Trains For America

More choices for better transportation

And you thought The Sunset had problems?

Continental Airlines encountered a “situation” that caused discomfort, danger and humiliation to its’ passengers. None of us should take pleasure in the problems of another transportation company, but if you want to see how terribly things can go from bad to worse, as it seems to happen so frequently on America’s rails, read this report from ABC News, part of which is highlighted below.

Because of bad weather, Continental’s July 19 Flight 1669 from Caracas, Venezuela, to Newark, N.J., was diverted to Baltimore-Washington International Airport, where it landed at 1:50 p.m. Passengers said after sitting on the grounded plane for hours, they began protesting by banging on overhead compartments, clapping their hands and even signing a petition asking to be let off.

“We were not provided with food,” said passenger Caroline Murray. “There were passengers who were ill. There was one woman who was diabetic. There was a pregnant woman with small children. It was shocking to me.”

As the 124 passengers repeatedly tried to get answers as to why they couldn’t land in Newark or get off the plane, someone caught the scene on film.

“When you’ve got passengers about ready to riot, you’ve got an air crew that’s not properly trained to communicate,” said ABC News aviation consultant John Nance.

At 6:30 p.m., homeland security officers finally allowed passengers to exit the plane, but their troubles didn’t end. The officers led them into a room, where they were held for two additional hours.

“We were removed from the plane and were forced to walk single file against the wall, flanked by armed officers one of whom had an attack dog,” Murray said.

Then it was back on the plane for an additional hour of waiting before the flight finally left for Newark. It landed around 10 p.m., nine hours late.

Continental Airlines said because Flight 1669 was international, federal law prohibited it from allowing passengers off the plane.

“[There is] no question, the flight took a lot longer than planned because of the diversion,” said a Continental spokesperson. “Assistance was provided to passengers with special needs.”

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Filed under: Travel Woes

Baltimore is burning!

OK. Now that I have your attention, let’s all take a deep breath and check out the latest “buzz” from the local Baltimore CBS affiliate. (Die hard railfans should self-administer a stiff shot of Scotch straight-up.)

Aug 13, 2007 10:15 pm US/Eastern

Amtrak Drops Baltimore Stop On Acela Express

ImageRichard Sher
Reporting

(WJZ) BALTIMORE Amtrak says it is meeting customer demand by bypassing Baltimore’s Penn Station on one nortbound Acela Express train and one southbound Acela train each weekday, saving 10 minutes.

There are still 12 north and 12 southbound Acelas daily stopping in Baltimore, but the 6:50 a.m. out of New York and the 3:55 p.m. out of Washington are passing Charm City by.

“We certainly don’t want to slight our Baltimore passengers. We’re just meeting the demands of passengers in our top three markets: New York, Washington and Philadelphia,” Amtrak spokeswoman Karina Romero told Richard Sher.

Baltimore is the eighth most popular Amtrak market, with 910,000 passengers annually.

“I don’t think it’s a slight, but 10 minutes!” Mayor Sheila Dixon said.

“I’m surprised Amtrak made this decision. This is a very busy market for them. If anything, the number of Acelas between New York and Washington should be increased,” said regular Acela rider George Stamas.

Mayor Dixon plans to contact Amtrak to ask that they reconsider their decision.

Now, let’s take a long hard look at this item.

Those of us who closely follow transportation topics should drop down on our knees and thank the Good Lord Up Above that there is a reporter on a television station somewhere in this great and glorious land of Liberty reporting that there is any value in Amtrak service.

Let us be grateful that there is a city that wants MORE Amtrak service and is, by all accounts, ready to fight for it.

Mr. Sher has certainly, by this report, merited the ultimate punishment, beheading under the wheels of the 8444, I beg for mercy. Of all the possible misinformed and stupid things that might have been reported, this is fairly benign stuff. Heck, it borders on the truth if you like at it from Baltimore’s position.

Now, Baltimore, I expect you guys to lighten up now. Trenton and Wilmington have not been griping and complaining, so just settle down.

You can all get back to work now.

Filed under: Amtrak

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