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Largest Metros Without Amtrak Service (How to Serve Them?)


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#21 jis

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Posted 22 December 2015 - 05:38 PM

My apologies to all--once again, I have dithered off-topic. :( I guess the main points about New Jersey for this thread are that it can't pretend it's an island--it has to share the responsibility for train transportation and infrastructure with neighboring states. The other problem is that the train advocacy community in the state seems scattered (partly because of the north/south divide, which is always there, if not always obvious). Until I read an article in the local paper about NJT, I hadn't heard of a couple of the advocacy groups mentioned (and I follow rail closer than the average citizen).

There are only two rail advocacy groups active in South Jersey - DVARP and NJ-ARP, the former being more active than the latter in South Jersey.. South Jersey also has a problem of being somewhat of a wannabe at being more southern than the deep south. For example, I find south Florida to be less southern than South Jersey, much to my pleasant surprise! :)
 

In North Jersey there are several groups that are Jersey-centric and one or two New York City groups occasionally spill over into Jersey. The Jersey ones are NJ-ARP, Lackawanna Coalition, Raritan Valley Coalition, and an on again off again Jersey Shore outfit, which these days is off again. The primary spillover is TSTC. Of these only NJ-ARP and Lackawanna Coalition have any visibility in Trenton and at NJT and PANYNJ Board Meetings. Both NJ-ARP and DVARP are NARP affiliates, but independent of NARP as far as governance is concerned. But as I said, nothing will happen in NJ until the current Governor exits stage right. His incompetence is legendary (with the state legislature not too far behind I might add), as far as the overall management of the transportation infrastructure of the state is concerned.



#22 Bob Dylan

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Posted 22 December 2015 - 07:32 PM

Sounds like you're in one of the "nice" Jersey Towns of which there are many,☺ but the Government and the Mob have basically made a mess out of the state and y'all pay for that!😢
 
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#23 Seaboard92

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Posted 26 December 2015 - 05:32 PM

I'll comment on the Augusta service. While I would love to see it I don't see it as a SC service. I see it more as a Atlanta-Augusta service. I actually could see a Atlanta-Augusta-Columbia-Raleigh service being easier to pull off. But one issue everyone forgets is where the columbia station is. A new connection would be needed in Fairwold or a backup move from Devine junction.

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#24 WoodyinNYC

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Posted 26 December 2015 - 10:04 PM

... I actually could see a Atlanta-Augusta-Columbia-Raleigh service being easier to pull off. But one issue everyone forgets is where the Columbia station is. A new connection would be needed in Fairwold or a backup move from Devine junction.

The PRIIA study looked at taking a train NEC-Charlotte-Columbia-Charleston-Savannah-points south. They remembered where the station is. One set of tracks carries the Silver Star. Another set of tracks would bring any trains from Charlotte. So you'd have two Amtrak stations, and you still couldn't get there from here. LOL.

 

Someone needs to spend big money to connect the tracks of the rival freight lines, so Amtrak can move from one to another to get where it's going, and stop at only one station to get there. Until then don't expect added service for Columbia, tho population and ridership figures suggest it's a ripe market for more Amtrak.



#25 Seaboard92

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Posted 27 December 2015 - 02:51 AM

My recommendation is to use the current station. Build the connection that was proposed way back in the Seaboard days at Fairworld from the NS R line to the CSX S line and abandon the R line from there on into columbia. Benefits to that routing it is mostly grade separated south of Fairwold. Plus it would eliminate the thru traffic in the middle of the USC campus. Granted the R line would still get local service for sure. But before columbia gets more service we need an updated station. It's current location isn't bad. But locating on the other side of Blossom would be better as one could place a platform for the current star and the NS r line to Augusta and SC line to Charleston. But it still needs a connection in Fairwold

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#26 WoodyinNYC

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Posted 27 December 2015 - 12:53 PM

My recommendation is to ... Build the connection that was proposed way back in the Seaboard days at Fairworld from the NS R line to the CSX S line and abandon the R line from there on into Columbia. ... mostly grade separated south of Fairwold. ... an updated station... on the other side of Blossom would be better ... a platform for the current Star and the NS R line to Augusta and SC line to Charleston. But it still needs a connection in Fairwold.

