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Comparing Amtrak Schedules, Past vs. Present


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#21 Eric S

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Posted 10 February 2016 - 06:33 PM

A couple comments...

 

I think the Texas Eagle's Houston section was cut during a relatively small cost/service-cutting phase in the mid 1990s, before the great purge that saw all (or at least most) Western trains drop to less than daily service.

 

As far as Oakland, this would have been during a period after 16th Street Station (which was damaged in the 1989 earthquake) was closed and before Jack London Square station opened. I believe Emeryville was the primary "Oakland" station for a period of time.



#22 Philly Amtrak Fan

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Posted 02 June 2016 - 07:15 PM

I decide to update this thread, comparing Amtrak today to the beginning of Amtrak based on the first posted Amtrak Timetable (May 1, 1971) from the Museum of Railway Timetables. There is an attached .pdf file at the bottom of the post summarizing the timetable.

 

Here is the Eastern national map shown: http://www.timetable...10501&item=0017

 

The Western page (other side) looks almost identical to today's map in terms of LD trains. The biggest differences I saw were there was no Amtrak San Joaquin service and the Sunset (listed as Sunset and not Sunset Limited) ran through Phoenix.

 

From the Eastern half, one of the biggest missing large city was Cleveland. It was hard to imagine Amtrak leaving Cleveland out at the very beginning (Cleveland had almost twice as many people in 1970 as it did in 2015: https://en.wikipedia...iki/Cleveland).This was of course before the LSL. Dallas had no service that I could see at the beginning of Amtrak (the map shows a dotted line connecting Dallas to Ft. Worth and Houston, the Texas Chief served both Ft. Worth and Houston but ran through Temple). 

 

Of the trains that ran through the Pacific Time Zone, the LD train routes were roughly the same as they are now except the California Zephyr only ran 3x/week between Denver and Oakland, the Seattle-LA train (no name listed) only ran 3x/week but also ran to San Diego. On the days the Seattle-San Diego train didn't run, there was a train from Oakland to LA (no name listed). There was also regional service between Los Angeles and San Diego although only 2x/day compared to the many today. There wasn't any regional service between Oakland and Sacramento other than the California Zephyr. The Sunset back then was also 3x/week as it still is today.

 

Over in the East Coast, they did not list any New York-Harrisburg trains other than the Broadway Limited, National Limited, and Duquesne (the New York-Pittsburgh train at the time). They did have quite a few New York-Philadelphia trains as well as New York-Washington and Boston-Washington trains. The only service I saw through Virginia were the LD trains.

Back then, there was the James Whitcomb Riley from Cincinnati to Chicago and the George Washington from Newport News/Washington to Cincinnati. Both trains were daily. You could connect from the GW to the JWR in Cincinnati going west but not going east: http://www.timetables.org/full.php?group=19710501&item=0023. 

 

There were three trains from New York to Florida, the Silver Star, the Silver Meteor, and the Champion although the routes were different. The Silver Meteor went through Raleigh and the Champion went through Charleston: http://www.timetable...10501&item=0021. You can argue the Champion is now the Palmetto without the Florida part. The South Wind used to run between Chicago and Florida via Louisville, Nashville, and Montgomery: http://www.timetables.org/full.php?group=19710501&item=0025.

 

The Southern Crescent (as it was called) was only daily from New York to Atlanta and 3x/week between Atlanta and New Orleans. 

 

The Texas train was called the Texas Chief and ran via Kansas City, Wichita, and Oklahoma City. There was no train through Little Rock at the time and the only San Antonio train was the Sunset. There was no service between New Orleans and Florida either as the Sunset terminated eastbound in New Orleans (as it does today).

 

In terms of East to Midwest trains, the Capitol Limited and Lake Shore Limited essentially replaced the Broadway and Spirit of St. Louis although they serve much different cities (although it was good they do serve Cleveland). The James Whitcomb Riley/George Washington essentially merged to the Cardinal. Passengers from Washington (and Baltimore) used through cars to the Broadway Limited to get to/from Chicago and to the Spirit of St. Louis to St. Louis/Kansas City. St. Louis-Kansas City was served by the Spirit of St. Louis at the time as there were no other service between the cities at the time.

 

It's pretty clear Amtrak has expanded statewide trains a lot since 1971 but long distance service has shrinked since then. While they added Cleveland and Dallas as well as the Auto Train, they lost Phoenix, Columbus, Louisville, Nashville, and many others. At the time, there was no service to Las Vegas but back in 1970 the population of Vegas was 125,787 compared to 613,999 in 2014 (https://en.wikipedia.../wiki/Las_Vegas). I think trading the Broadway/Spirit of St. Louis for the Capitol Limited was a horrible trade although you all knew I would think that. Certainly the CL is fewer miles between Chicago and Washington and serves Cleveland and Toledo as opposed to Canton and Ft. Wayne but you traded in most of Pennsylvania (and Baltimore) for the tiny population between Pittsburgh and Washington. There is no direct service from the East Coast/Indianapolis to St. Louis/Kansas City anymore although I'm not sure that is as big a loss (but losing Columbus is). I'm not sold on trading Wichita and Oklahoma City for Little Rock although serving San Antonio and Houston is a definite plus. 

