Will this Corona Virus panic mean cheap seats/sleeper berths on Amtrak and Airlines?

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Will this Corona Virus panic mean cheap seats/sleeper berths on Amtrak and Airlines?
Posted by divebardave on Thursday, March 12, 2020 2:12 PM

This might be a good time for my long distance train one way and plane trip back the other way.

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Posted by Overmod on Tuesday, March 17, 2020 2:11 PM

divebardave
This might be a good time for my long distance train one way and plane trip back the other way.

Except what's likely is that they'll cancel the sleepers and flights if they stop filling them at logical price.  Or anyway, just out of 'precaution' on the part of necessary service providers...

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Posted by blue streak 1 on Wednesday, March 18, 2020 8:09 AM

This poster has come to the conclusion that Amtrak is going to be hurt for a long time.  Several medical persons are of the opinion that this epidemic will last 12 - 18 months.  Infections will not peak for about 45 days .

Unless there is a directed service order from the government I suspect that Amtrak will shortly shut down all but minimal NEC and maybe 2 - 4 LD routes.  The airline publications are beginnning to believe that almost all non government owned airlines will be in bankruptcy by the end of May.  The 737MAX fiasco will probably lenghten what otherwise would happen sooner.  Airlines are going to default on their cash reserves requirements for various debt that they have.  Boeing and Airbus ?

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Posted by charlie hebdo on Wednesday, March 18, 2020 12:29 PM

And most responsible individuals are postponing elective travel plans. 

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Posted by CMStPnP on Wednesday, March 18, 2020 12:46 PM

charlie hebdo
And most responsible individuals are postponing elective travel plans. 

Actually, unnecessary domestic travel is now forbidden for Active Duty Army.   Feel bad for those that can no longer visit family and/or friends on military leave. 

 I have been told by my employer they will not allow travel unless it is absolutely necessary, so my trips back to HQ every 5 weeks are suspended now.    Thankfully I work for an employer that will never lay me off so I don't have to worry about job security like others do......that adds a whole new stress level to this virus outbreak.

Trying to use local restaurant carryout via door dash as much as I can to support local employers and their skeleton staffs stay employed.    

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Posted by alphas on Wednesday, March 18, 2020 5:05 PM

There will be far less flights offered after April 1st.    Until then most airlines are continuing offfering reduced fares to get what passengers they can.      I know SW is offering really reduced air fares right now and I assume the others are also.      They will not actually go into bankruptcy as the Feds will provide them with financial help similar to what other affected industries will receive.    However, I don't see Amtrak getting that much help so it's LD service will be a long time recovering-if ever.     

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Posted by CMStPnP on Friday, March 20, 2020 12:26 AM

I think everyone is going to be surprised here.    First Amtrak is mandated legally to maintain a National Service and since it hemmorages money there already the cost of continuing operations of the National Network is far less than running empty state corridor trains.     So I think your going to see a reverse of what is expected.

Most of the National LD trains will remain and the state corridor trains will be cut way back.    You can see that once again Amtrak is relying on the legally mandated National Trains to also preserve corridor service as much as possible by retaining the LD train on each corridor as a corridor frequency.

Cutback in the Hiawatha service is unprecendented.   That corridor has never had only one train per day in each direction to my knowledge.

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Posted by CSSHEGEWISCH on Friday, March 20, 2020 10:07 AM

You're right about Chicago-Milwaukee.  Three round trips were scheduled in addition to the "Empire Builder" on May 1, 1971.

The daily commute is part of everyday life but I get two rides a day out of it. Paul
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Posted by charlie hebdo on Friday, March 20, 2020 10:18 AM

In a national emergency,  all "requirements"  are potentially suspended.  An LD train running 24-40+ hours is a moving petri dish. And it is hardly essential transportation. 

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Posted by divebardave on Saturday, March 21, 2020 5:57 PM

"The airline publications are beginnning to believe that almost all non government owned airlines will be in bankruptcy by the end of May"   Good time to bring back the trains.

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Posted by divebardave on Saturday, March 21, 2020 6:00 PM

I can not drive due to a disablity...if you think Amtrak is a moving petri dish try Da Do Dog aka Greyhound on any long distance route

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Posted by Overmod on Sunday, March 22, 2020 6:44 AM

charlie hebdo
An LD train running 24-40+ hours is a moving petri dish.