O.K. But before we can even put this on 2020s wish list, what's the ballpark cost of such a connection at Fairwold? And a new station? The PRIIA study didn't even guess a figure, iirc. Are we talking something that a $25 million TIGER grant could make happen, or is it gonna be a lot more? Like another Stimulus-level windfall (it could happen) needed for more and better service at Columbia?

 

(When you say "abandon the R line into Columbia," you meant Amtrak only abandon it? Or also NS to get them out of the campus LOL? If it means sharing tracks with CS, that could mean double-tracking the segment, good for Amtrak, but not cheap for NS or CSX.)


Edited by WoodyinNYC, 27 December 2015 - 01:16 PM.


#27 Seaboard92

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Posted 27 December 2015 - 03:11 PM

I'll have to ask around for the guy who gave me the quote for the connection. I think a 25 million TIGER Grant could do the connection. But I'm not sure about a new station. The developers have been taking over that side of town for apartments. So the land cost has skyrocketed. That or rebuilding the current station by enlarging it. The fairwold connection would make the new station central. And by abandon the R line I we it as completely abandoning the R line from Fairwold to Divine Junction. It'll help USC by getting the trains out of campus. Except for two to three local customers on train P85.

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#28 WoodyinNYC

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Posted 28 December 2015 - 12:24 PM

No need to rush yourself, alas. This is how things will unfold:

 

In NC, Stimulus round of upgrades completed by mid-2017 and 2 Piedmont frequencies added. Ridership on this Raleigh-Charlotte line will double.

 

In VA, work will begin on more projects to cut trip time D.C.-Richmond, now ~2 hrs 15 min to less than 2 hrs, closer to 1 hr 30 min. -- the new Potomac Long Bridge and various upgrades south to Richmond. The new bridge will allow more slots for passenger trains. Two more Regionals extended to Norfolk. Ridership from Norfolk will triple. A second train to Lynchburg will be added. The Cardinal goes daily, adding 4 trains a week D.C.-Charlottesville.

 

In NC and VA, work will begin on restoring the shortcut Raleigh-Petersburg. Probably later before work begins Richmond-Petersburg, due to expense. Six trains begin running Richmond-Raleigh, with one or more continuing to Charlotte.

 

Someone in SC notices and says, "They have all those nice trains in NC and VA, why can't we have nice things too?" Planners will be assigned to do stuff so that politicians can say, "We're working on it."

 

Planners come up with ideas, like, A train connecting Charlotte-Columbia-Charleston-Savannah. Which will require a connection at Fairwold north of Columbia. Costly demolition of newly constructed buildings in the proposed right of way will delay implementation.

 

By the time SC gets a regular train of its own, California could be replacing its old HSR line with Maglev. LOL.

 

But don't give up. As sea levels continue to rise, refugees from Miami-Ft Lauderdale could relocate to SC and change the state's voting complexion. Or something. You just never know what could happen.



#29 neroden

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Posted 28 December 2015 - 12:57 PM

Demographically, I expect the South Florida refugees will stay well away from South Carolina.   A bunch will head to North Florida; the rest will probably spread all over the country since I don't see any obvious strong cultural links to any other part of the country.  Actually there will probably be an influx to NYC.  Those who want to stay in warm weather may head for the Gulf Coast, or even Arizona or California...


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#30 jis

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Posted 28 December 2015 - 01:09 PM

Also, NC is more likely to get overrun by refugees er retirees from the Northeast way before anything happens to South Florida. It is a popular retirement destination from the Northeast, and that of course bodes well for Carolinas Amtrak service in the coming years.

