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#1 trainfan

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Posted 26 December 2008 - 01:22 PM

I was wondering if a more direct route from Chi to Florida would be possible. It just seems that all
the people from the midwest that go to florida it could be a money maker!! Maybe an autotrain
type service! Has it been tryed before?


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#2 WICT106

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Posted 26 December 2008 - 01:55 PM

This, and related topics, have been done to death, both here and in other fora:
Travel to Florida

Basically, the affinity for Florida - Chicago travel is not as high in the Midwest as it is in the Northeast. Also the track alignments have not been upgraded since the early 20th Century, so even the fastest train would still take something on the order of 36 hours. Compare that time with the WI - FTL time of 24-26 hours by car. Unless you rebuild the tracks, and straighten the route, which will cost beaucoup dollars, you will not see as much traffic as the market might allow. Many non rail fans compare train time with drive time, and on this route the trains lose. The Auto Train, prior to being foisted upon Amtrak tried to serve this route going from Louisville KY to Orlando in the 1970s, and the train was plagued with derailments and lack of punctuality. Amtrak ran a route, the Floridian, from its inception until 1979, and it was one of the least profitable trains, due in considerable part to the condition of the tracks during the 1970s. The route became emblematic of Amtrak as a whole with its atrocious timekeeping, unkempt or unmaintained equipment, numerous derailments, including one episode of getting stuck in one of the mid 1970s legendary blizzards. Nowadays, I strongly doubt that the freight RRs along the route would have the capacity to deal with another train on their tracks. The tracks within Indiana, south of Indianapolis are in especially rough shape. You'd have to upgrade the tracks to FRA Class 6 (speed limit 110 mph) , and even then, there would be numerous segments of lower speeds along the entire route CHI - Florida. Another member here, George Harris, can go into greater detail regarding the specifics of the route and where one would have to build a completely new alignment.

Edited by WICT106, 26 December 2008 - 01:58 PM.

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#3 Rail Freak

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Posted 26 December 2008 - 02:11 PM

I guess I should feel fortunate to live close to Tampa's Train Station, not to mention the Thruway Bus to & from St Pete connecting to TPA & ORL, but it sure would be nice to get to the west with another option. I imagine several of you think I should be grateful, which I am!!!

A Rookie No More! But Still A Lot Of Track To Travel !!!
Silver Meteor #97(5) & #98 (4), Silver Star #91 (2), Capitol Limited #29 & #30(4), Empire Builder #7,#8,#27(2) &#28(4) Coast Starlight #11 (5) & #14(5), California Zephyr #5 (2) & #6 (4), Cascades #506, City of New Orleans #58 (1) #59 (2), South West Chief #3 (3), Lake Shore Limited #49, Maple Leaf #63 San Joaquin #714, Pacific Surfliner #774, Texas Eagle #422, Cardinal #50, Crescent #19, Sunset Limited #1. Approx. 53,591 miles & 41 states!

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#4 Crescent Mark

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Posted 26 December 2008 - 02:34 PM

The City Of New Orleans to the Sunset Limited (when it gets put back in place) doesn't seem that bad to me honestly. I know I'd like to see Chicago -> FL but I don't think it'd ever happen again.

Still would be interesting to hear George's perspective about the trackage though.

I had some time to kill while waiting for the Maple Leaf this year in Schenectady, so I went to visit the Turbo train that was for sale.


#5 MrFSS

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Posted 26 December 2008 - 02:39 PM

I think the track south of Cincinnati toward Knoxville is not too bad. Rather than Louisville, splitting off at Cincinnati might be something to consider. But, I don't know anything about Knoxville and south to the Atlanta area.

#6 Bill Haithcoat

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Posted 26 December 2008 - 04:24 PM

I was wondering if a more direct route from Chi to Florida would be possible. It just seems that all
the people from the midwest that go to florida it could be a money maker!! Maybe an autotrain
type service! Has it been tryed before?


Trainfan



Be assured there have been plenty of trains from Chicago to Florida in the past and over several different routes.. Others have told you about the Floridian (originally called the South Wind,a name inherited from the railroad).

George Harris and I and others have named those pre-Amtrak trains and routes several times. I won't be doing that again unless somebody really wants it.

