Something which did strike me while in both New York City and Washington DC was the lack of publicity material for Amtrak Long Distance trains. During the fortnight of our NY stay the Amtrak information desk in Penn Station remained unmanned and in Union Station, Washington, there was no printed material available on the Long Distance services, such as the Train Schedules which provided information on timing, mileage dining facilities, checked baggage etc. I presume the printed copy of the system timetable is no longer available. I used to have this mailed to me. Although Union Station in Washington is well endowed with information plaques it was difficult to obtain concrete information on specifics. I once had pointed out to me the site of the Presidential Waiting Room but there now seems to be no indication of it and no one in the station could enlighten me. It almost seems as if the building's original raison d'etre has been swamped by the admittedly essential commercial developments. Is this the same in all those former cathedrals of the railroad which have been converted to other uses, such as Cincinnati and Chattanooga?
Posted by Gilbert B Norman (Member # 1541) on :
Ms. MGT, Amtrak is not publicizing the Long Distance trains simply because if they could be "rid of 'em", they would be.
Un/Fortunately, depending how a reader perceives the need for this business segment, the "raison d e'tre" for the LD's is to bring in the funding, which for FY18 was at record levels. It appeared that Amtrak had a coalition (caucus) in Congress adequate to be granted funding without operating the LD system, but with all the resistance that surfaced regarding changes to the Southwest Chief, it appears nothing has changed.
I defer to others regarding historical signage at major stations that have been successfully converted to mixed use facilities.
Posted by mgt (Member # 5479) on :
So, what is the realistic outlook for Long Distance services? Presumably the Superliner stock will have to be replaced soon, and that is presumably a factor. What about the East Coast long Distance trains, or at least those departing from New York?
Posted by sojourner (Member # 3134) on :
Mgt: You need to keep in mind that Mr Norman, though full of wise and helpful observations, is hardly the spokesperson for Amtrak. I don't think the reason the l-d trains are not publicized in NY Penn Station is that Amtrak is trying to get rid of them (even if Amtrak is). Amtrak has NEVER publicized them much in NYC. And as far as I know, they do still publicize l-d trains elsewhere, in Chicago, for example, where they all stop; and with AGR members known to use them. For instance, as an AGR member, I just got an e-mail announcement for special rates on LD trains if booked before November something. . . .
I suspect in the case of NYC the lack of l-d advertising is partly a (perhaps unwise) marketing decision, on the assumptions that (a) they get more bang for the ad space encouraging travel within the NE corridor, especially if they can get the ads paid for by outside buyers (like now there are a ton of ads for some new casino, even though I'm not even sure what train you take to get to it; and not too long ago there were ads all over the place to visit Philadelphia, clearly paid for by some Philly government travel bureau); (b) most travelers going through NYP are not interested in l-d trains and those that are already know about them (from hearing announcements, seeing the board, using them, etc.)
It is also probably partly that Amtrak has always been stupid with advertising/marketing in general. And also I suspect that unless Amtrak had a very strongly enforced giant ad campaign, NYP is unlikely to do much about it. That is the way NYP is. It is the busiest station in the country, a train comes in every 2 minutes, they don't need to generate more revenue there, and have trouble handling the crowds now. I have noticed that, in the fall (like now), when the Dome Car is typically on the Adirondack to Montreal, Amtrak hardly publicizes it and almost never in NYP except maybe for a little counter poster in the Club ACELA lounge. Yet they do publicize it at other stops on the route. I think maybe there is more publicity material available but it's just not put out at NYP. (Of course, if they DID publicize it in NYC, perhaps it would get too crowded for comfort! And frankly, that could be true of the l-d trains too!)
In NYP, I have found schedules for l-d trains (that stop in NYP only) near the unmanned info both in the center of the station there and in the Club ACELA lounge (opposite where you leave your luggage there), but they do run out (and may be underprinted now because of budget cuts; most people don't really need print schedules any more, they use their computers, cellphones, etc).
In DC I have always found schedules for l-d trains (that stop in DC) by their info booth (forward of the Club ACELA Lounge--is that what you mean when you say Presidential Lounge?). I suspect they keep the lounge location kind of on the q-t for security reasons, but pretty much everyone who is entitled to use it knows where it is.
But I could be wrong too. It is all my opinions and observations!
Posted by Ocala Mike (Member # 4657) on :
Here's some high profile but quite negative advertising for (against?) Amtrak at NYP: