Toys for Tots is getting derailed by Amtrak. Will no longer provide it’s trains for Toys for Tots

1 Toys for Tots

Toys for Tots is getting derailed. Amtrak will no longer provide its trains for Toys for Tots, a program that delivers Christmas gifts to underprivileged children every year. Amtrak said the charitable program run by the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve doesn't fit with new policies about charter trains — leaving some local Toys for Tots chapters scrambling for a new way to spread holiday cheer.

"It's gonna make it more difficult," retired Gunnery Sgt. Albert Roman Jr., the Toys for Tots coordinator in New York's Capital Region, told CBS News.

He noted that Toys for Tots serves children in "outskirts" who have little access to toy stores, and said he has "no idea" how it will make up for Amtrak's departure. 

"We're gonna make it happen in one way, shape or form," he said. "It's just gonna be a little more creative, I guess."

Toys for Tots serves more than 700 communities in all 50 states and Puerto Rico and has sent more than 530 million donated toys to over 244 million children, according to its website. 

Roman said Amtrak's support in recent years made a "huge difference," making it easier to deliver huge holiday hauls. In the Capital Region alone, he said, Amtrak trains helped deliver up to 25,000 toys every year, as well as thousands of coats, blankets, mittens and stocking stuffers.

Amtrak said in a statement this week: "Consistent with Amtrak's mandate to provide efficient, safe, and effective intercity passenger rail transportation, Amtrak has established a new policy for the operation of charter trains." 

"Amtrak's objective is to operate its core, scheduled train service safety, on time, and efficiently, and must therefore decline to operate this charter. Amtrak will continue to proudly support the Toys for Tots program through the collection of toys at participating stations," it said.

Amtrak did not immediately return messages from CBS News. 

The Marine Toys for Tots Foundation, which is headquartered in Triangle, Virginia, also did not immediately comment.

Amtrak's exit adds another complication for the toy drive this year following the closure of Toys R Us, which for years donated presents and money to Toys for Tots. 

Roman said that, in his region, trucking companies and private organizations have expressed interest in taking Amtrak's place. But he holds out hope that Amtrak will change its mind while his chapter looks for new distributors. 

"We just try our best to overcome our trials and tribulations," he said. "At the end of the day it's about the kids, and we can't lose focus on that."

Source: AP & CBS News / August 5, 2018

Gary: Rail-fan

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Dang!  Does this mean l won't get an electric train for Christmas?  Seriously, this is not good. I saw a photo of one of these trains with a caboose, and the crowd had really turned out. This organization might have to own its own train(s), if it could finagle trackage rights like AMTRAK.

??Another one of THOSE!!??  What you want to sell is not what I want to buy!

A sad development. For publically funded Amtrak to shut off a genuine and long-established public service like this will not sit well with the public, including the traveling public if they have other options available. And again, it's important to keep in mind that WE, the taxpayers, are the ones funding Amtrak. Maybe it's time for private enterprise to take over passenger rail transportation in this country. They would, no doubt, do a better and more efficient job.

Allan Miller posted:

A sad development. For publically funded Amtrak to shut off a genuine and long-established public service like this will not sit well with the public, including the traveling public if they have other options available. And again, it's important to keep in mind that WE, the taxpayers, are the ones funding Amtrak. Maybe it's time for private enterprise to take over passenger rail transportation in this country. They would, no doubt, do a better and more efficient job.

I'm sure the number of investors willing to fund a private takeover of Amtrak would be quite small. I also seriously doubt that any privately funded operation would do a better job.

Jeff C

I just tweeted and emailed my Congressman.   If we all do this they might get the message.  They also disallowed all N&W 611 excursions.  Not having 611 excursions is sad but Toys for Tots makes a difference in peoples lives.  I am a Eagle Scout and I know that legislative pressure got the Philmont Camp train service reinstated days after Amtrack cancelled it a few years back.   

J Martin posted:

I just tweeted and emailed my Congressman.   If we all do this they might get the message.  They also disallowed all N&W 611 excursions. 

Not just 611 excursions, but ALL EXCURSION, steam or otherwise. As a result of extreme political pressure, the CEO of Amtrak relented, and allowed the New River Gorge excursions to operate. All other excursions, even those with approved/signed contracts, were canceled.

