VOL. 11 NO. 17 OCTOBER 1981 ISSUE NO. 232

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ee ee ed LETTERS

in a letter appearing in RIN #230, John Pawson expresses an opinion that Au- trak's political support would be enhanced if service is restricted in the future to regional operations primarily in the Eastern half of the nation.

The following excerpt from a letter which | received from Congressman Phil Gramm, a prominent conservative representing the Texas Sixth District, dated Oct 1, 1981, does not indicate that this is the case:

"| have attempted to ensure that Amtrak President Boyd and the other relevant Antrak officials reviewed all available information and alternatives before sak- ing the final decision to reduce INTER-AMERICAN service south of St. Louis to three times a week. While the INTER-AMERICAN ridership performance has improved significantly this year, Amtrak nonetheless determined that daily service could not be justified at this time and with the budget constraints mandated by Cong- ress. | have received assurances that this decision will be periodically reviewed and that Amtrak will make all efforts to see that utilization of the INTER-AMERI- CAN continues to increase. {| have also informed President Boyd of my concern that, if Amtrak continues to become a more regional system, it will be increasing- ly desirable to see that only the regions served bear the costs of Amtrak. You can be sure that { will continue to*nmonitor Amtrak's efforts pertaining to the INTER-AMERICAN and to the other trains that are competing for Amtrak's resources and will work to see that Texas fis not discriminated against."

Nor do current ridership figures indicate that additional regional service would prove to be an advantage politically in areas where intense air competition abounds and people are still able to use their automobiles over short distances. Most corridor operations where the abundance of service currently exists are manifesting declines in ridership with some discontinued entirely at the last schedule change while long distance routes are approaching saturation and cannot show further ridership increases unti] additional cars or trains are added. The Metroliners suffered a 25.3% decline in June and a 32.9% decline in July at the height of the travel season.

Amtrak's politics will improve if federal funding is maintained at reasonable Jevels which wil] not come under continual attack by Congress and the Administra- tion and is used strictly for inter-regional long distance operations. Regional operations should be paid for by those who use them with local funds.

M. 0. Monaghan, Director-at-Large, NARP Region IX Garland, Texas ;

| wake a regular point of asking passengers, both on the trains and at vari- ous stations, their opinion of the food service being provided by Amtrak. The vast majority of the people that | interview, mostly coach passengers, express extreme disappointment in the entire food service operation. This is not only is quality of the food, but the service and attitude of the dining car person- nel.

An interesting aspect of the interviews that | have conducted is that the majority of the passengers come on board expecting traditional food service. Also, | don't restrict my interviews to any particular group. Whether by prior experfence or by hearing about dining cars from others, these people are coming on board wanting and looking for more than hamburgers, sandwiches and potato

Rail Travel News, Vol. 11, No. 17. October, 1981, Whole number 232.

Copyright © 1981 by Message Media. Published twice monthly by Message Media,

P. 0. Box 9007, Berkeley CA 94709. Subscription $19.00 per year; single copy 80¢. Overseas and institutional rates on request. STAFF: James Russel], Editor.

Paul Rayton, Editor-at-Large. Regional Correspondents: Peter Putnam Bretz, South- ern California; Jack Ferry, !]}inois; Adron Hall, Mississippi; Kenneth Maylath, Maryland; Peter Roeha, Massachusetts.

chips. And they are certainly not intimidated by china and three-course meals as Mr, Anderson suggests (Letters, RIN #228).

The mandate that Congress has given to Amtrak to achieve complete recovery of food service expenditures by Fiscal Year 1984 is completely asinine in light of the fact that airlines experience 100% loss on food service. They give it away. However, Congress did leave the back door open for Amtrak by giving them the option to contract out food services,

An arrangement similar to the one employed by the Santa Fe and Fred Harvey for many, many years could work to the advantage of Amtrak. (Quite simply, Amtrak would contract all food services to one or more food service contractors. The contractors would lease the dining cars for a very nominal fee. The con- tractors would have the responsibility of providing all the food and food serv- ice personnel. Amtrak would in turn have the responsibility of maintaining the dining cars under general train maintenance expenditures. Amtrak would also have the responsibility of imposing rigid quality standards for both food and service. The result would be high quality food service with no cost to the


These eye-catching Amtrak graphics, with their Western motif, are from promo- tional material for the Western Superliner trains. In an "Extra" edition of Amtrak News, the rail corporation noted that Superliners now run on the following trains: EMPIRE BUILDER, SAN FRANCISCO ZEPHYR, SOUTHWEST LIMITED, EAGLE, SUNSET LIMITED, CGAST STARLIGHT, PIONEER and DESERT WIND,

corporation, The responsibility of meeting food service expenditures would now be in the hands of the contractors.

