Jump to content




Help Support AmtrakTrains.com by donating using the link above or becoming a Supporting Member.

Photo

How to boost Cardinal Ridership?


  • Please log in to reply
108 replies to this topic

#1 Philzy

Philzy

    Service Attendant

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 99 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Philthadelphia

Posted 06 January 2009 - 07:50 PM

Maybe this has been posted before but I couldn't find anything...

I've been doing some thinking about the Cardinal, the one of many of Amtrak's stepchildren. Having lived in Charlottesville and watched the changes of Amfleet to superliner and back again, diners to lounges and back again... I was trying to think of ways to boost the ridership.

A few months back while doing some strolling through the interweb I found some info (no clue where I found this online, sadly I didn't think to bookmark it) that the C&O used to operate a train on a similar routing as the Cardinal but it continued onto Richmond and maybe even Norfolk/Newport News; I'm thinking that the name for the train was something like “The Cavalier.” The name would seem appropriate since it runs through Charlottesville/UVa etc. Maybe some of the knowledgeable folk may remember this, no?

In any regards, would something like this work again, adding a few cars (I know Amtrak has so many extra cars sitting around they don't know what to do with them - *sarcasm ) onto the Cardinal and splitting the eastbound train in Charlottesville and sending part onto Richmond / Norfolk / Newport News be of any help ridership? Maybe doing this say in Clifton Forge and sending the part of the train onto Ranoke and the Tricities area? Currently there is “through way bus/motorcoach service to Richmond which must mean there is some type of demand for this?

Another thought I had was to try and make at least part of the Cardinal daily on the Eastbound end near DC, IRC on the westbound end this is done and the train has a different name and number; Hoosier State maybe? Would changing the time schedule benefit the train? I remember as a kid being thrilled when the two Cardinals would both meet in Charlottesville, it was a real treat for me as a youngster. I also remember a time when you could leave Charlottesville westbound get off in Staunton spend a few hours there and then take the eastbound back.

Would love to hear some thoughts on this...
"Save a horse... or a cowboy... ride a train..."

#2 Guest_kentuckian_*

Guest_kentuckian_*
  • Guests

Posted 06 January 2009 - 07:57 PM

Maybe this has been posted before but I couldn't find anything...

I've been doing some thinking about the Cardinal, the one of many of Amtrak's stepchildren. Having lived in Charlottesville and watched the changes of Amfleet to superliner and back again, diners to lounges and back again... I was trying to think of ways to boost the ridership.

A few months back while doing some strolling through the interweb I found some info (no clue where I found this online, sadly I didn't think to bookmark it) that the C&O used to operate a train on a similar routing as the Cardinal but it continued onto Richmond and maybe even Norfolk/Newport News; I'm thinking that the name for the train was something like “The Cavalier.” The name would seem appropriate since it runs through Charlottesville/UVa etc. Maybe some of the knowledgeable folk may remember this, no?

In any regards, would something like this work again, adding a few cars (I know Amtrak has so many extra cars sitting around they don't know what to do with them - *sarcasm ) onto the Cardinal and splitting the eastbound train in Charlottesville and sending part onto Richmond / Norfolk / Newport News be of any help ridership? Maybe doing this say in Clifton Forge and sending the part of the train onto Ranoke and the Tricities area? Currently there is “through way bus/motorcoach service to Richmond which must mean there is some type of demand for this?

Another thought I had was to try and make at least part of the Cardinal daily on the Eastbound end near DC, IRC on the westbound end this is done and the train has a different name and number; Hoosier State maybe? Would changing the time schedule benefit the train? I remember as a kid being thrilled when the two Cardinals would both meet in Charlottesville, it was a real treat for me as a youngster. I also remember a time when you could leave Charlottesville westbound get off in Staunton spend a few hours there and then take the eastbound back.

Would love to hear some thoughts on this...


Yes, the C&O's George Washington (I think) once upon a time had a section that went to Richmond and on to the VA Beach area. I think this would make sense for Amtrak for two reasons. One, passengers could take the train to Richmond, either because that was where they were going, or to connect with the Meteor for Florida. (I'm assuming these are the reasons for the current bus service.) Secondly, a train continuing on to somewhere in the VA Beach area would allow a direct route to that tourism destination.

#3 Ryan

Ryan

    Engineer

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 16,175 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:OTN
  • Interests:a fact checker combined with a ferret

Posted 06 January 2009 - 08:10 PM

Interestingly enough, I was just reading about this train on wikipeia this morning, which says that our guest was absolutely correct. The GW had a section that continued on to Newport News. It's worth noting that Newport News != Virginia Beach, as the two are separated by Hampton Roads and an hour's drive.

http://en.wikipedia....d_Hoosier_State
Posted Image

Disclaimer: Any images or links you see in my post may in fact be invasive advertising or even fraudulent phishing attacks silently injected into my post by our spam based hosting service. If anything looks suspicious or inappropriate or you have any doubt whatsoever then do not click any links (particularly those appearing in green and/or with a double underline) or interact with the spam in any way. You may also want to consider using ad-blocking plugins such as Adblock Plus and/or Ghostery)to help reduce the number and severity of advertising scams directed at you.