Not having 611 excursions is sad but Toys for Tots makes a difference in peoples lives.  I am a Eagle Scout and I know that legislative pressure got the Philmont Camp train service reinstated days after Amtrack cancelled it a few years back.   

 

J Martin posted:

I just tweeted and emailed my Congressman.   If we all do this they might get the message.  They also disallowed all N&W 611 excursions.  Not having 611 excursions is sad but Toys for Tots makes a difference in peoples lives.  I am a Eagle Scout and I know that legislative pressure got the Philmont Camp train service reinstated days after Amtrack cancelled it a few years back.   

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Excellent idea. Deal me in: Gary

Hummm…..maybe, just maybe, follow the money.  What is the expense of coordination, charter accident/loss ratio,  government posturing involved here?

Cancelled toy transportation by one capricious provider quite possible could be offset by a few great hearts of the American road.  I just feel that some sympathetic  parent/grandparent  privately owned trucking company (s) will offer a work around.

Allan Miller posted:

A sad development. For publically funded Amtrak to shut off a genuine and long-established public service like this will not sit well with the public, including the traveling public if they have other options available. And again, it's important to keep in mind that WE, the taxpayers, are the ones funding Amtrak. Maybe it's time for private enterprise to take over passenger rail transportation in this country. They would, no doubt, do a better and more efficient job.

Time to replace him and his over grown retirement benefits? Reading the papers and watching the news, local governments are falling over themselves to give airports funds and right of eminent domain to take away property.

Time to replace him and his over grown retirement benefits? Reading the papers and watching the news, local governments are falling over themselves to give airports funds and right of eminent domain to take away property.

Businesses that look to service more than their immediate neighbors look to locate near an airport. Therefore building and maintaining airports helps the economy.
It's funny that people write about privatizing Amtrak. One of the first things a private owner would do is shut down unprofitable routes. Then they would eliminate things like toys for tots trains. You think the head of Amtrak makes too much and will have too many retirement benefits?...... What do you think the head of a similar sized private business gets?

Don't get me wrong, I think the Toys for Tots train was a very nice thing.
As far as I know, Amtrak only provided the train. The groups that provided the toys will press on, and some other way to distribute the toys will be found. Maybe they will use some of the military vehicles that are kept in the area. Or, as others have written, some private trucking companies will step up to fill the void.

Unfortunately, as mentioned above, Toys for Tots also lost a significant donor with the disappearance of Toys R Us.


C.W. Burfle

Sounds like Amtrak fired their PR department and now they’re going to HH the railway service like CP RAIL. They need to do something different but this isn’t it. It’s too much money to ride the train when I can fly for less than that most of the time.

MTH Authorized Service Tech

President Chief Operations Officer, The Lenny Lines

 

I love my trains!!!

 

http://www.netanimations.net/Moving-picture-steam-locomotive-running-animated-gif.gif

Unfortunate, but I do understand where they are coming from.  Amtrak is funded by tax dollars and they do have a responsibility to use them wisely.  There is no reason why a national trucking company can't fill the gap, and use it as a marketing tool.   

Just my two cents but I am all for private companies becoming human again and acting like they are part of the community.  We can't expect the government to fix everything for us and we all have to (should) work together to make things like Toys for Tots happen.  Not a political statement, just an observation.  

trainroomgary posted:

..... Amtrak's exit adds another complication for the toy drive this year following the closure of Toys R Us, which for years donated presents and money to Toys for Tots. …..

Gary: Rail-fan

I forgot about that. That stinks.

There was a large Toys R Us in my town. Each Christmas, Marines would set up outside, in the winter weather. It was reminder to my wife and I that we are truly Blessed, and we were happy to donate to them …. for the kids.

You're a good man, Gary for volunteering like that.

Jim

RideTheRails posted:

Is it possible that one of the class 1(one) railroads could run an extra to do this?

Steve

A few thoughts:

1) Where would any of the "class1 railroads" obtain the necessary passenger cars for such an event?

2) Would a "class 1 railroad" really expect their employees to volunteer for such an event?

3) Would a "class 1 railroad" really want to take on such a large liability?

 

I'm not surprised that Amtrak backed out of this event, as they tried to get out of last years event also, thus this comes as no surprise.

