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Idea time: Texas-Albuquerque train?


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#1 GlobalistPotato

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Posted 31 March 2011 - 03:47 PM

I had to add that to the description because I knew someone would come in and tell me that...

How well would a Texas - ABQ train work?

The main route of the train would go somewhere between DFW and ABQ. Santa Fe and other Texas cities can be served as well.

There seem to be three options available:

Via Lubbock: Take the UP line to Sweetwater then switch onto the BNSF line until the train reaches the Southern Transcon, which it then runs along until arriving in Belen. The train use NMRX tracks to serve ABQ and Santa Fe.

Via Amarillo, south: Take BNSF's line up to Amarillo, then get on the Southern Transcon. Rest is the same as top.

Via Amariilo, north: Take the same BNSF line as described above, but then go north to Trinidad, arriving there early in the morning. Access to ABQ would be via a transfer or Thru cars to the Southwest Chief. If this route was used, it would just make sense for the train to continue north towards Colorado.

There are advantages and disadvantages to each route (ie anything involving UP is going to be expensive), but personally, I'd prefer the first option, 2nd if UP is being hard.

Does this sound like a good plan? Are there any details you'd recommend?

#2 Anderson

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Posted 31 March 2011 - 04:39 PM

The main problem that I see is an absence of demand for this vs. a daily Sunset. Granted, if the Sunset's current route were truly doomed, doing something like this (messy though it would be, New Orleans-Houston-Dallas-Albuquerque might be a doable route if you allow a cross-platform transfer from San Antonio at either Dallas or Houston) would make sense...but I just don't see the demand for this versus a whole raft of other uses for equipment (such as increased lengths or frequencies on some of the routes out of Chicago, or some intra-Texas routes).

Edit: If you ran it up to Colorado, then I could buy it: I think there's probably demand for something running ABQ-DEN [and particularly Raton-Denver]...but the track capacity ain't there.

On this front...there might be capacity for at least a seasonal Denver-Glenwood Springs second frequency (in the general vein of the Ski Train, albeit with more destinations) or car set if Amtrak's Zephyr report is any indication. Though I know the Ski Train was a money-loser since the late 80s, I'm wondering if it wouldn't behoove Amtrak to slap some extra cars on the Zephyr for this segment (or to try and set up an outsourced car set on this segment that they carry but that someone else nominally runs).

Edited by Anderson, 31 March 2011 - 04:48 PM.

Capitol Limited (7), CA Zephyr (4) Lake Shore Limited (1), Acela (2), NE Regional (2), Sliver Meteor (4)
Upcoming: Silver Meteor (1), Lake Shore Limited (1), SW Chief (2), MO River Runner (1), Texas Eagle (1)
Possibly Upcoming: Either Texas Eagle (1), Capitol Limited (1), Silver Meteor (2) or Texas Eagle (1), Capitol Limited (1), Silver Meteor (1)

#3 henryj

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Posted 31 March 2011 - 06:39 PM

See my post on the Heartland Chief:

http://discuss.amtra...eartland-chief/

Henryj. Trains I have ridden: Sunbeam, Sam Houston Zephyr, Valley Eagle, Houstonian, Sunset Limited, Twin Star Rocket, Texas Eagle, Texas Zephyr, Texas Chief, California Zephyr, City of Portland, City of San Francisco, Coast Daylight, Canadian, Winnipeger, San Diegan, Flying Crow, Spirit of St. Louis, Pennsy NEC. Amtrak: Lone Star, Crescent, NEC, Broadway Ltd, LSL, Maple Leaf, The International, EB, CS, Sunset Limited, City of New Orleans, CZ, Cascade, Eagle, Cardinal, Meteor, Acela plus many excursions.  Latest, Alaska Railroad and White Pass & Yukon.


#4 rrdude

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Posted 31 March 2011 - 06:44 PM

The main problem that I see is an absence of demand for this vs. a daily Sunset. Granted, if the Sunset's current route were truly doomed, doing something like this (messy though it would be, New Orleans-Houston-Dallas-Albuquerque might be a doable route if you allow a cross-platform transfer from San Antonio at either Dallas or Houston) would make sense...but I just don't see the demand for this versus a whole raft of other uses for equipment (such as increased lengths or frequencies on some of the routes out of Chicago, or some intra-Texas routes).

Edit: If you ran it up to Colorado, then I could buy it: I think there's probably demand for something running ABQ-DEN [and particularly Raton-Denver]...but the track capacity ain't there.

On this front...there might be capacity for at least a seasonal Denver-Glenwood Springs second frequency (in the general vein of the Ski Train, albeit with more destinations) or car set if Amtrak's Zephyr report is any indication. Though I know the Ski Train was a money-loser since the late 80s, I'm wondering if it wouldn't behoove Amtrak to slap some extra cars on the Zephyr for this segment (or to try and set up an outsourced car set on this segment that they carry but that someone else nominally runs).

