The train thread

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David S
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Message 1692138 - Posted: 16 Jun 2015, 12:18:03 UTC - in response to Message 1691910.  

A friend of mine who lives in Kansas caught train 4 running extra late today, with Silver Rapids and Silver Solarium on the rear. I'm not going to bother suggesting that Bernie watch for it. Last report was six hours late at Ft. Madison, and it appears to have lost more time since, as it hasn't gotten to Galesburg yet. That will put it here no sooner than 9, if it doesn't hit any weather delays.

With all the flood warnings it had to watch out for, this train finally got here at 10:15 and CHI at 10:55. I did not go out to see it, but my friend who's back from Japan did. He set up his tripod at the west end of the platform for a long exposure, but it stopped with the PVs off the end of the platform. So much for that.

Meanwhile, my other friend with the PVs on 5 from Sunday is running about six hours late, meaning he picked up passengers at Provo, Utah, at 3:30am. I wonder what they had to say about that.
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Message 1692159 - Posted: 16 Jun 2015, 13:24:20 UTC - in response to Message 1692153.  

I wonder what they had to say about that.

Do any trains in the USA run on time? what if you had a flight to catch?

I guess if they're consistently late one would plan one's journey to suit.
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Message 1692171 - Posted: 16 Jun 2015, 13:57:55 UTC

But they know how long the route is and how fast the train moves. If it's always late then they should adjust the schedule so that it becomes on time, or at least less late.
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Message 1692213 - Posted: 16 Jun 2015, 15:36:27 UTC - in response to Message 1692171.  

But they know how long the route is and how fast the train moves. If it's always late then they should adjust the schedule so that it becomes on time, or at least less late.

Might help if you owned the track. (Oh, I'm sorry, these trains have to go ahead of you because they make us more profit.) Yes, I know, that isn't what the rules say.
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Message 1692231 - Posted: 16 Jun 2015, 16:09:28 UTC
Last modified: 16 Jun 2015, 16:10:14 UTC

In this thread we tend to talk about the long distance services, that travel over a thousand miles, remember it is about 874 miles from John O Groats to Lands end, the California Zephyr travels around 2200 miles in 3 days over many different tracks all owned by the freight company's who would probably rather not have to make allowances for Amtrak traffic.

America is a different country, very little we experience here can be directly transferred to there
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Message 1692236 - Posted: 16 Jun 2015, 16:17:56 UTC - in response to Message 1692231.  

In this thread we tend to talk about the long distance services, that travel over a thousand miles, remember it is about 874 miles from John O Groats to Lands end, the California Zephyr travels around 2200 miles in 3 days over many different tracks all owned by the freight company's who would probably rather not have to make allowances for Amtrak traffic.

America is a different country, very little we experience here can be directly transferred to there

There are those who'd like to see Amtrak shut down, beyond the freight railroads, but that's all I can say here.
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Message 1692306 - Posted: 16 Jun 2015, 23:36:23 UTC - in response to Message 1692267.  

Personally I'd like to see Amtrak expanded greatly, they seem about the only outfit on top of the game to me!

+1
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Message 1692330 - Posted: 17 Jun 2015, 0:18:41 UTC

Remember, there was an initial 2.5 hour delay before departure due to the bad dining car. Chalk that up to inadequate funding from Congress, where there's a constant battle between those who want more trains and those who want none.

Once a train is late, it gets out of its "slot," its place between all the freight trains. That generally causes, as they say, late trains to get later.
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Message 1692340 - Posted: 17 Jun 2015, 0:35:46 UTC

As I said in TLPTPW, I spent the day at the museum with my friend and his daughter. It turned out to be a good day for me, though, because I got to run IT 415 for the first time. One member was giving a tour to some group or other, and the car operator gave them a private ride, inviting us to also go along. After giving one of them a chance at the controls, and the others declined, he let me do it. I only ran it for about half a mile, but it was enough to learn just how different that car is from 3142, despite being so similar. Have to keep your hand on the controller or it goes into emergency and cuts off the power. Brakes are MUCH more sensitive.

Since 415 was one of the first cars the museum ever had and it has been in almost continuous use, it has never had a real restoration. It just keeps getting maintained and it just keeps working. Excellent for being 91 years old. Probably has run more miles here than it did in service on IT.
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Message 1692344 - Posted: 17 Jun 2015, 0:41:26 UTC - in response to Message 1692340.  

