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spinzels
Posts: 334
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RE: Bush To Scrap Subsidy For Amtrak! (Hooray!)

Thu Feb 03, 2005 3:30 am

NUAir:

Thanks, that’s an important clarification, I was speaking somewhat glibly to the perception that the Northeast is the biggest beneficiary of Amtrak funding.

There is a bit of truth to that: $350 million divided among the nine(?) Northeast Corridor states may be more concentrated benefits than the rest of the country enjoys from the remainder of the Amtrak funding (and it gets complicated, as a few of the NEC states, NY at least, are serviced by other Amtrak lines)

And then there is the fact that every state with NE Corridor service voted against GWB—twice.
 
CaptOveur
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RE: Bush To Scrap Subsidy For Amtrak! (Hooray!)

Thu Feb 03, 2005 3:50 am

"If I where congress I would force these operators to HAVE to let Amtrak through. It isnt Amtrak's fault they are behind on schedule and an 'express' frieght needs to get through quickly."

These are little corporations like CSX and BNSF. If anything they can force congress to do things. The larger, freight railroads own the rails Amtrak is on, so if they want to force Amtrak to let the freight pass they can. Freight makes money, passengers don't it is really that simple.
 
Scorpio
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RE: Bush To Scrap Subsidy For Amtrak! (Hooray!)

Thu Feb 03, 2005 3:54 am

Actually, aviation killed it. It just took longer than killing off the steamships did.

Wrong. Negligence killed it. If the US government had spread its subsidies more evenly between the different modes of transport, Amtrak would not have found itself in the problems it faces today.
 
ANCFlyer
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RE: Bush To Scrap Subsidy For Amtrak! (Hooray!)

Thu Feb 03, 2005 4:09 am

If the US government had spread its subsidies more evenly between the different modes of transport, Amtrak would not have found itself in the problems it faces today

I'm not sure that's entirely true. Rail passenger service was in critical condition before Amtrak was formed. After the first three to five years it took Amtrak to "settle in" many managerial errors contributed to its continued downward spiral. Purchasing locomotives not suited for the job (P30CH and the FP40) is one example. Wholesale elimination of some routes or reduction on some routes which were, when compared to some others, more profitable. (Empire Builder was reduced to 3 days a week for many years).

There are positives however - Superliner equipment is very comfortable but even that didn't make sense in some cases. The high level cars couldn't run on the east coast because of tunnel clearance. So, AmFleet cars were developed. Sort of like having too many types in an airline fleet, Amtrak has(had) too many car types on the rails.

Regulations governing trackage rights over freight lines favored to freight haulers (and mostly still does) causing massive delays for Amtrak. How can you compete when you can't be on time. Why does the once or twice a day passenger train have to sit idly by waiting on a freight train full of inanimate objects? That never made sense to me.

All in all however, Amtrak is not a bad deal if you've got the time.

And yes, it was aviation that killed American Passenger trains. . . just as aviation killed tradition transportation by passenger steam ship. Just like aviation is killing off intercity bus routes. Greyhound lines substantially chopped up it's network recently. One can get a plane ticket on an LCC almost as cheaply as you can get a bus ticket . . . why ride a bus for two days when you can fly there in two hours? This is not to say of course that aviation is a bad thing, it's just progress.

Edit: Typo



[Edited 2005-02-02 20:10:26]
 
airplay
Posts: 3369
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RE: Bush To Scrap Subsidy For Amtrak! (Hooray!)

Thu Feb 03, 2005 4:29 am

Its quite pathetic that the young Americans that post on these boards seem to know nothing about American History.

Instead of researching my statements, they just accuse me of being a "looney" leftwinger. Check out the history of Standard Oil. Maybe you'll learn something.

And yes, it was aviation that killed American Passenger trains

And the airline industry is doing so well huh? The real truth is that rail is alive and well outside North America where the technology is continually improved and expanding. Completely relying on air travel is stupid. Airports are struggling to keep up with the demands for increased flights. The airspace becomes more crowded and complicated to control. And...flying is expensive. Why do you think all the majors are drowning in debt?

Airplay....how do you take a fact about rail travel and turn it into an insult directed politically.

DL021,

Perhaps you need to re-read the thread topic. How can this thread be construed as anything BUT politically based.

The distance is too short. The generally accepted rule for sending something by rail is it must be going over 500mi, otherwise it can be sent faster and cheaper by truck.

I wasn't trying to imply that the traffic was only between the two cities. I assume that a great deal of that traffic is going a great deal farther. Chicago and Detroit are huge sources for goods destined all over the world.

The bottom line is that abandoning the rail system is not a smart move. Again, too bad Bush is achieving something that Standard Oil couldn't....





[Edited 2005-02-02 20:30:13]
 
GDB
Posts: 14352
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RE: Bush To Scrap Subsidy For Amtrak! (Hooray!)

Thu Feb 03, 2005 4:50 am

I used it last year, (Washington to New York), cheaper and better than the UK's privatized rail network.

Of course the US is a very different place to Europe, though the NE corridor is similar to rail routes between major European cities, (some on here have forgotten how important it was after the Sept 11th air shutdown, which is probably why Bush has not proposed axing it before, though wasn't there a move to do so in the months before the attacks?)
It does not seem viable in other parts of the US though.

