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Senators ask Amtrak to increase capacity

Sidney Herald -- U.S. Sens. Max Baucus and Jon Tester, D-Mont., are urging Amtrak to increase capacity on the Empire Builder to help energy-impacted communities take full advantage of the Bakken oil and gas boom.

“We are hearing from our constituents that Amtrak passenger capacity for Montanans, tourists and other passengers trying to travel through eastern Montana and western North Dakota can be ‘extremely limited.’ The swell of demand for travel into and out of the Bakken region must be addressed,” Baucus and Tester wrote in a letter to Amtrak President and CEO Joseph Boardman. “Reliable long-distance passenger rail service is vitally important for our constituents, especially as many residents commute from central or western Montana to jobs in the Bakken. The Empire Builder route is an essential part o


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Submitted Aug 05, 2012 By: skb69sa
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Author Topic: Senators ask Amtrak to increase capacity Back to Topics
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honda0105
Champion Author Tallahassee

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Message Posted: Aug 9, 2012 4:50:14 AM

chicken and egg situation, isn't it? Add more capacity to increase / encourage ridership, but that's only a viable business option if ridership is already up.

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Gnusman53
Champion Author San Diego

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Message Posted: Aug 8, 2012 10:33:30 PM

Maybe they could call it the "back to the future" plan (grin)
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Gnusman53
Champion Author San Diego

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Message Posted: Aug 8, 2012 10:30:01 PM

For instance, teams in Montana's Frontier conference travel a lot and now have added schools like Dickinson State and Southern Oregon....

Now they mostly use buses. It could easily be cheaper with rail and that could also provide a steady customer base to build a passenger service upon....

The schools make travel plans many months in advance and could probably be started within a year or so....
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Gnusman53
Champion Author San Diego

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Message Posted: Aug 8, 2012 10:24:31 PM

It could be developed as a an answer to commuting problems...and could be funded by the energy companies......

Then it could also be expanded to neighboring states.

Nearly a hundred years ago, rail was used to even move college football teams across the entire country.

It could be used again for the same reason -- at least for the back and forth with Montana teams and their opponents...
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Gnusman53
Champion Author San Diego

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Message Posted: Aug 8, 2012 10:18:37 PM

In Montana, light commuter rail would be a good use of the rail lines...
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Gnusman53
Champion Author San Diego

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Message Posted: Aug 8, 2012 10:17:01 PM

Long range passenger service should maximize options....ie., for an additional $10 or $15 on a ticket, allow a car to be moved point to point...

In Europe they do something similar....and have done it for decades...

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bulbous
Champion Author Ohio

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Message Posted: Aug 6, 2012 9:50:30 PM

idiot governors,like in ohio, sent the funds for our passenger trains back to the federal government.now we are stuck with an antiquated transportation system forever,or until we get another governor.
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Gnusman53
Champion Author San Diego

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Message Posted: Aug 6, 2012 9:25:00 PM

Sadly Rodzilla is in total fantasy mode.
The opposite of what he says is the actual truth.
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sparky808
Champion Author Honolulu

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Message Posted: Aug 6, 2012 12:29:57 PM

Thank you for posting.
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tomok
Champion Author Portland

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Message Posted: Aug 6, 2012 2:47:47 AM

You only add additional train service if there is a demand to justify the increase in spending. If there is No demand or the level of ridership stays the same, you do not increase the service. It should not take anybody outside Amtrak to say something, service should have already been increased when the demand increased. There's a train a comin.'
Whatever the size or shape of the vehicle, Produce and ‘Drive’ vehicles with high MPG, are very safe, reliable, have a ‘reasonable’ cost and a good ‘value’ for the money. Consider using other forms of less expensive transportation to lower your cost.
The price of fuel at the pump is too high!
12/22/2012
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jrsva
Champion Author Virginia

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Message Posted: Aug 6, 2012 12:12:34 AM


It is very difficult to get a reservation on The Empire Builder. Adding a couple of cars would help but they really need to run a second section at least part of the time. The present situation discourages ridership.
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pgerassi
Champion Author Milwaukee

