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Comparing Amtrak Schedules, Past vs. Present


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#61 jis

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Posted 11 August 2016 - 05:39 PM

 

Looking specifically at LD trains, only two states (IL and VA) clearly have more service than PA, and most of the other 47 have substantially less.

Actually PA is served by every LD train that serves Virginia and two additional ones.

 
Auto Train would be the exception to that statement.  The number of stops in VA, though, offsets the slight advantage PA has in the number of LD trains.

 

Yeah I did think about that for a moment but decided it is just a special case which does not really give any special advantage to VA since a more than significant part of its riders drive to it from north of VA anyway.. But point taken.

 

He is just ticked off that he can't ride the Broadway Limited any more. The rest is just mucho hot air.

 
Yeah, I'd like to see the Broadway come back, too, but there does seem to be quite an obsession.

 

Don't get me wrong. I'd like to see it come back too. And at least I have put in a little bit of effort where it matters, about the through cars from the Pennsy to the Cap than sitting and moaning obsessively and endlessly about it here. :)



#62 Seaboard92

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Posted 11 August 2016 - 06:37 PM

Honestly I don't like the argument that would you rather have more trains that are crappy and serve more routes. We are lucky things have stabilized and things have gotten better. Had Amtrak not come when it did I would be willing to bet ridership would be lower today then where it is. And I'm willing to bet that if the service level the Penn Central, Southern Pacific, and several other fallen flags had continued we might not even have long distance trains at all. If your service is crappy and one step above squatter you won't have return business. No return business your ridership would completely collapse. You might get a new passenger once in awhile but they wouldn't return. So we would lose all around.

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

 


#63 MARC Rider

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Posted 23 August 2016 - 05:14 AM

If you study the Penn Central you will actually find out today's trains are better then what we had back then. Back then hvac worked fifty percent of the time as well as the lights. Along with other issues. Including water between the double panes of glass creating a defacto aquarium. So in ways we've come far and lost a lot


I rode the NYP -WAS NEC quite a bit during the Penn Central years, and they must have saved all the working cars for the NEC, as I don't remember the kinds of defective cars described here. Every once in awhile you'd get a non AC car from the 1920s (not much older in relative terms to today's Amfleets), and periodically trains would grind to a halt somewhere in Maryland with no explanation from the crew. Of course, trains back then did not have PA systems.

#64 Philly Amtrak Fan

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Posted 28 March 2017 - 02:29 PM

Actually PA is served by every LD train that serves Virginia and two additional ones. PA and NY are the only states that are served by all of the single level LD trains that are operated by Amtrak. There is no other state that has this distinction. PA in addition has one Superliner LD train which NY does not.

 

He is just ticked off that he can't ride the Broadway Limited any more. The rest is just mucho hot air.

 

The LSL serves Erie. Good if you live in Erie, not good if you live in Philly (OK you can take an NEC to NYP) or Pittsburgh. By contrast, I doubt people in Pittsburgh or Erie consider the Silver trains their trains just because they pass through Philly. And the state capitol or Lancaster (the Amish are huge LD train customers, I saw quite a few on the CZ) can't go anywhere long distance without a transfer and the Pennsylvanian-CL connection sucks. This isn't even counting Wilkes Barre-Scranton or Allentown-Bethlehem who have no trains at all.

 

In reality, three of the four corners are served. Philly has the Florida trains and the Crescent (and that other one doesn't count, less than 10,000/yr take that train out of Philly), Pittsburgh has the Capitol (eastbound times suck), and Erie has the LSL. Pennsylvania might have all of the trains but no one city/region has "all of them". You can argue Philly has more LD available but to anyone heading west, Chicago is more valuable than Florida. New Orleans is a decent destination but the train is worthless as a transfer point west (unless you want to stay overnight). If there was a same day connection between the Crescent and Sunset, NOL would be more valuable. With the CL, Pittsburgh is in decent shape because you can transfer in Washington using the CL (or Philly using the Pennsylvanian) to the SM/Crescent.

