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Comparing Amtrak Schedules, Past vs. Present


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#1 Philly Amtrak Fan

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Posted 19 December 2015 - 09:21 PM

After studying and reading about old Amtrak service, I get the sense I was born in the wrong era to be a train lover. I also hear a lot about trains being slower today than in the past as there is more gridlock. So I wanted to find out how much a difference there is today from the past.

 

I will compare schedules of trains from three different years, 1979 (schedule July 29, 1979, before Carter cuts), January 1995 when I first took the Broadway Limited (schedule October 30, 1994, last full year of BL) and 2015 (Winter/Spring 2016 schedule) to see how much of a difference through the years there is.

 

Schedules are as always based on timetables.org.

 

New York to Chicago:

 

1979: (BL) 3:00pm to 9:05am next day (19:05) or (LSL) 6:45pm (Grand Central Terminal) to 3:10pm next day (21:25)

 

1995: (BL) 12:45pm to 7:55am next day (20:10) or (LSL) 7:10pm to 12:58pm next day (18:45)

 

2015: (LSL) 3:40pm to 9:45am next day (19:05)

 

Ironically it appears the LSL took longer in 1979 than it does today. Was the 1979 schedule a misprint? The BL was faster in 1979 but the LSL was faster in 1995.

 

http://www.timetable...90729&item=0034

 

Chicago to Los Angeles via SL/SWC:

 

1979: (Southwest Limited): 6:30pm to 9:05am 2 days later (40:35)

 

1995: (SWC) 5:00pm to 8:15am 2 days later (41:15)

 

2015: (SWC) 3:00pm to 8:15am 2 days later (43:15)

 

Today's train is 2 hr slower than 1995 and 2:40 slower than 1979. Pretty negligible considering a trip of 43:15 today.

 

Chicago to Dallas 

 

1979:  (Inter-American) 11:15am to 7:30am next day (20:15)

 

1995: (TE) 5:45pm to 2:24pm next day (20:39)

 

2015: (TE) 1:45pm to 11:30am next day (21:45)
 

Today's train is 1:30 slower than 1979 and 1:06 slower than 1995.

 

Today's train is 

 

Philadelphia to Orlando via SS (SM in 1979 skipped ORL):

 

1979: 10:40am to 7:48am next day (21:08)

 

1995: 12:49pm to 10:05am next day (21:16)

 

2015: 12:35pm to 10:06am next day (21:31)

 
Almost no change from the old days.
 

Philadelphia to Chicago

 

1979: (BL) 4:22pm (North Philadelphia) or 4:25pm (through cars from WAS) to 9:05am next day (17:40)

 

1995: (BL)  2:57pm to 7:55am next day (17:58)

 

2015: (NER 95/CL) 12:02pm or 12:42pm (Pennsylvanian/CL) to 8:45am next day (21:03/21:43) 

 

A 3-4 hr. difference from the old days. I wonder why.
 

Philadelphia to Los Angeles:

 

1979: (NL/SWL): 7:00pm to 9:05am 3 days later (64:05)

 

1995: (BL/SWC) 2:57pm to 8:15am 3 days later (67:18)

 

2015: (NER 95/CL/SWC 12:02pm or 12:42pm (Pennsylvanian/CL/SWC) to 8:15am 3 days later (69:33/70:13)

 

A 2-3 hr difference from 1995 but a 5.5-6 hr difference from 1979 as transferring in KCY made for a quicker trip. Then again, this is 5.5 hr out of a 70 hr trip.

 

Chicago to Orlando:

 

1979: (Floridian) 9:30pm to 9:05am 2 days later (34:35)

 

1995: (CL/SS) 6:25pm to 10:05am 2 days later (38:40)

 

2015: (CL/SS) 6:40pm to 10:06am 2 days later (38:26)

 

The transfer added about four hours to the trip between 1979 and 1995. 

 

Among the trains where the route is the same as in 1979/1995, there was little change in trip times. But for those trips where a transfer was added or a different transfer was required, the additional time was more significant.

