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New Orleans to Jacksonville on Sunset Limited


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#1 THSFChris

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Posted 15 November 2011 - 08:35 PM

Any idea when the New Orleans to Jacksonville route will be re-added to the Sunset Limited line? I love Amtrak and its service... having this route back would allow for quicker travel to Florida. especially to Orlando and Miami from Texas. As it stands now.. you have to go to Chicago and Washington DC just to get to Florida on Amtrak.. Go North to go southeast.. Posted Image

#2 Devil's Advocate

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Posted 15 November 2011 - 08:46 PM

This is a big can of worms you're about to open here. :ph34r:

To make a long story short, Amtrak has made it pretty clear that they do not want to resume the service.

Presumably because the full route loses even more money than the chopped off route currently in service.

And there is little if any political support between LA and FL.

So I guess you could say... Not anytime soon!

It seems far more likely to me that the remaining segments would be discontinued before you'd see the rest of the route resume service.

I'm in Texas and it would be fun to take the train to Orlando, but those days appear to be over. -_-

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#3 THE CJ

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Posted 15 November 2011 - 09:07 PM

He pretty much is right. I even heard word that some people want the train back, but not the way it was before. Three things could happen.

1. The train may get discontinued before it even has a chance to make it to east of New Orleans since it and the Cardinal along with a few other trains are up for discontinuation. Once those routes are gone they hard to bring back too. Look at the NCH and Pioneer.

2. Somehow UP lowers the price tag for a daily SL and a stub train runs from New Orleans to Jacksonville or Orlando.

3. Political pressure increases for the train's return. Then the SL will make it journey east of New Orleans again.

Note how I put all three of these scenarios in order from what's likely to happen to least likely to happen.

#4 THSFChris

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Posted 15 November 2011 - 09:08 PM

I just find it flat out stupid that you have to go all that distance through Chicago and Washington DC just to get to Florida... I love the train and I detest the plane. Even if there was a quicker route from Dallas/Houston through Memphis, Birmingham, Nashville, Atlanta and Charlotte it would make things a whole hell of a lot easier. I have spoken to quite a few people in Florida and they would absolutely love it if Amtrak would resume the service. It is much more desired than what the politicians and big wigs in Amtrak's Washington headquarters think.

Edited by THSFChris, 15 November 2011 - 09:08 PM.


#5 THE CJ

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Posted 15 November 2011 - 09:19 PM

It's not easy to restore a route that was discontinued or as I should say "suspended".

#6 Ocala Mike

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Posted 15 November 2011 - 10:04 PM

For what it's worth, I am posting this somewhat outdated link:

http://floridacoalit...x?pageId=365934


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#7 jdcnosse

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Posted 15 November 2011 - 11:01 PM

It'd be nice to take the train everywhere.

But unfortunately in our country, highways are more "supported."

So I'll take the train to wherever the tracks can take me lol
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#8 Gratt

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Posted 16 November 2011 - 12:01 AM

Hypothetically speaking, is it possible to run a day train between NOL-MIA? Or is that too long without sleepers?

Because that is the only way (and with state support) that I could ever see this route come back.


Anything is possible but I think it is more likely that UP will have a change of heart and let the TE/SL run daily than see the SL run coast to coast again.

#9 the_traveler

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Posted 16 November 2011 - 12:02 AM

When will it happen?Posted Image As soon as pigs fly on their own and buffalos on the range grow full sized wings of their own!Posted Image
Take it easy .......

Take the train instead!

#10 the_traveler

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Posted 16 November 2011 - 12:04 AM

Somehow UP lowers the price tag for a daily SL and a stub train runs from New Orleans to Jacksonville or Orlando.

The SAS-NOL segment would be UP, but the NOL-Florida segment is CSX!
Take it easy .......

Take the train instead!

#11 Devil's Advocate

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Posted 16 November 2011 - 12:16 AM


Somehow UP lowers the price tag for a daily SL and a stub train runs from New Orleans to Jacksonville or Orlando.

The SAS-NOL segment would be UP, but the NOL-Florida segment is CSX!

I thought BNSF controlled the track between Lake Charles and New Orleans?

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#12 AlanB

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Posted 16 November 2011 - 01:15 AM

It's not easy to restore a route that was discontinued or as I should say "suspended".


Actually it's a lot easier to restore a route that was "suspended" than a route that what discontinued. Which is why Amtrak continues to say that the route is suspended, despite the fact that the suspension is now several years long. Suspended means that CSX must allow Amtrak to run the train again if the day comes that Amtrak decides to try and that CSX can't make huge demands like UP is currently doing to go from 3 days to 7 days and it preserves for Amtrak the very low rate that it pays to use the tracks.

If Amtrak discontinues the route, then CSX gets to make demands and can charge Amtrak a higher price per mile for passage.
Alan,

Take care and take trains!

#13 Anderson

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Posted 16 November 2011 - 04:14 AM


It's not easy to restore a route that was discontinued or as I should say "suspended".


Actually it's a lot easier to restore a route that was "suspended" than a route that what discontinued. Which is why Amtrak continues to say that the route is suspended, despite the fact that the suspension is now several years long. Suspended means that CSX must allow Amtrak to run the train again if the day comes that Amtrak decides to try and that CSX can't make huge demands like UP is currently doing to go from 3 days to 7 days and it preserves for Amtrak the very low rate that it pays to use the tracks.

