A, , See by | FROM: P.O. Box 9007 Keer 9-9

Berkeley, CA 94709 USA FIRST CLASS 4 0 ¢ U.S. POSTAGE


AUGUST 1977 #154



ferries and the big red electric trains of the Southern

Pacific were the workaday transport for San Francisco

East Bay residents. This vital S.P. role spanned three

generations, starting with the early packet boats of the ree bce, Civil War era, and with the dawning of the railway age, the steam locals that met the boats.

THE TWENTIETH CENTURY brought a grand new era: electrification to compete with the rival Key Route, new lines, new cars, new boats. Alas, with the red trains came red ink, and finally the Bay Bridge doomed it all. Now . . . the fascinating story is told for the first time by Bob Ford in this documented, lavishly illustrated book which we are proud to present as Interurbans Special 65.

(Please add 75c for postage) 352 pp., $28.00

Fully illustrated . . . Color jacket painting by Harlan Hiney especially commissioned for this work . . . 140,000 words of text and appendices ... Maps, charts and diagrams .. . Scale drawings of all equipment . . . Minute specifica- tions for the entire S.P. ferry fleet from dawn to abandonment.

de DEPT. RTN sw

| P.O. Box 6444 any



Send RTN for year(s) at $9.75 per year or $5.00 for 6 months. My remittance is enclosed. This is: a new renewal/extension gitt awe *K

Mpatee. deeb 1... Ra * AMTRAK'S STRANGEST TRAIN

ES NN 5 See ear OF FROM: P.O. Box 9007 Racer 4-7

Berkeley, CA 94709 USA FIRST CLASS 4. 0 ¢ U.S. POSTAGE


AUGUST 1977 #54





ferries and the big red electric trains of the Southern

Pacific were the workaday transport for San Francisco

East Bay residents. This vital S.P. role spanned three : generations, starting with the early packet boats of the Sex a Civil War era, and with the dawning of the railway i ~~“ age, the steam locals that met the boats.

THE TWENTIETH CENTURY brought a grand new era: electrification to compete with the rival Key Route, new lines, new cars, new boats. Alas, with the red trains came red ink, and finally the Bay Bridge doomed it all. Now . . . the fascinating story is told for Ree iv the first time by Bob Ford in this documented, lavishly

fade illustrated book which we are proud to present as

NN Interurbans Special 65.

aM 4 (Please add 75c for postage) 352 pp., $28.00

Fully illustrated . . . Color jacket painting by Harlan Hiney especially commissioned for this work . . . 140,000 words of text and appendices... Maps, charts and diagrams... Scale drawings of all equipment . . . Minute specifica- tions for the entire S.P. ferry fleet from dawn to abandonment.


Send RTN for year(s) at $9.75 per year or $5.00 for 6 months. My remittance is enclosed. This is: a new renewal/extension gift ure. *K

SUID DRS SS wee eee) Ceumict ec an fo, 9) wl 5) @) ay 0) cay rae ete lee we


The first Amfleet ILLINOIS ZEPHYR, on May 7, 1976, drawn by General Electric P30CH (nickizmed POOCH) diesel engine 717. After this introduction, Amfleet cars didn't ste, vcry longe-at first. For the story of the ILLINOIS ZEPHYR, "Amtrak's most ur: a] train," see Larry Anglund's article in this issue. Kodachrome taken by Har , '\. Grossman at Galesburg, !1linois.


Just what fs going on in Amtrak's corporate mind these days? It appears that the railroad is coming apart at the seams. Of course, Congress has cut Amtrak's budget and certain cutbacks are necessary, but what seems to be happening makes Amtrak look foolish. | refer to such items as:

--eContinuing to run Amfleet snackbar coaches with only one attendant in crowded areas (Corridor, SAN DIEGAN route, etc.), creating long lines Of dis- gruntled passengers; the food itself is of only passable quality and frequently there just isn't enough of it. ...Amfleet toilets do not get maintained prop- erly. ...Jhe SOUTHWEST LIMITED rolls out of Chicago with a diner that promptly breaks down, and so at Galesburg Kentucky Fried Chicken is served to passengers.

«--Overselling of coach tickets is epidemic and passengers are denied boarding or are bused when they wanted a train trip (recently a group was turned away at Deming NM because the bedrooms they had reserved and paid for had already been sold. ...The COAST STARLIGHT gains passenger loadings, yet remains at the 18- car arbitrary limit. People are turned away daily and the train runs super= crowded as it is. ...Club service on the Chicago-Milwaukee lurbos is terminated for economy reasons (attendant! s salary), yet the fixed equipment continues to roll with empty first-class sections and the attendant is merely reeassigned, not laid off. ...Certain middle- and long-distance trains are cut back to 4< dayea-week running because patronage is not "up to par" or the company finds it convenient to get new equipment placed into service that way.

Aatrak, in attempting to economize, makes the same shopworn mistake that large corporations are prone to do--i.e., let the lowly worker go first to save on his salary. But without his face to the public, without his answering of the reservations phone or his ticket clerking or his on-board servicing of passene gers, SERVICE is lowered and more patrons decide that Amtrak really is a crock. Imagine trying to save money by removing a waiter from a diner! Yet that type of thing is common. If the corporation is too fat, don't cut off vital organs just to lose weight.