The potential for this type of arrangement is almost unlimited, Special ty items could be added to the menus of trains serving specific regions. For exam- ple: New England clam chowder on trains going to Boston or the New England area; red snapper on the Florida trains; chicken Creole on the trains going to New Urleans. These are just a few of the possibilities.

Amtrak marketing must assume the responsibility of making this well known to the traveling public. This fs the very enticement that made rail travel popular for many years. Uining car meals were still advertised as a reason to take the train until very recently. The Southern Railway ran ads featuring the meal service on its SOUTHERN CRESCENT until the service was assumed by Amtrak in 1979, Amtrak marketing should advertise their dining cars as "One of thé many reasons that makes Amtrak the preferred choice of millions" rather than their common practice of referring to trains as an alternative. This type of advertising worked before and there is no reason why it shouldn't work today.

Alan Boyd has stated time and again that rail travel is experiencing a re- naissance, Let's bring this revival to full fruition. Throw away the paper and plastic. Break out the linen and china. Bring back the dining cars to the roll- ing restaurants that they used to be. After all, "Dinner in the diner could be

. " finer, Thomas H. Schramel, Director

Eastern Missouri Association of Railroad Passengers St. Charles, Missouri | have greatly enjoyed your magazine over the past years, as | have my many

rail trips on VIA and Amtrak, However, the ceaseless carping of many of the railfan element about Amtrak--e.g., Amfleet small windows and now long haul meal service--| have found generally to be out of touch with reality of the new rail rider. The past is dead; what is needed are ways to meet the future. Thanks for a great little magazine. :

Douglas Smith

Ottawa, Ontario, Canada page 3


The Amtrak appropriations bill for fiscal year 1982 is getting closer to final-

. ization, tho the full Senate will not be voting on it until November at least. NARP reported that on Oct 21 the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Transporta- tion approved the full DOT bill, including the full $735 million for Amtrak, the same amount given in the earlier authorization bill, The Amtrak section included a "save the CARDINAL" amendment offered on behalf of Senator Robert Byrd. The total DOT appropriation is about half a billion dotlars more than that requested by the White House in the latest round of budget cuts, but about half a billion less than the amount the White House had requested last March,

NARP said that the full Appropriations Committee is taking up the bil] Oct 27, and no problems with the Amtrak appropriation are expected there. The bil] should go to the Senate floor some tine after that, and what happens there to the "save the CARDINAL® amendment is "not quite as certain." The House-Senate conference to iron out differences between the House's and Senate's versions is expected in early to mid-November. NARP noted that "it is fair to say that Amtrak supporters got everything they could have hoped for® in the legislation.


In a move to bolster sagging ridership in the Northeast Corridor, Amtrak is introducing faster Metroliner schedules between New York and Washington with the Oct 25 timetable change (and the return to Standard Time). Three daily ex- press Metroliners, using AEM-7 locomotives and Amfleet cars rather than self- propelled Metroliner cars, will run the route in 2hrs, 59mins. Running express, they will make intermediate stops only at Baltimore and Philadelphia. Other scheduled Metroliners will make five intermediate stops, as before, and will run on faster schedules also. These latter trains will be scheduled for between Shrs, 15mins and 3hrs, 20mins running time. Three late-morning Metroliners are being discontinued as a result of Amtrak's budget cuts. Amtrak said that the equipment from the discontinued runs will be used to increase capacity on the remaining trains,

The three express Metroliners will consist of one club car, a dinette, and three 60«seat Amcoaches equipped with leg rests and reclining seats. A free light meal or snack will be offered club passengers, and they can order a vari- ety of hot foods, premier wines and beers, and cocktails at reasonable prices, Amtrak said. Coach passengers will be offered a "more distinctive selection of food and beverage items."

The self-propelled Metroliner cars will be used between Philadelphia and Harrisburg on the 600-series trains, and also on 200-series NY-Philadelphia clocker service. The Boston-New York SHORELINER will use LRC equipment and run a faster schedule, hitting a maximum of 100mph in places. One Boston-NY and five New Haven-Springfield roundtrips are discontinued,

Antrak said that completion of major track work allows use of 110mph tracks between Washington and New York.


Modified dining service (airline-style) was introduced nationwide on Amtrak on Oct 11, with the exception of the SILVER STAR, the only train remaining with the traditional type of dining. The SAN FRANCISCO ZEPHYR has an experimental "en- hanced" service which will be introduced nationwide about Nov 15. By Dec 15 the SILVER STAR should be completely converted to Heritage Fleet equipment, and will then also go airline-style in the diner. The enhanced service was tried in part on om BROADWAY LIMITED for one week early in October. The SF ZEPHYR offers for page : ;

Bed ac Sa ecu

breakfast freshly cooked scrambled eggs and pancakes. The pre-plated meals on the other trains offer for breakfast omelette with cheddar cheese, twin apple- stuffed crepes, and scrambled eggs. For dinner there are five choices: short ribs, chicken, lasagna, Seafood Americana, and roast turkey. The change coming Nov 15 is in the manner in which the food is presented--a larger tray with match- ing cup and bowls, a new tray mat, and coffee containers which hold 10 ounces so a second cup need not be requested. Some type of tablecloth is said to be under consideration.


VIA RAIL PRESIDENT Frank Roberts has expressed his support for the Pepin plan of passenger train cutbacks. In an interview with the Montreal Gazette in early October he said that VIA will now have a "good basic system we can build on." Elsewhere, Roberts complained that some cutback opponents don't even ride trains. Neither does Roberts, charged Harry Gow, Transport 2000 Canada Board member at a joint press conference With Dr. Pierre Bermond, President of Transport 2000 France, in Ottawa on Oct 15. Gow said he has seen Roberts only once in many thousands of miles of rail travel (30,000 minimum in 1980), and that was on the short Montreal- Ottawa run. For longer runs, Roberts has been observed using the plane. He has admitted in a public speech using the Montreal-Toronto plane, has been seen at Dorval welcoming his scn on a Fredericton-Hontreal flight, and came to the NARP Board meeting on May 1-2 from Montreal to Washington by Delta Airlines. Gow said this non-use of the train helps explain the "curious isolation from rail reality® Roberts seems to exhibit. Even when he comes to Ottawa, he usually avoids the station interior, heading directly for a taxi parked near the platform, thus avoiding the staff, Gow said. Dr. Bermond stated that Transport Minister Pepin had cited erroneous figures when he had claimed in the French-language press that railways were on a "world-wide decline", including the French National Railways (SNCF). To set the record straight, Bermond sent a telegram to Pepin in which he outlined the actual SNCF record since 1960 (Pepin, in a Le Droit article, had claimed an 11% decline in ridership since 4960). The actual figures are: non- stop express trains 91.1% gain; commuter trains 66.7% gain; local trains 20.3% drop, except a 3.9% gain since 1976; substitute local buses 8.0% drop since 1977.

Total ridership gain 1960-1979 was 67,22, ner

REGISTERING THEIR CONCERN over the announced cuts in Canad VIA Rail service, mayors, community leaders and other representatives of municipalities and regions across Canada arrive in Ottawa on Oct 26 for a meeting. Mayor Marion Dewar of Ottawa opens the proceedings and hosts a luncheon. Transport Minister Jean-Luc Pepin has agreed to meet a group of the delegates selected to represent each of Canada's regions. Also, opposition spokesmen on transportation Don Mazankowski (former Transport Minister) and New Democratic Party critic Les Benjamin will present their views the gathering. Transport 2000 Canada President Guy Chartrand will give an overview address on the rail cuts situation,

TRANSPORT MINISTER PEPIN has denied a charge that the rail cuts he has an- nounced were done illegally. The cuts were made by cabinet order, without public hearings. Opposition members of Parliament brought the charge on Oct 15. A law- yer from Winnipeg intends to-bring the issue of legality to the Supreme Court.

VIA RAIL CUTS seem to have brought an almost unprecedented amount of political flak to the Administration, Another example of such is the page-long column by Harry Bruce in Macleans Magazine (Oct 12}, in which he talks of the cutting out of the ATLANTIC LIMITED as a "classic example of how Central Canada uses its political clout to screw the Maritimes".

ALGOMA CENTRAL RAILWAY completed its best year yet; the Agawa Canyon trips

attracted 106,000 passengers, 5% higher than the record set in 1979. iage 8

| |

NOV. 15 TIMETABLES are not yet available from the printer, VIA said in an Oct 22 communication, but the corporation pro.ided some updated schedules which correct those given here last issue. Train 9 will arrive Prince Rupert at 6:30 pm, not 5:40. Train 10 leaves Prince Rupert at 8:30am, not 8am, Train 110 will arrive Winnipeg at 7:15pm, not 7:10. Train 681 arrives Edmonton at 2:40pm, not 1:55pm. Train 682 arrives Saskatoon at 8:50pm, not 7:55pm. Train 8 leaves Win- nipeg at 8:15pm, not &:30, Train 7 arrives Winnipeg at 8:30am, not 8am. VIA has issued a small blue-and-yellow folder with schedules of the above trains.


"MODERN RED CARS in 3 years!" read the Aug 15 newspaper story. Will Long Beach and the L.A, region get any kind of electric rapid transit?

