Which railroads still cared about Passengers come Amtrak

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Which railroads still cared about Passengers come Amtrak
Posted by KBCpresident on Friday, February 16, 2018 2:46 AM

I know that no one was making money on them and everyone knew it. BUt it seems like some trains (from pictures anyway) were still pretty neat and clean. UP comes to mind, as does ATSF and, to a degree and from what I heard in another post, BN.

Is this true? Which roads do you think had the most "enthusiasm" (for lack of a better word) for passenger trains on the eve of Amtrak? Which roads were still putting on a smile for passengers, providing good service, food, etc.?

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Posted by Overmod on Friday, February 16, 2018 7:49 AM

Southern was one.

But you need to make a distinction between 'staying in the passenger business for pride/love' and 'staying in the passenger business to avoid the high perceived cost of Amtrak'.  As I recall, the latter was a significant reason for Southern electing to stay out of Amtrak initially....

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Posted by Deggesty on Friday, February 16, 2018 8:16 AM

Overmod

Southern was one.

But you need to make a distinction between 'staying in the passenger business for pride/love' and 'staying in the passenger business to avoid the high perceived cost of Amtrak'.  As I recall, the latter was a significant reason for Southern electing to stay out of Amtrak initially....

 

I understood that the Rock Island stayed out because of the high cost since it kept so many trains running as long as it did.

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Posted by Deggesty on Friday, February 16, 2018 10:01 AM

Whoops! I thought I posted this yesterday--but I went elsewhere without posting it.

In February of 1953, the Pennsylvania still had four all-Pullman trains (Florida service is not included) from New York with cars to four cities, and three all-Pullman trains from Washington with cars to three cities. Some of these trains were combined for most of their trips.

There were also east-west two all-coach overnight trains.

Name the cities and the trains. Careful, now; one train, though named in one direction was not named in the other direction.

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Posted by Deggesty on Friday, February 16, 2018 10:19 AM

Deggesty

Whoops! I thought I posted this yesterday--but I went elsewhere without posting it.

In February of 1953, the Pennsylvania still had four all-Pullman trains (Florida service is not included) from New York with cars to four cities, and three all-Pullman trains from Washington with cars to three cities. Some of these trains were combined for most of their trips.

There were also east-west two all-coach overnight trains.

Name the cities and the trains. Careful, now; one train, though named in one direction was not named in the other  direction.

 

Codicil: the last mentioned train did run in the opposite direction--but it had cosches as well as Pullmans; there was an unnamed all-Pullman train that left 1:10 lter than the named train and arrived at the destination 20 minutes later

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Posted by Miningman on Friday, February 16, 2018 10:27 AM

Deggesty-- Your on the wrong thread!...go/post to the Classic Quiz!!

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Posted by Deggesty on Friday, February 16, 2018 10:31 AM

Yes; It is now where it should be.

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Posted by BaltACD on Friday, February 16, 2018 12:20 PM

B&O/C&O tried to keep their service upto the levels they had in the past right up to Amtrak day.  That being said they reduced the trains operated in economic defense.

         

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Posted by daveklepper on Sunday, February 18, 2018 3:19 AM

Railroads that generally tried to present a positive face to their passengers right up to Amtrak include UP, AT&FS (both outstanding), GTW, SCL, BNSF, D&RGW, Sou., C&O-B&O.

PC generally poor except for the SCL Florida Trinas and Sou. Crescent and the Broadway.  The Broadway was kept up to snuff.  Also to some extent the Metroliners and Turbotrain.

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Posted by KBCpresident on Wednesday, February 21, 2018 1:16 AM

Ok. I figured UP would be on the list somewhere. Pictures of its trains appear to be fairly impressive up until the end and I have heard good thigs about it. Same wiht  Santa Fe. I assume BNSF is supposed to be BN? 

What about SP? I know they kept trains running and invested in some new equiptment but I have heard mixed reviews.

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Posted by daveklepper on Thursday, February 22, 2018 1:27 PM

The SP wished to leave the passenger business, but at the same time wished to appear sharp and clean to the passengers that insisted on riding on it.

The diner on the Coast Daylight and other trains was replaced by an automat car that only one attendant. who possibly had other duties, could manage.  All food and drink was available only from machines.  You had to put in coins of the right amount.  The attendant when I rode could give you change from folding money.  The parlor was the observation car with what had been non-revenue space becoming reserved revenue space.  They threatened to make the Sunset Limited all-coach.  A compromise was that in ran three times a week each way and kept the sleepers -- but again with an automat car or the diner becoming the diner-lounge.

Not as bad as Penn Central but not nearly as good as UP and AT&SF.  The City of San Francisco did not have a dome west of Ogden, but east of Ogden it was usually combinedwith the City of L. A., which did, UP.

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Posted by bill613a on Thursday, February 22, 2018 4:47 PM

In November 1970 I rode the City Of SF from Ogden to Oakland and it had one of the SP home built 3/4 domes. In those last months before AMTRAK these cars would show up sporadically on the COAST DAYLIGHT and CITY of SF.