#4 wayman

wayman

    Engineer

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,315 posts
  • Gender:Not Telling
  • Location:Northampton MA

Posted 06 January 2009 - 08:18 PM

In any regards, would something like this work again, adding a few cars (I know Amtrak has so many extra cars sitting around they don't know what to do with them - *sarcasm ) onto the Cardinal and splitting the eastbound train in Charlottesville and sending part onto Richmond / Norfolk / Newport News be of any help ridership? Maybe doing this say in Clifton Forge and sending the part of the train onto Ranoke and the Tricities area? Currently there is “through way bus/motorcoach service to Richmond which must mean there is some type of demand for this?


What if the train split at Clifton Forge and half went Roanoke, Lynchburg, Richmond, Norfolk, Newport News? That would effectively achieve most of the never-gonna-happen TransDominion Express as a state-supported Amtrak service. But you'd probably never get Virginia money for it, just like the TDX never got funded.
--Will
"I don't care what train I'm on, just as long as it keeps rolling on..."

#5 gswager

gswager

    Engineer

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,773 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Portales, NM
  • Interests:mountain recreations, scuba diving, Christian,

Posted 06 January 2009 - 08:39 PM

Make Cardinal a daily trip, not tri-weekly.
Entire length in segments- Southwest Chief (LSV-LAX & CHI-LSV), Pacific Surfliner (SLO-LAX & LAX-SAN) & San Joaquin (Oakland stub)
Entire length, end to end- Lake Shore Limited (Boston stub) (11/09), Downeaster (11/09) & Coast Starlight (10/11)
Partial- California Zephyr (SLC-EMY), Hiawatha, Cascades (SEA-PDX) & Acela (BOS-PVD)

#6 George Harris

George Harris

    Engineer

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 5,070 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:now in California
  • Interests:Track, construction, schedules

Posted 06 January 2009 - 08:43 PM

In any regards, would something like this work again, adding a few cars (I know Amtrak has so many extra cars sitting around they don't know what to do with them - *sarcasm ) onto the Cardinal and splitting the eastbound train in Charlottesville and sending part onto Richmond / Norfolk / Newport News be of any help ridership? Maybe doing this say in Clifton Forge and sending the part of the train onto Ranoke and the Tricities area? Currently there is “through way bus/motorcoach service to Richmond which must mean there is some type of demand for this?

What if the train split at Clifton Forge and half went Roanoke, Lynchburg, Richmond, Norfolk, Newport News? That would effectively achieve most of the never-gonna-happen TransDominion Express as a state-supported Amtrak service. But you'd probably never get Virginia money for it, just like the TDX never got funded.

First, the TDX sank very legitimately from the analysis of cost versus ridership. (Casts real high, ridership not too good) Without megabucks being spent, the TDX simply was too slow to attract much ridership.

In the early Amtrak years, there was both a Newport News and a Washington section of this train. Most of the passenger loading was on the Washington section. The railroad line used by that section between Charlottesville and Richmond is no longer signaled. The string Roanoke, Lynchburg, Richmond, Norfolk, Newport News does not represent any existing railroad route. I do nto think that there is any reasonable Clifton Forge to Roanoke line. You could run Roanoke, Lynchburg, Petersburg, Norfolk. Newport News and Norfolk are on the opposite side of the entrance to Chesapeake Bay and there is no railroad between them.

#7 AlanB

AlanB

    Engineer

  • Honored Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 29,371 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Queens, New York

Posted 06 January 2009 - 08:56 PM

Make Cardinal a daily trip, not tri-weekly.


This is the single most important thing to do to increase ridership. People can't schedule one week vacations around a three-day a week schedule.

One need look no further than the Texas Eagle to see what happened to its ridership numbers when it went daily.
Alan,

Take care and take trains!

#8 the_traveler

the_traveler

    Engineer

  • Global Moderators
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 24,853 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Whatever siding I'm sitting on!
  • Interests:Looking at GPS to find out where I am at!

Posted 06 January 2009 - 09:50 PM

Make Cardinal a daily trip, not tri-weekly.

Yes. One reason I didn't ever take the Cardinal was that I never arrived into CHI on the Cardinal's departure dates. Even in October, I had to reschedule my departure date from PDX just to arrive in CHI on the right date!
Take it easy .......

Take the train instead and enjoy the ride!

The view is much better at 3 feet than it is at 30,000 feet!

