Amtrak cancels Empire Builder out of fear of Xanto

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Posted by mudchicken on Monday, April 16, 2018 2:53 PM

You didn't think Rentzenburger was going to keep a crew van between the ditches on US-34 out there across the flat half of Colorado ? Mischief

Imagine the light engine hop dog-caught something between McCook and Brush after that.

Mudchicken Nothing is worth taking the risk of losing a life over. Come home tonight in the same condition that you left home this morning in. Safety begins with ME.... cinscocom-west
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Posted by Overmod on Monday, April 16, 2018 3:47 PM

MidlandMike
Even Lake Michigan had a seiche causing an 8 foot storm surge.

For those unfamiliar with the term, here's an introduction...

Just as a meteorological nit-pick, "storm surge" is usually associated with reduced air pressure under a large storm like a hurricane, whereas as I understand the Lake Michigan situation the higher level was the result of fetch.

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Posted by CandOforprogress2 on Monday, April 16, 2018 6:34 PM

So much for trains being all weather service.

 

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Posted by zugmann on Monday, April 16, 2018 8:04 PM

mudchicken
You didn't think Rentzenburger was going to keep a crew van between the ditches on US-34 out there across the flat half of Colorado ? Mischief

They have enough trouble doing that in sunny and 80 degree weather.

The opinions expressed here represent my own and not those of my employer or any other railroad, company, or person.

"You look as miserable as I feel all the time."

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Posted by MidlandMike on Monday, April 16, 2018 9:03 PM

The storm also did damage on the Wisconsin side, to the ex-carferry Badger pier in Manitowoc.

https://www.htrnews.com/story/news/2018/04/16/manitowoc-dock-s-s-badger-sustains-damage-spring-storm/521610002/

 

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Posted by blue streak 1 on Monday, April 16, 2018 9:49 PM

We sort of look at Amtrak weather cancellations as un necessary.  After a full review of reports including MSP light rail unable to operate due to multi stalled vehicles unable to clear the light rail tracks. Probably a very good idea that Amtrak cancelled,  It appears that any malfunction of a Builder would not have had any rescue possible.

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Posted by VerMontanan on Monday, April 16, 2018 11:23 PM

blue streak 1

We sort of look at Amtrak weather cancellations as un necessary.  After a full review of reports including MSP light rail unable to operate due to multi stalled vehicles unable to clear the light rail tracks. Probably a very good idea that Amtrak cancelled,  It appears that any malfunction of a Builder would not have had any rescue possible.

 

 
Why?  See above.  When the California Zephyr was in trouble east of Denver, the rescue happened.  Why not possible with the Empire Builder?  And remember, the spokesperson for BNSF said it was "business as usual" on their railroad, and no exceptions noted for CP, either.  (I have a friend who worked in Downtown Minneapolis from 1500 to 2300 Saturday....he made it to work and back home to Coon Rapids OK - roads were not great, but people made it work at his 24-hour office; also the SPUD webcam no. 2 showed rail activity through the night.)
 
With regard to the stalled vehicles on the light rail in the Twin Cities being a reason not to run the Empire Builder:  The light rail runs really really close (sometimes on) streets, so encounters with stalled cars between St. Paul and Minneapolis would probably be exponentially more likely than finding same along the Empire Builder route from La Crosse to St. Cloud where encounters would be limited to grade crossings.  Also, when it came to busting through snow and or ice, two P42s (8400 HP) and an 11-car Empire Builder in the 1100 to 1200-ton range might have a bit better go of it than a 300-ton Green Line light rail train.
 
In the event your post was a 15-day-late April Fool's Day posting: Late, but really funny.

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Posted by Deggesty on Tuesday, April 17, 2018 8:07 AM

As to the CZ rescue, there was nothing on the track to inhibit travel; the problem was the possibility that high winds might topple the train. Freights were running past, in both directions. The dispatcher, in his discretion forbade the movement of the Superliner.

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Posted by VOLKER LANDWEHR on Tuesday, April 17, 2018 9:23 AM

On a freight you have two persons, conductor and engineer, who do it for a living. On an Amtrak train there are perhaps 200 passengers who paid for the trip, and that makes a huge difference.

On the other hand I see Amtrak LD trains more as tourist trains. They might be usefull in some corridors for local people but delays makes using the almost unpredictable.
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Posted by VerMontanan on Tuesday, April 17, 2018 11:57 AM

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Posted by Paul of Covington on Tuesday, April 17, 2018 1:26 PM

Deggesty
the problem was the possibility that high winds might topple the train.

