The National Railroad Passenger Corporation, Amtrak, is a corporation striving to deliver a high quality, safe, on-time rail passenger service that exceeds customer expectations.
The National Railroad Passenger Corporation, Amtrak, is a corporation striving to deliver a high quality, safe, on-time rail passenger service that exceeds customer expectations.
Revoke Ban on Charter Trains and Private Car Movements
On March 28th, 2018, Amtrak released a Special Employee Advisory containing the following text: “Generally, Amtrak will no longer operate charter services or special trains. These operations caused significant operational distraction, failed to capture fully allocated profitable margins and sometimes delayed our paying customers on our scheduled trains. There may be a few narrow exceptions to this policy in order to support specific strategic initiatives, for example trial service in support of growing new scheduled service. Otherwise, one-time trips and charters are immediately discontinued,” In implementing this policy, we believe that Amtrak may be in violation of 49 US Code 11101. From Cornell University's Legal Information Institution, section A of 49 US Code 11101 states the following: "A rail carrier providing transportation or service subject to the jurisdiction of the Board under this part shall provide the transportation or service on reasonable request. A rail carrier shall not be found to have violated this section because it fulfills its reasonable commitments under contracts authorized under section 10709 of this title before responding to reasonable requests for service. Commitments which deprive a carrier of its ability to respond to reasonable requests for common carrier service are not reasonable" This one decision has had an instantaneous and far reaching impact on the Heritage Railroading and Historic Preservation Community in one fell swoop, potentially affecting several non-profit organizations. We believe this means the following: No Steam excursions under the Amtrak Umbrella. - Any steam locomotives who currently run under Amtrak and those who were working towards doing so will no longer be hosted: Southern Pacific 4449, Norfolk & Western 611, Milwaukee Road 261, Santa Fe 3751, and several others. Some of these locomotives do not have the benefit of a regional or tourist railroad nearby willing to host them, let alone possessing infrastructure capable of handling such large engines. - As an example: when operating under Norfolk Southern's 21st Century Steam Program, the trips run with Norfolk & Western 611 in the year 2015 generated an estimated $4.5-$7 million in local revenue throughout the communities the locomotive visited. This success was repeated during the 2016 and 2017 excursion seasons, drawing visitors from most every state in the union, as well as international visitors from the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. No special charter trains using Amtrak equipment, with our without Privately Owned railcars. - The New River Train in West Virginia, operated by the Collis P. Huntington Railroad Historical Society, has been run continuously for over 50 years between Huntington and Hinton. With two weekends of trips a year, it generates an estimated $4 Million in County and State revenue in only 2 weekends of operation a year. - Some organizations, such as the North Carolina Transportation Museum in Spencer, NC, have run similar excursions during the fall season. Restricted movement of Private Railcars: -It is gathered that, unless there is a station dwell time of more than 30 minutes, Private Cars will not be attached or taken off trains mid-route. In the case of the Collis P. Huntington Railroad Historical Society, this means they are no longer able to move their railcars. Freight railroads will often move private cars, but in many cases charge astronomically high rates and do not handle the cars properly, resulting in expensive damage. In general these are all non-profit organizations whose mission is to preserve and raise awareness of the history of America's railroads, and the revenue from these excursions can often have a huge impact on their earnings. These organizations pay Amtrak for charter trains and the movement of cars. These trips are run on a limited basis, often one or two weekends a year per organization, and generally at times that are less disruptive to normal operations. To Amtrak these operations might generate "less than the fully allocated profit margins", but without Amtrak's cooperation, the valuable revenue earned from these trips will be lost, and Locomotives and Railcars that hundreds of everyday American (and International) citizens that have given almost countless volunteer hours and their hard earned money to keep operating. It is also particularly disappointing as these organizations and the people associated with them are often Amtrak's most ardent and vocal supporters. Though the National Railroad Passenger Corporation is operated as a For-Profit organization, the State and Federal Subsidies that are vital to Amtrak’s continued existence come from the pocket of the American Taxpayers. As