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Message Posted: Aug 5, 2012 11:51:30 PM

It would be better to add one trainset, a complete train consisting of 2 locomotives, 1 baggage cars, 1 coach baggage car, 1 diner, 1 crew sleeper car, 3 sleeping cars, 1 sightseeing/lounge car, and 3 coaches. That would both increase the probability of on time performance and increase capacity. There are four trainsets currently running the EB, Empire Builder, route, plus two additional locomotives that run the Portland to Spokane portion (one each way) where the 4 cars going to Portland are split off (the baggage/coach car, the lounge/sightseeing car, a sleeper car, and a coach car). A coach car is stored at Minneapolis and is added to each eastbound train and is returned by the subsequent westbound train to add more capacity to the Chicago/Minneapolis portion of the route. Since it takes 2 days each way to run the route, you need four trainsets at a minimum.

Of course the problem is that if any train is late, you have to cutoff the ends and bus the people the rest of the way with those leaving having to be bused there. This is a bigger problem at the western end than at the eastern end because the Hiawatha runs 6 trains daily between Milwaukee and Chicago which saves 5 hours and because this part of the track is double tracked and is up to 110MPH service standards, few delays happen on this end, so the trainset would likely be stored at the Portland/Settle end allowing on time departures when the train is late and/or a car became defective within the trainset. In addition Amtrak could add a coach and/or sleeper car to some trainsets from this spare trainset which boosts the capacity further while still keeping enough of a trainset to overcome delays.
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52MPG
Champion Author Dayton

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Message Posted: Aug 5, 2012 11:33:59 PM

More government meddling.
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PaylessKY
Champion Author Kentucky

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Message Posted: Aug 5, 2012 11:24:25 PM

My dad worked for the Southern Rail Road, Now Norfolk Southern. I remember riding the train on vacation. It is a part of my childhood life , I miss a lot.
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crreed1
Champion Author West Virginia

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Message Posted: Aug 5, 2012 11:14:23 PM

we need to bring them back
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Eugenian
Champion Author Oregon

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Message Posted: Aug 5, 2012 11:13:20 PM

Passenger rail is our most underappreciated transportation asset.
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jkpsr
Champion Author New Jersey

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Message Posted: Aug 5, 2012 11:12:42 PM

If Congress left Amtrak alone, it could be profitable, but not running the long routes such as the Empire Builder.
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pyndasky
Champion Author Maryland

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Message Posted: Aug 5, 2012 11:12:15 PM

about time!!!
Rail travel is a missing element of our commerce system... we bail out auto manufacturers, subsidize and sustain air travel, use tax dollars to build roads and bridges, but don't invest in rail at a level to keep this critical mode of travel healthy....
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ssect8
Champion Author Hartford

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Message Posted: Aug 5, 2012 11:12:14 PM

Sounds like more waste of money.
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LanguageMan1
Champion Author Tampa

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Message Posted: Aug 5, 2012 11:12:05 PM

I do hope capacity is increased and made use of as well. I believe this is one project in one area that would succeed; quite unlike high speed rail around here. We just wouldn't have the ridership around here for it to be profitable.
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quasar502
Champion Author Lansing

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Message Posted: Aug 5, 2012 11:11:06 PM

The ridership has been growing all over.
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1fulltank
Champion Author Buffalo

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Message Posted: Aug 5, 2012 11:10:47 PM

Just make sure it's not too temporary of an upswing in riders.
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tedjm1
Champion Author New York

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Message Posted: Aug 5, 2012 11:10:32 PM

Do not use Amtrak.
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alaric76
Champion Author New Jersey

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Message Posted: Aug 5, 2012 11:10:13 PM

I love the sky car. We have a continuous poker game upstairs!
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jem069
Champion Author Detroit

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Message Posted: Aug 5, 2012 11:09:42 PM

Ok
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PrinceLH
Champion Author Ontario

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Message Posted: Aug 5, 2012 11:07:24 PM

Just do it!
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rahcat
Champion Author Grand Rapids

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Message Posted: Aug 5, 2012 11:07:14 PM