As I said in TLPTPW, I spent the day at the museum with my friend and his daughter. It turned out to be a good day for me, though, because I got to run IT 415 for the first time. One member was giving a tour to some group or other, and the car operator gave them a private ride, inviting us to also go along. After giving one of them a chance at the controls, and the others declined, he let me do it. I only ran it for about half a mile, but it was enough to learn just how different that car is from 3142, despite being so similar. Have to keep your hand on the controller or it goes into emergency and cuts off the power. Brakes are MUCH more sensitive.

Since 415 was one of the first cars the museum ever had and it has been in almost continuous use, it has never had a real restoration. It just keeps getting maintained and it just keeps working. Excellent for being 91 years old. Probably has run more miles here than it did in service on IT.

Well it's good to hear that the 415 is not Terminal, not yet at least.
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Message 1692400 - Posted: 17 Jun 2015, 2:39:13 UTC - in response to Message 1692171.  

But they know how long the route is and how fast the train moves. If it's always late then they should adjust the schedule so that it becomes on time, or at least less late.

Certain stops on the long distance routes have "recovery time" built into their schedules. The train of interest in this case will be arriving in Sacramento in the next couple of minutes (north side of the south platform, if the display is at all an accurate depiction of reality). That will chop the better part of an hour off its tardiness. Scheduled times at end terminals are usually padded too.

For statistical purposes, long distance trains are allowed to arrive later than short distance ones and still be called on time.
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Message 1692562 - Posted: 17 Jun 2015, 9:29:37 UTC - in response to Message 1692558.  
Last modified: 17 Jun 2015, 9:32:20 UTC

I think we can all agree that these long distance train services are mainly intended for leisure not business. But even so, if you have friends or relations ready to meet you or hotels booked, hours off a scheduled arrival must bugger your vacation up a tad! But I guess the situation is acceptable as it is, else they would go out of business.

You do realise that Amtrak is a publicly funded not for profit organisation.

It was supposed to become self sufficient , but never quite managed, but it is still being funded by the government, so yes if it wasn't funded by government it would go out of business.

It is of course the only long distance rail passenger rail company operating in the US

Quote from the Wiki


Ridership increased during the first decade of the 21st century after implementation of capital improvements in the NEC and rises in automobile fuel costs. However, through the late 1990s and very early 21st century, Amtrak could not add sufficient express freight revenue or cut sufficient other expenditures to break even. By 2002, it was clear that Amtrak could not achieve self-sufficiency, but Congress continued to authorize funding and released Amtrak from the requirement. Amtrak's leader at the time, David L. Gunn, was polite but direct in response to congressional criticism. Before a congressional hearing, leading Amtrak critic Arizona Senator John McCain demanded the elimination of all operating subsidies; Gunn responded by asking the Senator if he would also demand the same of the commuter airlines, upon which the citizens of Arizona are dependent. McCain, usually not at a loss for words when debating Amtrak funding, did not reply. In a departure from his predecessors' promises to make Amtrak self-sufficient in the short term, Gunn argued that no form of passenger transportation in the United States is self-sufficient as the economy is currently structured. Highways, airports, and air traffic control all require large government expenditures to build and operate, coming from the Highway Trust Fund and Aviation Trust Fund paid for by user fees, highway fuel and road taxes, and, in the case of the General Fund, from general taxation.

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Message 1692570 - Posted: 17 Jun 2015, 9:54:58 UTC
Last modified: 17 Jun 2015, 9:55:11 UTC

"Amtrak operates more than 300 trains each day on 21,300 miles (34,000 km) of track with select segments having civil operating speeds of 150 mph (240 km/h) and connecting more than 500 destinations in 46 states in addition to three Canadian provinces. In fiscal year 2014, Amtrak served 30.9 million passengers and had $2.189 billion in revenue while employing more than 20,000 people. Nearly two-thirds of passengers come from the ten largest metropolitan areas and 83% of passengers travel on routes of 400 miles or less. Its headquarters is at Union Station in Washington, D.C."
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Message 1692640 - Posted: 17 Jun 2015, 13:42:49 UTC - in response to Message 1692577.  

Exactly what I thought Bernie! The commuters subsidise the long haul tourist services.

Nearly two-thirds of passengers come from the ten largest metropolitan areas and 83% of passengers travel on routes of 400 miles or less

No, Congress subsides ALL. You see at one time the RR unions were a huge voting block.
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Message 1692657 - Posted: 17 Jun 2015, 14:22:34 UTC - in response to Message 1692577.  

