Arian Horbovetz 
Member since Apr 23, 2015



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Re: “New train station, old problems

As a lover of rail travel, it pains me to admit it's becoming harder and harder to defend the issues that Amtrak passengers experience on nearly every ride. Amtrak "rents" track from CSX, the freight carrier that owns the lines that service most of New York State. Frequent delays are, for the most part, due to "freight traffic" with Amtrak trains taking a backseat to freight trains.

Amtrak is in a difficult spot. In a time when our country is seeking alternative forms of transit, and with a millennial population that is seeing the automobile as less and less of a necessity, passenger rail is poised to be a fantastic regional transportation option. But significant delays (hours, not minutes) that are so pervasive that they are seen as almost acceptable make it a far less attractive option for recreational travel and an impossible option form reliable business travel. Take it from someone who has traveled across New York State over a hundred times via Amtrak in the last several years... if you have to get somewhere by a certain time, Amtrak is not a good option. But unfortunately, Amtrak simply does not have the budget or capabilities to capably address these issues.

Amtrak's positives include convenience and comfort. You can arrive at the station 5 minutes before the train arrives and board when it gets there. You can take two bags, and they go in the racks above your seat. No security lines, no one's going through your stuff... you just get on the train and go.

Once you're there, you can sprawl out in the large seats with plenty of leg room, or walk down to the cafe car for some food and drink. It's relaxing, and the scenery is nice.

Unless major changes to service are undertaken, Amtrak will continue to be underutilized. It will simply be an "additive" for the cities it serves rather than a significant motivator for commerce and tourism in Upstate NY. I love Amtrak, but unless drastic changes are made, it's potential will never be maximized.

9 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Arian Horbovetz on 06/30/2017 at 5:17 AM

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