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Ernesto vs. Amtrak


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#1 CNJRoss

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Posted 28 August 2006 - 07:22 PM

From CSX service advisory posted here.

Amtrak passenger trains will depart as scheduled from South Florida early Tuesday morning, and then service will be discontinued from the Miami area. Southbound Amtrak trains will terminate in Orlando on Wednesday.



#2 CNJRoss

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Posted 28 August 2006 - 07:35 PM

Amtrak service advisory:

Service Alert: Florida Trains - Service Modified because of Tropical Storm Ernesto

August 28, 2006
6:15 pm Eastern Time

Based on the projected path of Tropical Storm Ernesto, Amtrak will temporarily modify some Florida rail service, effective Tuesday, August 29.

Schedules for trains operating in Florida will be affected as follows:

Silver Star and Silver Meteor

On August 29, the Silver Star train 91 and Silver Meteor train 97, originating in New York will terminate in Orlando. No alternate transportation will be provided south of Orlando. Northbound Silver Star train 92 and Silver Meteor train 98 will operate as scheduled from Miami to New York.

On August 30, Silver Star train 92 and Silver Meteor train 98 will originate in Orlando. Currently, Amtrak does not plan to provide alternate transportation connecting from points south of Orlando for these two trains.

Auto Train and Palmetto

The Auto Train (trains 52 and 53) operating between Lorton, Va. and Sanford, Fla., and the Palmetto (trains 89 and 90), operating between New York and Savannah, Ga., will operate as scheduled on August 29.

Additional changes to the schedule will be provided as soon as more information is available.

Passengers are encouraged to call 800-USA-RAIL or visit Amtrak.com for updated information concerning these temporary schedule modifications.



#3 AlanB

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Posted 29 August 2006 - 05:25 PM

The latest updates and changes from Amtrak:

Service Alert: Florida Trains - Service Modified because of Tropical Storm Ernesto

UPDATED:
6:00 p.m Eastern Time
August 29, 2006

Based on the projected path of Tropical Storm Ernesto, Amtrak will temporarily modify some Florida rail service, effective Wednesday, August 30.

The following changes will be made to Amtrak's Florida Service for August 30:

The Silver Star train 91 and Silver Meteor train 97, originating in New York are canceled. No alternate transportation will be provided.

Northbound Silver Star train 92 and Silver Meteor train 98 will originate in Orlando, Fla. and operate through to New York. No alternate transportation will be provided from points south of Orlando.

The Auto Train (trains 52 and 53) operating between Lorton, Va. and Sanford, Fla. is canceled.

The Palmetto (trains 89 and 90), operating between New York and Savannah, Ga.; and the Carolinian (trains 79 and 80) operating between New York and Charlotte, NC, will operate as scheduled.

Additional changes to the schedule will be provided as soon as more information is available.

Passengers are encouraged to call 800-USA-RAIL or visit Amtrak.com for updated information concerning these temporary schedule modifications.


The full press release can be found here.
Alan,

Take care and take trains!

#4 jis

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Posted 30 August 2006 - 04:41 PM

So NASA and Amtrak (and CSX) saw the same weather forecast about Ernesto. After due consideration this is what happened: NASA decided that the storm was not as strong as it was originally feared and would decay into a Tropical Depression by the time it gets to the Cape, and stopped moving the Shuttle towards the VAB and moved it back to the launch pad. Amtrak, after consulting with CSX I am sure, decided that the storm was going to be real bad and decided to completely cancel all its Southbound trains to Florida. Since then the Hurricane warnings have been discontinued along the Carolina coast and the Tropical Storm has been downgraded to a Tropical Depression. It might still become a minimal Tropical Storm again and hence Tropical Storm Warnings have been posted where there were Hurricane Warnings before. Maybe National Weather Service needs to come up with a "Stiff Breeze Warning" or something to give Amtrak and CSX a weather catagory in which they would not cancel trains. :ph34r: Go figure. Jishnu.

#5 ICGsteve

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Posted 30 August 2006 - 07:06 PM

The NASA decision makes some sense, as the shuttle is an expensive and it takes a long time to part it in the garage. Plus it was not going to launch with cloudy skies anyway. Amtrak and csx on the other hand could have been flexible, could wait to see what developed before deciding where to run trains. When they pulled the trigger hurricane advisory #17 had been out an hour, had winds at 40mph with rain of up to six inches, and the storm was expected to get stronger. However by the morning of the 29th it was not stronger, and by 5pm on the 29 there was no longer any expectation of anything more than 45 mph. By noon on the 29th the weather situation no longer was a threat to AMtrak. Amtrak decided to make their decisions a day before they had too, presumably so that they had no obligations to get people to their destinations if the train did not go to Miami. Anulling any trains on the 30th never had any justification, in particular Auto Train.

Edited by ICGsteve, 30 August 2006 - 07:12 PM.


