Old 11-12-2005, 03:10 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by Ween
You know what you call a society that provides housing, transportation, education, public transportation, jobs, food, health care, and a redistribution of wealth for its people? Socialist. I don't know about you, but I think I'd rather live they way the U.S. was founded and leave the socialist stuff for the Soviet Unions, Cubas, and Chinas of the world...
For all of the "Europe is so much better" folks, be careful what you wish for:
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Originally Posted by USAToday Travel Section 06/03/2003 - Updated 08:05 AM ET Link
The latest in a series of protests over plans to make people work longer for state pensions, the action halved train and bus services in Paris and an air traffic controllers' strike grounded 80% of flights in and out of France.

Less severe than the stoppages of May 13, dubbed "Black Tuesday," the action still caused 150 km (90 miles) of traffic jams on roads into the capital, where a protest march is planned for the afternoon. Transport in Marseille and other cities was also hit.

Numerous schools were also closed by the tenth walkout in as many months by teachers over decentralisation plans.

Postal workers, ambulance drivers, electricity workers, port workers and tollroad staff were among others on strike. Few leading French newspapers were printed.
I found a PR Newswire story heralding the record ridership in 2005 - some 25.4M riders in fiscal year '05.

The actual number was 25,374,998. Up from 25,053,564 in fiscal year '04. 294,434 more rides (I won't even say riders, because we don't know who rode and how often). The article splits up Amtrak between long and short distance trains. Of the 15 long-trip routes, the Empire Builder had the most passengers: 476k. The total ridership for long routes was 3,781,052 in '05. It took 28 short distance route trains to drum up 21M riders (nearly 93%).

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Originally Posted by SD70MACMAN
I guess it just depends on your def. of general welfare. And keep in mind, these lawyers and stock brokers are some of the many people that use Amtrak that make the gears of the American economy turn and pay taxes to FUND the military and the trains they ride.
It would be cheaper to buy them all luxury cars since they can afford gas, insurance and regular maintenance.

Check out the study Amtrak's Negligible Impact on Congestion [Cox, W., Love, J]. This was commissioned after Amtrak was set to get Federal Highway monies in 09/95. Talk about a negative effect on the American economy. To revisit a comment regarding rural Montanan's, less money to the federal and state roads, means more difficult (and possibly more dangerous) travel to the train depot.
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Old 11-12-2005, 05:07 PM   #27
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Gents,
I may be venturing out on a limb here, but isn't this a forum to discuss rail issues? This thread started out that way, but it seems to have turned in to a political/moral argument over funding a war vs. funding for a railroad. Whether you believe the war in Iraq/Afghanistan are just or not is not an issue that should be discussed here. There are plenty of online fora for that purpose.
I for one would like to see this thread get back to its original purpouse.

Just my $.02
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Old 11-12-2005, 05:25 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by VirginiaSouthern
Gents,
I may be venturing out on a limb here, but isn't this a forum to discuss rail issues? This thread started out that way, but it seems to have turned in to a political/moral argument over funding a war vs. funding for a railroad. Whether you believe the war in Iraq/Afghanistan are just or not is not an issue that should be discussed here. There are plenty of online fora for that purpose.
I for one would like to see this thread get back to its original purpouse.

Just my $.02
You are correct. I would love to live the nostalgia of the 40s, feeling the sway and hearing the clickety-clack of jointed rail, on an ornately decorated Pullman car. Listening to the infantrymen sing songs, banter across aisles and smoking cigarettes.

Unfortunately, those days are gone. I just couldn't sit by and read pleas for Amtrak based on emotion. I used numbers and tried to inject common sense into the discussion. But, I am done - maybe I shed some light on the debate, maybe I didn't. I appreciate the opinions expressed by those who agree and disagree.
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Last edited by busyEMT; 11-12-2005 at 05:26 PM. Reason: correction
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Old 11-12-2005, 05:54 PM   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ween
You know what you call a society that provides housing, transportation, education, public transportation, jobs, food, health care, and a redistribution of wealth for its people? Socialist. I don't know about you, but I think I'd rather live they way the U.S. was founded and leave the socialist stuff for the Soviet Unions, Cubas, and Chinas of the world...
Thats actually communism. BIG difference between the two. Remember high school history? Keep in mind that America is socalist too, just nobody likes to say it. But for now, Im going stop since its not even train related anymore.

