Jump to content




Photo

Is a coast to coast train feasible?


  • Please log in to reply
112 replies to this topic

#61 Manny T

Manny T

    OBS Chief

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 312 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Chicago IL

Posted 19 December 2015 - 11:36 PM

The link Philly posted above about the 1997-98 run of the "National Chief" (Southwest Chief + Capitol Ltd.) is quite a good read and explains why LA-WAS on a single train was and is a no-go. First, it involved an 8 hour layover in Chicago for cleaning and maintenance with the "option" to leave the train. Apart from physical disability, I can't imagine wanting to spend 8 hours sitting on a stationary train--and that impeded cleaning.

 

Second, sleeping PAX were not guaranteed the same bedroom or roomette on the CHI-WAS segment. Maybe it was a reservation's glitch at the time that computers today could handle--but for sure Amtrak would find other ways to inconvenience passengers going across the country, so seamless cross country train travel does not seem feasible to me. Unfortunately.



#62 Philly Amtrak Fan

Philly Amtrak Fan

    Engineer

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,561 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Philadelphia Area

Posted 06 January 2017 - 11:50 AM

Well if it ever became feasible, here's a proposal for a train NYP to LAX. It's basically the old Broadway Limited (routed through Michigan, as All Aboard Ohio proposed) and the old Desert Wind (http://www.timetable...1030n&item=0032) combined.

 

The gaps in Chicago were chosen to provide "reasonable" times for the western cities (LAX eastbound had to be in the graveyard shift but not that bad). If the travel time between LAX and CHI on the DW route is longer it would help with the eastbound (could leave LAX before midnight) but would screw the westbound schedule to arrive in LAX after midnight. Outside of that, the train seems to put the least populous areas in the graveyard shift (eastbound LAX/Las Vegas is almost overnight). Unfortunately Grand Junction, CO would be late night (11:55pm east and 1:35am west). When I took the CZ I remember the store there. I highly doubt they will be open for this train.

 

The train wouldn't be competitive for NYP-LAX vs. LSL/SWC because of the detour to serve DEN/SLC. But SLC and Omaha/Lincoln (along with CLE) are outside the graveyard shift. The train would serve as a second train between NYP and DEN and the schedule is pretty competitive compared to LSL/CZ. Plus, you get Vegas service back.

 

The old transcontinental SL was 3066 miles between LAX-MIA (http://www.timetable...1030n&item=0030) and this train checks in at 3318 miles, longer than any Amtrak train. It looks like 7 Viewliner sets since the train should be able to be turned around in NYP.

 

If the three day schedule is unrealistic, maybe just the NYP-DEN train would be. It would be about the same as most of the western trains and provide a second train between CHI-DEN which I believe Nathaniel has proposed before.

 

I am open to any other name suggestions if you're really bored today like I was.

Attached Files


Trains Traveled:
 
Broadway Limited (CHI-Harrisburg, PA) 
Three Rivers (Harrisburg, PA-CHI, Altoona, PA-CHI, PHL-CHI)
Capitol Limited (CHI-WAS)
Lake Short 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/

 


#63 ScouseAndy

ScouseAndy

    OBS Chief

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 250 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Liverpool- UK

Posted 06 January 2017 - 12:01 PM

Why does it have to run through Chicago? Could it not run further south such as via St Louis and then Kansas then up to Denver? Yes it would be more convoluted but would also offer more cities direct services to each coast and avoid congestion in and out of Chicago?

#64 Philly Amtrak Fan

Philly Amtrak Fan

    Engineer

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,561 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Philadelphia Area

Posted 06 January 2017 - 12:11 PM

In fantasy land we could do old National Limited to STL/KCY to bypass CHI but I'm not aware of any train west of KCY in Amtrak history other than the SWC or its predecessors and I don't remember any KCY-DEN train in Amtrak history.


Trains Traveled:
 
Broadway Limited (CHI-Harrisburg, PA) 
Three Rivers (Harrisburg, PA-CHI, Altoona, PA-CHI, PHL-CHI)
Capitol Limited (CHI-WAS)
Lake Short 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/

 


#65 ScouseAndy

ScouseAndy

    OBS Chief

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 250 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Liverpool- UK

Posted 06 January 2017 - 12:14 PM

So is Kansas to Denver not feasible?

#66 maxbuskirk

maxbuskirk

    OBS Chief

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 453 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Varies
  • Interests:Math, old train schedules

Posted 06 January 2017 - 08:28 PM

What route would you use? I'd probably do KCY-LAJ-DEN.