#6 AlanB

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Posted 30 August 2006 - 08:21 PM

Service Alert: Florida Trains - Service Modified because of Tropical Storm Ernesto

UPDATED:
6:00 p.m Eastern Time
August 30, 2006

Based on the projected path of Tropical Storm Ernesto, Amtrak will temporarily modify some Florida rail service, effective Wednesday, August 31.

The following changes will be made to Amtrak’s Florida Service for August 31:

Schedule changes for Thursday, August 31

The Silver Star trains 91 and 92, between New York and Miami, are canceled. No alternate transportation will be provided.

Southbound Silver Meteor, train 97, between New York and Miami, will operate as scheduled. The northbound Silver Meteor, train 98, between Miami and New York, is canceled. No alternate transportation will be provided.

The Auto Train, trains 52 and 53, operating between Lorton, Va. and Sanford, Fla., will operate as scheduled.

The Palmetto, trains 89 and 90, between New York and Savannah, Ga., are canceled. No alternate transportation will be provided.

The Carolinian, trains 79 and 80, between New York and Charlotte, NC, will operate as scheduled.

Schedule changes for Friday, September 1

The Silver Star (trains 91 and 92) will operate as scheduled.

Southbound Silver Meteor, train 97, will operate as scheduled. The northbound Silver Meteor (train 98) is canceled. No alternate transportation will be provided.

Operation of trains 89 and 90 are pending subject to weather conditions.

Additional changes to the schedule will be provided as soon as more information is available.

Passengers are encouraged to call 800-USA-RAIL or visit Amtrak.com for updated information concerning these temporary schedule modifications.


The full press release can be found here.
Alan,

Take care and take trains!

#7 AlanB

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Posted 30 August 2006 - 08:50 PM

Amtrak, after consulting with CSX I am sure, decided that the storm was going to be real bad and decided to completely cancel all its Southbound trains to Florida.

Since then the Hurricane warnings have been discontinued along the Carolina coast and the Tropical Storm has been downgraded to a Tropical Depression. It might still become a minimal Tropical Storm again and hence Tropical Storm Warnings have been posted where there were Hurricane Warnings before.

Maybe National Weather Service needs to come up with a "Stiff Breeze Warning" or something to give Amtrak and CSX a weather catagory in which they would not cancel trains. :ph34r:

Go figure.

Jishnu.


Jishnu,

Don't be too hard on Amtrak, this wasn't their decision. It was taken out of their hands entirely by other entities.

Tri-Rail announced early Monday afternoon that they were shutting down their tracks on Tuesday, including removing the gate arms from the crossing gate mechanism. Tri-Rail cancelled all of their service for Tuesday. That move cut Amtrak off from it's Miami base forcing them to make the delayed announcment that Silver trains that had already departed from NY in one case, and the other about to depart, would have to turn at Orlando. And my informant tells me that they were indeed out there removing the gates from the crossings as soon as the last northbound Tri-Rail train left Miami on Monday night.

I've also heard that CSX then decided to embargo the A line south of JAX on Tuesday, starting Wednesday morning because of the threats of flooding. Even though the winds were not an issue, they were expecting potentially 10 or more inches of rain from the storm. The space shuttle wouldn't care about 10 inches of rain, only high winds. But those that own train tracks do care about 10 inches of rain. That decision then cut Amtrak off from Sanford, which then forced the cancellation of the Auto Trains and Silver Service completely.

Both CSX and Tri-Rail plan to reopen as of tomorrow, which is why the AT is running again as mentioned in the above update, as well as some Silver Service. Miami has no equipment at this point, so there will be no northbound trains until a southbound train makes it through to Miami.

However, because of the threat of flooding as Ernesto moves up the coast as well as backlogged freight with the closures; 89/90 are cancelled for tomorrow and possibly Friday if there is too much flooding. Too much flooding could also once again halt the AT and all Silver Service, but Amtrak is trying to get things going again, weather permitting.
Alan,

Take care and take trains!

#8 jis

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Posted 30 August 2006 - 09:53 PM

I've also heard that CSX then decided to embargo the A line south of JAX on Tuesday, starting Wednesday morning because of the threats of flooding. Even though the winds were not an issue, they were expecting potentially 10 or more inches of rain from the storm. The space shuttle wouldn't care about 10 inches of rain, only high winds. But those that own train tracks do care about 10 inches of rain. That decision then cut Amtrak off from Sanford, which then forced the cancellation of the Auto Trains and Silver Service completely.

So how did the Northbound Silver Service (both trains) make it out of Orlando headed for New York today?
They are actually both running surprisingly close to on time so far. Most likely CSX decided by 10am that there was going to be no 10 inches of rain and reversed their decision.

I also can't figure out what caused them to cancel both the Southbound Silver trains today. I can understand the logic of canceling the earlier southbound departures tomorrow given the expected path and timing of the Carolinas landfall for the tropical storm.

