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Author Topic: Amtrak stimulus details
Henry Kisor
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From Media Relations today:

AMTRAK DETAILS STIMULUS PROJECTS

American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to help rebuild equipment and infrastructure, improve safety and security nationwide

WASHINGTON—Amtrak has released a list of capital projects to be funded by $1.3 billion from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). Submitted to the Federal Railroad Administration, the highlights of the list include railcar and locomotive restoration to augment the current fleet, projects to bring stations into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), facility improvements, track, bridge and signal replacements and upgrades.

“These Amtrak projects fulfill all of the objectives of the ARRA, and more. They are ‘shovel-ready;’ they will improve the efficiency and accessibility of Amtrak trains and facilities; and we estimate they will result in the retention or creation of approximately 6,000 jobs,” said Amtrak President and CEO Joseph H. Boardman. “It is extremely encouraging to see the direction our country is taking to improve our national mobility, reduce our dependence on imported energy and make a stronger, healthier passenger rail system.”

The investment package is broken down into two separate accounts: one for railroad and station capital projects funded at $845 million and one for security and life safety projects, funded at $450 million. For a detailed list of projects, go to Amtrak.com and click on “Inside Amtrak,” then “Other Reports.” Further information on how contractors and suppliers can contact the railroad about bidding on those projects that contain outsourcing elements will be available on Amtrak.com soon.

Following are examples – not a comprehensive list – of some of the projects to be performed with ARRA funding.

Railcars and locomotives

Amtrak shops in Beech Grove, Ind., will rebuild 20 out-of-service Superliner and one Viewliner railcar ($19.3 million) and 15 locomotives ($13 million) and the Amtrak shops in Bear, Del, will rebuild 60 out-of-service Amfleet railcars ($58.5 million). This equipment can be used throughout the Amtrak system.

ADA Compliance

More than 200 stations in 40 states will receive needed upgrades and improve accessibility for disabled persons ($40 million).

Other station projects

Replacement of the existing Auto Train passenger station in Sanford, Fla., ($10 million) will be carried out, and the Wilmington, Del., station will receive more than $20 million for renovation.

Amtrak-owned bridges, track and maintenance facilities

This includes major investments such as the Niantic River Bridge replacement in Connecticut ($100 million), the renewal of 10 other bridges in Delaware, Pennsylvania, Connecticut and New York ($65 million) construction of a maintenance facility in Los Angeles ($25 million) and Seattle ($35 million), improvements to the Chicago facilities ($47.5 million) and the Miami (Hialeah) maintenance facility ($25 million).

Security and life safety investments

The $450 million Security and Safety fund will be used for investments in security measures that reduce infrastructure vulnerabilities and enhance incident management at Amtrak facilities nationwide, including stations, bridges, tunnels, maintenance facilities and other buildings.

Enhancements to safety installations include projects such as fire detection and suppression systems and improved emergency egress from buildings and tunnels. Projects in this category also involve expansion of Positive Train Control safety systems in the Northeast Corridor ($50 million) and Michigan ($10 million).

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TBlack
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Henry,

Thanks for the detail. Looks like, in round numbers, it cost $1 million to repair each car. A million doesn't go very far anymore, does it? And has anybody noticed how quickly we've gotten to talking about trillions of dollars now? I heard on the radio that a trillion seconds = more that 39,000 years!

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smitty195
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Remember how we used to say, "That's Billion---with a B"?? Well now with all of this multi-trillion dollar talk, a billion seems like a drop in the bucket (it isn't).

Sorry, but this clown in the White House is going to ruin our country if we don't put a stop to it. Multi-trillion dollar debts? An armed civilian security force (what the hell is THAT and why do we need it??). The list goes on and on, but I probably shouldn't get into it too much here.

But if you want to know what a trillion dollars is (because I could not even comprehend it), here is an excellent graphic of what we are actually talking about:

http://www.pagetutor.com/trillion/index.html

It seems like the windfall of money that Amtrak will be receiving won't really do as much as the hoopla that people were hoping for. It looks like the NEC will, as always, get a good chunk of the money. But as an Amtrak customer, I don't think you're really going to notice too much....especially on Western long-distance trains. Can't they budget in there somewhere to have electrical outlets at every seat?????