 

But what the heck does this have to do with Largest Metros without Amtrak service. All the large Metros in Florida and Carolinas appear to already have Amtrak service. And in Florida in combination with AAF and local commuter services many of the not so large metros will progressively get credible passenger rail service. Only outlayers will be in the area between Northwest and West Central Florida assuming the NOL: - JAX service materializes to cover the likes of the Florida state capital, which isn't really that large a city. Only places like Ocala and Gainesville will get left out at the end of the day.

 

In North Carolina if NCDOT has its way, several second tier cities willg et rail service eventually. I suppose not much will change in South Carolina or Georgia any time soon.


Edited by jis, 28 December 2015 - 01:13 PM.


#31 west point

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Posted 28 December 2015 - 01:41 PM

There are several metro locations in Georgia that have no service. In no particular order.  The Chattanooga, TN. area of Georgia is very fast growing.  Augusta has already been mentioned.  Macon, GA well somewhat small.

Columbus, GA is smaller than others but the fastest growing due to the monster Ft. Benning military reservation being expanded both in more personnel  and area.  

There are over 2 bus loads of personnel per hour traveling between Ft. Benning and ATL.

An ATL airport station to Columbus will be very easy to build as tracks go under one of the airport's free people movers.


Edited by west point, 28 December 2015 - 01:48 PM.


#32 WoodyinNYC

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Posted 28 December 2015 - 02:57 PM

But what the heck does this have to do with Largest Metros without Amtrak service.

If you're going to assume the position as hallway monitor, try to be more consistent.  ;)

 

In Post #21, you discuss "There are only two rail advocacy groups active in South Jersey - DVARP and NJ-ARP ..."

 

And what the heck does that have to do with Largest Metros without Amtrak service? LOL.

 

But Columbia got mentioned Post #12 by Alex M.
 

 

With regards to Augusta, perhaps a daytime Palmetto style service would use the Silver Star route to Columbia then over to Augusta on NS, if a physical connection could be built between those lines. Another idea would be extending the Carolinian, provided the schedule could be tightened up enough.

Then Seabord92 responded with remarks about Columbia and a needed physical connection. I responded to him with the PRIAA report, and back and forth.

 

Discussion of potential added service in or around Augusta, Columbia, Charleston, Savannah, Atlanta, Charlotte etc. seems appropriate for a broad reading of this thread. If your inner wanna-be hall monitor feels otherwise, well, such is life. Perhaps less coffee to start the day? :)


Edited by WoodyinNYC, 28 December 2015 - 02:59 PM.


#33 Devil's Advocate

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Posted 28 December 2015 - 03:08 PM

I honestly don't understand the goal of a thread like this.

"Largest Metros Without Amtrak Service (How to Serve Them?)"

So are we going to waste time and money bringing new transportation services to people who never wanted them and probably won't use them anyway?

How about we consider changing the topic to something more like this...

"Largest Metros That Want New/More/Better Amtrak Services (How to Serve Them?)"

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#34 Philly Amtrak Fan

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Posted 28 December 2015 - 03:19 PM

I honestly don't understand the goal of a thread like this.

"Largest Metros Without Amtrak Service (How to Serve Them?)"

So are we going to waste time and money bringing new transportation services to people who never wanted them and probably won't use them anyway?

How about we consider changing the topic to something more like this...

"Largest Metros That Want New/More/Better Amtrak Services (How to Serve Them?)"

 

How do you know markets that either have never had Amtrak or had it and lost it don't want or wouldn't use Amtrak? Do you have proof? Can you show any market who has never had Amtrak specifically say "we don't want it, we won't use it"? I can't guarantee Nashville if they had Amtrak would want/ride it but you can't guarantee they won't.


Edited by Philly Amtrak Fan, 28 December 2015 - 04:43 PM.

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Bring back the Broadway Limited (or Three Rivers or any Chicago-Pittsburgh-Philly train)!
 