I have ridden Cascades #516 (SEA-STW), Coast Starlight #14 (LAX-SLO), Southwest Chief #4 (LAX-CHI), Cardinal #50 (CHI-NYP), Northeast Regional #85 (NYP-WAS), Capitol Limited #30 (HFY-WAS), Coast Starlight #14 (LAX-PDX), and many Pacific Surfliners with Amtrak. I have seen, including the previous, California Zephyr #5 at SAC (with luck), what I guess to be Crescent #19 (at WAS) and Silver Meteor #97 (at WAS), and Empire Builder #28 at PDX. I have also ridden the Hokutosei in Japan, Ueno - Sapporo (now discontinued).


#67 zephyr17

zephyr17

    Engineer

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 3,214 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Washington State

Posted 21 January 2017 - 03:23 PM

When Amtrak first started they had a through sleeper that ran Los Angeles-Kansas City on the Super Chief and Kansas City-New York on the National Limited.


Edited by zephyr17, 21 January 2017 - 03:23 PM.

SP Coast Daylight, AT&SF San Diegan, AT&SF Super Chief, D&RGW Rio Grande Zephyr, Southwest Limited/Chief, San Diegan/Pacific Surfliner, San Joaquin, Cascades, California/San Francisco Zephyr, Coast Starlight, Empire Builder, Sunset Limited (LA-Orlando), Desert Wind, Pioneer, City of New Orleans, Silver Star, Silver Meteor, Lake Shore Limited, Cardinal, Hoosier State (Amtrak),  Hoosier State (Iowa Pacific), Ann Rutledge, Adirondack, Maple Leaf, NE Regional, Capitol Limited, Via Canadian (CP route), Via Super Continental, Via Atlantic Limited, Via Hudson Bay, Via Skeena, Via Canadian (CN route), Via "Corridor" (Toronto-Montreal), BC Rail Cariboo Dayliner, Eurostar, Thalys, DB, Netherlands Rail, Austrian Railways, BR, Korail (conventional), Korail KTX


#68 neroden

neroden

    Engineer

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 6,030 posts
  • Gender:Not Telling
  • Location:Ithaca, NY
  • Interests:Please feel free to moderate my posts

Posted 21 January 2017 - 04:55 PM

The fundamental issue is that it is generally better for ridership for trains to stop at larger cities.  It's worth the detour.

 

Chicago is a very, very large city.  We'd have to have several times as many trains running through Chicago before it would make sense to have a train which bypassed it.


Edited by neroden, 21 January 2017 - 04:56 PM.

--Nathanael--

Please feel free to moderate my posts.

#69 Chessie

Chessie

    Lead Service Attendant

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 137 posts
  • Gender:Not Telling

Posted 21 January 2017 - 06:05 PM

When Amtrak first started they had a through sleeper that ran Los Angeles-Kansas City on the Super Chief and Kansas City-New York on the National Limited.

 

That was a very cool itinerary.  If we would have it today, it might mean a mixed consist, which would complicate things. 

 

I would imagine the most feasible way to have coast to coast train is to bring the 2005 Sunset limited back.  



#70 west point

west point

    Engineer

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,132 posts

Posted 21 January 2017 - 06:57 PM

All our experience tells us passengers are not very tidy. This poster certainly would not to board a train going from LAX at Pittsburg to NYP. If you make passenger get off once or twice on a coast to coast train wouldn't it be better to just have them make a cross platform transfer to another clean and with no mechanical problems car ?

#71 Philly Amtrak Fan

Philly Amtrak Fan

    Engineer

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,561 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Philadelphia Area

Posted 21 January 2017 - 07:30 PM

All our experience tells us passengers are not very tidy. This poster certainly would not to board a train going from LAX at Pittsburg to NYP. If you make passenger get off once or twice on a coast to coast train wouldn't it be better to just have them make a cross platform transfer to another clean and with no mechanical problems car ?

 

I'm pretty sure it won't be two times. The SWC does not force passengers to get off while they clean the train (at least not in the times I rode it) and it is 2265 miles. Correct me if I'm wrong but the TE also doesn't require clearing the train to clean it and there's plenty of maintenance in SAS that they do without clearing the train. What about the old transcontinental SL? Maybe once you have to get off but you know for sure the train won't leave without you (unless you're stupid enough to go too far away) unlike the connections in Chicago which I'm guessing quite a few of you have been stranded at least once overnight. Was the transcontinental SL really that horrible an experience to ride in? Was the train a pig sty when you got to Florida or California? If Katrina hadn't happened, would the train be running today?

 

If the SWC, CZ, and EB work as trains that cross two time zones, surely a NYP-DEN train would work too and if you took my proposal and terminated it at DEN then you'd have the PHL/Eastern PA-CHI train I covet as well as a second train between CHI-DEN with better boarding times for Nebraska.


