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Orlando - New Orleans


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#1 Rail Freak

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Posted 07 April 2008 - 10:56 AM

How would I get from Orlando to New Orleans by Amtrak? <_<

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#2 transit54

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Posted 07 April 2008 - 11:02 AM

The most direct route you can get is by taking Silver Service to DC and then connecting with the Crescent. Unfortunately its no longer an easy connection with the elimination of the eastern half of the Sunset Limited.

#3 MStrain

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Posted 07 April 2008 - 11:13 AM

My "source" at the Mississippi dept of transportation told me that the rail lines (for freight and the Sunset Limited) should be operational by this summer. Now if Amtrak will be operating this year is up to them. I am not sure about Alabama and Florida, although their track fared much better than ours in Mississippi during Katrina......

#4 Rafi

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Posted 07 April 2008 - 11:15 AM

My "source" at the Mississippi dept of transportation told me that the rail lines (for freight and the Sunset Limited) should be operational by this summer. Now if Amtrak will be operating this year is up to them. I am not sure about Alabama and Florida, although their track fared much better than ours in Mississippi during Katrina......

Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't CSX restore full connectivity from Florida to New Orleans in 2006?????
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#5 BobWeaver

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Posted 07 April 2008 - 11:17 AM

The most direct route you can get is by taking Silver Service to DC and then connecting with the Crescent. Unfortunately its no longer an easy connection with the elimination of the eastern half of the Sunset Limited.

While this would be the easiest routing in terms of layovers, you can also take 92 to RGH, 79 to GRO, and 19 to NOL. It would cost a little less and you would have some layover time to explore the Raleigh area..
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#6 MStrain

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Posted 07 April 2008 - 11:18 AM

Rafi, that is a good question. I think the route the Sunset Limited took between New Orleans and Mobile has not been re-opened. I will check further....but that is what my friend told me.

#7 AlanB

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Posted 07 April 2008 - 11:28 AM

My "source" at the Mississippi dept of transportation told me that the rail lines (for freight and the Sunset Limited) should be operational by this summer. Now if Amtrak will be operating this year is up to them. I am not sure about Alabama and Florida, although their track fared much better than ours in Mississippi during Katrina......


Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't CSX restore full connectivity from Florida to New Orleans in 2006?????


CSX reopened it's entire route, the route used by the Sunset, about 6 months after Katrina hit New Orleans. Only Amtrak is stopping Amtrak from restoring the Sunset east of NOL.
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#8 MStrain

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Posted 07 April 2008 - 11:33 AM

I will ask him if he meant that Amtrak will start using those tracks again. Maybe I asked him the question wrong. Thanks for clearing that up guys!

#9 Guest_SUNSETLIMITED02_*

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Posted 07 April 2008 - 03:04 PM

I hope the Sunset Limited is back this summer cause I have never riden a superliner train or an Amtrak train for almost eight years! Plus I hope it could be extended back to Miami like it did from 1993 to early 1997. Everyone cross your fingers. After all no one has seen the Sunset Limited in Florida for almost three years and I's like to see P42s,P32s, and if this ever happens F59PHIs flying throught the Florida panhandle at 80+ mph.

#10 George Harris

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Posted 07 April 2008 - 03:25 PM

After all no one has seen the Sunset Limited in Florida for almost three years and I's like to see P42s,P32s, and if this ever happens F59PHIs flying throught the Florida panhandle at 80+ mph.

How about at 79 mph minus east of Tallahassee and 59 mph minus west of Tallahassee??

#11 WICT106

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Posted 07 April 2008 - 04:36 PM

As the saying goes, "No Bucks, no Buck Rogers." Given some of the lack of punctuality and operating challenges facing the Sunset along portions of its route, I could see Amtrak attempting to get the states (MS, AL, FL) to pony up the funds for restoration. Right now several states (including FL) are facing some tough financial times, so there is no funding for intercity service. I could also understand why the trains should be separated. Make the route east of NOL a separate train, like the Gulf Wind, or the Rebel. That might improve punctuality on the east end of the route.

How much is congestion an issue over this route east of NOL ? Would it be possible to get some funding to spiff up the tracks (i. e., make the tracks some of the smoothest Class 3 and 4 lines around ) ?
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#12 Rail Freak

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Posted 07 April 2008 - 05:04 PM

As the saying goes, "No Bucks, no Buck Rogers." Given some of the lack of punctuality and operating challenges facing the Sunset along portions of its route, I could see Amtrak attempting to get the states (MS, AL, FL) to pony up the funds for restoration. Right now several states (including FL) are facing some tough financial times, so there is no funding for intercity service. I could also understand why the trains should be separated. Make the route east of NOL a separate train, like the Gulf Wind, or the Rebel. That might improve punctuality on the east end of the route.

How much is congestion an issue over this route east of NOL ? Would it be possible to get some funding to spiff up the tracks (i. e., make the tracks some of the smoothest Class 3 and 4 lines around ) ?

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#13 Rafi

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Posted 07 April 2008 - 05:46 PM

How much is congestion an issue over this route east of NOL ? Would it be possible to get some funding to spiff up the tracks (i. e., make the tracks some of the smoothest Class 3 and 4 lines around ) ?

My understanding is that since they were rebuilt, the tracks east of NOL are now in the best shape they've ever been. I'd imagine the ride is incredibly smooth now.

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#14 jackal

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Posted 07 April 2008 - 08:32 PM

CLASS 3 & 4? (I'M RAIL ILLITERATE) or, as Ron White would say " you can't fix stupid!"