American Taxpayers (and International Visitors who support the USA's tourist economy when visiting for these special excursions) we respectfully request that you carefully reconsider this decision and the devastating impacts to several organizations, communities, and thousands of American citizens in such a short amount of time. We also hope that this will open the door for closer cooperation between these organizations and Amtrak to work out more efficient and valuable operational plans, and perhaps for Amtrak to more effectively capitalize on the invaluable Public Relations value of Steam Locomotives and Private Railcars. On a personal note, I should add that I am passionate about this cause as I myself have worked both professionally and voluntarily since 2012 in the Heritage Railroading industry. I have also given many financial contributions via memberships and one off or recurring donations to several other organizations as well. I have several dear friends who’s very livelihood depends on operations such as these. My personal plea that I'm sure others will share is this: Please do not let our work go in vain. - 49 U.S. Code 11101 "Common Carrier Transportation, Service, and Rates" sourced from: https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/49/11101 - Special thanks to Joe Rosenthal of the Collis P. Huntington Railroad Historical Society for providing some of the information used in this petition. - 611 Excursion economic impact numbers sourced from WSLS 10 News Roanoke. Visitor statistics from members of the Forward 611 Committee. - Heading Photograph by Steven Kramer: Southern Pacific 4449 leads an excursion operated under Amtrak's Umbrella, sourced from the Friends of the SP 4449 website. The Friends of SP 4449 and Oregon Rail Heritage Foundation are non-profit organizations based in Portland, Oregon.
Save the Coast Starlight Pacific Parlour Cars
Amtrak continues to cut passenger amenities on the Coast Starlight, leading RailPAC to believe that the new Amtrak management does not believe in the long distance western trains. While Amtrak management has demonstrated that they plan to cut service and amenities in order to "save money", RailPAC continues to support the long distance trains and believes they can be successful. I also believe in long distance trains, and feel that the Pacific Parlour Cars are a key part of this premium train. While "tough decisions” are sometimes necessary, removing these cars from service will ultimately affect ticket revenue and yield implications. For years, loyal riders have gladly paid a premium fare for sleeping car accommodations on the Coast Starlight. Higher sleeping car supplements are embedded in current sleeping car fares (which are generally higher than for other routes, often by a significant margin). In addition, revenue is generated from the car's bar service and the potential for souvenir sales. The additional dining option in the Pacific Parlour car frees up tables in the Dining Car, adding 50% capacity to each seating. I have no doubt that removing the Pacific Parlour Cars will result in loss of ridership and revenue for the Coast Starlight. Any accounting of the cost of operating the Pacific Parlour Cars should be balanced against the total sleeping car revenue. While it is understood that these cars are older than most of the fleet, we ask that the Pacific Parlour Cars remain in service during the 2018 summer season while Amtrak explores alternatives to maintaining premium service and the ticket revenues associated with it. Furthermore, I support RailPAC's campaign for new locomotives and rolling stock for the Coast Starlight, California Zephyr, Southwest Chief, Empire Builder and Sunset Limited. Expanded service on these routes means jobs are created to staff and support these trains.
Amtrak: Reinstate the Veterans Advantage Discount
Amtrak recently ended its Veterans Advantage 15% discount to veterans, active duty military, retired military and their families. Veterans Advantage was founded by Vietnam Veteran Scott Higgins and his wife in 2000. I believe we must always honor our veterans for their great duty, honor, courage and sacrifice for our nation. Amtrak has a strong track record of supporting our military veterans. Its previous past president, Joseph Boardman was himself a military veteran. During his tenure, he introduced an aggressive goal to make veterans 25% of all new hires by 2015. Amtrak also unveiled a new veteran-themed locomotive for its Northeast corridor routes. That’s why this attempt to eliminate this discount is so surprising. For veterans and/or their families on fixed income, this 15% discount helps make travel aboard Amtrak possible in order to visit family and see America. Many communities across America depend upon Amtrak as an essential form of transportation to connect people and places across our nation. Revoking this discount is a step in the wrong direction. Our railroads have always had a longstanding tradition in honoring the role of veterans throughout the railroad industry. Please sign this petition calling on Amtrak to reinstate the 15% Veterans Advantage discount today.