It also occurs to me that if each time 10 inches of rain was expected somewhere on its tracks Indian Railways decided to shut down operations, there would be very few cross country trains running in India through the Monsoon season ;)

Both CSX and Tri-Rail plan to reopen as of tomorrow, which is why the AT is running again as mentioned in the above update, as well as some Silver Service. Miami has no equipment at this point, so there will be no northbound trains until a southbound train makes it through to Miami.

However, because of the threat of flooding as Ernesto moves up the coast as well as backlogged freight with the closures; 89/90 are cancelled for tomorrow and possibly Friday if there is too much flooding. Too much flooding could also once again halt the AT and all Silver Service, but Amtrak is trying to get things going again, weather permitting.

Hey, I'll be in the thick of whatever happens, since I will be on 97 departing tomorrow.

BTW, I am sure Amtrak was not the primary decision maker in most of this. It is more likely that CSX calls the shots.

My guess is that there is at least one consist down in Orlando or Miami or somewhere, which will be used for 92 on Sept 1. I surmise this since there is nothing going down today as both 91 and 97 are cancelled. It is also reasonable to surmise perhaps that there is only one consist down in Florida since 98 is cancelled on Sept 1. I suspect on Sept 2 92 will be cancelled since there is no 91 going down to Florida tomorrow, unless a consist materializes surprisingly from somewhere in Florida.

#9 AlanB

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Posted 30 August 2006 - 10:30 PM


I've also heard that CSX then decided to embargo the A line south of JAX on Tuesday, starting Wednesday morning because of the threats of flooding. Even though the winds were not an issue, they were expecting potentially 10 or more inches of rain from the storm. The space shuttle wouldn't care about 10 inches of rain, only high winds. But those that own train tracks do care about 10 inches of rain. That decision then cut Amtrak off from Sanford, which then forced the cancellation of the Auto Trains and Silver Service completely.

So how did the Northbound Silver Service (both trains) make it out of Orlando headed for New York today?
They are actually both running surprisingly close to on time so far. Most likely CSX decided by 10am that there was going to be no 10 inches of rain and reversed their decision.


Well I did say I heard. ;) Never said that one was confirmed.


Both CSX and Tri-Rail plan to reopen as of tomorrow, which is why the AT is running again as mentioned in the above update, as well as some Silver Service. Miami has no equipment at this point, so there will be no northbound trains until a southbound train makes it through to Miami.

However, because of the threat of flooding as Ernesto moves up the coast as well as backlogged freight with the closures; 89/90 are cancelled for tomorrow and possibly Friday if there is too much flooding. Too much flooding could also once again halt the AT and all Silver Service, but Amtrak is trying to get things going again, weather permitting.

Hey, I'll be in the thick of whatever happens, since I will be on 97 departing tomorrow.


Good luck! :)


My guess is that there is at least one consist down in Orlando or Miami or somewhere, which will be used for 92 on Sept 1. I surmise this since there is nothing going down today as both 91 and 97 are cancelled. It is also reasonable to surmise perhaps that there is only one consist down in Florida since 98 is cancelled on Sept 1. I suspect on Sept 2 92 will be cancelled since there is no 91 going down to Florida tomorrow, unless a consist materializes surprisingly from somewhere in Florida.


It's possible that they've got a spare set sitting in Sanford, that they can roll out to Orlando, I'm not sure about that. I suppose that were I inclined to start counting how many went down vs how many came back, that maybe I could figure that out.

However, I can confirm that Miami has no train sets down there. A mechanic who works in the Hialeah yard worked on the very last consist that they sent north on Monday. He confirmed to me that Hialeah does not have enough cars left to field another train.
Alan,

Take care and take trains!

#10 ICGsteve

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Posted 30 August 2006 - 11:31 PM

This idea that they had to close the railroad because it might flood sounds iffy to me. The forcast was for up to ten inches of rain, but over a three day period. If the railroad, in Florida where tropical storms are a normal part of life, is not built to stand up to ten inches of rain in three days then we've got a problem folks. In the last hundred years has it been normal sop to shut things down when a weak tropical storm rolls in? I don't think so. In any case none of Florida has had more than 4 inches or rain in the last 48 hours, none has had more than an inch today, and the railroad is still shut down?? NY state has had more rain over the last 48hours, is NY shut down? That would be a NO. Knowing CSX as we do, I think it fair to assume that the legal guys started running on about probabilities of liability problems and the number crunchers started in about the inefficiencies to be expected in operating during hostile weather, which was quickly followed by management putting out the shut-down order. I doubt very much that management thought for two seconds about their fiduciary responsibility to the American people to keep the railroad operating, or their obligations as a stockholder in Amtrak to run Amtrak when possible. CSX management has a decade long history of taking the easy way out of problems, of not making the attempt when things get tough. It shan't be long before we see them shutting down in snow storms I think.




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