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DJ MC

Amtrak Pennsylvanian Could be Discontinued

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PITTSBURGH — One of Pittsburgh's two remaining Amtrak routes, the one serving Harrisburg, Philadelphia, New York, and points in between, may be on the chopping block in October.

That's the deadline for Pennsylvania to decide whether to foot the estimated $5.7 million bill for subsidizing the service, a cost Amtrak now pays.

No decision has been made, but remarks from Pennsylvania Department of Transportation officials suggest the route is in trouble unless it can be shown to benefit large numbers of passengers connecting at Pittsburgh to or from cities other than Harrisburg.

"If you look purely at that [Pittsburgh-to-Harrisburg] segment, it is hard to justify," PennDOT spokeswoman Erin Waters-Trasatt said. She noted that driving between the two cities is faster than the 51/2-hour train trip.

 

Read more: Source

 

 

 

Uh oh.

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This is where high speed rail can be beneficial.

 

 

 

 

$$$$$

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This is where high speed rail can be beneficial.

The horseshoe curve and HSR do not mix. Besides all of the city pairs on the pennsylvanian are weak.

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The horseshoe curve and HSR do not mix. Besides all of the city pairs on the pennsylvanian are weak.

better Idea cut the curves and straighten it or integrate it into the highway but widen it and street running part that allows 80 MPH or higher speeds. Some commuter rails do have street running segments. But this train won't be missed. The money is better spent on the one to DC. I really am getting sick of amtrak at this point but then again it is not their fault completely. But the scheduling of these trains is complete shit.

 

Most lines have a schedule that would make you go 

Edited by qjtransitmaster

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better Idea cut the curves and straighten it or integrate it into the highway but widen it and street running part that allows 80 MPH or higher speeds. Some commuter rails do have street running segments. But this train won't be missed. The money is better spent on the one to DC. I really am getting sick of amtrak at this point but then again it is not their fault completely. But the scheduling of these trains is complete shit.

 

Horseshoe curve has been around since 1854. It's not going to change and there is a reason why it exists. 

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Horseshoe_Curve_(Pennsylvania)

 

If your so sick of Amtrak stop coming to this thread then. Go somewhere else or shut the hell up.

Edited by DJ MC
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Given it's Norfolk Southern's track and their reliance on slow coal trains and how rough coal trains are on track, i don't think upgrades could ever really be feasible. 

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Given it's Norfolk Southern's track and their reliance on slow coal trains and how rough coal trains are on track, i don't think upgrades could ever really be feasible. 

amtrak should consider using a faster route through the cities cause riding the freight rail's dick doesn't help.

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Now I want to ride the Pennsylvanian, especially the Horshoe Curve before the republicans cut the service.

 

The horseshoe curve is a tourist attraction!

 

And didn't Norfolk Southern recently modernize the signals by replacing the old PRR ones in Altoona and other parts of the line?

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Personally, I think they could've improved the service few years ago. Horseshoe Curve doesn't really give an excuse what-so-ever, they could've easily knocked the entire corridor up to 110+MPH and just slow it down around the Horseshoe Curve. It's really sad to see another Amtrak service be abandoned. I do hope PennDOT and Governor Corbett does something about this before it goes down the drain. 

 

 

Now I want to ride the Pennsylvanian, especially the Horshoe Curve before the republicans cut the service.

The horseshoe curve is a tourist attraction!

And didn't Norfolk Southern recently modernize the signals by replacing the old PRR ones in Altoona and other parts of the line?

 

FYI, not all Republicans (like me) want to cut the service, I am a fiscal conservative though I think transit investments is key for economic growth, ;-)! 

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Personally, I think they could've improved the service few years ago. Horseshoe Curve doesn't really give an excuse what-so-ever, they could've easily knocked the entire corridor up to 110+MPH and just slow it down around the Horseshoe Curve. It's really sad to see another Amtrak service be abandoned. I do hope PennDOT and Governor Corbett does something about this before it goes down the drain. 

 

 

 

FYI, not all Republicans (like me) want to cut the service, I am a fiscal conservative though I think transit investments is key for economic growth, ;-)! 

Amtrak has no ballz to do so or even try you can tell by the poor scheduling they aren't trying to make train service attractive so sad and pathetic. I really hope somebody steps up cause rail travel in our country is shit but high fares and infrequent service all over except a handful of corridors and NE corridor deters potential riders and allows buses to get ridership even when competing with rail corridors while rail remains noncompetitive. You can't even compare the schedules of greyhound and amtrak.

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Amtrak has no ballz to do so or even try you can tell by the poor scheduling they aren't trying to make train service attractive so sad and pathetic. I really hope somebody steps up cause rail travel in our country is shit but high fares and infrequent service all over except a handful of corridors and NE corridor deters potential riders and allows buses to get ridership even when competing with rail corridors while rail remains noncompetitive. You can't even compare the schedules of greyhound and amtrak.