MEANWHILE, I would ask folks to know that all sorts of city pairs used to have routes years ago but they all died out, bad track, bad service, intense competition, etc. The best way to illustrate that is like this:

I have at my desk a current Amtrak timetable. It has 130 pages

I also have at my desk an Official Railway Guide(one of several) dated September 1957. It has 1490 pages.

So, yes, there are many places which used to have passenger train service but no longer, it is not as if Amtrak (created in 1971) has never thought of such markets.

Edited by Bill Haithcoat, 26 December 2008 - 04:26 PM.


#7 Rail Freak

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Posted 26 December 2008 - 04:30 PM

I was wondering if a more direct route from Chi to Florida would be possible. It just seems that all
the people from the midwest that go to florida it could be a money maker!! Maybe an autotrain
type service! Has it been tryed before?


Trainfan



Be assured there have been plenty of trains from Chicago to Florida in the past and over several different routes.. Others have told you about the Floridian (originally called the South Wind,a name inherited from the railroad).

George Harris and I and others have named those pre-Amtrak trains and routes several times. I won't be doing that again unless somebody really wants it.

MEANWHILE, I would ask folks to know that all sorts of city pairs used to have routes years ago but they all died out, bad track, bad service, intense competition, etc. The best way to illustrate that is like this:

I have at my desk a current Amtrak timetable. It has 130 pages

I also have at my desk an Official Railway Guide(one of several) dated September 1957. It has 1490 pages.

So, yes, there are many places which used to have passenger train service but no longer, it is not as if Amtrak (created in 1971) has never thought of such markets.



Thanx, that puts it in more perspective, :) !

A Rookie No More! But Still A Lot Of Track To Travel !!!
Silver Meteor #97(5) & #98 (4), Silver Star #91 (2), Capitol Limited #29 & #30(4), Empire Builder #7,#8,#27(2) &#28(4) Coast Starlight #11 (5) & #14(5), California Zephyr #5 (2) & #6 (4), Cascades #506, City of New Orleans #58 (1) #59 (2), South West Chief #3 (3), Lake Shore Limited #49, Maple Leaf #63 San Joaquin #714, Pacific Surfliner #774, Texas Eagle #422, Cardinal #50, Crescent #19, Sunset Limited #1. Approx. 53,591 miles & 41 states!

HAVE FUN


#8 George Harris

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Posted 26 December 2008 - 05:24 PM

As said, this topic has been fairly well beat to death.

First, the market was never near as big as the east coast to Florida market. When the major transport was still rail in the early 1950's the East Coast to Florida supported several major trains on the two major lines, Atlantic Coast Line and Seaboard Air Line.
ACL:
The Champion, frequently in two trains, one to the west coast of Florida and the other to the east coast.
The winter only Florida Special
then there were the secondary runs who's names I don't remember
SAL:
Silver Meteor
Silver Star
both of these divided at Auburndale into a Tampa-St Pete and a Miami section.
The SAL also ran a seasonal train called th Orange Blossom Special, but don't know when it ended.
there was also at least one secondary through train on this route.
All of these premier trains could be in the 20 car range in the winter time.

Chicago to Florida had ONE daily premier train that managed Chicago to jacksonville in slightly under 24 hours. For quite a few years it rotated between three routes, so each operated every third day. After the third train, which actuall ran the shortest route and the only one still possible end to end as it was then, the Dixie Flagler was discontinued the others ran every other day. They were the City of Miami and the South Wind. All had essentially identical end point times, but some had it easier than others.

Of these three, the one that always carried the largest passenger load was the City of Miami. It also hit the fewest large population centers between end points. It is no loger possible at all due to line abandonments and downgradings. The City's operators were Illinois Central, Central of Georgia, Atlantic Coast Line. ICRR called the shots. It was entirely painted in ICRR colors regardless of car ownership. Its route, ICRR main Chigago to Fulton KY via Effingham, Centralia, Carbondale. A couple of St Louis cars were added at Carbondale. South of Fulton it ran through Jackson, Tennessee to Birmingham on a route stitche together in 1908 by use of the original ICRR main through Jackson Tenn to Grenada Mississippi, then trackage rights on the M&O Jackson TN (Perry Switch) to Corinth MS (Ruslor Jct), new ICRR track there to Haleyville AL, then trackage rights on Southern to Jasper AL, then trackage rights on Frisco to Birmingham. From there, Central of Georgia to Columbus GA and Albany GA, then on ACL to Waycross GA, then on to Jacsonville on ACL, the FEC to Miami. This line was the fastest in possibilities of the three. North of Fulton the line was almost all double track and part had a 100 mph speed limit. So far as I know only Columbus GA to Waycross was unsignaled. Only Haleyville to Birmingham was very crooked and slow, and some of the CofG portions were not very fast. Fulton KY to Corinth MS is now an unsignaled short line. Part of the ICRR section there to Haleville has been abandoned, part of the ACL between Albany and Waycross has been abandoned.