Perhaps much, much more critically, it is a potential mobile infection source.  I would specifically mention the demonstrated problems with spread of the 1918 H1N1 variant from trains or other vehicles, often into smaller communities with inadequate medical or medical-transport resources.  Over and over on these forums we have seen justifications of LD service as providing essential service for many small communities that would otherwise lack access; while social distancing may help such communities for a while, the economic consequences alone may wreck their ultimate viability, while any outbreak might well progress to "Italian" levels should it get into a susceptible pool.  

Conversely, if maintaining social separation during travel is essential (and I think it is wise to proceed on that assumption where possible) there is little better resource than a train -- particularly if strict hygiene and perhaps effective PPE is provided, reasonably good sterilization/sanitation is conducted proactively, and careful measures to limit viral spread are used.  It is inconceivable to me that this could be done on a bus, let alone on paratransit-size vehicles, and for operational reasons alone may not be too practical on modern aircraft.  It's also unfortunate that it can't be done on most smaller (and more 'bus-like') 'alternatives' to full-size rail vehicles, which are not set up and can't really be modified to provide effective isolation from 'cold-style disease propagation' even with reasonably good PPE in use.  So it would make little sense to run an abbreviated version of LD trains, perhaps only the number of coaches conveniently pulled by a maintenance-monitored single Genesis unit, that would be the naive person's alternative to a full LD train serving the isolated destination pairs we claim are relevant to maintaining service integrity.

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Posted by charlie hebdo on Sunday, March 22, 2020 1:11 PM

Passenger trains connect to very few places easily outside the few corridors and one is confined in it with potential carriers for hours.   Airplanes can fly to far more cities with a much shorter exposure time. 

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Posted by divebardave on Sunday, March 22, 2020 1:53 PM

My family will help me out with a sleeper to get me home and my plan is to block all vents with wet paper...

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Posted by BaltACD on Sunday, March 22, 2020 6:34 PM

charlie hebdo
Passenger trains connect to very few places easily outside the few corridors and one is confined in it with potential carriers for hours.   Airplanes can fly to far more cities with a much shorter exposure time. 

But in airplanes at present, you have exposure to many more people on the plane as opposed to the train - Wide Body planes hold nearly 300 people on a single 'passenger area', whereas on a train a full coach will only hold 60 or 70 people in a common passenger area.

Does the virus have a time component in its transmission when people are confined area under less than 'personal distance' circumstance? 

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Posted by charlie hebdo on Sunday, March 22, 2020 7:32 PM

I wouldn't fly now either.  But Amtrak lacks the ability to connect major air hubsin the east  like Chicago,  Atlanta,  NYC, Columbus,  Charlotte,  etc with any credible service. 

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Posted by Overmod on Sunday, March 22, 2020 8:42 PM

BaltACD
Does the virus have a time component in its transmission when people are confined area under less than 'personal distance' circumstance? 

The transmission by droplet (a in common colds) depends on how quickly airborne droplets with sufficient 'virus particles' make their way to susceptible tissues, e.g. in the lungs.  That is a comparatively short time where there is air movement.  Actual progress to infection is not included in that time, and even a very small number of particles can result in full infection -- it just may take a longer incubation time.

The scenario with contact is a little more extreme, as I haven't seen any hard clinical data that the virus can penetrate skin.  Here, the dominant danger is that the virus can remain infectious for the stated 18 to 48 hours on hard surfaces, either retaining the 'enhanced' spikes on its envelope or recovering them when transferred to a moist or 'susceptible' tissue surface.  Here actual 'transmission' involves infecting a hard surface, then a victim contacting that surface and subsequently touching a susceptible part of their own body 'wet'.  This is why careful and repeated hand washing is valuable, but OCD scrubbing that damages skin integrity may not be.  It is also the point of the quat or other surfactants in surface cleaning: to remove any skin oil or 'other material' that aids the virus particles in adhering to the surfaces.  As noted before, it's important to denature the viral-genome RNA at the time you remove it from a 'cleaned' surface, rather than trusting that chemical solubilization of part of the envelope will actually deactivate the infectious character of the virus particle permanently. 

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Posted by daveklepper on Monday, March 23, 2020 3:41 AM

If I aboslutely had to travel now between two points served by Amtrak, I would spring for a single room to assure a degree of isolation, even if it would be a daytime trip.  If a sleeper was not available, i'd consider buying two tickets so I could insist on nobody sitting next to me, and then Business Class if avaiable.  And for the duration, I would "Brown-Bag" food and drink.

Under this arrangement, I believe I would be far safer than going by air.  The latter means a confined airplane space plus inevitable close contact at Security and at boarding.

