Saturday, February 6, 2010

More Winter Rail Fails

Local rail junkies continue to perpetuate the fiction that rail travel is somehow immune from snow and ice. They imply that travel delays will magically disappear if we will only open our wallets (and those of our children and grandchildren) to rework our entire transportation infrastructure around passenger rail.

Another winter storm battering the eastern United States foreshadows our tragic losses if we do. Amtrak operates most of its routes, and its most highly traveled routes in the affected region. They have also been selected to operate the 3C Snail Rail Boondoggle here in Ohio. Amtrak operates the only high speed rail line (Acela) in the USA from Boston to DC. Here's what's happening in that neck of the woods:
Amtrak Service Adjustments Due to Severe Winter Weather
February 6, 2010
9:30 a.m.

WASHINGTON, DC – Due to severe winter weather conditions, which has resulted in downed trees and power lines on portions of tracks in Virginia, the Carolinas and across the mid-Atlantic region, Amtrak has canceled several trains for February 6.
The following operating plan is in effect for Saturday, February 6:
Carolinian trains 79 and 80 will operate only between Raleigh and Charlotte with no alternate transportation between New York and Raleigh. Palmetto trains 89 and 90 are canceled in their entirety between New York and Savannah.

Northbound Northeast Regionals:
• Train 82 is canceled in its entirety between Richmond and Boston
• Train 88 is canceled Richmond to Washington
• Train 194 is canceled Newport News to Washington
• Train 66 is canceled in its entirety. (Washington to Boston)
• Train 156 is canceled Lynchburg to New York.
• Train 152 is canceled Washington to New York.
• Train 160 is canceled Washington to New York but will operate between New York and Boston.
• Train 192 is canceled Washington to New York.
• Train 182 is canceled Washington to New York.

Southbound Northeast Regionals:
• Train 195 is canceled Washington to Richmond with no alternate transportation.
• Train 67 is canceled in its entirety. (Boston to Washington)
• Train 99 is canceled New York to Washington.
• Train 147 is canceled Washington to Lynchburg.
• Train 165 is canceled Boston to Washington.
• Train 199 is canceled New York to Washington
• Train 159 is canceled New York to Washington
• Train 121 is canceled New York to Washington Acela Express Service: Acela Express trains 2207 and 2251 between New York and Washington and train 2220 between Washington and New York are canceled. Silver Service trains 97 and 98, operating between New York and Miami are canceled with no alternate transportation. Trains 91 and 92 will operate between Miami and Savannah only. Crescent trains 19 and 20, which operates between New York and New Orleans, are canceled with no alternate transportation. The Auto Train is canceled in its entirety between Lorton, VA and Sanford, FL. Capitol Limited trains 29 and 30, operating between Washington and Chicago is canceled with no alternate transportation.

All other Amtrak service, including the Piedmont (Raleigh - Charlotte) is expected to operate normally.

Amtrak regrets any inconvenience. This information is correct as of the above time and date. Information is subject to change as conditions warrant. Passengers are encouraged to call 800-USA-RAIL or visit for schedule information and train status updates.
DC Metrorail also cancelled all above-ground train service starting at 9PM last night, which continues through today until who knows when. In Philadelphia, SEPTA cancelled all trolley and regional rail service for the day.

With rail service at a virtual standstill, one might wonder how all those poor automobile travellers are faring. These cities all have real time traffic info available online from a system similar to our Artimis.

There are a few splotches of red here and there, and quite a lot of yellow, as you would expect during the height of a snowpocalypse, but look at all that green! Looks like the people who choose to be responsible for their own transportation are getting through, while those who depend on government-operated transit will be left out in the cold.

2010-02-09 Update: Unsuck DC Metro has a good followup post here.


  1. I used to live in DC and can tell you that nothing is moving in this current storm. Plows don't run on all the streets and it took us 4 days of digging to get out of our neighborhood.
    Nevermind that every single flight in/out of DC was cancelled. We also lost power for a week since in DC most of the power lines aren't buried. WithCOAST logic, we should scrap roads, planes, and power lines because they don't work in snow.

  2. And make cities more walkable.

    Additionally, most of these cities have green traffic maps because people were told to stay off the roads. As a person who lived in NH and Boston for a nasty winter, I can definitely tell you that it all stops there. However, DC metro subway continued to operate, as well as the MBTA subway lines.

    So maybe it really is an argument in favor of spending the money to build an entire underground subway network, eh?

    While COAST was busy with "important news" like trying to cherry pick "snow time rail fails", they missed this particular tidbit that the mainstream media picked up, probably because it is critical of suburban "small town, auto-centric" communities that so many COAST-ers adore: Districts raise taxes without public vote.

    So why is COAST more obsessed with trains than they are with increased taxation? Because COAST is really just a bunch of anti-transit nuts pretending to be more generally advocating "responsible government".

  3. "small town, auto-centric" communities that so many COAST-ers adore"

    COAST-ers? Surely you mean people like your Party heros Todd Portune and David Pepper. You know, the two guys who fled the City of Cincinnati to buy homes in suburban, auto-centric, Republican-controlled Green and Anderson Townships.

  4. Hmm. Green Twp. and Anderson Twp....

    Yes, both those people that you mentioned moved to those places. But you are incorrect. If the trend was overwhelmingly marked with more "people like Todd Portune and and David Pepper", then those two places wouldn't be dominated by Republican rule now, would they.

    Considering that Forest Hills Local didn't even make the list at the Cincinnati Enquirer article, I have to ask what is your point? Yes, Democrats live in these places too, and many of them (and plenty of Republicans who actually value public services) fight against your short-sighted ideology.

  5. When push came to shove Portune and Pepper bolted the City of Cincinnati for lower-tax, lower-crime, auto-centric, Republican-controlled areas of the County. They chose to live far, far away from proposed streetcars, and 3C hubs. They preferred, cookie-cutter, white-bread, non-sustainable homes to urban living. They spend their money at big-box, suburbanstores and strip malls to locally owned city-centered small businesses.

    Your pals abandoned you and chose to live a lifestyle that you disdain and ridicule Republicans for living. Yet you still shine their shoes, mow their lawns, and salt their driveways for them, all the while gazing adoringly. You sir, are a hypocrite.

  6. And Bim Turke is a hypocrite for having received a salary for eight years from the US government. His livelihood came from tax money.


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