    Sounds like a good argument for returning to the beautiful single-level streamliners of yesteryear.   I never did care for the looks of those two-story hulks.   Yeah, I know it ain't gon' happen.

_____________

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Posted by VOLKER LANDWEHR on Tuesday, April 17, 2018 2:00 PM

VerMontanan
You need a road trip. To Northern Montana. In the winter.

I'd never take an Amtrak LD train. I get already impationt when a DB ICE train is 20 minutes late and I miss my connection because there is only 8 minutes transfer time. But luckily the next connection comes within one hour.

I also said in special corridors there might be use for locals.

In the UK those once daily trains are called ghost trains. BBC explanation:
There is no single definition of what constitutes a ghost train, although the general consensus is that it’s when a service is so infrequent, the train becomes effectively useless. http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20150723-why-britain-has-secret-ghost-trains
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Posted by BaltACD on Tuesday, April 17, 2018 3:21 PM

VOLKER LANDWEHR
 
VerMontanan
You need a road trip. To Northern Montana. In the winter. 

I'd never take an Amtrak LD train. I get already impationt when a DB ICE train is 20 minutes late and I miss my connection because there is only 8 minutes transfer time. But luckily the next connection comes within one hour.

I also said in special corridors there might be use for locals.

In the UK those once daily trains are called ghost trains. BBC explanation:
There is no single definition of what constitutes a ghost train, although the general consensus is that it’s when a service is so infrequent, the train becomes effectively useless. http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20150723-why-britain-has-secret-ghost-trains
Regards, Volker

Then Amtrak, outside of several corridor operations, is effectively a ghost railroad.

         

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Posted by VerMontanan on Tuesday, April 17, 2018 5:09 PM

I can't speak for all communities served by Amtrak long distance trains, but I can say without fear of contradiction that the BBC "Ghost Train" reference has zero relevance when speaking about the communities along the Empire Builder route.  In addition to the "although the general consensus is that it’s when a service is so infrequent, the train becomes effectively useless"  quote that is completely inapplicable, there is this quote from the article, "Perhaps most important of all, the term ghost train implies something that only a special few know exists."  Go to any community along the Empire Builder route in Northern Montana and North Dakota and I would challenge you to find a resident who either hasn't ridden the train or doesn't know the approximate departure time.  When I lived in the Seattle area and my mother was in the nursing home in Cut Bank, Montana, I would take the train to see her - a godsend in the winter as opposed to driving over five mountain passes with no other available public transport.  I would usually go immediately from the station to the nursing home, and I when I would inevitably get comments from the staff like, "oh yes, you were 15 minutes late this morning, or you got here on time."  They couldn't see the train, but whistle on Amtrak locomotives was different those on freight units - another piece of common knowledge about railroading along this route - and they all knew when the train was supposed to come through.  Those who scoff at the utility of once daily service in areas like this only display their ignorance.

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Posted by VOLKER LANDWEHR on Wednesday, April 18, 2018 4:51 AM

VerMontanan
Those who scoff at the utility of once daily service in areas like this only display their ignorance.

Not ignorance, just a different opinion.

There are lots of people living between the Empire Builder's and California Zephyr's routes. They have to get along without train service and it seems to work. The Empire Builder might be convenient but necessary? Than others would need trains too.

When the train is necessary, there are better solutions than LD trains with their in some places more than inconvenient departure and arrival times, the impossibility to get somewhere and back in the same day.

When the Empire Builder was inaugurated in 1929 there was no other comfortable mode of transportation to connect Chicago with the Pacific Northwest. 

Today by air is much faster, so passengers going the whole way are most likely tourists. Local people would be better served with different corridors and more frequent service. But then you are getting in conflict with freight railroads.

To get back to the topic: I find it exaggerated to complain that a once daily train was cancelled for few days. The times and with your legal landscape has changed. With todays granted damages, material and immaterial, I understand the decision.

Granted damages in Germany are only a fracture of those in the USA, but it seems better to avoidany. As I said before DB shut down the whole system with approx. 25,000 passenger trains daily three times in 2017 affecting 11.9 people daily. Were weren't lucky as the trains are needed for our daily chores. Foresight is better than hindsight.
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Posted by VerMontanan on Wednesday, April 18, 2018 4:48 PM

VOLKER LANDWEHR

Not ignorance, just a different opinion.

I disagree.

VOLKER LANDWEHR

There are lots of people living between the Empire Builder's and California Zephyr's routes. They have to get along without train service and it seems to work. The Empire Builder might be convenient but necessary? Than others would need trains too.