Let s also remember that new 403B trains are approved and money is spent to get them going, yet 90% of the equipment that was bad-ordered last winter is still out of service.

New men in new positions may come up with some new ideas, but | see too much foolish thinking and planning at Amtrak that Negates the good. Inveterate train riders have put up with Amtrak's bobbing and weaving in the last several years, but | for one am losing the faith.

Just hov, let me ask, is On-Board Services (to name just one department) with its great new ideas on improving employee morale going to implement its changes when trains run understaffed and overbooked with i]]-maintained equipment over substandard roadbed and at the mercy of railroad management whims? Yet, Amtrak seems to pay little attention to these and other over-the-road problems,

Rail Travel News, Vol. 7, No. 15 (Whole No, 159), First Issue of August, 1977. Copyright © 1977 by Message Media, Published twice monthly by Message Media P, 0, Box 9007, Berkeley CA 94709. Subscription $9.75 per year; single copy bg. ‘Overseas and institutional rates on request. STAFF: Editor: James Russell. Editor-at-Large: Paul Rayton. Regional Correspondents: Pater Putnam Bretz, Los Angeles; Jack Ferry, Chicago; Kenneth Maylath, Baltimore; Peter Roehm, Boston,


This is certainly so in regards to the FLORIDIAN. For years Amtrak has kept that train on a low profile. Older equipment was invariably assigned, Penn Central's terror track was followed, schedules were slow and tedious, etc. Now the call is to terminate the train because "nobody wants to ride it.” Come on, guys--that sounds like Southern Pacific in the '60s. Haven't any lessons been learned with success stories like the LAKE SHORE LIMITED?

Given the tools Amtrak has, and the little that it's really accomplished over the years--well, I'm really quite sad.

~ Peter Putnam Bretz Los Angeles, California


Following its Board meeting of Aug 31, Amtrak announced more service cuts, along with fare increases, in order to reduce its deficit in the next fiscal year. These cuts are in addition to those detailed here last issue, and are to take ef- fect Oct 30. They include reduction to 4 times weekly service on the SHENANDOAH and HILLTOPPER, and dropping of one daily and one Sunday-only roundtrip on the Chicago-Milwaukee Turboliners, In the Northeast Corridor, Amtrak will drop an average of 22 trains out of 120 daily runs. The rail corporation said it was cut- ting mainly trains that are scheduled close to other trains, and will add extra cars to the others. Among the Corridor cuts are 10 Metroliner runs; of these, 4 are Saturday cuts and 4 are Sunday cuts. Some 200-series trains are included in the cutbacks, and the recently-replaced "Clamdigger" will be dropped (Amtrak said it carried a maximum of 50 passengers per trip). Cuts will be seen on the NY- Philadelphia, NY-Harrisburg, New Haven-Springfield, Harrisburg-Philadelphia, Bose toneNY, Providence-New Haven, and Washington-NY¥ runs. On the Florida service, the previously=announced discontinuance of the CHAMPION from Sep 8-Dec 13 will be extended to an indefinite period. Amtrak said it will add a Florida West Coast section to the SILVER METEOR Oct 30, and will run special sections during the Christmas holidays. On Aug 22 Amtrak announced that it will cut the PALMETTO to 4 times weekly operation starting Sep 11; NY departures will be Thur-Sun, and Savannah departures will be Fri-Mon inclusive, while the NY-Washington leg contin- ues to run daily. It will run daily again Nov 18 thru Jan 8, then quad-weekly once more Jan S-Jun 15, 1978. The PALMETTO reduction will save Amtrak $200,000 per year, the corporation said. Amtrak must obtain permission from the DOT to reduce the SHENANDOAH service, since it is a designated "experimental" route.

A fare increase formula was approved by Amtrak's Board Aug 31, which will up fares by an average of about 24 per cent, some routes getting increases as high as 5 per cent, while some will get none. The fares will take effect Uct 30, and will be announced in detail about Sep 30. Amtrak last raised fares on Jun 1, and said the increase follows a "previously established policy of reexamining fares each spring and fall...to keep pace with inflation,"


The SAN JOAQUIN will continue to run daily, thanks to the action of the Calif- ornia Dept. of Transportation. On Sep 2 Callrans and Amtrak reached an agreement whereby the state will for one year reimburse Amtrak for the difference in the deficit between daily and quad-weekly operation. Recent ridership increases on the Oakland-Bakersfield train were cited in conjunction with the action, Amtrak had earlier announced a cutback in the train's frequency as part of its systema wide service reductions in order to meet a lower-than-anticipated budget.


