Empire Builder: Why the Variation in Train Lengths?

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Bill Anderson

Well-Known Member
If you check my MP 17 and MP 18 threads for 2/16-19/16, you will see that the length of Amtrak's Chicago bound Empire Builder (Amtrak #8) has been varying greatly when it has departed Seattle this week.

http://www.railroadforums.com/forum/showthread.php?29284-Pity-Mile-Post-17/page71

http://www.railroadforums.com/forum/showthread.php?29675-Mile-Post-18-news/page159

One thought is that Amtrak is cutting back on the number of Superliners/train when the passenger count is low and adding cars when the passenger count is high. Does Amtrak have the flexibility in its Superliner fleet to adjust the number of cars for each train based upon the ridership for each trip? I would think that would be extremely difficult, especially for a transcontinental train like the Builder that takes three days to complete a trip.
 

TCJim

Handler and Palm Reader
I've noticed that in winter a sleeper was regularly dropped, but now it appears one of the coaches has also been cut.

Funny how much of a difference that makes, isn't it?
 

BNSFEng

Locomotive Engineer!!!
If you check my MP 17 and MP 18 threads for 2/16-19/16, you will see that the length of Amtrak's Chicago bound Empire Builder (Amtrak #8) has been varying greatly when it has departed Seattle this week.

http://www.railroadforums.com/forum/showthread.php?29284-Pity-Mile-Post-17/page71

http://www.railroadforums.com/forum/showthread.php?29675-Mile-Post-18-news/page159

One thought is that Amtrak is cutting back on the number of Superliners/train when the passenger count is low and adding cars when the passenger count is high. Does Amtrak have the flexibility in its Superliner fleet to adjust the number of cars for each train based upon the ridership for each trip? I would think that would be extremely difficult, especially for a transcontinental train like the Builder that takes three days to complete a trip.
I notice they have extra coaches and sleepers in Seattle so assume they have extra in Chicago, thereby (I'm speculating here) they can use the reservation system to know what the maximum passengers will be during the trip and add or subtract coaches or sleepers as needed at either end. They really have to save money due to Congress barely gives them enough money to run.
 




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