Hot Water posted:
RideTheRails posted:

Is it possible that one of the class 1(one) railroads could run an extra to do this?

Steve

A few thoughts:

1) Where would any of the "class1 railroads" obtain the necessary passenger cars for such an event?

2) Would a "class 1 railroad" really expect their employees to volunteer for such an event?

3) Would a "class 1 railroad" really want to take on such a large liability?

 

I'm not surprised that Amtrak backed out of this event, as they tried to get out of last years event also, thus this comes as no surprise.

HW has some good points.  Also, without some Operation Lifesaver training along with the train, is this encouraging people to treat the railroad ROW as a "playground" at any time?

The TEXAS SPECIAL:  The REAL RED streak of the golden prairies!

I received a Lionel train from Santa Claus on my first Christmas; a train I still have and operate around the tree each Christmas. That toy train led to an interest in real railroads which led to my current 39 year career in industrial transportation.

I can’t say whether I also received an orange that first Christmas but; if I did, it’s not here for me to still play with nor did it lead to a career as a citrus farmer.

I think the holiday trains operated by CSX, CP and KCS are wonderful ways to give back to the communities served by these railroads.  I think it’s a shame Richard Anderson can’t see the PR and community benefit in having Amtrak partner with the Marines and continue to operate the Toy’s for Tot’s train in New York State.

Curt

There were some toys one could NOT GET during WWII, like toy trains.  Did these children get "damaged"?  They actually became the "Greatest Generation".

I thought the people who were children during WWII were the baby boomers. I am under the impression that the people who fought WWII were the Greatest Generation

Did kids get toys during the depression and WWII? .... most of what I've read leads me to believe that children did get something.
 

C.W. Burfle

Plus, not everybody gives gifts on December 25.  Some give on December 13.  Others January 6.  The Jews have a festival of lights in December, depending on the lunar cycle.  What about them?

I am positive that the vast majority of US Jews don't mind the Toys for Tots program.

C.W. Burfle
C W Burfle posted:

There were some toys one could NOT GET during WWII, like toy trains.  Did these children get "damaged"?  They actually became the "Greatest Generation".

I thought the people who were children during WWII were the baby boomers. I am under the impression that the people who fought WWII were the Greatest Generation

Did kids get toys during the depression and WWII? .... most of what I've read leads me to believe that children did get something.
 

(Sorry for the thread drift) My mother was born in 1928 and she occasionally comments about such things. She had 3 siblings and if they got one toy a piece they considered themselves very lucky. The usual gift was fruit of some kind, usually citrus and clothing. If they got a toy it was something that could be shared amongst the 4 of them - a bicycle or a ball, etc.

Steve

There have been some intetrsting repsonses lately.  But there should be critical thinking, including "devel's advocate", from the beginning until now.  This includes how to make programs better.  Or to look at very painful things, even to sunset a project.  Not everything is going to last forever.  

And if persons, private and corporate want to give freely fine.  Just do not make it a free ad spot on the local news or 1040 deduction.  (A truly free gift.)  And before giving, make sure anyone you employ is paid justly.

The TEXAS SPECIAL:  The REAL RED streak of the golden prairies!

Off we go into politics. A thread on this subject was already deleted once.

I guess that I don't have any idea what paying someone justly means. What should the counterperson make in a deli in Buffalo, NY?

1040 deductions? - I don't think any charitable contribution should be deductible, regardless of the recipient. 

C.W. Burfle
 

Time to replace him and his over grown retirement benefits? Reading the papers and watching the news, local governments are falling over themselves to give airports funds and right of eminent domain to take away property.

Businesses that look to service more than their immediate neighbors look to locate near an airport. Therefore building and maintaining airports helps the economy.
It's funny that people write about privatizing Amtrak. One of the first things a private owner would do is shut down unprofitable routes. Then they would eliminate things like toys for tots trains. You think the head of Amtrak makes too much and will have too many retirement benefits?...... What do you think the head of a similar sized private business gets?

Don't get me wrong, I think the Toys for Tots train was a very nice thing.
As far as I know, Amtrak only provided the train. The groups that provided the toys will press on, and some other way to distribute the toys will be found. Maybe they will use some of the military vehicles that are kept in the area. Or, as others have written, some private trucking companies will step up to fill the void.

