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» RAILforum » Passenger Trains » Amtrak » Tea Leaves, Tarot Cards, Anyone?

   
Author Topic: Tea Leaves, Tarot Cards, Anyone?
Gilbert B Norman
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Admittedly, this is a parallel topic to one such over at railroad. net.. Thus far, the responses show insight, maturity and respect.

So for benefit of those who do not participate over there, how 'bout we do same over here?

I'm neither exceptionally optimistic nor pessimistic regardless of who raises their right in "143 and a wake-up'. Both administrations will recognize that the NEC provides essential transportation to the region and, even if $4/ga represents stabilization, I don't think it is long term. $5/ga is "coming soon to a pump near you", and accordingly, the demand for passenger rail will continue to grow. I fully expect to see an order for 200 new "standard' (presently branded NERegional) Coaches and Food Service cars to develop during POTUS44's watch, and can "foresee" an expansion of the existing Acela sets to eight cars each. The Acela expansion could well be a privatization initiative with the private sector making an investment in which there is a chance of economic loss (i.e. risk), and would more likely come to pass in a McCain than Obama administration.

Regarding the LD's, both potential Administrations recognize their political expediency as maintaining such simply represents "the ways of Washington'. I do not believe the Class I industry will make any initiative to 'get rid of 'em' as I believe the existing "detente' of "if you don't try to put anymore of 'em on or expect unreasonable On Time performance considering the traffic we handle nowadays, we'll accept what's there as a nuisance of doing business' will remain in place. There may be some "pruning" such as the Sunset (really volks, how can "six a week" provide any meaningful transport to the fastest growing region in the country?) or Cardinal (how much longer can Sen-for-life. Byrd hang on?), but a "wholesale" abandonment will not occur.

Any new services, and I'm hardly ruling out such, will be from Local initiative and Locally funded. Additional Federally funded routes, even Corridors, is a no-happen.

Posts: 8954 | From: Clarendon Hills, IL USA (BNSF Chicago Sub MP 18.71) | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Henry Kisor
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Please excuse my ignorance, but what's "143 and a wake up"?
Posts: 2236 | From: Evanston, Ill. and Ontonagon, Mich. | Registered: Feb 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Vicki
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Just guessing (didn't count) I believe Mr. Norman is referring to the swearing in of our next President.
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Railroad Bob
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I'm not sure either Miss Vicki, but:

No matter how hard we try,
Whichever President we prop up
It's still going to be pie-in-the-sky
With the next "143 and a wake up."

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Henry Kisor
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Oh jeez ... I went to Urban Dictionary and all I got was this:

http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=143

Somebody please put me out of my misery and tell me what 143-and-a-wake up means.

Posts: 2236 | From: Evanston, Ill. and Ontonagon, Mich. | Registered: Feb 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
palmland
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Maybe 143 days until inauguration?

Being a little cynical and based on the past 37 years, regardless of which administration is in office we will see little change in Amtrak except a further aging of the increasingly seedy equipment.

I do think some of the states will get their act together and, with the help of federal funding for state passenger initiatives, we will see more corridor trains in CA, NC, IL, VA, OK and ??

While I am a big fan of LD trains, mostly for selfish reasons, I think I'd prefer fewer but better LD service.

For instance why not have a couple daylight trains on segments of the Silver Star route, then use the surplus cars for an upgraded Meteor with first class lounge and dining space.

Or, do we really need 3 very mediocre LD trains between the east and Chicago. Why not a revived Broadway with all the amenities, then daily daylight service, NYC-PGH (with connecting cars at 30th St. from DC), NYC-Cleveland, Cleveland-Chgo, NYC-Charleston, WV, Cinci-Chgo.

Superliners on the Cinc and Cleve - Chgo trains. All trains with the 1/2 business/cafe cars now used on some trains.

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smitty195
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I must admit, I am lost on this one. The only thing I can think of that is "143" is the amount of days that Barack Obama was a US Senator before announcing his run for Prez.
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Henry Kisor
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Miss Vicki and Palmland must be right . . . 143 days to inauguration Jan. 20.

I swear GBN is out to confound and confuse with his cryptic constructions! "POTUS44" isn't difficult to decipher for anyone who has had even a glancing relationship with the military, but . . .

