Re: Amtrak Schedules

Thomas Olsen <tmolsen@...>

Tim & Jeff,

Time keeping on the Three Rivers, Pennsylvanian and Lake Shore has
improved since we cut back on working freight on these trains at
intermediate terminals. Unfortunately, NS (which is responsible for two
thirds of the trip on the two Pittsburgh-side trains and the
Cleveland-Chicago portion of the Lake Shore) has not learned that
passenger trains have priority over freight trains and Amtrak has not
the guts to have the federal courts enforce the "preference" rule built
into the original Amtrak enabling law. This was a problem with Southern
Pacific (Sunset Limited) back in the early '70s, but after some
enlightenment from the federal courts, they shaped up.

Tom Olsen
Newark, Delaware

englishintroy wrote:

--- In STMFC@..., Tim O'Connor <timboconnor@c...> wrote:

Jeff, I admire your courage at defending the indefensible. I
have given many thousands of dollars to Amtrak over the years,
but I'm not a customer anymore. I think most people can tolerate
an occasional late arrival -- but after a while not knowing if
you're going to arrive in time for OTHER THINGS you have
planned gets very wearisome.
I agree that there is a danger that some people who don't have prior
experience will read the timetable and take it literally. An
experienced rider knows not to count on making a close call, such as
a meeting or wedding that starts soon after the published arrival
time. Once one learns how reality works though, one uses the
uncertainty to advantage; be flexible and use the extra time on
board to read a little more or whatever, and if the train surpises
you and arrives on time then enjoy the extra time at your
destination. It takes a looser attitude, which, as an obsessive-
compulsive person myself, is admittedly sometimes difficult but
worth it in the end.

And the absurdity of a train
that travels at under 50 mph in the 21st Century
I'm not sure if I'd call it absurd, but it is surely sad. Again,
the point of choosing the train for long distance travel is not
speed. High-speed short-haul corridors are a completely different
matter, and I get utility from that too, being as I often get to
take business trips from Albany to New York; 12 trains a day to
choose from for a trip just over 2 hours at up to 110 miles an
hour. And yes, that could be much better too, but it's a political
problem, not a fault of Amtrak management or the people who are out
there every day running the trains.

and that
costs 2x-3x as much as flying, is just too ridiculous for
You're comparing apples to oranges. Flying gets you there and
that's about it, whereas the train is a travel experience. It's a
matter of perspective whether one gets value for the money. I do.
Also, Tim, since you admit to once having spent thousands to ride,
consider that Amtrak's Guest Rewards program (like frequent flier)
affords a significant cost saving. I qualified for a free sleeping
car room this October.

Jeff English
Troy, New York

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