What Can I Do About My Late Train?
July 1, 2022
By Jim Mathews / President & CEO
We learned this week during our webinar with Amtrak’s Host Railroads Group that Amtrak is doing a bit more than just “keeping score” when it comes to late trains. Not only are they pressing Host Railroads on negotiated solutions to freight-train interference, they’re also assessing how to go to the Surface Transportation Board after many straight quarters of dismal on-time performance to enforce our new and hard-won passenger rail performance metrics and standards.
In addition, however, I’ve also reassured all of our members and supporters that your Association is going to bat for you, too. We intend to keep communicating with the STB on late trains, and will continue to make formal submittals to the agency about late trains, particularly the worst performing routes.
Here’s how that will work. We were consulted during the rulemaking process, and we had hoped that we would be designated as what the regulation calls “eligible complainants” who can formally request an STB investigation. But it turns out that “eligible complainants” are defined elsewhere in the statutes, and they’re limited to Amtrak, host railroads, states and municipalities, and operating authorities. Even so, the STB has the authority to undertake an investigation under its own initiative, and we will rely on that authority to alert STB to the problems we see and to encourage STB to initiate investigations. We will gather up your stories, assess and collate the performance data, and file formal undocketed correspondence with the Board to ensure that your voices are heard.
As part of that process, we also need to hear from you, and so do your members of Congress and your Senators. We’ve created a page to make that easy, painless, and nearly automatic to do: "Take Action Against Late Trains!"
When you go to the link, you’ll see a space on the right side labeled “Message Body,” and in that box we ask you to “please add your own story about this issue to personalize your message.” Here is where we ask you to type in your own experiences with late trains. Share details about the weddings you missed, or the hospital visits, or the graduations, or whatever other inconvenience you experienced. And that’s it! We’ve completed the rest of the message for you. All you need to do is include your name, your email address, and your phone number and click the big green button that says “Send Message.” If you don’t include your mailing address, our system won’t be able to find your members of Congress, so that’s an important thing to include.
We’re gathering up those stories, and we’ll use them in our messaging to the STB. But we can’t share what we don’t get, so I’m urging everyone to use this tool to share your story with Congress and with us so that we can keep fighting for your right to be on time.
"Saving the Pennsylvanian (New York-Pittsburgh train) was a local effort but it was tremendously useful to have a national organization [NARP] to call upon for information and support. It was the combination of the local and national groups that made this happen."
Michael Alexander, NARP Council Member
April 6, 2013, at the Harrisburg PA membership meeting of NARP