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Subject:  Re: Cruise Ship Date:  2/16/2013  8:15 PM
Author:  JeanDavid Number:  18228 of 20599

The cruise ship reminds us of an Amtrak train we once took to Orlando -- 27 hours of hell!


We wrote Amtrak afterward, and they sent us a credit for a trip from CT to Washington, D.C. We swore never again to take that train!

Amtrak runs on different routes to different places.

From Washington, D.C., to Boston, Ma, they own the tracks and it is all electrified and service is just fine.

From New York City to Chicago, the service is quite good westbound, but often very late (once cancelled) eastbound.

The Empire Builder from Chicago to Seattle is just wonderful. I have never been late on it, and sometimes 20 minutes early.

From Chicago to LA, it was fine. From Bakersfield to Olympia, it was terrible and many hours late.

My trip from New York City to Tampa was pretty bad. Slightly early to Washington D.C., then progressively later to Georgia, by which time (in the evening) we were 3 hours late. Yet when my friend in Tampa called them, they told her the train was on time. That was a bald faced lie.

Going the other way was worse. The train originates in Miami and did not even make it to Tampa. The single track line from Winter Park to Tampa could not be used because a freight train derailed on it. So eventually, they took us by bus to Winter Park. There the northbound train was waiting on a siding. They could not go until the southbound train arrived. So we eventually left about 9 hours late.

In every case with rotten on-time performance, the problem has been the use of single track lines. These were in the 21 century, not the 19th century. Even in the Albany NY area, where the New York Central had used 4 tracks, Conrail ripped out three tracks to save on maintenance and taxes. If the westbound train misses its window, you often must wait for four or more eastbound trains to pass before you can progress. Also, the railroads seem to give preference to their freight trains and fit in the Amtrak trains when they can. Unlike before 1950 and before, when passenger trains had priority over all others.
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