we give you money, but we want some change, new leadership at Board and/or Management level. In other words - shape up or ship out, and get the railroad together; we want to see some dramatic changes and implementation of some modernity in exchange for $$$. The status quo needs to be stabilized (current route operations), and some new relevant service upgrades need to unfold. 

And after being "ont the road" in late December and early January" there are PLENTY of Amtrak workers concerned about a chance in frequency - that this could be another morale nail biter as they get bumped and jostled and potentially do lose their jobs. Will certain people want to go through this again? Amtrak is not going to make this easy for the employee - I feel. 

It may seem inconsistent, but the more fair option may be to look line by line to see if it takes 5 days a week service 3 days a week service, or daily service. Is it 5 days between KC and LA, but daily between KC and Chicago? Be easier to say 5 days or daily, but my point is made. Does Amtrak try to do this with a scalpel or are they just taking a universal axe to a business line? And I only say this because while on four different trains over the holidays, ALL were amply staffed to over-staffed. Did I just get lucky FOUR times? NO, I think there is a general problem, but not all LD lines are experiencing the same issues. 

There still could be some leveraging with the freight railroads. But Amtrak has done hardly anything to have that discussion. 

I feel bad for the front line employees. They are often at the mercy of middle management meat heads. It's those employees who often try to make for a better customer service experience that is "outside" of what they are supposed to do." There's NO thinking among management to try and solve a problem, and most of what Amtrak does these days, makes people suspect of their actions. You mean to tell me cancelling ONE late night round trip on the NEC from Boston to Newport News is going to make a difference? And just so happens that one round trip that gets cancelled carries the only sleeper cars. The outright PR message this sends - Amtrak will do anything to figure out how to cancel overnight trains, especially if they operate with a sleeper car. Surprised the State of Virginia hasn't balked on the cancellation of this train.    



Date: 01/14/22 04:24
Re: Amtrak officially announces 5-day a week service for all LDT'
Author: dcfbalcoS1

           Our last Amtrak trip was on 3 and 4 about six years ago. We got by faily well, nothing spectacular but just acceptable. Prior to that was a trip to Albany,NY where a car attendent tried to take us for $500 as she said our tickets only showed three roomettes instead of four. She had put her friends in one of our rooms and hidden our tickets. I had a second full set in my possesion and her attempt ( even trying to get the conductor to go along with her ) failed.
           Now days with all the total crap  Amtrak puts out for junk service, they will never get any of our money again. I won't even give Amtrak a 'try' to see if the are getting better and we really prefer train travel. Not going to happen. And there are thousands who only took ONE trip on Amtrak and said to hell with them. Permanently, never again. In our situation it took numerous things to finally drive us away.



Date: 01/14/22 05:44
Re: Amtrak officially announces 5-day a week service for all LDT'
Author: kbehling

I don't think Amtrak has enough operable engines to run full daily service



Date: 01/14/22 05:54
Re: Amtrak officially announces 5-day a week service for all LDT'
Author: joemvcnj

Congress told them to run 7 days per week. If they cannot due to mechanical excuses and failed to post jobs, they are in defiance of their appropriation. 



Date: 01/14/22 06:02
Re: Amtrak officially announces 5-day a week service for all LDT'
Author: mp51w

