News Wire: New Amtrak guidelines add details on private-car, special-train moves

1909 views
26 replies
1 rating 2 rating 3 rating 4 rating 5 rating
Moderator
  • Member since
    January, 2011
  • From: Wisconsin
  • 923 posts
Posted by Brian Schmidt on Thursday, April 19, 2018 3:14 PM

WASHINGTON — New Amtrak guidelines on special trains and private cars issued Wednesday provide a few exceptions from its original plan — to only allow private car moves between a train’s originating and terminating point — but...

http://trn.trains.com/news/news-wire/2018/04/19-new-amtrak-guidelines-add-details-on-private-car-special-train-moves

Brian Schmidt, Associate Editor Trains Magazine

  • Member since
    September, 2013
  • 2,702 posts
Posted by Miningman on Thursday, April 19, 2018 8:06 PM

Sounds like a lot of weasily ways, at best cards close to the vest, very nebulous parameters to not provide service, even for the conditions where they could provide service.

"Oh sorry, locomotives and crews not available"

"Oh sorry, dosen't make us enough money"

When are locomotives and crews available? "We can't reveal that information"

How much do you need to make it worthwhile? "We can't reveal that information"

 

  • Member since
    November, 2013
  • 908 posts
Posted by VOLKER LANDWEHR on Friday, April 20, 2018 3:44 AM

It still is a volontary service.
Regards, Volker

  • Member since
    September, 2017
  • 365 posts
Posted by charlie hebdo on Friday, April 20, 2018 7:41 AM

Please show us where it states that moving private cars or hosting excursion trains is Amtrak's mission or required?

  • Member since
    June, 2009
  • From: Dallas, TX
  • 3,078 posts
Posted by CMStPnP on Friday, April 20, 2018 6:00 PM

charlie hebdo

Please show us where it states that moving private cars or hosting excursion trains is Amtrak's mission or required?

It's not required but taxpayer money isn't required either and when you call yourself a quasi-governmental Corporation, your going to do things that please the government and the taxpayers more than they do the bottom line.    Same reason Amtrak maintains a LD network.

  • Member since
    June, 2009
  • From: Dallas, TX
  • 3,078 posts
Posted by CMStPnP on Friday, April 20, 2018 6:03 PM

VOLKER LANDWEHR

It still is a volontary service.
Regards, Volker

I actually thnk the message being sent out to the public and to other private companies that Amtrak is starting to take it's mission more seriously.......is a good one.    I'll miss seeing the Private Cars but in retrospect they were disappearing slowly anyways and it becomes less and less affordable to maintain them.   I don't think Amtrak should be overly burdened with their carriage but at the same time Amtrak should not just walk away.   Charge them more for the service or limiting the service is fine with me.

  • Member since
    September, 2011
  • 3,655 posts
Posted by MidlandMike on Saturday, April 21, 2018 8:56 PM

charlie hebdo

Please show us where it states that moving private cars or hosting excursion trains is Amtrak's mission or required?

 

It's in PRIIA, and has been covered in recent Trains Forums/Blogs.

  • Member since
    January, 2002
  • From: Equestria
  • 6,336 posts
Posted by zugmann on Saturday, April 21, 2018 9:11 PM

MidlandMike
It's in PRIIA, and has been covered in recent Trains Forums/Blogs.

It says " Amtrak is encouraged to increase the operation of
special trains funded by, or in partnership with private sector operators through
the use of competitive contracting to minimize the need for Federal subsidies.
[§216]."

emphasis mine -  zug

 

Encouraged, but not required.

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

  • Member since
    September, 2011
  • 3,655 posts
Posted by MidlandMike on Saturday, April 21, 2018 9:38 PM

zugmann

 

 
MidlandMike
It's in PRIIA, and has been covered in recent Trains Forums/Blogs.

 

It says " Amtrak is encouraged to increase the operation of
special trains funded by, or in partnership with private sector operators through
the use of competitive contracting to minimize the need for Federal subsidies.
[§216]."

emphasis mine -  zug

 

Encouraged, but not required.

 

The original post also used the word "mission", and I figure whatever Congress encourages becomes Amtrak's mission.

  • Member since
    November, 2013
  • 908 posts
Posted by VOLKER LANDWEHR on Sunday, April 22, 2018 4:08 AM

MidlandMike
The original post also used the word "mission", and I figure whatever Congress encourages becomes Amtrak's mission.

