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Discussing Silver Star/Silver Meteor Schedules


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#1 Philly Amtrak Fan

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Posted 20 February 2016 - 02:46 PM

When discussing using Amtrak to connect to cruise lines in Ft. Lauderdale, I saw that the southbound SS and SM arrive in most south Florida stops within an hour of each other. So I'm wondering if there could be more efficient scheduling for the SS and SM.

 

In terms of the schedules, the SS takes about three and a half hours more between NYP and MIA. The main difference route wise is the SS takes two "detours", one in North Carolina to serve Raleigh and one in Florida to serve Tampa. I think both detours are important but maybe instead of a fast train and a short train maybe they can have one train detour to serve Raleigh and the other to serve Tampa? Then you'd have two trains of approximately the same length rather than making the Star 3.5 hrs longer. Then, assuming the train that serves Tampa be the diner-less car (since they have more short distance passengers from Tampa to/from both Orlando and Miami) you then could let Raleigh have diner service. I'd rather not get too much into the diner debate here (there's other threads for that).

 

The SM takes 47 minutes (1:26-2:13pm) from Kissimmee to Winter Haven while the SS takes 2 hours, 51 minutes (10:44am-1:35pm). So if you take the two hours away from the SS and add two hours to the SM, you get arrival times in MIA around 4pm for the SS and around 8:40pm for the SM. The train would then arrive in Ft. Lauderdale around 3:17pm. Would that be enough time to make a 4pm cruise? Currently there's no train from the NEC that could allow you to get to Ft. Lauderdale in time to catch a 4pm cruise. I would probably then have the northbound SM leave MIA at the same time and arrive in the NEC two hours later (still plenty of time to connect to the CL and Richmond would be around 6:30am instead of 4:30am) and have the SS leave MIA two hours later to preserve the current northern times.

 

In reality, it is better IMHO for the first train to skip Tampa. That way if someone wants to take the first train to Tampa they can then take the first train to ORL and the second train between ORL and Tampa. Right now if you take the second train you have to take the dreaded bus to Tampa. Likewise, the northbound the first train should serve Tampa for the same reason.

 

The other suggestion I heard way back was switching the SM to leave NYP later so you can save a train set by turning the train in NYP the same day. That was the case a few years ago. If you think having the two trains serve South Florida around the same time is another time, that would be another way to do it.

 

Should we have one train do both detours or split the two detours? Any other suggestions to changing the schedules? Do they need to be changed at all? I'm not 100% sure they should be.


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 jis

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Posted 20 February 2016 - 04:35 PM

I don't see any pressing reason to make such minor changes. What would be desirable is to extend the Palmetto south and have it serve Tampa, and perhaps let the Star travel down the FEC or some such. Atlantic Coast service does not need minor tweaks. If anything worthwhile is to come of it it needs major rework with three trains on three different routings.

#3 jphjaxfl

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Posted 20 February 2016 - 05:01 PM

Amtrak and CSX have wanted to consolidate the 2 Silver Trains for some time since they run very close to each other specially southbound.  There been talk of replacing the Silver Star with a Palmetto type day train between Washington and Columbia or Savanah.  Removing the Dining Car from the Star is the first step in that directions.  There has been a lot of wishful thinking about extending the Palmetto but this will likely never happen unless Florida provides some funding.  Brightline trains are the future for Florida and any growth in Florida will be built on that.



#4 Philly Amtrak Fan

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Posted 20 February 2016 - 07:33 PM

Amtrak and CSX have wanted to consolidate the 2 Silver Trains for some time since they run very close to each other specially southbound.  There been talk of replacing the Silver Star with a Palmetto type day train between Washington and Columbia or Savanah.  Removing the Dining Car from the Star is the first step in that directions.  

 

Really, just one train serving NEC-Florida? That would be stupider than cancelling the Broadway Limited. If Amtrak had to cancel a train to save money, I can think of at least two if not more better choices. 


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/

 


#5 Seaboard92

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Posted 20 February 2016 - 08:01 PM

I've always wondered why the Palmetto went via Florence. As the only city of note is Charleston. While via Columbia adds Raleigh as well. So it should have better ridership. I live on the Stars route and I would miss my train for Florida.
But here are my ideas

1. Reinstate the old Meteor schedule to reduce the consist needs from four to three. Which will push the two trains further apart timewise in Florida.
2. Take the Palmetto and add some new sleepers and some freed from the Meteor and extend it south to Tampa. But leave it on it's current schedule north of Charleston. That would give a night option out of MIA. And a second northbound to Tampa.
3. When the Sunset East starts back up give it an evening run south of JAX leaving around six. Terminate that train in Tampa and an early morning departure from Tampa. Two train sets needed. Plus it gets northern connections from two trains in JAX.
4. Reroute the SM to serve tampa. As with AAF the Orlando-Miami traffic will probably dry up. That now gives Tampa three daily trains a night train, a noon train and an evening train.
Did that make sense

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

 


#6 Philly Amtrak Fan

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Posted 20 February 2016 - 08:36 PM

I still don't see why Amtrak would go from a SM schedule requiring three sets to one requiring four.