 

As much as I complain about transfers (and wrote a post about missed connections), at the very least transfers add time on to trips. A 5.5 hr difference on a formerly 65 hr trip probably isn't that much but a 3-4 hr difference on a trip that used to take 18 hrs is making the trip about 16% longer.


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/

 


#2 Thirdrail7

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Posted 19 December 2015 - 10:27 PM

Among the trains where the route is the same as in 1979/1995, there was little change in trip times. But for those trips where a transfer was added or a different transfer was required, the additional time was more significant.

 

As much as I complain about transfers (and wrote a post about missed connections), at the very least transfers add time on to trips. A 5.5 hr difference on a formerly 65 hr trip probably isn't that much but a 3-4 hr difference on a trip that used to take 18 hrs is making the trip about 16% longer.

 

What is the point of this thread? When did anyone dispute transfers add time to travel and a comparison to a train that no longer operates isn't really valid.

 

Additionally, there are so many things different than in 1979 that comparison is really not feasible from anything other than a historic "just for the record" point of view. Operating rules have changed, numerous regulations have been added, hosts have changed, passengers themselves have changed, speeds have changed.

 

If you're a train lover, the 5.5 hours I suspect you're whining about for your cut train should be a pleasure.


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


#3 Steve4031

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Posted 19 December 2015 - 10:57 PM

It's an interesting piece of comparison imho. Though some might be comparing apples to oranges it's still fun to look at the changed.

#4 neroden

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Posted 20 December 2015 - 01:51 AM

After studying and reading about old Amtrak service, I get the sense I was born in the wrong era to be a train lover.

Also the wrong country. Move to China and it's a great era to be a train lover....

The underlying problem has been disinterest in or hostility to passenger service by the track owners; understandable given the economics of the period.

For what it's worth, Conrail made the NYC line its fast intermodal line and the Pennsy line its slow bulk line, which to a large extent accounts for the declining speed on the Pennsy line and rising speed on the NYC line. The predecessor railroads had different policies.

Edited by neroden, 20 December 2015 - 01:57 AM.

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Please feel free to moderate my posts.

#5 railiner

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Posted 20 December 2015 - 01:24 PM

I also enjoy comparing Amtrak 'then and now'....

 

It is interesting to look back at Amtrak's first timetable, where trains ran mostly the identical timings that they did on the predecessor railroads the day before....hence The Broadway Limited, Train No. 48 ran its old Penn Central schedule (and train number) from Chicago to New York in only 16 hours and 50 minutes.... :)

 

And there was no service between Buffalo and Chicago until the Lakeshore was started up later on.   The only alternate route west from Buffalo was to detour via Toronto and Windsor/Detroit...


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#6 jis

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Posted 20 December 2015 - 02:03 PM

I also find it interesting to compare today's Amtrak service on certain routes to the timetable from 1965 and marvel at how much better the service is today, while bemoaning the zillions of other routes where there was relatively lousy service back in 1965 which has no service today, and sometimes no tracks to run any service on today too.



#7 railiner

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Posted 20 December 2015 - 03:10 PM

The biggest Amtrak improvements since those days is in both the NEC and western corridor routes, with higher frequency of service...


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#8 Philly Amtrak Fan

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Posted 21 December 2015 - 08:35 AM

The biggest Amtrak improvements since those days is in both the NEC and western corridor routes, with higher frequency of service...

 

Unfortunately long distance travel was hit hard by the increase of air travel. These days, shorter trains will always be more popular.

 

This chart has a convenient Chicago chart for connections. I don't know why Amtrak doesn't publish this today.

 

http://www.timetable...90729&item=0033

 

Back in 1979,

 

East to West:

 

7:00am - 56 from Florida 

9:05am - 41 from New York/Washington (and Philly!)