That's the claim by many about health care in the U.S., but does it make any sense? People get by, don't they?  Just because something doesn't exist, doesn't mean it shouldn't.  There are historical reasons that long distance passenger service in the U.S. is so skeletal.  I also don't agree that we must, as a nation, always default to the most uncomfortable way of travel (highway or plane).

VOLKER LANDWEHR

When the train is necessary, there are better solutions than LD trains with their in some places more than inconvenient departure and arrival times, the impossibility to get somewhere and back in the same day.

With regard to the Empire Builder, the average trip is over 700 miles, so the average traveler has no such expectation because the 700 mile trip takes almost half the day as it is.  Instead of making such false statements, I urge you to access the RPA website that includes ridership data for every train and every station.  The solution to get better train times is to run a second train.  This could be done with very little incremental cost, but would increase revenue on the route overall by increasing travel options, especially to those communities served in the middle of the night.

VOLKER LANDWEHR
When the Empire Builder was inaugurated in 1929 there was no other comfortable mode of transportation to connect Chicago with the Pacific Northwest. Today by air is much faster, so passengers going the whole way are most likely tourists. Local people would be better served with different corridors and more frequent service. But then you are getting in conflict with freight railroads.

But most of the people don't go the whole way, so you are mistaken (again, 716 miles is the average trip....the "whole way" is over 2,000).  Trains like the Empire Builder serve many communities with poor or no air service.  That most passengers traveling "the whole way are most likely tourists" I'm sure is something you can't prove.  But it sounds like tourism shouldn't be considered as a valid reason to have transportation.  Not the case.  Again, check the ridership data for the train before making erroneous statements.

VOLKER LANDWEHR
To get back to the topic: I find it exaggerated to complain that a once daily train was cancelled for few days. The times and with your legal landscape has changed. With todays granted damages, material and immaterial, I understand the decision.

Your comments lead me to believe you lack the hands-on, historical and institutional knowledge to understand why people along the route and elsewhere are displeased with the decision to cancel the service.  

VOLKER LANDWEHR
Granted damages in Germany are only a fracture of those in the USA, but it seems better to avoidany. As I said before DB shut down the whole system with approx. 25,000 passenger trains daily three times in 2017 affecting 11.9 people daily.

11.9 people?  Never mind -  It doesn't matter.  Your constant references to Germany only show you don't understand life along routes like the Empire Builder.  It's apples and oranges.  Like the fact at Montana and Germany are about the same size (Montana is a bit bigger), but Germany has 82 times the population.  Therefore any comparisons in this topic are moot.

 

VOLKER LANDWEHR
Were weren't lucky as the trains are needed for our daily chores. Foresight is better than hindsight.

And the Empire Builder is needed for "daily chores" for people along its route, too - maybe not in the same way, but you're in no position to judge otherwise (unless you are a closeted resident along the Empire Builder route and/or a U.S. taxpayer).  Foresight is good.  Many in the United States understand that keeping the long distance network intact is the only chance to build on it; it's not like in Europe where the government has a heavy hand in rail transportation policy.  In the U.S., once a route is gone, it's exponentially difficult to revive it since it usually operates on private infrastructure.  Hindsight, or remembering history, is also important.  It helps us understand the taxation of railroads and vast subsidies in creating the highway and airline networks over time, rather than just making statements about Amtrak service and labeling it "inadequate" based on the way things are without historical reference.

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Posted by BaltACD on Wednesday, April 18, 2018 6:31 PM

Volker is right in there with Congress in thinking that trains that operate between end points have only a passenger load that operates between those same end points. 

The utility of Amtrak's LD trains has a lot of loading between intermediate points.    There would be more utility were there two trains daily between the OD pairs roughly 12 hours apart, so that communities that are served in the middle of the night by one train could be served in the middle of the day by the other; the bigger question is if there would be sufficient passenger loads to support both trains.

         

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Posted by charlie hebdo on Wednesday, April 18, 2018 8:11 PM

VerMontanan
Your comments lead me to believe you lack the hands-on, historical and institutional knowledge to understand why people along the route and elsewhere are displeased with the decision to cancel the service.

Your rudeness is only exceded by your inability to stick to facts.