Mind you, the privatized UK network get's more handouts than it did when state owned, partly years of decay, partly some total tossers of companies getting operating contracts, including one owned by Branson!
 
CaptOveur
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RE: Bush To Scrap Subsidy For Amtrak! (Hooray!)

Thu Feb 03, 2005 5:09 am

"I assume that a great deal of that traffic is going a great deal farther."

Also, in cases where you are dealing in a partial truckload or just one load on a very rare occasion it still makes perfect financial sense to send it by truck. Trucking companies are de-regulated now and the barriers to entry are minimal meaning there is a lot of competition on rates. If you do high volume you want to set up a deal with a railroad because it will save you a bundle but one truckload occasionally is still cheaper and almost always faster to send without getting on a rail. UPS has been scaling back their deal with I think it was Union Pacific to haul boxes because the train was proving to be slower than a truck.

I agree rail travel is not dead in the rest of the world, especially Europe. you can squeeze almost all of Europe in an area just a little larger than Texas so it still makes sense to travel by train. The train can have you from Paris to Frankfurt in what? 6 hours? Less? and a lot more cheaply than flying. If someone could make a train that could go Chicago to DC in 8-12 hours they would probably fill it every time. Even with stupid security measures on airplanes the airlines can get you medium and long distances much faster.

Airlines are hurting right now for a lot of the reasons Amtrak is. They have labor agreements where they are paying out the ass to pilots, mechanics, baggage handlers. They are knee-deep in government regulation that makes no sense to anyone with a double digit IQ. Also, the same thing is killing airlines that killed some passenger railroads, they are all fighting fare wars with each other until someone goes under.
 
ANCFlyer
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RE: Bush To Scrap Subsidy For Amtrak! (Hooray!)

Thu Feb 03, 2005 5:22 am

Instead of researching my statements, they just accuse me of being a "looney" leftwinger. Check out the history of Standard Oil. Maybe you'll learn something.

Maybe you should just post the sources of your innocuous prattle?

No one has to accuse you of being a left winger - you make it a point to show that every time you post.


 
airplay
Posts: 3369
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RE: Bush To Scrap Subsidy For Amtrak! (Hooray!)

Thu Feb 03, 2005 5:37 am

Maybe you should just post the sources of your innocuous prattle?

Pardon me. I assumed I was addressing semi-intelligent people who posted to threads they had at least some knowledge of rather than going off half-cocked and insulting opinions they don't (or can't) understand.

For your benefit however ANCFlyer;

http://www.uwsp.edu/geo/faculty/detwyler/geog100/AutoCulture.html
http://www.lovearth.net/gmdeliberatelydestroyed.htm
http://www.baycrossings.com/Archives/2003/03_April/paving_the_way_for_buses_the_great_gm_streetcar_conspiracy.htm

innocuous prattle

Innocuous prattle? Do you possibly mean "relevant facts"? By the way, I don't think you know what "innocuous" means. My "prattle" seems to have provoked a few into action here anyway....
 
ANCFlyer
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RE: Bush To Scrap Subsidy For Amtrak! (Hooray!)

Thu Feb 03, 2005 6:02 am

AirPlay . . . .great sources on how some theorized GM tried to destroy the railroads . . . .

The only references I found to OIL companies (1936 National City Lines (NCL) was formed by GM with Standard Oil of California (now Chevron) and Firestone Rubber Co. They converted electric transit systems in 16 states to GM bus operations, also boosting fuel and tire sales. ) and (GM, he wrote in a detailed 25-page letter to the U.S. attorney general, had combined with Standard Oil of California (Chevron), Phillips Petroleum, and Firestone, to form National City as part of "an organized campaign to deprive the American public of their splendid electric railway systems...") and ("In 1940, GM, Standard Oil and Firestone assumed an active control in Pacific (City Lines)…) are here. All three sources you list have great detail, but deal with the death of electric trolleys and interurban lines - not main line American Passenger railroading.

And I damn sure didn't see anything about Dubya destroyed American Passenger railroading. Perhaps you've another source or two hidden away in your left wing hard drive?
 
airplay
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RE: Bush To Scrap Subsidy For Amtrak! (Hooray!)

Thu Feb 03, 2005 6:35 am

OK ANCFlyer, I can't make it any clearer than that. If you don't understand the association here that's OK. I don't really care. But thanks anyway for opening up discussion on the Standard Oil/GM/mass transit scandal that is relevant to the Amtrak situation in my opinion.

Have a nice day...

 
777236ER
Posts: 12213
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RE: Bush To Scrap Subsidy For Amtrak! (Hooray!)

Thu Feb 03, 2005 6:44 am

Yet AGAIN Airplay makes unfounded comments, and bitches to anyone who questions him.

https://www.airliners.net/discussions/tech_ops/read.main/107539/
 
airplay
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RE: Bush To Scrap Subsidy For Amtrak! (Hooray!)

Thu Feb 03, 2005 8:35 am

Still bitter about being wrong 777236ER? Or are all your posts pure flamebait with nothing to offer to the thread?

 
ANCFlyer
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RE: Bush To Scrap Subsidy For Amtrak! (Hooray!)