 

I think if we have three trains to Florida the third should go through Charlotte/Atlanta (split the Crescent with some cars heading to Florida instead of New Orleans). Then we wouldn't have to run two extra coach cars to NOL. 


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/

 


#7 west point

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Posted 20 February 2016 - 08:44 PM

It appears that the SM & SS are not meeting the passenger demand to Florida.  If sell outs are happening this month what about summer season and Thanksgiving - Christmas ? Both trains IMO need many more cars to handle the load. Tampa actually needs a earlier departure to Southern Florida.  Then the many tourists in Tampa could make the many cruise ships.



#8 Seaboard92

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Posted 20 February 2016 - 08:59 PM

The problem comes down to equipment. I don't think a run from Atlanta would work well as it's six hours roughly from Atlanta to JAX. Now if it's a new day train from ATL then we could put the night portion on the slow part. But that adds to the fleet south in Florida. But then it could route to the FEC

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

 


#9 maxbuskirk

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Posted 20 February 2016 - 11:13 PM

What is the "FEC"?


I have ridden Cascades #516 (SEA-STW), Coast Starlight #14 (LAX-SLO), Southwest Chief #4 (LAX-CHI), Cardinal #50 (CHI-NYP), Northeast Regional #85 (NYP-WAS), Capitol Limited #30 (HFY-WAS), Coast Starlight #14 (LAX-PDX), and many Pacific Surfliners with Amtrak. I have seen, including the previous, California Zephyr #5 at SAC (with luck), what I guess to be Crescent #19 (at WAS) and Silver Meteor #97 (at WAS), and Empire Builder #28 at PDX. I have also ridden the Hokutosei in Japan, Ueno - Sapporo (now discontinued).


#10 CCC1007

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Posted 20 February 2016 - 11:22 PM

The Florida east coast railway, reporting marks FEC.

#11 LookingGlassTie

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Posted 30 December 2016 - 09:28 PM

Would it make sense to consolidate either the Meteor or the Star into the other train's route?  From what I can tell on the route map, both trains sort of diverge in various places in a fashion similar to the Capitol Limited and the Cardinal (although they both travel in the same general direction).  Correct me if I'm wrong, but the Silvers originate at NYP, while the CL and CAR originate at WAS.

 

I suppose it comes down to a balance between providing streamlined & efficient service and serving the most areas possible.   


"And you know that notion just crossed my mind............"


#12 CCC1007

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Posted 30 December 2016 - 09:53 PM

Would it make sense to consolidate either the Meteor or the Star into the other train's route?  From what I can tell on the route map, both trains sort of diverge in various places in a fashion similar to the Capitol Limited and the Cardinal (although they both travel in the same general direction).  Correct me if I'm wrong, but the Silvers originate at NYP, while the CL and CAR originate at WAS.
 
I suppose it comes down to a balance between providing streamlined & efficient service and serving the most areas possible.   

The cardinal originates at NYP

#13 WoodyinNYC

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Posted 30 December 2016 - 11:38 PM

Freight hosts have claimed that the unreliable Amtrak trains disrupt their scheduled freights for at least 2 hours on either side of the Amtrak schedule. So if one Amtrak trains fouls up the freights for 4 hours, two separate Amtrak trains mess up a total of 8 hours. Bringing the schedules close to each other can make 'double use' of the same spoiled 2 hours on each schedule and 'only' mess up 6 hours, not 8.

 

So we see the Lake Shore Ltd. and the Capitol Ltd. run much of the way Chicago-Toledo-Cleveland within 2 or 3 hours of each other. And the same situation in Florida with the Silvers. Even the Lynchburger and the Crescent chase each others' tails thru Virginia.

 

When the City of New Orleans is extended to Orlando, Amtrak will have three morning trains SB Jacksonville-Orlando and three afternoon trains NB Orlando-Jacksonville. If one train could be flipped, making possible same-day go-and-return corridor trips, that could prompt adjustments to all the Florida schedules. Or not.

 

Then when the Richmond-Petersburg-Raleigh shortcut opens (in 10 years or so?), the remainder of the Star's schedule will have to be adjusted, for sure.