 

Amtrak proposed in the 2011 PRIIA through cars between the Capitol Limited and the Silver Star (https://www.amtrak.c...26-11_final.pdf). That would mean the Star would originate in WAS and not NYP but you'd still have the SM to Florida. I would trade the SS for a BL (in the proposal, the Palmetto would be expanded to Florida to replace the Star so you'd still have two NEC-Florida trains) and then both PHL and PGH would have "good" direct trains to both Chicago and Florida (and Harrisburg/Lancaster would at least have a train to Chicago). Since you can then use Superliners on the WAS-Florida portion of the SS (4 sets CHI-Florida, only one more than the current CL) you can take three of the SS Viewliner sets and use them on a new BL, the other to extend the Palmetto, and best yet, you can keep the Cardinal! 

 

Another PA-friendly idea: CHI-PHL via CLE/PGH/HAR, then south from PHL to Florida. That would reroute the SS (or Fla extended Palmetto) from PHLto CHI instead of PHL to NYP. So HAR has a train to CHI and to Florida. This also gives Wilmington and BAL a faster train to CHI.


Edited by Philly Amtrak Fan, 28 March 2017 - 02:49 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)!
 
 


#65 Anderson

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Posted 29 March 2017 - 01:27 PM

I'm trying to remember the configuration of 30th Street Station...aren't trains coming in from Harrisburg already pointed towards Washington due to how the tracks come in?  If so (and I think this is the case) then you've probably got a case to split the Star at Philadelphia (cutting NYP from it comes off as problematic; New York, Newark, and Trenton combine for about 75k riders/year and NYP-RVR is the #3 ridership/#1 revenue pair for the train and that pair will get clobbered by cutting through service).  I'm not sure how something like this would impact runtime, but per the timetables it seems to add 1:30 or so.

 

Ok, let's say we want to run a CHI-PGH-PHL-WAS-MIA train.  I do think an NYP section is needed "both ways"...but there's already a 30-minute pad in the schedule of the Pennsylvanian at 30th Street Station either way.  My thinking is that eastbound/southbound you'd need to have the train come into PHL, pull off the NYP-bound cars and add cars from NYP, and then carry on.  The cars inbound from NYP really shouldn't end up late much.  I'm not sure what the effective time requirement would be to cut one set of cars and add in a replacement set.  Worth considering: I forget what the inspection rules are, but IIRC the LD trains have been constrained to 110 MPH due to Heritage equipment...so you could avoid having to swap locomotives on the "main" train (which would give you some time savings at WAS).  Northbound/westbound you'd remove the NYP-bound cars and add NYP-originating cars as well.  The NYP cars are going to presumably be "no local traffic" cars north of PHL, but I suspect you'd be able to allow to/from traffic elsewhere on the Corridor (presumably with a "warning note" that the train in question is a long-distance train and may not have the spectacular timekeeping of a regular Regional).  I'm thinking that the NYP sections would probably be three coaches, a sleeper, and maybe a bag-dorm and/or a cafe/BC.  Another other option would be to do one move (CHI-NYP) at PHL and the other move (MIA-NYP) at WAS.

FWIW, even with the "long way around" routing this train would arguably be about the same total travel time as a Silver-Cap connection in DC owing to required connection times (and the clunkiness of the connection).  One thing I will say is that this train would require a dining car: Pure runtime CHI-PHL is probably 17:00 (I'm basing this on the Cap-Pennsylvanian times sans the hold-over at PGH) and PHL-ORL is 20:00-21:30 (Meteor vs Star) while PHL-MIA is 25:40-29:30.  Doing a one-night trip with no diner is one thing; doing a two-nighter is probably stretching it a bit (though the adjusted Palmetto would probably end up being the "B-train" on the Florida route).

The main "trick" seems to be fiddling with the schedule so that you still have decent times in RGH and NYP and don't end up in Philly at rush hour.

