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Discontinued Amtrak Routes: Any Future?


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Poll: Discontinued Amtrak Routes

Which of these route(s) would you most like to return? Choose as many as you wish.

You cannot see the results of the poll until you have voted. Please login and cast your vote to see the results of this poll.
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#41 Ryan

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Posted 18 August 2015 - 07:48 PM

If only there were already existing route that went from CIN to the east coast. That would be amazing!
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#42 Bob Dylan

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Posted 18 August 2015 - 07:49 PM


 

And between IND and Charlottesville would be Cincinnati and a bunch of irrelevant towns.

Where's "irrelevant" is defined as "any place that I don't personally live".

Stop being selfish, if you want to promote more rail service, go for it, but not at the expense of places that already have it.
 
 
 
How about irrelevant meaning any town with less than 100,000 people living within a 20 mile radius of it?

In other words 95% of the towns in the United States!😕
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#43 jebr

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Posted 18 August 2015 - 07:55 PM

Give me a direct route from CHI to PHL that takes less than 24 hours and I'll leave the Cardinal alone. But of course if I don't have what I want, I'm going to say why does so and so have what I want and don't have? I would even go further any say the BL/TR has more potential ridership/revenue than the CL. Who lives between PGH and WAS?

 

Through cars from the CL - Pennsylvanian. Less than 24 hours and about as direct as you can get. Doesn't need to be a separate train to make it a direct route, and Amtrak isn't trying to get rid of the Cardinal (or any other train) in order to get that running.



#44 Devil's Advocate

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Posted 18 August 2015 - 07:58 PM

I can't expect any of these routes to be restored, until a favorable congress comes into play. Who knows when that will happen, maybe next year, maybe 10 years from now. Nobody knows, it's not like we can do a full Nostradamus prediction and say all of these routes will be restored by 2018.


The other issue with restoring any of these routes is that even if you somehow end up with the trifecta of a pro-Amtrak president, a pro-Amtrak Senate, and a pro-Amtrak House you're still only one election away from having to fight tooth and nail just to keep it funded again. On the other hand if and when the anti-Amtrak side ever achieves their own trifecta they can simply dismantle and defund Amtrak long before another election can save it again. I guess the pro-rail side could try starting over again from scratch but my gut says that once Amtrak is gone nothing else is going to replace it on the national level.

Edited by Devil's Advocate, 18 August 2015 - 08:01 PM.

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#45 TylerP42

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Posted 18 August 2015 - 08:07 PM

How about the Pontiac?
Just a 19 year old with a love for the railroad. 
Studying Broadcast Media.
Trains Taken: Capitol Limited, Empire Builder, Wolverine, Lake Shore Limited, Hiawatha, Lincoln Service,(Birthday Trip Next), Southwest Chief, Coast Starlight, California Zephyr (5,640 Miles) END OF TRIP, Acela Express, Northeast Regional, Silver Star, Carolinian, Ethan Allen Express , Adirondack, Texas Eagle, VIA Rail Corridor Service (Toronto-Hamilton/Aldershot) 20,221 Miles By Rail...
 
 

#46 Thirdrail7

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Posted 18 August 2015 - 08:15 PM

 

And between IND and Charlottesville would be Cincinnati and a bunch of irrelevant towns. Maybe expand the "Hoosier State" to Cincinnati and put CHI-IND-CIN on a better schedule.

 

They canceled Akron and Youngstown service and I'm sure they had more passengers than those tiny West Virginia towns do now.

 

Hey, I would love to have the BL and the Cardinal but if I had one you bet I'd rather have the BL. I think I deserve the right to a direct connection from PHL to CHI (that doesn't take 26 hours) than Thurmond West Virginia does. I think Harrisburg, Lancaster, Altoona, Akron, and Youngstown deserve a direct connection to CHI more than Thurmond does.

 

 

 

For the record, the "irrelevant towns" form the crux and the backbone of the Cardinal, crushing the amount of revenue from the top 25 city pairs along the route.

 

That being said, if I couldn't get another Pennsylvanian or Broadway Limited, I would bring back the Gulf Breeze, The Montrealer or the Cape Codder.


Edited by Thirdrail7, 18 August 2015 - 08:16 PM.

They say laughter is the best medicine. Obviously they never posted on AU.


#47 Philly Amtrak Fan

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Posted 18 August 2015 - 08:17 PM

 

I voted for four of them, but the Broadway Limited/Three Rivers is by *far* the most important.  And there are no serious obstacles in its way: all that's needed is rolling stock and agreements from the Class Is.

 

I'm surprised you didn't mention a few other discontinued routes in the poll:

...