 

And again with what money? The schedule Amtrak has for it's long distance trains was made with cooperation from Amtrak themselves and the freight railroads. You think Amtrak can run trains at whatever time they feel like it without being held up by other trains? You think they just made these schedules up at their own free will? If you bothered to do any research on this at all (too much to ask for even from you) you would know Amtrak's trains has slots that it has to be there at that particular time. If Amtrak misses it's slots then it will be delayed by other trains even it's own trains sometimes. Some users around here need to learn to check their facts before posting, because some of you are making the media look credible.

Edited by DJ MC
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And again with what money? The schedule Amtrak has for it's long distance trains was made with cooperation from Amtrak themselves and the freight railroads. You think Amtrak can run trains at whatever time they feel like it without being held up by other trains? You think they just made these schedules up at their own free will? If you bothered to do any research on this at all (too much to ask for even from you) you would know Amtrak's trains has slots that it has to be there at that particular time. If Amtrak misses it's slots then it will be delayed by other trains even it's own trains sometimes. Some users around here need to learn to check their facts before posting, because some of you are making the media look credible.

riding the freight dick doesn't help.

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riding the freight dick doesn't help.

 

Try running Amtrak yourself and see what will happen. I bet most of the stuff your proposing will never happen. Amtrak also has to pay a fee to run their trains on the tracks shared by the freight railroads every year. 

Edited by DJ MC
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Personally, I think they could've improved the service few years ago. Horseshoe Curve doesn't really give an excuse what-so-ever, they could've easily knocked the entire corridor up to 110+MPH and just slow it down around the Horseshoe Curve. It's really sad to see another Amtrak service be abandoned. I do hope PennDOT and Governor Corbett does something about this before it goes down the drain. 

 

 

 

FYI, not all Republicans (like me) want to cut the service, I am a fiscal conservative though I think transit investments is key for economic growth, ;-)! 

 

I agree with the idea of higher speeds outside of the Horseshoe Curve. However it doesn't look like that may ever happen looking at where this is going. I'm just hoping something saves the train. Once a train stops running on a route it's hard to get back. Look at the Sunset East, Pioneer, Floridian  and North Coast Hiawatha for the few of the many examples of that.

Edited by DJ MC

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Try running Amtrak yourself and see what will happen. I bet most of the stuff your proposing will never happen. Amtrak also has to pay a fee to run their trains on the tracks shared by the freight railroads every year. 

You sir outlined why passenger rail fails in this country. Those rail companies who own the track don't have to pay a fee to use the tracks so if tax systems and political climate made it favorable for em to run passenger trains themselves I am sure the taxpayers would get more bang for their buck as it costs them less to run the trains themselves. But to be honest that is just me. States need to build out new corridors so amtrak can be competitive with other modes of transit.

Edited by qjtransitmaster

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You sir outlined why passenger rail fails in this country. Those rail companies who own the track don't have to pay a fee to use the tracks so if tax systems and political climate made it favorable for em to run passenger trains themselves I am sure the taxpayers would get more bang for their buck as it costs them less to run the trains themselves. But to be honest that is just me. States need to build out new corridors so amtrak can be competitive with other modes of transit.

 

The railroads own the tracks. They don't have to pay jack to use their own property. There is a reason they stopped running passenger trains. That is why Amtrak was created in the first place. To rescue passenger trains from dying out in this country. I maybe going far out on limb by saying this, but without Amtrak there would likely not be as many commuter rail systems running throughout the country.

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The railroads own the tracks. They don't have to pay jack to use their own property. There is a reason they stopped running passenger trains. That is why Amtrak was created in the first place. To rescue passenger trains from dying out in this country. I maybe going far out on limb by saying this, but without Amtrak there would likely not be as many commuter rail systems running throughout the country.

I would have made amtrak as nothing more than an overseer of passenger rail service than running actual trains themselves except on amtrak owned ROW. I would have just payed the freight companies and give em tax benefits for running passenger service cause it would cost em less than paying a separate organization to run trains and still pay freight companies to run passenger service. Heck force em to get creative with serving passengers luxury trains ect other stuff.

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I would have made amtrak as nothing more than an overseer of passenger rail service than running actual trains themselves except on amtrak owned ROW. I would have just payed the freight companies and give em tax benefits for running passenger service cause it would cost em less than paying a separate organization to run trains and still pay freight companies to run passenger service. Heck force em to get creative with serving passengers luxury trains ect other stuff.

 

There are a lot of reasons why that will not happen. To start it's something called liability. The railroad companies do not want to be responsible for passengers and additional crew members should an accident with the train takes place. Also what if luggage get's lost, damaged  or misplaced?