Do not replace the 30th Street Station Flipboard
Dear Amtrak, The Flipboard (or, the split-flap display) is an iconic part of the 30th Street Station, and should not be replaced. It's operation harkens to the historical days of of train travel, and is a piece of machinery that's complements the historic and grand Art-Deco main waiting hall. Replacing the Flipboard with a digital display would not only upset the tradition of 30th Street Station, but it is also not necessary. In many modern train stations (for example, the Frankfurt Hauptbahnhof, the Gare du Nord in Paris), which sees up to 190 million travelers anually, the slip-flap display is used successfully in their daily operations. In fact, slip-flap displays have inherent advantages, such as: High visibility and wide viewing angle in most lighting conditions Little or no power consumption while the display remains static Distinct metallic flapping sound draws attention when the information is updated. Replacing such a utility with a digital display board would negate these benefits, and in addition incur expenses associated with purchase and installation. Please reconsider your stance on the Flipboard, and keep it as part of 30th Street Station. Sincerely, The Undersigned
Stop Amtrak's Fence Along The Hudson!
Since I was a little kid every year I've been going down to the shore of the Hudson River to fish. Now I take my kids down there to fish. This is all in jeopardy because Amtrak plans to install gates and fencing to prevent our access to the shoreline citing safety concerns when there hasn't been an accident throughout the proposed fenced in area for over 20 years. Please even if you don't fish or kayak or walk or drive down just for the heck of it please sign this petition to try and prevent them from taking away our shoreline access. Please share this petition and call your local mayors, county legislature and state representative. Thank you in advance!!!!
Preserve AEM-7AC #929
In the 1970's, Amtrak was looking for a replacement to the 1930's era GG1 electric that originally was built for the Pennsylvania Railroad. Amtrak was looking for locomotives that could exceed 100 MPH. After the GE E60's failing attempt to do this safely, Amtrak bought in some European designs. A Swedish design became the basis for the new design, and that design became the AEM-7. The AEM-7s started service in 1980, taking the final Amtrak GG1s out of service. The locomotives pulling Amfleet cars became a familiar sight on the NEC. They also became the workhorses of 2 commuter railroads on the NEC. Another variant known as the ALP-44 was produced for NJ Transit to handle the 2 different voltages of catenary they had. The AEMs sported a variety of paint schemes from Phase III to Phase V. Some AEM-7s were remanufactured in the early 2000's in Wilmington, DE by Alstom to change these engines to have AC equipment. Then, the AEM-7s split in to 2 different variants. AEM-7DCs were non remanufactured and kept their old DC equipment. AEM-7ACs were the remanufactured variant with AC equipment. In 2010, Amtrak started a refurbishment program on their entire fleet. They placed orders for several new types of equipment to replace older types and supplement newer types. Amtrak placed an order with Siemens for 70 next generation electric locomotives to replace the AEM-7s and the newer but problem plagued HHP-8. The next generation engine, known as the ACS-64, rolled out in summer 2013. The engines are based off the European Siemens Vectron. Amtrak started retiring their AEM-7s in 2015, with the DC variant going first. The final DCs were retired in April 2015. The AEM-7ACs continue to be in service as of today (2/12/16), however, there are only 5 left in service. AEM-7AC 929 currently sits in Wilmington, DE after being retired in Janurary 2016. I am trying to get #929 preserved and sent to a RR museum before she gets cut up for scrap. Please help me get 929 preserved. The AEM-7 is most likely the final classic American electric (AEM-7 does not look as European as it's basis, while the ACS does) and I am trying to get one of each variant preserved. AEM-7DC 915 is also preserved, but we need at least 1 of both variants preserved for future railroaders to enjoy. Please help me get Amtrak to save 929 and send it to a railroad museum. Photo Credit: Jeremiah Cox
Have Richard "Airline CEO" Anderson removed as CEO of Amtrak
Since becoming CEO of Amtrak, Richard Anderson has overseen the destruction of many of the amenities and discounts that set Amtrak apart from airlines. First, removing AAA and Student Discounts, then removing the Pacific Parlor Car from the Coast Starlight, and now he's at it again by ending special routes and no longer permitting private rail car owners from using Amtrak to move their rail cars. What's next? Baggage Fees? TSA? Airline-style legroom? Thr reality is that Amtrak can't go toe-to-toe with the airlines! Amtrak's major advantages have always involved setting themselves apart from airlines: Flexible fares, discounts, free baggage, spacious seats and legroom, and a heck of a view! Anderson is picking off all of Amtrak's benefits one by one! It won't be long until he makes Amtrak a slow moving airline with all of the inconveniences of air travel, but none of the speed. Amtrak Board of Directors, please remove Richard Anderson from his position as CEO of Amtrak before he renders the railroad unsalvageable!
