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Three Rivers Appreciation Thread


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#41 jis

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Posted 30 January 2010 - 10:24 AM

Does Philly have a Commissary anymore? If so, for serving what train(s)?

#42 battalion51

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Posted 30 January 2010 - 11:04 AM

That might be the one thing Philly lacks these days since the Keystones don't have Food Service cars. In theory you should be able to stock the train for the round trip out of Chicago. You'd have a total of four meal periods on the round trip, which is what the Silver Trains are stocked for, so it seems to be feasible to do the same with this proposed service we're dreaming up.

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#43 jis

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Posted 30 January 2010 - 12:13 PM

I was chatting with a guy from the mechanical department of Eastern Railway in India who is familiar with the handling of the rakes (as consists are called in India) for the fast overnight trains (Rajdhani Express) between Delhi and Calcutta, which are maintained out of Howrah and Sealdah base in Calcutta. These trains take 16 to 17 hours as per schedule for the 905 mile journey. A rake goes out on day 1 and arrives Delhi in the morning of day 2 and starts back evening of day 2 arriving back in Howrah on day 3 morning. Each rake is 19 cars (2 End on Genrator/brake, 2 ACI Sleeper, 2 Pantry, 5 AC2 Sleeper, 8 AC3 Sleeper capacity about 950 all sleeping accommodation).

If the train arrives late in Delhi making it impossible to meet the scheduled departure, it is turned around ASAP, which usually means 3 hours and sent back on its way. This includes cleaning and re-stocking for the 950 or so passengers, but usually very little mechanical work unless absolutely required. They are basically run as if they were on an 1800 mile two night journey as far as mechanical maintenance is concerned.

Theoretically this could be run using two rakes (consists). But according to this guy experience shows that the wear and tear both mechanical and to passenger amenities through the 17 hour journey is such that it is more reliable to use 3 rakes and as necessary rotate out an arriving rake and replace it with the third rake. This becomes even more critical in the winter when due to fog it is not unusual for the return to arrive 12 to 14 hours late. That at least answered my question on how they manage to run the daily service even in the face of these huge fog delays in the winter with no cancellations almost ever.

So all in all whether such a service can be run with two rakes (consists) or not depends on the operating conditions, dependability requirements, wear and tear and requisite necessary downtime for repairs and maintenance and other factors like weather etc. It does not follow that because SEPTA can turn a train around therefore Amtrak should be able to, or that because it could be done 50 years back it can be done now. One has to look at the overall operating conditions at present and plan accordingly.

Of course the example that I gave above is operated in an environment where people absolutely critically depend on those trains running for their day to day livelihood and business. Those trains are heavily used by both government and business personnel as part of their day to day business, so just canceling them is not an option. These are so called class 1 priority trains which continue running until literally hell freezes over.

Also, the equipment pool to draw from is large. Just to give you a sense they are effectively handling 6 rakes (2 trains per day each way to Delhi and back from Howrah and Sealdah the two main stations of Calcutta) of on an average 18 cars (6x18 = 108 cars + few additional standby cars making the total pool about 120 cars) of which at any time at least 4 rakes are on the road). Cars that would go into forming the third rake may be running around somewhere else (though unusual), but scheduled to be back in town should they be needed. In times of known trouble like winter, they add equipment to the pool to actually keep a third rake available since they know they will need it on most days.

OK now back to the originally scheduled program, and the usual expected few snide remarks about toilets on Indian trains :P

Edited by jis, 30 January 2010 - 07:33 PM.


#44 battalion51

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Posted 30 January 2010 - 06:46 PM

Good example jis. Is it possible to do it with two, yes. But can it get ugly if things start rolling down hill and you don't have a back up option, definitely. Look at what happens anytime the Auto Train gets catastrophically late, inevitably there's always a day where one, if not both trips are annulled so that the sets can get back into an on time rotation.

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#45 Green Maned Lion

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Posted 30 January 2010 - 11:36 PM

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.


Correction: Philly HAD a deep mechanical base. The do basic work on P42s and Amfleet I coaches. But the truth of the matter is, Albany is more equipped to deal with running a daily train to Chicago than Philly is.

Philly has no commisary, they have no mechanical teams capable of handling Amfleet food service cars, Viewliner anything, or Heritage anything (a moot point, I admit). Equipping them to handle this stuff is silly. Actually, I expect that a resurrected Broadway Limited would kill Philly Mechanical, as it has before, and move it to Harrisburg, where it bloody well belongs.
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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#46 jis

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Posted 31 January 2010 - 10:07 AM

Philly has no commisary, they have no mechanical teams capable of handling Amfleet food service cars, Viewliner anything, or Heritage anything (a moot point, I admit). Equipping them to handle this stuff is silly. Actually, I expect that a resurrected Broadway Limited would kill Philly Mechanical, as it has before, and move it to Harrisburg, where it bloody well belongs.