The JAMES WHITCOMB RILEY will be renamed the CARDINAL, starting Oct 30, Amtrak announced Aug 25, The Cardinal is the state bird of all six states served by the train--Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky, West Virginia and Virginia. Other names considered: TRAILBLAZER, GEO. WASHINGTON, DANIEL BOONE, VIRGINIAN, GUEEN CITY LTD, and ALLEGHANY LTD. The NYC introduced the RILEY in 1941. page 3

Rail Canada


Canada's air transport system was near paralysis beginning Sunday, August Ls as air traffic controllers struck for higher wages. Transport Minister Otto Lang requested a special one-day session of Parliament to pass lecislation ordering the controllers back to work at the wages he last offered before the strike.

Shifts to rail and bus transport depended upon the trip lengths and the services available. The ability of rail and bus lines to handle the load was severely re- stricted by the strike's timing during the summer peak travel period. Following is a roundup of reports from across Canada:

TORONTO--Crowds were lined deep at Toronto's Union Station, center of the fairly comprehensive "Corridor" service. Passengers on Sunday were reported lucky to be able to obtain space on Monday.

WINNIPEG--CN reported that it was able to shoehorn an extra 75 passengers aboard the eastbound SUPER CONTINENTAL on Sunday by addition of an extra coach and the use of every randomly available space.

CALGARY==CP had an 80-person wait list for the eastbound CANADIAN Monday. Some space was available for single reservations from Thursday on,

EDMONTON--Beginning the Saturday before the strike, CN was receiving 100-150 calls an hour on its reservation phone line. Sunday morning's Train 1 was on time, with the regular summer consist (18 cars, including 7 sleepers) and coach 5548 and sleeper "Elbow River® remained on steam on the standby track. rey rorning the cars were on their way west in an expanded (and lateerunning) SUPER CONTINENTAL, leaving Edmonton stripped of standby cars. On the south side of Edmonton, CP's Railiner for Calgary left with a nearly full load. The single agent, who also handles dispatching duties, was glued to an ever-ringing phone. The intentionally obscure CP corridor service was not overloaded, however, des- pite the absence of the hourly 737 Edmonton-Calgary "airbus" service offered by Pacific Western, Greyhound’s hourly nonstop express service was running in 2 or 3 sections, as traffic switched to this well-publicized service. Traffic was also held down on CP by the impossibility of obtaining reserved space east or west from Calgary. Most turned-away passengers at South Edmonton said they would sit out the strike in Edmonton rather than take a bus to Calgary. for some there was no service; the discontinuance of trains to various Canadian and U.S. points, or the awkward connections in other cases, seemed to surprise ticket counter visitors. eee

"THE DISCOVERY TRAIN" will be the title of the national tour train to begin runs thru Canada, using the former American Freedom Train equipment. The 15 ex- PC baggage cars used on the AFT have been sold to Canada for $575,000, and have become part of the National Museums of Canada (see also story last issue).

THE SECOND NATIONAL Rail Passenger Conference and Public Transport Users! Congress will be held Sep 30-Uct 2 at Four Seasons Hotel and Algonquin College, Ottawa, sponsored by Transport 2000 and affiliates. Themes are: Equal accessi- bility to public transport; Consumer participation in transport planning; and Integration of rail, road, air, and urban transit. Fee $30 ($35 after 9/15) to: Algonquin College Conference Secretariat, Rm 8293, 1385 Woodroffe Ave, Ottawa K2G 1V¥8 Canada. Fall excursion to Waltham is available Oct 2.

THE CONSOLIDATION OF CN and CP services is some time off, judging by planned consists of the SUPER CONTINENTAL for Oct 30-Apr 29. Sleepers are reduced to one car out of Toronto. Such mid-winter reduction was severely criticized at last year's Toronto hearings. Critics say that even in that "slack" period one car was totally inadquate and people were daily turned away. This summer the train was cut back from 5 to 3 sleepers each out of Montreal and Toronto. CN has admitted that business was up considerably from last summer, and while long wait lists were taken day after day, requests for more cars met with the reply page 4

that the train was "up to limit." The limits are set arbitrarily by the railway critics say. Ouring the airline shutdown recently CN was able to run 8 sleepers. on the CAVALIER instead of the usual 3. The upcoming SUPER CONTINENTAL consist is: baggage (Mont-Win), bag (Tor-Van), coach (iV), coach (Mont-Capreo]), Coach (H-¥) gafp lounge (M-V) ate (M-V), Dayniter (T-V), club lounge (T-Win), iner (Te), Sceneranic dome (W-V), diner (Wev¥), 4-8-4 sfpr (WV), 4-824 slpr (T-V), 4-8-4 slpr (M-V), slpr, lounge & crew (M-Cap) 24-rm slpr, crew (T-V),

PRIME MINISTER TRUDEAU took a rail vacation on CN*s SUPER CONTINENTAL with his 3 children, a governess, and 2 attendants from Aug 9 to Aug 17, with stopovers, using two of four private cars owned by the transport department. The party boarded at Ottawa on the 9% andarrived at Jasper on the 14%, leaving there the 16% for a trip to Prince Rupert, where the Prime Minister flew to Whitehorse for a meeting. The 8-day trip covered 2600 miles.

