The Upstate Life
The Upstate Life

Wednesday, September 22, 2004
Still Beats the Bus

When I took the train home last Saturday from Penn Station to Albany, I made a sudden realization. I glanced at my watch while getting off the Amtrak car to make sure I wasn't "tripping balls" as Neil Patrick Harris eloquently put it. Yes readers, something that rarely happens took place that day, and I was there to experience it. The train arrived on-time. This could've been the result of taking the Ethan Allen Express line for the first time rather than the continuously late Empire Service route for which I and other irritated passengers normally ride. Throughout the many journeys I've encountered on Empire Service, the train rarely arrived at the printed time on my ticket stub. One excellent example was last November in Penn Station when Amtrak was running so late, we wound up sitting in the coach car for an extra 45 minutes waiting for the next departure time to roll around. You know it's bad when the train cancels a departure due to their own tardiness.

I did some research on the Internerd and found some staggering facts about this plagued route. Out of the 696 Empire Service trains operated in August of 2004, 350 of them were late. Essentially, that's saying that the route is on-time only about 50% of the time. What's even more laughable is the fact that Amtrak's on-time goal was set at a preposterous 85%. An Oscar nomination for The Brown Bunny is more realistic than that.

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