Assembly Transportation Committee Chairman Bruce Young believes modern Red Cars on the L.A.-Long Beach line can make it--and soon! The overwhelming suc- cess of the San Diego Trolley proves that mcdern Red Cars work, Caltrans's Adri- ana Gianturco says the Long beach line can cut it, She just negotiated and saved a viable Century Freeway project with two lanes for transit. Two regionally- prominent Republicans are for it: Assemblyman Nolan Frizelle from Huntington Beach is enthusiastic, and biggest surprise of all, coastal L.A. County's supervisor Deane Dana--very conservative--is for it. He endorses Bruce Young's bill to pur- chase a segment of this line--officially the "Willowbrook branch"--that would be abandoned along with Century Freeway construction.

The SP's terminal superintendant P. K. Baumhefner said SP is open to negotia- tion and cooperation (SP owns the former PE lines). Young's committee and Cal- trans are both desirous of fair resolutions at no cost to the railroads--and that means to their freight services.

The Southern California Rapid Transit Uistrict (RTD) is committed to building the $2 billion-additional-funds-needed Wilshire subway from downtown L.A. to North Hollywood; but even here, in testimony at the committee hearing in August, Red Car light rail technology was called feasible, reasonble in cost, under the chairman's relentless prodding of RTD's metrorail engineer. But William Ryan advised the chair that the major problem was entry of the light rail into down- town L.A., either at Union Station or the shopping district. 8ring us the plans, Young shot back--bring me your plans for converting the £1] Nonte busway to rail-- { submit they don't exist, he continued, If al] the RTD is interested in is these 18 miles of Wilshire subway, then | would be helpful; we'll create the Wil- shire Corridor Rapid Transit District for heavy rail, and give the light rail to a regional agency, possibly to a joint powers agency of all those involved,

But, the Norwalk assemblyman continued, | am concerned that one costly project of dubjous funding 80% from Washington will hold up projects that can be absol- utely turnkey before the 18-mile subway goes into construction. RTD governmental affairs' Barry Engleberg was optimistic on the subway. He says a "line item" for continuing its engineering is well underway in Congress and probably will become law. Then, with the national economy expected to improve, the major subway con- struction monies are expected to become available at the time they can be used. Fine, said chairman Young, I'm all for your continuing the engineering, just so Jong as it's not at the expense of everything else. A successful light rail line will give impetus to the subway.

Caltrans can build an $85 million line at grade and on Alameda St. The trans- portation committee favors a $150 million line, elevated over major railroad crossings and north of Santa Monica Freeway, a line just for trolleys. Bpth Young and Gianturco say existing funds are available. Young concludes: "I assure you we Will carry this to a successful conclusion," «Robert J, Swan. (This is a portion of Mr. Swan's publication on the Red Car debate previ ously page 6 advertised in RIN.)


The Board of Directors of the National Association of Railroad Passengers-- regional directors from all parts of the nation--met in San Francisco on Oct 8- 10. It marked the first time that the NARP Board had its meeting in the Far Hest. The Oct 9 program was open to the public, and RIN attended most of the addresses that day.

The surprise of the meeting was the talk by Amtrak Marketing Vice President William Norman, His position is a difficult one to fill, especially in the eyes of rail supporters who never believe that Amtrak's Marketing Department is doing an adequate job in selling their favorite trains. But everyone with whom we spoke was very favorably impressed with this man, particularly after he had spent three full hours on his feét before this very critical group of knowledge- able rail supporters, exhibiting undiminished information and enthusiasm for passenger trains.

Mr. Norman possesses a particularly effective manner of public speaking,

For example, he begins an answer to a questioner in an honestly apologetic tone (if such is appropriate), relates what in retrospect should have been done, and gradually works into a dynamic and forceful presentation of how things will go

in the future if he has any say about them. His memory of facts and figures and situa- tions seems boundless, and he weaves them all together into an impressive fabric that could only by done by someone who does his © homework well and is thoroughly involved in every facet of the day-to-day operation of his department.

Mr. Norman brought with him a hard hat _ which he left sitting on the speaker's table, and he donned it a couple of times when he knew he was addressing issues of some con- troversy.

On the subject of the use of dome cars, he said that there was not a member of Am- trak that doesn't feel that the dome is a great marketing product. However, he said, Antrak has a commitment to Superliners, Dome cars are applicable to some short distance routes, he said, where Super- liners are not used.

On the subject of equipment, Norman said that if Amtrak had had 300 more cars, they could have been filled this summer. Amtrak has to build new cars that will increase its passenger-carrying capacity as much as possible. With its limited capital resources, Amtrak must build as many coaches as possible, he said. The implication was that’ this would rule out construction of dome cars, at least in the immediate future.

