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Discussing Silver Star/Silver Meteor Schedules


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#21 CCC1007

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Posted 01 January 2017 - 03:25 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.    
When it was operating with superliner equipment it did.

#22 Anthony V

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Posted 04 January 2017 - 01:27 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.

If the above happens, one thing that could be done is to change the proposed rerouting of the Palmetto to serve Augusta, GA (metro area pop. 590,146). This would add another major city to the Amtrak network, increasing ridership on the Palmetto, and would especially be popular in early to mid-April every year when the Masters Golf Tournament is being held in Augusta.


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#23 WoodyinNYC

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Posted 04 January 2017 - 02:22 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 Savannah.

... to serve Augusta, GA (metro area pop. 590,146). ... add another city to the Amtrak network, ... and would especially be popular in April when the Masters Golf Tournament is being held.

I want to keep all the trains we've got. I'm looking to grow our way out of problems -- The cure for what ails Amtrak is more Amtrak.

 

Growing Augusta into the network is part of any positive plan. But can't we see a whole new train? With or without sleepers? D.C.-Richmond=Raleigh-Charlotte-Columbia-Augusta-Savannah-Florida. To connect with the existing train line and station at Columbia, we'd need to build 5 or 10 miles of new track to connect the route coming down from Fayetteville, NC, with the new one coming from Charlotte. At Columbia, an embarrassment of choice: to Charleston-Savannah, or to Augusta-Savannah.

 

In 10 years or so the rebuilt short-cut Richmond-Petersburg-Raleigh will chop an hour or more out of that schedule. The existing nearby but all healthy trains will become better, closer to break-even or operating profit. No need to plan to cannibalize at all.



#24 jphjaxfl

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Posted 04 January 2017 - 03:43 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.

If the above happens, one thing that could be done is to change the proposed rerouting of the Palmetto to serve Augusta, GA (metro area pop. 590,146). This would add another major city to the Amtrak network, increasing ridership on the Palmetto, and would especially be popular in early to mid-April every year when the Masters Golf Tournament is being held in Augusta.

 

If the state of Georgia could provide some funding, service to Augusta could probably happen, however, there has been plans for Atlanta - Athens service during the 1996 Olympics and more recently for Atlanta to Macon service which has not happened either.  I don't think the citizens of Georgia are contacting their state or federal representatives to start passenger train service.  A majority of the citizens in Atlanta do not even know that Amtrak stops in Atlanta or where the station is. 



#25 WoodyinNYC

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Posted 04 January 2017 - 04:33 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 Savannah. 

If the above happens, one thing that could be done is to change the proposed rerouting of the Palmetto to serve Augusta, GA (metro area pop. 590,146). This would add another major city to the Amtrak network, increasing ridership on the Palmetto, and would especially be popular in April when the Masters Golf Tournament is being held.

If the state of Georgia could provide some funding, service to Augusta could probably happen, however, there has been plans for Atlanta - Athens service during the 1996 Olympics and more recently for Atlanta to Macon service which has not happened either.  I don't think the citizens of Georgia are contacting their state or federal representatives to start passenger train service.  A majority of the citizens in Atlanta do not even know that Amtrak stops in Atlanta or where the station is. 

I'm ready and eager to make plans that completely ignore Atlanta. When they start construction on the new train station, then I will include the city in my plans and dreams.

 

Anyway, NYC-D.C.-Raleigh-Charlotte-Columbia-Augusta-Savannah-Jacksonville-Orlando-Miami would surely be an Amtrak L.D. train, not crippled by the 750-mile requirement for state support. Only the segment Charlotte-Columbia-Augusta-Savannah would be new and unshared with existing trains, helping to hold down costs.


Edited by WoodyinNYC, 04 January 2017 - 04:37 PM.


#26 Philly Amtrak Fan

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Posted 04 January 2017 - 06:13 PM

 

Anyway, NYC-D.C.-Raleigh-Charlotte-Columbia-Augusta-Savannah-Jacksonville-Orlando-Miami would surely be an Amtrak L.D. train, not crippled by the 750-mile requirement for state support. Only the segment Charlotte-Columbia-Augusta-Savannah would be new and unshared with existing trains, helping to hold down costs.

 

 

If you can do that, you might as well reroute the Silver Star that route so you can serve Charlotte (along with several NC stops) and Augusta without starting a brand new train. Worst case scenario you lose the stops between Raleigh and Columbia and Columbia and Savannah (assuming they aren't along the reroute) and I've never heard of any of them.

 

How much extra time would you have to add to the Star to account for the reroute?


Edited by Philly Amtrak Fan, 04 January 2017 - 06:16 PM.