I tend to agree with GML. There are very few trains that originate/terminate at Philly anymore and they are basic Keystone trains. So there is very little reason to keep a maintenance base except for doing minor patchups between short runs on Keystones.

It has been interesting to watch Philly get downgraded step by step, to a point where there is very little going on at Race. And now with the CETC moving to Wilmington, another big thing will not be in Philly anymore.

#47 battalion51

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Posted 31 January 2010 - 10:32 AM

In all reality though you don't need deep mechanical in Philly, you need basic Mechanical that can turn the train. You've got deep Mechanical available in Chicago. There's deeper Mechanical in Philly than there is in a lot of places that turn trains on a daily basis like St. Albans, Savannah, and Charlotte.

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#48 DivMiler

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Posted 31 January 2010 - 07:38 PM

Philly has no commisary, they have no mechanical teams capable of handling Amfleet food service cars, Viewliner anything, or Heritage anything (a moot point, I admit). Equipping them to handle this stuff is silly. Actually, I expect that a resurrected Broadway Limited would kill Philly Mechanical, as it has before, and move it to Harrisburg, where it bloody well belongs.


I live in Harrisburg, and am not as well-versed about what Harrisburg has to offer train-maintenance-wise. Why do you think a mechanical team "bloody well belongs" in Harrisburg?

I know Harrisburg (HAR) is a terminus for the Keystones. Is maintenance done in Harrisburg? It always seems to me that the Keystones come in, and almost immediately turn around for the return to New York.

#49 Green Maned Lion

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Posted 31 January 2010 - 11:41 PM

It would allow for the Broadway to do its diesel/electric changeover in Harrisburg. Harrisburg originates more trains- only a very few Keystones originate in Philly, most go all the way to New York. You need Mech in Harrisburg for the Keystones. You can mostly avoid it in Philly. Anything that really goes wrong can be corrected by ferrying to Bear or Sunnyside.
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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#50 wayman

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Posted 01 February 2010 - 12:17 AM

It would allow for the Broadway to do its diesel/electric changeover in Harrisburg. Harrisburg originates more trains- only a very few Keystones originate in Philly, most go all the way to New York. You need Mech in Harrisburg for the Keystones. You can mostly avoid it in Philly. Anything that really goes wrong can be corrected by ferrying to Bear or Sunnyside.


If the Broadway originates in NYP and changes engines in Harrisburg, does the AEM7 run around the train in PHL or does the train operate with a cab car? If the train operates with a cab car, does that mean extra switching occurs in HAR to pull it off as well? Or are there cab cars to spare such that they could be run unnecessarily to CHI and back?
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#51 AlanB

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Posted 01 February 2010 - 02:55 AM

They'll keep mechanical in Philly if for no other reason than the fact that they still sometimes switch from electric to diesel and vice versa for the LD's in Philly rather than DC.
Alan,

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#52 DivMiler

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Posted 01 February 2010 - 07:33 AM

Does the Pennsylvanian switch from diesel to electric (and vice versa) in Harrisburg?

#53 wayman

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Posted 01 February 2010 - 08:11 AM

Does the Pennsylvanian switch from diesel to electric (and vice versa) in Harrisburg?


No, it switches in Philadelphia. And when it does, boy is that P42 noisy under the station. (The NJT diesels are right next to the open-air side adjacent to the expressway so they're not all that loud.) The Pennsylvanian hasn't switched in Harrisburg for years; I don't think a P42 lives there (at least, I've never seen one in half a dozen trips in the past month).

Alan, when/why do they sometimes switch to diesel in PHL on a Silver/Crescent?
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#54 AlanB

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Posted 01 February 2010 - 11:06 AM

Alan, when/why do they sometimes switch to diesel in PHL on a Silver/Crescent?


A few years back when Amtrak still had the E60 electric engines in an effort to reduce the wear on them they started changing at Philly all the time. When the E60's were retired and Amtrak stopped hauling freight, they moved things back to DC. But even now there are occasions where they'll swap in Philly for various reasons. There was a report within say the past 6 months of one train that swapped in Philly coming northbound. I don't recall why, but they did swap in Philly.