3:10pm - 49 from New York/Boston

6:15pm - 51 from Washington/Cincinnati

 

11:15am- 21 to St. Louis/Laredo (not daily)

11:30am - 7/17 to Minneapolis/Seattle

4:10pm - 15 to Dallas/Houston

6:15pm - 5 to Denver/San Francisco

6:30pm - 3 to Los Angeles

 

West to East:

 

11:25am - 16 from Houston/Dallas

1:25pm - 6 from San Francisco/Denver

2:05pm - 4 from Los Angeles

2:15pm - 22 from Laredo/St. Louis (not daily)

6:59pm - 8/18 to Minneapolis/Seattle

 

9:55am - 50 to Cincinnati/Washington

3:30pm - 48 to New York/Boston

4:00pm - 40 to New York/Washington (and Philly!)

9:30pm - 57 to Florida

 

The old rules: 30 minutes or less not guaranteed, less than an hour not recommended. I wonder what the new "rules" would be today.

 

In 1979, the Empire Builder (7/8) and North Coast Hiawatha (17/18) alternated (4 days for EB, 3 days for NCW):

http://www.timetable...90729&item=0043

 

Also, the Inter-American (21/22) was daily until September and 3 days/week after:

http://www.timetable...90729&item=0042

 

Back then the California trains left quite a bit later (6:15pm/6:30pm) and arrived a little earlier (1:25pm/2:05pm). The LSL didn't arrive into CHI until 3:10pm while the LSL left at 3:30pm and the BL left at 4pm. Can you imagine only a 1 hr 25 min window between the SWC and LSL today or even a 1 hr 55 window between the SWC and BL (if there was a BL) today? Right now, it's a 3 hr window and that misses 12% of the time.

 

Going west, the LSL allowed for about a 3 hr window to California and a 1 hr window to the Lone Star. The BL got in early. Back then, if you did PHL/LAX via CHI you would have a 9 hr wait in CHI (of course back then the NL was still running). I think it was good to have two different daily trains from NYP to CHI with staggered times.  

 

For those hoping for a 6pm departure for the LSL today, imagine a 3:30pm/4pm departure and arriving in NYP at 12:20pm or 1:10pm!

 

http://www.timetable...90729&item=0034

 

I really don't think you could move either of the California trains now to arrive earlier and/or leave later and the shorter transfer windows wouldn't be practical today (maybe they weren't back then either).

 

The Floridian could transfer to all the western trains and accept passengers from all the western trains.

 

However,

 

The Seattle trains (EB/NCH) could only transfer to the Floridian going east and the Broadway and Floridian going west.
 

The Cardinal could not be used for East/West transfers (left too early/arrived too late) at all (well if you could have transferred from the 51 to the 3 in 15 minutes or the 51 to the 5 instantaneously then maybe)

 

http://www.timetable...90729&item=0035

 

It's clear back then that the Cardinal was scheduled for better arrival/departure times in CIN (CHI-CIN 9:55am-6:37pm, CIN-CHI 11:16am-6:15pm) and those allowed for better arrival/departure times to/from WAS as well. The current trains have graveyard shift departure/arrival times in CIN but allow for transfers in CHI. Back in 1979, the trains did not serve IND.

 

I've debated this and usually got negative responses from most but I ask would CIN rather have trains arriving/leaving at better times but lose transfers to the west in CHI or have the graveyard shift trains that allow for transfers? And is that important? I would say CIN and IND are the biggest unique markets of the Cardinal so shouldn't the trains be scheduled for their benefit the most (and if so, what is to their benefit)? If the Cardinal was scheduled to miss the CHI transfers, only the LSL and CL would allow for CHI transfers. But back in 1979, only the LSL and BL would (counting only NEC) so it would be no different today than it was in 1979 from a Chicago transfer standpoint.


Edited by Philly Amtrak Fan, 21 December 2015 - 08:35 AM.

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/

 


#9 Philly Amtrak Fan

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Posted 21 December 2015 - 11:27 AM

More from the timetables.org history:

 

This is the schedule from the very first Amtrak schedule listed (May 1971)

 

http://www.timetable...10501&item=0018

 

Many of the routes have individual maps in addition to the full national map. It shows some of the major points and some transfer/through cars. 