 


#35 WoodyinNYC

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Posted 28 December 2015 - 03:30 PM

So are we going to waste time and money bringing new transportation services to people who never wanted them and probably won't use them anyway?

How about we consider changing the topic to something more like this...

"Largest Metros That Want New/More/Better Amtrak Services (How to Serve Them?)"

Well, in places like Augusta, Macon, Savannah, Charleston, Columbia, and Florence you'd get Obama-like votes from the black population, like 90% in favor of more Amtrak. But the white people don't care so much about trains, and some of them rightly suspect that even more black people might ride the trains if there were more. So the Dixie-mind majority of the white majority -- it may be a minority of the total but Hastert Rule applies here -- is against more trains.

 

But if trains were started to connect Atlanta-Augusta-Savannah or Atlanta-Macon-Savannah or Atlanta-Macon-Waycross-Jacksonville, or Mobile-Montgomery-Birmingham-Huntsville they'd have plenty of riders.

 

That said, I'd put my money first on South of the Lake (east of CHI-Detroit and CHI-Cleveland and on Long Bridge-south of the Potomac-Richmond-Raleigh, where the white folks and their state governments are more supportive of Amtrak.



#36 jis

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Posted 28 December 2015 - 03:39 PM

 

But what the heck does this have to do with Largest Metros without Amtrak service.

If you're going to assume the position as hallway monitor, try to be more consistent.  ;)
 
In Post #21, you discuss "There are only two rail advocacy groups active in South Jersey - DVARP and NJ-ARP ..."
 
And what the heck does that have to do with Largest Metros without Amtrak service? LOL.

 

It would be completely inappropriate to be consistent in an Amtrak forum, don't you think, given how inconsistent Amtrak is in everything that it does?  :P Juuust kidding! ;) We meander and occasionally someone remembers that we meandered. that is the tradition around here, so I suggest you get used to it. ;)
 

 

How about we consider changing the topic to something more like this...

"Largest Metros That Want New/More/Better Amtrak Services (How to Serve Them?)"

 
How do you know markets that either have never had Amtrak or had it and lost it don't want or wouldn't use Amtrak? Do you have proof? Can you show any market who has never had Amtrak specifically say "we don't want it, we won't use it"? I guarantee Nashville if they had Amtrak would want/ride it but you can't guarantee they won't.

 


Our motto here is to figure out how to force feed Amtrak to everyone using someone else's money, whether they want it or not :P But it sure is fun to figure out how to do it should money become available and should someone actually want to ride the darned thing. Guaranteeing that some people will ride a train does not even take a survey, and it is impossible to guarantee that no one will ride. But that is a totally silly argument to start with.

 

The issue always is whether enough people in the communities served collectively be willing to pay the cost or at least a significant part of it through fares and other means, so as to make it worthwhile to put in some money from the general pot to help them get it. If the local community refuses to have any stake in the game then it then the venture becomes somewhat questionable. And there always will be NIMBYs who confuse the issue by being disproportionately loud in their opposition based often on spurious reasons.



#37 Devil's Advocate

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Posted 28 December 2015 - 03:39 PM

I honestly don't understand the goal of a thread like this.

"Largest Metros Without Amtrak Service (How to Serve Them?)"

So are we going to waste time and money bringing new transportation services to people who never wanted them and probably won't use them anyway?

How about we consider changing the topic to something more like this...

"Largest Metros That Want New/More/Better Amtrak Services (How to Serve Them?)"

 
How do you know markets that either have never had Amtrak or had it and lost it don't want or wouldn't use Amtrak? Do you have proof? Can you show any market who has never had Amtrak specifically say "we don't want it, we won't use it"? I guarantee Nashville if they had Amtrak would want/ride it but you can't guarantee they won't.


So what actual proof do you have to back up your guarantee?