I suppose that reasons for swapping in Philly could include problems at DC with switches or tracks that reduce the capacity of the station (so you don't want to tie up a working track longer than you have to), major snow storm making switching work very hard, too many electric motors in the shop or just out of place for some reason, and I'm sure that there are others.
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#55 Amtrak839

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Posted 01 February 2010 - 01:58 PM

Alan, when/why do they sometimes switch to diesel in PHL on a Silver/Crescent?


A few years back when Amtrak still had the E60 electric engines in an effort to reduce the wear on them they started changing at Philly all the time. When the E60's were retired and Amtrak stopped hauling freight, they moved things back to DC. But even now there are occasions where they'll swap in Philly for various reasons. There was a report within say the past 6 months of one train that swapped in Philly coming northbound. I don't recall why, but they did swap in Philly.

I suppose that reasons for swapping in Philly could include problems at DC with switches or tracks that reduce the capacity of the station (so you don't want to tie up a working track longer than you have to), major snow storm making switching work very hard, too many electric motors in the shop or just out of place for some reason, and I'm sure that there are others.


Just an observation, when I was working at the REA Building adjacent to WUS last summer, it seems like 95 often had a P42 on it when it arrived in WAS.
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#56 dlagrua

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Posted 01 February 2010 - 04:38 PM

These days Philadelphia is just a stop on the NE corridor and a terminal point mainly for trains servicing Pennsylvania. I believe that the farthest run West goes to Pittsburgh on part of the old Broadway Limited route. If you want Chicago as a destination, you've got to pick up the Capitol Limited there and be prepared for a 4 hour layover OR spend alot of extra money and pick up the Capitol Limted from Washington DC. My wife and myself looked into a Chicago trip this June and decided that driving to Pittsburgh and picking up the Capitol Limited there is the most convenient The downside is that you board at 11:45 PM This does allow any time to do anything other than to go right to your room. I wish that the Broadway Limited would return.

#57 battalion51

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Posted 01 February 2010 - 10:04 PM

You might see an occasional power change at Philly for power rotation reasons, but a lot of that is accomplished through deadhead moves (as counter-intuitive as it seems). These days, if they can avoid changing power at Philly on a train that is going south of DC, they're going to. If the electric is dead/dying and a diesel is the only option, by all means move it however you can. Unfortunately for buffing reasons you don't see too many Amtrak diesels hauling trains under the catenary these days.

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#58 Philly Amtrak Fan

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Posted 11 September 2016 - 07:33 AM

Who here remembers the Three Rivers fondly?

(Hand raises excitedly)

 

I believe I've made four trips on the Three Rivers train during its existence:

 

1996 (took bus from Wilkes Barre to HAR to catch it, was the through cars onto the CL)

 

1997 (two trips, drove from State College to ALT to catch it, one trip went to California)

 

2001-02 (Christmas/New Year's trip, took from PHL)

 

I took one trip on the BL in 1994-95, also taking the bus from Wilkes Barre to HAR). So I had much more of a history with the TR than the BL.

 

I used to fly from W-B to Chicago. I never liked it and had bad experiences, throwing up twice. My usual flight was from Avoca to Pittsburgh to Chicago (yes, a dreaded transfer!). Then one day I heard about a fatal plane crash on a flight between Pittsburgh and Chicago, the same flight I took probably 5-10 times in my life.

 

After riding trains between Chicago and Champaign-Urbana, I found out about the BL schedule which then listed "Scranton" under Harrisburg (http://www.timetable...1030n&item=0018). It wasn't an official Thruway Bus but when I talked to Amtrak they were able to sell the ticket from Chicago to Scranton via HAR. When I got to Harrisburg Transportation Center, I found out the same bus stopped in Wilkes Barre before Scranton and was able to get off in W-B and the rest was history. I then took my first trip cross country to LAX in 1997. I haven't taken an airplane since then (9-11 and either terrorist groups or airport security hassles haven't made me want to jump on a plane any time soon) and have made three trips to California (1997, 2001-02, 2015). In my first trip, my youngest cousin was a young girl (7?) and we visited Berkeley. I got to visit her last year. She's now a graduate of Berkeley.

 

 

 

The Three Rivers was basically a freight/express operation with a couple of passenger cars thrown into the mix. I believe it only ran CHI-PHIL, and gave some much needed daytime service to Cleveland and the rest of Ohio.
When the freight/express faded away after Gunn found out the Warrington-originated scheme didn't make any money, the Three Rivers went away with it, along with the Lake Country Limited and the Kentucky Cardinal. along with those Warrington/freight trains that never such as the NYC-CHI Skyline, the extension of the Crescent to Dallas via Meridian, MIss., and a cross-country luxury run.
Bringing back a Broadway/Three Rivers run from CHI to NYC via PITT and PHIL is not a bad idea. GML seems convinced that it will return with the order for new single level cars. I'm not so sure.