 

I wish they still had the HAR-WAS route (Port Road?)


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/

 


#10 jis

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Posted 21 December 2015 - 11:57 AM

Port Road was electrified back then. The Washington Section of the Broadway Limited operated on it powered by a GG-1. That electrification is now gone, as is the Broadway Limited and its Washington Section. And of course the National Limited and its Washington Section is gone too.



#11 railiner

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Posted 21 December 2015 - 08:12 PM

Prior to Amtrak, the Port Road was freight-only, for a very long time....one of the very rare cases of Amtrak actually bringing back passenger service to a route, instead of eliminating it.

 

Before Amtrak, Penn Central still operated at least one connecting train up the old PRR Northern Central branch to connect Washington and Baltimore to Harrisburg and the West.  That route which featured street running thru York, Pa., is now gone....


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#12 Bradenmeridian

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Posted 23 December 2015 - 04:18 PM

I appreciate this look into the variations in travel times over the years.  Sometimes you just wonder how good it could be, even with conventional service, i.e. the 20th Century running New York to Chicago in 15:30 at its fastest.  I know, fewer stops, and was there even a Boston segment to slow things down?  Still makes you see what's possible with essentially no capital investment in track, signals or rolling stock, only scheduling and host railroad priority.



#13 jis

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Posted 23 December 2015 - 04:24 PM

The 20th Century limited did not have a Boston section at least in 1965. There was a separate train from Boston to Chicago which was much slower with many more stops.



#14 railiner

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Posted 24 December 2015 - 01:58 AM

I appreciate this look into the variations in travel times over the years.  Sometimes you just wonder how good it could be, even with conventional service, i.e. the 20th Century running New York to Chicago in 15:30 at its fastest.  I know, fewer stops, and was there even a Boston segment to slow things down?  Still makes you see what's possible with essentially no capital investment in track, signals or rolling stock, only scheduling and host railroad priority.

It was the Broadway Limited, not the Century, that made the 15', 30"  schedule....believe the Century managed a 15', 45" schedule at its shortest....

Of course some NYC partisans would make the point that the Century was faster, as it had to make about 53 more miles to complete its route... :P


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#15 railiner

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Posted 24 December 2015 - 02:01 AM

The 20th Century limited did not have a Boston section at least in 1965. There was a separate train from Boston to Chicago which was much slower with many more stops.

The "Boston section", or top carded train,was called The New England States....


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#16 oldtimer

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Posted 09 January 2016 - 05:09 PM

In 1973 when the RTG turboliners made their debut on the Chicago-St.Louis train #301,302,303,and 304, the scheduled running time was 4 hours 59 minutes.  This was achieved 85% of the time!



#17 railiner

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Posted 10 January 2016 - 12:43 PM

And at one time, there was a "Non-stop" Metroliner that was carded for 2 hours and 30 minutes between New York and Washington.

Don't know how it measured up overall, but the day I rode it, it made the run in 2:29.    We crossed New Jersey fast...only 39 minutes from NYP to Morrisville, Pa! :cool:


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#18 Bob Dylan

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Posted 10 January 2016 - 01:19 PM

Yep,good memories! Those Metroliners were Fast and Very Comfortable to ride in! I still prefer them to the current Acelas! YMMV
"There's Something About a Train! It's Magic!"-- 1970s Amtrak Ad
 
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#19 Philly Amtrak Fan

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Posted 10 February 2016 - 09:15 AM

Here are some more schedule changes between today and my first Amtrak LD trip, the Broadway Limited in January 1995 (using timetables.org Fall 1994 schedules: http://www.timetables.org/browse/?group=19941030n&st=0001). 

 

Carolinian:

NYP 7:20am, PHL 9:02am, WAS 11:25am, RVR 1:35pm, RGH 5:03pm, GBO 7:18pm, CLT 9:05pm

CLT 8:15am, GBO 9:59am, RGH 12:10pm, RVR 3:45pm, WAS 6:05pm, PHL 8:38pm, NYP 10:27pm

 

About an hour faster (probably due to faster NEC). I wonder if CLT couldn't be moved back to 8:15am instead of the earlier 7:00am now. It would still arrive in NYP before 10pm.