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Posted by charlie hebdo on Monday, March 23, 2020 1:43 PM

Dave,  you are talking mostly NEC.  But if you wanted to get from NYC to Columbus,  OH, and to a host of other cities like Memphis or Nashville or Louisville,  you are SOL.  Pretty much the same to Cincinnati and many others,  sleeper, first class or double seat.

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Posted by Overmod on Monday, March 23, 2020 2:49 PM

charlie hebdo
Dave,  you are talking mostly NEC.  But if you wanted to get from NYC to Columbus, OH, and to a host of other cities like Memphis or Nashville or Louisville, you are SOL.

Actually, you should still get to Memphis pretty easily from NYC, two different ways, both with sleepers (via the Water Level Route and connection in Chicago, or via Crescent to New Orleans and thence north); you even have semi-civilized arrival times by usual LD standards (6:00 morning south, 10:00 evening north).   Have there been more cancellations involving any of the 'through' trains involved?  

BTW, I consider any route that involves something with 'Thruway' in its service, permanent or temporary, to be SOL by definition, so nothing lost there...

(And yes, it's a sad thing when it takes longer to get from New York to Memphis than it did to get from Chicago to Los Angeles on the Super Chief over 4/5 of a century ago.)

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Posted by charlie hebdo on Monday, March 23, 2020 3:57 PM

That is deplorable. Add to that the elapsed time (more exposure opportunities),the frequent long delays (especially the Crescent), and possible missed connections and rail from NYC to Memphis seems like a non-starter. Besides, right now, you are likely to fly on a half-empty plane.

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Posted by CMStPnP on Monday, March 23, 2020 9:11 PM

Overmod
Here actual 'transmission' involves infecting a hard surface, then a victim contacting that surface and subsequently touching a susceptible part of their own body 'wet'. 

I believe the hard surface definition also includes clothes and pet fur (dogs).   Both have been documented to contain the virus for I believe it was 2 hours, lets say several hours.    Pets have transmitted the disease in China.   Pet abandonment in the United States has climbed as a result.    

Also the virus works very much like an engineered germ agent in that you do not have to breath it in.    You can rub it in your eyes as well as contaminate your food with it.    Biological germ agents are all designed to attack the repiratory system which led to suspicions around the SARS outbreak of 2002.    This latest outbreak also has suspicions surrounding it but less so than SARS of 2002.

Having said all that.   I think I read on international flights the airlines spray the inside of the aircraft with an aersol (bug bomb approach).....thought I read that was for insideous insect pests that might hitchhike but they might also do it for germs.......article was a long time ago.   

Curious if Amtrak HVAC air is recirculated or pulled from outside and blown into each compartment.    The one issue I have noticed on Superliners is the Economy bedroom at least has negative air pressure as compared to the hallway and as soon as you slide the door open in pulls in air from the hall and the blowing of conditioned air into the compartment increases in flow as soon as you open the door.    To me that suggests the HVAC is not compartmentalized but is shared among the whole car and Pullman never equalized the distribution between the common areas and the compartments.    So I would guess that if you had one infected person on the car, those closest to that infected person would be at risk via the ventilation system.

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Posted by daveklepper on Tuesday, March 24, 2020 4:13 AM

Good point.  Of course being selective and noting relative punctuallity is important.

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Posted by Overmod on Tuesday, March 24, 2020 12:02 PM

CMStPnP
I believe the hard surface definition also includes clothes and pet fur (dogs).   Both have been documented to contain the virus for I believe it was 2 hours, lets say several hours.

Soft-surface contamination is indeed a method of potential transmission, but I think much less likely than hard-surface (especially within organic matter) where the rank infectivity remains high for a considerable time.  It is also likely that soft surfaces that can be treated with effective RNA denaturants can be much more effectively 'sterilized' in the short time between successive 'occupancy' of, say, coach-seat upholstery or the 'contact surfaces' in a sleeper accommodation, at least as affects normal contact.

Also the virus works very much like an engineered germ agent in that you do not have to breathe it in.    You can rub it in your eyes as well as contaminate your food with it.

That is why I mentioned 'mucous-membrane contact' as what may have looked like an overly pedantic term.  

I have not yet seen proven kinetics for transfer through the eyes or lids, though: the primary transfer appears to be via ingestion/inhalation to tissues relatively 'rich' in ACE2 receptors, at least insofar as the hyperinfectious route in initial infection appears to be specific to that receptor.  That would imply much more risk touching the mouth, or anything destined to contact the mouth or nose, than just rubbing the eyes.  This is very different either from most chemical nerve agents or actual 'biological agents' which involve life, or from viral agents that are less specific in their binding to infective transfer...