According to Amtrak state fact sheet, Montana had 125K* passengers in all of 2017, most of it from a handful of towns. The EB had 454K from all stations.  Thus Montana had ~28% of the riders.  Given that the train had an Adjusted Operating Earnings (loss)**  of $53.6 million for FY 2017, it seems to me that a more useful operation would be a state-supported service of 2-3 trains daily in MT, ID and WA (another 195K passengers), since such a large portion (320K/454K= 70%) of the total ridership is regional.  If that service is so essential, why can't MT and the others cough up the subsidy instead of continuing the fiction that the EB is an LD train?


*City Boardings + Alightings:

Browning (winter only) 1,644

Cut Bank 2,544

East Glacier (summer only)14,348

Essex 3,253

Glasgow 4,945

Havre 11,570

Libby 5,068

Malta 3,695

Shelby 10,887

West Glacier 5,495

Whitefish 57,093

Wolf Point 5,097

Total Montana Station Usage: 125,639

**Adjusted Operating Earnings is defined as GAAP Net Loss excluding: (1) certain non-cash items (depreciation, income tax expense, non-cash portion of pension and other post retirement employment benefits, and state capital payment amortization); and (2) GAAP income statement items reported with capital or debt results or other grants (project related revenue/costs reported with capital results, expense related to Inspector General’s office, and interest expense, net)

 

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Posted by MidlandMike on Wednesday, April 18, 2018 9:37 PM

The closest thing to "ghost trains" in pre-Amtrak America were "bee Liners" that were trains with an engine and one coach, or maybe a self-propelled car, that were usually run because they could not get regulator authority to discontinue.  By the time the became bee-liners they were not well patronized.  These went away with Amtrak, with maybe the exception of a train between Washington, DC and West Verginia (Hilltopper?) that was kept on because a West Virginia senator was the chair of the transportation commitee.  The train was eventually resurected as the Cardinal and expanded to Chicago.

By contrast the Empire Builder and most other LD trains each carry hundredes of people, so it would be ludicrous to call them "ghost trains".

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Posted by VOLKER LANDWEHR on Thursday, April 19, 2018 3:24 AM

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Posted by blue streak 1 on Thursday, April 19, 2018 6:08 AM

BaltACD

There would be more utility were there two trains daily between the OD pairs roughly 12 hours apart, so that communities that are served in the middle of the night by one train could be served in the middle of the day by the other; the bigger question is if there would be sufficient passenger loads to support both trains.

 
Balt has the correct idea.  Let us look at the one route with ~ 12 hour difference that is the Palmetto NYP -Savannah.  Palmetto serves south of Richmond a moderate population based cities. Average distance passenger traveled is less than other LD trains but almost breaks even under Amtrak's questionable accounting.  
Other routes or partials are the Crescent NYP - ATL; LSL NYP - CHI; Chi - Denver; CHI -  MSP; LAX - Phoenix / Tucson and others that we know.
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Posted by VOLKER LANDWEHR on Thursday, April 19, 2018 8:43 AM

@VerMontanan: First of all, I'm not against passenger trains. I grew up with them and use them as often as possible. But I think Amtrak's LD trains are not economical and in some areas almost useless for short distance traveling.

Passenger rail and health care is comparing apples and oranges. Loss of passenger rail is at best inconvenient, not having health care can be a question of life and death on a daily basis. I mentioned the German experience with system shutdowns affection 11.9 million people daily to show that even then life went on only less comfortable. So I don't understand the complaining about two or three cancelled Empire Builders. Better safe than sorry.

I said that those going the whole distance are mostly tourist. Which business man in his right mind would travel more than 2000 miles to a meeting on a slow Amtrak train? I count those to whom the ay is the reward as tourists.

Your 700+ miles average trip length doesn't tell anything. According RPA up to 99 miles are 5.3%, 100 - 199 mi. 14.2%, 200 - 299 mi. 14.8%; 700 - 799 mi. are just 2.5%. https://www.railpassengers.org/all-aboard/tools-info/ridership-statistics/
And than by Route and Empire Builder.

If Amtrak wants to increase the ridership they need to get them in 0 - 299 mi. segment and that doesn't work with one train daily. I don't think that a second train will do. That's my opinion.

I don't need to be an American citizen to see and understand the problems passenger train services has in the USA. The German government has to have a hand in passenger trains as public transportion is laid down in our constitution.

The largest problem seems to me that Amtrak (With a few exceptions) doesn't own the tracks it runs. Amtrak is more or less at the mercy of the class 1s while in Germany passenger trains have absolute priority. That is why I said more Amtrak trains might be problematic with freight railroad.

That is my opinion, you can share it or not.