If Amtrak discontinues the route, then CSX gets to make demands and can charge Amtrak a higher price per mile for passage.


Actually, this raises a question: Why hasn't Amtrak used the "suspended" trick before? If nothing else, "suspending" some of the Western trains and then using an offer to actually discontinue them in exchange for concessions on the Sunset, for example, would make an unpleasant amount of sense.
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#14 xyzzy

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Posted 16 November 2011 - 07:45 AM

CSX doesn't run a lot of freight between Flomaton and Baldwin, and about half of this line is dark. Installing PTC wouldn't be cheap, and the issue is who pays for it. I believe the Mobile station has been razed. Amtrak's operating grant from Congress appears to have taken a hit, and the question is whether trains will be cut not added. Looks like a "when pigs fly" situation to me. The problem with a standalone daytime NOL-MIA train: going east, it would have a very early morning departure from NOL and a very late evening arrival into MIA, with a narrow window to turn the train for westbound departure. Truncating the train to central or north Florida would make more sense. .

#15 Bill Haithcoat

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Posted 16 November 2011 - 09:43 AM

Hypothetically speaking, is it possible to run a day train between NOL-MIA? Or is that too long without sleepers?

Because that is the only way (and with state support) that I could ever see this route come back.


Anything is possible but I think it is more likely that UP will have a change of heart and let the TE/SL run daily than see the SL run coast to coast again.


No, a day train is not possible. It took close to 24 hours for the Sunset to run from NOL to MIA. ALso, in the preAmtrak days when a connection was made at Jacksonville between the Gulf Wind and the Silver Meteor the time was also about 24 hours.

#16 THE CJ

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Posted 16 November 2011 - 01:25 PM


Somehow UP lowers the price tag for a daily SL and a stub train runs from New Orleans to Jacksonville or Orlando.

The SAS-NOL segment would be UP, but the NOL-Florida segment is CSX!


I am aware of that. It makes me wonder though. If CSX doesn't run much trains between Flomaton and Baldwin why don't Amtrak just purchase or attempt to purchase the tracks from them? Better yet have the states purchase the tracks from CSX?

Edited by THE CJ, 16 November 2011 - 01:30 PM.


#17 THE CJ

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Posted 16 November 2011 - 01:26 PM


It's not easy to restore a route that was discontinued or as I should say "suspended".


Actually it's a lot easier to restore a route that was "suspended" than a route that what discontinued. Which is why Amtrak continues to say that the route is suspended, despite the fact that the suspension is now several years long. Suspended means that CSX must allow Amtrak to run the train again if the day comes that Amtrak decides to try and that CSX can't make huge demands like UP is currently doing to go from 3 days to 7 days and it preserves for Amtrak the very low rate that it pays to use the tracks.

If Amtrak discontinues the route, then CSX gets to make demands and can charge Amtrak a higher price per mile for passage.


Now that I didn't know.

#18 George Harris

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Posted 16 November 2011 - 01:46 PM

I am aware of that. It makes me wonder though. If CSX doesn't run much trains between Flomaton and Baldwin why don't Amtrak just purchase or attempt to purchase the tracks from them? Better yet have the states purchase the tracks from CSX?

For one train a day this makes no sense. You would still be left with the huge cost to add PTC.

The line's current low traffic volume status is primarily a return to the pre ACL+SAL and then Family Lines condition. Since L&N was for all pracitcal purposes a subsidiary of ACL there was little traffic exchanged between L&N and SAL at Chattahoochie. Most east-west traffic that did not have an SAL origin would have been swapped between L&N and ACL at Montgomery AL. At the time that the Gulf Wind was still running the L&N portion was in 100 lb jointed rail and had a 55 mph passenger train speed limit. After the Family Lines the CSX souteastern Borg the L&N oportion got second hand 132 lb rail welded, the low and slow Escambia Bay draw bridge was replaced with a high level concrete bridge, and a few long sidings were added. For a while there was quite a bit of freight routed this way. I think this has gone away as much because of the current CSX, and maybe others, philosophy of putting as many trains on as few miles of track as possible.as any scheme to push costs of this line onto Amtrak, particularly since is appears that some if not most of this traffic shift happened after Amtrak went away.

#19 George Harris

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Posted 16 November 2011 - 01:52 PM

I thought BNSF controlled the track between Lake Charles and New Orleans?

Yes. To be exact, the point of change in ownership is Iowa Jct. UP has rights on the BNSF to New Orleans, and BNSF has rights on UP west of Iowa Jct to Houston. This change in ownership was part of the UP+SP merger. For those that don't knwo: Iowa Jct is about 10 miles east of Lake Charles. It was the point where the MoPac line from Lake Charles to Alexandria crossed the SP. After the UP takeover of SP the last few miles of the ex MoPac into Lake Charles was abandoned. The line between Iowa Jct and Kinder was upgraded to 49 mph from 25 mph adn the track arrangementn at the junctchanged to favor the move from the ex SP to the west to this track.

#20 Shawn Ryu

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Posted 16 November 2011 - 02:15 PM

Amtrak should just end it and quash all the rumors about bringing this section back. it will never happen ever.



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