The South Wind alternate ran Pennsylvania RR, Louisville and Nashville, ACL. It hit the most in population centers, running Chicago, Indinapolis, Louisville, Nashville, Montgomery, Waycross, then the same Jacksonville - Miami as the others. I believe Logansport - Indianpolis was unsignaled and know for sur that Indianapolis - Louisville was unsignaled. Parts of the L&N were double track up to the early 1960's, I think about 160 of 490 miles, but their maximum speed limit was 70 mph. Montgomery to Waycross was, and is, unsignaled. This is the route run by Amtrak's Floridian, most of the time. Penn Central's deterioration led to several reroutes, and the route north of Indianapolis has been abandoned, in part if not completely. This route was the longest in distance.

The Dixie Flagler, which was discontinued in about 1957 had the shortest route of the three. It ran Chacago Evansville Nashville Atlanta Waycross, then same as the others. The railroads involved were Chicago and Eastern Illinois; L&N; Nashville, Chattanooga, and St. Louis, ACL (Atlanta Birmingham and Coast at one time) This line is still all in place, all signaled, all main lines, and all now CSX. It is also heavily congested with freight traffic. It was always the most difficult of the three. The AB&C portion is relatively crooked and never had fast speed limits. The NC&St.L main is cross-grain to the Appaalachian chain, meaning lots of curves. Particularly the W&A portion between Atlanta and Chattanooga is very curvey and 3 hours for 138 miles was about the best ever time and could not be done today. Likewise, Chatanooga to Nasville, despite have more straight alignment, is relatively slow, taking 150 miles to go between points that are about 130 miles apart by road, due to going southwest out of Chattanooga for 38 miles before turning north so as to find a crossing point for the Cumberland Plateau that did not require a long tunnel, which would have make the route impossible in 1850. The crossing at Cowan, Tennessee, remains a helper grade to this day.

There were other routes operated up to the late 1950's on a two nights one day to Jacksonville basis. Both Southern and L&N operated day trains between Cincinatti and Atlanta that gathered late departure overnights from such places as Chicago, Detroit, and Cleveland. South of Atlanta these trains ran overnight to Jacksonville. Time Cincinatti to Atlanta was on the order of 12 to 14 hours, which is about as good as could be done today, if that good. Desipite gathering from multiple northern origins, these trains never carried the load in their later years of the fast three, if they ever did.

The 1920's premier Chicago to Florida train, the Dixie Flyer ran on essentially the same route as the Dixie Flagler but on a two night one day to Jacksonville schedule. It became a secondary run after the introduction of the fast three. It was down to a couple of coaches only south of Nashville by the late 1950's and was killed in about 1964 or 5.

The Illinois Central - Central of Georgia secondary train, the Seminole, ran daily on an early evening departure late morning arrival at Chicago basis with a one night and one day schedule to Jacsonville never had a lot of renown, although it did have fairly good ridership, at least north of Birmingham. I remember seeing it with about 8 coaches and 2 sleepers through Martin, Tennessee in 1962. But, again, this route is no longer possible.

************

To do a reasonably fast, that is as in approaching reasonable drive time, say about a 50 mph or better average between end points over the Chacago to Jacksonville route would require a huge bundle of money, and would not generate a worthwhile patronage. Only if some of the fast train schemes were to be built that could be used by this service might it be feasible. There has been a midwest high speed scheme around for a long time, but so far it has generated nothing but studies. It would seem really reasonable to develop some moderate to high speed service between the cities in Ohio, Indiana, and Cihicago / St. Louis on one side and Buffalo / Pittsburg on the other, but there seems to be no will to do anything real. If this sort of thing happened so that the Chicago to Ohio River portion became fairly fast, then a revisit of work needed further south would be in order.

