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#21 Ryan

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Posted 26 January 2010 - 12:38 PM

Yes, but was it like that back in the '70's?
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#22 delvyrails

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Posted 26 January 2010 - 04:54 PM

I fondly recall the original PRR Broadway Limited, one of my favorites. Even the Penn Central took better care of it then the rest of their trains.
When Amtrak started, they quickly assembled some of their best inherited equipment, and refurbished them for The Broadway. It's first schedule on Amtrak was a still respectable 17 hours, departing NYP 4:55 PM and arriving CHI at 9:00 AM. It ran from New York via the "New York and Pittsburgh Subway" by Zoo Tower, and stopped at PHN to serve Philadelphia. It ran with its splendid GG1's from New York all the way to Harrisburg, changing there to E8's or E9's, and also picked up cars coming up from WAS.

I would love to see Amtrak bring back the Broadway, running NYP-PGH-CLE-CHI, with limited intermediate stops to expedite the schedule.


NO WAY can a train serve Phila using PHN (aka North Philadelphia Station). It is in a horrible neighborhood and you feel like you are in an "after the bomb" movie standing on the platform watching the commuter trains wiz by (most don't stop at PHN). I've been there within the last year and I know whereof I speak. That's what happens if you sleep past 30th St on the Keystone in the morning.


I think only nostalgia people would want to revive the Broadway Limited as such, including its stop at North Philadelphia. It ran that way because two railroads were trying to offer competitive services out of New York City. With Amtrak, specialization is possible and more effective. 30th Street Station is a hub for Amtrak and commuter trains and transit.

It would cost less and otherwise make more sense to run a 30th Street-Chicago train, first as a part of the Capitol Limited west of Pittsburgh (two trains were merged there for 11 months in 1996), and later as a separate train.

Let New York have its Lake Shore and Philly have its "Independence Limited". If metro Portland at 1.9 million can justify its own section of the Empire Builder to Chicago, then metro Philadelphia at 6.7 million certainly can support a through train or through section of a train to Chicago.

Edited by delvyrails, 26 January 2010 - 05:16 PM.


#23 the_traveler

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Posted 26 January 2010 - 05:53 PM


I would love to see Amtrak bring back the Broadway, running NYP-PGH-CLE-CHI, with limited intermediate stops to expedite the schedule.

NO WAY can a train serve Phila using PHN (aka North Philadelphia Station).

I think only nostalgia people would want to revive the Broadway Limited as such, including its stop at North Philadelphia.

When I rode the Broadway Limited, I don't think it stopped at North Philadelphia - but it certainly stopped at 30th Street Station, then I rode backwards from PHL-NYP!
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#24 Green Maned Lion

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Posted 26 January 2010 - 10:08 PM

NO WAY can a train serve Phila using PHN (aka North Philadelphia Station). It is in a horrible neighborhood and you feel like you are in an "after the bomb" movie standing on the platform watching the commuter trains wiz by (most don't stop at PHN). I've been there within the last year and I know whereof I speak. That's what happens if you sleep past 30th St on the Keystone in the morning.


The Broadway Limited's service of Philadelphia was somewhat incidental. The Broadway Limited was the Pennsy's competitor to New York Central's more famous Twentieth Century Limited. As such, its speed New York to Chicago was more important than its comfortable service of Philly. If I recall correctly, the Twentieth Century Limited left Grand Central Terminal, stopped at Croton-Harmon to switch to steam or diesel power and did not make another passenger stop until Englewood just outside of Chicago.

The Broadway Limited, which was trying to match it, had a faster route and thus could afford (and conversely, could not afford not) to make passenger stops at Newark, North Philadelphia, Paoli, Harrisburg (engine change), Fort Wayne, Englewood, and Chicago. If it had stopped at Philadelphia, with its convoluted track arrangement, the train would have had to move backward NYP-PHL (you can't turn the consist to get onto the Broadway from Philly), and it could not have possibly made the the 15.5 hour carded time the train achieved at its peak. Bypassing 30th street via Zoo interlocking made all of that non-issues.

There were a dozen other trains that handled Philly passengers, some of them quite fast such as the Liberty Limited. Under current circumstances, of course, the train has no observation car, does not need to hit a 15.5 hour time, and only needs to compete with the Lake Shore Limited's 19 hour carding. It can and definitely will serve Philadelphia directly.

And by the way, the Broadway is coming back. Pennsylvania is interested in a second Pittsburgh train, passengers exist for daytime service through Cleveland and such (this will allow the timing of one of the NY-Chicago trains to service it in the daytime), and enough sleeper passengers do the Pittsburgh transfer to justify sleeper service.