Urban-Suburban Transit

A SUBWAY DAM collapsed in a construction area of Washington Metro's unfinish yellow line the night of Aug 25, causing water from the Patou River to ee 2 the tunnel and onto the blue line, causing the latter to be partially closed for several days. The redline continues to operate. On Aug 1 Metro re-routed some bus lines to connect with rail stations instead of running into downtown, and more such changes will be made Sep 6. Some complaints were heard that some trips were made longer and costlier by the changes. A Metro extension to Silver Spring MD scheduled to open Nov 30 has been put off until Feb 6 because of the need to replace communi cations cable on the 5-mile extension. A Washington Post article on Jul 31 by a British urban transit student suggested "derailing" Metro and turning the subway into an underground busway. An Aug 5 editorial in the same newspaper said the idea "borders on fantasy", but suggested attention to two questions: that of reliability and efficiency of Metro's equipment, operations & planning; and whether al] the outlying arms of the system ought to be completed.

y a THE READERS DIGEST, Aug issue, carries an article entitled "Anatomy of a Boon- doggle," about the people-mover built at West Virginia University in Mor- gantown, All its problems are noted, | and the conclusion oe : : , P is that it "ought Light Rail Vehicle on Boston's green lines HBTA photo, {p,ueke governaent funding people-movers elsewhere, iss a bts

A BART STRIKE began Aug 25 and continues at this writing (Se ~ of BART's police force defied a court order and struck, toda tek. ing picket lines. Aiministrative personnel operated the system with reduced ser- vice, Ganepn, and ridership is up to about 2/3 of normal. Meanwhile, an AC Transit strike is threatned, as talks with the Amalgamated Transit Union stalled. TRANSIT BRIEFS: SEPTA's ex-North Shore Electroliners are up for sale... Boston's MBTA will no longer run trains north of Boston late at night when rock concerts are scheduled at Boston Garden in the “interest of public safety"... Italian firm of Breda Costruzioni Ferroviarie is apparent low bidder to build new cars for Cleveland's Shaker Rapid fleet..... page 5

ne tt


\f any Amtrak train stands out as particularly different, it must be the ILLINOIS ZEPHYR. Starting as Burlington Northern trains 5&6 between Chicago and dest Quincy, Missouri, this remnant of the KANSAS CITY ZEPHYR ran primarily as a service to students attending Western Illinois University at Macomb and Quincy College. When Amtrak took over on May 1, 1971 the corporation announced that it would drop the train, at which time Quincy College obtained a restraining order forcing BN to operate a one-car local at its own expense until May 10, 1971 when the restraining order was lifted.

The colleges continued to protest, and after six months of negotiations be- tween Amtrak and the State of Illinois, the train was reinstated on November 4, 1971. In the agreement the State of Illinois was to pay two-thirds of the oper- ating deficit. The train was given the name ILLINOIS ZEPHYR--train 347 which runs westbound daily, and 348 which runs eastbound daily except Sunday, when 346 runs on a two-hour later schedule.

Until mid-1973 equipment was an ex-Burlington E unit or a BN E unit and con- ventional cars including domes. June 11, 1973 brought a change--Amtrak assigned leased C&NW Fe? units (which had auxiliary generators) with bi-level commuter cars. The cars were painted C&NW green and yellow, but as time went on they began to appear in Amtrak colors, The C&NW F units were all but reliable, so Amtrak E units came in for occasional assistance. In August, 1974 Amtrak elin- inated the F units and substituted reshopped E units with auxiliary generators. These were used until December, 1975, when Amtrak received the GE P30CH's that were on order, and placed them on the train.


In June, 1976 the ILLINOIS ZEPHYR

was again seen with P30 diesels (#711 preg eae “ns Shae here) and bilevel

< on cars. Photo by Harry Grossman, at Galesburg, !llinois.

Oe "i

Amtrak encountered problems with the P30's and bi-level cars in late January, 1976, so the IZ was downgraded to E units and conventional equipment for a three-week period unti] the trouble was resolved. From February, 1976 to May 6, 1976, equipment was again P30's and bi-levels.

On May 6, 1976 Amfleet cars arrived but ran only one week on the train be- cause other trains were short of equipment. And so it was back to bi-levels and P30's, Finally on December 7, 1976 Amfleet came to stay. Since that time the train could be found with almost any kind of power--£ units, P30's and even F40's. In the very cold period in January, 1977 it wasn't uncommon to see a BN freight engine pulling the train.

The train's schedule has hardly ever changed since 1971--departing Chicago at 6pm and arriving Chicago at 10:30am, These times have varied no more than 20 minutes either way. Ridership has slowly increased and is expected to con- tinue rising.

By two colleges fighting for their wants, a daily train between Chicago and Quincy now exists, making intermediate stops at LaGrange, Aurora, Plano, Men- dota, Kewanee, Galesburg, Macomb and Quincy, Illinois, and appropriately named the ILLINOIS ZEPHYR. page 6


Amtrak has come under more attack by its supporters this summer than at any time since the reign of Roger Lewis. As cut after service cut becomes known, rail travel supporters are becoming more irate. Having expected better things with the succession of Brock Adams to DOT leadership, they are now finding the first real period of rail service cutbacks since Amtrak began. Even under the hostile oversight of Brinegar and Coleman, Amtrak made slow but steady expansion and improvement. Now, ironically, with a friendly person in the Cabinet Amtrak is faced with one of the biggest crises of its existence.