 

Plus some stations will need to be rebuilt to meet the FRA and ADA requirements and there are a number that are in poor condition. I have doubts the railroads will provide money at their own expense to rebuild those stations (even though railroads like CSX own some of those stations).

 

Also some passenger trains lose money, so having the railroads run trains that are losing money doesn't seem like a good idea unless they can actually improve the train service substantially. Also you have to consider equipment maintenance too. The railroads would have to maintain freight rolling stock and passenger rolling stock, both of which are obviously very different in terms of maintenance.

 

Also have to consider passenger locomotives to power these passenger trains same story with the passenger rolling stock. It's not like they will use Evolution Series or EMD SD70ACe locomotives to pull these trains. They will likely use something very different. New passenger locomotives depending on who builds them could cost more then a new Evolution or SD70ACe locomotive.

 

This will add additional maintenance costs since the passenger equipment will be moving at much higher speeds compared to the freight and the passenger locomotives will burn more fuel in comparison to freight engines. Plus what about connecting bus service to take passengers to areas that the train does not serve? Not every place has decent bus service or transportation for that matter. It's a lot of things to think about.

Edited by DJ MC

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There are a lot of reasons why that will not happen. To start it's something called liability. The railroad companies do not want to be responsible for passengers and additional crew members should an accident with the train takes place. Also what if luggage get's lost, damaged  or misplaced?

 

Plus some stations will need to be rebuilt to meet the FRA and ADA requirements and there are a number that are in poor condition. I have doubts the railroads will provide money at their own expense to rebuild those stations (even though railroads like CSX own some of those stations).

 

Also some passenger trains lose money, so having the railroads run trains that are losing money doesn't seem like a good idea unless they can actually improve the train service substantially. Also you have to consider equipment maintenance too. The railroads would have to maintain freight rolling stock and passenger rolling stock, both of which are obviously very different in terms of maintenance.

 

Also have to consider passenger locomotives to power these passenger trains same story with the passenger rolling stock. It's not like they will use Evolution Series or EMD SD70ACe locomotives to pull these trains. They will likely use something very different. New passenger locomotives depending on who builds them could cost more then a new Evolution or SD70ACe locomotive.

 

This will add additional maintenance costs since the passenger equipment will be moving at much higher speeds compared to the freight and the passenger locomotives will burn more fuel in comparison to freight engines. Plus what about connecting bus service to take passengers to areas that the train does not serve? Not every place has decent bus service or transportation for that matter. It's a lot of things to think about.

True BUT if subsidized to them directly tax payers would get more service for their money invested as they would have less expenses than amtrak. So yes they would have to do it but it will force them to make creative business models and they would do better with tax payer money and their profits will help them actually do a better job at providing service. Amtrak deals with these costs and more If the freight companies who are numerous were to get tax breaks or money for passenger service cause of the number of em if multiple companies shared costs of a long distance train it would cost em less to operate. Due to creative minds some may come up with interesting business models that may make passenger rail profitable.

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The biggest obstacle really to freight railroads running their own passenger service is the onerous FRA regulations. Back in the day the regulation that really killed passenger service was the age old 79 mph speed limit.  We already had widespread semi-HSR at 110mph in the 1940s without over building with PTC and concrete ties. Most railroads just plain dropped their passenger plans with that.  There's no way the big railroads are going to be eager to buy locomotives with concrete blocks inside them to satisfy nonsensical FRA weight requirements. 

Edited by kentsfield
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The biggest obstacle really to freight railroads running their own passenger service is the onerous FRA regulations. Back in the day the regulation that really killed passenger service was the age old 79 mph speed limit.  We already had widespread semi-HSR at 110mph in the 1940s without over building with PTC and concrete ties. Most railroads just plain dropped their passenger plans with that.  There's no way the big railroads are going to be eager to buy locomotives with concrete blocks inside them to satisfy nonsensical FRA weight requirements. 

 

 

 

This is also the reasoning why I don't see any railroad (FEC will probably be the only one at this time) going into passenger trains because of the insane regulations by the FRA. Trains use to go over 100+ mph without PTC or any of these crappy regulations back in the days. Union Pacific ran high speed freight trains at over 90 mph on the Overland Route using DDA40Xs, DD35s, SD45s, and special SD40-2s during the 1960s going into the early 1980s.

Edited by DJ MC

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basically for rail to work in this country the FRA NEEDS TO GO BYE BYE.

 

Finally something I agree with you on. It's a miracle! On top of that take the FTA with it among other things too.

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with no checked baggage, its not a very practical route for people visiting Pittsburgh. I was considering taking it for an upcoming trip out there but decided on driving instead to avoid having to schlep a ton of stuff onto the train and have it stuck in the overhead rack where it might not even fit.

 

Plus the schedule sucks having only one train a day in both directions, its much easier to take the PA Turnpike with its proper service plazas and you can go whenever you want and on your terms. 

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