Friday, January 23, 2009

Is Amtrak OT Improvement Due to the Recession?

Good news in the Tampa Tribune about the on-time performance of Amtrak's Silver Star, one of the two daily trains running between New York and Miami. The northbound Star was on time 87.1 percent of the time last month, compared with the 12-month norm of 51.7 percent. The southbound was on time two-thirds of the time versus the 51.6 percent norm.

The Star's performance was no outlier. The other Amtrak trains along the Atlantic Coast route had comparable rates or better. Auto Train was on time 93.5 percent of the time, versus the 12-month average of 82.4 percent. Other services running over CSX showed improvement, as well, notably the Washington - Chicago Capitol Limited (59.1 percent vs. 35.2 percent) and New York - Charlotte Carolinian (54.8 percent vs. 36 percent).

On the other hand, trains running primarily in CSX's northern territory had worse on-time rates during December, possibly because of winter weather woes. For example, the Chicago - New York Lake Shore Limited was on time 58 percent vs. 63 percent. Empire Service was on time 70.6 percent vs. 76.1 percent and the Chicago - New York Cardinal, which runs through Cincinnati and West Virginia met its schedule 31.7 percent vs. 33.8 percent.

The improvements on the north-south runs is indeed welcome news since it comes as travel to Florida hits the prime season. However, it might not be good news for host railroad CSX since it could be an indicator of reduced freight traffic, in turn, causing less interference for Amtrak.

1 comment:

  1. Ellis, I'm certain such is the case - and not because the Class I industry has any "epiphany" with regards to handling Amtrak over their lines.

    But it does lay to rest the oft-held notion that the Class I's intentionally delay Amtrak in the hope they will simply go away.