The biggest factor in the crisis was the work of Bert Lance's Office of Management and Budget in the White House. Last spring Lance's OMB cut Amtrak's request for appropriations for next fiscal year by $34.1 million-- down to an even $500 million. That $34.1 million would have provided a lot of needed service to the public. Lance is currently under strong attack in Washington for other reasons, and may be forced to give up his post, but that won't help Amtrak's problem. Why Amtrak was silent about this cut last spring is not known. The corporation agreed to take that figure-- $500 million--to Congress, but warned that it would have to pare service to stay within that budget.

The next chapter in Amtrak's budget story came when the House in a joint meeting with Senate members voted to cut Amtrak's request even further-- to $488.5 million. This move was the work of Democratic Congressman John McFall of Manteca, California, in the San Joaquin Valley. McFall is chairman of the House Appropriations Committee. He was reportedly unswayed by threats that Amtrak's SAN JOAQUIN would be cut back. Now sources say that he is feeling much pressure from his constituents and from the media in the San Joaquin Valley about his actions.

The actions of Congress seem to reflect a growing loss of support for Amtrak. This loss was undoubtedly conditioned by Amtrak's poor perform- ance last winter when it ran into severe equipment problems and annulled a lot of trains. Granted that it was the most difficult winter on record, and granted that it was very hard to cope with several feet of ice over vital tracks and other problems. Nevertheless Amtrak made mistakes last win- ter that it would rather not admit. Recently a shakeup and reorganization at high levels within Amtrak has been occurring. A number of observers believe that Amtrak President Paul Reistrup has been too slow in making top personnel changes. They feel that he should have rolled more heads when he took office exactly 2 1/2 years ago. Hopefully new people will im- prove matters, but they can't change what has already happened.

All forms of transportation suffered in the winter of 1976-77, but our rail passenger system, apparently alone among transportation modes, has not asked the government for extra funds to offset the winter-induced damage. The Highway Administration asked for more money to cover snow-removal and highway-damage expenses. The Federal Aviation Administration asked for more money to cover its extra airport expenses. Amtrak has never asked for extra funds to defray the damage it incurred last winter. The vast major- ity of Amtrak cars frozen up and damaged last winter remain unrepaired. Amtrak should request a supplemental appropriation from Congress because of its winter losses.

Some insiders feel that the key to Amtrak's problems lies with its Board of Directors. At present there are seven vacancies to be filled, and the Carter administration is apparently asking for only one re-appointment--

page 7

that of retired labor leader Charles Luna. Names of three other proposed members have been revealed in the press late this month, and they include two very strong and prominent passenger train supporters--Anthony Haswell, founder of NARP, and California State Senator James R. Mills. The third person is M. Athalie Range, a Miami funeral home director and activist in black civic affairs. These names might be sent to the Senate in September for confirmation, when Congress returns from vacation.

If the White House in proposing these new Board members plans to strengthen Amtrak, that's very well and good. However, Amtrak's current crisis also stems from a White House action, the OMB's obsession with budget balancing. The administration makes a lot of favorable noises about improving transportation and saving energy, but it doesn't have a good record for putting its money where its mouth is. The Wall Street Journal keeps saying that Carter is displeased with Secretary Adams, pri- marily because of a dispute over whether to support airline deregulation. c The press charges that Adams is too pre-occupied with preparing to run for the Senate to do an effective job. Newspapers in Adams's home state i of Washington, at first elated over his appointment to the Cabinet, have } become bitter about his alleged distancing himself from state problems and ~~ making himself inaccessible to reporters.

Washington seems to be in disarray over transportation matters, and all the while the cast of characters there is goofing off and making wrong- headed decisions, the evidence keeps coming in that our public transporta- tion system must be strengthened with all possible speed.

A new market research study prepared in all seriousness (see last issue) forecasts an increase in rail travel of three thousand per cent between 1975 and 1995, or an average increase of 150% yearly. This is for intercity travel only; rail commuter travel will also increase markedly. (We have not seen the original $650/copy study, but can refer the reader to a summary in Railway Age, Jul 25 issue.)

A massive survey of 72.5 million households performed by the Census Bureau and HUD, released August 28, found that inadequate transportation was the biggest problem people complained of around their places of resi- dence--much more so than urban crime, altho crime occupies a greater portion of news media space and time than does transportation. Not only that, but traffic noise was the most frequently listed undesirable condition existing near their homes.

Add to the existence of these compelling data the fact that the administra- tion went to the trouble to establish a Department of Energy to cope with the enormous problems of powering the nation's machines as conventional fuel runs out, and one can only conclude that the government's left hand does not know what its right hand is doing. It is cutting back on the most fuel- efficient mode of transportation at the same time that it's trying to conserve energy.

