Amtrak Tracking for My Commute Between New York City and Philadelphia

Monday, May 31, 2010

'Professional' litigant plans another suit against Amtrak

Richard Kreimer, 61, who won a $230,000 suit 20 years ago when a New Jersey library kicked him out, says he's going to sue Amtrak in Philadelphia, claiming they had police forcibly eject him from the station there, the New York Post. He has filed 18 lawsuits against businesses like drug stores and restaurants and the New Jersey cities of Morristown, Summit, Newark and Woodbury accusing them of violating his civil rights by kicking him out of public places.

This guy is homeless and apparently smells so bad that he gets kicked out of public places and then sues. I hope this suit is tossed out.

Amtrak: FY '10's First Six Months: Best Ridership Ever. Year-end ridership is projected to reach 28.3 million passengers.

From Amtrak:
Buoyed by continued high fuel costs, a slowly improving economy and route-specific improvements on the long-distance services, ridership on Amtrak trains for the first half of FY '10 reached nearly 14 million passengers, the best first half of a fiscal year in company history. Year-end ridership is projected to reach 28.3 million passengers.

"The 13.6 million passengers who rode with us during the first half of the fiscal year — October 2009 through March 2010 — contributed to a 4.3 percent increase over the same period the prior year," according to Marketing and Product Development Vice President Emmett Fremaux. "Ridership in the first half of FY '10 was even higher than the first half of our FY '08 banner year."

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Amtrak to begin screening carry-on bags at Chicago Union Station

The Chicago Tribute states that "some passengers boarding Amtrak trains at Union Station in Chicago will face random screening of their carry-on bags starting Thursday." This is just part of the plan by Amtrak to ramp up security in stations in all cities across the country, the plan started along the NEC in 2008 as mentioned in a prior blog posting.

Monday, May 24, 2010

The Economist: Amtrak's WiFi failures

The Economist Blog has a post with the headline "Amtrak's WiFi failures" and it goes on to state this point among others: "None of the price-conscious customers—including loads of business travellers—who have defected to BoltBus or Megabus over the past few years are going to come back to Amtrak just because it put WiFi on Acela. If Amtrak did decide to enter the twenty-first century and install WiFi on all its trains, it might be a different story."

I found this blog post to be ignorant. I've taken BoltBus multiple times and believe me it ain't used by business travelers. It's mostly young people or folks on personal travel not looking to get someplace cheaply. Business travelers will use Amtrak since it is much nicer and they'll pay more since it's not money out of their own pocket. Amtrak is losing those young folks and economy travelers which I hope they can try to staunch but it'll be tough to beat a $15 ticket from New York to Boston and still make money; I mean my Chinese delivery cost me $15 the other night. Anyway the Economist blog post missed the point I feel in that the real issue is that the WiFi roll-out across all of Amtrak has been slow. This has given the bus services a very good leg up on Amtrak and now those people who defected to the buses will not come back to Amtrak for personal travel. I am one of those people. Why pay $60 to get to Boston from NYC for personal travel when the bus is $15? I will however use Amtrak for business travel.

So the title of "Amtrak's WiFi failures" is just silly. It's not a failure but it has been slow. Amtrak had to pilot the WiFi roll out so they chose Acela, a fine place to start if you ask me; and they do have a plan to roll out WiFi across all Amtrak services even though the post gives the impression this is not the case. I do hope Amtrak can pick up the pace of the Amtrak wide roll out.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Northeast states seek plan for rail upgrades

From the AP - A coalition of 11 states asked federal railroad officials on Thursday to develop a plan to dramatically upgrade high-speed passenger rail service along the Northeast Corridor during the next four decades. The 11 states — Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Vermont — are proposing a three-year, $18.8 million study of possible enhancements to both intercity rail service, such as Amtrak's Acela Express, and local commuter rail systems that use portions of the Northeast Corridor track. The states noted that while the corridor encompasses an area that makes up only 2 percent of the U.S. land mass, it's home to about 20 percent of the nation's population and generates 20 percent of its Gross Domestic Product. Among other goals pone is to improve Acela travel times by 20-30 minutes between Washington and New York City. NARP said the study would be an important step toward improving capacity on the Northeast Corridor.

I am for such an analysis to maximize traffic and minimize travel time on the NEC tracks but isn't such an analysis being done already with the Federal stimulus money? I am also for not wasting money so I don't know if this would be a redundant analysis.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Seventeen Minutes for the Northeast Corridor

Amtrak's long-range goal for 2030 is to reduce trip times between New York and Boston by 34 minutes primarily by improving existing track conditions, capacity, and reliability throughout the corridor. This goal is good and would allow the Acela to do the trip in 3 hours.

The Gateway Streets blog discusses a change to the NEC that could shave even more time off the total The entry discusses the NEC segment between New London and Westerly CT. The corridor here is curvy and hugs the coast line and limits train speeds to about 60 mph. The suggested solution would be to move the rail corridor away from the coast and build new tracks that basically follow I-95 immediately to the North. The trip time reduction would be possibly as much as 17 minutes over just this small segment if this change were made.

I want to see the Fedeal stimulus dollars on Amtrak spent well. This sounds like a decent proposal to me and gaining 17 minutes is a big amount, that's a 5% gain over current trip times. The result of the above however would be that many of those station stops in CT would essentially be lost and possibly closed if the tracks were moved North and existing train traffic on those lines dwindled. It's the price to pay for progress in rail travel in the US if you ask me. This change does not help the Philly-NYC commuter directly but improvements and investment along the NEC will benefit every city along its path.