Posts Tagged ‘Trains magazine’

Strike at CN Helped Canadian’s Timekeeping

November 27, 2019

A recent strike by the Teamsters Canadian Rail Conference against Canadian National proved to be a good thing for timekeeping of VIA Rail Canada’s Canadian.

An analysis by Trains magazine found that the Canadian that departed Toronto on Nov. 24 spent 14 hours and 15 minutes waiting for its scheduled departure times at stations in western Ontario and Manitoba.

That was because during the strike CN rerouted some of its trains through the United States, thus removing some of the freight train delays that Nos. 1 and 2 often incur.

Trains said that on one day the Canadian waited at the crew change point of Hornepayne, Ontario, for three-and-a-half hours until its scheduled departure time. Other waiting times ranged from 15 to 30 minutes.

The Canadian has 65 intermediate stops between Toronto and Vancouver and is allowed to depart ahead of schedule if there are no passengers set to board.

That led to the Canadian leaving Foleyet, Ontario, nearly two hours early on Sunday evening.

The analysis said that CN and VIA agreed in April 2019 to lengthen the running time of the Canadian to ensure that passengers on the westbound train would be able to see the Rocky Mountains in daylight.

The magazine said its review of every departure since the longer schedule went into effect found that has overall been successful.

No. 1 has consistently arrived in Vancouver earlier than its 8 a.m. scheduled arrival time, sometimes arriving early by as much as two to four hours.

VIA does not allow passengers to disembark in Vancouver before 6:30 a.m. and offers a continental breakfast to Sleeper Plus and Prestige class passengers.

Early arriving passengers are permitted to stay aboard as late as 8 a.m.

VIA has also reduced the frequency of operations of the Canadian to twice weekly between Toronto and Vancouver and once a week between Vancouver and Edmonton, Alberta.

CN and the Teamsters on Wednesday announced a tentative contract agreement that ended the strike.

However, it may be as many as eight weeks before the ratification vote is completed.

Boardman Critical of Amtrak in Trains Interview

February 5, 2019

A former Amtrak president sharply criticized the management of his former employer, aiming many of his barbs at current Amtrak CEO Richard Anderson, but also being critical of former Amtrak head Charles “Wick” Moorman.

Joe Boardman

Joseph H. Boardman, who was president of Amtrak between November 2008 and September 2016, spoke during an interview with Trains magazine on such topics as rail safety, operations, and dining car service.

The interview was published in the April 2019 issue that recently has been arriving in the mailboxes of subscribers and hitting newstands.

“Cost has become a driver in a way that it has begun to damage the system,” Boardman said in the interview. “We had an overall revenue goal. But individual management goals that influence monetary bonuses were based on cost targets, not revenue. The incentive program needs to be revamped so cutting expenses is not the sole focus.”

Trains said it sought comment from Amtrak to Boardman’s statements and received a reply from a spokeswoman that defended an incentive plans to help improve performance that had been recommended by the Government Accounting Office and encouraged by Congress.

“Congress expects Amtrak to reduce costs, increase employee productivity and maximize the use of our resources and property,” the spokeswoman said.

The Amtrak statement said the incentive plan focuses on operating loss, customer service and ridership.

“Like any business, we want to strike a balance between reducing the costs of operations and growing the ridership and revenue associated with the service we provide. This isn’t an either-or proposition — our incentive plan aims to control costs and increase ridership and revenue. The better we are at providing service efficiently, the more resources we can invest into our long-standing capital needs and the more our customers will choose Amtrak as the way to travel,” the Amtrak statement said.