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


#27 Seaboard92

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Posted 04 January 2017 - 09:12 PM

Leave the Palmetto alone it's already one of the best performers of the trains. Plus to go to Augusta rerouting to Columbia would eliminate Charleston which generates good ridership as well as Florence.
Leave the Silver Star route alone as well. Augusta is too far out of the way for it to be served. The Augusta-Savannah thru freight I believe takes six hours. And the Columbia-Augusta thru freight takes three hours before NS downgraded the line. It used to be 49 now it's 25.

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#28 jis

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Posted 04 January 2017 - 10:25 PM

Leave the Palmetto alone it's already one of the best performers of the trains. Plus to go to Augusta rerouting to Columbia would eliminate Charleston which generates good ridership as well as Florence.
Leave the Silver Star route alone as well. Augusta is too far out of the way for it to be served. The Augusta-Savannah thru freight I believe takes six hours. And the Columbia-Augusta thru freight takes three hours before NS downgraded the line. It used to be 49 now it's 25.

I agree wholeheartedly and have stated so previously a couple of times.

#29 A Voice

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Posted 04 January 2017 - 11:12 PM

 

 

Anyway, NYC-D.C.-Raleigh-Charlotte-Columbia-Augusta-Savannah-Jacksonville-Orlando-Miami would surely be an Amtrak L.D. train, not crippled by the 750-mile requirement for state support. Only the segment Charlotte-Columbia-Augusta-Savannah would be new and unshared with existing trains, helping to hold down costs.

 

 

If you can do that, you might as well reroute the Silver Star that route so you can serve Charlotte (along with several NC stops) and Augusta without starting a brand new train. Worst case scenario you lose the stops between Raleigh and Columbia and Columbia and Savannah (assuming they aren't along the reroute) and I've never heard of any of them.

 

The idea is to grow Amtrak - expanding services and geographic reach - not just rearrange the deck chairs.   



#30 jis

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Posted 05 January 2017 - 04:08 AM

Specially when the rearrangement to serve a few thoroughly screws the established customer base and pisses them off.

#31 Anderson

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Posted 07 January 2017 - 07:20 AM

I think there's a case to reroute the Star to serve Charlotte.  I do not know how strong that case is, but I do believe that such a case does exist.  TBH there's probably an alternative case to run something between Washington and Florida via Charlotteville and Charlotte (e.g. use NS Alexandria-Columbia and CSX Columbia-Florida).  I do not believe that there is a case to reroute it via Augusta; in the instance of Augusta the case (IMHO) is to run the train to Atlanta...and I'm not sure how strong that case even is.


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#32 Philly Amtrak Fan

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Posted 07 January 2017 - 08:20 AM

I think there's a case to reroute the Star to serve Charlotte.  I do not know how strong that case is, but I do believe that such a case does exist.  TBH there's probably an alternative case to run something between Washington and Florida via Charlotteville and Charlotte (e.g. use NS Alexandria-Columbia and CSX Columbia-Florida). 

 

This was discussed in the 2011 PRIIA: https://www.amtrak.c...26-11_final.pdf. They did not mention Charlottesville, they discussed "rerouting the Silver Star between Raleigh, North Carolina, and Columbia, South Carolina, via Charlotte and Greensboro, North Carolina" (presumably the Carolinian/Piedmont route).

 

p. 73: "However, there is no direct connection between NS’s Charlotte-to-Columbia rail line over which the train would be rerouted and the CSX rail line that serves Amtrak’s Columbia station, and significant investments would be required for equipment and other capital costs."


Edited by Philly Amtrak Fan, 07 January 2017 - 08:21 AM.

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


#33 Anderson

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Posted 07 January 2017 - 09:31 AM

Yes, I read that report when it came out and that's what I was referencing.  I know that nobody has formally proposed a full re-routing of the Star onto the ex-Southern line.  The real question about the Charlotte proposal, in my mind, is what it would do to schedules elsewhere along the line?  Unless a lot of money went into improvements, you're adding about 100 route-miles by adding Charlotte (as far as I can tell, at least) so you'd probably add about two hours to the timetable (it would probably be more, but (1) Raleigh-Columbia only averages about 45 MPH; and (2) between ongoing improvements between Raleigh and Charlotte and the fact that you'd probably be able to skip a few stops, you might well get the average speed there up closer to 60 MPH, giving you a bit of wiggle room even accounting for slower tracks Charlotte-Columbia).  Of course, if you reroute the Star with SEHSR that would cover most of the needed time.

 

Realistically, the best way to provide such service would probably be a New York or Washington to Charlotte day train operating on the ex-Southern and offering a timely connection to/from the Star.  I'd have to play a lot of timetable games to see what would actually work there, though.


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#34 neroden

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Posted 07 January 2017 - 10:00 AM

Realistically, the best way to provide such service would probably be a New York or Washington to Charlotte day train operating on the ex-Southern and offering a timely connection to/from the Star.  I'd have to play a lot of timetable games to see what would actually work there, though.