Which OP, where?

The Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act is law. The language in laws is special but encouraged for sure doesn't mean required. Laws often leave room for interpretation but not that far.
Regards, Volker

 

  • Member since
    September, 2011
  • 3,655 posts
Posted by MidlandMike on Sunday, April 22, 2018 8:47 PM

VOLKER LANDWEHR

 

 
MidlandMike
The original post also used the word "mission", and I figure whatever Congress encourages becomes Amtrak's mission.

 

Which OP, where?

The Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act is law. The language in laws is special but encouraged for sure doesn't mean required. Laws often leave room for interpretation but not that far.
Regards, Volker

 

 

See my post of Saturday, April 21, 2018 8:56 PM which shows where I am replying to a question on Amtrak's mission.  I am presuming that part of their mission is to impliment the laws that apply to them, and if the law says to "encourage" something, then it is their mission to encourage that.

  • Member since
    November, 2013
  • 908 posts
Posted by VOLKER LANDWEHR on Monday, April 23, 2018 4:02 AM

MidlandMike
See my post of Saturday, April 21, 2018 8:56 PM which shows where I am replying to a question on Amtrak's mission. I am presuming that part of their mission is to impliment the laws that apply to them, and if the law says to "encourage" something, then it is their mission to encourage that.

With times it is a bit difficult as my computer shows my local (German) time. But I think I found the post.

Charlie hebdo has asked Miningman to show where it is stated that it is Amtrak's mission (or a requirement) to move private cars. Mission was his word.

You pointed to the PRIIA and Zugmann cited the law.

The PRIIA is distinct in saying that Amtrak is encouraged.

Nowhere the word mission can be found other than in that one question and there it doesn't cite anything.
Regards, Volker

  • Member since
    September, 2003
  • 5,668 posts
Posted by Overmod on Monday, April 23, 2018 10:34 PM

Before we get into too much polyglot semantics over the wrong things, when someone mentions 'mission' in connection with Amtrak, they are likely referencing much the same thing as 'vision' - which Amtrak addresses in contiguous statements:

Amtrak Vision:

Moving America where it wants to go.

This Vision Statement communicates what we aspire to do as a company in a concise and memorable way. When considered from different angles, this seven-word phrase communicates many different things about Amtrak and our purpose:

  • We serve the United States of America, its people and its guests.
  • Our job is to connect the communities and economies that comprise our nation.
  • We are not just a railroad; we are a company that moves people.
  • Amtrak responds to the market – as a business we must offer services that are in-demand and for which customers are willing to pay.

Amtrak Mission

Delivering intercity transportation with superior safety, customer service and financial excellence.

Our Mission Statement clarifies how we will achieve our Vision. As a company and as individual employees, our job is to provide safe transportation in a manner that improves the company’s financial security while ensuring that our customers have a consistent, high-quality travel experience.

Now, there is a problem here: the next line after this charming example of mission and vision statement is a link to see the Amtrak strategic plan.  This link goes to a page address referencing the "2014-2018" strategic plan ... and that page no longer comes up from the link.  That is a likely indication that a newer, more mercenary strategic plan is either in the works or soon to be posted.

Personally, having suffered through a number of instances of private cars being time-wastingly tacked onto or removed from trains I have been riding, or blocking the view from the rear of the train with no benefit to me, I don't have any particular reason to support private-car owners' associations, except insofar as absolutely no operation including private cars or trains should lose even a nickel of overall revenue.  All the actions I have seen, from the changes to maintenance procedures to the elimination of switch moves en route, support this.

  • Member since
    November, 2013
  • 908 posts
Posted by VOLKER LANDWEHR on Tuesday, April 24, 2018 9:42 AM

Overmod
Before we get into too much polyglot semantics over the wrong things, when someone mentions 'mission' in connection with Amtrak, they are likely referencing much the same thing as 'vision' - which Amtrak addresses in contiguous statements:

In this case it was just a misunderstanding I tried to unravel not some semantics. Someone asked where an Amtrak mission/requirement to move private cars is layed down. The next one concluded there must be a defined mission about private cars.

At that time it had nothing to do with the Amtrak's vision you quote.