 

Palmetto (Traveled to ORL/TPA):

NYP 9:25am, PHL 10:58am, WAS 1:55pm, RIC 4:15pm, JAX 3:05am, ORL 6:43am, TPA 8:40am

TPA 9:25pm, ORL 11:11pm, JAX 2:21am, RIC 2:35pm, WAS 4:55pm, PHL 7:47pm, NYP 9:24pm

 

Silver Star (ORL/TPA and MIA branches separate at JAX):

NYP 10:45am, PHL 12:49pm, WAS 3:45pm, RIC 6:05pm, RGH 9:42pm, JAX 6:28am, ORL 10:05am, TPA 12:02pm, MIA 3:00pm 

MIA 11:25am, TPA 2:25pm, ORL 4:12pm, JAX 8:05pm, RGH 4:56am, RIC 8:30am, WAS 10:50am, PHL 1:38pm, NYP 3:40pm

 

Silver Meteor:

NYP 3:45pm, PHL 5:48pm, WAS 8:24pm, RIC 10:34pm, JAX 9:22am, ORL 12:57pm, MIA 6:05pm

MIA 7:25am, ORL 12:36pm, JAX 4:00pm, RIC 3:06am, WAS 5:16am, PHL 8:09am, NYP 9:45am

 

Back then, the Palmetto also served Orlando and Tampa. One thing better about 2016 is that you can go from Tampa to Miami by train (it didn't look like you could in 1994/95). The Palmetto NEC times seemed better than they are today (later departure, earlier arrival).

 

The later SS northbound arrival into WAS (now 2:38pm) squeezed out the CL/SS connection going from Florida to CHI. I'm guessing WAS likes the later northbound arrival on the SM than the 5:16am back then though.

 

Crescent:

NYP 1:42pm, PHL 3:43pm, WAS 6:50pm, GBO 1:13am, CLT 2:58am, ALT 8:30am, NOL 7:28pm

NOL 7:05am, ATL 7:45am, CLT 1:04am, GBO 2:55am, WAS 9:28am, PHL 12:24pm, NYP 2:45pm

 

Pretty similar times today with the slightly faster service along the NEC.

 

Cardinal:
NYP 9:24am, PHL 11:17am, WAS 1:45pm, CVS 4:20pm, CIN 3:55am, IND 7:45am, CHI 11:25am

CHI 7:40pm, IND 12:54am, CIN 4:45am, CVS 4:11pm, WAS 7:05pm, PHL 9:54pm, NYP 11:30pm

 

I'm guessing the train missed connections to the west more often with the later arrival but connections from the west less often with the later departure. Indy had a better departure to CHI but a worse arrival from CHI. If the train left CHI two hours later today, it would arrive in NYP pretty close to if not after midnight. 

 

Broadway Limited:

NYP 12:45pm, PHL 2:57pm, HAR 5:10pm, PGH 11:02pm, CHI 7:55am

CHI 8:35pm, PGH 7:25am, HAR 1:15pm, PHL 3:29pm, NYP 5:50pm

 

Pennsylvanian:
NYP 7:47am, PHL 9:24am, HAR 11:46am, PGH 5:35pm

(M-Sa) PGH 10:15am, HAR 4:00pm, PHL 6:06pm, NYP 8:00pm

 

I've discussed BL/TR too much but I will say PGH also lost a lot from losing the trains. The BL/TR was much better for PGH-CHI travel and it was better to have two trains to PHL/NYP compared to the one today. The Pennsylvanian left PGH only about 3 hrs later than the BL, maybe it could have left later for a larger gap to arrive in NYP around 10pm?

 

Capitol Limited:
WAS 4:05pm, PGH 11:47pm, CLE 3:07am, TOL 5:09am, CHI 9:00am

CHI 6:25pm, TOL 11:45pm, CLE 1:39am, PGH 4:55am, WAS 12:22pm

 

Not much change in the overall schedule.