 

I am assuming Amtrak has never had a 3-C route connecting Cleveland and Cincinnati. Today that looks like a giant hole in the Amtrak system but back then Cleveland and Cincinnati had many more people than they do today (Columbus had a lot less). You can blame Kasich all you want for no 3-C in 2010 but what about the nearly 40 years before then, especially before the 750 mile rule? And Cincinnati also had no route to Pittsburgh either. They couldn't have used Penn Central's Cincinnati Limited (http://www.american-...cinn-ltd.html)? At least back then Cincinnati had trains arriving/leaving at good times as opposed to today.

 

Please point out any mistakes.

 

 

 

 

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/

 


#23 Bob Dylan

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Posted 02 June 2016 - 10:02 PM

This was your best post ever Philly! Good job! Most enjoyable, I agree with lots of your ideas.

But as many of us have said, we don't want to cut LD Trains ( the Cardinal, your pet peeve) to add a Broadway Ltd.

IMO The Cardinal should run to St Louis, perhaps even to Kansas City also, not to Chicago.

And the through cars from the Pennsylvanian to the Cap in PGH is the easiest way to go, not aNew Broadway Ltd.
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#24 CCC1007

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Posted 02 June 2016 - 11:26 PM

Until 1979 or so the southern railroad kept the crescent as one of their own trains.

#25 Philly Amtrak Fan

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Posted 03 June 2016 - 08:11 AM

To go a little bit farther back before Amtrak... http://www.thejoekor...bles-panyc.html

 

They show the old PRR (http://www.thejoekor...able/index.html ) and NYC (http://www.thejoekor...able/index.html )  schedules from 1967 before the PC merger. They do have the NYC trains from PC in 1968 but not the PRR ones.

 

If I had to choose parts of PRR and NYC as a basis for East-Midwest travel in 1971, I probably take

 

PRR:

 

New York-Chicago route (via Philly, Harrisburg, Pittsburgh). I'd also run a separate train New York-Pittsburgh.

Pittsburgh-St. Louis route (via Columbus, Dayton, Indianapolis).

Chicago-Louisville route (via Indianapolis). This could wind up merging the South Wind from Chicago to Florida using the Louisville & Nashville and Seaboard Coast Line routes shown in the PRR timetable).

 

NYC:

 

New York-Chicago route (via Albany, Syracuse, Buffalo, Cleveland, Toledo)

Boston-Chicago route (via Albany, Syracuse, Buffalo, Detroit)

Cleveland-Cincinnati route (via Columbus, Dayton)

Chicago-Cincinnati route (via Indianapolis). I would then continue this train to Columbus, Pittsburgh, Harrisburg, Baltimore, and Washington using the old PRR Cincinnati-Washington line. So this route would be NYC west of CIN and PRR east of it! PRR did have a Chicago to Cincinnati train but it skipped Indianapolis so the NYC route would be preferred.

 

There would be four main routes from Chicago to the East Coast.

 

To Boston via Detroit, Canada, Buffalo, and Albany (NYC)

To New York via Cleveland, Buffalo, and Albany (NYC)

To New York/Philadelphia via Pittsburgh, Harrisburg (PRR)

To Baltimore/Washington via Indianapolis, Cincinnati, Columbus, Pittsburgh, Harrisburg (NYC/PRR)
 

Cleveland, Cincinnati, Columbus, Detroit, and Indianapolis would all have one direct line heading west to Chicago and east to the East Coast.

 

There could be some flexibility between the Cleveland and Detroit trains in terms of heading to New York and/or to Boston with a split at Albany and some flexibility between the Indy/Ohio and Canton trains heading to Philadelphia/New York and/or to Baltimore/Washington with a split at Harrisburg. I think having at least one to Boston, one to New York, one to Philadelphia (which continues to New York), and one to Baltimore/Washington is important as well as serving the key Midwestern cities.

 

If demand warrants, Cleveland-Cincinnati could be extended to New York and/or Boston although in 1967 there was no Ohio State Limited anymore. Maybe it could be a through car branch off of the New York-Chicago train at Cleveland. Technically you could do an all NYC routed train Chicago-Indianapolis-Cincinnati-Columbus-Cleveland-Buffalo-Albany-New York but that seems zig-zaggy. I couldn't find any route on PRR or NYC from Pittsburgh to Cleveland in either 1967 timetable. I don't believe PRR even served Cleveland then.