Otherwise, GBN's take on the political situation for Amtrak seems well reasoned. I am not arguing with it.

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Ocala Mike
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It was customary in GBN's and my military to keep track of the number of days one had left to go before an important event, usually the completion of a crummy assignment. We called guys who didn't have long to go in their assignments
"short-timers" and they invariably would let you know how many days they had left with an announcement such as "143 days and a wake-up."

So, yes, the POTUS has 143 days left before he returns to Crawford. Hope the country makes it that long.

--------------------
Ocala Mike

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irishchieftain
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quote:
Both administrations will recognize that the NEC provides essential transportation to the region
That's not a universal opinion. There are some people who would actually like to see that "essential" transport artery reduced to 70-mph max and fewer tracks than it currently has. Just to save money, as it were.

The status quo of not only our rail, but also the rest of our transportation infrastructure (rail most of all, though) shows which way the country is heading. By contrast, we ought to be able to see which way new burgeoning superpowers (the EU most of all) are heading.

And frankly, I do not dabble in the occult. With all due respect.

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Geoff Mayo
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quote:
Originally posted by irishchieftain:
[QUOTE]By contrast, we ought to be able to see which way new burgeoning superpowers (the EU most of all) are heading.

EU a burgeoning superpower? When yet another country/region changes hands or breaks away it's hard for us mere mortals to keep up with who's running what and what belongs to whom - let alone taking over the world! [Big Grin] I thought China were the next big superpower? I'm not exactly a supporter of that idea given their track record in human rights, Tibet, communism, banning of protests, etc., but it has to be said that the Olympics were an example of how well organised they can do things.

No, the EU are far too concerned with enforcing the selling of bananas by the kilo instead of by the pound than bigger - and far more important - things.

Geoff M.

--------------------
Geoff M.

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delvyrails
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The wild card is climate change. Yes, 90% of Americans, as opposed to much of the rest of the world, still either think it's bunk or without remedy. However, the effects of engines on the environment, especially of jet exhausts at high altitides, are there and are being measured with increasing precision.

The alternatives are more trains, and even more LD trains.

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Henry Kisor
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Thank you for the further explanation on "143 and a wake-up," Ocala Mike. No wonder I never heard of it -- I was 4-F.
Posts: 2236 | From: Evanston, Ill. and Ontonagon, Mich. | Registered: Feb 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Henry Kisor
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Delvyrails, perhaps more Americans than you think are concerned about climate change. A June 30 Harris poll concluded thus:

"1. Consistent with a previous poll during April (2008), a clear majority (63%) of likely
U.S. voters consider it important that the next president initiate strong action to
address climate change soon after taking office. Those most likely to vote tend to
consider this issue of even greater urgency.

"38% believe it is extremely or very important that the president takes strong
action to address climate change soon after taking office. This percentage
increases to 42% among those absolutely certain to vote.

"Only 16% believe it is not at all important."

(The poll can be found as a PDF file at http://www.pcap.ncat.org/press.php )

Conceivably the voters would be hospitable to the idea of greater federal financial involvement in rail travel, including LD trains, owing to their comparative "greenness".

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George Harris
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I happen to be one who thinks most of the climate change stuff is hokum to justify spending a lot of money on silly fads.

Having said that however, I think, and have for most of my adult life that we MUST figure out a way to quit burning fossil fuels in quantity, for the simple reason it is a fixed asset that will eventually come to an end. The danger I see is that when "global warming" becomes discredited, and I think that will happen, is that the concept of changes in our habits will likewise become discredited.

At this point we are like people that have inherited a lot of money and are living well and not caring when it will run out and without making any preparation for a way to make it after it does run out.

We need to be looking for methods of electricity generation that can produce it consistently in huge quantites, not the essentially "botique" wind and solar power methods. I hear very little about such things as geothermal or additional hydroelectric. Geothermal, at least is essentially untapped with only a few relatively small plants and very little noise about studies or funding. Yet, we sit on a very large ball that is very hot inside and to very shallow depths in many areas where we could punch holes to boil water and spin turbines to generate electricity.

I now will put on my bulletproof vest in anticipation of the return fire.

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