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Author Topic: System Timetable - Adios
Gilbert B Norman
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From Crowne Plaza Ravinia Atlanta --

I learned of this development from another site, but it appears the print System Timetable is done for.

It would appear the advertising no longer paid enough to have it continue.

Sic transit gloria

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MargaretSPfan
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Oh, darn! I really liked being able to see all the timetables in one booklet.

What a shame. Info needs to be in both forms -- on paper and on line. Each form has advantages and disadvantages.

Oh, well.....

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daniel3197
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So now there will NO longer be a UNIFORM National PRINTED document that unifies AMtrak as a National system. IT looks to me like the days of Amtrak as a NATIONAL rail passenger system are quickly drawing to a close.

It seems to me that the ONLY way to have a Permanent (LONG Term) commitment to a unified system is to HAPPILY produce a PRINTED national timetable. NO strong National narrative == NO national system in my opinion.

This is a huge tragedy as I just LOVED browsing thru railroad timetables as a kid and now the kids of 2015-16 will NOT have the same opportunity as I did in the late 1970s.

---- Daniel

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RRRICH
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The entire national winter-spring timetable is available on the AMTRAK web site, and it looks just like the normal printed timetables I have been getting for many years, complete with ads, color, etc. But you are saying that you can't order a copy of this any more??
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Gilbert B Norman
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From Food Court Perimeter Mall (x the street from the hotel, a Panera Coffee and pastry is $4.92 v. I'm sure $25 for a full Breakfast back there)

It is hard to believe that they would produce the System Timetable in its present form solely for the web. I would guess the one with Acela on the cover is "it".

The timetable was more an advertisement for "the joys of train travel" than anything else. Unfortunately with the "nickel and diming" of the LD'S of late, it was just a piece of false advertising.

Otherwise, off to MARTA train station to fill up my Breezy card for a round trip to the Symphony tonight.

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RRRICH
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I was able to order a National timetable from the AMTRAK web site this AM. The system took the order, and stated it will be mailed within 7 days. We'll see if I actually get it........... Stay tuned!
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Gilbert B Norman
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From Panera Perimeter Mall

Rich, if the TT has an Acela on the covrr, then that is the current - and apparently the last.

So, if the ads were not pulling the weight, then they were just printing a railfan collectors item at taxpayer expense. As I noted earlier, how many "let's take the train" decisions were made as a result of that pile of pulp?

It was nice while it lasted; and honestly surprised it was this long.

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Vincent206
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Now that I'm retired from the business world, I sometimes work as a substitute teacher. About 2 weeks ago I was teaching a lesson where students were asked to gather information from graphs and charts. Coincidentally, one of the example charts was an Amtrak timetable for trains 58/59 The City of New Orleans. Students had to answer questions like "What time does the train leave from Yazoo City to New Orleans?", "What states does the CONO travel through?", "How long does it take for train 59 to travel between Fulton KY and Centralia IL?" Despite having an expert teacher for the lesson [Eek!] , most students found the task of interpreting a railroad timetable to be very baffling [Confused] . So, maybe the railroad timetable is an unnecessary relic from another time (like writing in cursive, being able to read an analog clock or memorizing the multiplication table).
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Geoff Mayo
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quote:
Originally posted by Vincent206:
most students found the task of interpreting a railroad timetable to be very baffling [Confused] . So, maybe the railroad timetable is an unnecessary relic from another time (like writing in cursive, being able to read an analog clock or memorizing the multiplication table).

One thing slightly unusual (in that I've not seen it in any other country) is the reading UP of the right hand column. Perhaps this is was a space saving measure when there were only 1-3 trains a day (/week).

Regardless, UK students also have trouble interpreting schedules of buses and trains. A plethora of symbols and letters used to denote "but not", "exception", etc doesn't help. These days one can type something into Google and get actual bus and train times for today (albeit not guaranteed) - far easier than deciphering a big schedule table.