Amtrak's new reservations computer was discussed, Norman said that the pre- sent ARTS system is "magnificent, but not designed to do what it's doing." It was built for the passenger capacity that Amtrak reached back in 1975. This summer, the reservations system was "nothing short of chaos." The new systen, known publicly as "Arrow" (previously it was called "Spike", but Norman said . that Arrow is like Amtrak's logo--fluid and dynamic and:indicating thrust, while Spike is stable and fixed), will go on line on Oct 31, On that date the res system will be shut down for about 7-8 hours to get the new one set up, and Nor-

page 7

William Hornan addresses the NARP Directors. RTN photos.

aan will personally push a symbolic button th degins operation of the Arrow, ahich he said is the "most advanced in the tra.portation industry". ; Some other Norman quotes: Schedules: "We don't write schedules, we negotiate chem with the railroads." Modified Food Service: "Some cynics said, sit down to the last supper." (Norman said that sophisticated statistical studies of the new food service on the four trains on which it was tested showed it to be ‘disastrous"; most riders came with a high expectation of good food, and said that they wouldn't ride the train with the new food, and will tell their friends not to ride; 93% approved of conventional-type He Sol nip relbare jin Ep? 82?: ith Amtrak's "razor-thin budget" the costs would be too high; some specia trains will be run there, but no displays. The PACIFIC INTERNATIONAL: An excel- ‘ent market, but VIA charges in Vancouver so high that no way Amtrak could meet criteria, and negotiati iled.

NARP Executive Director Ross Capon (at microphone) and NARP President Jack Martin accept from George Falcon on behalf of Oregon Senator Bob Packwood a Gold Spike Award for assistance in improving rai] service, as Caltrans's Adriana Gianturco and Amtrak's Art Lloyd (seated) look on.

California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) Director Adriana Gianturco spoke after lunch, summing up Caltrans's view of rail passenger service in the state. Mrs. Gianturco seems to be ‘grewing ever more confident in her position, and she spoke with both forcefulness and humor and made no bones about Caltrans's gripes with both Amtrak and the railroads on some issues. She said that Cal trans has recommended extension of the SAN-JOAQUINS to Los Angeles, and tho Amtrak is not favorably inclined to this, the state won't drop its request. As to re-rout- ing the COAST STARLIGHT thru Sacramento, Amtrak agrees with the state on this, and informed SP of the plan, but SP said that track work is needed before the change can be made. Caltrans and Amtrak both disagree that track work is needed, and so arbitration hearings were starting Oct 13. Gianturco said she did not like this "time-consuming" arbitration process. She said that the overnight train that starts up Oct 25 was first proposed four years ago, and thousands of hours of time have been put jnto the matter before it was settled, :

Caltrans is "concerned" about declining ridership on the SAN DIEGANS, Adding

a seventh train resulted in an overall ridership drop, equivalent to 18% per train. She said this was caused by a 10-minute lenathening of the schedule when the seventh

train was added, and an "inordinate 52% faré increase over the last two years." She "wants promotions jn the next few months." She said it's possible to expand the customer base rather than raise prices.

page 8

Gianturco scolded Amtrak for its "one-sided" 403-b contracts. "The state puts up 65% of the avoidable costs and has zero assurance that the customer gets serv- ice." She asked for an arbitration clause between the states and Amtrak in the 403-b contracts.

Caltrans wants two more roundtrips between San Jose and Sacramento. Added to the COAST STARLIGHT, the overnight train and the SAN FRANCISCO ZEPHYR, that would be five roundtrips daily on at least part of the route. In answer to a question she said that there is no reason the overnight train couldn't go all the way to Portland or Seattle.

Other topics covered by Hrs. Gianturco: Light rail project dates: Sacramento, 1986; L.A. to Long Beach, Jan 1, 1982. San Francisco commute line gets 46 runs instead of 44, starting Oct 25; Caltrans will refurbish coaches, build stations, coordinate train and bus. A study on the Santa Clara transit corridor will be out on Nov 16. A $4 million project to improve the L.A.-San Diego track has been signed, Caltrans sent out worldwide requests for proposals on high-speed train service in the state, but the state legislature blocked the action. Then Japan asked Caltrans to work with them in a study of high-speed trains in free- way rights of way.

We Were unfortunately unable to remain to hear the talk by Byron Nordberg, President of Citizens for Rail California, but we did hear most of the presenta- tion by Ronald Sheck on his Amtrak 90 proposal. Sheck said that Amtrak can break even by 1988 and then begin to make a profit, provided proper planning and con- mitment is forthcoming now.

Amtrak's most critical problem is the inability to develope adequate rider- ship--to fully utilize its infrastructure, he said. Amtrak has a very thin level of service--754 of the system has one train a day or less, while Europe has sev- eral trains a day, even on lines outside of cities,

Amtrak has some positive advantages oing for it: (1) people like to ride trains; (2) new equipment is in place; (3) the operating costs of other modes are growing faster than Amtrak's; (4) state interest in rail service is at a high level; (5) Amtrak's market potential is big and barely tapped; (6) Amtrak is not burdened with costly commuter and rural branch lines as other nations are; (7) a reservations system is in place; and (8) railway labor may be ready to negotiate.

