New Amtrak news

Discussion in 'Passenger Service' started by ChrisDante, Jun 13, 2000.

  1. ChrisDante

    ChrisDante TrainBoard Member

    I thought I'd post this so you might know the latest news. If you want to join Friends of Amtrak let me know.

    Friends of Amtrak Update 6/11/2000
    Mon, 12 Jun 2000 01:24:47 -0700
    "Craig S. O'Connell" <>

    Dear Friends of Amtrak:

    Amtrak has reportedly established a new "Right And Ready" policy, an
    ongoing pilot program where terminal inspectors are given more
    detailed checklists and wider latitude to declare a car, or a train,
    unfit. All "Right And
    Ready" inspections are being done and have been going on for a few
    months now but Amtrak may make a major announcement of this on July 4th.

    Reportedly, this has already done a lot to make sure that the onboard crews
    have good equipment at the start of their runs. However, the issue
    remains that if you don't have a large enough reserve of cars, and
    Amtrak does not, then trains will still depart occasionally with
    equipment that is substandard.

    This is one important reason why we, as Amtrak supporters, need to led our
    representatives in Washington know that Amtrak is a high priority item for us.

    Presumably, the goal of the program is to force the product lines to
    be accountable and at the same time enable them to identify what
    problems come from poor terminal servicing whether it be at Ivy City,
    Sunnyside, Boston, or Philadelphia, and what problems crop up en

    Reportedly, financial awards have been offered in several rounds as
    incentive to the right and ready teams. Early numbers show terminal
    readiness to be
    improving in line with management expectations.

    I am told that the "Right And Ready" policy announcement will be
    coupled with a Service Guarantee that Amtrak will tout as
    unprecedented in the transportation industry. According to sources,
    Amtrak will guarantee a satisfactory trip or issue vouchers or
    adjustments to tickets, refunds or other compensation. The new
    Service Guarantee program is due to begin on July 4.

    Implementation of such a Service Guarantee program could be a nightmare
    for those responsible for administering it but Amtrak is attempting to
    drive some accountability down to the product lines, station, and train
    crews who might be able to find more ways to welcome new riders onto the

    This information is unofficial and has not been provided to me by Amtrak
    so you, the reader, will have to judge for yourself and time will tell.


    Amtrak will be starting Acela Regional Service trains #134 & 135 (old
    170 & 163 time slots with quicker times) within a month or so. All
    tracks in South Station and Southampton Street yard will be energized
    as of 12:01 a.m. tonight, Sunday, July 11.


    Around The Rumor Mill:

    Reportedly Amtrak is planning to make some marketing changes in the very
    near future. About a year and a half ago I reported that serious
    discussions were underway to replace Amtrak's "pointless arrow" logo.
    There have been rumors ever since but thus far nothing has come of them.
    More rumors are now in the air as July 4 approaches and again the
    "pointless arrow" seems to be making the extinct list.

    As far as I know, Amtrak will have new uniforms on July 1, 2000. I'm not
    sure if this will be a system wide change or just a Northeast Corridor
    change but the new uniforms will most likely be teal/grey in color, like
    the new Acela colors. The name Amtrak will stay but the Acela logo may
    replace the "pointless arrow" or an altogether new logo may appear. July
    4th could be the date for this announcement as well but I have nothing
    firm on that now, just more rumors...

    Sources tell me that long-distance services are to be rebranded and
    possibly renamed this fall. Does this mean that Amtrak will shed the
    names and images of the glory days of railroading that had been
    retained? Will names like the "Empire Builder" or "The Crescent", icons
    in the railroading world, be abandoned for something more upbeat and
    mod? Stay tuned.


    From NARP...Legislative Update:

    The Senate Transportation Appropriations Subcommittee, chaired by
    Richard Shelby (R.-Ala.), has postponed its work on a fiscal 2001
    transportation funding until June 13. Full committee action could
    come within a couple days of that, with a floor vote as soon as an
    opening for it occurs.

    Progress on getting S.1144 (flexibility for states to spend TEA-21
    funds on passenger rail) to a Senate floor vote continues to be
    blocked by a hold on the bill by Senator Bond (R.-Mo.). Bond opposes
    any form of Highway Trust Fund money going to passenger rail (even if
    states want this flexibility and even if such money already goes to
    other, non-highway modes) and apparently does not want his colleagues
    to have the opportunity to vote on it. There is a possibility that
    some "flexibility" language will be attached to the appropriations

    For more info go to the NARP HOTLINE AT:


    For Immediate Release June 9, 2000


    Representative Bud Shuster, Chairman of the Transportation
    and Infrastructure Committee, announced today that the Committee
    will hold a hearing on current proposals to meet future inter-city
    rail capital needs.

    The hearing will focus on three proposals.

    First, the hearing will look at an innovative financing
    proposal sponsored by Representatives Houghton and Oberstar to
    allow Amtrak and the States to issue bonds for capital projects. The
    proposal could provide an alternative method for intercity rail
    capital investments.
    Shuster noted that the Committee has supported other innovative
    financing mechanisms for transportation projects in the past, and
    that the Houghton/Oberstar proposal deserves serious consideration.