Thu Feb 03, 2005 9:03 am

If you don't understand the association here that's OK. I don't really care. But thanks anyway for opening up discussion on the Standard Oil/GM/mass transit scandal that is relevant to the Amtrak situation in my opinion

What I don't understand, Airplay, is your as yet unsubstantiated and unsourced claim that it's Bush's fault Amtrak is failing, when anyone reading this thread with any knowledge of railroading knows Amtrak has been failing (as did all passenger train service) from its inception.

In all the documents you produced I saw one - ONE - oil company listed as a partner with GM that moved to eliminate city trollets and electric interurban lines. In none - NONE - of them was there any mention of intercity long range passenger rail.

As a matter of fact the largest producer of diesel-electric locomotives in the US is Electro-Motive Division of General Motors. I suspect they'll be surpassed by GE with the new SD-70MAC and SD-90, but time will tell.

There is no connection between a trolley lines in the 1930s and Amtrak. There is no connection between an Interurban electric line in the 1930s and Amtrak. There is no connection between the "Oil Companies" and Amtrak. There is no connection between Bush and Amtrak (other than that inherent in his office).

I don't know much about railroads - grew up on them, have every Trains magazine since 1949, and every Railroad magazine until they were bought by Kalmbach Publishing (and merged with Trains), my Father, Grand Fathers, two Uncles, all railroaders - but I'm just ignorant about railroads I suppose.  Yeah sure




[Edited 2005-02-03 01:04:52]
 
777236ER
Posts: 12213
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RE: Bush To Scrap Subsidy For Amtrak! (Hooray!)

Thu Feb 03, 2005 9:18 am

Still bitter about being wrong 777236ER? Or are all your posts pure flamebait with nothing to offer to the thread?

Not flamebait at all - simply pointing out to other users what type of a person you are.
 
dl021
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RE: Bush To Scrap Subsidy For Amtrak! (Hooray!)

Thu Feb 03, 2005 9:56 am

Good Lord Airplay, get over yourself. Conspiracy theories aside, your assumption that the oil companies were behind the airplanes that killed rail and steamship passenger travel is like saying that the railroads and coal producers exerted political pressure to put the stage lines out of business. Inane and moot.

ANC Yeah, smaj, you're just talking out of your 4th point of contact.  Big grin You obviously are uneducated on trains and other stuff...I can tell because you disagree with Airplay.

I admire your willingness to continue to counterpoint Airplay, and wish I had the time to help a little more, but it looks like you got this handled.
 
airplay
Posts: 3369
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RE: Bush To Scrap Subsidy For Amtrak! (Hooray!)

Thu Feb 03, 2005 10:10 am

What I don't understand, Airplay, is your as yet unsubstantiated and unsourced claim that it's Bush's fault that Amtrak is failing,

I didn't say Bush was responsible. I said that Bush is prepared to put the nail in the coffin that the rail service has become.

Bush (and it appears many fellow A.Netters) don't seem to realize the worth in a national subsidised rail service but do think a nationally subsidised road network is just fine.

There is no connection between a trolley lines in the 1930s and Amtrak. There is no connection between an Interurban electric line in the 1930s and Amtrak. There is no connection between the "Oil Companies" and Amtrak

I beg to differ. Rail service in the US has declined over the decades in part largely to the actions of GM and Standard Oil (and others) in dissasembling electric commuter train networks in favour of the development of bus lines.

Yes...there are diesel trains out there made by Electro-motive, but as one of the articles say:

Compared with an electric engine, a diesel one

cost 3 times more
did 1/3 the work
lasted 1/2 as long

So, why the change? -- Profit maximization by GM. GM was the nation's largest shipper from 1935 through 1970. It used its freight business to coerce the railroads to buy GM diesel engines.

The result: Dieselization impaired trains ability to compete with cars and trucks for both passengers and freight. This left the U.S. with a third-rate railway system. But again, GM sales were larger, by 25 to 35 times, it could sell cars and trucks instead of train locomotives. So private profits prevailed at great expense to the public and the environment.


Since that period of time, rail has failed to attract much interest of Americans because energy is (was) cheap. And now, when the US really needs to concentrate on conserving energy and exploring alternatives, Bush is going to wipe out rail (in my opinion).

So why subsidize road development so agressively and abandon other forms of efficient transportation? I'm not sure. But "big oil" is one possibility.

but I'm just ignorant about railroads I suppose.

I certainly wouldn't challenge your knowledge of trains based on that statement. However, I know lots about airplanes. That doesn't mean I know the circumstances behind every business decision in aviation.

By the way. Whats are "city trollets"? Are those the girls that hang around street corners?

 Smile
 
saxman66
Posts: 459
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RE: Bush To Scrap Subsidy For Amtrak! (Hooray!)

Thu Feb 03, 2005 11:06 am

America absolutely needs Amtrak. And to say it looses X million per passengers is totally inaccurate. Thats just a number critics throw out to make it look bad. Buses will NOT take the slack as many bus routes are subsidised. Greyhound cutting routes proves, much transportation is not a money maker in general. It will just mean less travel choices for Americans.

We're in a nonsense war costing us billions of dollars, and what is it doing for us? Killing our troops....and for a little 2 billion dollars, hardly a drop in the bucket, Amtrak can provide service across the country. Saying there is no other subsidy for transportation is BS! Gas taxes don't pay for all our roads, nor our air ticket fees pay for all the runways and ATC.

The Northeast Corridor would suffer greatly without the long distance routes too. These trains feed the smaller shorter routes. I could go on for hours arguing and showing you my numbers and such about why we need Amtrak. But I'll leave it at that.