BTW we had a German chancellor, who stated if you have visions go to a doctor.
Regards, Volker

  • Member since
    September, 2003
  • 5,668 posts
Posted by Overmod on Tuesday, April 24, 2018 11:53 AM

VOLKER LANDWEHR
Someone asked where an Amtrak mission/requirement to move private cars is laid down ... The next one concluded there must be a defined mission about private cars. At that time it had nothing to do with the Amtrak's vision you quote.

In United States management practice, "mission" and "vision" usually refer to specific mission and vision statements respectively.  As it happens, Amtrak lists their vision statement ahead of their mission statement, so I referenced them in that order. 

To be more specific, the brief text in that mission statement is the 'definitive' meaning in context for anything that relates to Amtrak's "mission" as some people were trying to establish in the discussion.  There is, to me, absolutely nothing that would indicate a common-carrier or other 'right' of private-car owners to have their cars carried at any time, on any terms, on scheduled Amtrak trains.

  • Member since
    March, 2016
  • 1,501 posts
Posted by CandOforprogress2 on Wednesday, April 25, 2018 6:27 PM

Common Carreir obligation?

  • Member since
    July, 2010
  • From: Hotchkiss, Colorado
  • 265 posts
Posted by steve24944 on Saturday, April 28, 2018 10:16 AM
  • Member since
    November, 2013
  • 908 posts
Posted by VOLKER LANDWEHR on Saturday, April 28, 2018 10:54 AM

CandOforprogress2
Common Carreir obligation?

I haven't found a common carrier obligation in the statutes. The Interstate Commerce Act has a section 11101 titled "Common carrier transportation, service and rates". There is said that a rail carrier shall provide transportation or service upon resonable request. https://www.stb.gov/TransAndStatements.nsf/8740c718e33d774e85256dd500572ae5/d40483b73a9d34f08525743a006d739d?OpenDocument

That leaves a lot room for interpretation. On the other hand has Amtrak to provide freight service? I can't see that Amtrak is required to transport private rail cars.
Regards, Volker

 

  • Member since
    January, 2002
  • From: Equestria
  • 6,336 posts
Posted by zugmann on Saturday, April 28, 2018 12:27 PM

VOLKER LANDWEHR
That leaves a lot room for interpretation. On the other hand has Amtrak to provide freight service? I can't see that Amtrak is required to transport private rail cars. Regards, Volker

Wasn't that a bone of contention between amtrak and the class 1s when the former was running boxcars and reefers 15-20 years ago?

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

  • Member since
    August, 2005
  • From: At the Crossroads of the West
  • 9,319 posts
Posted by Deggesty on Saturday, April 28, 2018 2:13 PM

steve24944

This is interesting. However, I do not beleive that Mr. Salaman has seen a Superliner consist with baggage car--on these, the baggage car is at the front end so it can be accessed from the passenger-carrying cars. The car that has accommodations for the on-board service crew, roomettes for passengers, and an area where the train crew can sit also has access to the baggage car.

Yes, the baggage car is on the rear of the single-level trains that have baggage cars--much to the annoyance of passengers who have enjoyed looking back at where the train has been.

Johnny

  • Member since
    November, 2013
  • 908 posts
Posted by VOLKER LANDWEHR on Saturday, April 28, 2018 2:36 PM

zugmann
Wasn't that a bone of contention between amtrak and the class 1s when the former was running boxcars and reefers 15-20 years ago?

IIRC Amtrak ran LCL express boxcars and express reefers volontarily to better their revenues. There must have been a demand as this business grew so that BNSF limited the train length.

For longer trains there was a revenue sharing agreement. And Amtrak used RoadRailers. But I don't remember when and why Amtrak gave it up.

I think Amtrak was not required to move freight.
Regards, Volker

 

  • Member since
    May, 2003
  • From: US
  • 14,101 posts
Posted by BaltACD on Saturday, April 28, 2018 2:44 PM

VOLKER LANDWEHR
 
zugmann
Wasn't that a bone of contention between amtrak and the class 1s when the former was running boxcars and reefers 15-20 years ago? 

IIRC Amtrak ran LCL express boxcars and express reefers volontarily to better their revenues. There must have been a demand as this business grew so that BNSF limited the train length.

For longer trains there was a revenue sharing agreement. And Amtrak used RoadRailers. But I don't remember when and why Amtrak gave it up.