jp1822 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> 2904 Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > Until the notices go out that my job is
> abolished
> > it’s a rumor… so for now, it’s a rumor:
> >
> > Posted from iPhone
>
> If this does come to be, why would Amtrak cut any
> staff? Hasn't it learned its lesson from that? You
> cut staff, you lose more institutional knowledge
> you won't get back, and people that will take
> longer to re-hire in the process of going back to
> daily operation.
>
> Whatever frequency is adopted, Amtrak needs to
> retain all its staff, even if that means paying
> staff to be at home or join extra boards etc.
> Amtrak has basically a blank check to operate now.
> If they trot off to Congress and say - "to operate
> LED trains like you want us to, we need to retain
> current staff, hire additional staff, overstaff
> for shortages for the near term due to COVID
> constraints and build back from heavy
> matriculation that's been happening" etc. If they
> make the argument sound reasonable, they'd likely
> get the money if any is needed, as Congress still
> has the soft spot for these LD trains (it has to
> from a political perspective in order to stay
> alive).
>
> BUT to get the money - there's consequences. Since
> Amtrak has also been a bit dumb in the way they've
> been operating recently, Congress could also do a
> tit for tat - we give you money, but we want some
> change, new leadership at Board and/or Management
> level. In other words - shape up or ship out, and
> get the railroad together; we want to see some
> dramatic changes and implementation of some
> modernity in exchange for $$$. The status quo
> needs to be stabilized (current route operations),
> and some new relevant service upgrades need to
> unfold. 
>
> And after being "ont the road" in late December
> and early January" there are PLENTY of Amtrak
> workers concerned about a chance in frequency -
> that this could be another morale nail biter as
> they get bumped and jostled and potentially do
> lose their jobs. Will certain people want to go
> through this again? Amtrak is not going to make
> this easy for the employee - I feel. 
>
> It may seem inconsistent, but the more fair option
> may be to look line by line to see if it takes 5
> days a week service 3 days a week service, or
> daily service. Is it 5 days between KC and LA, but
> daily between KC and Chicago? Be easier to say 5
> days or daily, but my point is made. Does Amtrak
> try to do this with a scalpel or are they just
> taking a universal axe to a business line? And I
> only say this because while on four different
> trains over the holidays, ALL were amply staffed
> to over-staffed. Did I just get lucky FOUR times?
> NO, I think there is a general problem, but not
> all LD lines are experiencing the same issues. 
>
> There still could be some leveraging with the
> freight railroads. But Amtrak has done hardly
> anything to have that discussion. 
>
> I feel bad for the front line employees. They are
> often at the mercy of middle management meat
> heads. It's those employees who often try to make
> for a better customer service experience that is
> "outside" of what they are supposed to do."
> There's NO thinking among management to try and
> solve a problem, and most of what Amtrak does
> these days, makes people suspect of their actions.
> You mean to tell me cancelling ONE late night
> round trip on the NEC from Boston to Newport News
> is going to make a difference? And just so happens
> that one round trip that gets cancelled carries
> the only sleeper cars. The outright PR message
> this sends - Amtrak will do anything to figure out
> how to cancel overnight trains, especially if they
> operate with a sleeper car. Surprised the State of
> Virginia hasn't balked on the cancellation of this
> train.    
Very well written!  They didn't use a scalpal last time when they went to tri-weekly with 3&4!
They simply alternated service with #421 Chicago to Los Angeles, and vice versa with #422.
That meant the loss of Friday morning service Kansas City to Chicago, as well as the popular Sunday return!
You would think that you would protect your bread and butter corridor?  It's an LAX based on board crew,
so there are some restrictions on how you can effectively man the train, but maybe try and work with the union on this.
The real lesson here is, you shouldn't just resort to wholesale route reduction in daily service! 
There doesn't seem to be any consequences for these broad brushstroke management decisions.
They can have devastating repercussions in ridership, and ultimately threaten the utility of the national system.
It's a tough call with Covid taking out crew availability, and January being notoriusly the slowest travel month.



Date: 01/14/22 06:42
Re: Amtrak officially announces 5-day a week service for all LDT'
Author: Flyer92122

I've written Buttigieg and my Congress members this past week. It's my true belief despite record funding Amtrak's darkest days are ahead under the leadership of  Gardner. The Board and Gardner need to be replaced before more damage is done. Taking ulterior motives out of the equation it's managements job to respond to external factors and lead the company successfully through unforeseen challenges. Amtrak management has failed and for that reason alone should be replaced. 



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 01/14/22 06:44 by Flyer92122.



Date: 01/14/22 07:11
Re: Amtrak officially announces 5-day a week service for all LDT'
Author: Englewood

dcfbalcoS1 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
. Prior to
> that was a trip to Albany,NY where a car attendent
> tried to take us for $500 as she said our tickets
> only showed three roomettes instead of four. She
> had put her friends in one of our rooms and hidden
> our tickets. I had a second full set in my
> possesion and her attempt ( even trying to get the
> conductor to go along with her ) failed.