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sbalax
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Smitty--

If you check the sources I suspect you'll find that the word "armed" has never appeared in any of President Obama's speeches about the need for increased national service.

I think security was a poorly chosen word. Service might have been a more accurate description of the plan.

This was one area where both he and John McCain agreed. They both support increased funding for both the Peace Corps and Americorps.

As a RPCV (Returned Peace Corps Volunteer -- Costa Rica II 1963-65) and retired teacher who had Americorps volunteers in my classroom I can vouch for the effectiveness of both programs.

Frank in sunny SBA

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Ocala Mike
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A trillion here, a trillion there,...pretty soon we're talking about real money!

smitty195: If you're going to be in the circus, it's better to be a "clown in the White House" than an elephant-follower carrying a shovel and pail. How do you propose to "put a stop to it", anyway? He's going to ram his agenda through just like his predecessor did, as long as the votes are there. If all you naysayers are correct, you'll only have to wait until 2010; America had to wait 8 long years.

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Ocala Mike

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smitty195
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Hi Frank,

I'm going off the president's own words from July, 2008:

"We cannot continue to rely on our military in order to achieve the national security objectives that we've set. We've got to have a civilian national security force that's just as powerful, just as strong, just as well-funded."

I have not heard him talk about this plan in conjunction with the Peace Corps or Americorps, both of which are fine institutions as you already know. I'm scared to death of what this president is doing to us. I know that we all have our own opinions on this, but that is my opinion. When I sit down and study what is truly going on----and I ignore the news bytes and nightly news----it is absolutely shocking. I hope I'm wrong.

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TBlack
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Smitty,
I'm definitely not as paranoid about the future as some, but that graphic at the other end of your link (above) is pretty startling. And all Amtrak wants is a little sliver off the corner!

Frank, my brother was in the peace corp...does that get me any brownie points?

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sbalax
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Tom--

I think we may have talked about that somewhere along the line on the EB. Be sure to add the "s" to Corps, though or no points for you!

Frank in sunny SBA

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TBlack
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Frank,

You may be retired, but you're still the teacher!

TB

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sbalax
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Tom--

"Once a teacher always a.... "

You supply whatever word seems to fit.

Frank in cool and calm SBA

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DeeCT
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http://www.courant.com/news/local/hc-train-bridge-money0327.artmar27,0,5551249.story?track=rss

Stimulus money -- CT projects.

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Dakguy201
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from the press release:
"Other station projects

Replacement of the existing Auto Train passenger station in Sanford, Fla., ($10 million) will be carried out, and the Wilmington, Del., station will receive more than $20 million for renovation."

The new station is half the cost of renovating the old one? That doesn't seem to make a lot of sense, in particular considering that Sanford must handle a trainload of passengers at a time, but Wilmington's arrivals and departures are spread over the whole day.

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Henry Kisor
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These are Obama's actual words, and in context they do not seem to support the notion that he wants to form a kind of paramilitary Gestapo:

"[As] president I will expand AmeriCorps to 250,000 slots [from 75,000] and make that increased service a vehicle to meet national goals, like providing health care and education, saving our planet and restoring our standing in the world, so that citizens see their effort connected to a common purpose.

"People of all ages, stations and skills will be asked to serve. Because when it comes to the challenges we face, the American people are not the problem – they are the answer. So we are going to send more college graduates to teach and mentor our young people. We’ll call on Americans to join an energy corps, to conduct renewable energy and environmental clean-up projects in their neighborhoods all across the country.

"We will enlist our veterans to find jobs and support for other vets, and to be there for our military families. And we’re going to grow our Foreign Service, open consulates that have been shuttered and double the size of the Peace Corps by 2011 to renew our diplomacy. We cannot continue to rely only on our military in order to achieve the national security objectives that we’ve set.

"We’ve got to have a civilian national security force that’s just as powerful, just as strong, just as well-funded. We need to use technology to connect people to service. We’ll expand USA Freedom Corps to create online networks where American can browse opportunities to volunteer. You’ll be able to search by category, time commitment and skill sets. You’ll be able to rate service opportunities, build service networks, and create your own service pages to track your hours and activities.

"This will empower more Americans to craft their own service agenda and make their own change from the bottom up."