#9 Bill Haithcoat

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Posted 26 December 2008 - 05:49 PM

As said, this topic has been fairly well beat to death.

First, the market was never near as big as the east coast to Florida market. When the major transport was still rail in the early 1950's the East Coast to Florida supported several major trains on the two major lines, Atlantic Coast Line and Seaboard Air Line.
ACL:
The Champion, frequently in two trains, one to the west coast of Florida and the other to the east coast.
The winter only Florida Special
then there were the secondary runs who's names I don't remember
SAL:
Silver Meteor
Silver Star
both of these divided at Auburndale into a Tampa-St Pete and a Miami section.
The SAL also ran a seasonal train called th Orange Blossom Special, but don't know when it ended.
there was also at least one secondary through train on this route.
All of these premier trains could be in the 20 car range in the winter time.

Chicago to Florida had ONE daily premier train that managed Chicago to jacksonville in slightly under 24 hours. For quite a few years it rotated between three routes, so each operated every third day. After the third train, which actuall ran the shortest route and the only one still possible end to end as it was then, the Dixie Flagler was discontinued the others ran every other day. They were the City of Miami and the South Wind. All had essentially identical end point times, but some had it easier than others.

Of these three, the one that always carried the largest passenger load was the City of Miami. It also hit the fewest large population centers between end points. It is no loger possible at all due to line abandonments and downgradings. The City's operators were Illinois Central, Central of Georgia, Atlantic Coast Line. ICRR called the shots. It was entirely painted in ICRR colors regardless of car ownership. Its route, ICRR main Chigago to Fulton KY via Effingham, Centralia, Carbondale. A couple of St Louis cars were added at Carbondale. South of Fulton it ran through Jackson, Tennessee to Birmingham on a route stitche together in 1908 by use of the original ICRR main through Jackson Tenn to Grenada Mississippi, then trackage rights on the M&O Jackson TN (Perry Switch) to Corinth MS (Ruslor Jct), new ICRR track there to Haleyville AL, then trackage rights on Southern to Jasper AL, then trackage rights on Frisco to Birmingham. From there, Central of Georgia to Columbus GA and Albany GA, then on ACL to Waycross GA, then on to Jacsonville on ACL, the FEC to Miami. This line was the fastest in possibilities of the three. North of Fulton the line was almost all double track and part had a 100 mph speed limit. So far as I know only Columbus GA to Waycross was unsignaled. Only Haleyville to Birmingham was very crooked and slow, and some of the CofG portions were not very fast. Fulton KY to Corinth MS is now an unsignaled short line. Part of the ICRR section there to Haleville has been abandoned, part of the ACL between Albany and Waycross has been abandoned.

The South Wind alternate ran Pennsylvania RR, Louisville and Nashville, ACL. It hit the most in population centers, running Chicago, Indinapolis, Louisville, Nashville, Montgomery, Waycross, then the same Jacksonville - Miami as the others. I believe Logansport - Indianpolis was unsignaled and know for sur that Indianapolis - Louisville was unsignaled. Parts of the L&N were double track up to the early 1960's, I think about 160 of 490 miles, but their maximum speed limit was 70 mph. Montgomery to Waycross was, and is, unsignaled. This is the route run by Amtrak's Floridian, most of the time. Penn Central's deterioration led to several reroutes, and the route north of Indianapolis has been abandoned, in part if not completely. This route was the longest in distance.

The Dixie Flagler, which was discontinued in about 1957 had the shortest route of the three. It ran Chacago Evansville Nashville Atlanta Waycross, then same as the others. The railroads involved were Chicago and Eastern Illinois; L&N; Nashville, Chattanooga, and St. Louis, ACL (Atlanta Birmingham and Coast at one time) This line is still all in place, all signaled, all main lines, and all now CSX. It is also heavily congested with freight traffic. It was always the most difficult of the three. The AB&C portion is relatively crooked and never had fast speed limits. The NC&St.L main is cross-grain to the Appaalachian chain, meaning lots of curves. Particularly the W&A portion between Atlanta and Chattanooga is very curvey and 3 hours for 138 miles was about the best ever time and could not be done today. Likewise, Chatanooga to Nasville, despite have more straight alignment, is relatively slow, taking 150 miles to go between points that are about 130 miles apart by road, due to going southwest out of Chattanooga for 38 miles before turning north so as to find a crossing point for the Cumberland Plateau that did not require a long tunnel, which would have make the route impossible in 1850. The crossing at Cowan, Tennessee, remains a helper grade to this day.