Chris
 
BNSF1088
Posts: 7
Joined: Wed Dec 01, 2004 12:38 pm

RE: Bush To Scrap Subsidy For Amtrak! (Hooray!)

Thu Feb 03, 2005 11:55 am

How about we cut airport Subsidy FAA Subsidy you people just don't get it i work for a RR and a big supporter of Amtrak until the Airlines and Airports can turn a profit which will never happen.You have no room to bash Amtrak.No Passenger Transportation in the world makes a profit.I also deal with the State of Michigan and Amtrak for the 2 State supported trains the Blue water and the Pere Marquette.

[Edited 2005-02-03 04:07:27]
 
whitehatter
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RE: Bush To Scrap Subsidy For Amtrak! (Hooray!)

Thu Feb 03, 2005 12:40 pm

Maybe a better idea would be a separation of track and operator. It's been done in many countries.

Japan is a prime example of that, the Government owning and managing the rail infrastructure and then private companies running the actual services. Same in Britain.

America needs its rail infrastructure as oil won't last forever. Investment now would pay major dividends in the future. Taking the attitude of pushing the forthcoming oil crunch to one side for short term gain is going to be one issue that no politician of any colour can avoid.

Sooner or later that oil won't be available any more in both volume and price which air travel needs, and there will have to be an alternative.

I'd suggest a few posters here need to get their head out of the sand and think closely about what will happen when oil hits something like $200+ a barrel. How would you and your nation cope then? How is that small businessman going to afford a few $15,000 air tickets from EWR to LAX because that's the cheapest roundtrip ticket now? So he can't close the deal or afford to ship his product anyway, and has to lay off some staff....and staff at his suppliers then get laid off....
 
ANCFlyer
Posts: 21391
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RE: Bush To Scrap Subsidy For Amtrak! (Hooray!)

Thu Feb 03, 2005 12:42 pm

"city trollets"? Ha Ha . . . Yup . . .  Smile/happy/getting dizzy we got trollets in Anchorage, don't you have 'em in Winnipeg?

I would love to see an Box Cab Electric humping over the mountains heading west to Seattle (Milwaukee Road, 20s,30s,40s) pulling the Olympia Hiawatha again. But, alas, aside from the GM/Standard Oil issue, the catenary was simply too expensive to maintain. (But electric locomotive survived, in mass, well into the 1980s (PA GG1s, AEM7 for example), and still run regularly on the NE Corridor. So, the steam engine and eventually, the diesel locomotive took over. If you look at the Horsepower and Tractive effort of the electric GG1 and one of today's EMD SD70MACs you'll see them on par. Early diesel engine, just like early electrics (and early steam) didn't have the horses or the pull initially . . . it took time to develop.

I think America (and Canada as well) need a substantial rail network. I remember the days when "The Canadien" went coast to coast, daily. In 1968 I rode the train East to West, I remember the big selling point for me, as I was 9 years old then, that train had a "Kiddie Car".

Personally, I'm all for subsidizing Amtrak, for many reasons, but primarily out of personal pleasure. I enjoy riding the train.

Dieselization impaired trains ability to compete with cars and trucks for both passengers and freight. This left the U.S. with a third-rate railway system

I don't necessarily agree that dieselization impaired trains ability . . . in fact, I think it enhanced it. Look at some of the advertising from the mid 40s/early 50s "Diesel Streamliner Vista Dome North Coast Limited" (Northern Pacific, Chicago to Seattle/Portland). Folks rode that train just to get pulled by a diesel (initially a FP3, then FP7 usually in an A-B-B-A configuration). Competing on the same route "The Superdome Empire Builder", Chicago, Burlington and Quincy (CB&Q). Big silver E3s, then E8s on the lead.

Diesel engines allowed for longer trains hauling more tonnage. They were far easier to maintain and weighed much less than steam. They were more expensive to operate than an electric (fuel and consumables), but not prone to breakdown as often nor loss of current if the catenary was down. Often, electrics operated as single units. If the unit went down the train was stranded. Diesel units, initially, rarely, if ever, operated as a single unit so if one unit went down the train still had heat, light, and could move slowly to the next stop.

But, now I'm babbling.

Regardless - would love to see a rail network in the states and Canada like the one in Europe.

Tell me about your trollets there in Winnipeg  Laugh out loud



[Edited 2005-02-03 05:16:30]
 
whitehatter
Posts: 5180
Joined: Sat Jun 12, 2004 6:52 am

RE: Bush To Scrap Subsidy For Amtrak! (Hooray!)

Thu Feb 03, 2005 1:07 pm

Regardless - would love to see a rail network in the states and Canada like the one in Europe.

Well that's what originally built those countries.

What is needed now is some fresh thinking. I agree, Amtrak is a dinosaur and needs major surgery. But it's a dinosaur which will eventually become once again a beast of burden as cheap oil and air travel starts to become scarce.

Starting to reform now would be sound thinking. Ignoring it now means a bigger bill later on (and don't we know about that here...). And no matter what the buried head tendency trumpet about subsidies and tax dollars, it is going to happen.

America and Canada will eventually need fast, reliable and cheap mass transportation not dependent on oil.
 