-- The International Limited (Chicago-Toronto)

I agree that if any LD service is to be restored, the most logical is a Broadway Limited/Three Rivers going through CLE and TOL. Preferably with a schedule providing "daytime" service between CHI and TOL/CLE to capture the CLE-CHI corridor market. 

 

 

The proposed Skyline Connection from an old January 2000 timetable (timetables.org):

 

West: PHL 1:05am, HAR 3:35am, PGH 8:53/9:05am, CLE 12:38pm, TOL 2:41pm, CHI 6:47pm

East: CHI 1:30pm, TOL 7:02pm, CLE 9:15pm, PGH 12:43/12:58am, HAR 6:17am, PHL 9:08am

 

The East schedule is pretty good except for PGH and HAR. If the CL and Pennsylvanian remained, it wouldn't be an issue for PGH. You could move it one hour later or one hour earlier depending on whether you want to help Harrisburg or Pittsburgh.

 

I would move the West schedule up two hours (maybe three if PGH can still have the CL and Pennsylvanian).


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), Texas Eagle (CHI-DAL)
Bring back the Broadway Limited (or Three Rivers or any Chicago-Pittsburgh-Philly train)!
 
https://www.facebook...roadwayLimited/


#48 MikefromCrete

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Posted 18 August 2015 - 08:26 PM

Don't count on any support from the State of Ohio as long as John Kasich is Governor.

Tom

Let us remember that presidential candidate Kasich killed the Three C project and called rail supporters "cultists."



#49 railiner

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Posted 18 August 2015 - 09:10 PM

Since we're dreaming.....how about a list of the most unlikely RR routes ever to return to passenger service....such as, The Wabash Cannonball from St. Louis to Detroit....? :P

 

Or....The Butte Special?   Texas Zephyr?    Rocky Mountain Rocket?  Olympian Hiawatha?     Erie Limited?   Aztec Eagle?.......this is fun..... :)


metroblue?

okay on the blue!

#50 Philly Amtrak Fan

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Posted 18 August 2015 - 09:13 PM

Since we're dreaming.....how about a list of the most unlikely RR routes ever to return to passenger service....such as, The Wabash Cannonball from St. Louis to Detroit....? :P

 

Or....The Butte Special?   Texas Zephyr?    Rocky Mountain Rocket?  Olympian Hiawatha?     Erie Limited?   Aztec Eagle?.......this is fun..... :)

 

I have to ask... Butte Special?


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), Texas Eagle (CHI-DAL)
Bring back the Broadway Limited (or Three Rivers or any Chicago-Pittsburgh-Philly train)!
 
https://www.facebook...roadwayLimited/


#51 TylerP42

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Posted 18 August 2015 - 09:21 PM

The proposed Toledo - Detroit route.

Edited by TylerP42, 18 August 2015 - 09:22 PM.

Just a 19 year old with a love for the railroad. 
Studying Broadcast Media.
Trains Taken: Capitol Limited, Empire Builder, Wolverine, Lake Shore Limited, Hiawatha, Lincoln Service,(Birthday Trip Next), Southwest Chief, Coast Starlight, California Zephyr (5,640 Miles) END OF TRIP, Acela Express, Northeast Regional, Silver Star, Carolinian, Ethan Allen Express , Adirondack, Texas Eagle, VIA Rail Corridor Service (Toronto-Hamilton/Aldershot) 20,221 Miles By Rail...
 
 

#52 FormerOBS

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Posted 18 August 2015 - 09:44 PM

Yeah.  Detroit to Toledo could easily extend to Cincinnati.  All it would take is support from Governor............uh............never mind.

 

Tom



#53 Eric S

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Posted 18 August 2015 - 09:44 PM

We spend a lot of time here dreaming about new or restored long distance trains, perhaps because of nostalgia or because we enjoy our occasional cross-country journeys (and I include myself in that group), but new/expanded/improved corridor services seem to me to be far more likely in the foreseeable future and would probably have greater ridership as well.

 

Not that there's anything wrong with long distance dreaming...

 

...just saying that if I was given the choice between restoring a few long distance trains or adding a number of new corridors (or expanding or greatly increasing service on existing ones), I'd probably choose the corridor service.



#54 Eric S

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Posted 18 August 2015 - 09:46 PM

 

I have to ask... Butte Special?

 

 

 

A pre-Amtrak train serving Butte, MT. Google will turn up a couple websites with schedule and equipment information about that train.


Edited by Eric S, 18 August 2015 - 09:46 PM.


#55 afigg

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Posted 18 August 2015 - 10:02 PM

That being said, if I couldn't get another Pennsylvanian or Broadway Limited, I would bring back the Gulf Breeze, The Montrealer or the Cape Codder.

Well, MBTA has restored Boston to Cape Cod weekend service during the summer. Been quite successful I gather.