I have heard this story before.  Are the conductors no longer
responsible for checking ticketing (paper or virtual)?  If you have what now 
passes for a paper ticket is there a portion meant for you to retain?

Sounds like something wide open for potential scams.

 



Date: 01/14/22 07:44
Re: Amtrak officially announces 5-day a week service for all LDT'
Author: engineerinvirginia

2904 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Until the notices go out that my job is abolished
> it’s a rumor… so for now, it’s a rumor:
>
> Posted from iPhone

Do you have alternate bids prepared or do you to wait until you get abolished/bumped?



Date: 01/14/22 08:43
Re: Amtrak officially announces 5-day a week service for all LDT'
Author: WP17

kbehling Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I don't think Amtrak has enough operable engines
> to run full daily service

But Amtrak found several engines (and lots of coaches for that matter)  to assign to the weekend Winter Park train out of Denver. Just saying

WP17



Date: 01/14/22 08:50
Re: Amtrak officially announces 5-day a week service for all LDT'
Author: mundo

Nevermind the crew and OBS staffing.

Thought we were short on staffing.

 



Date: 01/14/22 08:53
Re: Amtrak officially announces 5-day a week service for all LDT'
Author: 2904

Jobs haven’t even been discussed or structured yet, an announcement has not been made to the public, therefore I think saying “Amtrak officially announces”… is a little preemptive.

Are there conference calls happening as we speak? Yeah.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/14/22 09:31 by 2904.



Date: 01/14/22 09:05
Re: Amtrak officially announces 5-day a week service for all LDT'
Author: dan

     Omnicron will wane here soon, equipment availability , particularly enough employees to provide the man hours to keep amtrak  serviced and overhauled running maybe the issue, Seth mentioned,    and this needs to be flushed out, amtrak has plenty of cars to do more i think, they arn't out there even with these stupid short consists is my take.  And they need more T&E folks too, but you guys know this.

     Since public interaction has been down last few months, flus and colds are hitting us hard too, so both are hitting people this winter, tests are hard to get , so folks can't test enought to know when the omnicron part of the sickness has passed, they have reverted to after effects, normal winter cold stuff.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/14/22 09:13 by dan.



Date: 01/14/22 09:12
Re: Amtrak officially announces 5-day a week service for all LDT'
Author: GeoffM

<Reads headline>

Oh, cool, the Sunset and Cardinal are getting service an extra 2 days a week!

<Reads story>

Oh.... existing daily trains (possibly) going down to 5 a week. Sad face.



Date: 01/14/22 09:26
Re: Amtrak officially announces 5-day a week service for all LDT'
Author: swiftstream

Misleading thread title.  Mr. Jordan may know what he's talking about, but he's not an official Amtrak spokesperson, nor has he made any kind of public announcement.  Telling coworkers something is not the same as announcing it officially.



Date: 01/14/22 09:47
Re: Amtrak officially announces 5-day a week service for all LDT'
Author: jp1822

WP17 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> kbehling Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > I don't think Amtrak has enough operable
> engines
> > to run full daily service
>
> But Amtrak found several engines (and lots of
> coaches for that matter)  to assign to the
> weekend Winter Park train out of Denver. Just
> saying
>
> WP17

It's amazing as to what can be found when necessary. Overall, Amtrak should NOT be having a locomotove problem. I've posted before on reasonable ways that Amtrak could borrow from commuter railroads - if it needed to - to operate some basic corridor trains, while corralling the P42s for the longer distance trains. Amtrak's borrowed commuter rail locomotives and motors before - be it for long term or short term use. 

It's great that Amtrak is running the Winter Park train out of Denver. But I will cast criticism that Amtrak has a FIRST priority to protect its national network. If equipment is short on its core network (NEC, State Corridors, Corridors, and LD trains), it should NOT be in the business of operating a Winter Park Train. That train just operates weekends (on a limited basis) but holds captive a considerable large fleet of Superliner coaches and even a Superliner Sightseer Lounge.  



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