CaptOveur
Posts: 6064
Joined: Thu May 06, 2004 3:13 am

RE: Bush To Scrap Subsidy For Amtrak! (Hooray!)

Thu Feb 03, 2005 1:14 pm

I don't necessarily agree that dieselization impaired trains ability . . . in fact, I think it enhanced it.

I know someone who owns a private rail car, it has a dome. They much prefer having it pulled behind a diesel locomotive. A steam locomotive leaves soot deposits all over the observation area and I guess it is a bitch and a half to clean.
 
L-188
Posts: 29881
Joined: Wed Jul 07, 1999 11:27 am

RE: Bush To Scrap Subsidy For Amtrak! (Hooray!)

Thu Feb 03, 2005 5:39 pm

Dieselization impaired trains ability to compete with cars and trucks for both passengers and freight. This left the U.S. with a third-rate railway system

Bull.

Dieselization allowed steam to be retired without requiring the thousand of miles of 3rd rails or overhead lines that pure electric trains require. Maybe we should talk about line losses in the cantary systems or how to power them.

I would also point out that passenger rail is not dead. Local commuter service will not be effected and may be given room to expand.

I would also point out that CN ended their coast to coast service in Canada a number of years ago.

I would also point out that for years there has only been 1 full service railroad offering passenger and cargo service in the united states....The Alaska Railroad

http://www.akrr.com
 
Boeing7E7
Posts: 5512
Joined: Sat Jul 31, 2004 9:35 pm

RE: Bush To Scrap Subsidy For Amtrak! (Hooray!)

Thu Feb 03, 2005 7:54 pm

And the airline industry is doing so well huh? The real truth is that rail is alive and well outside North America where the technology is continually improved and expanding. Completely relying on air travel is stupid. Airports are struggling to keep up with the demands for increased flights. The airspace becomes more crowded and complicated to control. And...flying is expensive. Why do you think all the majors are drowning in debt?

Name one passenger rail system in the world making money, even with the rail technology improvements... I'll help you. There aren't any.

As for air traffic delays... If the money spent on Amtrak the last 10 years had been spent on infrastructure at key facilities, upgrading the ATC system and implimentation of Local and Wide Area Augmentation/Free flight, they'd all be rolling in money and it'd take you 20 fewer minutes to get from ORD to LAX.
 
CPH-R
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RE: Bush To Scrap Subsidy For Amtrak! (Hooray!)

Thu Feb 03, 2005 7:57 pm

A nice touch to add here:

NY Times: Amtrak Pays Millions for Others' Fatal Errors

It is no mystery why, one spring day two years ago, an Amtrak passenger train jumped the tracks near Crescent City, Fla., and skidded to a stop on its side, killing 4 people and injuring 142.

Investigators concluded that the track, owned by the big freight railroad CSX, had not been properly stabilized and that management's oversight of maintenance had been lax. But when millions of dollars in damage claims arose from the crash, it was not CSX, a multibillion-dollar corporation, that paid them. It was Amtrak, the perennial money loser that survives only with regular infusions of cash from American taxpayers.

Three months later, it happened again. Poor track maintenance by CSX caused an Amtrak train to derail in Maryland, investigators said, injuring nearly 100 people. Again, Amtrak covered claims against CSX.

In accident after accident, in derailments and grade-crossing collisions, CSX and other major freight railroads have used Amtrak to shield themselves from tens of millions ofdollars in liability, an examination by The New York Times has found

http://64.233.167.104/search?q=cache:F6Esgu_fXTcJ:www.bmwe.org/News/2004/10OCT/NY%2520Times%2520101504.pdf
 
KROC
Posts: 18919
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RE: Bush To Scrap Subsidy For Amtrak! (Hooray!)

Thu Feb 03, 2005 9:04 pm

Bush (and it appears many fellow A.Netters) don't seem to realize the worth in a national subsidised rail service but do think a nationally subsidised road network is just fine.

Have you ever taken a look at the price of gas broken down and how much of it goes to taxes...all that go to pay for road upkeep. And not for nothing, but when i can jump in my rig and drive cross country faster than a train can get me there, I see the need for a substantial national road network.
 
teva
Posts: 1785
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RE: Bush To Scrap Subsidy For Amtrak! (Hooray!)

Thu Feb 03, 2005 10:17 pm

Boeing7e7,
in the reply 74, you ask the name of a train company making money.
Here it is: SNCF
They have a division loosing a lot of money: freight.
But in 2003 (04 not yet available), net operating income was 257 millions EUR for long distance pax, 237 for public transport/commuting. (loss on frt: 429).

The net income for the group after including all the subsidiaries was only 11 millions. But Hey, it is a profit... (and could be even better without the frt and the strikes....)
http://lesfinances.sncf.com/anglais/sncf_figures.htm
Teva
 
spinzels
Posts: 334
Joined: Fri Jun 04, 2004 11:00 pm

RE: Bush To Scrap Subsidy For Amtrak! (Hooray!)

Thu Feb 03, 2005 11:35 pm

If the money spent on Amtrak the last 10 years had been spent on infrastructure at key facilities, upgrading the ATC system and implimentation of Local and Wide Area Augmentation/Free flight, they'd all be rolling in money and it'd take you 20 fewer minutes to get from ORD to LAX.

You just keep posting and repeating the same nonsense, even after people correct you and provide you with several sources to document your error. You are impervious to facts, how’d you get that superpower?