Rail Freak, take a look at this thread. It's a couple pages long, but somewhere in there it talks about FRA track classifications (which have to do with the maximum speeds allowed on that track).
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#15 Crescent ATN & TCL

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Posted 08 April 2008 - 12:32 AM

From the rumors I've heard from various Amtrak employees, Orlando to LAX was just too long of a run. It was very hard on equipment to run that long, they said it got to be common for them to have to replace bad cars at New Orleans. They say Amtrak is going to return this line to service as a standard LD train but it will run from Miami to NOL and will use single level equipment. The hold up is due to various problems, mainly no food service cars, a car shortage period, and no employees at the stations. They say this train will not directly connect with the Sunset it will be timed to provide connections between all trains originating and terminating in NOL.

When they told me about this they said there was no definite time for service to begin, they had a lot of logistics to work out, plus they are trying to get the states to pick up some of the cost and possibly purchase some of the equipment. They keep hitting snags with states paying for sleepers and food service cars. They said the way things were looking they may have to run some consists with out sleepers and therefore only have sleepers certain days of the week. As for names the two they've heard thrown around are "Gulf Breeze" and "Southern Coast Limited".

Hopefully we'll find out something soon, but I believe Amtrak is looking at restoring service but I doubt it will be the same as before. I agree that ORL-LAX was an extremely long run with out fully servicing the train. Not to mention the fact that between UP and CSX it was unreasonable to subject a single route to that much potential for delay. Running the route as two separate trains makes perfect sense to me. I just hope they keep the plan for a full service long distance train and don't settle for a day train like the Carolinian or Palmetto, but that would be better than nothing.

#16 AlanB

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Posted 08 April 2008 - 09:50 AM

From the rumors I've heard from various Amtrak employees, Orlando to LAX was just too long of a run. It was very hard on equipment to run that long, they said it got to be common for them to have to replace bad cars at New Orleans. They say Amtrak is going to return this line to service as a standard LD train but it will run from Miami to NOL and will use single level equipment. The hold up is due to various problems, mainly no food service cars, a car shortage period, and no employees at the stations. They say this train will not directly connect with the Sunset it will be timed to provide connections between all trains originating and terminating in NOL.


I'm afraid that someone was pulling your leg once again, not to mention that I see that the Amtrak rumor mill is hard at work once again.

First, the Texas Eagle cars run almost as far as the Sunset cars used to. And for the longest time, cars on the Capitol Limited would run through as cars on the SW Chief. That run is longer than the Sunset run, and the scheduled layover in Chicago is only slightly longer than what the layover used to be in NOL. So no, being hard on the equipment simply isn't a valid excuse, since they do it elsewhere in the system.

Next, while there might be a shortage of sleepers, as long as they keep the train using Superliner equipment there should be no shortage of diners and cafes, much less coaches. And then of course there is the entire idea already pointed out elsewhere on this forum, that the Sunset Limited is still allocated all the equipment that it used to have. It just lays over longer than ever before, since it doesn't keep going east past NOL. So that equipment is just sitting there unused.

As for employees at the stations, first probably at least a 1/4 of the stations were unstaffed originally. Second, Amtrak has no one to blame but themselves for the lack, since Amtrak failed to restart the train back in March of 2006 when it was given the all clear from CSX to run trains. What employee can afford to be furloughed for 2 and a half years. But it can't be that hard to find new employees.

When they told me about this they said there was no definite time for service to begin, they had a lot of logistics to work out, plus they are trying to get the states to pick up some of the cost and possibly purchase some of the equipment. They keep hitting snags with states paying for sleepers and food service cars. They said the way things were looking they may have to run some consists with out sleepers and therefore only have sleepers certain days of the week. As for names the two they've heard thrown around are "Gulf Breeze" and "Southern Coast Limited".


I'm sorry, but I continue to believe that the only snag is that Amtrak can't get someone else to pay for a train that they are legally obligated to run! :angry:
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#17 RobertF

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Posted 09 April 2008 - 06:23 PM

With respect to the track being opened, is it possible that there are speed restrictions at this time that make it impossible for the train to run at a speed that would be required for a reasonable schedule? Additionally, while the track was opened, was it the same type of trackage (double or triple) or is it just single trackage at this time? All possible reasons for not running the service.

#18 AlanB

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Posted 09 April 2008 - 06:28 PM

With respect to the track being opened, is it possible that there are speed restrictions at this time that make it impossible for the train to run at a speed that would be required for a reasonable schedule? Additionally, while the track was opened, was it the same type of trackage (double or triple) or is it just single trackage at this time? All possible reasons for not running the service.


Robert,

All good questions. :)

While I haven't personally inspected things, from all reports everything has been returned to at least the standards that were in place before Katrina, and in many cases since it's all new track, probably better than before. There has been no decrease in the number of tracks available.

I seen to recall seeing some report that one section of the line which was unsignaled was being considered for signals, but I'm not positive about that.

And again, as I've mentioned before, CSX had cleared Amtrak to resume running the Sunset about 6 months after Katrina struck. Not sure how welcoming they'll be now, since they have two years of no intereference/dodging of Amtrak. :lol:
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#19 Guest_SUNSETLIMITED02_*

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Posted 09 April 2008 - 08:59 PM

I'll ask CSX and see what they say. Plus the Superliner equipment can take that amount of punishment on a route like that. even though the cars range from age 12-30 they still are good until Amtrak starts purchasing new cars and engines in the future. For 2764 miles that is a large route, but VIA rail's equiptment are put under more pressure than the superliners on the Sunset because they climb very difficult grades.

#20 Green Maned Lion

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Posted 09 April 2008 - 10:23 PM

I wouldn't think climbing grades would have much effect on the cars themselves.
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