And Vermont is actively working toward extending the Vermonter to Montreal. As a day train, not an overnight Montrealer, but still qualifies as restoring service from New England to MTR.

Edited by afigg, 18 August 2015 - 10:05 PM.


#56 Bob Dylan

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Posted 18 August 2015 - 10:11 PM

Since we're dreaming.....how about a list of the most unlikely RR routes ever to return to passenger service....such as, The Wabash Cannonball from St. Louis to Detroit....? :P
 
Or....The Butte Special?   Texas Zephyr?    Rocky Mountain Rocket?  Olympian Hiawatha?     Erie Limited?   Aztec Eagle?.......this is fun..... :)


The Panama Ltd./The City of Everywhere/The 20th Century Ltd./The Texas Special/ The Texas Chief /The Coast Daylight/El Capitan/The International etc. etc. etc.
"There's Something About a Train! It's Magic!"-- 1970s Amtrak Ad
 "..My heart is warm with the friends I make,and better friends I'll not be knowing,
Yet there isn't a train I wouldn't take,No matter where its going!.." -Edna St. Vincent Millay

#57 DesertDude

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Posted 18 August 2015 - 11:14 PM

The Desert Wind and Pioneer should not come back any time soon.  Amtrak needs to concentrate on routes with population. 

- The only intermediate population on the Desert Wind route is Las Vegas, and for Vegas service, it's better to support the High Speed Rail proposal.  With California HSR getting built via Palmdale (and at this point I think this will really happen), the Vegas-California HSR ("XPressWest") becomes plausible.  (The connection would probably be done as part of the "High Desert Corridor" highway project.)

- There's even less intermediate population on the Pioneer route -- and travel from Denver/SLC to Portland/Seattle in general is minimal.  It's simply not worth having this route.  People who really want to take the train from Denver/SLC to Portland/Seattle can change trains in Sacramento, and that's OK.

 

Too often, I think the Desert Wind and the Pioneer are unfairly lumped together as the two discontinued western trains that went through a lot of nothing (and therefore aren't worth restoring).

 

Despite my forum name and profile picture, I readily agree that the Desert Wind should *NOT* be restored between Las Vegas and Salt Lake. That route truly goes through a barren region with very little population to draw from (look up the population of Lincoln County, NV and Beaver County, UT to see what I mean). If the UP line went through Cedar City and St. George, it would be a whole 'nother story. But People in St. George simply aren't going to drive for 2 hours to wait for a train in Caliente. If Allegiant Air ever offered cheap flights from the Provo airport to Las Vegas (as it already does to LA, Oakland, and Phoenix-Mesa), it would further render the route as unnecessary.

 

The Pioneer, on the other hand, holds more promise for success. For anyone who's interested, I highly recommend reading Amtrak's 2009 study regarding the Pioneer's potential restoration, as well as the response published by the Seattle-based Cascadia Center. I believe the Pioneer has great ridership potential if it's restored as a stand-alone train between Denver and Seattle with a relaxed schedule, overnighting through Wyoming and eastern Oregon (as proposed by the Cascadia Center).

 

What really hurt the Pioneer was its lousy schedule (which resulted from it splitting off from the CZ in Denver). In particular, the Pioneer lost a lot of tourism-related ridership by serving Pocatello, ID at an ungodly hour. If a train arrived in Pocatello in the middle of the day, people would more readily take a thruway connection (or a non-Amtrak bus or shuttle) to Yellowstone, the Grand Tetons, Lava Hot Springs, and Craters of the Moon Nat'l Park. Also, it's worth mentioning that the area has a high college student population with Idaho State University and BYU-Idaho. With 15,000+ students at BYU-ID, there is an untapped market for car-less students who would take a bus to Pocatello and ride the Pioneer back home to visit family in Boise, Salt Lake, etc. Southeast Idaho has a quarter-million people with limited flight options out of Idaho Falls. 

 

The ridership potential for the pioneer doesn't come from people traveling between Denver and Portland. It comes from:

 

-People in Ogden visiting family in Boise

-The 200,000+ people in southern Wyoming who may need to fly out of Denver International Airport (a major hub which will soon be connected to Amtrak by commuter rail)

-Residents of eastern Oregon who need to spend a day in Portland to take care of business

-Foreign tourists who would fly into Seattle and take an overnight train to visit national parks

-Residents of Salt Lake City who would never board a Denver-bound train at 3:00 AM, but would gladly board one in the evening and arrive in Denver the next morning

-College students in Ft. Collins who want to spend a weekend in Denver

-People in Idaho Falls attending LDS (mormon) General Conference in Salt Lake

-Etc., etc., etc.