One thought that came to mind with this: Rather than mucking about with the Star, what if the Palmetto were used instead?  Ignoring the fact that, at present, the Palmetto is basically a "Regional that happens to go to Savannah instead of Hampton Roads" in terms of ridership profile, this does seem like a workable solution (and indeed there's already some equipment shuffling in DC).  I'll work up a timetable on this...
 


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)

#66 Anderson

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Posted 29 March 2017 - 02:08 PM

    | N--W | S--E |
MIA | 1730 | 1200 |
ORL | 2245 | 0645 |
ORL | 2300 | 0630 |
JAX | 0420 | 0100 |
JAX | 0430 | 0045 |
SAV | 0745 | 2130 |
SAV | 0800 | 2120 |
RVR | 1650 | 1230 |
RVR | 1700 | 1220 |
WAS | 1910 | 1010 |
WAS | 1930 | 0950 |
PHL | 2120 | 0800 |
PHL | 2130 | 0740 |
HAR | 2330 | 0550 |
HAR | 2340 | 0540 |
PGH | 0520 | 0010 |
PGH | 0530 | 0000 |
CHI | 1500 | 1430 |
-------------------
North/West Connection
PHL | 2140 | 2120 |
NYP | 2310 | 1950 |
-------------------
South/East Connection
NYP | 0820 | 0610 |
PHL | 0950 | 0740 |

CHI time is listed as Eastern for my sanity; subtract one hour for local time.

So, the times for Pittsburgh suck...but I can't really make Pittsburgh good and keep Chicago early enough to reliably make the latter batch of regional trains there.  If the train were to be routed via Cleveland/Toledo, you'd also get those cities a daytime train in the process.  I've also got trouble not putting PGH in the middle of the night without either throwing a large pad in somewhere OR putting ORL in the middle of the night, and frankly The Mouse is enough of a traffic generator to overrule PGH.  The solution there is, painful though it might be, to push the EB Cap a bit later (so PGH would have an overnight-ish train in each direction and a daylight-ish train in each direction).  I'd actually consider accepting worse times for PGH for improvements elsewhere.

The equipment turns here are lousy, but given the length of the run I don't think I'd want to risk much less than a twelve-hour turn...and doing that isn't compatible with sane times in Orlando since you've got just over five hours MIA-ORL.

The NYP-PHL times aren't great...but slightly worse times are hiving off 125k/yr out of NYP on the present Palmetto so I think that's acceptable.  I'm still torn on where to do the equipment shuffling in such a plan, too.

I'm trying to guess at what overall ridership would be for this "complex"...I'm thinking probably around 500k: 300k for your "Palmetto-equivalent" and another 200k or so for your "Broadway-equivalent".  You'd "lose" some riders due to the one-seat ride removing a bit of double-counting but you'd gain a batch of them back because of the presence of that single-seat ride.  Also, this shouldn't hurt the Cap too much: CLE and TOL are limited in their impact because of lousy times, and this won't siphon off pax connecting to the West.

One other possibility: Detroit?  You won't lose an equipment set in Chicago (it's got close to a 24-hour layover) but I'm not sure how much you'd add at Detroit versus losing folks at Cleveland/Toledo due to the longer routing.  To be fair, even if that connection is via a bus at least it's not a middle-of-the-night bus.


Edited by Anderson, 29 March 2017 - 02:27 PM.

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)

#67 Philly Amtrak Fan

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Posted 29 March 2017 - 04:06 PM

 

One thought that came to mind with this: Rather than mucking about with the Star, what if the Palmetto were used instead?  Ignoring the fact that, at present, the Palmetto is basically a "Regional that happens to go to Savannah instead of Hampton Roads" in terms of ridership profile, this does seem like a workable solution (and indeed there's already some equipment shuffling in DC).  I'll work up a timetable on this...
 

 

Assuming the Palmetto would be extended to Florida, not a problem. As long as there are two NYP-Florida trains and one CHI-Florida train. 