Given that Amtrak’s budget is less than one-seventh of the FAA’s budget it is highly unlikely that cutting Amtrak funding would have freed up sufficient funding for commercial aviation infrastructure upgrades. And again, the general fund subsidies that FAA receives does not include the US$ 15 billion of subsidies that the airlines received in cash and loan guarantees after 9/11. (See Post #38, Sources 5 and 6)

Moreover, the FAA’s budget is only a faction of the subsidies given to Airports and Aviation by local, state and federal governments. Total spending by all leveal of government is about US$ 21 billion (in 2002, most recent figures available) (1) . Sure some of that is generated by user fees, like landing fees, but much of it is just straight subsidy.

And of course cutting out Amtrak would leave stranded the hundreds of thousands, if not millions of commuters, who ride over Amtrak rails on regional commuter lines each day on their way to work.

If you are looking for large chunks of cash that could easily pay for commercial aviation infrastructure upgrades, why don’t you go after farming subsidies?

Sources:
(1) http://www.bts.gov/publications/pocket_guide_to_transportation/2005/html/table_29.html
 
Boeing7E7
Posts: 5512
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RE: Bush To Scrap Subsidy For Amtrak! (Hooray!)

Thu Feb 03, 2005 11:36 pm

^ So, one system in the whole world, and such an incredible profit margin. How'd they do this year?
 
spinzels
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RE: Bush To Scrap Subsidy For Amtrak! (Hooray!)

Thu Feb 03, 2005 11:41 pm

Bush (and it appears many fellow A.Netters) don't seem to realize the worth in a national subsidised rail service but do think a nationally subsidised road network is just fine.

Have you ever taken a look at the price of gas broken down and how much of it goes to taxes...all that go to pay for road upkeep. And not for nothing, but when i can jump in my rig and drive cross country faster than a train can get me there, I see the need for a substantial national road network.

Have you ever taken a look at the facts before you posted something on a.net? The “national road network” receives huge subsidies from the general fund that have nothing to do with federal or state gasoline excise taxes. In 2003, that amount was about US$ 30 billion! (1) In other words, the highways received a non-user fee subsidy of over thirty times what rail recieved.

Sources:
(1) http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/policy/ohim/hs03/htm/hf10.htm
 
StowAway
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RE: Bush To Scrap Subsidy For Amtrak! (Hooray!)

Thu Feb 03, 2005 11:55 pm

This is simple. You riders want train service? Pay for it. We don't even get train service where I live, so why should my tax dollars pay for it?

Don't give me the crap about "Well Airlines get money, too!" The airlines are more of a backbone to our economy than AmCrack. They also have been hurt much more. Not to mention the fact that they, at one time, did actually turn a profit. The same can not be said for AmCrack.
 
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RayChuang
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RE: Bush To Scrap Subsidy For Amtrak! (Hooray!)

Fri Feb 04, 2005 12:27 am

Folks,

Let's face it: except for a few areas, train travel is not profitable because there isn't enough ridership to justify the costs of operating passenger trains.

The only places I know where train travel are really viable are:

1. The Northeast Corridor from Boston to Washington, DC and its closely related routes such as the Long Island Railroad, MARC in Maryland and Metro North in New York state.
2. The Cascade Route between Eugene, OR to Vancouver, BC.
3. The Amtrak West routes in California.
4. The Metrolink routes in the Los Angeles metropolitan area.

Unless the US government is willing to invest heavily in maglev technology with trains capable of reaching 500 km/h (310 mph), American long-distance travel will continue to be by airplanes and by the Interstate freeways.
 
teva
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RE: Bush To Scrap Subsidy For Amtrak! (Hooray!)

Fri Feb 04, 2005 12:38 am

Boeing7e7, as I said in my post, the 04 figures are not yet posted. However, the SNCF CEO announced 2 weeks ago that he will post a profit for 04, despite the on-going loss on the freight activity.
And yes, the profit margin is low, but it is logical, since it is a public service, and the objective is not high profit.
You have to accept it: it is possible to run a good train network, helping to develop areas not extensively served by air, and without loosing money.
Teva
 
spinzels
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RE: Bush To Scrap Subsidy For Amtrak! (Hooray!)

Fri Feb 04, 2005 12:41 am

This is simple. You riders want train service? Pay for it.

I couldn’t agree more with you. I would love a system where all forms of transportation are paid for by user fees. It would be great for the Northeast, where the population density promotes excellent economies of scale, particularly for rail travel. And it would be a boon for the rail system if general fund money that disproportionately subsidizes highways and aviation was instead put into travelers’ pockets for them to spend on travel as they like.

The airlines are more of a backbone to our economy than AmCrack.

You might wish to actually read some of the posts in a thread before you just come in and post your, uh… witticisms  Insane . As has been mentioned above, this really isn’t about Amtrak, it is about a rail infrastructure that is run and regulated by Amtrak that carries people and freight on not only Amtrak trains but freight trains and commuter trains. And that rain infrastructure is every bit as important if not more important than the airlines.
 
BNSF1088
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RE: Bush To Scrap Subsidy For Amtrak! (Hooray!)

Fri Feb 04, 2005 12:51 am

Why should i have to pay for Airports and the FAA when i don't even fly i get taxed 3 times to pay for Airports 1st the Feds 2nd the State 3rd Local taxes.
 