 

If demand warrants, St. Louis-Pittsburgh could be extended to Philadelphia/New York and/or Baltimore/Washington or the St. Louis-Pittsburgh leg could be a through car branch off of the New York-Chicago train at Pittsburgh.

 

This would have been far more than what Amtrak actually took. Could they have afforded it? Would something else have not been added to Amtrak to account for my proposed routes?

 

Also at the main scheduling page was a 1960 Lackawanna Railroad timetable which served Scranton, PA with service to New York and to Buffalo: http://www.thejoekor...able/index.html. It would be nice if Scranton had trains today.


Edited by Philly Amtrak Fan, 03 June 2016 - 08:26 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/

 


#26 neroden

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Posted 26 June 2016 - 09:48 AM

The loss of the north-south NYC routes in Ohio (Detroit-Toledo-Dayton-Cincy and Cleveland-Columbus-Dayton-Cincy) was very bad for Ohio.  I'm not quite sure when that happened....  either during Penn Central, or on Amtrak-Day.  Anyone know for sure?


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#27 Eric S

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Posted 26 June 2016 - 03:55 PM

I think NARP used to have maps of passenger rail service in the years before and after Amtrak, something like 1960, 1965, 1971 pre-Amtrak, etc, but I could not find them in a quick search of the site.



#28 Philly Amtrak Fan

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Posted 02 August 2016 - 03:04 PM

Here's a question. If you can go back to the Amtrak route system any year since 1971 (pre-Amtrak is not an option), which would you choose?

 

As I said before, the first Amtrak didn't serve Cleveland or Dallas so I wouldn't want that.

 

The obvious answer would be before the 1979 cuts while the Floridian, National Limited, and Lone Star were still running. Also, the Broadway Limited had the through cars to WAS. Sure, the CL is better for CHI-WAS but the BL was better for BAL. Also, the Cardinal actually served CIN at good hours instead of the current graveyard shift time.

 

However, there was no train service to Las Vegas (Desert Wind, which also connected DEN/SLC with LAX), no train service from Detroit-Toledo, and no train service on the SL east of NOL (that begun in 1993). I'm impartial to the Texas Eagle split to serve Houston via College Station (Southern Pacific?) which wasn't served by the Lone Star (

 

I'm torn between these two eras (before 1979 but after the LSL started and from the beginning of the coast to coast SL to the BL getting axed). So I would say 1978 or 1994. What do you think?


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/

 


#29 Philly Amtrak Fan

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Posted 02 August 2016 - 03:05 PM

This was your best post ever Philly! Good job! Most enjoyable, I agree with lots of your ideas.

But as many of us have said, we don't want to cut LD Trains ( the Cardinal, your pet peeve) to add a Broadway Ltd.

 

If we can afford both, I have no objection.


Edited by Philly Amtrak Fan, 02 August 2016 - 03:07 PM.

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/

 


#30 Philly Amtrak Fan

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Posted 02 August 2016 - 03:18 PM

IMO The Cardinal should run to St Louis, perhaps even to Kansas City also, not to Chicago.
 

 

That would give the Cardinal a unique purpose. It would be similar to the old National Limited route west of IND. 

 

 

And the through cars from the Pennsylvanian to the Cap in PGH is the easiest way to go, not aNew Broadway Ltd.

 

Easiest and certainly an improvement but I think a separate train would be more beneficial.

 

In fact, they used to run the CL/TR through cars (similar to the proposal) but then decided to run the TR to CHI as a separate train.

 

https://csanders429....s/three-rivers/

 

"The switching costs of interchanging head-end and passengers cars in Pittsburgh were negating the saving from having discontinued the Broadway LimitedThe interchange also at times hindered the on-time performance of the Three Rivers and the Capitol Limited."

 

Similarly I believe the CL was spun off from the BL as they used to run the trains together CHI-PGH.

 

I feel there is demand for both the BL and CL, especially if the BL is diverted through Michigan to add direct service from Michigan to PA/NJ/NY. In 2004, the TR had 149,562 riders. Back in 1991, the BL had about 190,000 and the CL had about 170,000 (at least according to this TrainOrders post: http://www.trainorde...php?4,2993507).


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/

 


#31 Bob Dylan

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Posted 02 August 2016 - 03:19 PM

I'd take the 1978 Schedule (pre-Carter cuts) since I liked the Lone Star Route, the Broadway Ltd. and the National Limited too! Never rode the Floridian!
"There's Something About a Train! It's Magic!"-- 1970s Amtrak Ad
 
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Yet there isn't a train I wouldn't take,No matter where its going!.." -Edna St. Vincent Millay

#32 Eric S

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Posted 02 August 2016 - 03:26 PM

If I'm picking an old route map, do I also have to accept the lower levels of service over corridors from that time as well?