 

If this plan goes through there will be two Chicago-Pittsburgh trains. Assuming the current CL schedule and Anderson's proposed schedule, one western train would be near midnight and one would be 5:30am while eastbound one would be near midnight and one around 5:30am. For leaving PGH, midnight is definitely better than 5:30am. For arriving, you either have to leave the station after midnight or before 6am so pick your poison. But at least you have choices. Ideally you'd push the eastbound CL earlier and westbound CL later to improve those PGH times (with a Chicago-Florida train there is less of a need to worry about the connection at WAS). Also the Chicago-Florida train would definitely serve Ohio outside the graveyard shift so that's a definite plus.


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)!
 
 


#68 jis

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Posted 29 March 2017 - 04:31 PM

Currently the most likely routing of a Chicago Florida train is via NOL.

#69 Seaboard92

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Posted 29 March 2017 - 08:24 PM

And the best possible routing is really via Nashville and Atlanta.

The best thing we can hope for is to hold the current network as it is. The Palmetto is one of three profitable trains last I checked I really wouldn't want to mess with it. And the Silver Star is my home train so I'm prepared to fight to keep that one safe.

The north south routes are generally very strong routes. Granted there is a study out there to reroute the Crescent and the Silver Star. With the crescent getting rerouted from ALX to GRO via RGH and the Silver Star getting rerouted ALX to CLB via CLT, CVS. Personally I'm against that as Camden, Hamlet, and Southern Pines would all lose service with that reroute.

The best solution to help all trains is to order new equipment preferably not from CAF as I'll be dead before those arrive and I'm young.

With enough equipment you could get the precious Broadway Limited back. Not what I would do first with new equipment as the unique market is HAR, PHL to CHI. And most people in the effected cities have a three hour one connection ride to a Chicago train. The best way to study if the ridership would even be there to support said train would be to get the thru cars on the Capitol Limited and see if they would justify an individual train.

The people who really have it bad are people from FL, GA, TN who want to go to Chicago. Florida and Georgia have to go two nights with a nine hour connections in DC. While Tennessee gets overlooked. So I would allocate service here first. It would be hard to get it on a one night out time carding and have connections at Chicago.

The actual private passenger trains all ran south out of CHI in the morning time slot running daytime to the south giving Nashville daylight service both ways. And nighttime from Atlanta or Birmingham to JAX and then running in the silver Meteor Florida time slot.

That's where I would invest maybe the Dixie Flyer route south of Nashville I'm open to other routes north of Nashville.

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

 


#70 Anderson

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Posted 30 March 2017 - 01:58 AM

I had heard of the idea to reroute the Star via RGH-CLT-CLB but not one to reroute it via CVS.  This isn't to say that doing so doesn't make sense from some perspective, but I hadn't heard of that.  To be fair, I would probably be inclined to suggest that looking at two sections which either merge or operate in some concert would be a serious option to consider (probably for the Crescent).


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)

#71 railiner

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Posted 30 March 2017 - 10:34 AM



The people who really have it bad are people from FL, GA, TN who want to go to Chicago. Florida and Georgia have to go two nights with a nine hour connections in DC. While Tennessee gets overlooked. So I would allocate service here first. It would be hard to get it on a one night out time carding and have connections at Chicago.


Tennessee?
Train 58&59...overnite, every night. Between Memphis and Chicago. :D
metroblue?

okay on the blue!

#72 Seaboard92

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Posted 30 March 2017 - 10:38 AM

The people who really have it bad are people from FL, GA, TN who want to go to Chicago. Florida and Georgia have to go two nights with a nine hour connections in DC. While Tennessee gets overlooked. So I would allocate service here first. It would be hard to get it on a one night out time carding and have connections at Chicago.

Tennessee?
Train 58&59...overnite, every night. Between Memphis and Chicago. :D
I'm going with the eastern and central Tennessee. The two areas Nashville and Memphis could all be considered two different states just in how they are culturally.
Nashville currently has a good commuter train system so they already have some experience with trains. Plus they are running an article every so often about the lack of Amtrak. That's a city that gets a right to gripe about no service.

