Here it is the first of September, 2016, and a new Amtrak era begins at the top of the ladder. Wick Moorman, 64, until last year the CEO of the Norfolk Southern Railway and a 40 year career there, has taken the reins of the leaderless horse called Amtrak and been given a list of incentives that he can earn. The Amtrak Board of Directors will pay Moorman $1 a year, and if he accomplishes that list of incentives he can earn up to $500,000. Isn’t it interesting that as of this date no one has reported what is on that list? We can only guess, and as everyone reading this knows, rail advocates are quick with lists of their own as to what should be on it.Read More »Bye Bye Joe; Welcome to Wick
Let’s start with the ugly status of the Dining car removal from the Silver Star train, since it’s the hottest news. On January 28, just as this is being written, URPA learned that Amtrak employees were told the day before that the Star’s dining car is PERMANENTLY gone. As predicted here since this “experiment” was first announced last summer, there was no doubt it was going to be a permanent discontinuance. Read More »Amtrak Long Distance News in the New Year … the good, some bad, and the expected “ugly”
Here we are, Christmastime 2015, and lo and behold the Amtrak long distance trains continue to roll and to some extent thrive despite the negative publicity that they are “money losers.” In recent posts this writer has talked about the positives that are being accomplished on the Coast Starlight, and the opposite effects that are creating heartburn on other trains like the east coast Silver Star which has lost its dining car. In this article we will look at the other western routes that operate in and out of Los Angeles headed east, and what the imminent retirement of CEO Joe Boardman can bring to the future.Read More »Western Long Distance Trains at the End of 2015: A Positive Report
Report and Commentary by Russ Jackson with Ralph James
Amtrak likes to tout its end points and the volume of traffic it gets between those departures and destinations on all of its routes, but while some passengers do that it is the intermediate station travel that fills up the trains. Can you imagine, as RailPAC President Paul Dyson says, if you could only travel between endpoints on the interstate highway system? Amtrak is usually surprised when someone wants to travel from, say, Paso Robles, CA, to Eugene, OR. They might not be able to collect as much money from that passenger, but they can still sell that seat on either side of those two locations. Here is an instance of that exact travel pair as reported to us by RailPAC member Ralph James. He recommended to a friend that he take the his Thanksgiving trip on the Coast Starlight from Paso Robles to Eugene. The friend was dreading the long drive. “With the necessary tinge of reservation,” Ralph says, “I suggested he look into Amtrak since his origin and destination were right at stops for the Starlight.” He did so, and sent Ralph a trip report of the first half of his trip, as an “assessment,” giving Amtrak numeric grades for what he experienced with comparisons to airline travel:Read More »The Coast Starlight: Paso Robles to Eugene; not endpoint travel! What about the food?
Whenever a passenger is ready to travel by Amtrak, has a ticket in hand and is ready to go to the station to board the train the first anxiety is always whether the train will… Read More »The Eagle, the Sunset, the Star, a Trip Report, and a rowdy car
It is no secret that for 44 years Amtrak’s long distance trains have had a target firmly placed upon them. From the nitpicking of the Congress to the war against growth within Amtrak, we have… Read More »Amtrak at 44: “Happy Birthday” to the Southwest Chief and Sunset Limited
As we say on the radio, “but first….”
Two major Amtrak-related items have occurred this winter. First was the cutbacks in long distance train consists in January and February. Second was the U.S. House of Representatives actually passed a bill, and it was one that affected the future of Amtrak and what its customers will find on board that could alter their future travel plans.Read More »Could a Grilled Cheese Sandwich Help Save Amtrak’s Food & Beverage Service?
Report and Commentary by Russ Jackson January in any year brings the anticipation of problems for passenger trains encountering winter weather all across the country. January, 2015, was no exception what with the winter storms… Read More »January, Amtrak Consists, and the Southwest Chief
From David B. Kutrosky, Managing Director Capitol Corridor Joint Powers Authority December 2014 marks the ninth consecutive month of ridership and revenue increases for the Capitol Corridor. The Capitol Corridor trains carried 116,309 passengers in… Read More »Capitol Corridor statistics for December, 2014