You're confusing the Three Rivers with the Pennsylvanian. The Pennsy was a daylight trian across Ohio, serving Cleveland in daylight at all times. It ran with no sleepers and only coaches and a cafe car. And IIRC, at varrying times it terminated in NY and Philly. It arrived into Chicago around midnight and left at like 6:00 AM.

The Three Rivers ran further south in Ohio and overnight through Ohio, like the LSL & Capitol. It carried sleepers, but no diner only a cafe car.

 

 

That was the downfall of the experiment of the Pennsylvanian into Chicago. Who would want to arrive in Chicago at midnight (or return to Philly at that time?) Plus, according to this schedule the Pennsylvanian didn't serve New York, it terminated in Philly (although at that time the TR still served NYP).

 

http://www.timetable...0521n&item=0030

 

I was excited to see the Skyline Connection possibility in a printed Amtrak timetable back then. I probably wouldn't have taken the westbound (leaving PHL 1:05am) to CHI but would have preferred to take the eastbound (leave CHI earlier, arrive PHL earlier) unless I was transferring from a western train the same day. It also would've been a direct train to CLE, TOL, and South Bend (Notre Dame), with the potential of taking a Thruway from TOL to Michigan without transferring in TOL during the graveyard shift. Also, I could see taking the Thruway bus to Columbus. They weren't perfect (either leave PHL at 6:35am or 1:05am going westbound) but still better than the current Thruway schedule. I guess the Pennsylvanian to Chicago would've been good for these trips (if I was willing to get to PHL by 6:35am).

 

 

 

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.

 

All my BL/TR experiences came with the 30th St. Station. I think everyone would agree any BL/TR revival would use 30th St. Station, not North Philadelphia.

 

 

What I liked was the late afternoon departure from Philadelphia for the one-seat ride to Chicago.
 

 

You're not the only one.

 

 

I'm not sure that I'd say I remember it fondly, but then I only rode it once. It was however the one and only time I ever slept in a Heritage sleeper which I'm glad I got the chance to do, before they were retired.

But it did give one yet another alternative to go between Chicago and NY by train, and it did serve many cities that needed trains. It gave Pittsburgh a second sleeper train, it gave Harrisburg a sleeper train, and it served cities in Ohio that are now totally without rail service, and created a route through central Ohio, where no passenger trains run today.

 

Exactly. If they ever decided to go via central Ohio, they should try to go through Columbus (although my preference would be via Michigan/Toledo).

 

If the dream train came about, Detroit and Philadelphia would probably be two of the biggest target areas. So my new idea for a name (drumroll please!)... the Motown Philly! So in addition to all the added expenses of the new train, you'd have to pay Boyz 2 Men royalties LOL!

 

In all seriousness, I never liked the Three Rivers name. Too Pittsburghy. My 1st choice for name has been Liberty Limited although I think I heard Independence Limited as well.

 

 

We know it's low on the list of "bring back" trains (Sunset Limited, Desert Wind, daily Cardinal service etc. all seem ahead of Three Rivers).
 

 

Speak for yourself. Not that I wouldn't want to see the SL (or Gulf Coast NOL-Florida service) or the DW (or anything to Vegas), but of course the BL/TR would be at the top of my list.


Trains Traveled: Broadway Limited (CHI-Harrisburg, PA), Three Rivers (Harrisburg, PA-CHI, Altoona, PA-CHI, PHL-CHI), Capitol Limited (CHI-WAS), Lake Shore Limited (NYP-CHI), , Silver Meteor (PHL-ORL), Southwest Chief (CHI-LAX), California Zephyr (CHI-SLC, SLC-EMY), City of New Orleans and/or Illini (CHI-Champaign, IL)
Bring back the Broadway Limited (or Three Rivers or any Chicago-Pittsburgh-Philly train)!
 
https://www.facebook...roadwayLimited/


#59 Eric S

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Posted 11 September 2016 - 07:54 AM

Just wanted to make sure you noticed the dates of the posts you quoted and responded to...



#60 Ryan

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Posted 11 September 2016 - 08:43 AM

If he hadn't drug a 6 year old thread from the grave, there so way we would have ever known about his love for the Three Rivers!
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