Help us restore passenger service on the New York, Susquehanna and Western Rail line
The NYS&W passes through multiple communities full of citizens who travel east to jobs in Passaic and Bergen Counties and other points east. The route map can be found at: http://www.nysw.com/images/nysw-map-new-jersey.gif Throughout the past 15-20 years and even through the current recession economy, travel on roads such as Route 23, State Route 17 in New York and secondary roads have become long and drawn out as more and more individuals move West to take advantage of a cheaper cost of living. Additionally, with the ski resorts, golf resorts and other activities, Sussex County has become a low-cost and local destination for hundreds if not thousands of New Yorkers to visit for day trips; thus increasing traffic on primary and secondary roads. Because of these factors, we the people of the counties that reside along the NYS&W are urging New Jersey Transit or any authority willing, to restore FULL passenger service on the NYS&W line throughout New Jersey. Currently, there is an agreement in place to restore passenger service from Paterson to Hackensack. While this is a great first step, New Jersey Transit and / or other authorities should move forward and restore passenger service all the way through to Vernon NJ. Advantages include: 1. A 'greener' environment - Statistics show that passenger service will effectively take more cars off the road then conventional bus service. 2. More economic options - Whether to points in Passaic County, Bergen County or New York City, restoring passenger service on the NYSW will provide access to new economic opportunities. Additionally, resort areas within Sussex County will be able to attract new customers which will effectively increase the bottom lines of multiple businesses. 3. Preservation of rail heritage - The heritage of the NYS&W is a great one. Railfans will be able to re-live this heritage through excursions, which will again, create new opportunities. This petition is targeted at the following entities: 1. New Jersey Transit2. MTA Metro North 3. New York, Susquehanna and Western Railway 4. North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority 5. Towns that border the New York, Susquehanna and Western Railway in New York and New Jersey. 6. Local, State and National PoliticiansNote: Want to keep apprised on our progress? Become our fan on Facebook at:http://www.facebook.com/nyswinnj Or follow us on Twitter at:https://twitter.com/#!/nyswinnj Additionally, we have set up a website located at:http://nyswpassengerrail.blogspot.com
Reduce speeds and have some type of signal, horn, or bell.
I lost a brother recently by a passing Amtrak more lives might be saved if speeds were reduced and they were more visual and audible from a distance.
Amtrak to cross honor NJTransit tickets during delays of more than 30 minutes
NJ Transit delays have become a matter of routine lately, leaving thousands of NJ commuters stranded and dangerously overcrowding New York Penn Station. Amtrak trains regularly take priority over NJ Transit trains. We ask Amtrak to cross honor our tickets, the same way as PATH cross honors our tickets during delays. This way we would be able to get out of Manhattan alleviating overcrowding at Penn and make alternative means of transportation during rush hour delays and service interruptions.