From what I understand, it will offset the Pennsy by about 6 hours, and it will run slightly more express. From what I understand, it will take over the LSL's departure time, NYP-NWK-TRE-PHL-PAO-HAR-ALT-PGH-ALC-CLE-TOL-ELK-SOB-CHI. It should be able to leave by about 4:15 and hit Chicago by 9:00.

The LSL will move up to a 8:30 departure, allowing it to hit Albany by 10:00. It will serve most of upstate NY overnight (which is fine, it can use the later departure- it gets plenty of daytime service, and producing a comfortable night train for Buffalo at around 6AM). It will then serve Cleveland and west in daylight hours arriving in Chicago at about 4 in the afternoon.
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#25 PRR 60

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Posted 26 January 2010 - 10:42 PM

...The Broadway Limited's service of Philadelphia was somewhat incidental. The Broadway Limited was the Pennsy's competitor to New York Central's more famous Twentieth Century Limited. As such, its speed New York to Chicago was more important than its comfortable service of Philly. If I recall correctly, the Twentieth Century Limited left Grand Central Terminal, stopped at Croton-Harmon to switch to steam or diesel power and did not make another passenger stop until Englewood just outside of Chicago.

The Broadway Limited, which was trying to match it, had a faster route and thus could afford (and conversely, could not afford not) to make passenger stops at Newark, North Philadelphia, Paoli, Harrisburg (engine change), Fort Wayne, Englewood, and Chicago. If it had stopped at Philadelphia, with its convoluted track arrangement, the train would have had to move backward NYP-PHL (you can't turn the consist to get onto the Broadway from Philly), and it could not have possibly made the the 15.5 hour carded time the train achieved at its peak. Bypassing 30th street via Zoo interlocking made all of that non-issues.

There were a dozen other trains that handled Philly passengers, some of them quite fast such as the Liberty Limited. Under current circumstances, of course, the train has no observation car, does not need to hit a 15.5 hour time, and only needs to compete with the Lake Shore Limited's 19 hour carding. It can and definitely will serve Philadelphia directly.

That schedule was, of course, the real Broadway Limited. The all-Pullman Broadway - PRR 28 and 29 - also stopped at Altoona, Pittsburgh, and Crestine OH. The westbound stops from New York west to and including Pittsburgh were to receive passengers only. Those stops were to discharge only for the eastbound trains. In the PRR era, very few westbound trains called at 30th Street. The westbound called at North Philly at 7:21pm. Many a time I was on the platform with my dad to watch it come through. And make no mistake - the Broadway did a brisk business at North Philly.

The Penn Central and Amtrak versions of the Broadway Limited were impostors. The real Broadway Limited never made it to the Amtrak era. That train died on December 12, 1967: just 10 days after the New York Central pulled the plug on the 20th Century Limited. The train that survived into Amtrak carried the Broadway name, but it was actually the PRR's "General", trains 48 and 49. It ran on the same schedule as the General, with the same coach and sleeper consist as the General, and even the same train numbers as the General. If it quacks like a duck... The old Broadway's schedule was retired with the train, as were the train numbers 28 and 29, the all-Pullman consist, and the famed observation lounge.

A train carrying the Broadway Limited name made it to Amtrak, but the Broadway Limited did not.

#26 railiner

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Posted 26 January 2010 - 11:15 PM

Lots of good recalls in these posts!
Back in the PRR era, most New York to the west through trains took the "subway" route with the exception of the last departure--The Pennsylvania Limited, which did run backwards from New York to 30th Street Station, Philadelphia, and then continue onward to Chicago.

I don't even know if the bypass at Zoo Tower is even there anymore, it certainly hasn't been used by any regular passenger trains since the last New York to Harrisburg (was it called the Valley Forge?) train used it years ago.

Anyway, I like the idea of a revived train--call it the Broadway if you will, or whatever, running NYP PHL HAR ALT PGH CLE TOL SOB CHI. And yes, for operational convenience run it backwards from NYP to PHL. New York is too big a market to ignore and leave to its Lakeshore only.
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#27 sueb

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Posted 27 January 2010 - 10:10 AM

Yes, but was it like that back in the '70's?


Yes, pretty much. I rode the Broadway Limited to CHI as a graduate student and got on the train at PHN. Felt scary the whole time.