Congress has three possible courses of action before it: (45 keep the status quo for Antrak, (2) cut subsidies and reduce the system, (3) or make capital ine vestments in Amtrak, Sheck said that if $2.6 billion in capital investments were given Amtrak over a 6-year period, its subsidy requirements would decline to $39 million in fiscal year 1988, The total of capital investment and operating sub- sidies for that whole time would be only $6 billion, whereas $7 billion would be required for operating subsidies alone, without the capital investment,

A policy of no growth will kil] Amtrak off, Sheck said. Growth, developing the present network, is the only feasible al ternative.

te Pe a eee ee ee ee OPEN HOUSE AT RENSSELAER by Kevin Gregoire

An_ open house was held at Amtrak's new Albany-Rensselaer NY station on Sep 26. The formal opening of the station was Oct 15.

Amtrak had on display one-F~40 locomotive and an Andinette car. Conrail had one locomotive and a rail safety car, and the B&M and the D&l each had a loco- motive there. Amtrak had set up a table inside the station to display and give away souvenirs.

The new station can handle 300 passengers per hour at peak capacity. The old station will be turned into a commissary.

The Rensselaer station location has a funny history. Originally Albany had to be abandoned because the new Interstate highway 787 could not be built under the

Page 9

railroad bridge approaching the station because federal highway standards needed six inches more clearance, causing the rail bridge to be abandoned, torn down, rendering the station useless (it still stands!). New York Central decided to abandon Schunestany also, and bujld a combined Capital District Station in Colonie (halfway between Schenectady and Albany). The Public Service Commission objected, and required them to build one in Rensselaer also. Colonie was abandoned by An- trak, and Schenectady returned, but the Rensselaer location was made the perma- nent Albany station with the construction of the Turboliner facility there, and now the new station.

A formal Family Days equipment display, hopefully displaying Superliners, will take place at this location next May or June.


The Rail Fantrips department of RIN listed in issue 229 the following trip: Oct 10: Deschutes River rail excursion, Portland-Madras OR via UP & Oregon Trunk, 1st Amtrak excursion in NW, Lv Portland 7:30am, back 9:30pm, $49.95...

The excursion was sponsored by the Pacific Northwest Chapter of the National Railway Historical Society, whose president, Ben Fredericks, is a regular RIN reader. It was the second excursion the chapter put on this year, the first being the excursion to California with the 4449 steam locomotive when it was taken to Sacramento for the Railfair. The 630 passengers who traveled on this trip experienced not only the unusual excursion they had anticipated, but also an unexpected adventure which approximately doubled the mileage of their trip.

The Deschutes River Special ran on Union Pacific tracks, using Superliner cars, following the route of the PIONEER, except that beyond The Dalles, at Oregon Trunk Junction, the train would head south into the canyon of the Deschutes River, on the east side of the Cascade Mountains.

The Deschutes River Canyon is rarely seen from the window of a passenger train, and for about the first 100 miles from Oregon Trunk Junction the only access to the river is by railroad, boat or on foot. The walls of the river canyon vary in height from 700 to 2200 feet in this area, and the river itself drop about 1400 feet in altitude in that space as it flows north into the Columbia River.

The area is full of railroad history, and excursionists were provided with a specially-prepared booklet outlining the history and points of interest of the excursion territory, Starting at Moody a series of rapids are passed, including Moody Rapids, Rattlesnake Rapids and Colorado Rapids. Just before Lockit, a canyon named Harris Canyon joins the Deschutes Canyon on the left, Further on, Macks Canyon joins on the left, and then Ferry Canyon on the right, just before Sinamox is reached. (Sinamox is the Chinook Indian word for "seven", and other Chinook numbers appear along this route--Kloan for "three" and Lockit for "four" .)

Two competing railroads, the Oregon Trunk and the DesChutes Railroad Company, built lines simultaneously on either side of the canyon beginning in 1909. The two lines, led by railroad magnates Harriman and Hill, were in fierce competition with each other. Gradually the two lines were consolidated, The first regular passenger train ran into Bend on Oct 31, 1911, exactly 70 years ago.

The Oregon Trunk had passenger service into recent times. For example, a 1952 timetable shows a dafly passenger train in each direction between Bend and Wishram WA, where a connection was made with the SP&S. Train 102 left Wishram at 12:15am daily and reached Bend at 6:15am, while Train 103 left Bend at 6:30pm and reached Wishram at 12:45am with 23 stops and flagstops along the way.