Exactly what I thought Bernie! The commuters subsidise the long haul tourist services.

Nearly two-thirds of passengers come from the ten largest metropolitan areas and 83% of passengers travel on routes of 400 miles or less

But they don't. The Northeast Corridor makes an operating profit, but that profit is not enough to either fully cover the losses of the long distance trains, or pay for its own capital needs, let alone do both. All other short distance corridors (defined by law a couple of years ago as being under 750 miles) must now be subsidized by state or local governments. Many were already, at least partially, but now all must be 100%. (Operating and equipment costs, including their share of regular track maintenance; for major track improvements to increase capacity, they can apply for federal grants under various programs.)

The biggest problem this has caused is with the Hoosier State, which runs from Chicago to Indianapolis on the four days a week the Cardinal doesn't run. Indiana's state politicians are notoriously anti-rail, but the communities squawked and even offered to put up some money themselves, so the legislature and governor relented, but only as long as it's not run by Amtrak; they take it as an absolute that the private sector can do it better and cheaper. First they made a deal with Capital Corridor LLC, but it fell through. Now the service is supposed to be taken over by Iowa Pacific, but this has run into delays because Amtrak (which will still provide ticketing service and operating crews) and the Federal Railway Administration have decided that for a regularly scheduled service like this, they want the equipment to be held to even better maintenance standards than the usual ones for private cars running on the end of a regular Amtrak train. Also, the Food and Drug Administration is holding it to extremely high standards for food service; this has actually been a tougher standard to meet than the rail safety one. IPH's train made a test run on the Metra Milwaukee West Line on Sunday, and was scheduled to test on the Indy route this Thursday and Friday, but that was canceled. The state kept extending its contract with Amtrak a month at a time. IPH was supposed to start running on January 1. Now it's July 1.

The other unanswered question is how Amtrak will make its deadhead moves to and from Beech Grove. This was the real reason Amtrak was even running the train without any state support in the first place. IPH has a contract with a shortline in Indy to maintain the train, so it won't go to Beech Grove.
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Message 1693028 - Posted: 18 Jun 2015, 9:09:47 UTC
Last modified: 18 Jun 2015, 9:11:28 UTC

I am going to post this here, whilst it is a technical issue it is directly related to trains and my enjoyment of them and not really a subject for number crunching!!

I make a lot of use of the "Track a Train" on The Amtrak home page

Most of the time it works fine, the suddenly for no reason it will just load a blank white box, It will affect all of my machines. However any machine that has the page already open and tracking a train will continue to work, if I refresh it then blank page. This can go on for hours or sometimes a couple of days.

Then a couple of days ago when all machines had the problem, I tethered my laptop to my mobile phone and bingo, worked first time, if I kept the tracker open and tracking a train and went back to my broadband, it carries on working.

So it is obviously something to do either my router (BT Home Hub 5) or my ISP as my phone is with a different company.

I had the problem today on my main machine, which has a wireless card installed I never use. I disabled my NIC, enabled the wireless card, tethered it to my phone and it worked. Disabled wireless re-enabled the NIC and map stays up

Anyone any ideas as to what could possibly cause this?

PS I have changed my DNS server a couple of times to no effect.

Oh yes and rebooted my Home Hub, no difference
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Message 1693033 - Posted: 18 Jun 2015, 9:18:08 UTC

Not an uncommon problem with forms - some are designed so they need to sychronise client and host regularly. If that sychronisation fails the user is normally presented with a blank space. Changing your connection will often result in a forced sychronisation, and so you get the form back again.

(Not all forms have boxes for yo to fill in, but have boxes that filled in by the server...)
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Message 1693092 - Posted: 18 Jun 2015, 13:37:11 UTC - in response to Message 1693028.  

Many websites use parts of other websites, e.g. googleanylitics and it those other sites become unreachable, bad things happen. One ISP might block a site, or it may cache it and become corrupt.
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Message 1693205 - Posted: 18 Jun 2015, 19:03:59 UTC

OK, so how do I get it back without having to log onto another ISP?

Annoyances aside, here is a an SD40-2 from a company I have never heard of before.



Trans Global Solutions, seems that they do everything "railway related" including locomotive leasing, which I suspect this is.

Still nice to see something different.
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Message 1693219 - Posted: 18 Jun 2015, 19:35:59 UTC - in response to Message 1693205.  

I've never heard of them either David, but then the USA is a big country, so anything is possible.
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