Saturday, June 18, 2011

What the Hell is Wrong wih the 784? Making the case for the 582

A guest post by DLD

Now I don’t consider myself an investigative reporter (so this should be considered one of the investigative report series), but I would like to give anecdotal support to GNS’s premise that the 784 is going downhill and the 582 is now the preferred train. I am the ex-daily hour-each-way commuter that is now a some-weeks Monday north, Friday south commuter that is also in the hall of fame. Can you follow that? If not, go find my previous guest post to figure what it all means.
A year or more ago (back when I was a daily regular) I would argue with GNS that the 582 was a better choice than the 784 on Friday nights. We did some experiments, and Greg was unconvinced. I will admit that we had some bad experiences on the 582 and some good ones on the 784. But now it looks like I was right after all.
Recently my schedule has pretty much required that I take the 784 from LA to my normal stop in San Diego County. But today I got to LA in time to catch the 582, and what a joyous experience it has been. My good friend ALH was on, which was a pleasant surprise. Plus the rest of the people hanging in the Café were a hoot.
Let’s compare:

It looks to me like GNS’s premise is correct. The 582 is a better choice. I hope I can start making it more often.

Friday, June 17, 2011

What the Hell is Wrong wih the 784? Introduction

In the last couple weeks the on-time performance of this once proud Surfliner has gone spiraling downward like - a slow motion train wreck. The status page below contained only a hint of reality. Arrival time in Solana Beach yesterday was more than one hour behind schedule. Passenger morale is down to the point where people are fleeing to their cars, to other trains, even the Metrolink.

Join us as we launch an investigative series  into the operational issues with Amtrak Pacific Surfliner #784.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Social Rejects on the Train

Most of the train passengers are made up of ordinary tourists and commuters. But it unfortunately attracts a small set of people with "issues". These are people that have a hard time interacting in society without confrontations. Perhaps once every three months these escalate to a point where the problem person gets evicted from the train. Today we saw two of these cases occur within just one hour! On the 784 of course.

Case #1. So this guy is flirting with the LSA. Its quiet conversation and most of us regulars don't notice much except that he's standing at the cafe counter for maybe 15 minutes chatting. He walks away and we hear "CONDUCTOR TO THE CAFE CAR" - the distress call of an LSA needing security assistance. Apparently he punched the next male customer that walked up to the counter (jealous?). And tried to kiss the LSA twice. They threw him off. Strange guy. He looked nervous as the conductor explained this was a "federal train" and he was lucky the guy he punched wasn't pressing charges.

Case #2: This one (photo below) is  a more typical (social reject). Guy walks up to the LSA and asks for information including how many cars are on the train. She knows the Cafe car is #2 but not the exact number of cars.He gets belligerent and throws out the word "bitch".  "CONDUCTOR TO THE CAFE CAR - AGAIN". He's gone.

Case #2: (guy with glasses and shorts)

The good news? 784 was actually on time today.