Beyond Sinamox the train passes Rattlesnake Canyon on the left. Then at Qak- brook the river makes a big horseshoe bend. The train crosses the river, enters a tunnel, and then re-crosses to the west bank, At Sherar is the historic loca- tion of Sherar's Bridge, the first bridge over the river, built in 1860. Here east-west highway 216 crosses the rail line, Halfway between Sherar and Maupin the White River joins the Deschutes. page 10

Before Kaskela, the rail line crosses to the east bank of the river. At Gateway the line leaves the river canyon and runs onto table land to Madras and beyond.

The excursion train reached Madras as planned, and there was a photo run- by at one point on the trip. Madras is a town of 2235 population at an altitude of 2242 feet, and is the county seat of Jefferson County. Here the train was turned for the return run to Porttand. (Before arrival here a box lunch was served.)

The return run was about 12 miles back north of Madras when an unsche- duled stop was made. A Union Pacific

Devihon freight train had derailed nine cars kaskala (OT) ahead of the excursion train, at a nee tunnel at Gateway. The freight had ( left Hadras shortly before the excur- Cerewarg? sion train had, and was about 13 el miles in front of it. There was a delay of about an hour while plans sont were made for rescuing the trapped Matoliu excursionists. Finally the train casa was backed up some distance to a siding at which the engines were run =m around the 10 passenger cars and it was pulled on to Madras. The plan taabia) was now to take the train south to Prineritle Jt. ricwita Chemult, where it would join the SP teowon (Antrak} line and head north to Porte é land over the COAST STARLIGHT route, Sd The train stopped in Bend for 23 hours while some



arrangements were made. Passengers who had boarded at The Dalles--about 40 of them--were bused home from here. Other passengers rushed to telephones to advise those at home of their change of itinerary.

Original plans were for Kentucky Fried Chicken dinners te be put aboard at The Dalles, and arrangements were made to pick up the dinners at Bend instead.

The train moved on to Chemult, where the BN and SP join, reaching there about 11:30om. It was snowing in Chemult, and there the two engines were moved to the proper end of the train, and it was turned. The train had been refueled in Bend; a local fuel oi] dealer had filled the tanks with diesel fuel from his small tank truck.

After a partly-unscheduled 580-mile trip, the train reached Portland as dawn was breaking--at 6; 55am Sunday.

Commented excursionist Vic Snyder, who provided much of the naterial for this article, "This trip will not be soon forgotten." The Portland Oregonian reported the trip news in both its Sunday and Monday editions, and noted that Ben Fredericks, chapter president, announced over the PA as the train pulled into Portland, that it had run on three rail- roads for a distance of 580 miles, page 11




LIMITED now departs Chicago at 7:25pm

and on this Sunday, October 11, after a day of railfan activities around Chicago that started at 4:30am, my tired legs were most gratified to see the conductor begin checking in sleeper and slumbercoach passengers at 6:45.

Tonight's train 40-440 consisted of diesel units 358 and 356 (F40s), baggage 1243 (NY mail), baggage 1356 (NY baggage), 1225 and 1255 (both Washington mail), 10/6 sleeper 2882 "Pacific Trail”, coaches 4724 & 4710, lounge 3125, diner 8517, coaches 4703, 4618 & 4700, slumbercoach 2081, 10/6 sleeper 2915 ''Pacific Hills", and baggage-dorm 1620. The Washington revenue cars were 2882, 4724 and 4710; we would get a lone F40 engine and a lounge at Pittsburgh.

Upon boarding the slumbercoach, I was met by a friendly attendant who took me to upper single #5 and gave me a Welcome to Heritage Fleet flyer, a diner service flyer, a copy of Express magazine, and one of Amtrak's Oct 1-Oct 24 shcedule change fol- ders. The PA blared with announcements, and by 7:15 everyone was aboard and we were ready to leave. The train was clean and looked handsome, and on every seat and in every room was a copy of Express maga- zine.

My room was yellow in color and a little beat up, but otherwise everything worked fine. My only minor gripe was that linens were placed after departure, so I could not wash up before dinner,

The diner opened upon departure, and I was eagerly sitting there, awaiting a crack at the new food service. The menu was a small card--four entrees, check your selec- tions and pay in advance. Service was rea- sonably fast, but there were those plastic utensils and the plastic plate and bowl on a blue tray. The food was not good, and it cooled quickly. My tablemate, who had the

_ beef tips (I had the Seafood Americana) felt

they were good, and we both paid roughly $7 with tip for our trouble. He noted that he had come from Tampa to Chicago on the SILVER STAR and the BROADWAY (via New York) and he preferred the STAR's fresh- cooked cuisine (at that time all but one set of the STAR's equipment were conventional, non-HEP cars). Allin all, as a long-time rider I felt badly about this meal, and the empty dining car tended to verify my feeling. After dinner I hit the rack, enjoying a good night's rest. The attendant correctly woke me at 5:45, and a few minutes later we rolled into Pittsburgh, early at 5:50.

page 12

The Pittsburgh passenger facility now is a trailer located near the old trainsheds, be- tween them and the grand old station. Despite the chill, there was some switching to be ob- served. First the Washington F40, #273, was sitting nearby, and lounge 3124 was already waiting on the Washington track. The train was cut between cars 4710 and 3125 and pulled over to the Washington track and cou- pled to 3124. Then they cut between cars 1356 and 1225 and set the engines and New York baggage cars back over to the main train. Then engine 273 came over to the Washington track and coupled on, and that was that!