#9 trainfan

trainfan

    Lead Service Attendant

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 194 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Michigan

Posted 06 January 2009 - 10:25 PM

I dont see how a train can make it as "public transportation" only running three days a week !!!
It needs to be daily!!!

Trainfan

#10 WICT106

WICT106

    Conductor

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 820 posts
  • Gender:Not Telling
  • Location:Wisconsin

Posted 06 January 2009 - 10:44 PM

I also vote for making the route offer daily service. May I also suggest that the track be upgraded from Chicago to Cincinnati, so as to allow for a higher average speed ? I understand that some parts of the Cardinal's route through IN lack ABS, but just to improve the ride, and get the average speed as close to the maximum allowed speed of 59 mph would be a good start. Timeliness is an important issue as well.
"Be bold and courageous. When you look back on your life, you'll regret the things you didn't do more than the ones you did." - Unknown

#11 NapTown Jim

NapTown Jim

    Train Attendant

  • Training
  • Pip
  • 31 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Indianapolis
  • Interests:Travel<br />Trains<br />Cruises<br /> - Sailed Carnival &amp; Holland America

Posted 06 January 2009 - 10:53 PM

Aye, a daily Cardinal would be great...especially if they could add a baggage car! I'll also add that it would be great if we could make the Hoosier State run daily with the Cardinal so we could have a morning and night train running each way between Chicago and Indianapolis. Wishes cost nothing though....

#12 DaveKCMO

DaveKCMO

    Lead Service Attendant

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 217 posts

Posted 06 January 2009 - 11:24 PM

a. make it daily, or
b. start it in st. louis (and make it daily)

Edited by DaveKCMO, 06 January 2009 - 11:25 PM.


#13 Konrad

Konrad

    OBS Chief

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 258 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Australia

Posted 06 January 2009 - 11:57 PM

Maybe this has been posted before but I couldn't find anything...

I've been doing some thinking about the Cardinal, the one of many of Amtrak's stepchildren. Having lived in Charlottesville and watched the changes of Amfleet to superliner and back again, diners to lounges and back again... I was trying to think of ways to boost the ridership.

A few months back while doing some strolling through the interweb I found some info (no clue where I found this online, sadly I didn't think to bookmark it) that the C&O used to operate a train on a similar routing as the Cardinal but it continued onto Richmond and maybe even Norfolk/Newport News; I'm thinking that the name for the train was something like “The Cavalier.” The name would seem appropriate since it runs through Charlottesville/UVa etc. Maybe some of the knowledgeable folk may remember this, no?

In any regards, would something like this work again, adding a few cars (I know Amtrak has so many extra cars sitting around they don't know what to do with them - *sarcasm ) onto the Cardinal and splitting the eastbound train in Charlottesville and sending part onto Richmond / Norfolk / Newport News be of any help ridership? Maybe doing this say in Clifton Forge and sending the part of the train onto Ranoke and the Tricities area? Currently there is “through way bus/motorcoach service to Richmond which must mean there is some type of demand for this?

Another thought I had was to try and make at least part of the Cardinal daily on the Eastbound end near DC, IRC on the westbound end this is done and the train has a different name and number; Hoosier State maybe? Would changing the time schedule benefit the train? I remember as a kid being thrilled when the two Cardinals would both meet in Charlottesville, it was a real treat for me as a youngster. I also remember a time when you could leave Charlottesville westbound get off in Staunton spend a few hours there and then take the eastbound back.

Would love to hear some thoughts on this...


Cut the sleeper surcharge - the Cardinal must have the most expensive bedrooms of any Amtrak service!
Trains Ridden: Coast Starlight, Empire Builder, Capitol Limited, Cardinal, South West Chief, California Zephyr, Pacific Surfliner, NEC.

Australia: Indian Pacific, Southern Aurora, Overland, XPT, Prospector, Brisbane Limited, Newcastle Flier.
Posted Image

#14 JAChooChoo

JAChooChoo

    OBS Chief

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 253 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Stone Mountain GA
  • Interests:Passenger, B&amp;O

Posted 07 January 2009 - 12:30 AM

I dont see how a train can make it as "public transportation" only running three days a week !!!
It needs to be daily!!!

Trainfan

VIARAIL Canada runs all its western trains tri-weekly, and all the comments you see on this and other forums are never critical.
Alan

#15 Joel N. Weber II

Joel N. Weber II

    Engineer

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,922 posts
  • Location:Greater Boston, MA

Posted 07 January 2009 - 12:44 AM

Aye, a daily Cardinal would be great...especially if they could add a baggage car! I'll also add that it would be great if we could make the Hoosier State run daily with the Cardinal so we could have a morning and night train running each way between Chicago and Indianapolis. Wishes cost nothing though....


IIRC, there was a discussion in the last few months in which someone (Green Maned Lion?) seemed to be saying that if Amtrak wanted to move towards relying on the coach-baggage Superliner cars more, they might be able to free up some baggage cars for the Cardinal and or Northeast Regional.