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Ocala Mike
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Henry, his words have been parsed by right-wing talk radio and tv wingnuts who get ratings by whipping their following into a paranoiac frenzy over "the coming (Socialist/Communist/Fascist/Third-World/One-World/Stalinist/Nazi - choose one or all of the above) state.

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Ocala Mike

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Mike Smith
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Ocala, You are a bit off on your thought process.

Rush has core beliefs that are similar to mine. {not vise-versa} That is why he is the most popular radio talk show host anywhere.

The Obama has core beliefs... well... he has some sort of belief that appeals to you.

And I plan on joining the Obama civilian national security force that’s just as powerful, just as strong, just as well-funded as our military, so I can get all the ammo I want!


{I know... asking an Obama supporter the use some analytical abilities is silly.}

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gp35
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We getting a station...whooohooo.
Although the slab has gotten pretty popular around the country. Maybe they can preserve the slab by building the station next to it. And charge money to walk on it.

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zephyr
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quote:
Originally posted by Mike Smith:
[QB] Ocala, You are a bit off on your thought process.{/QB]

Mike, Mike, Mike. Oh, my, my, my. What are we to do with you?

Please review the poster's prior politically oriented posts again. And this time carefully (feel free to move your lips if you must).

All the Ocala Mike is trying to demonstrate is wingnutedness is a nonpartisan malady.

And I must say, he does an exemplary job doing so.

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Ocala Mike
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Thanks for that plug, zephyr. Mike, who said anything about Rush? He is the voice of reason compared to the likes of Savage, Beck, Hannity, Boortz, et al, whose followers are convinced this country is the "Fourth Reich" or Stalin's Russia under BO. These guys are only interested in ratings, not core beliefs. Besides, core beliefs are what got us into the mess we're in now; we need pragmatism, not ideology, right at the moment.

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Ocala Mike

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PullmanCo
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Well, as to clearing out the dead line at Beech Grove, it seems to me David Gunns' State of Good Repair is vindicated [Smile]

As for the Community Organizer in Chief:
http://www.politifact.org/truth-o-meter/promises/

The nicest thing about military retirement orders: Restoration of full free speech rights!

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Gilbert B Norman
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Here's more detail now at the website:

http://www.amtrak.com/pdf/ARRA/Amtrak-ARRA_Project-Summary-FY-09.pdf

For those interested in rolling stock, ref Adobe P 67.

Now please allow me leeway to "go political": that the Obama administration's ARRA '09 is clearly directing the "stimulus' funds towards the public sector, and most of such at Federal level, is indicative that a regulation minded Administration is now in town. But unfortunately, we are starting to learn that the Bush TARP initiative seemed to be going to "places unknown" and not necessarily to provide the recipient private sector financial institutions the intended liquidity to make small business and consumer loans. Safe assumption that Rush, Sean, Glen, and "BillO" are already ranting, but then so are Kieth and "Mad Cow" ranting about their rantings.

But oh well, "RANTINGS = RATINGS".

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RR4me
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I just find it interesting and instructive that such competing political leanings are together on this board. Seems that it IS possible that common interests can negate the "take no prisoners" style of current political "debate".
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TBlack
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GBN,

Thanks for that link. Does "Empire Builder Standard" refer only to decor, or is the term more inclusive? And I see that 48/49 gets the viewliner diner.

TEB

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amtraxmaniac
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I'll just say that its been a 100 day party for folks like me with socialist leanings. Maybe Chrysler can get back on the administration's good side by offering to go into the railcar and locomotive building business.
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TBlack
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Ahh, Patrick, our liberal conscience, bless you for being consistent!

But if I were you, I wouldn't put ALL my chips on the arrival of socialism anytime soon. Better to read the fine print in the deals the feds are cutting with private industry!

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RRRICH
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Thanks for the link, Gil -- it looks like we will finally be getting some of the wreck-damaged cars and locos back in service, with expanded consists on some of the trains.
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Gilbert B Norman
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The return on 32501 to service after its loss at Crescent City means that Amtrak will have six such 11BR Sleepers. With four needed to protect the Auto Train line space, this means two spares. One could be withdrawn for "heavy' and both lines still protected.