I think Amtrak was not required to move freight.
Regards, Volker

The 'announced' why they gave it up was because it was delaying their primary product - moving people.

         

Never too old to have a happy childhood!

  • Member since
    September, 2011
  • 3,655 posts
Posted by MidlandMike on Saturday, April 28, 2018 9:02 PM

Some people seem to be overly involved in trying to define what the Amtrak related laws don't say.  The fault is that what a law doesn't say is irrelevant.  The only thing that matters, is what a law does say.  The PRIIA says that Amtrak is encouraged to increase special trains to help minimize subsidies.  Amtrak has been encouraging this, so why has the new CEO put so many restrictions to discourage, to the point of virtually eliminating this activity?  If he can show good reasons why the program has created problems, then he should get with the clients to see if it can be worked out, rather than unilaterally issue a directive to end the program.  Then if he still wants to end the program, he would need to make the case to Congress, who wrote the law.

  • Member since
    November, 2013
  • 908 posts
Posted by VOLKER LANDWEHR on Sunday, April 29, 2018 3:17 AM

@BaltACD: Thanks

MidlandMike
Then if he still wants to end the program, he would need to make the case to Congress, who wrote the law.

Now I think you what you complain about, define what the law doesn't say. Nobody could have said anything if Amtrak hadn't moved private cars. The were encouraged, as you rightly say, not required. So why go to Congress when Amtrak wants to end the program, encourage already contains this.

But it isn't this far yet: https://www.amtrak.com/planning-booking/private-train-cars.html

The private car owners will adjust to the new conditions and live with the restrictions, I think.

BTW here is Amtrak's March 28th memo to employees as mention in the by now updated Trains News Wire. I found it on aarpco.com:  http://www.aaprco.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/img-28mar2018.jpg
Regards, Volker

 

  • Member since
    September, 2011
  • 3,655 posts
Posted by MidlandMike on Sunday, April 29, 2018 10:13 PM

VOLKER LANDWEHR

@BaltACD: Thanks

 

 
MidlandMike
Then if he still wants to end the program, he would need to make the case to Congress, who wrote the law.

 

Now I think you what you complain about, define what the law doesn't say. Nobody could have said anything if Amtrak hadn't moved private cars. The were encouraged, as you rightly say, not required. So why go to Congress when Amtrak wants to end the program, encourage already contains this.

But it isn't this far yet: https://www.amtrak.com/planning-booking/private-train-cars.html

The private car owners will adjust to the new conditions and live with the restrictions, I think.

BTW here is Amtrak's March 28th memo to employees as mention in the by now updated Trains News Wire. I found it on aarpco.com:  http://www.aaprco.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/img-28mar2018.jpg
Regards, Volker

 

 

Up until now your english has been impeccable, but I do not fully understand your first sentence.

As to why Amtrak, in disregarding their charge to encourage special trains, should go to Congress to discontinue them when it is not explicitly required... remember Congress is also not required to fund Amtrak.

  • Member since
    November, 2013
  • 908 posts
Posted by VOLKER LANDWEHR on Monday, April 30, 2018 3:23 AM

MidlandMike
Up until now your english has been impeccable, but I do not fully understand your first sentence.

I try to do my best but sometimes s**t happens. I forgot the word "do". Sorry!

The first sentence should have read like this: Now, I think, you do what you complain about, define what the law doesn't say.

MidlandMike
As to why Amtrak, in disregarding their charge to encourage special trains, should go to Congress to discontinue them when it is not explicitly required... remember Congress is also not required to fund Amtrak.

I was bothered by the word "need", as it means a requirement or an obligation. If he should really cancel all moves of private cars he should explain to Congress.

As I wrote in my previous post, Mr. Anderson is still far from that.
Regard, Volker

  • Member since
    September, 2011
  • 3,655 posts
Posted by MidlandMike on Monday, April 30, 2018 9:28 PM

Some owners have adjusted to the private car restrictions and price hikes by parking their private cars, locos, and even whole private trains.  And special trains and charters have been eliminated.  We will just have to wait and see what Congress' reaction is to all of this.

Join our Community!

Our community is FREE to join. To participate you must either login or register for an account.

Search the Community

Newsletter Sign-Up

By signing up you may also receive occasional reader surveys and special offers from Trains magazine.Please view our privacy policy