#28 DowneasterPassenger

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Posted 27 January 2010 - 11:13 AM

Lots of good recalls in these posts!
Back in the PRR era, most New York to the west through trains took the "subway" route with the exception of the last departure--The Pennsylvania Limited, which did run backwards from New York to 30th Street Station, Philadelphia, and then continue onward to Chicago.


Why is it called the "subway" route?

#29 DowneasterPassenger

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Posted 27 January 2010 - 11:31 AM

I recall reading somewhere that PRR once had plans to build a big loop at PHL around where University City is now, so that NYP-CHI trains could stop in PHL without reversing.

#30 delvyrails

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Posted 27 January 2010 - 01:51 PM

I have no pipeline to Amtrak management's thinking of the moment, but I am familiar with transportation cost structure, having done a lot of study in the past of SEPTA's commuter rail cost model. One of the biggest cost centers in any passenger rail system is the amount of equipment needed, in terms of both capital and operating costs.

It is most desirable to operate an East Coast-Midwest train with just two equipment sets, instead of the three that the Capitol Limited uses. Avoid the two hour run up to New York's Penn Station and Sunnyside Yard with its many inefficiency problems. Without that requirement, a train can be turned at Philadelphia in about seven hours, a little less in Chicago. The average westbound/eastbound run is about 17-1/3 hours between Philadelphia and Chicago, making Philly the closest city in travel time between the four big East Coast cities and Chicago. Amtrak needs to keep its trains in motion doing diferent things without duplication to make money.

So I think this is the wiser alternative, although I will agree that recent history seems to show that New York City has the economic/political clout to get what it wants, which often is more than it deserves!

Edited by delvyrails, 27 January 2010 - 01:58 PM.


#31 jis

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Posted 27 January 2010 - 02:16 PM

It is most desirable to operate an East Coast-Midwest train with just two equipment sets, instead of the three that the Capitol Limited uses. Avoid the two hour run up to New York's Penn Station and Sunnyside Yard with its many inefficiency problems.

Capitol Limited runs upto New York? :unsure:

Edited by jis, 27 January 2010 - 03:02 PM.


#32 Jersey Jeff

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Posted 27 January 2010 - 02:30 PM

I can't say that I remember the Three Rivers "fondly" as indicated by my last trip on that train.

I rode from NJ to Pgh frequently in the 1990s and later, and I recall the Pennsy and Three Rivers stopping in Metropark, New Brunswick or Princeton Junction. Now the Pennsy only serves NWK and TRE in the Garden State.

#33 jis

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Posted 27 January 2010 - 03:04 PM

I rode from NJ to Pgh frequently in the 1990s and later, and I recall the Pennsy and Three Rivers stopping in Metropark, New Brunswick or Princeton Junction. Now the Pennsy only serves NWK and TRE in the Garden State.

As a matter of fact Pennsy and a preponderance of all Keystone Service trains only serve NWK and TRE in NJ.

#34 Green Maned Lion

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Posted 27 January 2010 - 10:53 PM

I have no pipeline to Amtrak management's thinking of the moment, but I am familiar with transportation cost structure, having done a lot of study in the past of SEPTA's commuter rail cost model. One of the biggest cost centers in any passenger rail system is the amount of equipment needed, in terms of both capital and operating costs.

It is most desirable to operate an East Coast-Midwest train with just two equipment sets, instead of the three that the Capitol Limited uses. Avoid the two hour run up to New York's Penn Station and Sunnyside Yard with its many inefficiency problems. Without that requirement, a train can be turned at Philadelphia in about seven hours, a little less in Chicago. The average westbound/eastbound run is about 17-1/3 hours between Philadelphia and Chicago, making Philly the closest city in travel time between the four big East Coast cities and Chicago. Amtrak needs to keep its trains in motion doing diferent things without duplication to make money.

So I think this is the wiser alternative, although I will agree that recent history seems to show that New York City has the economic/political clout to get what it wants, which often is more than it deserves!


Your information on Septa cost modeling is based on a system doing short runs with more equipment then it needs. Amtrak over-runs its equipment by way too much as it is. You need three sets even to go just PHL-CHI. Plus the whole single-seat ride concept.