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RayChuang
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RE: Bush To Scrap Subsidy For Amtrak! (Hooray!)

Fri Feb 04, 2005 12:53 am

Teva,

Actually, France has an excellent passenger railroad system because that system was already in place (more or less) at the beginning of World War II.

Speaking of SNCF, I wonder does anyone here remember that famous test during the 1950's when an SNCF trainset went an amazing 205 mph. Interestingly, SNCF never released (at the time) some of the movies taken of that record run because it showed the trainset coming very close to derailing!  Wow! They didn't release those movies until TGV became operational.
 
NumberTwelve
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RE: Bush To Scrap Subsidy For Amtrak! (Hooray!)

Fri Feb 04, 2005 1:02 am

Talking about subsidies, also Deutsche Bahn gets lot of it. On the other hand people in Germany are moaning because of the high costs.

And Deutsche Bahn is a mass transportation system. If we wouldn't have that widely ramified railway system, we would have chaos in the streets.

For me subsidies are justified because I also use the train system here a lot (especially as a commuter), and I don't want to pay the amount I should have to pay when railway doesn't get subsidies.

It's a matter of public interest, not as aviation.
 
ANCFlyer
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RE: Bush To Scrap Subsidy For Amtrak! (Hooray!)

Fri Feb 04, 2005 1:38 am

#12And Deutsche Bahn is a mass transportation system. If we wouldn't have that widely ramified railway system, we would have chaos in the streets.

And the DB (and most other European rail systems) puts Amtrak to shame . . .admittedly not hard to do . . .

Experience on both systems tells me the DB, IMO, has it's act together. Trains are on time, clean, fast. (Love that ICE Train). Amtrak struggles along against the wishes of the freight railroads.

Much time and money would need to be invested to put American passenger railroading anywhere near the level of effeciency as the DB . . .
 
NumberTwelve
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RE: Bush To Scrap Subsidy For Amtrak! (Hooray!)

Fri Feb 04, 2005 1:40 am

ANCflyer: "Experience on both systems tells me the DB, IMO, has it's act together. Trains are on time, clean, fast. (Love that ICE Train)."

Don't tell to people in Germany, they will laugh. But by the way, you're right, DB's trains are 95 % in time.
 
Boeing7E7
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RE: Bush To Scrap Subsidy For Amtrak! (Hooray!)

Fri Feb 04, 2005 1:44 am

Unless the US government is willing to invest heavily in maglev technology with trains capable of reaching 500 km/h (310 mph), American long-distance travel will continue to be by airplanes and by the Interstate freeways.

Couldn't agree more. Time for a new technology. Moving freight is one thing, moving people is another. They also need to take the "regional approach" and quit stopping every 10 minutes. Connect your airports, use the highway corridors and look at it as a part of the transportation system rather than stand alone, which is what Amtrak is. Completely disconnected from the rest from the transportation system.
 
JGPH1A
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RE: Bush To Scrap Subsidy For Amtrak! (Hooray!)

Fri Feb 04, 2005 1:50 am

Re: Connect your airports, use the highway corridors and look at it as a part of the transportation system rather than stand alone

Very well put ! For short and medium distances, rail beats out pretty much any other form of transportation for city-centre to city-centre travel. Combine that with air hubs for longer trips, and you've got something. One of the critical success factors of Schiphol for instance, is the fact that from the airport you can reach virtually every railway station in Holland, Belgium and north-western Germany, at pretty high speed.
 
ANCFlyer
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RE: Bush To Scrap Subsidy For Amtrak! (Hooray!)

Fri Feb 04, 2005 1:52 am

But by the way, you're right, DB's trains are 95 % in time.

I learned a long time ago, if the schedule says the Zug is leaving at 10:01, you better be on board at 10:00! Or you're waiting for the next one!

I did board a train for Frankfurt once in Kaiserslatern . . . trying to be on time . . . and when the train departed it headed to Munchen . . . oops, wrong train . . . the conductor wrote something on the back of my ticket, laughing. I'm not sure exactly what it said, but I'd bet something like "Stupid tourist got on wrong train, let him go back north at next stop".  Big thumbs up
 
MSYtristar
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RE: Bush To Scrap Subsidy For Amtrak! (Hooray!)

Fri Feb 04, 2005 3:09 am

Is it too difficult a concept for some to understand that Amtrak was never in a position to make a profit since day one? Obviously it is. It was never given a road map to success. Amtrak was started with hundreds of old train cars and a skeleton route structure. While the old cars have come and gone, the route structure remains the same. There has never been a comprehensive plan for the railroad to succeed. That is a fact. The funding Amtrak gets is only enough for it to "hang on". Obviously some people out there don't want to support the service since it doesn't serve his/her own community. You can't blame that on Amtrak. Blame it on the government not giving Amtrak enough operating capital to start new routes. And just to reiterate, the long distance trains do not suffer from poor ridership. Low ridership has never been a problem for the railroad. Amtrak passenger totals have increased over the last decade by a decent margin. NO Amtrak routes are profitable (not the Northeast Corridor...not the California Corridor...not the Cascades Corridor...none of them). But still, it provides a vital service. People are flocking to the rails more now than ever before. Amtrak gives people another alternative to travel.