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Posted by VerMontanan on Friday, February 23, 2018 12:31 PM

One positive pro-passenger pre-Amtrak story involves Montana's last intrastate passenger train, Burlington Northern trains 33 and 34 between Havre and Great Falls.  In the last few years before its discontinuance at the start of Amtrak, the train was one Rail Diesel Car, the GN 2350, which was the only RDC Great Northern ever owned.  It had 45 coach seats.

The RDC provided a connection to the Western Star in Havre.  GN and BN used buses for a connection to the Empire Builder in Havre for Great Falls passengers.

During the last holiday season of operation (December 1970-January 1971), patronage was such that the single RDC could not handle the demand.  Northern Pacific had six RDCs but by BN merger time, none were in use, as the trains with such equipment (such as Fargo-Winnipeg, Staples-Duluth, and Spokane-Lewiston) had been discontinued.  BN moved one of the ex-NP RDCs to Havre to provide supplemental capacity on trains 33 and 34 along with the GN 2350.  

Interestingly, since the GN had only one such unit, the RDC 2350 was not MUable with another locomotive as the NP RDCs were.  Why BN didn't move two ex-NP RDCs instead is not known, but the when the one NP RDC and the lone GN RDC operated together as trains 33 and 34 that holiday season, they did so with two engineers, one in each RDC.

With the Amtrak law already in place, BN could have just told the overflow passengers "So what?  Not our problem next year" or used buses, but all were accommodated by rail.

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Posted by wjstix on Friday, February 23, 2018 4:42 PM

Well, I think 'cared' might not be the right term exactly. It's not that some railroads loved passengers and some hated them, it's more that after the US took the mail contracts away, pretty much all passenger railroads started to lose money - some more than others.

I mean, I 'care' about my four grandkids, but I still can't afford to pay for them to all go to Harvard or Princeton.

Wink

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Posted by daveklepper on Saturday, February 24, 2018 1:39 PM

Yes,I meant BN, not BNSF.  Still lacking the edit button, and consequently you are lacking some good photographs. 

On BN, the real premeum train might have been the Denver Zephyr.  It seemed a sharp operation in every way when I rode it.  Was the Empire Builder similar?

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Posted by BaltACD on Sunday, February 25, 2018 1:26 PM

wjstix
Well, I think 'cared' might not be the right term exactly. It's not that some railroads loved passengers and some hated them, it's more that after the US took the mail contracts away, pretty much all passenger railroads started to lose money - some more than others.

I mean, I 'care' about my four grandkids, but I still can't afford to pay for them to all go to Harvard or Princeton.

Wink

Well let's change the standard.  The carriers that didn't put ANY money or care into their passenger operations - maintenance, cleanlyness or anything else.  From persistant comments over the years, that seems to fit Penn Central and then ConRail as well as Southern Pacific on their long haul routes, not the commutes out of San Francisco.

         

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Posted by rcdrye on Sunday, February 25, 2018 4:08 PM

SP did a pretty good job with cleanliness right up to the end, with lounge service and even observation cars on many trains that probably didn't justify them.  Even the automat buffet cars were kept clean and carefully stocked. Timekeeping was also reasonably good, helped by the 10 SDP45s they bought to retire the PAs.  SP equipment was well-maintained and migrated widely across Amtrak's operations in the rainbow years.  The original San Joaquin trains were stocked entirely out of SP's reserve equipment.  The local agents (at least our guy in Monterey, who later worked the Salinas station for SP And Amtrak until he retired) were knowledgable and helpful.  Not exactly pro-passenger, but not sloppy either.

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Posted by jeffhergert on Sunday, February 25, 2018 4:09 PM

Deggesty

 

 
Overmod

Southern was one.

But you need to make a distinction between 'staying in the passenger business for pride/love' and 'staying in the passenger business to avoid the high perceived cost of Amtrak'.  As I recall, the latter was a significant reason for Southern electing to stay out of Amtrak initially....

 

 

 

I understood that the Rock Island stayed out because of the high cost since it kept so many trains running as long as it did.

 

 

As I understand it, the original membership cost was equal to the individual railroad's passenger losses for the preceding 5(?) years.  The RI by 1971 only had two intercity trains still running.  The cost to join would've included the losses on trains that had been discontinued.  It was felt that with the severe cash problems the RI had and with future losses reduced, it was better to stay out and run the two remaining trains for at least the time the law creating Amtrak required. 

Both trains were subsidized by the State of Illinois.  When the subsidy ended at the end of 1978, so did the trains.  Followed by the railroad itself in 1980.

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Posted by wjstix on Sunday, February 25, 2018 11:02 PM

My impression / memory - right or wrong - was that the eastern railroads probably suffered more losses and were therefore less agreeable to spending money on passenger trains. In the west, there was a lot more distance to cover, and still pretty large streches away from the interstate highway system, so railroads like BN (NP and GN) didn't have quite the struggle of PC or other eastern lines competing with cars.

Stix

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