Geo’s Media Blog. (Train Wreck) 1/28/19

Does Amtrak have a different system here in the east? I only ask because a couple times a year I travel on Amtrak from LA to San Jose to visit my friends, the Hilliards. I love the ride, you have spectacular views of the ocean on one side and the mountains on the other not to mention the spectacular service. Put this all together and my ten-hour train trip is over much too quickly. I love the train so much that I’ve taken it across America several times, and even did it once with my daughter Cami. (pictured on top near Palm Springs) However, three hours into it, she was already done and we still had three days to go. Recently, I took the train from LA to Chicago and shortly before that, from San Francisco through the Rockies which was breathtaking. (pictured below) Oh, and did I mention that in the west, Amtrak is on time?

Unfortunately, here in the east, Amtrak should consider changing their name because they are nothing like their western counterparts. Not only are they never on time, but the service is terrible and so is their attitude. In fact, if you travel across the country, you can always tell when the eastern crew comes aboard. 

The reason I’m bringing this all up is that my daughter Cami who goes to USF in Tampa, Amtrak is her only way home. I’ve lost count of how many events we’ve missed because of her late arrivals. Now I even have an Amtrak app on my phone so I can try and keep track of the latest developments. Whenever Cami is coming home, the first thing I do when I get up on her day of travel is check in with the app to see how things are going with train 91 out of New York. They usually begin by claiming that the train will arrive in Tampa early which of course isn’t even close to the truth. However, if they start off my day by admitting that they’ll be late getting into Tampa, that’s when I know that I’m really in trouble and begin moving appointments around.

Once the train finally arrives in Tampa and my daughter is safely on board, it’s time to check the arrival time in West Palm Beach, doing it before that is pure fantasy. About 30 minutes out of Tampa they begin their favorite trick which is to add 2 or 3 minutes to their already late arrival time and they do it every 10 minutes which drives me crazy. I have no idea if they learned this trick from the airlines or they taught it to them. The delays usually end up being about 2 hours on a good day but Amtrak keeps you locked in place by claiming that most trains make up time. Yeah right! Going the other way which comes out of Miami is usually on time, but of course not today. After arriving with my daughter two hours late on Friday, they are already 15 minutes late taking her back to school in Tampa, and they’ve only just begun the day.

I think all the Amtrak executives and employees in the east, should be sent out west to learn how to run a railroad. It’s pretty evident that they need the input. 

Geo’s Life-Liners

Political & Politically Incorrect.
We should rain hell down on all the desert rats and then get the hell out. 
 

Do I have this right, only white males are evil, or are we just the only ones allowed to be openly dissed?

I think we should let vigilantes take care of all the drug dealers. I’m thinkin’, the hell with their rights and all their plea bargains.

I hear that Nancy Pelosi is already taking revenge on some of the Democrats who opposed her becoming Speaker again.

Speaking of revenge, I also hear that Trump trumped Nancy and John could be heard in the distance singing, “Instant Karma’s Gonna Get Ya!” Then Nancy trumped Trump and brought an end to the government shut down. What a bunch of spoiled children.

I think the term, “Middle Class” was created by the wealthy to scare the shit out of both the rich and the poor.

Reality
Like Bob Seger, “I wish I didn’t know now what I didn’t know then.”

Being bad is just like gravity; eventually, it’s gonna get ya!

Questions?
Why do successful people think they’re bulletproof?

How would you know if your favorite watering hole was watering down the Vodka? I would think that Vodka mixed with water still tastes like Vodka.

I wonder what came first, the buyer or the seller?

 

Music
The first time I heard “Hey Jude” was in the production studio at CKOM in Saskatoon. With me, were Gary Russell, Woody Cooper, and Ken Sebastion Singer, and I remember thinking, “Jeez, have the Beatles run out of words already? 

 

Philosophical
Sometimes you win by not playing.
 

Sports

So LA gets another shot at Boston after the Sox embarrassed them in the World Series Huh?

Is Tony Romo the freshest thing to step into the broadcast booth since John Madden or what?

Sean Payton kinda lucked out last week by the bad no call because he made a couple of bad play calls down the stretch that has gone unnoticed.

Nobody hates the Cleveland Browns, but they soon will.