But yes yes VirginiaSouthern back to the point of the thread. Wether you like Amtrak or not, Gunn was the right man for the job at it was a shame they fired him. He could have put Amtrak back in the black for the first time in its miserable should-be-dead 34-year history. He was really putting Amtrak back on the right track and its too bad the gov't didnt pay any attention to him or what hes doing and just the track record of Amtrak. Amtrak and Gunn needed some more time together.

From what Ive read in Trains Mag, hes been getting more equiptment fixed and back working than anyone. I dont agree with him stopping Express parishables service, since that got Amtrak a good amount of money, but hes reasoning was to focus back on the passenger. Sure he was plagued with Acela problems, but on the plus more Superliners were rolling. I think the flag at Amtrak HQ is flying at half mast right now and it seems the days of Amtrak are numbered.
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Old 11-12-2005, 05:56 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by SD70MACMAN
Amtrak and Gunn needed some more time together.
I think you summed it up best right there.
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Old 11-12-2005, 07:41 PM   #31
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Thats actually communism. BIG difference between the two. Remember high school history?
Yes, and I remember what I learned in college as well...and what I've learned on my travels across the globe. All communists are socialists no matter how you cut it. Either way, a free market, capitalistic society is how I want America to remain...

On another note, perhaps all that money that was spent trying to keep Amtrak afloat for all these years could have been used to reinforce the levees in New Orleans or provide free education for the entire nation or supplement the welfare program. Who knows? If the logic works one way, why can't it work the other? I love the circular argument, as long as I phrase it to prove my point!! Yay!!!!

And just to make this post rail-related: I still hate UP.
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Old 11-12-2005, 07:48 PM   #32
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Originally Posted by Ween
And just to make this post rail-related: I still hate UP.
I do agree with your lack of interest in Amtrak, however, so your overall opinion has some credibility. Because I care, I've attached a few pictures of a CSX, NS, an Alton & Southern train for your viewing pleasure, to get your mind on other railroads.

Alton & Southern Railway.......

Image ©
PhotoID:
Photograph ©


CSX..............

Image ©
PhotoID:
Photograph ©


Norfolk Southern..........

Image © Bryan Jones
PhotoID: 82837
Photograph © Bryan Jones



Amtrak is good for one thing to me. When I am at Kirkwood, and the signal goes green for Amtrak, I know it is time to go get lunch. While it is lined up, I will not miss any real trains, and I don't have to subject myself to watching that tin can on wheels stop in front of the station. That's just my simple opinion of it. It's as exciting as watching a gallon of paint comletely dry in the can.
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Old 11-12-2005, 08:01 PM   #33
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Ha ha!! I knew the UP thing would get you to post!!!

Funny how a socialist/communist post can magically lead right to UP, eh?
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Old 11-12-2005, 08:11 PM   #34
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Originally Posted by Ween
Ha ha!! I knew the UP thing would get you to post!!!
What can I say, you got my attention with your warped opinion.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ween
Funny how a socialist/communist post can magically lead right to UP, eh?
D'oh, I did not even see it going that way. OK, time for you to get back to the topic of bashing Amtrak and leave the UP alone.
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Old 11-12-2005, 10:19 PM   #35
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The UP bashes itself enough w/o us saying anything. Remember when UP was paralyzed last year? That was fun. And you forgot BNSF w/ UP, Amtrak w/ UP, etc.

And COME ON, watching a gallon of paint dry is fun! And here in Edmonds, when the signal goes green for Amtrak, that means a pile up of trains going south which makes for some good train watching after the evening "passenger hour".