Unfortunately, as mentioned above, Toys for Tots also lost a significant donor with the disappearance of Toys R Us.


This is the same individual who thinks I'm going to pay a $1,000 for a room on the Southwest Chief and take a bus for 400 miles in the middle of the journey correct? Won't be a loss to see him go. Using tax dollars to build or improve airports is just welfare for a different class, if it is great build there and charge your customers more.  The head of a similar sized private business is most likely over compensated as well compared to the lower level employees. 

EBT Jim posted:
trainroomgary posted:

..... Amtrak's exit adds another complication for the toy drive this year following the closure of Toys R Us, which for years donated presents and money to Toys for Tots. …..

Gary: Rail-fan

I forgot about that. That stinks.

There was a large Toys R Us in my town. Each Christmas, Marines would set up outside, in the winter weather. It was reminder to my wife and I that we are truly Blessed, and we were happy to donate to them …. for the kids.

You're a good man, Gary for volunteering like that.

Jim

Two years ago contacted the organizers of a large December trade show we attend along with about 50,000 others to set up Toys For Tots boxes with the Marines for the first day. Their reply was they didn't want to be involved with a non profit charity. And I discovered we didn't need a booth at their trade show to increase business! And now we have way more money to donate!

 

Montclaire posted:

Unfortunate, but I do understand where they are coming from.  Amtrak is funded by tax dollars and they do have a responsibility to use them wisely.  There is no reason why a national trucking company can't fill the gap, and use it as a marketing tool.   

Just my two cents but I am all for private companies becoming human again and acting like they are part of the community.  We can't expect the government to fix everything for us and we all have to (should) work together to make things like Toys for Tots happen.  Not a political statement, just an observation.  

Does anyone expect a private company to operate as if they are part of the community? In this day and age, I doubt very much if a private operator took over Amtrak they would be any more sympathetic towards toys for tots or rail charters for things like the 765, the idea of community involvement is dead unless companies think they can leverage it to their advantage, for PR reasons or whatnot, basically if it doesn't go to the bottom line, it won't fly, and that has been the operating pattern for a long time. I don't know if Amtrak did this to improve service (I mean really, the Toys for Tots trains really, really caused a disruption in Amtrak service?), I doubt it, this to me smells more like someone being told to run Amtrak as a business and be ruthless about it, the same way corporations are generally run. 

The person who dies with the best toys dies a happy person

Montclaire posted:

Unfortunate, but I do understand where they are coming from.  Amtrak is funded by tax dollars and they do have a responsibility to use them wisely.  There is no reason why a national trucking company can't fill the gap, and use it as a marketing tool.   

Just my two cents but I am all for private companies becoming human again and acting like they are part of the community.  We can't expect the government to fix everything for us and we all have to (should) work together to make things like Toys for Tots happen.  Not a political statement, just an observation.  

I don't understand this move by Amtrak and I am offended by it.  Bear in mind that ALL public transportation is government funded by our tax dollars. Government operates the airports, roads, bridges, tunnels, highways. Government owns Amtrak , some rail lines and the majority of state corridor rail, the city buses and subways.

Builder of the Hill Lines ( New Delta Lines). Recreating history for the model RR community.

You know I thought that toys for tot's was done on a local level. I knew main headquarters for it was D.C. but I thought the toy's picked up in a certain area would be for children in that area. ( ie like say in Columbia, S.C. would take care of Columbia and surrounding areas. ) Boy where did I get such a notion. 

Bill

I have bought a train set every year and some years several sets and gave it to a child in need. You can ask around in your church and many other groups to find a deserving child who likes trains. 

Don't depend on someone else, do it yourself.

Dave 

PS, no cheap sets, Lionel and MTH make some great sets. 

the secretary of transportation is always on the amtrak board of directors. the other 8 members of the board are appointed for multi-year terms by the president, so overlap can occur between presidents. the board elects a chairman. the senate confirms.

OK Guys....the mods have had enough alerts to the political and personal direction this thread has taken and so those comments have been edited/deleted and now the topic is closed.  Time for you to go back and enjoy your trains...and have a great weekend!

Alan Arnold
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O Gauge Railroading magazine
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