There was a proposal way back in February 2000 for a New York to Los Angeles train making just eight stops in under 60 hours.
Of course the train never got off the ground. But it did have me wondering if "express" type LD trains were a good idea. Imagine a LD train going from Point A to Point B making fewer stops and arriving faster. Wouldn't this increase business?
Also the Auto Train doesn't make any passenger stops between Virginia and Florida and according to the last Monthly Performance Report it is the only LD train to still be running a profit this fiscal year.
I think New York to Los Angeles was too ambitious but I think there are two routes that I would consider if Amtrak had enough extra money to make them work:
Gold Star Express (As opposed to "Silver" service to Florida): New York to Florida
New York - Philadelphia - Baltimore - Washington - Richmond - Raleigh - Columbia SC - Savannah - Jacksonville - Orlando - Miami
Liberty Express (after the Statue of Liberty and the Liberty Bell): New York to Chicago
New York - Philadelphia - Harrisburg - Pittsburgh - Cleveland - Toledo - Chicago or
New York - Philadelphia - Baltimore - Washington - Pittsburgh - Cleveland - Toledo - Chicago
There certainly is a place for trains that make more stops to serve local communities and allow for more city pairs. But I think these "express" trains will make traveling between the city pairs more attractive and certainly help passengers using these city pairs.
I am wondering if possibly replacing the Palmetto with the Gold Star Express and adding all of the stops along the Palmetto not currently covered by the Silver Meteor onto the Silver Meteor would work. It would cut service to most of the stops along the route but at least they would still be served by the SM. You could also run the Gold Star Express along the SM route and stop in Charleston, SC between Richmond and Savannah but you would miss Raleigh and the route would be further away from Charlotte and Greensboro and having the stop in Raleigh may allow a connection at Raleigh to the Piedmont.
How much time would be saved between New York and Florida and New York and Chicago if we only stopped at the locations suggested? Should certain stops be added or skipped?