 

Geo’s Media Blog is an inside look at Radio, Music, Movies, and Life. For a sneak peek at some upcoming Blogs or those under still construction go to GeorgeJohns.com. On Twitter @GeoOfTheRadio. Sharing and commenting are much appreciated. 

12 thoughts on “Geo’s Media Blog. (Train Wreck) 1/28/19

  1. Regarding East Coast Amtrak service, Geo…I used to take Amtrak from Raleigh to Washington, DC soon after I relocated here from St. Louis to spend time in the home office of the organization for whom I worked. The first couple of times worked fairly smoothly both going and returning. However, about the fourth time I did this trip, the return trip departed DC on time but arrived in Raleigh two hours beyond its stated arrival time. The fifth time I made the trip, my return leg was schedule to arrive in Raleigh at 7:55pm, but we eventually arrived at 12:55am the next morning. Needless to say, I drove from Raleigh to DC every time afterward. We sat on one stretch of track for over an hour with no explanatory announcement or updates. It is my understanding that Amtrak leases the track time from the freight train companies who own the track. Thus, the freight trains always have track priority. Not sure if that is the case on the western US tracks that Amtrak uses.

  2. George, East of the Mississippi River, the problem is CSX Transportation, the freight railroad that owns the rails over which Amtrak runs trains in Florida. CSX’s relationship with Amtrak is terrible for years. They clog their railroad network with freight trains and fit Amtrak’s trains in when it is convenient for them. In the west, BSNF (Burlington Northern Santa Fe) and Union Pacific still view Amtrak as a partner (although it is an imposition for them) so they try to get their Amtrak trains dispatched through their networks as quickly as possible so it isn’t jammed up for their revenue-makers, the freight trains !

  3. Correct about CSX and the freight trains When ACL and Seabord were around it wasn’t so bad. Add to that the mess in central Florida where Amtrak dog legs over to Tampa and back making stops in Winter Haven Lakeland and Plant City or did all a few years ago. One screwup and it becomes a dog and pony show..
    Many years ago now Amtrak had a train link between New Orleans and Jacksonville but a hurrican took out the track. Still waiting for the service to resume..

  4. George…Amtrak might be good in CA but it stinks in the Pacific Northwest. I took it to Portland. Or from Bellingham, Wa 2 years ago. What should have been a 4 hour trip took 6.5 hours. My ride in Portland got so tired of waiting I had to rearrange it. This is common. I have had other times they stop at a station midway and put you on a bus for 200 miles. A friend needed to return home from Seattle. They shut the track and he and other ticket holders ended up hiring Ubers to go the 100 miles home. The big problem up our way is washed out tracks in fall and winter, although they are not reliable in spring or summer. Up here Warren Buffett owns the freight trains and they own the tracks. So any conflicts go in favor of his freight trains and not the passenger trains on leased tracks. Plus they have a marginal safety record. A couple years back you must have read about the inaugural run of a route near Tacoma where the Amtrak engineer entered a curve way over speed limit. The train derailed off the trestle…rail cars hanging over the freeway. People died including VIPs who were instrumental in creating the route. Since Amtrak is federal government operated there are financial limitations as to what can be recovered in suits for deaths and injuries to persons or family. When it runs smoothly it is a nice ride…but fully bush league quality where I live

  5. One additional issue in the Amtrak mess is that the current president of Amtrak, Richard Anderson, is a former C.E.O. of Delta Airlines, with no railroad experience. Although I support a few of the actions Donald Trump has pushed through in his two-plus years as President, his appointment of Anderson to replace Joseph Boardman has resulted in significant cutbacks and disruptions to the always challenged (since 1971) Amtrak national network. Anderson wants to cut back Amtrak to just a few routes, primarily in the Northeast Corridor (Boston to Washington, D.C.) with as few long-distance passenger trains as possible, which has long been a target for Republicans to eliminate. The problem is that passenger trains are popular with those whom do not want to fly and those whom, such as yourself, want the experience. You would think that rail travel between Indianapolis and Chicago would be comparable to travel by car up I-65 and I-90, which can be about 4.5-hours. In Indianapolis, “The Hoosier State” departs Union Station in Indianapolis at 4:45 a.m. (!) E.T. Most days, it arrives at the Chicago Union Station, 4-to-6-hours LATE from the scheduled time of around 10:00 a.m., C.T. Thank you, CSX Transportation !

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