Have used Amtrak from Holland, MI to Chicago, Il. many times.....Love the ride.
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joel27nc
Champion Author Raleigh

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Message Posted: Aug 5, 2012 11:06:46 PM

need to upgrade the system
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J4romeo
All-Star Author Gary

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Message Posted: Aug 5, 2012 11:06:41 PM

it's going to be away of the future n more buses...taxi's not
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Jarol
Champion Author Iowa

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Message Posted: Aug 5, 2012 11:06:32 PM

If they can make a profit without tax dollars ... I'm all for it.
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gilfarm
Champion Author Alabama

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Message Posted: Aug 5, 2012 11:05:55 PM

Ok
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Rageagainsttm
Champion Author Tampa

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Message Posted: Aug 5, 2012 11:05:25 PM

nice
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jrschl
Champion Author Louisville

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Message Posted: Aug 5, 2012 11:03:22 PM

Love the train. Still.
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rxman1
Champion Author Toledo

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Message Posted: Aug 5, 2012 11:03:11 PM

Sydney is in Montana. Where there is demand for service, that is the time to add cars or runs to meet the demand.
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bluegrasser1
Champion Author Richmond

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Message Posted: Aug 5, 2012 11:01:29 PM

ok
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TustinDad
Champion Author Orange County

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Message Posted: Aug 5, 2012 11:01:13 PM

Very well said, gasokie!
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TXGasPriceSpy
Champion Author Fort Worth

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Message Posted: Aug 5, 2012 11:00:30 PM

Politics at work.
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mackconsult
Champion Author Portland

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Message Posted: Aug 5, 2012 10:57:15 PM

Good for them
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gasokie
Champion Author Oklahoma

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Message Posted: Aug 5, 2012 10:52:03 PM

Railroads have really been screwed over the past many years cause they are hated. But the trucking industry enjoys almost free roads, cheap tags etc. Airlines are well, really subsidized. Our tax dollars go to build and maintain airports and air controllers and so on. And I under stand all that. When an underfunded Amtrak tries to make schedules on railroads that favor freight service and consequently are always a little late and slower than they used to be....and like I said, are hated like snakes by many public people who may have forgotten why they hate 'em. Underfunded and kicked around this cheapest, most valuable type of transport is beling allowed to since in the mire of politics and hate.
Rail roads, all things being even can haul freight and people for 12% of the cost of overland (trucks and Busses) can.
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Yatta99
Rookie Author Florida

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Message Posted: Aug 5, 2012 10:48:11 PM

"wayoung56: What or where is the Bakken???"

I think it's in New Yaak :)
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granitestater
Champion Author New Hampshire

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Message Posted: Aug 5, 2012 10:45:02 PM

We need a Senate Investigation in order to add cars to a train?
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SavALot
Champion Author Virginia Beach

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Message Posted: Aug 5, 2012 10:43:43 PM

Love Amtrak hope they continue great cross county service
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RTBama1
Champion Author Montgomery

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Message Posted: Aug 5, 2012 10:43:35 PM

More train travel is a win for everyone.

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Blue48
Champion Author Illinois

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Message Posted: Aug 5, 2012 10:42:24 PM

GOOD LUCK!
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bbigred
Veteran Author Lansing

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Message Posted: Aug 5, 2012 10:40:49 PM

As gas goes up and up affordable train service should go up
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OOXXFF
Champion Author Greensboro

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Message Posted: Aug 5, 2012 10:40:14 PM

Good.
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Jmac2008
Champion Author Missouri

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Message Posted: Aug 5, 2012 10:39:00 PM

ok
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MRHONEST
Champion Author Illinois

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Message Posted: Aug 5, 2012 10:38:37 PM

OK
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justmedc
Veteran Author Michigan

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Message Posted: Aug 5, 2012 10:36:29 PM

n/a for me, won't get me from mi to fl
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Bruno44
Champion Author Texas

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Message Posted: Aug 5, 2012 10:35:28 PM

Huh?
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FedupwithGreed
Champion Author Victoria

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Message Posted: Aug 5, 2012 10:34:35 PM

OK
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