I have no details to back me up, but I'm not sure I'd agree with that. Lot of other circumstances involved.




#5 Anderson

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Posted 31 March 2011 - 06:49 PM

Acc. to the Ski Train's website, it last posted a profit "21 years ago" as of 2009.
Capitol Limited (7), CA Zephyr (4) Lake Shore Limited (1), Acela (2), NE Regional (2), Sliver Meteor (4)
Upcoming: Silver Meteor (1), Lake Shore Limited (1), SW Chief (2), MO River Runner (1), Texas Eagle (1)
Possibly Upcoming: Either Texas Eagle (1), Capitol Limited (1), Silver Meteor (2) or Texas Eagle (1), Capitol Limited (1), Silver Meteor (1)

#6 cirdan

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Posted 01 April 2011 - 04:07 AM

The main problem that I see is an absence of demand for this vs. a daily Sunset. Granted, if the Sunset's current route were truly doomed, doing something like this (messy though it would be, New Orleans-Houston-Dallas-Albuquerque might be a doable route if you allow a cross-platform transfer from San Antonio at either Dallas or Houston)


I'm actually surprised the Sunset Limited doesn't do Houston - Dallas already as Dallas is much more important population-wise than San Antonio and plus you can connect to the Heartland Flyer at Ft. Worth. It would take longer than the current route, but seeing the SL sits idle at San Antonio for several hours anyway I suppose this is acceptable in the bigger picture of things. I guess quite a lot of people would travel between Houston and Dallasby train if that was doable in a single trip. Beyond Dallas the train could still turn South and do San Antonio.

I don't know how nmany people would want to travel from Dallas to Santa Fe or Albuquerque though. I can't imagine that being a very important link. It could only work as part of a longer corridor.

Edited by cirdan, 01 April 2011 - 04:08 AM.


#7 FunNut

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Posted 01 April 2011 - 09:39 PM

I don't know how nmany people would want to travel from Dallas to Santa Fe or Albuquerque though. I can't imagine that being a very important link. It could only work as part of a longer corridor.

Ha ha, in the summertime Santa Fe is practically overrun with Texans, especially Dallasites (or whatever they call themselves)...




#8 me_little_me

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Posted 02 April 2011 - 09:43 AM


I don't know how nmany people would want to travel from Dallas to Santa Fe or Albuquerque though. I can't imagine that being a very important link. It could only work as part of a longer corridor.

Ha ha, in the summertime Santa Fe is practically overrun with Texans, especially Dallasites (or whatever they call themselves)...

It's not called "overrun". It's called "infested".

I spent my military service defending the United States from the barbarians to the east. I was stationed in NM.

If God wanted Texans to ski, he would have given them a mountain.

#9 jimhudson

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Posted 02 April 2011 - 05:28 PM

Little known secret but the so called "Texans" that overrun NM and Colorado to Ski are not Texans but Yankees that moved to Dallas (not part of Texas! :lol: )from a Cold climate! :lol: :lol: :lol:
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#10 henryj

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Posted 02 April 2011 - 07:54 PM

Colorado and NM may not want us, but they never seem to turn down our money. :D

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#11 Anderson

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Posted 03 April 2011 - 04:14 AM


The main problem that I see is an absence of demand for this vs. a daily Sunset. Granted, if the Sunset's current route were truly doomed, doing something like this (messy though it would be, New Orleans-Houston-Dallas-Albuquerque might be a doable route if you allow a cross-platform transfer from San Antonio at either Dallas or Houston)


I'm actually surprised the Sunset Limited doesn't do Houston - Dallas already as Dallas is much more important population-wise than San Antonio and plus you can connect to the Heartland Flyer at Ft. Worth. It would take longer than the current route, but seeing the SL sits idle at San Antonio for several hours anyway I suppose this is acceptable in the bigger picture of things. I guess quite a lot of people would travel between Houston and Dallasby train if that was doable in a single trip. Beyond Dallas the train could still turn South and do San Antonio.

I don't know how nmany people would want to travel from Dallas to Santa Fe or Albuquerque though. I can't imagine that being a very important link. It could only work as part of a longer corridor.


If you did the merger at Dallas, that would make sense, but it's a longer route. Honestly, it would probably make a hair more sense to run a "corridor" line HOU-DAL and leave everything else as-is than to run the Sunset HOU-DAL and run the corridor line Houston-San Antonio.
Capitol Limited (7), CA Zephyr (4) Lake Shore Limited (1), Acela (2), NE Regional (2), Sliver Meteor (4)
Upcoming: Silver Meteor (1), Lake Shore Limited (1), SW Chief (2), MO River Runner (1), Texas Eagle (1)
Possibly Upcoming: Either Texas Eagle (1), Capitol Limited (1), Silver Meteor (2) or Texas Eagle (1), Capitol Limited (1), Silver Meteor (1)



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