I know it's hard to understand on this board, but there are many, many people out there who do not like to fly. Can you blame them? Flying is a pain in the ass these days. And who would actually want to take a BUS cross-country? Not many. The train is far superior to the bus or the plane in terms of comfort. It is a relaxing, enjoiyable way to see the country. Obviously it is not for everyone, but for the millions out there who still use it, it is a great way to travel. Some think of Amtrak as obsolete. That's hardly the case. Sure, the pace is usually slow...delays are common...and the train cars are getting a little old, but you know what, the people riding Amtrak take those things in stride because they know that Amtrak is doing all it can with such limited resources. Just imagine what the railroad could accomplish if it got the funding that it has been longing for since 1971. Great things would happen: old routes would be restored, new trainsets would be ordered, reliability would improve, customer service would improve, grand old union stations would get renovated, etc.

So support Amtrak. It is America's only intercity railroad. Use it and cherish it.
 
airplay
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RE: Bush To Scrap Subsidy For Amtrak! (Hooray!)

Fri Feb 04, 2005 9:57 am

So, one system in the whole world, and such an incredible profit margin. How'd they do this year?

So...besides Southwest, tell me what US airlines are making profits?
 
Boeing7E7
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RE: Bush To Scrap Subsidy For Amtrak! (Hooray!)

Fri Feb 04, 2005 11:34 am

So...besides Southwest, tell me what US airlines are making profits?

AirTran, Jet Blue and you're missing the point.
 
BNSF1088
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RE: Bush To Scrap Subsidy For Amtrak! (Hooray!)

Fri Feb 04, 2005 1:11 pm

i will add this the Long Distance Trains cover there expenses better than trains that run less then 600 miles.This is due to ticket prices since passengers don't use LD trains as short haul commuter trains where the ticket prices have to be lower.
 
baw2198
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RE: Bush To Scrap Subsidy For Amtrak! (Hooray!)

Fri Feb 04, 2005 8:35 pm

57AZ

Exactly, The freight railroads are lobbying the Bush administration to cut Amtrak so they can make more money by filling that slot with an intermodal.


The money maker for Amtrak IS the long distance trains, NOT the NEC (north east corridor) the NEC drains anywhere from 50-70% of amtrak's subsidy because of the high amount of maintenance that needs to be done on a 125 MPH route compared to a 80 MPH route. You can't charge the public the actual fare that would pay for the maintenance plus make a profit because that would cost the passenger too much which would drive passenger away as it would be more economical to drive you car then take the train. So prices have to be set lower then what the average car commuter spends per trip.

Several of the past CEO's (if you will) have been put in charge to also kill Amtrak. These people have had no experience at all in either managing or operating a railroad. Example: Michael Dukankis. He's a frikin politician, and this makes sense to put him in charge????? 2 or 3 CEO's ago Amtrak was doing fairly good. The reason, they had the federal mail hauling contract. Thats why Amtrak started getting the roadrailer's (the truck trailers) and also started experimenting with reefers (refrigerated box cars) to haul meat and produce from the farmers in small communities to the bigger cities. The state of Iowa for an example was suppose to get 4 of these reefer trains, also hauling passengers, across the state. BRL-MPZ-OMA.. CWI-CID-DSM DBQ-ALO-FOD-SUX-FSD DSM-OMA-lincoln nebraska. The APPOINTED CEO was then changed out because he was doing too good of a job (translation the freight RR's were losing money because now Amtrak was also hauling freight) and thus Amtrak lost the contract for the mail hauling and the reefer project was cancelled.
 
airplay
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RE: Bush To Scrap Subsidy For Amtrak! (Hooray!)

Fri Feb 04, 2005 10:27 pm

AirTran, Jet Blue and you're missing the point.

Beoing7E7, I don't think I am missing the point. You're trying to tell us that trains aren't profitable but airlines are. Although there are exceptions, generally speaking that is just not true. Especially not in these days of airline deregulation.


 
ua815
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RE: Bush To Scrap Subsidy For Amtrak! (Hooray!)

Sat Feb 05, 2005 12:39 am

Too many advocates simply equate Amtrak and US intercity rail service as if one automatically means the other. You want passenger trains? Then you must support Amtrak. I support intercity rail service, but abhor the dysfunctional operation provided by Amtrak. Amtrak as an organization is the epitome of a bloated, inefficient government entity. They run trains like it is their right regardless of cost and, in too many cases, with no concept of service to the passengers. Crews are surly, cars are dirty, and the Amtrak “attitude” is prevalent throughout. To Amtrak, passengers are nuisance that simply get in their way. And if you think for one minute that Amtrak is concerned first and foremost with passenger rail service, just witness the reaction anytime anyone suggests there just might be better way to go. They immediately threaten to simply shut down and take their toys home. In Amtrak’s mind, it is either Amtrak or nothing, and sometimes nothing may actually be the better option.

What the US needs is not a continuation of the failed concept represented by Amtrak but a fresh start. Hire private operators to run the trains. Let an arm of the US DOT manage the Amtrak owned infrastructure in the Northeast. Can you imagine Acela run by Virgin Trains? Geez, even Acela run by US Airways would be an improvement. Right now $1.2 billion going to Amtrak is simply throwing good money after bad. Provide that same $1.2 billion to people who know how to run trains and provide service, and it would be money well spent. It is time for a change in the delivery of passenger rail service in the US and that does not include Amtrak running the show.

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