Since Crescent City, if a 325XX had to be shopped for "heavy", a substitute 10-5 32XXX had to replace such, making the consist potentially five Bedrooms short.

There are only five 3310X Lounges; if one of these need be withdrawn for "heavys', then it appears a #330XX Sightseer will be in consist - a very dubious equipment assignment. After all, my "if you've seen one Pine Tree...." has yet to be refuted.

Incidentially, 11BR 32503, A Phillip Randolph, also lost at Crescent City, has been returned to service.

Now what astounds me is that Amtrak plans to return several 38XXX Diners to service using ARRA '09 funds and, if I read this correctly, will assigning the 37XXX Cross Country Cafe's to the Empire Builder. Does this mean Amtrak plans to offer full dining service PDX-SPK?

Enquiring mind wants to know.

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Mike Smith
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quote:
Originally posted by TBlack:

But if I were you, I wouldn't put ALL my chips on the arrival of socialism anytime soon. Better to read the fine print in the deals the feds are cutting with private industry!

I'm not real sure what he is shooting for. There are flashes of socialism, communism, and fascism rolled into his attempts to bankrupt the USA.

I think it is too early to tell which way he is going.

I do like the peanuts that were thrown into Amtrak's cage! I just wish it was comparable with any of our money that was given to the bail-out companies.

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Ocala Mike
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Obama's detractors are having real problems finding the right "ism" to apply to his obviously willful and conscious "attempts to bankrupt the USA". Let me suggest that trying to pigeonhole him is the real problem as he seems to be taking a pragmatic, rather than an ideological, approach to each issue as it comes up. You don't undo 8 years of poor leadership overnight. If you believe that "it is too early to tell which way he is going", I think you should fasten your seat belt, and anticipate some sharp turns and bumps in the road.

"...the crux of pragmatism, and indeed democracy, (is) a rejection of the knowability of foreordained truths in favor of 'variability, initiative, innovation, departure from routine, experimentation.'”

John Dewey

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Ocala Mike

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Mike Smith
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The "poor leadership" mantra is a myth. It never happened. {"Feeling" that it happened is not the same as what actually happened.}

Pragmatic? I don't think so.
pragmatic:relating to matters of fact or practical affairs often to the exclusion of intellectual or artistic matters : practical as opposed to idealistic <pragmatic men of power have had no time or inclination to deal with…social morality — K. B. Clark>

And trying to determine if the Obama is heading the US towards socialism, communism, or fascism is a legitimate goal, so he can be defeated before he destroys the USA.

Or the Republic of Texas won't care what he does... as long as he leaves us alone. {March 2, 2011}

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City of Miami
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I guess anyone who thinks GWB led the nation to anything other than ruin would also ignore the fact that BHO carried 44% of the TX popular vote,
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Gilbert B Norman
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Mr. Mike Smith, would you be willing to share with the forum the significance of the date you note - March 2, 2011. Is that the date the State of Texas plans to again secede from the Union?
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smitty195
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Why do Obama supporters continue going in reverse to President Bush? He's not president any more. Of course, any previous president leaves things for the next incoming president....some leave more than others. But to keep comparing the two does not compute in my head. Obama is the new president, and he can be critiqued and criticized just like any other president---it's the American way. Speaking of which....don't you just love the "new tone" in Washington? Everybody loves each other now, and everybody agrees. And the countries that hated us no longer hate us. I heard this morning that Secretary of State Clinton offered an "olive branch" to the terrorists--I can only hope that is an April Fool's joke and that it did not actually take place. But nothing would surprise me, especially when we have a president that fires the CEO of a private corporation. You don't have to be a Republican and you don't have to be a conservative---you can still be a liberal Democrat---but when will Obama's actions start to concern the people who voted for him?? The president's behind-the-scenes staff of rich, white, Ivy League educated liberal little punks are making the most asinine recommendations. Who else would come up with the idea of giving the British Prime Minister 25 DVD's of American movies that are in the wrong code and can not be played on British DVD players? Or the ridiculous gift that he gave the Queen of England today---an iPod. AN IPOD??? I gave an iPod to my Godson for his 11th birthday. This guy is quickly becoming the laughing stock of the world, and that makes me sad.
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Ocala Mike
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Well, at least he didn't insult her by offering to give her the whole damn country back! Anyway, he's got a long way to go in the "laughing stock" department to catch up to "he that shall remain nameless", in exile in Baja Oklahoma.