 

Lake Short Limited:
BOS 4:20pm, NYP 7:10pm, ALB 10:23pm, SYR 12:57am, BUF 3:51am, CLE 7:06am, TOL 9:34am, NYP 12:58pm

NYP 7:15pm, TOL 12:26am, CLE 2:51am, BUF 6:02am, SYR 8:40am, ALB 11:17am, NYP 2:49pm, BOS 5:10pm

 

I'm not sure about the later westbound arrival into Chicago. If that time existed today, there'es no way you could make the TE and CZ and any delays from the LSL would make you miss the SWC. It also left BUF in the middle of the night but Ohio couldn't complain about the westbound times. Of course NYP also had the BL to get to CHI then too.

 

Eastbound this is the earlier arrival that a few of you have been dreaming about. Of course, this was when the BL existed (although the departure was 8:35pm and not 9:30pm as the LSL is today).

 

City of New Orleans:
CHI 7:50pm, CHM 10:21pm, MEM 6:15am, NOL 2:30pm

NOL 2:45pm, MEM 10:47pm, CHM 6:30am, CHI 9:10am

 

About an hour longer in each direction today but not much difference in times.

 

I will do the western trains later.


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/

 


#20 Philly Amtrak Fan

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Posted 10 February 2016 - 06:19 PM

Continuing ...

 

Sunset Limited:

MIA 12:30pm, ORL 5:28pm, JAX 9:07pm, NOL 11:00am/1:20pm, HOS 9:50pm, SAS 2:25/2:55am, ELP 1:25/1:45pm, Phoenix 10:40pm, LAX 6:15am

LAX 10:30pm, Phoenix 8:08am, ELP 4:40/5:00pm, SAS 5:30/6:15am, HOS 10:55am, NOL 7:35/10:40pm, JAX 2:05pm, ORL 5:35pm, MIA 10:55pm

 

The LAX and SAS times are about the same as they are now. If they ever want to serve SAS going east/west, they're going to need better times as I had suggested in my post about rescheduling the SL. There must be some bottleneck now between NOL and SAS as the train takes about 2 hours longer today. The train didn't allow same day connections to the Crescent or CONO unless you count going south on 19 to east on 2 and there would be almost no reason to do so I can think of. The SL also functioned as a late night train from ORL to MIA (none exist today). Not only did LAX-Phoenix exist but the times were almost entirely overnight in the "sweet spot" Nate had suggested in the post about Amtrak trains competitive with airplanes.

 

Texas Eagle (21/22 to SAS, 521/522 to HOS, split apparently before DAL):
CHI 5:45pm, STL 12:15am, DAL 2:24pm on 521, 2:49pm on 21, FTW 4:12/4:32pm, HOS 10:00pm, SAS 11:40pm (see SL schedule west of SAS)

SAS 7:05am, HOS 8:25am, FTW 2:10/2:30pm, DAL 4:05pm, STL 6:55am, CHI 1:35pm

 

I'm wondering why the DAL-HOS branch was cut off. It would seem to have pretty good ridership between two major markets, the train is around 6 hrs each way (not terrible) and College Station (Texas A&M) is along the route (you would think A&M students would want to go to DAL or HOS to go "home"). Now going from CHI to HOS requires a Thruway Bus for over 6 hrs each way or an overnight in SAS or NOL. That is one service I feel has to come back in some form. I suggested extending the Heartland Flyer south from Ft. Worth to Houston.

 

The train looks to take about 2 hrs longer going southbound but much less northbound. I think the later departure helps passengers from the east (especially from the LSL which didn't get into CHI until almost 1pm).

 

Southwest Chief:

CHI: 5:00pm, KCY 12:45am/1:00am, ABQ 4:55pm/5:15pm, FLG 10:15pm, LAX 8:15am

LAX: 8:15pm, FLG 7:15am, ABQ 12:55pm/1:15pm, KCY 6:45am/7:05am, CHI 3:25pm

 

Also appears to be 2 hrs longer each way with the later departure from CHI and the earlier departure from LAX. I'm guessing KCY likes the current westbound times than the ones back then. The 5:00pm departure allowed more leeway from the later LSL arrival into CHI.