But if even the downloadable PDF version disappears, how will people know where one can travel on Amtrak? They might know their local train goes from A to B, but beyond B...? Back in the 1990s when I first travelled on Amtrak and was completely unfamiliar with the system, that booklet was invaluable in planning. For those interested, my route was NYP->WAS->(Cardinal)->CHI->NOL->Orlando->(Meteor)->NYP.

Not surprised to see a paper version go but I would be surprised if a downloadable PDF disappears too. Even many major airlines still have their entire route networks downloadable in PDF form, albeit not always obvious to find.

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

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yukon11
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On reading an Amtrak timetable, I've always been a little bothered by the mingling of connecting bus and Amtrak routes. Usually, Amtrak train columns are beige or white with connecting bus routes in light green. However, to the newcomer, it can be a little confusing. A good example is the Capitol Corridor timetable.

Why can't Amtrak charge a moderate price for the timetables. to offset the cost. I would be willing to pay for one. I agree with some of the above comments that it's both handy and nice to thumb through a hard copy.

I've read, in other forums, that you still may be able to get printed timetables for individual Amtrak trains, not system wide timetables. I don't know if Amtrak or another interest would offer these. Has anyone heard of such?

Richard

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DonNadeau
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And, it needed more a far more aggressive push for ads.

Up to now, they've been mostly nonprofits that might be paying little or nothing.

Certainly, the nationwide readership of this would justify advertising in it. Besides when used on trains, it's a captive audience!

--------------------
@DonNadeau

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RRRICH
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A lot of things I have more and more trouble with as I grow older (computer download instructions, electronic gadget instructions, etc.), but one of the EASIEST things I have ever done is to be able to read an AMTRAK timetable.....

And yes, Gil -- the timetable shown on the AMTYRAK web site DOES INDEED have a o\photo of an Acela on it, plus it is dated "winter-spring 2016"

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Gilbert B Norman
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TRAINS Newswire reports there has been a reprieve of sorts for the National Timetable:

http://trn.trains.com/news/news-wire/2016/04/22-amtrak-timetable

Apparently such will continue to be available on-line.

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RRRICH
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I got the timetable I ordered in the mail yesterday, but there is nothing in the timetable that says anything about the fact that there won't be any more printed timetables available.
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notelvis
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I think that the decision to not print anymore National Timetables was made after the current timetable went to press Rich...... which is why there was no announcement that this would be it.

The route specific folders will continue to be printed and will continue to be available so, presumably, a national timetable can be cobled together online whether it remains available as a separate PDF or not.

--------------------
David Pressley

Advocating for passenger trains since 1973!

Climbing toward 5,000 posts like the Southwest Chief ascending Raton Pass. Cautiously, not nearly as fast as in the old days, and hoping to avoid premature reroutes.

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yukon11
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The one thing I will really miss is the fold out map at the beginning of the timetable booklet, showing the entire route system. I found it useful for planning route-to-route journeys.

I wonder if they could make the system-wide map available, for purchase, at the Amtrak store? Maybe a nice, laminated version.

Richard

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palmland
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RRRich - how did you order the timetable? I didn't see it on the website - other than PDF version
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Ocala Mike
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Just call 1-800-USA-RAIL, ask for an agent, and place the order by phone. Got mine Saturday, 5 days after I called.
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Gilbert B Norman
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Well Mr. Palmland, they don't make it easy, BUT:

Home/Experience/Planning and Booking/Order Amtrak Publications

Of course, Mike's way, he reports, works, but after Amtrak last January X'd my scheduled AT trip, and waiting forever with a hotel's land line "listening to the music" and with the meter ticking (thought it would be a cheaper alternative than my cell phone), I'd rather not deal with them.

Oh lest one think airlines any better, best accept that your "agent" there is speaking English - as a second language.

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palmland
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Thanks Mike and GBN. I suspect at some point this might be a collectors item. But, for those of us of a certain age, an L&N PTT and ETT of, say, 1954 vintage, much more valuable.
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RRRICH
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Palmland -- on the AMTRAK web site, click on "Experience," then "planning and booking," then click the last choice which comes up -- "Order and contact AMTRAK publications"
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