I beg one favor: Before you acuse me of making false statements again, do your homework yourself and don't cite only numbers from a statistic that suit your opinion.
Regards, Volker

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Posted by VOLKER LANDWEHR on Thursday, April 19, 2018 8:51 AM

BaltACD
Volker is right in there with Congress in thinking that trains that operate between end points have only a passenger load that operates between those same end points.

That is not what I meant. I said those going from end to end are mostly tourists. I didn't say all are going this way.

BaltACD
The utility of Amtrak's LD trains has a lot of loading between intermediate points. There would be more utility were there two trains daily between the OD pairs roughly 12 hours apart, so that communities that are served in the middle of the night by one train could be served in the middle of the day by the other; the bigger question is if there would be sufficient passenger loads to support both trains.

We agree that one train daily leaves out complete areas out of short distance travel. I'm not sure that a second train will help. Might be to optimize the schedule the layover time have extended at the expense of more equipment. Or you need a few additional local trains at more convenient departure times.
Regards, Volker

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Posted by VerMontanan on Thursday, April 19, 2018 2:05 PM

The health care comparison is not apples and oranges.  I agree that everyone should have health care, but you missed my point which is that in the United States not everyone thinks so.  And therefore you don't understand the mindset in the U.S.  That was my point.

I completely understand that you don't understand.  Just realize my opinion is only based in living in Northern Montana, using the Empire Builder many times and almost never as a tourist, knowing the people who use the train and why, and working on the operating side of the railroad industry for 40 years, including much of including the Empire Builder route.  That's why I at least believe I have standing for my opinion.

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Posted by VOLKER LANDWEHR on Thursday, April 19, 2018 4:21 PM

VerMontanan
The health care comparison is not apples and oranges. I agree that everyone should have health care, but you missed my point which is that in the United States not everyone thinks so. And therefore you don't understand the mindset in the U.S. That was my point.

Sorry, I understood your comparison differently. The struggle to implemented health care in the USA was widely discussed in German media as well as the attemps of the acting POTUS to turn back the wheel. You are right we do not understand the reasoning behind the resistance to implement health care as we have a health care law since the mid 1880s but we have realized it.

VerMontanan
I completely understand that you don't understand.

I do understand, just not why to complain about three cancelled trains.

You have your opinion, I have mine. That happens all the time in discussions.
Regards, Volker

 

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Posted by CMStPnP on Thursday, April 19, 2018 8:36 PM

MidlandMike

VerMontanan, glad to give you today's laugh.

Yes I live in the lake-effect snow belt of Northern Michigan.  During my 35 year career I drove around the oil field roads in all sorts of snow and morass, and had to dig my self out of situations.  However, I am retired now, and if I traveled on the Empire Builder in winter, I would not want to have to pack a snowmobile suit to meet my "ride" at the station. 

The storm was of historic proportions.  I don't know what it was like on the CP part of Wisconsin, but Green Bay had its second deepest amount of snow (23+") in history.  Northern Michigan had some spots with 24".  My area only had a few inches of sleet, which 50 mph gusts caused to drift.  State Police advised only emergency travel.  Even Lake Michigan had a seiche causing an 8 foot storm surge.

My experience with signal problems was on the "Canadian" when it was still routed on the CP.  Rain had knocked them out, and we traveled very s-l-o-w.

I would guess that Amtrak didn't want to put its passengers in any potential danger or discomfort that would have required heroic efforts to safely resolve.

Landwehr is closer to the truth than the guy from Montana who despite his past RRing background is largely clueless about Amtrak LD trains when they are delayed or need to skip a service stop for whatever reason.   

I have ridden the Empire Builder many times from 1971 onwards though Wisconsin and parts of MN west of St. Paul.    Back before CP upgraded the signalling system the train would need to slow to a crawl due to fault signals in heavy rain along the then Milwaukee Road.   I remember that Empire Builder train ride from hell because some of the Passenger Cars had power issues because they operated at slow speed for so long or loose cables ("the so called beautiful single level cars from the 40's and 50's").    I remember the Vista Dome being quite steamy on that trip at the height of Summer because the A/C didn't work.    I have ridden the Builder also during blinding snow storms.......again train speed slowed significantly because the engineer cannot see the signals at a safe distance.

Also, unfortunate to his argument, the Empire Builder is not an all Coach Train, it has a Dining Car and Sleeping Cars and a onboard crew.    Try riding in a Sleeping Car with an overfull rentention toilet system, then cut back your options in the Dining car to maybe one or two fast food items.     That crap might be OK if your from Montana and used to those smells from the local pit toilet outhouse.