    Second, the hearing will look at a Senate proposal to allow
    Amtrak funding out of the Highway Trust Fund.

    And third, the hearing will look at whether Amtrak funding
    should be allowed out of the Mass Transit Account of the Highway
    Trust Fund.

    The date and location of the hearing will be announced



    The Las Vegas Service is currently scheduled to debut in Late January,
    assuming that Amtrak's and the Union Pacific's attorneys are able to
    mitigate the Fish and Game Department's insistence that an environmental
    impact report needs to be made for the "Desert Tortoise". They feel the
    tortoise will be adversely affected by the construction of the 2nd track
    between Kelso and Cima which has to occur prior to start up of the
    Vegas service. Amtrak West has enlisted the help of Governor Gray Davis
    (CA-D) to also assist in this regard.

    Meanwhile Amtrak ran a demonstration train between Phoenix and Tucson
    for ADOT secretary Mary Peters using the Las Vegas Talgo equipment. It
    reportedly was a huge success and grass roots support for the service is
    growing exponentially.



    Amtrak has reportedly been working with the state of Oregon, and to a
    lesser extent Idaho, to identify ways to supplement revenue on the
    proposed resurrection of the Pioneer train. The current population base
    in the area will make ridership too low to meet operating expenses.
    Amtrak is seriously pursuing mail & express freight shipments to help
    support a revenue base. However, the problem is that most of the market
    for mail and express is beyond Boise and the Union Pacific RR has
    opposed taking trains beyond Portland to Boise without significant
    infrastructure improvements. Nevertheless, it appears that the PDX-BOI
    (Portland to Boise) portion of the Pioneer will happen in the near future.


    Pacific Surfliner Attendant

    With the start-up of the Surfliners, six Pacific Surfliner Attendant
    (P.S.A) jobs will be put on. three will work out of a San Diego base,
    three will work out of a LAX base. Their responsibility will be to
    provide maintenance (cleaning) service to Pacific Business car and
    service to its guests. Secondary to that, the attendant will assist the
    Lounge car Lead Service attendant, maintain a trash free environment and
    clean restrooms throughout the train consist. The attendant shall
    perform outlined standard duty during his/her scheduled hours on board
    the equipment but from time to time he/she may be directed to assist or
    to perform additional duties.

    LAX works LAX-Santa Ana and return SAN crew works SAN-San Juan
    Capistrano and return. This way no overnight hotels to pay for.

    courtesy: Ed Von Nordeck


    agents, armed with subpoenas, raided the joint Old Saybrook, Connecticut
    offices of Balfour Beatty Construction Inc. and Massachusetts Electric
    Construction Co., a contractor for Amtrak's high speed electrification
    project between New Haven, CT and Boston. The contractors are being
    investigated for alleged misappropriation of hundreds of thousands of
    dollars and alleged fraudulent overbilling of Amtrak. The agents
    arrived with rented trucks and hauled away computers and file cabinets
    from the company's offices. For its part, Amtrak has often questioned
    the company's money claims, although the quality of the work has never
    been in dispute, with electric trains now running that route since


    "Support An Expanded Amtrak" bumper stickers are still available from Jim
    Norton. These are four color, peel and stick variety, sized to fit
    inside a legal sized envelope. FREE with LSSAE, $1.00 for each
    additional. Quantities of 100 available for 24.00 postage paid to
    organizations and individuals.

    For your bumper sticker send to:
    Jim Norton
    153 Rebecca Pines
    Madison, Alabama 35758


    On Wednesday, June 07 in Bay Minette, AL, Amtrak #2, the westbound Sunset
    Limited hit a logging truck when the truck driver apparently tried to beat
    the train through a grade crossing.

    The 10:30am accident broke the truck in two but caused no injuries. Driver
    Earnest D. Allen, driving the empty truck for Deep South Trucking, wanted to
    cross the tracks at one crossing but the gates were down, so he went to the
    next one at Hand Avenue, which has flashing lights but no gates. The train,
    traveling at 44mph, smashed into his trailer and split it in two.

    Said Bay Minette police chief Terry Sanders, "It appeared he knew a train
    was coming and he attempted to cross anyway."

    Already 3h53m late at Atmore, the train was held an hour for investigation.
    Currently (5pm PDT) the latest report is 5h25m late out of San Antonio.

    courtesy: Ray Dunbar, All-Aboard


    Board of Directors
    Friends of the Association

    Please mark your calendar

    Friday, September 8, 2000
    7:30 am to 4:00 PM

    At the beautiful
    1040 Ridge Road
    (in the southeast Chicago suburb of)
    Munster, Indiana



    If you would like to submit a trip report please follow the guidelines at
    the following site:


    Passenger service slated for Guilford Rail System, between Boston,
    Massachusetts and Portland, Maine, will be pushed back past the January 2001
    start date. While some blamed Guilford for earlier delays, this delay is
    being caused by the 'Big Dig construction project at North Station in Boston.
    April 13, 2001 has been established as the new start date, according to
    Michael Murray, executive director of the Northern New England Passenger Rail