5 tem

Tom Wicker in the New York Times (Sept 2) raises the same question: 4

"The reduced federal subsidy (to Amtrak), forcing service cuts and fare increases, is nothing less than weird. How do Mr. Carter and Congress expect ever to convince the public that there's an energy crisis--much less that they know how to cope with it?"

And the budget cutting that forces Amtrak to reduce service and act like the pre-1971 railroads is giving the rail corporation a bad image just at the time when people should be encouraged to switch to the rail mode whenever possible.

As Congress returns from its vacation in September there will be a lot of letters heading their way from a public that must take the brunt of every wrong-headed Washington decision. page 8

THE FLORIDIAN STORY by Dr. Charles A. Dunn

The proposed discontinuance of the Chicago-Florida FLORIDIAN has aroused a vast amount of opposition among rail supporters, and Amtrak has asked for their comments on this plan and on several re-routing alternatives which were listed in our last issue.

The FLORIDIAN's route is one of its serious deficiencies. Amtrak's incorpora= tors apparently followed the path of least resistance in choosing the present route via Montgomery and Birmingham, the route one of the pre-Amtrak trains followed. According to Amtrak's first annual report, the Southern Railway opposed service thru Atlanta. The report said that Amtrak was evaluating the possibility of run- ning the train thru Atlanta, but nowe-six years later--discontinuance is threatened.

When the present route was selected, letters and telearams of protest to Amtrak were answered by form letters. In 1974 Mr. Tom Jackson and | put together a de- tailed route proposal to split the train at Nashville and run one section on the present route and the other on the Chattanooga-Atlanta-Macon-Savannah route, to be rejoined at Jacksonville. Research showed this to be operationally feasible. In spite of overwhelming support of the proposal from all sectors along the route, Amtrak gave it only lip service. The ICC in Ex Parte No. 277 (Sub-No 3) stated: "Witnesses in the Florida hearing sessions told of thick files of letters and civic resolutions with which they have bombarded Amtrak and DOT officials in Wash- ington, But they came away with inconclusive results, an unsatisfying feeling that they are not quite sure what the standards are, nor sure they have gotten their message across to the real decision makers in Washington. There is a feeling that the needs of the Southeast have not been given adequate consideration..."

That Atlanta is the business, educational, population and convention hub of the Southeast is common knowledge. It has the second busiest airport in the nation, Yet Atlanta remains inaccessible from Florida or the Midwest on Amtrak. The added population that would be served on the Nashville-Jacksonville segment thru Atlanta is over a million--2,089,000 vs. 940,599 on the present route. The figure Amtrak gives, 8.5% increase, is diluted by the population along the entire Chicago-Flori- da route. Routing the train thru Atlanta would increase the financial contribue tion tremendously, in spite of the capital investment required.

On April 25, 1976 Amtrak decided to route the FLORIDIAN only on the Orlando- Auburndale Jeg, dropping the Waldo (Gainesville)-Ocala leg despite the train's carrying 11,925 coach and 596 sleeper passengers on this leg in 1975. After pub- lic outcry, the service was restored Hay 15, 1976. But the ill-founded initial decision illustrates Amtrak's thinking about the FLORIDIAN. Elementary logic says that you don't decrease a deficit by cutting out ridership--you INCREASE the deficit.

The FLORIDIAN’s schedule has been juggled more than any other Amtrak train.

The schedule has been changed 18 times, including 4 "flips" between day-night-day and night-dayenight (see next 2 pages). The current schedule misses all connec- tions with over 50 Amtrak trains in and out of Chicago. One cannot expect to build up return ridership if the schedule is constantly in flux. Connecting rev- enue would be greatly increased (it is non-existent now) if the train were put back on the night-day-night schedule, arriving Chicago in early morning and leave ing late at night. This would also require only "one day out® for business trips.

Connecting revenue could be increased by scheduling to make connections in Bir- mingham to allow Chicago-Atlanta, Florida-Atlanta, and Florida-New Orleans service. When this was possible on previous Spy rlantday schedules, connections were aiss- ed by mere minutes, necessitating a 23-hour-plus layover in Birmingham for Chicago-

Atlanta travelers, even tho the thru fare was shown in public schedules, The present Miami arrival time is 10:50pm (if the train is on tine). The Miani