Trains Traveled:
 
Broadway Limited (CHI-Harrisburg, PA) 
Three Rivers (Harrisburg, PA-CHI, Altoona, PA-CHI, PHL-CHI)
Capitol Limited (CHI-WAS)
Lake Short 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/

 


#72 Philly Amtrak Fan

Philly Amtrak Fan

    Engineer

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,561 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Philadelphia Area

Posted 15 April 2017 - 04:12 PM

 

 

Honestly, I'll bet that most of the SWC and CZ connections to the Capitol Limited are coming from relatively close points like Denver and Kansas City, not from the West Coast. I wonder how many extra riders you'd get by extending the SWC just to Galesburg!

 

 

I assume you meant LSL to Galesburg since the SWC already serves Galesburg.

 

As mentioned before, NYP-DEN is a train I would want to see. But then there's a problem with servicing the train in Denver.


Trains Traveled:
 
Broadway Limited (CHI-Harrisburg, PA) 
Three Rivers (Harrisburg, PA-CHI, Altoona, PA-CHI, PHL-CHI)
Capitol Limited (CHI-WAS)
Lake Short 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/

 


#73 Seaboard92

Seaboard92

    Engineer

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,355 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:South Carolina
  • Interests:-Amtrak
    -New York Central
    -Seaboard Airline
    -Scriptwriting

Posted 16 April 2017 - 12:58 AM

I can think of one major problem the longer the route the more possibility for delays. And if via Chicago your entering and again exiting the densest railroad network in the country. St Louis isn't much better.

As far as trains historically between Kansas City and Denver UP used to run the City of Saint Louis with Wabash from STL to LaX via KCY, DEN. And I believe the route is still in place.

View my pictures at http://trainboy1.rrpicturearchives.net

Amtrak Routes I've riden: Silver Star(NYP-ORL), Silver Meteor(KIS-NYP),Carolinian(CLT-NWK), Palmetto (FLO-NYP), Acela(WAS-NYP), NE Regional(WBG-RVR), Pacific Surfliner(SAN-OSD), Piedmont(CLT-SAL), Crescent(NYP-CLT), Cardinal (WAS-CHI), Capitol Limited (CHI-WAS), Cascade (PDX-SEA)

Steam Engines I've worked behind

Norfolk & Western No. 611

Nickel Plate Road No. 765

Southern Pacific No. 4449

 


#74 Anderson

Anderson

    Engineer

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 8,212 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Virginia

Posted 16 April 2017 - 03:06 AM

If a coast-to-coast train was feasible it probably would have been tried in the 1950s or early 1960s.  The Pennsy had access to Union Station (where it could have run through onto the Milwaukee Road and UP, or on the CB&Q and then DRG&W and WP).  The NYC had access to LaSalle St., which could connect with the Rock Island.  The Erie, Wabash, and Grand Trunk Western had access to Dearborn, where they could connect with the Santa Fe.  The B&O and C&O had a connection to the Soo Line at Grand Central.  And all of this is presuming that they weren't willing to double-stop a train (since there were through cars running around), but 2-3 road operation of trains had been proven feasible by the California Zephyr (in particular).  And so on.  It's the sort of project that I would think Robert Young would have been able to put together if it could have been done (probably slinging a secondary train through on the Rock Island while at the NYC).

 

That this wasn't attempted as a product suggests that feasibility was a problem: The operation of a crack through-train would probably have at least been a net gain for the involved parties and in the era of regulated fares it would have been easy, relatively speaking, to split the fares up.  Maybe there's an OBS turnover at Chicago (this seems reasonable, given the length of the trip).


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)

#75 Philly Amtrak Fan

Philly Amtrak Fan

    Engineer

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,561 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Philadelphia Area

Posted 16 April 2017 - 05:21 AM

Was the old transcontinental SL train a failure? If it weren't for Katrina would it still be running today? 

 

No doubt the delays are an issue. But two night trains (SWC, CZ) clearly "work" for Amtrak. A passenger from California can ride 2000 miles to Chicago without a transfer, a passenger from Philly or New York cannot. By distance and time, a NYP-DEN or NYP-DAL train should be just as feasible as a CHI-LAX or CHI-EMY train and have the same if not higher ridership. If delays are an issue, why not chop the CZ in half and run two separate trains CHI-DEN and DEN-EMY (or in the case of the EB two separate trains from CHI-Rugby, ND and Rugby to SEA :giggle: )? Why is 2 days the line in the sand? And if it is, why not the routes I suggested?


Trains Traveled:
 
Broadway Limited (CHI-Harrisburg, PA) 
Three Rivers (Harrisburg, PA-CHI, Altoona, PA-CHI, PHL-CHI)
Capitol Limited (CHI-WAS)
Lake Short 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/

 


#76 Seaboard92

Seaboard92

    Engineer

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,355 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:South Carolina
  • Interests:-Amtrak
    -New York Central
    -Seaboard Airline
    -Scriptwriting

Posted 16 April 2017 - 09:30 AM

It's not that two night out time cards are the line in the sand but rather more time span for stuff to go wrong. Especially between eastern and western railroads because you have to connect in terminal areas that are very congested.