    Courtesy: Dave Bowe


    Thirteen cities will receive $10,000-$25,000 each from the Great American
    Station Foundation to preserve, restore, and improve local rail transit
    stations. The winners--Fremont, Calif.; Raton, N.Mex.; Waterbury, Vt.;
    Hamlet, N.C.; Burlington, Iowa; Hastings, Nebr.; Elizabethtown, Pa.; Oakland,
    Calif.; Rome, N.Y., Sanderson, Tex.; Jesup, Ga.; Hamilton, Ohio; and Macon,
    Ga.--were selected from 42 applications submitted by communities in 22
    states. Grant funding has been provided primarily by Amtrak, one of the
    Foundation's founders; Amtrak contributed $950,000 to the Foundation in FY
    2000 in support of its activities.

    Courtesy: Dave Bowe


    Amtrak's Mid-Atlantic Division Safety Council has a new web site
    dedicated to the safety of its employees and guests:


    Ohio residents...Don't forget the OARP's 24 hour hotline:

    OARP's 24-hour hotline: (614) 470-0334




    CHICAGO - To celebrate the resumption of regularly scheduled rail
    passenger service in Missouri, Amtrak is offering a special
    half-price companion fare. Between May 30 and June 30, when one
    person travels for full fare between any two points within the State
    of Missouri, a companion rides for half price.

    Companion fares are valid within the State of Missouri on the
    Missouri Mules and the Ann Rutledge between St. Louis and Kansas City
    Mo., the Texas Eagle between St. Louis and Poplar Bluff, Mo., and the
    Southwest Chief between La Plata, and Kansas City, Mo.

    Regularly scheduled Amtrak service between St. Louis and Kansas City
    was disrupted because of flood conditions for nearly two weeks from
    May 7 to May 20.

    Source: Amtrak



    June 1, 2000


    One-day service changes also planned for Sunday, June
    4, for Hiawatha Service and Lake Country Limited--

    CHICAGO - Due to extensive construction on track owned by the Canadian
    Pacific Railway and Metra (the Chicago commuter rail system) north of
    Chicago, Amtrak will be adjusting the schedule of its Hiawatha Service
    trains, which operate between Chicago and Milwaukee. These changes are
    effective May 30 and will last approximately six weeks or until the work
    is completed.

    "We regret the inconvenience this track work may cause our guests, "
    said Amtrak Intercity President Edward V. Walker. "However, once
    completed, this work will improve ride quality and reduce maintenance

    Hiawatha Service trains operating from Milwaukee to Chicago will have 15
    minutes added to the schedule between Glenview and Chicago with the
    exception of the train departing Milwaukee at 6:20 a.m., which will only
    have 10 minutes added between Glenview and Chicago.

    Hiawatha Service trains operating from Chicago to Milwaukee will have 15
    minutes added to the schedule between Sturtevant, Wis., and Milwaukee,
    with the exception of the train leaving Chicago at 5:08 p.m., which will
    have only 10 minutes added between Sturtevant and Milwaukee.

    In addition, there will be some service changes effective for Sunday,
    June 4 only for both the Hiawatha Service and the Lake Country Limited,
    which operates between Chicago and Janesville, Wis.

    On June 4 only, the Hiawatha Service train that is scheduled to depart
    Milwaukee at 10:40 a.m. will not operate. Guests for this train will be
    provided alternate transportation. The Hiawatha Service train scheduled
    to depart Chicago at 1:00 p.m. will not operate on June 4. Guests for
    this train will be accommodated on Amtrak's Empire Builder, which
    provides service between Chicago and Seattle via Milwaukee. The Empire
    Builder is scheduled to leave Chicago at 2:15 p.m. and arrive in
    Milwaukee at 3:50 p.m.

    On June 4 only, the Lake Country Limited, which provides service between
    Janesville, Wis., and Chicago, will depart Janesville at 6:35 a.m., 20
    minutes later than its regularly scheduled departure time of 6:15 a.m.
    That same train is scheduled to depart Glenview at 8:50 a.m. and is
    scheduled to arrive at Chicago Union Station at 9:50 a.m., 45 minutes
    later than usual.

    Guests will be notified of these changes through flyers placed on seats
    on the trains and posters at both Amtrak stations in Milwaukee and
    Chicago. Amtrak Reservation Service Agents will also place phone calls
    to guests who have previously made reservations for trains affected by
    the construction work. Guests can also call 1-800-USA-RAIL for
    information on these changes.

    Source: Amtrak

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    Craig S. O'Connell
    Friends of Amtrak

    When in doubt, empty your magazine.
  2. reggierail

    reggierail TrainBoard Member

    Been a member for some time now. They put out a lot of good info, neat & to the point. I'd recommend joining to everyone. Reggie

  3. F40PH

    F40PH Guest

    Hey, I am possibly interested in joining, what are the requrements? E-mail me if you would like.

    Andrew Suerth
    University of Minnesota Duluth
    Andy's Amtrak Photos

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