 

Many, if not most, corridors have better service today than perhaps any time in the Amtrak era.

 

In other words, I don't want to gain a National Limited or Broadway Limited or Lone Star or Floridian if that means I lose all the new service in California or the Cascades or the improved service in the Northeast. Long distance map of the 1970s or 1980s with the corridor service of today? OK, count me in. Long distance map of the 1970s or 1980s with the corridor service of that period as well? No thanks,



#33 MARC Rider

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Posted 02 August 2016 - 04:41 PM

If I'm picking an old route map, do I also have to accept the lower levels of service over corridors from that time as well?
 
Many, if not most, corridors have better service today than perhaps any time in the Amtrak era.
 
In other words, I don't want to gain a National Limited or Broadway Limited or Lone Star or Floridian if that means I lose all the new service in California or the Cascades or the improved service in the Northeast. Long distance map of the 1970s or 1980s with the corridor service of today? OK, count me in. Long distance map of the 1970s or 1980s with the corridor service of that period as well? No thanks,


Come to think about it, even NEC service in the late 70s early 80s wasn't as good as it is now. There was even a time when I stopped riding it, as you could fly up to Newark for cheaper than an Amtrak ticket. BAL to NYP was 3 hours or so, and frequencies were less than today. I don't remember when I noticed that all the trains were faster and more frequent, but certainly by the mid 90s.

#34 Philly Amtrak Fan

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Posted 02 August 2016 - 05:55 PM

I'd like to separate map from level of service. I would hope service would be better, more modern, and faster (which in many LD trains isn't true if you compare schedules). No doubt the Acela is better and faster than the old service along the NEC but NEC service always existed to my knowledge (has there been any time you haven't been able to travel between BOS and WAS?). How many meaningful city pairs (one seat rides) exist in 2016 that didn't exist before 1995? I wouldn't consider frequency increases either unless a city gains service outside of the graveyard shift.

 

October 1994 National Map:

http://www.timetable...1030n&item=0022

http://www.timetable...1030n&item=0023

 

The only additions I see since 1994 was Maine and Oklahoma.


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/

 


#35 railiner

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Posted 02 August 2016 - 08:32 PM

Here's a question. If you can go back to the Amtrak route system any year since 1971 (pre-Amtrak is not an option), which would you choose?

.......what do you think?

Too bad "pre-Amtrak is not an option"....

I would probably choose somewhere around 1956, as that is when the streamliner's were at their peak,   The national network was incredible, compared with what we have today...


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#36 railiner

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Posted 02 August 2016 - 09:07 PM

The loss of the north-south NYC routes in Ohio (Detroit-Toledo-Dayton-Cincy and Cleveland-Columbus-Dayton-Cincy) was very bad for Ohio.  I'm not quite sure when that happened....  either during Penn Central, or on Amtrak-Day.  Anyone know for sure?

Can't dig out my archives easily to check, but IIRC, just prior to Amtrak, the Detroit-Toledo-Dayton-Cincinnati route was last operated by the C&O and B&O on their route via Deshler, Lima, and Sidney....


metroblue?

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#37 Seaboard92

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Posted 03 August 2016 - 12:34 PM

Well if we could go back to the 1956 map we would run into an issue. Some of the routes would be routes without tracks. Lots of abandonments since deregulation.

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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)

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Norfolk & Western No. 611

Nickel Plate Road No. 765

Southern Pacific No. 4449

 


#38 Seaboard92

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Posted 03 August 2016 - 02:03 PM

As late as October of 70 you could take Penn Central from CIN-CLE same day. With a connection in Columbus. But going to Cin westbound there was an overnight connection to go from CLE by them.

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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

 


#39 Metra Electric Rider

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Posted 03 August 2016 - 02:05 PM

Why go back when we could have better? Why not figure out new, more useful routes rather than recreating old ones (not saying some aren't useful)?


Edited by Metra Electric Rider, 03 August 2016 - 02:05 PM.

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NSB- Bergensbanen, Kongsvingerbanen, Rørosbanen, Dovrebanen, Flåmsbana, Roa–Hønefossbanen

Amtrak - Floridian, San Francisco Zephyr, Southwest Limited, Illini, State House


#40 jis

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Posted 03 August 2016 - 02:29 PM

Why go back when we could have better? Why not figure out new, more useful routes rather than recreating old ones (not saying some aren't useful)?

That would not satisfy the "nostalgia" aspect, which is a major pastime of many railfans. ;)






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