Congestion can cause delays, and if a train isn't dependable along its line it loses ridership. So likely it won't work for that reason.

Had an experiment been done in the 50s with the private railroads I would probably think differently. But they didn't see it as feasible. Even Young who took out ads to say "pigs can cross Chicago without changing trains but you do" didn't attempt to route something across Chicago.

Historically railroads have worked well with each other to run passenger service. The Florida trains PRR-RFP-SAL/ACL- FEC(ACL only, later SAL). The Chicago Florida trains PRR-L&N-ACL-FEC/SAL of IC-CofG-ACL-FEC/SAL. So the precedent of railroads running thru services was there so why didn't they employ them. Especially larger roads like the ATSF, NYC. Even though at different terminals it could have easily been done by using the NYC branch to Joliet bypassing Chicago. Which likely would have been a foolhardy move.

Could also have routed NYC (NYG-STL) Wabash (STL-KCY), ATSF (KCY-LAX or a myriad of other routings. The point is they didn't chose to run a transcontinental service. The market just isn't there then and today for a train of that length of route.

The two night out trains do well because of the intermediate work just as much as the thru work.

View my pictures at http://trainboy1.rrpicturearchives.net

Amtrak Routes I've riden: Silver Star(NYP-ORL), Silver Meteor(KIS-NYP),Carolinian(CLT-NWK), Palmetto (FLO-NYP), Acela(WAS-NYP), NE Regional(WBG-RVR), Pacific Surfliner(SAN-OSD), Piedmont(CLT-SAL), Crescent(NYP-CLT), Cardinal (WAS-CHI), Capitol Limited (CHI-WAS), Cascade (PDX-SEA)

Steam Engines I've worked behind

Norfolk & Western No. 611

Nickel Plate Road No. 765

Southern Pacific No. 4449

 


#77 railiner

railiner

    Engineer

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 5,066 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Queens, NY
  • Interests:All public transportation....land, sea, and air

Posted 16 April 2017 - 11:02 AM

Even in cases where a single railroad operated coast-to-coast..(Canadian Pacific, Canadian National)...they never ran a coast-to-coast thru train, (could you imagine Sydney to Prince Rupert? :o), for many of the reasons mentioned.

I think most passenger's would very much welcome at least one change on such a long journey, to get off for a few hours, and make a connection to a fresh new train...a plus if a different type (single level to bi-level), just for a change-of-scene.... 

 

And Chicago is arguably, the best place to break up a US trip, as it is Amtrak's major hub of the national network, with extensive facilities, and support.   Not to mention, there is a wealth of things to see and do for connecting passenger's...


Edited by railiner, 16 April 2017 - 11:11 AM.

metroblue?

okay on the blue!

#78 Philly Amtrak Fan

Philly Amtrak Fan

    Engineer

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,561 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Philadelphia Area

Posted 16 April 2017 - 11:47 AM

 

 

And Chicago is arguably, the best place to break up a US trip, as it is Amtrak's major hub of the national network, with extensive facilities, and support.   Not to mention, there is a wealth of things to see and do for connecting passenger's...

 

Don't forget the gridlock getting into Chicago and in CUS. I believe they said in this board that the boarding procedures aren't pleasant anymore.

 

I'm sure Amtrak would benefit a lot from a second east west "hub".


Trains Traveled:
 
Broadway Limited (CHI-Harrisburg, PA) 
Three Rivers (Harrisburg, PA-CHI, Altoona, PA-CHI, PHL-CHI)
Capitol Limited (CHI-WAS)
Lake Short 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/

 


#79 railiner

railiner

    Engineer

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 5,066 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Queens, NY
  • Interests:All public transportation....land, sea, and air

Posted 16 April 2017 - 12:14 PM

The Chicago hub does have its problems, but they can be solved...indeed, I believe some of them are in the process of being solved...

Perhaps, some day, there will be other hubs, like there were when there were a lot more passenger trains prior to Amtrak, but that day is probably a very long way off...


metroblue?

okay on the blue!

#80 jebr

jebr

    Engineer

  • Forum Manager
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,606 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:MSP

Posted 16 April 2017 - 12:38 PM

I think part of the rationale may also be that you'd be looking at switching the primary host railroad in Chicago with almost any route. Granted, most routes change host railroads at points along the route, but some don't currently (at least for any major stretches) and most of the Class I railroads don't have significant trackage both east and west of Chicago. (CP and CN might be exceptions to that rule, but a lot of their trackage is mainly north of Chicago to connect Canada to the Chicago, and thus the rest of the US, market.)






0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users