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

 


#73 Anderson

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Posted 30 March 2017 - 12:35 PM

Nashville's main problem is geographic isolation.  Also, while I know that NOL is the most likely choice for a through train...well, what can I say?  Yesterday was a frustrating day and I needed the distraction of drawing up a timetable:

       |  30  |  42  |  89  |  91  |  97  |      |
Dp CHI | 1940 | ---- | 1430 | ---- |      |      |
Ar TOL | 2339 | ---- | 1830 | ---- |      |      |
Dp TOL | 2349 | ---- | 1840 | ---- |      |      |
Ar CLE | 0145 | ---- | 2030 | ---- |      |      |
Dp CLE | 0154 | ---- | 2040 | ---- |      |      |
Ar PGH | 0505 | ---- | 0000 | ---- |      |      |
Dp PGH | 0520 | 0730 | 0010 | ---- |      |      |
Ar HAR | 42-> | 1255 | 0540 | ---- |      |      |
Dp HAR | ---- | 1305 | 0550 | ---- |      |      |
Dp NYP | ---- | ---- | 0610*| 1102 | 0315 |      |
Ar PHL | ---- | 1455 | 0740 | 1230 | 1700 |      |
Dp PHL | ---- | 1525 | 0800 | 1235 | 1705 |      |
Ar NYP | ---- | 1650 | 0950*| ---- | ---- |      |
Ar WAS | 1305 | ---- | 0950 | 1435 | 1900 |      |
Dp WAS | ---- | ---- | 1010 | 1505 | 1925 |      |
Ar RVR | ---- | ---- | 1220 | 1707 | 2134 |      |
Dp RVR | ---- | ---- | 1230 | 1717 | 2144 |      |
Ar SAV | ---- | ---- | 2120 | 0413 | 0634 |      |
Dp SAV | ---- | ---- | 2130 | 0418 | 0640 |      |
Ar JAX | ---- | ---- | 0045 | 0639 | 0909 |      |
Dp JAX | ---- | ---- | 0100 | 0659 | 0934 |      |
Ar ORL | ---- | ---- | 0630 | 1006 | 1249 |      |
Dp ORL | ---- | ---- | 0645 | 1020 | 1304 |      |
Ar MIA | ---- | ---- | 1200 | 1758 | 1839 |      |
*Connecting Section/Through Cars

Northeast Corridor Connections to 89
       |  67  | *89  |  64  |      |      |
       | WAS  | PHL  | ->67 |      |      |
Dp ALB | ---- | ---- | 1915 |      |      |
Dp BOS | 2130 | ---- | ---- |      |      |
Ar NYP | 0230 | ---- | 2150 |      |      |
Dp NYP | 0325 | 0610 | ---- |      |      |
Ar PHL | 0452 | 0740 | ---- |      |      |
Dp PHL | 0500 | ---- | ---- |      |      |
Ar WAS | 0700 | ---- | ---- |      |      |

Notheast Corridor Connections from 89
       | *89  | 172  | 233  | 283  |      |
Dp PHL | 0820 | 0920 | ---- | ---- |      |
Ar NYP | 0950 | 1044 | ---- | ---- |      |
Dp NYP | ---> | 1100 | 1120 | 1320 |      |
Ar BOS | ---- | 1515 | ---- | ---- |      |
Ar ALB | ---- | ---- | 1350 | 1545 |      |

Note that if there's no *, there's not a through car service.  The two *89 services are the only ones with explicit through-car service, though 66/67 would be a candidate for such as well (and indeed could arguably take the place of SB *89 above, and NB *90 if I come up with that timetable).

Based on the above, I think I could see a decent case to push the EB Capitol Limited forward by an hour.  More than that would jeopardize a useful 30-42 connection (which is necessary since this version of 89 wouldn't connect with the Western LD trains in Chicago).

There might be some extra time in there...when I checked with a 1994 timetable, the JAX/ORL times for 89 were basically ripped from there but WAS/RVR were earlier in mine (though I think I lined it up with the current timetable).  Could someone check my math?


Edited by Anderson, 30 March 2017 - 12:38 PM.

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)




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