Hmmm, so you're thinking DC-Charlottesville-Lynchburg-Greensboro-Charlotte-Columbia? I like it. Won't happen, because South Carolina is not going to fund rail service in our lifetimes.
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#35 Philly Amtrak Fan

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Posted 07 January 2017 - 10:04 AM

I don't see why you would skip Raleigh to serve Charlottesville. And wouldn't you be giving up Richmond too?

 

If Amtrak can ever fix the mess in ATL, you could easily add through cars off the Crescent to Florida and that would take care of the entire Crescent route north of ATL.


Edited by Philly Amtrak Fan, 07 January 2017 - 10:08 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)!
 
 


#36 Anderson

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Posted 08 January 2017 - 09:52 AM

 

Realistically, the best way to provide such service would probably be a New York or Washington to Charlotte day train operating on the ex-Southern and offering a timely connection to/from the Star.  I'd have to play a lot of timetable games to see what would actually work there, though.

Hmmm, so you're thinking DC-Charlottesville-Lynchburg-Greensboro-Charlotte-Columbia? I like it. Won't happen, because South Carolina is not going to fund rail service in our lifetimes.

 

Actually, what I'm thinking is [New York-]DC-Charlottesville-Lynchburg-Greensboro-Charlotte alongside the Star being re-routed Raleigh-Charlotte-Columbia (and otherwise remaining on the current route).  Doing this takes SC out of the equation and moves the connection to a single station in Charlotte (forcing it at Columbia would be a NYP-NYG type mess).  IMHO Columbia is a bad place to terminate a train for a host of reasons; I'd take an extension to Savannah or Atlanta or a cutback to Charlotte (Charlotte and Savannah offer crew pooling and Atlanta offers a large endpoint market).

 

With operation to Charlotte, the "day train" thus becomes entirely a VA/NC affair (I believe both states ultimately do want a day train WAS-CVS-CLT, even if it's mainly an NC initiative) though it could probably get Pennsylvanian-style support if you could show a modest amount of through traffic (and/or run some through cars).


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#37 west point

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Posted 08 January 2017 - 10:46 AM

Instead of rerouting the Star do the following. It will take co-operation from state of SC but,
Extend a connection from Carolinian to / From Charlotte. Star would provide a connecting car(s) to /from MIA that would be picked up at Columbia for a New Haven type shuttle and added to Carolinian at Charlotte

#38 afigg

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Posted 09 January 2017 - 12:41 PM

Instead of rerouting the Star do the following. It will take co-operation from state of SC but,
Extend a connection from Carolinian to / From Charlotte. Star would provide a connecting car(s) to /from MIA that would be picked up at Columbia for a New Haven type shuttle and added to Carolinian at Charlotte

The Carolinian schedule does not even remotely match up to the Silver Star for connecting trips to/from south of Raleigh. Besides, even if they did, what benefit would there be in trying to have connecting/pass-through cars for 2 trains with very poor On-time performance? Would just make the OTP of each train even worse. 

 

The Star should get a boost in connecting ridership at Cary and Raleigh when the Piedmont service expands to 4 daily trains, the Charlotte-Raleigh travel time gets trimmed & more reliable, and Raleigh has a new nice station to wait in. At present, CLT to MIA has 1 hour and 5 minute layover to connect to the southbound Star at Cary which is reasonable.  However, MIA to CLT has a 3 hour and 50 minute layover at Cary to connect to the #75 Piedmont. Given the Star's typical lateness, a several hour window is needed to connect from #92, but a 3:50 layover very likely turns some possible customers away.  Still, four daily Piedmonts will allow for more connection options to CLT throughout the day when the Star is running seriously late. Which in turn more draw more passengers from CLT and GRO.



#39 jis

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Posted 09 January 2017 - 03:28 PM

Adding many hours to the Star schedule just to send it on a meandering trip through North Carolina will eventually turn it into a two night train, requiring an additional consist or two, which is not going to be very desirable for anyone except for the joining the dots mentality railfans.


Edited by jis, 09 January 2017 - 03:29 PM.


#40 Anderson

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Posted 12 January 2017 - 12:47 PM

Adding many hours to the Star schedule just to send it on a meandering trip through North Carolina will eventually turn it into a two night train, requiring an additional consist or two, which is not going to be very desirable for anyone except for the joining the dots mentality railfans.

That sort-of depends on the impact of removing forced connections versus the impact of adding hours to the runtime.  I mean, the train already has a bit of a meandering trip...but there's also a reason I tried to look at options that were as close to "time neutral" as possible with known improvements.

 

As to the two-night issue, I cannot help but ponder what the numbers would look like for a Boston-Miami train based around 66/67's schedule on the north end.  The main con is your NYP time, but Boston is also a factor there.  Timing at WAS isn't bad...so I guess a lot of this comes down to "what does your Florida schedule look like?"  Sadly there are constraints which make a third FL train unlikely.


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