#14 neroden

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Posted 31 December 2016 - 12:00 AM

Freight hosts have claimed that the unreliable Amtrak trains disrupt their scheduled freights for at least 2 hours on either side of the Amtrak schedule.


To be clear about this, the Amtrak trains are more reliable than the freight trains, and many of the freight companies don't really have properly scheduled trains (CSX certainly doesn't). Day-late freight trains are common, sadly.

The claim is actually different. The claim is that the 79 mph Amtrak train disrupts their *50 mph freight trains* (or 30 mph freight trains, depending on what line it is). The speed differential causes problems. If all the trains are going at the same speed they're easy to dispatch in a line; if some are faster, more complex passing motions become necessary.

It's this which causes the disruption, and it is a real thing. (In addition, the Amtrak trains stopping every hour for a station creates a much more complex speed profile than a freight train running straight through.) If the freight hosts were running 70 mph freight trains it would be fairly easy to integrate Amtrak, even with the starts and stops. But they aren't.

(By the way, this is the reason why the freight hosts prefer it if Amtrak has pull-off tracks for station stops, especially ones with long dwell times. The freight trains can continue trundling along on the mains at a constant speed while Amtrak stops and then starts again 10 minutes later.)

(Also Amtrak is much more disruptive on a double track line where the Amtrak platform is only on one side. For obvious reasons. I've complained about unreasonable demands by CSX many times, but when they demanded that Rochester station have a pull-off track and platform for eastbound Amtraks and a pull-off track and platform for westbound Amtraks, without having to cross eastbounds across westbounds... well, that's actually a very sensible set of demands. Any station project should have those features. I believe NS is demanding platforms on both sides for the new Elyria OH station as well, and it is appropriate.)

Edited by neroden, 31 December 2016 - 12:06 AM.

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#15 west point

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Posted 31 December 2016 - 02:25 PM

" IF " Amtrak can cobble enough single level coaches together by the time the V-2 sleepers ( diners presumably in service ) the Palmetto could be extended to Tampa and MIA with sleepers. A long scheduled stop at TPA could enable a 0600 - 0800 on time scheduled departure to south Florida serving all cruise ship ports in a timely manner. Then late afternoon departure from MIA gathering up cruise ship passengers.
As well maybe all but one sleeper dropped at TPA ?

Edited by west point, 31 December 2016 - 02:28 PM.


#16 Philly Amtrak Fan

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Posted 31 December 2016 - 02:49 PM

I never experienced it but I'm guessing the backtrack of the Silver Star to serve Tampa is kind of awkward. But I don't think going back to the old days when the Miami train and the Tampa train are separate is better because there looks to be a large market for Tampa to Miami.

 

Ideally we'd have one train serve NEC-Miami, one train serve NEC-Tampa (or NEC-Orlando with through cars to Tampa), and a third train going Tampa-Orlando-Miami only (based on Star ridership of Tampa they would fill a Florida only train) so no backup move is necessary.


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/

 


#17 jis

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Posted 31 December 2016 - 07:28 PM

It is unlikely that any LD train turning facility will ever get reinstated in Tampa. It is even less likely if the Orlando -Tampa HSR or even Higher SR ever gets built. So one can forget about terminating any train in Tampa or even dropping off a few Sleepers there at least for the foreseeable future.

#18 west point

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Posted 31 December 2016 - 08:30 PM

When Brightline gets to Orlando airport then the possibility of extending it to TPA for TPA's rider potential becomes an interesting possibility. Building a separate line following the old proposed HSR line will be expensive.
The obvious solution would be to contract Amtrak to run it to TPA on its present route thru Lakeland. However Brightline's high level only boarding cars eliminate any stops without high level platforms. Kissimmee not possible to build high level since Sun Rail will be a low platform operation. Another track with a high level platform would need to be built at TPA or a separate station that IMO is counter productive.

#19 jis

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Posted 01 January 2017 - 05:32 AM

Brightline will not be contracting running anything with Amtrak at least in the foreseeable future. If Brightline operates to Tampa ever it will be on tracks owned by AAF.

#20 LookingGlassTie

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Posted 01 January 2017 - 02:21 PM

 

Would it make sense to consolidate either the Meteor or the Star into the other train's route?  From what I can tell on the route map, both trains sort of diverge in various places in a fashion similar to the Capitol Limited and the Cardinal (although they both travel in the same general direction).  Correct me if I'm wrong, but the Silvers originate at NYP, while the CL and CAR originate at WAS.
 
I suppose it comes down to a balance between providing streamlined & efficient service and serving the most areas possible.   

The cardinal originates at NYP

 

Ohh ok, my bad.   I thought for sure that it originated at WAS.    


"And you know that notion just crossed my mind............"





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