My own city modified our charter to prevent any rail based passenger service from using public funds or public land unless majority approved by a citywide vote ahead of time. Non-rail passenger services are exempted from this uniquely punitive restriction. Numerous other cities and states have elected staunchly anti-rail politicians to represent their interests. Even if the people who voted for such officials secretly want more passenger rail it's not worth fighting their silly bipolar battles for them. Better to spend that time and money matching funds and effort from staunchly pro-rail areas instead.

Edited by Devil's Advocate, 28 December 2015 - 03:41 PM.

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#38 jis

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Posted 28 December 2015 - 04:08 PM

I agree with you DA. That is the reason that I view threads like this one to be "what if" fantasies to some extent. Fortunately, that is the nature of half of the stuff that we yammer on about in this forum. So I don't see any problem with some more of the starry eyed fantasies spewing forth.

 

OTOH, if things suddenly change then the ideas batted around as fantasies may become of some use provided the fantasies were not totally disconnected from physical (as opposed to political) realities.  As long as people understand that I see no harm in playing these "what if" scenarios. It is when people go off into la-la land taking effusively of Hyperloop from NY to San Fran, when I at least, lose interest.


Edited by jis, 28 December 2015 - 04:09 PM.


#39 WoodyinNYC

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Posted 28 December 2015 - 04:12 PM

I am looking for brainstorming/suggestions on how to introduce/re-introduce Amtrak to the largest metro areas that do not have service.

 

https://en.wikipedia...ice#cite_note-4


Nashville:

You could probably go in several directions:

a) to IND/CHI via Louisville (which would take care of Louisville as well),

b) to ATL,

c) to Va/WAS via Knoxville? (WoodyInNYC suggested it: http://discuss.amtra...ision/?p=632976, http://clevelandbanner.com/stories/amtrak-linethrough-areagets-new-look,13181 

d) to Memphis?

Maybe you can have a CHI-ATL train through Nashville. But I'm not aware of any practical routes. 

 

Louisville:

You could go to IND/CHI or to CIN. Perhaps you can combine with Nashville. ...

 

Knoxville:

...

Chattanooga, TN:

...

Tri-Cities, TN:

...

Read it carefully. I suggested that it appears that Virginia is looking beyond Roanoke to a route that ultimately would link Norfolk-Richmond-Lynchburg-Roanoke-Bristol (Tri-Cities)-Knoxville-Chattanooga-Atlanta. (No mention of Nashville.) I got beat up: Bad tracks. Steep hills. Slow times in historic past. But that route remains my fearless forecast for 10 or 15 years from now. Mostly because, when Virginia makes a rail plan, they stick to the plan and get it done.

 

But Nashville-Knoxville is a non-starter. When I look at railroad maps online, you can't get there from here.



#40 WoodyinNYC

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Posted 28 December 2015 - 04:17 PM


... how to introduce/re-introduce Amtrak to the largest metro areas that do not have service.

 

https://en.wikipedia...ice#cite_note-4


Nashville:

You could probably go in several directions:

a) to IND/CHI via Louisville (which would take care of Louisville as well),

b) to ATL,

c) ...

Maybe you can have a CHI-ATL train through Nashville. But I'm not aware of any practical routes. 

 

Louisville:

You could go to IND/CHI or to CIN. Perhaps you can combine with Nashville. ...

 

Knoxville:

...

Chattanooga, TN:

...

Tri-Cities, TN:

...

 

The Tennessee paper also reported a potential route that would intersect with that Virginia train at Knoxville, providing a second frequency on the Knoxville-Chattanooga corridor. It would run beyond-Louisville-Frankfurt-Lexington-Knoxville-Chattanooga-Atlanta-beyond. (At one end "beyond" means Indianapolis-Chicago, at the other it probably means Florida.)

 

There's politics involved when Kentucky officials talk about a train from Louisville to Atlanta without mentioning Indianapolis and Chicago: They're Yankees, you know. In the same way, not everyone in Tennessee would think a train from Nashville to Chicago would be a good thing. LOL. But that's how it would go: Nashville-Bowling Green-Louisville-Indianapolis-Chicago.






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