However, among the population with newer indoor plumbing....I don't think it goes very far.    I think most traveling passengers or the local health authorities would start to have an issue with sewage fumes...........I could be wrong though.    I've been on some German commutter trains in the 1980's that smelled of raw sewage or urine.......all is not always great in Germany.....all the time as noted previously.  DB is not always post card perfect and has Amtrak similar problems at times as well.   Most American Tourists are not in Germany long enough to see such issues, you have to really live there.

Anyhoo, my two cents on the argument.   Cancelling the train was the right thing to do passenger trains haul people not cattle.    Call a waaaa-bul-ance for the handful of people in Montana that were upset.    Problem solved. :)

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Posted by cx500 on Friday, April 20, 2018 2:00 AM

If the freight trains were still running, and apparently they were, the tracks would have been kept pretty much clear by the regular traffic.  Therefore Amtrak would have been able to run with little problem.  The major cause of winter delay to passenger trains in the past was due to the steam lines freezing in bitter cold (-20F and below).  Conversion to head-end power mostly solved that problem.

Plow trains are needed mostly to reopen branch lines where snow has built up in the day or more between trains.  And even then, often the plow was to make it feasible for the track patrol to get through on their motorcar or hi-rail; the train could bust through most drifts. 

One poster suggested the inability of a small town not being able to accommodate a whole train load was a major risk.  (I will pass over the fact that such a need is quite unlikely.)  In more remote areas the small towns are very good at improvising in emergencies.  The local school, or in a bigger center the sports facility, can provide shelter.  The citizens may be more familiar with the concept of helping neighbours, whether from next door or new faces from a stopped train.  Field, B.C., did just that when VIA's Canadian, then still running on the CPR route, was halted by track blockages in both directions.  I'm sure the villages and towns in Montana and North Dakota would have done much the same.

In the parts of the continent where blizzards are a regular fact of winter weather, procedures have been developed to cope successfully.  Unlike planes, trains do not have to be sprayed with de-icing fluid before departure, and are not likely to skid sideways on the rails even when snow is over the railhead.  What may cause the delays certain folks see as insuperable are incidents such as derailments blocking the tracks, and they can and do happen at all times of the year.

I will also note that cancelling the train will have impacted the travel plans of a number of passengers whose trip did not include the area of the storm.

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Posted by VOLKER LANDWEHR on Friday, April 20, 2018 3:41 AM

cx500
If the freight trains were still running, and apparently they were, the tracks would have been kept pretty much clear by the regular traffic. Therefore Amtrak would have been able to run with little problem.

It was a risk assessmenet both BNSF and Amtrak had to make. Carrying completely different "loads" and using different equipment the results can differ accordingly. Amtrak choose the safe way.

cx500
I will also note that cancelling the train will have impacted the travel plans of a number of passengers whose trip did not include the area of the storm.

That is a risk you take when you use an Amtrak LD train. Because of their unpredictable on-time performance you need to assume you might have to adjust your traveling plans even when the train runs.

That the concerned people weren't lucky I understand. But better this way than something happend to the train.
Regards, Volker

P.S.: @CMStPnP: you are right about Germany. All that glistens is not gold. But al in all it is a very nice country.

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Posted by charlie hebdo on Friday, April 20, 2018 7:49 AM

CMStPnP
I've been on some German commutter trains in the 1980's that smelled of raw sewage or urine.......all is not always great in Germany.....all the time as noted previously.  DB is not always post card perfect and has Amtrak similar problems at times as well.   Most American Tourists are not in Germany long enough to see such issues, you have to really live there.

Your post was hilarious and accurate.  I can report, however, that the sanitary conditions on DB (and most other service operators in Germany) today are vastly improved over thoe 30+ years ago.

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    October, 2008
  • From: Calgary
  • 1,635 posts
Posted by cx500 on Friday, April 20, 2018 10:39 AM

VOLKER LANDWEHR
Amtrak choose the safe way.

Obviously that was the perception of some manager.  But as several of us have tried to point out, the risk factor was virtually nonexistent.  No danger to life, but perhaps some delay.  Cancelling the train made the delay certain, and of greater duration.  The bigger hazard for the passengers was the drive to and from the stations at each end of their trip. 

Because we all regularly travel in automobiles, we understand and accept the risk, knowing how minimal it is.  Any travel involves risk, even walking.  The Amtrak decision was apparently made by somebody who has not lived in the northern plains and did not have any real understanding.

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