Amtrak Tracking for My Commute Between New York City and Philadelphia

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Philly Inquirer "Amtrak's on-time performance runs off the rails"

I like stories that give specifics of Amtrak performance particularly along the NEC, hard numbers for on-time arrival percentages are not easy to find. 

Article Highlights:

* Amtrak trains have been late nearly 30 percent of the time in the past 12 months, considerably worse than the year before.

* Amtrak says the issue is that most of its routes operate on tracks owned and controlled by freight railroads. And a federal-court decision last year - which is now headed to the U.S. Supreme Court - undercut Amtrak's ability to compel freight operators to give priority to passenger trains.

* In the 12 months ending in June, only two of 33 Amtrak routes met the railroad's nationwide goal of 85.5 percent on-time performance.

* In the eight months ending in May, Amtrak's on-time record was 73.6 percent, down from 85.1 percent in the same period a year earlier. And June was worse than May on 24 of 33 routes.

* Acela Express trains were on time just 76 percent of the time in the eight months ending in May, compared to 89.3 percent during the same period a year earlier.

* In June, Acela on-time performance fell to 72.9 percent.

* Northeast Regional trains were on time 76 percent of the time for the first eight months of fiscal 2014, compared to 86.7 percent in the same period in fiscal 2013.

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Amtrak Looking To Boost Acela Express Capacity, Speeds

Jason Rabinowitz at Forbes wrote an article stating that Amtrak said it has issued a RFP to "acquire new trainsets to supplement and eventually replace its aging Acela Express." The Acela Express runs along the Northeast Corridor (NEC) and is operating near capacity and often sells out before and after major holidays.

The RFP seeks up to 28 next-generation high-speed trainsets capable of meeting or exceeding current Acela trip-times on the existing NEC infrastructure. Amtrak is also looking to increase the passenger capacity of each trainset by 40 percent, or 120 passengers. 

"The Northeast Corridor needs more high-speed rail capacity to help move the American economy forward," said President and CEO Joseph Boardman. "More and more people are choosing Amtrak for travel between Washington, New York and Boston. New equipment means more seats and more frequent departures to help meet that growing demand."

This is great news, Amtrak is adapting to meet higher demand, this is good for the NEC and good for the economy.

These three cities account for half of Amtrak ridership article and map showing Amtrak usage is dominated by the New York to DC route, which connects the two highest-ridership stations and has #3 Philadelphia in between them. Those three cities accounted for over 18 million boardings in 2013, over half Amtrak's total ridership.