Septa trains run slow, they run sets with not much stress, and they are low-complexity trains (hell, they don't even have freakin' bathrooms!) Amtrak trains will do 110 mph NYP to Harrisburg. They are complex, and they will be bouncing over trains that really aren't ideal for passenger trains for about 18 hours each way. They need rest, time to cool down, to be carefully cleaned and maintained, to have problems fixed.
Travelled: Broadway Limited (1), Lake Shore Limited (6), Capitol Limited (7), Empire Builder (1), Southwest Chief (2), Sunset Limited (1), California Zephyr (3), Coast Starlight (2), Silver Meteor (5), Silver Star (5), Silver Palm (2), Crescent (1), Cardinal (4), Auto Train (4), Pennsylvanian (2), Palmetto (1), Acela Express (1), Empire Service (1), Northeast Regional (11), Keystone Service (1) --- Total Miles: 50,144 --- Total Trains: 61
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#35 railiner

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Posted 27 January 2010 - 10:59 PM

Lots of good recalls in these posts!
Back in the PRR era, most New York to the west through trains took the "subway" route with the exception of the last departure--The Pennsylvania Limited, which did run backwards from New York to 30th Street Station, Philadelphia, and then continue onward to Chicago.


Why is it called the "subway" route?

It was a slang term for the underpass the trains negotiated at Zoo Tower especially on eastward trips. It was typical of PRR's famous heavy engineering to make grade-separated crossings of busy junctions to make them faster and safer. It was the "New York and Pittsburgh subway", as that was the primary user of that route.
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#36 railiner

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Posted 27 January 2010 - 11:11 PM

I have no pipeline to Amtrak management's thinking of the moment, but I am familiar with transportation cost structure, having done a lot of study in the past of SEPTA's commuter rail cost model. One of the biggest cost centers in any passenger rail system is the amount of equipment needed, in terms of both capital and operating costs.

It is most desirable to operate an East Coast-Midwest train with just two equipment sets, instead of the three that the Capitol Limited uses. Avoid the two hour run up to New York's Penn Station and Sunnyside Yard with its many inefficiency problems. Without that requirement, a train can be turned at Philadelphia in about seven hours, a little less in Chicago. The average westbound/eastbound run is about 17-1/3 hours between Philadelphia and Chicago, making Philly the closest city in travel time between the four big East Coast cities and Chicago. Amtrak needs to keep its trains in motion doing diferent things without duplication to make money.

So I think this is the wiser alternative, although I will agree that recent history seems to show that New York City has the economic/political clout to get what it wants, which often is more than it deserves!

We will have to disagree on your last point, other than New York has the "economic clout" simply because that is where people are travelling to and from.
We could use your other point about "short-turning" a train to say cut the through trains from Florida and the Crescent at WAS. Sure, that would perhaps save a trainset, but at what cost? Passengers want a one seat (or bed) ride, and changing trains at WAS would not help boost ridership.
I like the way they are run at present. In case of extreme delays, Amtrak always has the option to turn a train at WAS if necessary.
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#37 delvyrails

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Posted 29 January 2010 - 08:01 PM

I have no pipeline to Amtrak management's thinking of the moment, but I am familiar with transportation cost structure, having done a lot of study in the past of SEPTA's commuter rail cost model. One of the biggest cost centers in any passenger rail system is the amount of equipment needed, in terms of both capital and operating costs.

It is most desirable to operate an East Coast-Midwest train with just two equipment sets, instead of the three that the Capitol Limited uses. Avoid the two hour run up to New York's Penn Station and Sunnyside Yard with its many inefficiency problems. Without that requirement, a train can be turned at Philadelphia in about seven hours, a little less in Chicago. The average westbound/eastbound run is about 17-1/3 hours between Philadelphia and Chicago, making Philly the closest city in travel time between the four big East Coast cities and Chicago. Amtrak needs to keep its trains in motion doing diferent things without duplication to make money.

So I think this is the wiser alternative, although I will agree that recent history seems to show that New York City has the economic/political clout to get what it wants, which often is more than it deserves!

We will have to disagree on your last point, other than New York has the "economic clout" simply because that is where people are travelling to and from.
We could use your other point about "short-turning" a train to say cut the through trains from Florida and the Crescent at WAS. Sure, that would perhaps save a trainset, but at what cost? Passengers want a one seat (or bed) ride, and changing trains at WAS would not help boost ridership.
I like the way they are run at present. In case of extreme delays, Amtrak always has the option to turn a train at WAS if necessary.


1. Don't ascribe to me the idea of "short turning" the Crescent and Silver Service trains at Washington. That's your idea, not mine.

2. A Philadelphia-Chicago train certainly could be run with two equipment sets if the proper scheduling is chosen. A one-night-out train on a 17:20 average run would be turned in 6:40. Look what turnarounds Amtrak does at Seattle and Portland with the two-nights-out Empire Builder: 6:15 and 6:35.

3. In theory, the Capitol could also be run with two sets, but that train has a longer run time and has connections to protect at both ends of its route.