Communism = full gov't control over economy
Socalism = gov't has some control over economy
Capitalism = gov't has no control over economy
So no, no matter how you slice it theyre not the same.
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Old 11-13-2005, 02:31 AM   #36
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Actually, if I remember correctly, in pure communism, there is no government. Its actually more like an anarchy.

And for my rail related part:
If it weren't for Amtrak, I probably wouldn't see any trains on the CN/IC Joliet Subdivision. If the gates go down during the day here, you can wager its Amtrak's Texas Eage, Ann Rutledge, or State House flying through at 60 mph.Its very exhilarating to watch.
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Old 11-13-2005, 03:10 AM   #37
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Are there only freights at night and passenger in the day?
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UP's new slogan for Amtrak:
"We'll help you spread you wings and fly right into a siding!"

TRAINS TRAINS TRAINS!!! May the fun never end!
I'm a traitor! Im on JP.net! But all my plane shots involve trains!

BN FOREVER!
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Old 11-13-2005, 04:22 AM   #38
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You know, it angers me to think I'll be paying off our gigantic debt from the Iraq war when I am older. And you thought Amtrak was a waste of money...
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Old 11-13-2005, 06:48 PM   #39
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You know, it angers me to think I'll be paying off our gigantic debt from the Iraq war when I am older. And you thought Amtrak was a waste of money...
Actually, the action in Iraq is helping to keep the economy going. What do you think was the big boost to get us out of depression? That's right, WWII.

Again. This is a railroad forum. If you wish you to keep discussing your political/idealogical opinions, why not take it somewhere else?
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Old 11-14-2005, 12:40 AM   #40
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Originally Posted by VirginiaSouthern
Again. This is a railroad forum. If you wish you to keep discussing your political/idealogical opinions, why not take it somewhere else?
Agreed....comments on the subject (Amtrak's issue) are still welcome but the pro's and con's of war in Iraq are not needed here. Thanks!
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Old 11-14-2005, 03:36 AM   #41
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Originally Posted by SD70MACMAN
Are there only freights at night and passenger in the day?
Its pretty much passenger with a freight once in a great while. Back in April I saw my first freight on the line in a few years. Metra runs in the mornings and evenings. Amtrak runs more or less around the clock.
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Old 11-14-2005, 03:51 PM   #42
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ru1056
Amtrak has never made a single red cent of profit. It's a big hole with no bottom, and no end in sight.

What other company operates like that and is allowed to survive?
-commercial aviation, even BEFORE you factor in subsidies, upfront and hidden, operates in the red, and has for it's entire history, with few exceptions - and those only for a few years in a highly regulated environment.

You asked....
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Old 11-14-2005, 03:58 PM   #43
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Originally Posted by busyEMT

It would be cheaper to buy them all luxury cars since they can afford gas, insurance and regular maintenance.

Check out the study Amtrak's Negligible Impact on Congestion [Cox, W., Love, J]. This was commissioned after Amtrak was set to get Federal Highway monies in 09/95. Talk about a negative effect on the American economy. To revisit a comment regarding rural Montanan's, less money to the federal and state roads, means more difficult (and possibly more dangerous) travel to the train depot.
Buy them all limos and drivers? No, that would cost a lot more. Acela generates net $$.

...and don't give me Wendell Cox! He's generally starts with his own opinion as conclusion and works backward towards the facts - fitting in and distorting as he goes. Very intellectually lazy....
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Old 11-14-2005, 05:03 PM   #44
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For the sake of discussion, can anyone name a passenger railroad operation in the world that makes money? After you have answered that question, please advise who would pay for the increased highway, airport, etc., capacity that would be needed should passenger rail be turned over to the states, eh, discontinued?

I realize the loss of the Empire Builder won't make much of a dent on the nation's economy, but just take a look at the proliferation of commuter / regional passenger services that have sprung up in the last 20 years. Why? Regional and Local governments have concluded that they are cheaper than providing additional highway capacity.