Biological germ agents are all designed to attack the respiratory system which led to suspicions around the SARS outbreak of 2002.

Remember that the principal causes of death are not from 'viral infection' directly, bad though that can be, but from overreaction of parts of the immune system, in part because the 'novel antigens' are not affected by any of the typical early responses, some of which are very poorly regulated in the absence of relatively prompt effectiveness.

Personally, if this is an engineered virus it is a somewhat inept and opportunistic one.  Targeting ACE2 might be seen as evidence of Wile E. style supergenius in that this receptor is part of a complex and sometimes paradoxical regulation system (including RAAS) somewhat reminiscent of thyroid hormone regulation.  But it is the sort of thing I'm not surprised to see arise from relatively spontaneous mutation of spike proteins or whatever.

AIDS was far more typical of what an engineered viral agent would comprise: the wobbly variation of proteins there, and the specificity of infection to just the cell types the human body relies upon to remove viral infection, would have been very shrewd things to include.  The difficulty then is that any good 'weaponized' biological has some form of antidote, or neutralization strategy, associated with it, even if designed by Yalies.  The only such 'solutions' for AIDS were protease inhibitors in general ... which are promptly effective (removing the biological horrors involved in infection with, in mature forms at least, relatively few debilitating side effects) but require 'eternal vigilance' in continued administration to keep actual virus titer contained.  That's a lousy solution even for prospective genocide of the poor or "unliked".

I think I read on international flights the airlines spray the inside of the aircraft with an aerosol (bug bomb approach) ...

Amusingly there are leaflets being stuck in closed-restaurant doors up and down Memphis streets touting this as a first-step 'disinfection' method -- using 'antimicrobial agents'.  Both the approach and the methodology not recognizing that effective coronaviral disinfection does not involve many agents that have 'antimicrobial' action against bacteria or protozoans, but little if any against viruses.

In my opinion any agent capable of entering and denaturing viral genome nucleic acids will be far more damaging or dangerous, used in the ways necessary and sufficient to actually produce that 'disinfection', than anything tolerable in an atmosphere that will presumably be breathed by customers.  A somewhat better result might be gotten from aggressive UV irradiation followed by electrostatic pulldown into highly absorptive/binding media... but that involves a considerable volume of air exchange, combined with the usual concerns about how that might enhance rather than mitigate likelihood of airborne viral transfer... 

Curious if Amtrak HVAC air is recirculated or pulled from outside and blown into each compartment.    The one issue I have noticed on Superliners is the Economy bedroom at least has negative air pressure as compared to the hallway and as soon as you slide the door open in pulls in air from the hall and the blowing of conditioned air into the compartment increases in flow as soon as you open the door.    To me that suggests the HVAC is not compartmentalized but is shared among the whole car.  Pullman never equalized the distribution between the common areas and the compartments.    So I would guess that if you had one infected person on the car, those closest to that infected person would be at risk via the ventilation system.

In fact, if the HVAC is designed that way, many on the car would be at risk via the ventilation system, perhaps some quite far away and carefully 'socially segregating' from obvious infection sources.  

We should extend consideration to coach systems as well, which I believe recirculate a considerable amount of air volume per minute in a number of weather conditions.  (In turbine aircraft, since the ventilation is derived from bleed air from the engine compressors, there should be little trouble enhancing 'exhaust' flow through appropriate chemistry/filtration, but how effectively this might reduce actual continued need for reasonable distancing is still uncertain.)

I certainly would advocate continued use of strict discipline and PPE to cut down potential breathing of viral particles.  I have my wife's crews doing this, in part as 'theater' to re-establish a sense of trust.  They are also evangelists for the general doctrine of 'keeping the ones at risk fully isolated' instead of locking down the whole economy to little ultimate purpose...

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Posted by charlie hebdo on Tuesday, March 24, 2020 12:18 PM

The problem with reliance on isolation of those at high risk is this.  Although this method temporarily protects that group,  the virus will continue to be active, spread, kill some and mutate through the rest of the population for an unknown period.  How long can the "at risk" group stay in isolation?  

Perhaps Germany should be studied.  As of today,  31,991 cases,  but "only" 148 deaths. And they have increased social restriction recently,  so no groups of more than 2 are permitted.  In the most populous state,  North Rhine Westphalia,  people in a group larger than 2 are fined 500 Euros each. 