page 9


1=6-74 no chan Read down (SB) Read up (NB) 5-19-74 nh fisted phe 5e1-71 lv Chicago 8:10am ar Chicago 7:20pa Day-Ni ght-Day 9n15= 74 8:30pa 7:00am B ar Miami 7:00pm Iv Miami 9:45am ; 10: 55aa 5: 15pm Two FLORIDIANS maet at 1-22-71 ee eg 1121574 no change Decatur, Alabama. The north- ope ean 1-11-75 no change bound train on the left neets 11-14-71 11:30pm 7:00am Flipped to Night-Day-Night 4e2T=75 no change the southbound consist at 2:10 ve gS Op li » ies 7:00 pm on December 27, 1975. Both 12-17-71 11:30pm 7:00am = + Uupm > vUan trai mal i holi aessan 7:10pm 11:59am 5:35pm rains were carrying large holi- 4016-12 no change Tider i shaker Boas a deh } 10-26-75 no change day crowds. While the north- 1-23-72" 9: 00pm 9:35am Schedule changed--not publ ished-- 11-30-75 no change bound was on tine, the other was 41:35am 2:30pm local handout only 28 Bd 12-12-75 no change running an hour late, a frequent 4-30-72 9: 00pm 6:00am Layover Jacksonville thr SB, bess nee 1:00 occurrence at that time. Dome .. 1:05pm _ 12:15pm thr SSmin NBs 4e2d- ss hehSon | coach seen is #9473, a former 6-11-72 no change a it 75-16 9: O0pa 7: 0am Burlington car. Photo by 9-12-12 Be s rete Flipped to Day-Night-Day fig 42:1 5: or Robert van Wormer. 55pm 00am re i ae ete : q is 7-19-76 no change ote piles ee 10-31-16 8:30am 9:25pm Flipped to Day-Nicht-Day; AUTO» 4-29-73 8:30pm 7:00am Flipped to Night-Day-Night; Layover Ok it tae tat A pom 1 b2Sllen PAI aii adied Sanford oul ssi} e. Belk ba ath BEE, dol ot ent alacksonville 8: ASB EAU NE» = shes patie | 6-10-73 no change Soe er eee ; u : PEALE eS 2 i 10-29-73 8:30pm 7:00am Layover Jacksonville 4'5" SB, 6-12-77 no change Silent & owed! qAligan ce ao Gsaieny SOE ABET * ata, Sener j ; Dae 8:55am T:40pm Published Flip--Never took place peng oc under Amtrak: 18 schedule changes, four flipped schedules, le, hentia | RRR ct): Ney RR PI ee bape tt 12-14-73 8:30pm 7:00am Actual Schedule 11: 10am 5:30pm *Changed from Central Station to Union Station, Chicago.

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area is a tourist-oriented community, and many patrons use hotels. All hotels

that | know require a 6pm check-in le a paid guaranteed reservation), and this arrival time is not conducive to the tourist business. Previously the Miami arrive al time was even worse--11:35pa,

After the cold weather problems last winter, the FLORIDIAN was temporarily dis= continued. When service was resumed it was for 3 weeks coach only Miami-Yackson- ville. It left one hour, 20 mins ahead of the SILVER METEGR and followed the same route in Florida. The METEOR went out with a diner, the FLORIDIAN with none. As a result, FLORIDIAN ridership was nil. How much did this ill-conceived idea affect the FLORIDIAN deficit?

The FLORIDIAN is the lowest-rated of all Amtrak trains in RTN's latest reader survey (see last issue). Most of this low rating is a result of poor routing and scheduling (both rated below average, in the "unacceptable® lf However, RIN readers will be well aware from previous articles, if not from personal experience, that equipment problems have plagued the train--the FLORIDIAN seeming to receive the equipment castoffs of better Amtrak trains--,that track has been rough and

tory iboats t70. rev cs the ICC to drop the Jacksonville-Miami sleeping car. This would have required first class passengers to be awakened in the middle of the night at Jacksonville, rousted out of their beds and moved to coach. After public outcry, Amtrak dropped the petition. However, when the schedule was flip- ped to accommodate the AUTO-TRAIN consolidation, the sleeper WAS dropped, and remains off the train to the present day. In addition, the dining car was dropped between Miami and Jacksonville. Amtrak is circumventing the intent of the ICC Adequacy of Service criteria by not providing full meal and first class service Hiami-Jacksonville.

In summary, the FLORIDIAN is building up a large deficit because the train is made extremely unattractive to the rail traveling public because of service and equipment deficiencies, unattractive scheduling with non-existent connections, and routing that misses the logical city to serve--Atlanta.

Autrak's route criteria clearly mandate that in the method for establishing priority ranking of routes and services, if the service quality can be upgraded and promoted to improve economics, then the recommended ranking is Category 3: CONTINUE WITH REVISED SERVICE. This is clearly the case with the FLORIDIAN, The train has been downgraded and mismanaged to the extent that it is an economic failure. Correction of these deficiencies will meet the economic, social, and environmental criteria necessary for a viable existence.

RECOMMENDATIONS: | recommend that the FLORIDIAN be rerouted as soon as possible thru Atlanta via Chicago, Nashville, Chattanooga, Atlanta, Macon, Savannah, Jacksonville, Miami/St. Pet- ersburg, with a schedule change to night-day-night operation so as to ar- rive in Chicago to make connections with the Amtrak Midwest network and vice-versa.

In the interia, until this can be reasonably accomp! ished, e@ train should be changed to a night-day-night schedule to re-establish Chicago con- nections; and further that connections be arranged at Birmingham to allow Chicago-Atlanta, Florida-Atlanta, and Florida-New Orleans services (a con- nection missed by minutes on previous schedules; and further that Wiani-


The combined FLORIDIAN/AUTO-TRAIN experi- Jacksonville-(Chicago) sleeping and ment began Oct 31, 1976. In this photo rea res ae 5 . by Robert Clark, the first cars are

page 12 joined at Sanford, Florida.