Yes, internal decisions about Amtrak include political considerations. Would you expect a congressman from a state or district not served by Amtrak be willing to vote support?

The world is facing fundamental structural changes that may yet be evident. The unprecedented scope of industrialization in China will prevent oil prices from returning to levels of a year ago. Eventually the forces that are giving freight railroads their largest volumes ever, will apply to passenger rail. Maybe not everywhere, but certanly more and more each year.
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Old 11-15-2005, 12:03 AM   #45
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For the sake of discussion, can anyone name a passenger railroad operation in the world that makes money?
The only passenger railroads in the world that actually make money that I can think of are Tourist Railroads and maybe the upscale American Orient Express type trains.
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Old 11-15-2005, 12:25 PM   #46
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Originally Posted by fuente1
The only passenger railroads in the world that actually make money that I can think of are Tourist Railroads and maybe the upscale American Orient Express type trains.
Rememberr the former often rely upon volunteer labor and the latter doesn't have to capitalize locomotives, track, yards, etc.

The underlying point is that our public policy currently favors automobiles. This made sense in an era of inexpensive fuel and cheaper land. This policy will have to change - even if we had pollution-free vehicles that ran on renewabale resources eventually we'll run out of space in urban areas where they would have room to operate.
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Old 11-15-2005, 12:40 PM   #47
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even if we had pollution-free vehicles that ran on renewabale resources eventually we'll run out of space in urban areas where they would have room to operate.
This right here is the very reason why public transportation in many Asian countries is outstanding. Case in point is Korea. There are too many cars on the road as it is, so the South Korean government has invested very heavily in public transportation (rail, bus, subway). The result is an oustanding transportation system that actually makes money.

In the case of Amtrak, it boils down to the government's priorities and obviously passenger rail isn't one of them. Its a shame. Amtrak can work. There have been extensive articles written in many pubilcations, both rail and general transportation, that show how Amtrak could work. I certainly feel that Gunn was the one to make that happen. Not only that, but from what I've read, he not only could, but he actually seemed to care about the employees making that happen.
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Old 11-15-2005, 04:39 PM   #48
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fuente1
The only passenger railroads in the world that actually make money that I can think of are Tourist Railroads and maybe the upscale American Orient Express type trains.

Well, you have to define the term "make money". ICE, TGV, Japanese Bullet and even our lowly Acela and Metroliners all "make money" - that is they generate more cash than they consume. However, all are gov't owned and none could survive without sharing some infrastructure costs with the "losers".
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Old 11-15-2005, 08:39 PM   #49
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Rememberr the former often rely upon volunteer labor and the latter doesn't have to capitalize locomotives, track, yards, etc.
Tourist rail alot of times is NOT staffed by volunteer labor, museum rail is however. I have worked for two tourist railroads and all the staff was paid. Both roads also paid for all of their equipment, track, and operations. Museum rail is often operated by volunteers and donated equipment, track etc, hence Tourist Rail being the only real profitable passenger operations.
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Old 11-17-2005, 11:36 AM   #50
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Originally Posted by fuente1
Tourist rail alot of times is NOT staffed by volunteer labor, museum rail is however. I have worked for two tourist railroads and all the staff was paid. Both roads also paid for all of their equipment, track, and operations. Museum rail is often operated by volunteers and donated equipment, track etc, hence Tourist Rail being the only real profitable passenger operations.
Don't profess to be an expert on Tourist Rail Operations but suspect that they were not paying union scale with retirement / medical benefits, etc.

The point is that regular passenger rail does not earn enough from fares to pay employee wages, fuel, repairs to track / equipment and salt away enough cash to purchase new equipment every 25 years or so. We'll need economists to weigh in on this forum to discuss whether supporting such operations with taxes is wiser public policy than "investing" the dollars for highways, airports, locks and dams on inland waterways and all the other things that governments do.
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