 

Also keep in mind that when the Pioneer was discontinued in 1997, Salt Lake had no local rail transit, and Denver's light rail system was just in its infancy. 20 years later, people in both cities are much more acquainted with rail as a means of transportation (compare this to the lack of rail in Las Vegas). Connecting these cities (and points in between) to the well-railed cities of Portland and Seattle could lead to increased ridership on other Amtrak and local routes.


Edited by DesertDude, 18 August 2015 - 11:29 PM.


#58 Anderson

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Posted 19 August 2015 - 01:13 AM

Whee, more discussion of restoring trains...

Basically, to restore a given LD route you're probably looking at $500m-1.5bn, depending on the route, length of route, practical needs in terms of improvements (e.g. restoring track, adding sidings, improving MAS, etc.) and equipment (two sets of single-level equipment vs. up to six of bilevel equipment).  Stations and so on are another, if smaller, consideration.

While I know the price seems steep, bear in mind that:
(1) Using $2.5m/single-level car and $4.0m/bilevel car, equipment for six eight-car bilevel sets (plus locomotives, baggage cars, and spares) can easily get close to $300m.  For two sets of single-level equipment, on the other hand, you might only be looking at $50-60m.
(2) Some routes involve re-upgrading track in bad condition if not putting track in that was pulled up years ago (Boise comes to mind here).  This is really aside from any railroad-demanded improvements (the two are not unrelated, though).
(3) Then the railroads are going to want money for slots, probably aside from (2).

(1) can run up to about $300m.  (3) probably caps out around the same level for serious requests, though obviously this depends on conditions on a given line when a request is made.  (2) is the wild card, for the most part since a route which is all Class IV/V track won't need as much as a route using lots of Class II track or in need of rebuilding.
That said...

-I think the Sunset East has a real shot of happening, particularly if/when AAF extends to Jacksonville (since that'd add scads of potential connecting traffic).
-I think extending a second train NYP-CHI via BUF has a real shot of happening in the medium term.
-I think a revived Broadway, in some form, has a real shot of happeng as well.

However, I see these as being decade-long projects more than anything.  I can see a St. Louis Cardinal happening as well (as a split on the Cardinal), and that might be very cheap in the scheme of things...but I can't see a National Limited (for aforementioned reasons).


Amtrak mileage to date: Somewhere between 120,000 and 150,000 miles...I /really/ need to run all of my trips through a calculator sometime.

...and no, I am not /that/ Anderson...;-)


#59 Devil's Advocate

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Posted 19 August 2015 - 01:53 AM

Why do people keep bringing up the Sunset East when we can't even manage a daily Sunset West? :wacko:


.


#60 Philly Amtrak Fan

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Posted 19 August 2015 - 05:41 AM

Whee, more discussion of restoring trains...

Basically, to restore a given LD route you're probably looking at $500m-1.5bn, depending on the route, length of route, practical needs in terms of improvements (e.g. restoring track, adding sidings, improving MAS, etc.) and equipment (two sets of single-level equipment vs. up to six of bilevel equipment).  Stations and so on are another, if smaller, consideration.

While I know the price seems steep, bear in mind that:
(1) Using $2.5m/single-level car and $4.0m/bilevel car, equipment for six eight-car bilevel sets (plus locomotives, baggage cars, and spares) can easily get close to $300m.  For two sets of single-level equipment, on the other hand, you might only be looking at $50-60m.
(2) Some routes involve re-upgrading track in bad condition if not putting track in that was pulled up years ago (Boise comes to mind here).  This is really aside from any railroad-demanded improvements (the two are not unrelated, though).
(3) Then the railroads are going to want money for slots, probably aside from (2).

(1) can run up to about $300m.  (3) probably caps out around the same level for serious requests, though obviously this depends on conditions on a given line when a request is made.  (2) is the wild card, for the most part since a route which is all Class IV/V track won't need as much as a route using lots of Class II track or in need of rebuilding.
That said...

-I think the Sunset East has a real shot of happening, particularly if/when AAF extends to Jacksonville (since that'd add scads of potential connecting traffic).
-I think extending a second train NYP-CHI via BUF has a real shot of happening in the medium term.
-I think a revived Broadway, in some form, has a real shot of happeng as well.

However, I see these as being decade-long projects more than anything.  I can see a St. Louis Cardinal happening as well (as a split on the Cardinal), and that might be very cheap in the scheme of things...but I can't see a National Limited (for aforementioned reasons).

 

I would think a FIRST Chicago/Pitt/Keystone Service (Horseshoe Curve) direct train should take precedence over a SECOND NYP-CHI via BUF train. Why duplicate a direct service you already have when you can add a direct service you don't have?


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), Texas Eagle (CHI-DAL)
Bring back the Broadway Limited (or Three Rivers or any Chicago-Pittsburgh-Philly train)!
 
https://www.facebook...roadwayLimited/





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