4. Amtrak can't make money while its trains sit still. This two-set Philly-Chicago plan runs each set 834 miles per day per set, better utilization than that of most Amtrak trains.

Edited by delvyrails, 29 January 2010 - 08:03 PM.


#38 Green Maned Lion

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Posted 29 January 2010 - 11:46 PM

2. A Philadelphia-Chicago train certainly could be run with two equipment sets if the proper scheduling is chosen. A one-night-out train on a 17:20 average run would be turned in 6:40. Look what turnarounds Amtrak does at Seattle and Portland with the two-nights-out Empire Builder: 6:15 and 6:35.


You can turn that equipment that fast for one end of its turn, but not both. It needs to be thoroughly maintained on one end of its trip. You need three sets of equipment for this train. Period. Besides, setting up a base for maintaining LD equipment in Philly is nuts too. Any money they saved would be blown on mechanical at Philly.
Travelled: Broadway Limited (1), Lake Shore Limited (6), Capitol Limited (7), Empire Builder (1), Southwest Chief (2), Sunset Limited (1), California Zephyr (3), Coast Starlight (2), Silver Meteor (5), Silver Star (5), Silver Palm (2), Crescent (1), Cardinal (4), Auto Train (4), Pennsylvanian (2), Palmetto (1), Acela Express (1), Empire Service (1), Northeast Regional (11), Keystone Service (1) --- Total Miles: 50,144 --- Total Trains: 61
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#39 rile42

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Posted 30 January 2010 - 12:39 AM

I fondly recall the original PRR Broadway Limited, one of my favorites. Even the Penn Central took better care of it then the rest of their trains.
When Amtrak started, they quickly assembled some of their best inherited equipment, and refurbished them for The Broadway. It's first schedule on Amtrak was a still respectable 17 hours, departing NYP 4:55 PM and arriving CHI at 9:00 AM. It ran from New York via the "New York and Pittsburgh Subway" by Zoo Tower, and stopped at PHN to serve Philadelphia. It ran with its splendid GG1's from New York all the way to Harrisburg, changing there to E8's or E9's, and also picked up cars coming up from WAS.

I would love to see Amtrak bring back the Broadway, running NYP-PGH-CLE-CHI, with limited intermediate stops to expedite the schedule.


NO WAY can a train serve Phila using PHN (aka North Philadelphia Station). It is in a horrible neighborhood and you feel like you are in an "after the bomb" movie standing on the platform watching the commuter trains wiz by (most don't stop at PHN). I've been there within the last year and I know whereof I speak. That's what happens if you sleep past 30th St on the Keystone in the morning.

As a kid in the 50's and early 60's my family would take a subway up to PHN from Market St. to catch either the Clevelander or the Penn Texas to Ohio to visit grandparents. I recall the station was kind of nice back then. There was a decent bar off to the side of the ticket places and the platforms were always packed with passengers. Neither of those trains went through 30th St..
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#40 battalion51

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Posted 30 January 2010 - 12:48 AM

2. A Philadelphia-Chicago train certainly could be run with two equipment sets if the proper scheduling is chosen. A one-night-out train on a 17:20 average run would be turned in 6:40. Look what turnarounds Amtrak does at Seattle and Portland with the two-nights-out Empire Builder: 6:15 and 6:35.


You can turn that equipment that fast for one end of its turn, but not both. It needs to be thoroughly maintained on one end of its trip. You need three sets of equipment for this train. Period. Besides, setting up a base for maintaining LD equipment in Philly is nuts too. Any money they saved would be blown on mechanical at Philly.

Is it possible to fast turn equipment on a daily basis? Absolutely. The prime example is Auto Train with a 9:30 arrival and a 4:00 departure. If you look at turn time until boarding it's even shorter. However, when you are constantly tight turning a train one of two things needs to be in place. Either you need to have a large depth of equipment to be able to switch out cars on a regular basis for maintenance needs (as GML said, and they have this available in Sanford) or you need to have a longer turn on the other end, which the EB has. delvy's plan has the depth of equipment in Chicago, but you can't make quick switches in Chicago like the boys in Sanford can. The only alternative that makes short turns feasible is if you rotate the sets with another train that will have a longer turn. So in theory, you could short turn a set at Philly and then flip it around for the Cardinal or LSL (depending on how big the consist is) and then it would have a long turn when it got into New York.

Also GML, don't forget Philly has a very deep Mechanical base. They maintain a decent number of motors there, do work on the Keystone sets, and on Acela sets.

Edited by battalion51, 30 January 2010 - 12:49 AM.

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