There were other routes operated up to the late 1950's on a two nights one day to Jacksonville basis. Both Southern and L&N operated day trains between Cincinatti and Atlanta that gathered late departure overnights from such places as Chicago, Detroit, and Cleveland. South of Atlanta these trains ran overnight to Jacksonville. Time Cincinatti to Atlanta was on the order of 12 to 14 hours, which is about as good as could be done today, if that good. Desipite gathering from multiple northern origins, these trains never carried the load in their later years of the fast three, if they ever did.

The 1920's premier Chicago to Florida train, the Dixie Flyer ran on essentially the same route as the Dixie Flagler but on a two night one day to Jacksonville schedule. It became a secondary run after the introduction of the fast three. It was down to a couple of coaches only south of Nashville by the late 1950's and was killed in about 1964 or 5.

The Illinois Central - Central of Georgia secondary train, the Seminole, ran daily on an early evening departure late morning arrival at Chicago basis with a one night and one day schedule to Jacsonville never had a lot of renown, although it did have fairly good ridership, at least north of Birmingham. I remember seeing it with about 8 coaches and 2 sleepers through Martin, Tennessee in 1962. But, again, this route is no longer possible.

************

To do a reasonably fast, that is as in approaching reasonable drive time, say about a 50 mph or better average between end points over the Chacago to Jacksonville route would require a huge bundle of money, and would not generate a worthwhile patronage. Only if some of the fast train schemes were to be built that could be used by this service might it be feasible. There has been a midwest high speed scheme around for a long time, but so far it has generated nothing but studies. It would seem really reasonable to develop some moderate to high speed service between the cities in Ohio, Indiana, and Cihicago / St. Louis on one side and Buffalo / Pittsburg on the other, but there seems to be no will to do anything real. If this sort of thing happened so that the Chicago to Ohio River portion became fairly fast, then a revisit of work needed further south would be in order.



I would just add one little tweak to George Harris's fine post. And this will boost his statement about the East Coast having much more business than midwest. For the ACL winter-- only trains. I would add the Vacationer and the Miamiam. At times one of them even had a through section from Boston.

George mentioned a few secondary trains whose name he did not remember but I suspect he is thinking of the Havannah Special and the Everglades (heavy on U.S.mail), not the ones I just mentioned

#10 trainfan

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Posted 26 December 2008 - 06:36 PM

Guys;

Thanks for the responce> being fairly new to Amtrak quite a few things come to mind that probably
have been beat to death in the past, I thank you for taking the time to go over some old tracks
again:

Trainfan

#11 Bill Haithcoat

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Posted 26 December 2008 - 07:06 PM

Guys;

Thanks for the responce> being fairly new to Amtrak quite a few things come to mind that probably
have been beat to death in the past, I thank you for taking the time to go over some old tracks
again:

Trainfan


Trainfan, glad to help.

#12 George Harris

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Posted 26 December 2008 - 08:21 PM

I would just add one little tweak to George Harris's fine post. And this will boost his statement about the East Coast having much more business than midwest. For the ACL winter-- only trains. I would add the Vacationer and the Miamiam. At times one of them even had a through section from Boston.

George mentioned a few secondary trains whose name he did not remember but I suspect he is thinking of the Havana Special and the Everglades (heavy on U.S.mail), not the ones I just mentioned.

You are right, Bill. Now that you have mentioned it, I have heard of all these names. I never was that "up" in my knowledge of the East Coast to Florida trains. I do remember seeing one of thes "secondaries" come through Alexandria VA in 1969 with 4 sleepers and about 6 or more coaches, but that was just before Christmas.

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Posted 19 October 2010 - 09:53 PM

how much price of amtrak from chicago to new york one said



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