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Ocala Mike

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Mike Smith
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quote:
Originally posted by Gilbert B Norman:
Mr. Mike Smith, would you be willing to share with the forum the significance of the date you note - March 2, 2011. Is that the date the State of Texas plans to again secede from the Union?

No problem, Mr Norman.

March 2, 1836, The Republic of Texas declared it's independence from Mexico. March 2 is our Declaration of Independence. 2011 is after the November 2010 elections.

After the elections, we will have a good idea of just how far the USA will go as it is flushed down the toilet. If the US climbs out of the toilet, Texas will work to make the US work. If the US continues down the drain, Texas will bail out of the toilet.

And we will not secede. That is such a harsh word. We will simply resign our membership in the Union.

Posts: 1418 | From: Houston, Republic of Texas | Registered: Jan 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Mike Smith
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quote:
Originally posted by Ocala Mike:
Well, at least he didn't insult her by offering to give her the whole damn country back! Anyway, he's got a long way to go in the "laughing stock" department to catch up to "he that shall remain nameless", in exile in Baja Oklahoma.

He has a good start... 57 States, walking into windows, Nancy Reagan's séances, whacking his head on the Marine One's door, comparing his bowling to Special Olympics participants, and shaking the marine guard's hand as he enters M1.

Yep... he's on his way.

{Desperately trying to tie this back into Amtrak, but only coming up with Biden's "F" bomb at an Amtrak press conference}

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smitty195
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Unfortunately, Mike, we can not win arguments right now because it is a case of facts against feelings. When feelings prevail in a discussion, the facts will lose almost every time. I think it's going to take a little more time for the "Messiah" feelings to wear off. Once that happens, then we can present the facts again. 52% of the voters have strong feelings about the prez, mainly because "he's not Bush". Once they realize that he is a very inexperienced, arrogant, socialist-leaning, America-hating man, then reason might prevail. In the meantime, attend and support tea parties and become more vocal on issues so that we can remain the best country in the world, and so that we can maintain our freedoms that so many people take for granted. I apologize to others if you are currently an Obama supporter, but this president is quickly turning us down a road that is simply not acceptable.

As far as Obama's stimulus package and Amtrak, I noticed on TrainWeb's home page that there is a link to an article to the local Kirksville (MO) newspaper that says La Plata will be receiving $90,000 in stimulus money in order to raise the platform at the Amtrak station 8 inches to be ADA compliant. While I think it's great that the La Plata Depot is getting this work done, I don't know how this fits in with the stimulus package other than it's just more pork and earmarks.

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Holy crapoly! I think I need a train ride. I am a proud "decline to state" party member, and personally think my state, California, would be in much better shape if more of our citizens registered and acted as such. They should also refuse to sign ANY more initiatives. But...Obama is one man, and this great nation, and it's legislative branch, will not stay quiet and sidelined for 4 years. I do believe the checks and balances of our political system will reign in too many excesses of Obama, and I don't think he will ruin the country. Most of this style "debate" is sound and fury, signifying nothing. Lastly, at some point ANY government spending in one area of the country can be considered "pork" by all the other areas. Just another way to put a negative label on something and avoid real discussion.

I think I will go visit the "pork" fed California Rail Museum next week.

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smitty195
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Now there is some pork money well spent! [Wink]
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Ocala Mike
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Antidote for the Obama euphoria:

Large doses of Rush, Boortz, Savage, Hannity, Beck, and O'Reilly given intercranially to the recalcitrant victim while (s)he is tied to a waterboard with eyes taped open.

That'll cure those suckas!

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

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Here is something that I posted on another railfan website. It is NOT real---it's something I did for April Fool's Day. Just thought I'd lay off Obama (at least for 5 minutes...heh heh...). Okay, here it is:

Conde Nast: Thumbs-up to Amtrak Customer Service Plan

(Conde Nast, Jim Shumaker, Washington)

Today at Washington DC’s Union Station, Amtrak made a major announcement in launching their new customer satisfaction plan. The setting was festive, with balloons, a live band, and party streamers decorating the interior plaza of this beautiful and historic building.