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Posted by Overmod on Tuesday, March 24, 2020 12:45 PM

charlie hebdo
those at high risk is this.  Although this method temporarily protects that group,  the virus will continue to be active, spread, kill some and mutate through the rest of the population for an unknown period.  How long can the "at risk" group stay in isolation?  

The answer, of course, is obvious: "until effective humoral immunity, or the equivalent' can be induced in or for them".

And the immediate associated issue, as stated so eloquently in Cuomo's remarks the last couple of days, is that the economy can't be kept generally quashed or depressed until that becomes practicable ... much later this year, if ever.

This is where the idiot call that 'older folks should fall on their swords to give the young a better world' is fundamentally impaired: the implication to me is that more and more care on the part of the increasing number of people who are infected or recovered to keep from spreading the virus to those most specifically at risk ... that very definitely including those at risk of ARDS, many of whom are most certainly not in the over-50 conventional-risk category ... needs to be the specific priority we emphasize.  

Merely social distancing to retard the absolute spread is not only a palliative, it does nothing whatsoever to retard either flash outbreaks anywhere ACE2 receptors exist in adequate numbers, or to reduce the prompt dangers of any such outbreak, including the potential for it to become regionally pandemic or worse.

It's beginning to be reported from a fairly wide range of sources that large numbers of infected are, in fact, clinically recovering.  It remains to be seen -- although I'm not quite sure why it's taking so long to document -- whether large numbers of these 'recovered' are still capable of carrying or transmitting the virus; they certainly remain able to transfer the virus by the usual contact means even if their bodily fluids are virus-free, and reinfection even with other clones doesn't provoke a return engagement with COVID-19 symptoms.

Meanwhile very logical things that should be part of effective measures against airborne 'cold-style' transmission are either utterly absent from the 'social distancing' orders so far, or are not being properly observed by relatively large numbers of people, in large part out of ignorance of what's actually involved in inhalation transfer.  We have plenty of people actively talking in public spaces, often to strangers at close range, or talking into phones they subsequently handle with bare fingertips, as if "keeping distance" from others is some magic bullet that assures they stay out of range.  I tremble to think of what procedures have been implemented in environments like nursing homes, now probably running with their same 'profitability margins' in this brave new world of restricted access to PPE, equipment, and supplies.  And very little attention to what might have to prevail for a large range of pre-scare institutions and practices as we get a 'handle' on recovery.  Consider movie theatres, already an almost-moribund thing now: as long as there isn't strict cross-contamination protocol for keeping shows to the general population isolated from showtimes for the at-risk cohorts, they can't and shouldn't reopen.  Sit-down restaurants aren't really further away from this -- and it's difficult to imagine a recovered economy based solely on take-out, even if we can solve the myriad problems with how to do take-out safely for 'general clientele' presenting at random.

The question in my mind is far less 'how long the at-risk could stay in isolation' but 'how long the economy can survive isolation'.  And that's not really all that long if all the Western government economies are equally massively suppressed, as no one nation or even collective like the EU will be able to provide effective forced-orbit relief or 'stimulus' for very long.

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Posted by charlie hebdo on Tuesday, March 24, 2020 8:26 PM

 Three words: concentration and exposure.

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Posted by CMStPnP on Wednesday, March 25, 2020 7:13 AM

So in Trains newswire, Amtrak CEO says no immediate cutback in LD trains for now but would like to see some eliminated in the future if Congress does not cough up the money to run them.    He stated he wants to see an elimination of "seats" on some consists of the LD trains (no idea what that means, does that mean LD Coaches?) as a means of cost savings during the virus outbreak but so far no plans to cut back on LD train frequency or routes.

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Posted by AMTRAKKER on Sunday, March 29, 2020 10:08 AM
Cut the sleepers,cut the diners, cut one coach. LD trains are now 2 coaches and a lounge Single loco instead of 2, 50% fuel burn reduction, reduction on yard crew costs,doesn't take as long to build the trains Faster and cheaper to clean 3 cars than 8 or 9 Defer the maintenance on the cars not being used. And it will be like the Sunset east of NOLA, once its gone its not coming back....
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Posted by BaltACD on Sunday, March 29, 2020 2:26 PM

AMTRAKKER
Cut the sleepers,cut the diners, cut one coach. LD trains are now 2 coaches and a lounge Single loco instead of 2, 50% fuel burn reduction, reduction on yard crew costs,doesn't take as long to build the trains Faster and cheaper to clean 3 cars than 8 or 9 Defer the maintenance on the cars not being used. And it will be like the Sunset east of NOLA, once its gone its not coming back....

Aren't UP and CN requiring a minimum of 7 cars?????????

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