About ten passengers came out to board the new CAPITOL LIMITED, which now consisted of engine 273 and cars 1225, 1255, 2882, 4724, 4710, and 3124 "Betsy Ross." The two attendants in 3124 were set up and ready at departure, and had the coffee hot. Both sections departed on time, ours at 6:55am.

The CAPITOL ran about one mile east on the Conrail main to a point called "Bloom" on Conrail. We then handswitched to the left, started down a mild grade, and soon handswitched onto the old B&O main at Field Junction. We then ran several miles downhill in a gulch at 35-40mph, passing under CR and even a long tunnel, finally emerging at Glenwood Junction at 7:20am. There we were held for the first PAT com-

A Capitol Idea! Amtrak's New Capitol Limited

Any travel between Washington and Pittsburgh or Chicago should include Amtraks Capitol Limited. This new service takes passengers through some of Americas most beautiful countryside; pass- ing historic Harpers Ferry and winding along the Youghiogheny River.

Beautiful vistas, though, are not the only reasons to take the Capitol Limited. Con- venient scheduling will get you between the Nations Capitol and Pittsburgh and points west to Chicago easily. Plus, the Capitol Limited's Heritage Fleet equipment gets you to your destination in climate controlled comfort.

by Walt Stringer

a ty g : "ots Anode SS CB : 2 . umbus 2 * ak e x i O) Sc Ra © ss S “ee OL OFS Ts peeincn ad wa & e

new map . "McKeesport" is printed in orange rather than black because the stop is not operative yet. Connellsville is misspelled on map. Gone are both routes that connected Cincinnati directly with the East Coast,

muter train (four Budd cars) for 7-8mins, and then we started a very pleasant run down the river into B&O country.

We passed the other PAT train about 7:45 and eased thru McKeesport fo stop yet) at 7:50. The run to Connellsville was pleasant, and the B&O crew, which boarded at the Conrail station and went to Cumberland, was very informative.

The B&O is double track, speeds from 40- 55, and very smooth. Passing thru the small Youghiogheny River towns in the morn- ing fog was like a trip thru time, with the fall colors adding a striking backdrop.

Arrival at Connellsville was 9am (7mins late). The beautiful old yellow station has been torn down and replaced by an Amshack. About ten passengers boarded, and numerous Chessie employees watched our stop. Sever- al freights awaited us in the big yard east of town. Most of our 100 or so passengers were having breakfast by this time, and the service provided in the lounge (glorified Amcafe food with table service) was adequate.

As any student of travel knows, a fall crossing of the Alleghenies means colors, and if it's on a route closed to passenger trains for 10 years, all the better.

According to the timetable, it is 150 miles from Cumberland to Pittsburgh, including the notorious Sand Patch Grade and tunnel. The CAPITOL is allowed three hours for the 92 miles from Connellsville to Cumberland, the true heart of the ride. This part of the B&O still has interlocking towers and helper engines at remote points, plus some topnotch scenery. The line climbs very slowly from Connellsville, following the Youghiogheny River thru winding valleys, with red and orange and yellow trees everywhere.

We passed Confluence at 9:47, the gray depot at Rockwood at 10:20, and then began

the 20-mile climb to Sand Patch at Garrett

at 10:30. Ali along there was evidence of

the abandoned main line of Western Maryland, paraliel to us; at least one huge trestle near Meyersdale is still in.

Meyersdale, known for its maple sugar, lies in a beautiful valley with miles of fall colors in every direction, and we passed its depot at 10:40. We had no trouble climb- ing the hill at a nice pace, and at 10:48 the CAPITOL LIMITED crested the summit and entered the mile-long Sand Patch Tunnel, to begin the 20-mile descent to Hyndman and Cumberland. Due to bridge work, B&O had only one track open here. But this present- ed little problem, as there wasn't much freight moving--perhaps one drag noted be- tween Pittsburgh and Connellsville, three between Connellsville and Sand Patch, and one waiting at the bottom of the grade at Hyndman, which we passed at 11:20.

After a short and fast sprint, we arrived Cumberland early at 11:45, with very little passenger exchange there.