Cliff Black, Amtrak spokesman, praised the new plan, stating, “We have been listening to our customers, and this new plan is a direct result of that. We hired a specialty consulting firm with experts in the top of their field, and after three years of examining our system, our employees, our equipment, and carefully balancing it with the needs of our passengers, this new plan became a reality today”.

Amtrak handed out the new plan to members of the media, and it is contained in a hardbound book with the Amtrak logo beautifully emblazoned on the cover. The foundation of the new customer satisfaction plan lies in the core value of providing the best possible service to Amtrak passengers. For example, there are varying levels of issues that could take place on-board an Amtrak long-distance passenger train, and Amtrak has divided these issues into three different categories. Level One is in the category of “Bad”, while Level 2 carries the term “Really Bad”. Should things go beyond Level 2, then the plan will get bumped up to Level 3 which has been termed, “Really Really Bad”. Mr. Black commented that it was ingenious of their consulting team to come up with the name for Level 3. “It conveys a sense of simplicity, while at the same time, goes directly to the heart of the issue”, Mr. Black said.

According to the new policy, an example of a Level 2 issue would be something along the lines of the heating or air conditioning system failing. Should this occur, Amtrak on-board employees have been highly trained to immediately refer to the new customer satisfaction plan, which will be issued to every employee. When a Level 2 issue arises, the plan clearly states that all passengers effected by the issue will receive complimentary snack packs. Careful research has shown that when passengers are upset by things happening beyond Amtrak’s control (such as a failed HVAC system, dirty linens, broken toilets, smelly cars, etc), a snack pack will soothe the nerves of frazzled passengers. The research strongly indicates that a small bag of pretzels, a piece of hard candy, and a bottle of water have a strong calming effect. Said Black, “We paid a lot of money to our consulting firm, so it has to be true”.

If issues arise on-board an Amtrak train that go beyond a Level 2 incident, then Amtrak employees will leap into action with a Level 3 incident. A Level 3 incident must include two or more incidents happening at the same time. Examples of a Level 3 incident include an on-board attendant who disappears for the entire trip and is nowhere to be found, combined with the toilets not working at the beginning of the trip while the train is still in the station. Mr. Black said, “These items that rise to a Level 3 incident should never occur, and this is why we take it very seriously”. Another example of a Level 3 incident would be the dining car running out of 2 entrée items on the menu, and the power going out to all cars due to a mechanical failure in one of the locomotives. Mr. Black commented, “These things should not happen on our trains, because the consultants said they shouldn’t. But fortunately, with our new plan, this will be resolved”. When pushed for a clearer explanation of what Amtrak will do when a Level 3 incident takes place, he said, “Passengers will be told by on-board employees to call our reservation center. After making the call and waiting on hold for 20 to 30 minutes, the passenger will then ask our agent to transfer them to our customer relations desk. Once they are transferred, they will only have to wait for 45 to 60 minutes on hold until they speak to one of our specialists. Once the passenger explains what took place, our agents are highly trained to determine the dollar amount that a travel voucher should be issued for. With this travel voucher that will be issued and mailed within 4 to 6 weeks, the passenger will then be able to re-book another Amtrak trip and give us a try again”. One member of the media asked Mr. Black what would happen if the passenger took another trip using the travel voucher, and the same set of circumstances happened again? Mr. Black said, “That’s a very good question, but unfortunately, due to budget constraints and Amtrak’s continuous lack of Congressional funding, we could not afford to hire another consulting group to answer that, but of course we always welcome input by calling our reservations center, waiting, then asking for customer relations, waiting again, and then informing our specialists of your concerns”.

Mr. Black was then asked what a Level 1 issue is, since there does not seem to be a remedy for a Level 1 issue in the new plan. Mr. Black said that a Level 1 issue is not remedied because the level of “Bad” is something that every passenger should expect on Amtrak’s trains. Some examples of Level 1 issues include surly attendants, poor service, unkempt restrooms, and randomly running out of food and beverage items in Amtrak’s food service cars.

Amtrak is really stepping up to the plate and taking responsibility for customer satisfaction, and we give them a big “thumbs up” for this new plan.

April 1, 2009

Posts: 2355 | From: Pleasanton, CA | Registered: Apr 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
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