How many trainsets does the Cardinal have now? 2? And how many would it need as a daily train? 3? If so, it seems to me that the real question on whether this could happen in 2009 is whether another Viewliner and another pretend dining car are available. (We know that more Amfleet coaches and P42s are available if we simply make a little progress towards creating 3 million jobs.)

I got a ride in an automobile from SOB to the approximate vicinity of LAF a few weeks ago because the Cardinal / Hoosier State schedule does not make for a short connection. A second daily frequency probably would not happen to fix that problem, either, but Hiawatha Service like frequencies might very well.

#16 Joel N. Weber II

Joel N. Weber II

    Engineer

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,922 posts
  • Location:Greater Boston, MA

Posted 07 January 2009 - 12:46 AM

Cut the sleeper surcharge - the Cardinal must have the most expensive bedrooms of any Amtrak service!


This is probably a simple matter of Amtrak getting enough additional single level sleepers to add a second sleeping car to the Cardinal.

#17 Joel N. Weber II

Joel N. Weber II

    Engineer

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,922 posts
  • Location:Greater Boston, MA

Posted 07 January 2009 - 01:06 AM

splitting the eastbound train in Charlottesville and sending part onto Richmond / Norfolk / Newport News be of any help ridership? Maybe doing this say in Clifton Forge and sending the part of the train onto Ranoke and the Tricities area?


Charlottesville to Richmond is only about 73 miles. I would think it would make a fine high speed commuter rail route. But I'm not sure a one seat ride from Richmond to the Cardinal's route west of DC is ever going to make much sense.

#18 AlanB

AlanB

    Engineer

  • Honored Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 29,371 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Queens, New York

Posted 07 January 2009 - 03:44 AM

Cut the sleeper surcharge - the Cardinal must have the most expensive bedrooms of any Amtrak service!


This is probably a simple matter of Amtrak getting enough additional single level sleepers to add a second sleeping car to the Cardinal.


Precisely! It's the law of supply and demmand. With only one sleeping car, that means only 1-accessible room, 2-bedrooms, and at most 8 roomettes and possible even less depending on just how many crew members are onboard.

This is an issue that could be solved however if Amtrak actually gets the funding for new single level cars that they requested from Congress. With a new baggage/crew dorm car on this train, you'd free up the roomettes currently in use by the crew, and with the 15 new sleepers requested it might even be possible to add a second sleeper to this train.
Alan,

Take care and take trains!

#19 AlanB

AlanB

    Engineer

  • Honored Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 29,371 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Queens, New York

Posted 07 January 2009 - 03:48 AM

How many trainsets does the Cardinal have now? 2? And how many would it need as a daily train? 3? If so, it seems to me that the real question on whether this could happen in 2009 is whether another Viewliner and another pretend dining car are available. (We know that more Amfleet coaches and P42s are available if we simply make a little progress towards creating 3 million jobs.)


It currently uses two sets. I'm not sure if it could go daily with three, or if it would require 4.

And if Amtrak gets the new single level dining cars it requested from Congress, it won't need a pretend dining car on this route at all. And as already mentioned in my post above, they've also asked for more single level sleepers.
Alan,

Take care and take trains!

#20 jphjaxfl

jphjaxfl

    Engineer

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,250 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Jacksonville, FL
  • Interests:Rail passenger advocate for modern, reliable passenger trains that will allow for business or leasure travel. I have been riding trains for over 60 years, but I am not advocating going back to what we once had, rather an updated system similar to Europe, Japan, China, India and other nations with great passenger train systems.

Posted 07 January 2009 - 06:57 AM

The Cardinal definitely needs to be on a daily schedule. I traveled on Amtrak's James Whitcomb Riley which was the predecessor to the Cardinal in 1973 from Chicago to Newport News. The train carried a Sleeper, a former B&O square end diner observation lounge, standard low level coaches between Chicago and Washington and a Dome Coach and standard coach between Chicago and Newport News. The train left Chicago around 4PM, Cincinnati around 11PM, arrived in Washington around noon and Newport News midafternoon. I had also ridden this train from Chicago to Charlottesville in September, 1972. During those years, it ran daily and was very well patronized even though West Virginia much of which it traversed in the middle of the night. I remember having breakfast in the dining car both times as the train passed through Eastern West Virgina in the morning. I also traveled on the Cardinal in 1978 when it had switched to the former C&O line from northern Indiana to Cincinnati. It still carried a Sleeper, dinerlounge, but Amfleet coaches. That time I changed to the Shenandoan in Cincinnati which left about an hour after the Cardinal, but arrived in Washington earlier due to use of the shorter from B&O route. Every time I took that Cardinal or its predecessor, it was on time. If Amtrak could restore the Cardinal to the dependable train it was in the 1970s, it would increase patronage.




0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users