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Digest: Amtrak to end 50% limit on seat sales in May

By | April 5, 2021

News Wire Digest second section for April 5: CN sets another grain record; head of Downeaster agency honored

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Amtrak to lift capacity limits on seat sales in May

Amtrak will end its 50% capacity limit for ticket sales on May 24, a company spokesman has confirmed to Trains News Wire. The passenger railroad will continue to display information on the percentage of seats available on the website for those wishing to seek less crowded trains for distancing purposes. The company began limiting ticket sales to 50% of available capacity in coach, business class, and Acela First Class early in the COVID-19 pandemic. The combination of capacity limits and triweekly operation has led to frequent sellouts on long-distance trains; some state-supported corridors have also seen sellouts.

CN sets another monthly record for Canadian grain traffic

Canadian National set a record for Canadian grain movement in March, the 13th consecutive month it has posted record volume. In a press release, CN reports it moved 2.95 million metric tons of grain in March, exceeding the record of 2.74 million metric tons set in 2020 and 19% better than the three-year average of 2.47 million metric tons. In the first quarter, CN moved 8.2 million metric tons of Canadian grain, bettering the record of 7 million metric tons set in 2017. To date, CN has moved 22.7 million metric tons in the 2020-21 crop year, 19% ahead of the previous year-to-date mark of 19.1 million metric tons set in 2018-19.

NNEPRA’s Quinn honored for commitment to passenger rail

The head of the agency that oversees Amtrak’s Downeaster is being honored for her commitment to rail passenger service. Patricia Quinn, executive director of the Northern New England Passenger Rail Authority, was honored by the New England Railroad Club Executive Committee with its Vincent R. Terrill Lifetime Achievement Award, citing her “outstanding work, dedication to the industry, and her leadership presence.” She has been the agency’s executive director since 2005. “This award is a tribute to Patricia’s achievements for her longstanding influence in driving continual improvement strategies and forging partnerships that benefit the regional environment of the rail industry in New England and abroad,” Clary Coutu, the club’s president, said in a press release.

8 thoughts on “Digest: Amtrak to end 50% limit on seat sales in May

  1. Airlines (most if not all) are now selling the middle seats – not that it mattered – social distancing on airplanes or for that matter in airports was meaningless. My most recent flight was sold out – all 143 seats. I say good! Long past time America sheds the restrictions that no longer accomplish anything.

    1. As a doctor from a family of doctors We all heartily agree with your stated diagnosis. The fools who will take umbrage are of the same ilk as Delta Dick who has multiplied the perils of Amtrak’s Covid response beyond any reasonable measure. But then we should not be surprised—-the world is full of April Fools

  2. I agree with Charles L. A relative told me that in mid-March she flew on her favorite airline out of Jacksonville and that they had started selling middle seats, so her flight was full. One year ago here in Liberalchusetts there were stringent closings, cancellations, mask-wearing, distancing, etc. The virus cases exploded – but they should have gone down, not up, after all those restrictions. So I’m very skeptical of all of the restrictions on Amtrak, commuter trains, transit, tourist trains, etc.

  3. Patricia Quinn has done excellent work in New England.
    In my mind, she is certainly a candidate for the national stage if she wants to leave New England.

  4. Mr. Schneider and anyone else: FWIW, and it’s undoubtedly worth nothing to the folks at Train Riders Northeast whose annual meeting (via Zoom) I recently attended, Patricia Quinn deserves none of this. First off, she refused to play the long game on the launch of the Brunswick extension and insisted in implementing it before the planned layover facility/maintenance base was built and in service. She just wouldn’t wait because she wanted to make a splash. And because she wouldn’t wait that initial service was all of 2 arrivals/2 departures some 12 hours apart. I stayed at a hotel in Brunswick that overlooks the station approx a year before startup. Everyone I spoke to on the hotel staff and others were excited at the prospect of the Downeaster Service arriving after. But their expectation was for at least 4 or 5 arrivals/departures daily after all the efforts being made. But thanks to Patricia Quinn’s impatience that’s not what they got. And she, at least publicly, refuses to address the issue that the service cannot grow unless they add more trains. These trains are a pint-sized 3 coaches and a cafe/business class. Maybe they have one consistent with an extra coach. That’s fine if you are running every hour to 2 hours. But they are not. Unless NNEPRA purchases their own locomotives and cars and goes out and hires, trains, qualifies, and in the case of conductors and engineers get licensed a bunch of crews to run them the service is incapable of growing. Also needed will be mainline track capacity expansion so the passengers and the freights don’t step on each other. But I will guarantee you if I could ask Ms. Quinn if Maine will invest in all those things, her answer will be a huge dodge.

  5. Mr. Schneider, I disagree with your “excellent work” characterization. Ms. Quinn led the launch of the Brunswick extension without having first established the layover/maintenance base there that she knew was required in order to field a credible number of train frequencies. The result of her unwillingness to build the foundation before building the house was that all Brunswick and Freeport got was a pathetic 2 trains in each direction some 12 hours apart. We can be absolutely sure that the people in those towns expected more, may have even been led to believe there would be more, after all the effort made to get the route east of Portland ready. I do not consider her action to be “excellent work”.

  6. I apologize to all for the shortened repeat post. I had check back an hour after the first to see if there were any in response and my post wasn’t there. I thought either it had not gone through or had been deleted by a moderator. I was assured by the latter there had been no deletions. So I tried again and this is the result. Once again, my apologies to all.

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