ALONG THE MISSING 12 MILES by Jerome A. Rosenfeld

Amtrak evidently will be replacing in the near future the missing 12 miles of track on the LAKE SHORE LIMITED route--known to some as the Roger Lewis Memorial Roadbed, named for the former Amtrak President who approved the Penn Central's tearing up of the former Boston & Albany passenger line in 1971. As reported earlier in RIN, Conoressman Silvio 0. Conte of Pittsfield MA had funds specified for this project written into the recent Amtrak appropriations bill, and wants concrete ties used for the job.

The abandoned line runs from Rensselaer NY eastward to Post Road Cros- sing in Niverville NY, where it met the busy B&A freight line that has freights every few minutes daily in and out of Boston-Selkirk, and one passenger train, the LAKE SHORE LIMITED, that must make a 7-mile backup move between Troy and Rensselaer that would be eliminated by restoration of the 12-mile line.

On a July day | walked 2 wiles up the line from Rensselaer, photo- graphing and observing. The sig- nals | saw were intact, but with their mechanisms cannibalized.

Also remaining is the ballast, but not 4 single tie plate, tie, spike or piece of rail anywhere that | walked. All the bridges | saw were intact. About a mile away from the point where the line diverges from the Hudson Line were two target signals. The photo shows the west- bound signal, looking eastward.

| learned that if | had proceed- ed a mile farther | would have come to the location of East Greenbush station, | cannot say whether the

building is still standing. Refer- ence to a 1957 employee timetable showed the following names on the line: Interlocking 99 (Rensselaer); Columbia Street (Rensselaer); East

Greenbush; Brookview; Van Hoesen; and then Post Road Crossing. The only stae tion on the abandoned portion was East Greenbush, as all the other names were simply the towns the line passed thru. These towns must have had stations years ago, but when my father worked it at times in the 1950's the train only stopped at East Greenbush. In the 1940's and 1950's it was a busy line with many trains. A 1952 Official Guide shows NYC train 6, the Chicago-New York FIFTH AVENUE SPECIAL stopping daily at Brookview and Van Hoesen, and daily "Beeliner" service at these points as well as East Greenbush and Post Road.

A ea schedule lists only Brookview as a stop between Rensselaer and Niver- ville.

Presumably the countryside thru which | trudged will be gazed at by numerous Amtrak passengers in the near future. a ee ee ee

Watch these pages for announcement of the appearance soon of the long-delayed first RTN Rail Travel Yearbook. Thank you!

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Mixed Train of Thoughts

NORTH COAST HIAWATHA may be re-routed thru Helena MI, bypassing Butte and Deer Lodge, but adding Logan and Garrison, in addition to Helena, The main reason for this proposal is that the BN wants to abandon its branch line used by Amtrak thru Butte, and this would increase maintenance of way costs substantially if Amtrak continued to use it. Other reasons for the change, according to Amtrak, are that no feasible alternative line thru Butte exists, that the Helena line is in good condition, that the populations of Butte and Helena are about the same--26,000, that Helena is the state capital, that Butte has an eastewest interstate highway and Helena has none, and that added revenue, $91,617 annually, would come from the change (on a tri-weekly basis). Amtrak wants public comment on the idea, and will announce dates and procedures for giving it soon, Amtrak's Board approved the pro- posal for a public forum at its Aug 31 meeting.....


CHICAGO TO SEATTLE train schedules for Sep 8 have been leaked to RIN (and thus they could be changed before then), and they show the NORTH COAST HIAWATHA becom- ing a Minneapolis-Seattle train. that part of the train that ran Chicago-Hinnea- polis will continue to run on its slow schedule and be renamed the TWIN CITIES HIAWATHA, Four days a week a train will leave Minneapolis as train 7, the EMPIRE BUILDER, and run to Seattle on the northern route. The other 3 days (sun, Tues, Thur) it leaves Minneapolis (same time as #7, 12:45am) as the NORTH COAST HIAWATHA, train 17 (instead of the present #9). No.7 arrives Seattle 3:35pm, while No.17 reaches there at 4:05pm. The NCH of course runs on the Southern route. The east- bound BUILDER #8 leaves Seattle Sun, Tue, Thur, & Sat at 11:55am, while the rest of the week it leaves at 10:45am as train 18, the NCH, and there is a 5t-hour lay- over in Minneapolis before train 10, the TWIN CITIES HIAWATHA proceeds to Chicago. Minneapolis arrival is 6:05am for the NCH and 6:25am for the BUILDER.....

BOARD OF DIRECTORS of Amtrak on Aug 31 approved spending funds to rehabilitate station and tracks to allow Amtrak to move into Omaha Union Station. Since Sept. 1973 Amtrak has used trailers for station quarters there. Amtrak will take a 20- year lease on the station, and will extend the station track for 565 feet to con- nect up with the UP mainline. It will build a connection between the UP and the BN, over CNW right of way, to allow use of the station without a backup move.

The Omaha station serviced 19,000 passengers in 1976, Amtrak said. The Board