 

Desert Wind:

CHI: 3:05pm, OMA 11:35/11:59pm, LNK 1:02/1:12am, DEN 8:10/9:10am, SLC 11:36pm/12:45am, Las Vegas 7:50/8:05am, LAX 3:20pm

LAX: 10:55am, Las Vegas 5:45/6:00pm, SLC 3:30/5:05am, DEN 7:40/9:00pm, LNK 5:15/5:25am, OMA 6:25/6:50am, CHI 4:15pm

 

Empire Builder:

CHI: 3:15pm, MKE 4:51pm, MSP 11:23/11:59pm, SPK 2:10/2:40/2:55am, PDX 10:20am, SEA 10:35am

SEA: 5:00pm, PDX 5:20pm, SPK 12:45/1:00/1:35am, MSP 7:40/8:20am, MKE 2:46pm, CHI 4:24pm

 

Pioneer (3x week):

CHI: 3:05pm, OMA 11:35/11:59pm, LNK 1:02/1:12am, DEN 8:10/9:45am, Ogden 9:26/9:46pm, Boise 3:59am, PDX 2:05/2:40pm, SEA 6:35pm

SEA: 7:30am, PDX 11:25/11:40am, Boise 11:26pm, Ogden 6:18/6:38am, DEN 6:05/9:00pm, LNK 5:15/5:25am, OMA 6:25/6:50am, CHI 4:15pm

 
California Zephyr:
CHI: 3:05pm, OMA 11:35/11:59pm, LNK 1:02/1:12am, DEN 8:10/9:10am, SLC 11:36pm/12:35am, SAC 2:40pm, EMY 5:00pm
EMY 10:05am, SAC 12:12pm, SLC 3:45/5:05am, DEN 7:40/9:00pm, LNK 5:15/5:25am, OMA 6:25/6:50am, CHI 4:15pm
 
This was when three different trains shared CHI-DEN service and the DW and CZ shared DEN-SLC service. The westbound leaves an hour earlier today while the eastbound arrives an hour earlier today but the CHI-EMY travel times look about the same today as back then.
 
Coast Starlight:
SEA: 9:10am, PDX 1:20/1:45pm, SAC 5:30am, EMY 7:30/7:45am, SJC 9:00am, LAX 8:10pm
LAX: 9:55am, SJC 7:55pm, EMY 9:18/9:33am, SAC 12:22am, PDX 4:00/4:30pm, SEA 8:45pm
 
Back then the CS didn't serve Oakland. Roughly the same times as today. 
 
So Chicago E-W transfer times:
 
BL: 7:55am, CL 9:00am, Cardinal 11:25am, LSL 12:58pm
CZ/DW/Pioneer: 3:05pm, EB 3:15pm, SWC 5:00pm, TE 5:45pm
 
I'm guessing LSL to CZ/DW/Pioneer and EB was tight and there were frequent missed connections and that frequent travelers would know better to take the BL from NYP to CHI if they wanted to catch one of the western trains other than the SWC and TE. With today's CZ leaving at 2pm and EB leaving at 2:15pm, no way could the LSL arrive at 12:58pm (especially with no BL).
 
Chicago W-E transfer times:
TE 1:35pm, SWC 3:25pm, CZ/DW/Pioneer 4:15pm, EB 4:24pm
CL 6:25pm, LSL 7:15pm, Cardinal 7:40pm, BL 8:35pm
 
The later CZ/DW/Pioneer and EB would make connections to the CL difficult. Ironically now the LSL is later than the BL was back then even though the CZ gets in before 3pm and the EB before 4pm. Maybe the LSL leaves later to avoid arriving in NYP during the evening rush although the BL back then arrived in NYP at 5:50pm.

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/

 





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